In Crossfit What’s Better Running Shoes or Racing Flats?

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If you have been strapping on a pair of running shoes for your crossfit training . . . now is the time to rethink your option for performance. Here’s what the guys over at WODfanatic had to day about crossfit shoes:

Fancy shoes with huge cushy heels encourage athelets to put their weight forward, not back into their heels, and what do you always hear coaches yelling? “Weight in the heels!”. Running shoes create instability, primarily laterally, in the ankles. Running in a straight line for miles is a linear activity and thats when a well designed “Running” shoe comes into play.

Crossfit is definitely not a linear Sport! We zig, we zag, jump, sprint, crawl, climb and lift heavy stuff. Most importantly you don’t want to be doing Olympic lifts on a soft unstable base – think overhead squats while standing on your bed… dumb move right? Ok, I know the bed analogy may not be the best but the bottom line is Squishy running shoes OUT, flat minimalist shoe IN.


Here is the latest in the line up of Crossfit Shoes you might find guys using trying to tackle Grace.

  • Inov-8 F-lite 230
  • Onitsuka Tiger by Asics ( Ultimate 81, Mexico 66 and Serrano)
  • Adidas Samb
  • Puma Speed Cats
  • Vibram Five Fingers
  • Terra Plana EVO
  • Feelmax


Oh Yeah, I wanted to include Rich Froning killing it in under 5 minutes.


Personally I would never walk into a crossfit affiiate sporting a pair Five Fingers I’m not into barefoot running, but that’s just me. I would drop my cash on a slick pair of Inov-8’s crossfit shoes and get serious. Check these out.


Definitely a new pair of board shorts and the black Inov-8’s would be my style.

Now you may be wondering about the debate over running shoes vs. race flats for crossfit shoes. SF Crossfit had some great tips about how to improve your technique using the “Pose running technique” as well as why you should check out flat soled crossfit shoes.

I am always asked what type of shoes are best for crossfit and what types of shoes are best to run in. I’m going to begin by addressing what type of shoes are best to run. I’m starting with this question because it has been my experience that is question is the most difficult to answer for people who are non-pose runner and non crossfitter. In today’s world there seems to be an endless amout of information from doctors, shoe companies, TV, and the media. Each claiming that their shoe is better and can help you run faster and safer. To make matters worst, our desire to be in fashion and the abundance of different designs, all appealing to our eyes, make the decision making process almost impossible.

Go into a speciality running stores and you’ll have the store clerk telling you that he or she needs to see how you walk in order for he or she to make a recommendation on what type of shoe you need. Go to a ortho doctor with a running injury and he or she will tell you that you need to wear shoe inserts or custom orthotics. Orthotics, inserts, stablity shoes, motion control shoes, are shoes designed to “help protect” a running or walking flaw. We at SF CrossFit believe that it is better to correct that flaw and make your foot stronger then to “help protect” it through artificle means, which we believe will actually make your foot weaker and more prone to injuries.

So to answer the question, we believe that running shoes that are light weight with thin soles are our best options. If you think about it back in the 50?s, 60?s and 70?s thats all that was available. Yet running related injuries where low. Today, statics show that 85% of all runners will sustain some type of running injury within a year of steady running. Why?

At SF CrossFit we teach you how to run using the Pose method to protect you from running injuries and as a result we need a shoe that is going to help you run correctly. Here are a few reasons why we recommend racing flats or similar shoe:

1. A light weight shoe with thin soles allows your foot to feel as part of the leg. What this means is that the feeling of the foot wouldn’t differ from the feeling of the whole leg, psychologically. Biomechanically it may affect the foot transfer in space and time: its speed, acceleration, and trajectory, which could all be deteriorated by heavy shoes. We can deliberately use heavy shoes for some special occasions of strength development, but not for a long time, and surely not permanently.

2. It allows you to develop a very precise, refined feeling of interaction between the foot and the ground, while landing. Obviously, it is impossible to do this through a thick shoe sole. In a movement, when every hundredth of a second counts (the time of support in best runners is 0.15-0.20 sec.), the support time is a crucial thing for neuro-muscular coordination. When the signal for the foot to touch the ground reaches the muscles and makes them prepare for landing, it’s already too late. And cushioning here is the factor which deteriorates timing and as a consequence, running technique, by increasing the time of support and due to this, loading of joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Second, a thick sole and cushioning increase the possibility of pronation or supination, if the runner has a tendency to it. Hence, it leads to injuries.

3. In the Pose Method landing occurs on the ball of the foot, not on the heel, so the thick shoe heel structure doesn’t make any sense. Even more, it reduces the freedom of the heel, and ankle movement and decreases the calf muscle stretching elasticity effect.

What shoes to wear when crossfitting?

As you all know, our training program is broad and general. And as such, it is difficult to recommend just one type of shoe. We recommend that our athlete have the following: A racing flat in case there is running WOD and weight lifting shoes. Another good option is to wearing “Chucks” or similar type flat shoes. Chucks are light weight and have thin soles so they help when running or lifting.