By Chris Saliba. If you’ve been around CrossFit for a while you’ll remember a time when the apparel of choice was a pair of Chuck Taylor’s and board shorts. Weightlifting shoes were hard to come by and if you had a pair, they had probably been handed down over a few generations. As the popularity of CrossFit grew and corporate overlords such as Reebok (I’m sorry Reebok, it was just a joke) jumped on the band wagon we became spoilt for choice and bombarded with endless marketing hype as to why we need 6 different pairs of shoes. Jokes aside, the subject of footwear comes up pretty frequently in the gym and we thought we would share our thoughts to help you with your footwear decisions. Weightlifting shoes: Guess what, weightlifting shoes are really good to weightlift in. If you’ve got a pair and you’re weightlifting, then wear them. I’m of the mentality that if there is a piece of accepted equipment that can give you an edge, then go for it. Don’t get so reliant on them that you can’t do Cindy without them but don’t over think it too much. If you’re missing snatches in your Nano’s trying to emulate Rich Froning, then you’re missing out. You don’t need to spend a fortune either – you can buy a pair of Adidas on Eastbay for about $90.00. Running Shoes: Minimalist shoes are popular in CrossFit but to be honest I think this has more to do with the romanticised idea of being a modern day caveman than anything else. If you’ve got good running mechanics then go for it but don’t overdo the distance in them too soon or your Achilles might just snap in half. Don’t forget to test and measure – you would be surprised how many people will simply persevere through the pain of running in an inappropriate shoe just because you were told they were the shoe for every occasion (Nano’s). If you’re in pain then get to the bottom of it – is it your running mechanics, too much too soon etc. Cross-trainers: Given the choice to run in cross-trainers vs. doing pull-ups, burpees, air squats, box jumps etc. in running shoes, I would take the running shoes. Cross-trainers are terrible to run in for any distance over about 400m whereas wearing running shoes to do the bodyweight stuff in the gym will be of no disadvantage. Which shoes and when? Single element workouts are easy. If you’re weightlifting, wear weightlifting shoes (bench press is weight lifting not weightlifting). If you’re running, wear running shoes and if you’re doing anything else, wear anything other than weightlifting shoes. Multi element workouts – pick the shoe that is going to give the most advantage. For example, if there is running and weightlifting in the same workout, figure out where the most time is to be gained or lost by wearing the right/wrong shoe. If it’s a long run with a light lift then your weightlifting shoes will give minimal if any advantage in the lifts but prove to be a huge disadvantage in the run. On the other hand if it’s a short run and a heavy technical lift you might choose to sacrifice a few seconds in the run for no misses in the lifts. In summary, I think that anyone planning on doing CrossFit long term should get some weightlifting shoes and other than that a pair of runners suitable to your running mechanics is all you need. Of course if you’ve got the budget, go ahead and buy a pair for every occasion but it’s definitely not a necessity.