Best CrossFit shoes - November 2018
CrossFit shoes are made to enhance athletic performance and withstand the heavy demands of CrossFit, a physical exercise regimen and a competitive fitness sport.
CrossFit training is focused on improving fitness by developing the body’s strength and conditioning with frequently changing functional exercises, or what the CrossFit community calls Workout of the Day or WOD. It consists of plyometrics, gymnastics, calisthenics, strength training, and high-intensity interval training, among others.
Due to the ever-changing and challenging nature of CrossFit, you would need balanced footwear that is versatile and flexible enough to bend with your foot and keep up with all the different movements.
CrossFit shoes are also designed to be durable and supportive enough to keep you steady and protect your feet from the training-induced pressure.
Dedicated CrossFit fanatics wear different shoes for different phases of the WODs. For most of the training, they wear shoes, but some change into weightlifting shoes during the lifting segments to perfect their form and achieve their peak lifting performance. With CrossFit shoes, you no longer have to switch between shoes and lose your momentum because they are already light and flexible enough for the high-intensity activities. They are also made to be sturdy and agreeable for weightlifting.
While Reebok is the only label that is licensed to use the CrossFit name in their products, there are plenty of other companies that manufacture shoes specially designed for this activity. These brands are Nike, Asics, Inov-8, and Altra.
Difference between CrossFit shoes, workout shoes, and running shoes
The differences between workout shoes and CrossFit shoes are barely discernible. They both have similar qualities in regard to versatility, support, and flexibility. However, cross-training shoes have add-ons that make them more durable and withstand extremely damaging exercises such as rope climbing and wall push-ups.
While there may be some running involved in CrossFit, it is not advisable to wear running shoes for full CrossFit classes as the cushioning in these shoes is too squishy and elevated. It makes them too unstable as a weightlifting foundation, increasing the risk of injury. You should instead opt for cross-training shoes that are designed to have firmer and lower midsoles than running shoes to provide athletes with the necessary support for lifting.
Things to consider in your future shoes for CrossFit
Comfort ranks high on the must-haves for cross-training shoes as it affects athletic performance and even the probability of injuries. Discomfort should be caused by the challenging nature of your training regimen and not from what you are wearing.
Comfortable shoes for CrossFit should have a lightweight, durable and snug upper that moves with your foot. They should also be supportive during weightlifting sessions. A wide toe box gives room for your toes to splay and wiggle. The midsole should easily bend in the forefoot section to accommodate the natural flexibility of the foot throughout an agile training session. Moreover, multidirectional traction is essential, so your CrossFit shoes should also have a robust outsole construction.
A pair of cross-trainers is meant to be comfortable enough to feel like a second skin. It should let your foot move naturally but with the added benefits of improved stability, support, and protection.
- While some people believe that a shoe has to be broken in for it to have a comfortable fit, that shouldn’t always be the case. CrossFit shoes (or any athletic training shoe for that matter) should feel comfortable right out of the box.
- If you feel any discomfort while wearing your cross-training footwear, it may mean that you’re experiencing insufficient arch support, an improper fit, shoddy construction, or that you’re just wearing the wrong footwear for the activity.
- Wearing uncomfortable CrossFit trainers has adverse effects on your physical and emotional well-being. It can diminish your physical capacity, barring you from reaching your full athletic potential and perhaps even deterring you from working out altogether. You may also have to endure issues such as joint and foot pain, foot and heel conditions (such as calluses, blisters, corns, and bunions), or significant injury.
The high-intensity and multi-disciplinary nature of CrossFit’s daily workouts tend to push your body’s capabilities to its limits. It is vital for your CrossFit shoes to weather these strenuous activities while also protecting your foot from potential injuries.
While the budget is one of the first things to consider when shopping for this type of footgear, it’s ultimately beneficial to look beyond the price tag. More often than not, super cheap options have subpar construction due to the inferior materials used to keep the cost down.
