7 Best Crossfit Shoes in 2024

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
7 Best Crossfit Shoes in 2024
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A Crossfit session involves a lot of different movements: from a warmup run to a series of box jumps, from holding a plank to lifting 400 lbs. That’s why Crossfit shoes must live up to a large span of expectations.

Most Crossfit shoes host all the necessary features to face demanding training sessions and competitions. But there is also room for variety as some shoes are best for super heavy lifting, some are a bit lighter and more cushioned for cardio, and some are comfortable enough for all-day wear.

We have tested Crossfit shoes in the gym and in our lab. Because of that, we're proud to showcase here our best picks in different categories. 

How we test crossfit shoes

To achieve the most objective and data-backed shoe reviews on the web, we do the following:

  • We buy each CrossFit shoe we want to test with our own money. No sponsorships allowed.
  • We get firsthand experience training in the shoes. In the case of the CrossFit shoes, we like to explore more on their versatility. Therefore, we use them in as much high-intensity training as we can, dedicating a significant amount of time to each activity: jumping, sprinting, cycling, deadlifting, squats, and more.
  • We split open the shoes and conduct sorts of tests, which back up what we feel while working out on the shoes. This also gives us different quantitative data that we can interpret, qualitatively.

Best Crossfit shoes overall

Nike Metcon 9
81
Good!

What makes it the best?

We discovered Metcon 9 offers the best features for CrossFit, deserving to be crowned as best overall among CrossFit trainers in our lab records. It's a confidence booster with the superior stability and grip it offers, holding down our feet well when it’s time to lift. It displays signs of durability and offers flexibility for various WODs.

Despite the absence of a raised heel, Metcon 9 shines in weightlifting. We measured a 5.5 mm drop in the lab, more levelled than the 6.1 mm average. Its wide and supportive base keeps us planted to the ground, whereas its sturdy sidewalls and protective upper establish a firm foothold for stability. It even has Hyperlift — a sturdy, non-compressible TPU plastic under the heel for extra support when lifting heavier loads.

Metcon 9 gives the flexibility and grip we need for burpees and plyometrics. In our bend test, it's 15.0% more flexible than average. Meanwhile, the outsole bites through the gym floor, ensuring we can focus on our workout without wobbles. It shows no signs of wear, so we expect it to be durable. Our durometer confirms the 91.0 HC rubber is harder than the 85.2 HC average. A tougher outsole means it can take a lot of beating.

Unfortunately, Metcon 9 missed out on breathability. It feels too stuffy for tropical weather and sweaty indoor sessions.

Pros

  • Exceptionally stable for weightlifting
  • One of the most durable cross-trainers
  • The best shoe for rope climbs
  • Reliable foot containment
  • Very comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Nice grip on gym floors
  • Accommodates wide feet (finally!)
  • Surprisingly flexible

Cons

  • Heavier than average (and previous Metcons)
  • Not great for cardio workouts and rope jumps
  • So-so breathability
Full review of Nike Metcon 9

Crossfit shoes with the best comfort

Reebok Nano X4
84
Good!

What makes it the best?

The Reebok Nano X4 lightens the load of brutal CrossFit sessions by delivering impressive breathability and plush heel cushioning, ensuring the best comfort during our heated workouts. Our lab reveals its robust build and excellent containment add crucial support, enhancing its suitability for intense training sessions while remaining bendy enough for other exercises. 

In our smoke test, the Nano X4’s Flexweave scored a solid 4/5, ensuring consistent airflow and freshness during indoor sessions as the heat escapes easilyMoreover, the upper resisted our Dremel amazingly and received a 4/5 durability score. 

The platform delivers a healthy balance of cushioning and support. We felt close to the ground but still had a good layer of foam to perform jumps with impact protection. Furthermore, our HA durometer revealed a softer 27.0 HA cushioning under the heel measuring 10.0% softer than the main midsole foam.

The X4 impresses not only with its comfort but also its stability, boasting a stiff heel counter and excellent torsional rigidity, both scoring 4/5 in lab tests. The Lift and Run Chassis securely anchors our feet during static and dynamic exercises, while the midsole maintains flexibility for lunges and planks, matching the average bend test score in our lab.

However, its well-rounded nature means it lacks the support for extremes like heavy weightlifting and longer running sessions. Those in serious training should invest in workout-specific shoes.

Pros

  • Fantastic wear resistance
  • Great balance of cushioning and stability
  • Feels grounded and supportive
  • Secure foot lockdown
  • A fully-gusseted tongue (finally)
  • Nice breathability
  • Lighter than the X3
  • Great grip on gym floors

Cons

  • Not for heavy lifting
  • Not for wide feet
Full review of Reebok Nano X4

Best all-rounder shoes for Crossfit

What makes it the best?

