Deciding what shoes to wear during your workout is very important. What goes on your feet can either help or hurt you. Shoes can even play a role in you getting injured if you wear the wrong kind. So how do you decide what shoes are the best to wear during your workout?
The number one rule for shoes is to make sure they are good quality. Don't spend $40 on a pair of shoes and expect them to last. Invest in a good pair of shoes that fit and feel amazing. It makes a world of difference. As CrossFit is made up of many movements and activities, I suggest having two different types of shoes on hand: one soft and bouncy, the other stable and firm.
When determining what shoes to wear for what workout, separate the activities into two categories:
1 - Lifting (squats, deadlift, etc)
2 - Impact (running, jumping, anything that involves having to land and absorb force)
When lifting, wear shoes that are flat and firm. This will allow you to feel the ground and thus be more stable. Too much padding underfoot throws off your body's balance. It would be like trying to squat on an air mattress. Not a good idea. My go-to is the Reebok Nano. They are flat and stable, and have a wide toe box so my feet have plenty of room up front. I find they are suitable for short runs as well. I'll usually wear them for anything under a mile.
During a WOD that involves a lot of running (more than a mile), box jumps, or double-unders, wear some form of running shoe. The New Balance Zante has worked well for me, as has the Brooks Cadence. These two shoes still allow me to feel the ground a bit, which helps when other movements like squats or lunges are paired with running. But they have a whole lot more padding than Nanos do. Therefore, they absorb impact better and keep your joints fresh.
Next time you workout, pay attention to what shoes you decide to wear. Experiment for yourself. Figure out what works best for you!