However, acquiring expensive cross-training shoes does not necessarily heighten the quality of your performance during the CrossFit workouts, either. Some pairs are just pricey because of the licensing or partnership deals that the brands have with other notable labels and celebrities. Instead, what you should do is to research the series or model that you want: its features, purpose, and what the other consumers are saying about them.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, find out if there are available deals, so that you could score your pair at a discounted rate. Lucky for you, RunRepeat has compiled the information that you’ll need to purchase your future pair of CrossFit shoes, including unbiased consumer reviews, detailed shoe analyses, and the best shoe deals.
- Be on the lookout for the best shoes for CrossFit which have unique features and components that reinforce their structure and protect against damage. These helpful add-ons come in the form of rope guards, midfoot cages, toe guards, fortified uppers, and heel counters.
- Other factors that affect how long your CrossFit shoes would last include the frequency of use and how good you are taking care of them. Most athletic shoes have shelf-lives of six months, and that time may even be shorter because of constant use. To make them last longer than the prescribed period, keep your Crossfit shoes clean, dry and ventilated. Also, you can buy another pair that you can use alternately.
CrossFit involves a lot of weightlifting exercises that require a high level of support from the footwear. It is also crucial that the body weight is equally distributed across the foot during this activity.
While dedicated weightlifting shoes incorporate a wooden or TPU wedge to accommodate that, CrossFit shoes can’t afford to have that kind of add-on due to their versatile nature. Instead, they use a firm, low-profile midsole with minimal difference in height between the heel and the forefoot. It is for this reason that most CrossFit shoes choose a 4mm heel-to-toe drop. It helps athletes plant their feet with confidence and avoid undesirable wobbling. Avid functional fitness enthusiasts tend to eventually work their way down to minimalist CrossFit shoes with a 0mm drop.
Well-fitting cross-training shoes should have a snug upper to secure the foot and prevent it from moving around inside your shoe during high-intensity workouts. It should also have a roomy toe box to let the toes spread out during jumps and heavy weightlifting.
To get an accurate fit, try testing the shoe in a store. If you can walk across a room without the shoes feeling too restrictive or overly spacious, then you have chosen the right fit. Your longest toe should also have a thumb-wide space from the end of the shoe. Make sure that your toes have room to spread out, as well.
- Wearing ill-fitting CrossFit shoes can leave you susceptible to a host of problems such as corns, hammer or crossover toes, bunions, sores, ingrown toenails, and blisters.
Feet change sizes over time, even beyond adulthood. As we age, our feet expand in girth. Such an instance is also caused by weight increase and gravity. Moreover, feet change shape over time due to heredity, lifestyle or general health. These are the reasons why you should never assume your shoe size. Get regular fittings from a podiatrist or a shoe store that has a Brannock shoe measuring device. And don’t forget to try on the shoe of your choice personally.
- Brands also have their distinct sizing standard. Your usual size for one label may differ from another.
- The shoe’s cushioning system and width can also affect sizing. These features may result in a snugger fit that would necessitate an adjustment in size.
- The feet may also vary in size. One might be larger than the other, so it is essential that you base your shoe size on the one with the more substantial dimensions.
CrossFit WODs aren't restricted inside the box. Some CrossFit workouts include 400-meter outdoor runs, so it is important that your CrossFit shoes are built to acclimatize to your local conditions.
- On snowy days, it is advisable to wear CrossFit shoes that have outsoles that can hold onto the wet and snowy roads. In sweltering hot seasons, you are better off with footwear that has a lightweight and ventilated upper to let your foot cool off.
Since CrossFit shoes have a lower heel-to-toe drop than other athletic shoes, some people may have a hard time adjusting to it. You need to take your athletic background into consideration when easing into lower-heeled footwear.
- If you are used to running or working out in generously cushioned trainers, then you may take some time to get accustomed to the firmer soles of CrossFit shoes.
