So you’re gettin’ swole: A guide to shoes

So I talk about running a lot, obviously, but what if you spend more time lifting heavy shit than putting one leg in front of the other? I gotchu fam. Here’s a short list of a range of the more popular models in which to do a varied workout.


Asics Gel-Exert TR

A Japanese entry into the “functional fitness” category, this one is really built for explosive activity and lateral movement. There’s a ton of support in the forefoot (like a tennis or basketball shoe), so pivoting is really easy and the reinforced upper caging that wraps the foot to prevent it from sliding all around. That said, the shoe is light and comfortable, but is a better fit if your foot is on the narrow side. The other issue is that the gel in the heel might feel too soft for heavier lower body lifts.


Inov-8 f-Lite 235

The f-Lite series has quite a few options, from the 192 to the 240 and others. However, the 235 is set apart from other models, both within the brand and without, by its extra firm heel, making it ideal for lifting. It’s also the only one of these shoes with a 0mm drop, if you want to get as flat as possible. Plus, the forefoot is super flexible, so it handles running a little better than some of these other ones. On the downside, the light mesh upper doesn’t really secure you for stop-and-go movements.


New Balance Minimus X20v4

New Balance has gotten a real cult following in cross-training through their Minimus line. They’re super light with a 4mm drop and are fairly water-resistant. They don’t offer a ton of protection over or underfoot, but you have those sorts of trade-offs when you go lightweight. They are pretty durable for the amount of material though, so that’s impressive.


Nike Metcon

Surprisingly, Nike was pretty late to the game with their “functional” shoe, it just came out in 2015. It has a lot of forefoot flexibility and midfoot support/protection, but has some durability issues.


Reebok Nano

Ah yes, the footwear uniform of Crossfitters the world over. Its wider toebox lets you splay your toes out for more stability and the rope protection along the arch works well to grip during climbing. You also have a few options, too. There’s the 2.0, which has a mesh/canvas upper, and the 4.0, with a mesh/rubber caging upper. The 2.0 offers you more flexibility and the 4.0 gives you more support and protection. The main Nanos are pretty good for lifting, but you sacrifice that running ability. The Nano 5.0 is also out, utilizing Kevlar instead of rubber caging, but the midsole construction may be less durable.


Converse Chuck Taylor

Converse just came out with the first major update to these things in nearly a century, but you’ll want to stick to the classic version. The original is a shoe that powerlifters (especially for deadlifts) swear by, for its flat, firm sole. The canvas upper is also very durable, in a classic “they don’t make ’em like they used to” situation. The new version added arch support and the soft Lunarlon foam from parent company Nike, taking away the two performance-specific attributes of the shoe. However, the new version might be better suited if you’re mixing other training with pumping iron, but probably not.

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