The Under Armour Tribase Reign 5 is the ultimate jack of all trades among Crossfit shoes. With its excellent stability, cushioning, and durability, this all-rounder shoe works very well for just about any WOD we throw at it.

The Tribase Reign 5 is a rock-solid lifting shoe that is more than stable enough to handle heavy squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts. Both its lateral and torsional stability are excellent, as we feel firmly planted on the floor whenever we lift in it. We rated its torsional rigidity a 4 out of 5, with 5 being the stiffest, as we really had to exert a lot of effort into getting the shoe to twist side to side.

And despite having a slightly lower midsole stack - it's 2.8 mm and 1.1 mm shorter than average in the heel and forefoot, respectively - it still delivers excellent cushioning. Its midsole has a softness of 26.8 HA, which is very much average for training shoes, and we felt it did a wonderful job of protecting our feet when we did runs, jumps, and other dynamic movements during our Crossfit workouts.

Moreover, the Tribase Reign 5 is also quite a rugged shoe that can handle a beating in the Crossfit box. Its toebox is particularly tough; it got an impressive 4 out of 5 on our durability test, where 5 is the most durable, as our Dremel did minimal damage to it.

However, the Tribase Reign 5's heel to toe drop, which we measured to be 4.8 mm, is 2.4 times higher than its stated drop of 2 mm. So those looking for a minimal-drop Crossfit shoe should be aware.

Pros

  • Impressive impact protection
  • Extremely comfortable wraparound
  • Upper breathes well
  • Excellent upper durability
  • Provides stability for lifting
  • Dependable ankle support
  • Really nice grip on various surfaces

Cons

  • Drop is higher than stated
  • A bit stiff
Full review of Under Armour TriBase Reign 5

Best lightweight Crossfit shoes

NOBULL Outwork
94
Superb!

What makes it the best?

In the world of training shoes, where the average weight is 11.5 oz (326g), the NOBULL Outwork is a light trainer at just 10.4 oz (294g). But the shoe is far from lightweight when it comes to its performance in a Crossfit box, as its fantastic flexibility, solid stability, and outstanding durability make it our top lightweight Crossfit trainer.

The NOBULL Outwork features tremendous flexibility, which makes it a fabulous shoe to wear for HIIT workouts and agility drills. After putting it through our 90 degree bend test, we found that it is 16.9% more flexible than the average training shoe. 

But the shoe still has enough stiffness to be a stable lifting shoe. Its midsole is 24% firmer than the average training shoe, and we felt it hardly compressed when lifting moderate weights on our power and Olympic lifts. Moreover, the shoe has a fairly flat platform, offering optimal ground contact.

Meanwhile, the SuperFabric upper lives up to its name as it is extremely durable. Even rope climbs barely scratch the incredibly tough material, so it will take some serious abuse inside the box to wreck the upper.

However, that super-durable upper comes at the cost of breathability as our feet got quite hot, particularly after high-intensity workouts. Neither smoke nor light could pass through the upper in our lab tests, which is why we graded the shoe's breathability the lowest score of 1 out of 5.

Pros

  • Versatile for any workout
  • Premium Crossfit trainer
  • Comfortable for all-day wear
  • Grips various surfaces and rope
  • Sturdy for moderate weightlifting
  • Easy to clean
  • Cushioned enough for jumps
  • Highly durable upper
  • Simple design with plenty of colorways

Cons

  • Not so breathable
  • Pricey
Full review of NOBULL Outwork

Best Crossfit shoes for short runs

What makes it the best?

Among all the CrossFit shoes that we exercised in, we deem the Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 as the best for short runs because of its running friendly drop and softer-than-average midsole tooling that’s coupled with a pretty bouncy Zoom Air unit. The shoe’s reliably stiff heel counter stabilised not only our running but also our lifting stances.

The discovery that this shoe has a drop of 7.7 mm was quite a surprise since it was advertised to have only 4.0 mm. And for the sprinters among us, this might have been a blessing in disguise because the higher drop made this suitable for short runs.

The running-friendliness of this shoe was further enhanced by the combined power of a softer foam and a bouncy Zoom unit. Using an HA durometer in the lab, we learned that the midsole has a softness rating of 22.4, which is lower (hence softer) than the 27.0 average. The softness helped protect us from impact during our runs.

The reactive Zoom Air, for its part, fuelled our strides. It’s not often that a trainer is equipped with a tech for propulsion, so the bouncy experience was a very welcome one.

The heel counter felt stiffer than usual when we put this shoe on. True enough, it got a 3 out of 5 for stiffness after it moderately resisted our squeezes in the lab.

Sure, the heel counter worked well but we had concerns about its durability. We did a Dremel test on it, and it only got a 2 out of 5.  