- You should also be wary of minimalist cross-training footwear which has a 0-mm heel-to-toe drop and no midsole. Even though studies have shown plenty of benefits of barefoot training, it may have adverse consequences for unprepared feet. Thus, it is advisable to consult a podiatrist before exercising in this type of trainers.
Specific shoe technologies
CrossFit shoes have technologies that aim to provide additional protection against damage, as well as support for the vigorous and varied workouts.
- CrossFit involves a rope-climbing exercise that can be incredibly damaging to the shoes. That's why shoes for CrossFit are protected by rubber rope guards on the lateral and medial sides of the outsole which extend up to shield the midsole and upper as well. They guard the shoe against the abrasion caused by sliding down the rope and deliver strong grip on the ascend.
- Since CrossFit is a strenuous activity, it requires the feet to do a lot of bending, bouncing, and moving around. Thus, it is essential to have a long-lasting upper that won’t easily rip. Some CrossFit shoes utilize strengthened yet breathable fabrics to ensure durability, foot containment, protection, and ventilation. Other pairs have overlays sewn on them to reinforce the high-wear areas. Toe caps are also installed on several CrossFit-specific models to protect the forefoot area from potentially abrasive exercises such as pushups, burpees, and weighted planks.
Highly rated CrossFit shoes
Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave
An update to the Nano 8, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave features the same technologies as its predecessors. The significant difference between the two is the updated Flexweave upper that promotes more flexibility at the forefoot because of its Figure-8 construction. It also also aids in keeping the foot chamber aerated. The shoe sports the Toe Tection innovation at the toe box, and as the name suggests, it protects the front section against bumps. The midsole is made of a dual-density foam. The forefoot is crafted to be pliable while the heel section is made sturdy. As for the underside, it is lined with a high-abrasion rubber that delivers grip and durability. The RopeTec feature is present at the midfoot which helps this CrossFit shoes grip the rope during climbs and descents.
Nike Metcon Repper DSX
Nike has produced numerous Metcons (metabolic conditioning shoes) over the years. The Nike Metcon Repper DSX is one of the popular models that has also received a lot of positive reviews from CrossFit enthusiasts. It features a mesh upper with padded tongue and collar which keep the fit snug and secure. The Flywire technology integrates with the lacing system to deliver enhanced lateral support when the laces are tightened. Synthetic overlays reinforce such high-wear areas as the forefoot, the heel, and the midfoot. Cushioning the foot is the Phylon midsole which is derived from the ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam. This platform is lightweight, durable, and flexible. This pair of CrossFit shoes features a textured rubber outsole that is grippy and able to withstand abrasion. It extends upwards at the midfoot, creating a structure that not only amplifies side-to-side support but also protects part of the midsole and upper against friction during rope climbs.
Nike Metcon 4
The Metcon 4 is a well-received iteration of Nike’s famous functional fitness shoe line. This pair of CrossFit shoes features a lightweight and breathable upper with a new 3D-printed haptic technology for enhanced durability. A thin, 4-mm removable insole gives an additional layer of shock absorption and protection without compromising the ground contact and stability. The trainer also uses the tri-star tread pattern on the outsole to provide multi-directional traction. It employs the same sticky rubber that wraps up both sides of the midfoot to assist during rope climbs.
Vibram FiveFingers V-Train
For those who want to mimic the barefoot experience but still want their foot to be protected against the harsh nature of CrossFit, the Vibram FiveFingers V-Train has gotten a lot of positive attention from gym-goers. Its upper is made of polyester and spandex to deliver a sock-like fit while the cage-like structure that connects with the laces not only heightens lateral support but also serves as protection against rope burns. The outsole utilizes the XS TREK compound which provides traction and withstands abrasive surfaces. An EVA insole functions as this footgear’s midsole. It is covered with the NZYM Anti-Microbial Poly Fabric Sockliner that wicks moisture and keeps the interior odor- and microbe-free.
Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 v2
Another footwear to consider if you’re a fan of minimalist trainers is the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 v2. This pair of shoes for CrossFit uses a combination of mesh and synthetic materials for the upper which aim to securely hold the foot and protect it during workouts. The fabric is breathable to keep the inside well ventilated. Found inside the footgear is the 3-mm Power Footbed. The Rope-Tec innovation is the cage-like structure on the lateral and medial sides of the midfoot that enhances lateral support and helps bite the rope during rope exercises. This insole cushions the foot, protecting it against impact during runs and plyometrics. The underside is protected by a sticky rubber that delivers traction and durability. It features the Meta-Flex groove that facilitates forefoot flexibility.
If you are looking for a pair of CrossFit shoes with a sleek and simple design, then the Nobull Trainer might interest you. Its one-piece upper is made of SuperFabric, a proprietary durable material that can endure abrasion from rope climbs and other fabric-tearing movements. Though it is durable, it remains flexible to assist in the natural heel-to-toe movements of the foot. The fabric is also breathable which keeps the interior fresh during high-intensity workouts. The full-length midsole is crafted from an incompressible compound that attenuates shock to keep the foot protected against impact. As for the outsole, it uses carbon rubber which brings grip and durability to the underside.
Frequently asked questions about CrossFit shoes
Why are specialized shoes necessary for CrossFit training?
While regular training shoes are good for cardio, calisthenics, and the plyometric activities of CrossFit, they are ill-suited for the heavy lifting exercises. Regular training shoes lack the steadiness and support of specialized CrossFit shoes. They are also not durable enough for rope climbing and handstand pushups.
CrossFit shoes have a flat-heeled, denser midsole that makes for a steady foundation during weightlifting. On the other hand, the flex grooves in the forefoot area allow flexibility during high-intensity activities. These components help with the overall athletic performance in various CrossFit WODs.
The shoes also come with special add-ons that protect them from shoe-damaging exercises. They are equipped with a rope-guard to shield the midfoot from rope burn. A thick toe cap also protects the toe area during burpees. Finally, a sturdy heel counter protects the heel and ankle-end part of the shoes from abrasions due to headstand pushups. It also ensures that the rear is held firmly in place throughout the training session.
Purchasing a pair of CrossFit shoes will save you money in the long run as you no longer have to be lugging different shoes for different activities. You are also guaranteed to have shoes that will support you through the day-to-day grueling workouts in the box.
Aside from the CrossFit-branded shoes from Reebok, how will I know if a training shoe is appropriate for CrossFit?
Most brands don’t usually market their shoes using the CrossFit name as Reebok is the only brand licensed to do so. The other brands have found a way to work around this restriction by naming their CrossFit-dedicated line of shoes using specific terms used within the CrossFit community like Nike’s Metcon line. Brands like Inov-8 and Altra tend to market their shoes as functional fitness shoes as opposed to everyday training shoes.
As for the construction, a surefire way to tell if the footwear is ideal for CrossFit is if it has a rope-guard in the midfoot. It also has a more robust exterior thanks to the toe guard, midfoot rubber cage, and heel counter.
Are CrossFit shoes good for running?
Most CrossFit shoes are engineered to be less cushioned and sturdier in the heel to provide the necessary support during weightlifting. These features make them unsuitable footwear for running. On the other hand, some CrossFit trainers that lean more towards high-impact intensity workouts than weightlifting. These shoes have a more lightweight, flexible, and cushioned nature that make it easier to achieve proper running gait.
However, their construction is still not appropriate for long-distance running. It is only designed to accommodate sprints and short runs that are part of a circuit training or a WOD. Also, if you are a heel striker or are used to underfoot cushioning, you may feel discomfort or even pain when going for a run in a pair of cross-training shoes.
Do CrossFit shoes provide arch support and pronation control?
CrossFit shoes are made to accommodate neutral arched feet with normal pronation. However, there are pairs that can be worn by those who have overpronated and underpronated feet. These models have removable insoles which can be replaced with custom orthotics to correct overpronation. Examples of these include the are the Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave and the Nike Metcon 4. On the other hand, a few pairs, one of which is the Reebok CrossFit Speed TR 2.0, are designed to be more cushioned, which make them perfect for those with high arches.
