“Nano’s…or Oly shoes…what a dilemma.”
I know we’ve all thought this to ourselves while the coach writes the WOD on the white board. You hope to never see some kind of heavy Oly lift or overhead squats paired with box jumps, double unders and maybe a run. Hell, it could be “Nancy”. But in reality, this kind of WOD happens all the damn time and you’ve got to pick and either sacrifice ankle stability/power delivery or foot mobility.
This is where wodLIFTS comes to save the day, kinda.
wodLIFTS are an insert that you put under (or on top) of the insole of your favorite cross training shoes. Designed to be used with minimalist shoes, i.e. crossfit shoes; such as Reebok Crossfit Nano’s and Inov-8’s. The inserts are made of a solid, hard plastic and add about a half inch to your shoe’s heel height, landing you at about .75″ depending on what shoes you’re putting them into. They offer 3 different sized inserts, ranging all the way from women’s size 5 shoe, to mens 10.5+ (mine are medium). As far as weight goes, mediums weigh 4.5 ounces (128 grams). wodLIFT’s retail at $40 for a single pair, and $100 for a set of all the sizes. They offer free continental shipping/returns and a no questions asked satisfaction guarantee.
Installation is easy enough. If you’re using Reebok Nano’s (any of them), you’re going to need to peel off the insole and slide the wodLIFTS in. For Inov-8’s, just take out the removable insole, put the wodLIFT in and replace the insole. The shoes I used for my testing are Nano 3.0’s and Inov-8 252’s (Both 9mm heel height, Nano’s = 4mm drop, 252 = 3mm).
Alright, now that all that technical mumbo jumbo/intro is out of the way. Let’s talk about the important stuff, how they fit, feel and most of all, work.
The feel upon putting your feet into your shoes with the wodLIFTS in them is…surprising? Feeling the more solid raised heel on a flexible trainer feels interesting. Honestly, you quickly forget about this and almost forget you have the inserts in at all. I had no problems of comfort coaching multiple classes in either shoe. Then again, I’m also used to walking around and doing things in Oly shoes, but never do shoes with the wodLIFTS in become uncomfortable. One of the instructions given while using wodLIFTS is to make sure that your shoes are laced all the way up and tight like you would Oly shoes. Follow this!!! It’s going to feel like your heel wants to come out of your shoes when you walk otherwise. The mediums fit like advertised, they go from my heel all the way to the middle of my foot almost about where the balls of my feet are.
To those of you that have limited ankle mobility but don’t want to dish out for a pair of Oly shoes, I think you’ve found the solution right here. Your shoes are going to feel like a more forgiving Oly shoe, with the extra heel height and a bit of rigidity, but retain the better part of the flexibility of your trainers. If you’ve got an issue with squatting below parallel and keeping your torso upright, wodLIFTS are going to be a great solution to achieving that depth as your mobility gets better. That extra bit of firmness to the heel is nice to have for Oly lifting. Not having to worry about what shoes I’m going to need to wear for WOD’s that combine Oly lifting and movements that require me to be more agile is great. I usually try to always use my trainers for WOD’s anyways, and these just make the decision a lot easier. To my surprise, wodLIFTS actually work!
For those of you looking to get serious about Oly lifting or for really heavy squatting; this isn’t a real option. You have to remember that wodLIFTS are still just an insert that increases heel height. Sure it’s going to be easier to achieve that depth, but you’re still limited to your shoe’s materials. In pretty much every case, your trainer’s insoles and heels are going to be way more softer and compressible than any Oly shoe. Oly shoes are meant to have a non-compressible heel for maximum power delivery, meaning they’re not very flexible and comfortable for a reason. Also, you’re looking to add in some weight to your current shoes. Putting wodLIFTS in the 252’s makes them heavier than Inov-8 Fastlifts 335 and if you’re putting them into Nano 3.0’s (266g.) you’re almost at the weight of Reebok’s Lifters (14.1 ounces/400 grams).
The main purpose of wodLIFTS is in the name, it’s meant to give you a great alternative to actually slapping some cumbersome Oly shoes on for the WOD. Honestly, before receiving my wodLIFTS, I saw them and thought they were a gimmick. My mind has actually been blown away by how well they work, and despite not being an alternative to TRUE weightlifting shoes, I believe that EVERYONE that does crossfit would benefit from owning a pair of them. Affiliates looking to help their clients improve performance should look into having a few sets around the gym due to their easy installation and sanitization. For about $40 bucks, you can’t go wrong. (Probably less, I think there’s a 10% off coupon somewhere.)