3 years ago, before I started Crossfit, my running shoes could have only been described as behemoth sized orthopedic pillows. They were stuffed heel to toe with cushioning, sadness, dead weight, and empty promises of a more comfortable running experience. “Experts” recommended these types of shoes to me based upon my low arch foot profile and over-pronation. During that I time I constantly dealt with shin splints, knee pain, and foot pain after running. It was frustrating to say the least and it really got me to the point where I wanted to just hang it up and give running the white flag or the finger.
I wanted a way out of the vicious cycle I was in, and I knew that I had to do something drastic. Coincidentally, I ended up joining a Crossfit gym and one of the coaches/owners of the gym introduced me to Inov-8 shoes during my running hiatus. He always talked about these shoes that allowed him to run more efficiently and made his running experience more enjoyable. I was intrigued and not too long after, I got myself a pair Inov-8s to find out if it was true.
In the beginning, I was shocked at how different the Inov-8 shoes were compared to my Frankenstein shoes of past. The Inov-8s contained no unneeded “filler,” and were incredibly lightweight. Not only did the Inov-8s help keep me more stable during my lifting workouts, but also improved my running mechanics during 400m and 800m repeats. I started with 6mm drop, and found it to be perfect for the type and length of running that I was doing at the time. My running pains seemed to disappear and I felt the muscles in my feet actually get strengthened over time. It never even occurred to me that the type of shoe I was wearing could strengthen my feet rather than serve as a crutch for their inadequacies.
I have since transitioned to 3mm drop with the F-Lite 195s and have stayed there for about a year. I am very comfortable with the 195s for most Crossfit workouts, but every now and then I sprinkle in the zero drop Bare-XF 210 for rope climbs. In my experience, there is a pretty noticeable difference between the 195s and the Bare-XF 210, much more so than say the F-lite 230s and the F-lite 195s. I’ll take more time to transition fully into the zero drop shoes, but in the meantime I will continue to enjoy being pain free while running.