Where can I buy CrossFit shoes and how much do they cost?
CrossFit shoes typically cost around $100 to $170, depending on the brand and the model. For some, the price point may seem steep, but the quality build makes up for it. If you’re not willing to shell that kind of cash, do not fret. You do not have to resort to buying cheap knock-off shoes because RunRepeat is here to save the day. Just click on the pair of CrossFit shoes you are interested in and our proprietary algorithm will scour our partner online retailers for the best offers. You can get fabulous discounts by as much as $50.
Can CrossFit shoes be customized?
Yes, but not all. Only a few brands offer customization for their CrossFit shoe offerings which include Nike and Reebok. To know if a model can be customized, look for the ‘Customize’ tab on the official Nike site and 'Design Your Own' on the Reebok page.
How do I clean my CrossFit shoes?
Most CrossFit shoes employ upper materials made of mesh or synthetic fabric. To clean the top, a quick wipe down using a clean, damp cloth usually does the trick of removing surface dirt. However, if there is caked-in mud or stain, you could dip a cloth or brush in a mixture of warm water with gentle detergent and then scrub the dirt off. Remove the suds with a clean, damp cloth. Air-dry your shoes as most companies do not recommend using any heat sources because that might compromise the structural integrity of the footwear. If the CrossFit shoes get soaked, remove the laces and insoles, then clean and dry them separately. As for the unit itself, stuff it with paper to absorb excess moisture then leave it to air-dry overnight.
Are CrossFit shoes good for weightlifting?
Yes, CrossFit shoes can be used for weightlifting. They are designed to be versatile to be able to keep up with the grueling demands of the sport. CrossFit shoes are equipped with sole units that have a low-profile construction which allows it to be steady during dynamic movements. The forefoot is flexible to facilitate natural bending while the heel is flat and offers stability during weight training. There are also lateral support structures that prevent the foot from moving inside the footgear, so no sudden movement would occur while you are lifting heavy. However, some CrossFitters still invest in weightlifting shoes because they believe it helps them beat their personal records in squats, cleans, and jerks, and other exercises.
Are CrossFit shoes available in different widths?
Most CrossFit shoes are available in a medium profile (B - for women and D - for men), but the toe box is crafted to be roomy to accommodate toe splaying during jumps and weight training.
There are brands like Inov-8 which use a Fit Scale system, scored from 1 to 5, with 1 being the narrowest and 5 the widest at the forefoot. The fit at the heel remains snug regardless of where the shoe falls into the Fit Scale.
Did you know …
… that Reebok is the only company which is legally allowed to use the CrossFit brand? Reebok and CrossFit struck a partnership back in 2010 which encompassed the creation of Reebok-CrossFit branded shoes, apparel, and accessories, not to mention the shoe company sponsoring the annual CrossFit Games. The exclusive deal was supposed to last until the 2020 CrossFit games, but CrossFit recently filed a lawsuit against Reebok for allegedly underpaying royalties. This incident may affect the longevity of the contract.
… that Reebok’s Delta logo was originally used only for its CrossFit line? The Delta logo symbolized the brand’s focus on fitness and the three sides represent the changes in a person’s physical, mental, and social well-being when they push themselves to their maximum capacity. Soon, the Delta logo became Reebok’s symbol of rebirth and was used to replace the vector logo in all of its merchandise.
15 best crossfit shoes
- Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave
- Nike Metcon Repper DSX
- Nike Free x Metcon
- Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0
- Nike Metcon 4
- Reebok CrossFit Speed TR 2.0
- Nike Metcon 3
- Reebok CrossFit Nano 7 Weave
- Inov-8 F-Lite 195
- Inov-8 F-Lite 250
- Vibram FiveFingers V-Train
- Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 v2
- Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v2
- Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit
- Inov-8 F-Lite 260
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