Saturday 13th February 2016,
Travis Holley's

Day 271 of 365: Oly Shoes….A Breakdown

CrossFit Central is now selling Reebok CrossFit shoes!

This is a pretty awesome service that we are now offering our clients, and one that I know many of you will(if you haven’t already)take full advantage of.  But, before you speed down to Central…Here are a couple things I want to share with you.  Check it out.

1. The elevated heel allows for increased dorsi-flexion at the ankle.

Great!  WTF does that mean, you ask?  Well, to put it simply…It allows your knees to travel further in front of your toes when in a deep squat, while still allowing you to produce force through the heels.  This function also translates into being able to keep your torso more vertical when squatting.  And, if you spend any amount of time playing with the Front Squat, High-Bar Back Squat or Overhead Squat, you know that the ability to stay more up-right is a great advantage to you.  All-in-all, the Oly shoe – when worn at the proper times – allows the athlete to hit better positions in the lifts, ultimately, improving performance!

2. The hardened heel allows for better force production and translation to the lift.

Again, this may sound fairly complicated, but it’s really quite simple.  Think of it this way….when you go for a jog SPRINT on a track, the surface of that track allows you to push off with relatively high efficiency, right?!  Now, let’s use the same SPRINT example, but this time we are on a sandy beach.  Do you think the surface will make a difference in your ability to produce force?  Hell yes!  People look goofy as hell trying to move efficiently on the beach.  The reason is the surface.
Now, going back to shoes…If you wear a shoe that has a ton of cushion, it’s like trying to sprint on the sandy beach.  It’s just not going to allow you to produce the same efficient power that a hardened sole will.  And, most likely, you’ll look goofy as hell trying to do it.  So just don’t.

3. Reebok Oly shoes are unique in that they have a hardened heel, but a flexible fore-foot.

This quallity allows athletes to wear these shoes in workouts that have several diverse exercises in them.  Let’s use this as the example:
-Box Jumps
Now, we can all agree that you could knock this workout out with normal Oly shoes.  It may get ugly towards the end when your shoes start to feel like cinder-blocks, but you could do it.  Well, now with the Reebok Oly shoes you can easily perform more dynamic/athletic movements in combo with the more traditional “Oly shoe movements”.  Pretty cool.

Now, all of this may sound absolutely perfect, but here’s the downside…

I know for a fact that when people start purchasing and wearing these shoes, they will find them to be almost magical in their ability to improve human movement.  But, along with that will come a negligence to stay consistent with mobility practices.  These shoes are awesome, but don’t overlook the real reason you purchased them: To help put you in better positions.  Mobility does this when done regularly, and should continue even after you buy your Reebok Oly shoes.  Don’t use them as a crutch.  They are meant to be a CrossFitter’s tool….use it as such.


I will save you the bio-mechanical reasoning behind it, and simply say that deads and LBBS are to be done with CHUCKS.  Period!  Don’t make me come after you’re silly ass….I’ll find you!

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About The Author

Travis Holley is a CrossFit Level II Coach, has a B.S. in Sport and Exercise Science from the University of Northern Colorado, and has 3 years of experience coaching a wide variety of individuals ranging from young athletes to grandparents, and everyone in between.