CrossFit Shoes - Ridiculous or Necessary?

CrossFit footwear-the whys

So you’ve been CrossFit-ing a couple of months and you head to your local supermarket straight after class wearing your nano’s, covered in chalk and still dripping in sweat. You’re perusing the protein shake isle (or Soreenisle in my case) when you spot a stranger wearing similar attire. You get all excited and resist the urge to shout,‘OMG you must CrossFit’ and instead give a subtle nod to each other as a show of respect of being a part of this amazing cult, I mean lifestyle training.

But why do we wear what we wear and accept that booty shorts are now acceptable in Tesco? Well in the next few blogs I am going to explain, starting with footwear. CrossFit promotes wearing flat based shoes, so the toes and heel are in a perfect line, which suits both running and barbell work. We were designed to run with the middle hitting the floor first, not our heels. More cushioned trainers allow you to slam the heel down and promote an unnatural way of running. Flat shoes also remove unbalance and helps keep the joints aligned and moving correctly. And lastly,we focus on building our power output, with a flat shoe and a good connection to the floor you ensure that you are not losing any power and will be deadlifting a tonne in no time!

There are two popular CrossFit shoes, the Reebok Nano’s and the Nike Metcon, (I personally am a big fan of the Nano 8’s but it’s all about preference. I also love working out in Vans as the support my ankle and are very flat).

This leads me onto weightlifting shoes and whetherwe need them. Like the CrossFit shoe, they do not have any cushioning to ensure we keep the foot stable and do not lose power, but more than that they have a heel. This allows you to increase the range of motion in your squat and usually means you can keep your chest more upright which is a much safer position. For me there is a balance, you don’t want to be wearing your lifters at ever chance possible as this will stop you from developing the mobility needed in your body and, we are functional fitness athletes. We want to be able to transfer our gains into everyday life and I don’t often find myself squatting around in a kitten heel (each to their own though).

Weightlifting shoes can be expensive,but you don’t have to spend £100s (unless you want to) as essentially,they all do the same job.

‘0k, you’ve convinced me, where do I get these exquisite PB shoes?’ I hear you shout. Well before you head online to treat yourself it may be worth checking out Pear Mill in Bredbury. (Pear New Mill, Stockport Rd W, Stockport SK6 2BP). It is a reebok and Adidas outlet that often has CrossFit kit. It’s a little hit and miss but I have grabbed a few bargains over the years. The latest was a pair of Nano 8s for £24 (usually £100).

Otherwise hit up or to buy your pair.

Enjoy! Coach Liz x


Settling into the grind

A little milestone passed almost un-noticed this week. I’ve now racked up 500 hours of class time as an athlete at CrossFit Northern Soul.

Trust me, I’m pretty astonished by this. No other sport, exercise regime, fitness system or “thing that involves moving & shit” has ever held my attention like this at any point in my life. I’m nearly three years into my CrossFit journey and I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface of the possible.

With this amount of time invested though there does come some associated “baggage” I’ve collected along the way. I’ll try and break this down into meaningful chunks.

Daily PB’s are looooong gone.

Chuckling at this one as I actually hit a cheeky Cindy PB today (entirely accidental as I was busy failing to complete Chelsea) but the days of you simply having to walk in and pick something up to be doing a PB dance are over. Every single kilo, second or repetition has to be ground out over weeks of solid graft. The downside of this is that you can sometimes feel like your progression has stalled. That sinking feeling of grafting and getting nowhere. The upside though is that when that tiny 1% improvement finally does arrive, the feeling of accomplishment is sweet indeed.

You have a profound understanding of what you’re shit at (and you start avoiding it).

I suck at bodyweight gymnastics. I don’t bend (much). I am the least natural upside-down human I’ve ever seen and I live in constant terror of irreparably smashing myself to bits whilst swinging about like a stunned fish on a gym rig. Where this understanding can lead you is being selective in your focus / what you gravitate towards. I’d likely be better at bodyweight gymnastics if I spent more time actually doing it. What’s my next learning event? Rowing seminar this weekend...

“I know what I’m doing”

No I don’t. Most of the time I’ve not a bloody clue. I am vastly, vastly more experienced than I was but I don't “know”. At best, I understand and can replicate with some success. What I’m talking about here is the mindset of “I’ve always pulled early on a heavy Snatch attempt so you ain’t changing me now”. The challenge of overcoming bad habits and simply being coachable is huge and I take this moment to apologise to any coaches that I may have inadvertently given “the eyes” to at any point.

“Why am I doing this?”

