Are You Wearing the Right Shoes?
All 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles will work to stabilize, mobilize, and ground your movement. Now think if you were to then put your foot that is designed to move, expand and grip the ground into a straight jacket (aka a shoe). Not the best picture in your head right?
When it comes to training there is such a wide variety of shoes out there and all are accessible at the tips of our fingers. Mobile shopping and social media have made this even more accessible. But just like anything else that is advertised there are so many options, leaving the consumer a little confused on what is actually needed for them or where to start.
What do my feet need?
Our feet are just as, if not more important than every other body part in our body. They are like our finger prints, all of them are unique, and not one size fits all (pun intended!). Your feet are the first thing that gives you feedback of what is under you, and how your joints absorb the impact with every step we take. Factoring all of this together means that different brands will work better for some than others, it all comes down to what you need from the shoe.
The Benefits of Being Barefoot
I myself after many years of sports and trying every shoe under the sun, have been training barefoot for 2+ years. Being barefoot lets your body connect to the ground, experience proprioception differently. Our kinetic chain (skeletal system) is built from the ground up. Our roots, our base, what touches the floor first each day should be strong, stable, and working properly. So many injuries in both myself and many clients have fixed imbalances and saved themselves from injury just by taking off a shoe that didn't work for them.
That being said this, doesn't mean that no shoes is the only way to go when it comes to training. Like most situations in life it depends on the demand that is put on your body and what you prefer. For Kettlebells (and we all know I love kettlebells) barefoot is important and required when working with me. These patterns need you to dynamically generate force into the ground as quick as possible and create full body tension. Runners need different types of shoes for the demand of their sport. They are taking on terrain and striking the ground needing padding to absorb the shock.
No matter the situation it all still comes down to what works best for you and your body. I personally can not speak to running shoes, or what a runner would need. But I can speak to strength training and kettlebell work and finding the shoe or working in socks that lets your foot work as best it can, stay stable, all while not hindering your movement.
So, What Are the Right Shoes for Strength Training?
Strength training requires you to be stable and strong, being able to move weight and create force. These type of patterns are not the time to be imbalanced or unable to generate full body tension starting from the ground up.
So what shoe do I recommend for strength training?? When recommending shoes to clients I always pick any shoe that is flat and has the least support. You should never try to lift heavy weight in running shoes or something that is super pliable. It creates more instability starting at the ankle that can also push you forward into your toes.
Some examples of good training shoes are below:
1) Nike Metcons (any variation), they are stable and flat and designed by a pro cross-fit athlete to get the most out of your training. These are a bit bulkier but have a more solid base. They are great for your traditional strength work.
2) Vivo barefoot training, these shoes are the closest thing I have found to being barefoot. (pictured above.) They have a wide foot bed for your toes and ball of your foot to expand and grip properly. The super light recycled material feels like you have nothing on.
3) Converse - a staple that has been around for years. It is not only great for style, but still gives you the grounding that you need. Keeping you pretty close to flat as possible and very stable.
Listen to your feet, and watch your training change for... the... better!
There are many different types of shoes that probably fall into the descriptions I gave you above but these are the ones I have tested, and found to work well when I did want a shoe. Of the 3 pairs of shoes I listed Nike and Converse can be found just outside of MOTIVNY's doors in the heart of soho, While all 3 are also available online!
Make sure you do lots of research before finding the shoe that works for you, but sometimes the best shoe is no shoes at all!
How Do I Get Started With Strength Training?
One on one training in my opinion is where everyone will benefit most when it comes to getting started with any new skill. Having worked with many coaches of my own in my career there are endless benefits to this setting. These one on one sessions give me time with you to create a program specific to you, understand your body, how you move and any injuries you may have. These hour sessions will also allow me to ask questions, answer your questions and have 100% focus on you instead of a whole room. Allowing you to walk away feeling confident the next time you step up behind the bell, either on your own or when you take class. But if one on one setting is not something that you're interested in, our kettlebell skills class would be the next best way to learn and own your skills!