Ever noticed a lot of people at the box have on weird shoes. Shoes you wouldn’t see outside of the CrossFit world and made by brands you’ve either never heard of (Nobull?) or that are just plain uncool (Let’s face it outside of CrossFit, Reebok isn’t the coolest brand on the market.)

We haven’t all lost the plot or bought into some strange fashion craze (well maybe a little) but we are all wearing shoes that were ultimately designed for and are therefore better suited to the rigours of CrossFit.

Running, rowing, box jumping, rope climbing, Olympic lifting and a gazillion burpees will all take its toll on your shoes. Having a pair of trainers that can take a beating and provide the necessary support for a wide variety of movements helps to unsure you aren’t forever buying new ones and that you’re getting the most out of your footwear.

But what makes a good CrossFit shoe? There are three main points when it comes to the difference between a CrossFit shoe and a normal gym trainer.

The drop: The difference in height between the heel and fore foot. Typically, CrossFit shoes have a lower drop than normal shoes. This helps with keeping weight evenly distributed through the foot during lifting.

A hard sole: the spongy, cloud like feel of running shoe soles is not what you want when you’re trying to pull a PB deadlift or nail a 30” box jump. A more solid sole will help with stability and stance in a lot of movements.

Toughness: as mentioned before the box will put your shoes through a lot. Over the years, we have seen many a pair of shoes fall foul to the rope climb and the ten thousandth burpees. CrossFit shoes need to be made of slightly tougher stuff and be reinforced in certain areas to ensure they last the long haul.

So, you should all run out and buy new shoes, right? No. I did CrossFit in Converse for 2 years when I first found the sport. I have competed in Converse, snatched in flip flops and run a half marathon in boots. Did I perform maximally in this foot wear? No. Did it get the job done. Yes. Footwear will make the difference when everything else in your training is on point. Footwear isn’t what’s holding you back from that PB snatch, nailing double-unders or getting your first muscle up.

Stick with what you’ve got until you need a new pair and when the time comes for some new shoes definitely take a look at the CrossFit specific ones out there, most of them are comfy as fuck.