The struggle is real. I know that a good percentage of my time I've got a smile on and I’m somewhat genial but to drag my arse out of bed to get to CFNS for 6am is bloody hard and there’s plenty of times I’ve had to have a long conversation with myself. Keeping the reasons why CrossFit is important to me and what I want to achieve (move well for a long time, don’t be shit etc) close to me are key to me making that walk each day.

Ditch the bags

So, what have I learned over these 500 hours? Quite a lot really. The key that underpins this though and keeps me coming back for more is that even though the game has changed, it’s no less fun than it was before. The goal now is to spend the next 500 hours wisely trying to ditch the bags I’ve picked up. Stay humble, stay coachable, go upside down once in a while (bugger) and celebrate PB’s like no-one is watching.

Here’s to enjoying the grind! 

Ed. Member since 2014.


I believe we have 3 different member types at CFNS, and I’m not saying one is better than the other, or you should be “A”, or you will even fit into one. Just awareness of the types will help you to adjust your mindset when it comes to your goals and training. 


Type A: “I just go to CrossFit to blow off some steam, I don’t lose any sleep on my score”.

Type B: “I came to CrossFit to lose weight, fell in love with it because it’s fun, but can’t push myself to the limit it takes to lose weight”.

Type C: “I come to CrossFit, give it all I can, compete with others in the class, and am dead afterwards”.


Again, nothing wrong with being any of these groups. But each group has their own goals, and own motivations, and if you simply copy others, you may not reach your own personal goals because their method and motivation is different to yours. 


Let’s start with Type C. 

Rich Froning is a typical type C. As a kid, his parents made him do chores for the sake of it. In his book, “First”, he recalls being told to move bricks from one side of the garden to the other, only to be told, once finished, to move them back to where he started. He did it, because he was told, and was taught to not question it. He claims that this mindset has helped him in his training. He doesn’t question a workout, he keeps working because theres still work to be done, because there is, because there is. (I’ll explain that bit later.)

We find that this mindset can be replicated in military or ex military personnel. They’ve been conditioned to do things without questioning, and to keep going until someone tells you to stop, with simply the reason of “honour” or even no reason what soever. They don’t need a reason, because it will end, and when it does… then it’s forgotten about.

Type C people don’t listen to their emotions, until the job is finished. And that is going to be my point for this essay. Don’t listen to your emotions, because they lie. 


Type B. (The person most likely to have reached this part of the essay).

The simple fact that you care about the way you look, highlights the fact that you care, you have emotions and can be pretty sensitive about certain things. That’s cool.

But that can be a hindrance to your training (and your diet for that matter). You’ve decided you want to look different - that’s awesome. But you haven’t decided what lengths you’re willing to go to to get there.

SO you start your diet, or CrossFit, or both and your immediate emotions are still based on the very recent emotion of wanting to change, so it goes well, you put your all into it. But then you have a bad week at work, or you come last on the board, OR you don’t lose half your body weight in a month like you thought you would (Holla!) and your emotions twist and turn to something else. Your emotions are telling you that it’s actually harder than you thought it was gonna be, so is it really worth it? OR your emotions tell you that you’ve worked hard for a month, you DESERVE a rest, so you’ll just take this week a little easier at the gym, or on your diet. You’ll tell people you have a slight niggle in your (insert body part here), and that you need to take it easy but you’ll be back to 100% next week. You won’t do any mobility or extra rehab work on that body part because it’s not actually there (even if you can feel it!). Your emotions are making up lies to excuse you from ultimately not doing what it hates doing - which is being uncomfortable. You’ll keep coming to CrossFit, but you won’t see any differences because your diet has given up (“I’ll just rely on CrossFit”), and you’ve now understood that it doesn’t take 120% effort to finish an AMRAP. Even if you go slow, you’ll finish it (therefore not getting your heart rate up, therefore not hitting fat burning zone). 


Type A. (These people didn’t make it past the heading, but that’s cool.)

These guys are pretty secure in themselves. They know they need to exercise to live longer, so they join up. Seeing the people at CrossFit makes their day, the exercise is just an added bonus. They generally give it 80% effort, and then either head straight out or the door, or congratulate everyone else. Their mindset is that they come to the box to switch off, so thinking during a workout or allowing emotions to dwell just doesn’t happen. They don’t have any particular goals, so they don’t get despondent when they don’t hit a target or get a new movement. These guys won’t lie in bed at night and think they could have gone harder, because tomorrow is a new day and they’ll just train again. That’s cool too.


Again. There is no right type for you, it’s personal to you. Unless you want to get better at CrossFit. 


