This week, we take a moment to review a set of shoe inserts called wodLIFTS.
Ever wish that your Nanos or Inov8s had a little more height for WODs? I ran across wodLIFTS recently – they’re an insert for your minimalist functional fitness shoes that add about 1/2” of hard plastic to your heel. I was intrigued, so I ordered a pair from Eric, the founder.
The idea itself is intriguing. I’m a big fan of proper Olympic lifting shoes, but there are often WODs that combine some light-weight Olympic lifting, thrusters, or squats with gymnastics movements. Of course, in these situations, Olympic shoes are often heavy or cumbersome.
Also, I travel a lot and I am a minimalist traveler, and I would never bring my Oly’s with me on a trip – they’re just too bulky and I only wear them in the gym. But wodLIFTS are small and easily packable, so maybe they’d solve my snatch problem while on the road!
At the same time, wouldn’t lifts on top of normal functional fitness shoes just be unstable and weird? I decided to put a pair of wodLIFTS to the test to find out for myself. Here’s what I thought:
Easy to put in and take out: The wodLIFTS are hard plastic and weigh only a few ounces each. As such, they slide in and out of my New Balance Minimus or Reebok Nano Speed shoes with hardly any effort. They are super easy to install and work well with all my pairs of shoes.
Improved Mobility in Oly Movements: I did a snatch workout in the wodLIFTS and I definitely noticed the improved mobility compered to my New Balance Minimus shoes. Combined with the height of the Minimus’ heel, my heel was raised about 3/4” with the wodLIFTS, and I certainly noticed the difference. This height was definitely helpful for Olympic Lifting, squats, and even for wall balls and thrusters. That said, I did switch to my Oly shoes for my snatch work sets.
3/4 design: The 3/4 design of wodLIFTS help give you more mobility and movement during gymnastic skills. The inserts fit snug into the back of your shoe, but do not extend to the forefoot. This allows the shoe to continue to flow in the forefoot. This is helpful when you are transitioning from squat or Oly based movements, to gymnastics or calisthenics based movements like double-unders and box jumps.
Light weight: The wodLIFTS weigh just a few ounces. I didn’t notice their added weight in my shoes, or while carrying them in my gym bag.
Great Size: These things are small. You can throw them in your gym bag without worrying about space. As I mentioned, I am a minimalist traveler – and I even think they’ll fit in my backpack without a problem!
Some heel pain when snatching: Even though I only used the wodLIFTS for my warmup sets, I noticed some heel pain when I was snatching. I talked with Eric at wodLIFTS about this, and he suggested using the wodLIFTS under my insoles. This did help alleviate the heel pain, although it also made it slightly harder, and more annoying, to insert them and take them out of my shoes.
Best for minimalist shoes: As one of my friends said, “a 2×4 on top of a pillow is still unstable.” So you should use wodLIFTS in stable, minimalist shoes. I doubt they’d be a good option for shoes with a high heel, or cushiony running shoes.
Doesn’t increase stability: Good Oly shoes make you feel like you are stable and secure to the ground. Of course, the wodLIFTS can’t feel like this, since they are just an insert to your normal functional fitness shoes. I didn’t feel any more un-stable in wodLIFTS than in my normal shoes – but by no means did they improve my stability while wearing them.
The wodLIFTS won’t replace my Olympic Lifting shoes, but they definitely have a place in my gym bag (especially since they are so light and packable). Actually, they’ve probably even earned a spot in my backpack when I travel!
They are light, easy to use and can provide some great benefits during functional fitness workouts. In addition, they also sell for a reasonable price and are a great alternative if you don’t have the money for a brand new set of Olympic Weightlifting shoes.