Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Feline Differences: Puma Super and Future Cats (and Free 7)

Get flat shoes!

That's what everyone is told who starts with KB's - at least everyone who goes in through the RKC style training.
Get flat shoes!
is also what you hear in deadlifting a la powerlifting schools, or doing pistols, a la Naked Warrior
Get flat shoes!
is what you hear at the RKC certs.

In each case it's either that (flat shoes) or go bare foot. There probably were one or two brave souls who did the grad workout at the 08 cert in denmark on the sandy stuff barefoot, but most folks want some foot cover.

To this end when i started KB'ing, i took the advice of those in this space who recommended either the default converse chuck conors or the Puma 'cats.

This note is just to articulate why you might want to get the older model and perhaps less fetching super cats rather than the more stylish/slimmer and aptyl named Future cats.

It's all about sole

This is the bottom of the swanky future cat:

And this is the bottom of the speed cat

As you can see, the future cat narrows under the arch. If you look at the super cat, there's more surface area ander the arch. You can see just ahead of the heel towards the arch, in fact there's just a thin strip if material that's really on the ground there.

This narrowing was not an issue to me i thought - doing all my lift work and kb work with these shoes when i had to wear shoes. Indeed, it wasn't a perceived issue until i got to the rkc cert and in really focusing on form in new ways, noticed that my balance was being rocked. It's hard to describe but it did not feel like i had a stable platform under my feet.

I've since gone over to the tried and true speed cat. There is an *immediate* difference in feel. The sole is solid; the rubber is sticky. there's a great sense of GROUND in these shoes.

I mention this comparison at all because in the future cats i thought i was in fine shape and feeling the ground really well, good foot plant etc. It's only (a) in being in a place to feel the lack of full stability that forced me to (b) try something else, i could see the difference.

Take home lesson here:
not all flats are created equal/equally well for lifting/swinging.

I'm not sure why the chuck converse are still so favored by the lifting crowd vs these speedcats: there is even less padding in the speedcat it seems than in the chuck's; the rubber sole also seems thinner, more true ground?

Freedom's just another word for...
While we're at it, the nike free x-trainer seems to have come a long way to be a potential lifting candidate.

I know a lot of folks who swear by the nike 5 runner, while others still disparage it as a squishy shoe, but the trainer/free 7, seems to be very very close to a flat. Unlike the 5, the heel in the 7 is low - not a wedge - or very much reduced; it's not bouncy either.

I'd be keen to know of folks who use this as a lifting or kb'ing shoe - for when shoes are required.

Meanwhile, here's a reply from Pavel Tsatsouline:
Com. mc, I am sure all of the above are fine but training barefoot is best.
And, July 12, 2008, this just in from Mark Reifkind sorta explaining Pavel's epigram:
there are mechanoreceptors( sensors) in your feet that relay critcal information about where your body is in space to your brain that get distrupted by soft cushy shoes.hard soled, flat shoes, or being barefoot allow these sensors to give the body the most accurate information possible.
barefeet also allow for much better "rooting" during your kb practice which is critical for full body efforts, allowing you to create strength and power from the ground up.
Also training barefoot or with thin soled shoes really help strengthen the feet,which are critcal for ankle knee, hip and ultimately, back strength and stability.
Not sure who the quote is from but it's apt:
" the smarter the shoe, the dumber the foot".
We evolved for millions of years barefoot, the design is good if we use it.

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Mr. Fall said...

Good article... I think I will try those Pumas when I retire my chucks.


Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Professor, most of the flat shoes that people have been using also include wrestling shoes & the adidas-styled TKD shoes. Both of those, like the Pumas, have ultra thin & flat, hard soles that are slightly narrower than the wearer's foot, however.

Personally, I like KBing in hard soled military or work boots. But if I have to wear other shoes, the adidas TKD shoes are my favorites as far as giving you real tactile feedback.

As for the blog itself, wickedly cool! Keep up the great work!

mc said...

Thank you David and dr sifu for dropping by. good to see ya.

David, c'mon back when you try those pumas and let us know what you find.

dr c, noticed the boots in your TGU bottoms up vid. coolio. i'm gonna go look for those TKD's.I was in this big Adidas store in SFO and they had ZERO. dang!

thanks for the tip.

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Professor, the adidas TKD shoes are usually found in martial arts supply stores. is one option.

Mike T Nelson said...

Nice stuff here Doc!

I love doing KBs barefoot in the grass. Not possible in MN winters though. I still prefer no shoes for most lifts. You don't wear gloves at the other connection to the weight, why where "gloves" on your feet at the other transfer point? I know this is not always practical and most sports are not played barefoot though. A flexible, minimal shoe is the next best thing and thanks for the shoe info. Awesome!
Rock on
Mike N


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