Most people know me that I am pretty interested in foot wear. I have tried many shoes, all with different claims. I have tried the Vibram five fingers, Chuck Taylors, various Olympic lifters, every Crossfit related shoes out there. First I will give you my opinions on some various shoe styles, then my top pick so far. My shoe selection evolution has been as follows.
Basic Shoes: These include Chuck Taylors and Strike Movements. Good everyday shoes, but I found that a couple rope climbs did the shoes in. My mobility was good enough to do some squats and deadlifts in, but I found I was switching to some Olympic lifters when Olympic lifting or doing metcons with heavy lifting. I had a 10 year old pair of Chucks that I liked a lot. Unfortunately when I got the new ones I found them a little narrower. A great tip for finding if a shoe is too narrow for your foot is to take out the insole, place it on the floor, step on it and see if your toes splay over the edges. If so, it is forcing your foot into an unnatural position.
Mimimalist Shoes: There are tons of these. The majority of my shoes fall into this category. Basically the selling point of the shoes is that there is not much cushioning between you and the ground and no raised heel. This allows the feet to be more active. I have used these for the better part of a decade, even those god awful Vibram Five Fingers. I have found that running in these ended up with strained calves. Standing all day coaching I found that by the end of the day my feet were sore and knees were hurting. So I opted to use them as daily use shoes, but opted for something with a little more padding for my workouts. The best I have found are my LEMs. They even have winter footwear. These are Zero drop, pretty minimal, and a super wide toe box. They are also made to be worn without socks so they are very comfortable and look great as an everyday shoe.
Olympic Lifters: These include dedicated lifters such as Nike Romaleos, Do-Win Lifters, and the hybrid shoes such as Reebok Lifters, Inov-8 Lifters, and Adidas Powerlift. To summarize these quickly is easy for me. Most adults will benefit from the increased range of motion and stability these provide. I never really noticed a difference between the brands other than width. if you are an excellent lifter you might notice a difference. Choose ones that fit well and you like the look of.
CrossFit Shoes: I have tried all the Reebok Nanos, Inov-8s, and the new Nike Metcons. I liked the first two versions of the Nanos, after that I wasn’t that much of a fan. I found the soles too hard and over the years I have lost faith in the brand. I always ask people when I see some new shoes how they like them. Over the last couple of months I have seen numerous people with the new Nike Metcons. With many shoes I have heard mixed reviews, not so with these. Every person I asked has said they loved them. I know Nike is a master of hype. Sponsoring many top level, influential athletes and running great advertising campaigns. But I trust the opinion of the people using them, and it has all been great.
I have worn them for 2 weeks now, so this review might change in the future, but so far, they are amazing. I have squatted and deadlifted very heavy in them, done lots of olympic lifting. The soles feel very stable, there is just enough heel raise to make the olympic lifts easier. Rope climbs feel like your shoe is glued to the rope, the sticky gum rubber sole is excellent for working out. It provides excellent grip, and even holds up in lateral movement drills (which is lacking in crossfit)
Only a couple complaints, which are probably not going to affect most people. They are hot, as in they don’t seem to breathe well. I normally never wear socks, so I fixed this by starting to wear socks. The other issue is the heel cup. I am used to very minimal shoes with little support, so the hard heel cup has given me blisters on my heel. Easily remedied by some well placed tape. I will eventually develop some calluses. The socks will probably also help this issue.
Yours in health,