I, Sara, am a type B. I used to be a type A. I had a season of depression that crept up on me 6 years ago, and I simply went to the gym to get out the house, try to ignore everyone, and get those free drugs (endorphins). I just wanted to get to the gym, move, and walk out. I worked hard in there, but I didn’t cry over it at home or tell everyone about my routine (until now…). When I eventually fell in love with the people there, got strong, and then was introduced to CrossFit I became a type B. I wanted to be the best and quickly. I quickly found that I wasn’t the best, and I wasn’t willing to do what it takes to become the best (eat, sleep, train 3 times etc.) So I made excuses for myself and eventually quit CrossFit because of a “niggle” in my knee. 

I won’t bore you with how I got back into it, but it literally was due to a change in my mindset. I adopted a type A mindset towards physically making it to CrossFit, and then a type C mindset to training. And it went from there. 


You can mix and match, but a type C athlete is going to see the gains you’re wanting to see in your life, quickest. And, ultimately, that’s what we want… right?


So… what’s the secret to becoming a type C mindset when you’ve not been conditioned in that way growing up? Condition yourself. In every corner of your life. We get preachers talk about this at church. 


Our emotions tell us that our husbands/boyfriends don’t love us anymore because he doesn’t surprise us with gifts everyday, like Ryan Gosling does. But the TRUTH and LOGIC is, it would be pretty boring if they did, and does that REALLY mean that they love us if they did?


I did Cognitive Behavioural Therapy back during the “Great Depression” of my 20th year on this earth. It was life changing, and I recommend it to ANYONE, mental health issues or not, who wants to be mentally stronger. 



My lame-o explanation of it (sorry any experts I offend) is that we must reason with our brains over everything. Our emotions are altered because of the weather, hormones, or even what we freaking EAT! So why allow all these things to alter our days? I would lie in bed all day because I felt that the earth had let me down in certain ways. CBT helped me by questioning my thoughts. Why has it let me down? I would answer that, and then the next question would be and what has led me to feel that? And then, Is that my fault, or did I have any control over this? And so on. (I used this book, it’ll explain it better than me 


Applying this to your motivation

You turn up because you’re ready to lose fat, boost your metabolism, and get stronger. You need to tell yourself that you’re ready to just give 100% of yourself up

You give the warm up 50% effort because it’s boring and repetitive, and it hurts. But you need to tell yourself that you’re ready to just give 100% of yourself up. 

You cap out at a safe weight on the strength, because you hurt, or you had a bad day, or you need to save yourself for the WOD. But you need to tell yourself that you’re ready to just give 100% of yourself up. 

You feel that as you didn’t really feel the effects of the strength like others did, so you may as well pretty much just give up on the idea of “smashing” the WOD and just write off the session, and do better tomorrow. But you need to tell yourself that you’re ready to just give 100% of yourself up. 

You’re lying on the floor like everyone else post WOD, but you know in your heart of hearts, you completed 10 no-reps, you didn’t go all out, and you could probably do more. But you need to tell yourself that you’re ready to just give 100% of yourself up, so you go and complete some airbike work in open gym.



My point here is that you need to ignore, question and ACTUALLY change your thoughts. 


  • “I need to rest”. No Sara, you don’t, just make it to 10. TURNS TO -  “Pick up the ball”.
  • “I need this chocolate bar to make it to the end of this depressing day”. No Sara, the hormonal response from that sugar will trigger a hyper and then hypo energy level and you’ll feel crapper in an hour. TURNS TO - “I’ll ring my mom and see if I can make her day better”.
  • “I’ll just make it to the end of the WOD, I’m not feeling this today” No Sara, you’ll feel worse for not going all out, work until the last second, harder. TURNS TO - “Throw yourself into that burpee and switch your brain off until you’re finished”.
  • “I’m having a glass of wine, do you want one?” No Sara, that’s not going to help you, or Gary with your training tomorrow, and that’s your goal. TURNS TO - “let’s play Nintendo together”. ;)


If you find yourself asking WHY, then you need to answer yourself with the same thing I mentioned above that Rich Froning says, because I am, because I am, because I am, because I am. And keep going until you’re all out of excuses.


It’s a choice guys, you’re gonna feel like an idiot at first. But this is the secret you could have paid £300 to a life coach to find out. You’re welcome to pay me the £300. 

Practise it in EVERY SINGLE CORNER of your life. Question your emotions. It takes doing something 21 times before its a habit. Stick with it and you’ll find yourself doing it without realising by summer. Please. 


Peace Out, Sar.