Pros

  • Bouncy Zoom Air in the forefoot
  • Good for short runs
  • Perfect for jumps and aerobics
  • Stable for moderate lifting
  • Excellent flexibility
  • Amazingly breathable
  • Durable outsole

Cons

  • Upper is not durable rope climbing
  • Heavy for a "speed-oriented" trainer
Full review of Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2

Best Crossfit shoes for outdoor workouts

What makes it the best?

The amazing Reebok Nano X3 Adventure allowed us to do a lot of exercises, including rope climbing which many trainers easily fall short in. We were also impressed by the hardness of its outsole and the immense durability of its upper. Because of all these benefits, the Nano X3 Adventure easily climbed up our list as the best CrossFit shoe for outdoor workouts.

Getting a nice grip on any surface was never a problem for this Reebok trainer. Whether we were exercising on concrete or hardwood floors, we were able to stop on a sixpence whenever needed. Climbing stairs and even ropes was never a problem.

Registering 89.4 on our HC durometer, the outsole of this trainer is significantly harder than average, which only got a rating of 84.0. This hard outsole helped us withstand the roughness of the outdoors.

The uber-durable upper was simply jaw-dropping. Twelve minutes of high-pressure Dremel drilling barely left a noticeable mark on the toebox. A perfect 5 it was!

It’s just too bad that we could never recommend the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure to fitness enthusiasts with sweaty feet. This shoe was pretty awful when it came to breathability, and it got the lowest 1 over 5 from us in that aspect.

Pros

  • Perfect gym-to-trail shoe
  • Dependable traction
  • Provides good impact protection
  • Offers enough court feel
  • Super durable upper
  • Just enough stability for exercises
  • Feels light
  • Fairly flexible structure

Cons

  • Poor breathability
  • Pricey if not used outdoors
Full review of Reebok Nano X3 Adventure

Crossfit shoes with the best value

Reebok Nano 2.0
89
Great!

What makes it the best?

At £130 per pair, the Reebok Nano 2.0 is just around the average price for CrossFit shoes which is £130. But the performance of this shoe isn’t average at all. Its amazing breathability truly left no chance for sweat. Its intense flexibility allowed us to move with much more ease, especially when there was a need to twist or go around bends. Finally, its nicely firm midsole gave us the chance to speed up without exerting so much effort. 

We dissected this shoe in the lab and placed its upper material on top of a light source. The moment the light shone from below it, we saw gigantic ventilation holes, perfectly explaining the immense amount of breathability that we enjoyed. Hands down, the Nano 2.0 is a perfect 5 for ventilation.

A typical trainer would need 22.5N of force so it’s bent at 90 degrees. Our digital force gauge showed that this shoe needed much less than that, 11.3N to be exact. Its flexibility allowed for more natural flexions of our feet, making this shoe such a pleasure to wear.

The midsole of this shoe registered a 31.0 on our HA durometer, significantly higher (therefore firmer) than the 27.0 average. This firmness not only helped with acceleration because of its springy effect in motion, but it also aided us in attaining stability during lifting because of its inherent anti-wobble properties.

It’s just too unfortunate that the durability of the upper was not able to keep up with the greatness of the Nano 2.0 from Reebok. There was already significant damage after a couple of seconds of Dremel drilling.

Pros

  • Pleasantly lightweight
  • Low-profile and minimal
  • Grounded platform
  • Highly breathable
  • Very flexible
  • Solid grip
  • Spacious toebox

Cons

  • Lacks cushioning for jumps and runs
  • Upper is not durable
  • Tongue slips
Full review of Reebok Nano 2.0

What is a Crossfit shoe?

Crossfit shoes are the most versatile, stable, and sturdy category of cross-training shoes.

Priced about £30 higher than regular trainers, they are more suitable for athletes who train regularly and want to achieve the highest performance in Crossfit. As a beginner, you don't have to invest in a dedicated Crossfit shoe just yet.

Nike Metcon 9 lab test

Several key features set a Crossfit shoe apart from a regular training shoe:

  • low profile and minimal cushioning
  • enhanced support and stability
  • higher durability (+protection for rope climbs)

Features-of-a-crossfit-shoe.png

Cushioning in Crossfit shoes

Pressing a heavy barbell over your head, you want to feel firmly planted on the ground. There should be no squish or wobbling in your feet whatsoever.

That's why Crossfit shoes are built with the following midsole parameters:

  • low heel stack (no more than 27 mm)
  • low heel-to-toe drop (no more than 8 mm)
  • firm cushioning

Nike Metcon 9 Heel stack

We measure stack heights precisely in the same spot using a calliper.

Nike Metcon 9 Drop

Example of a low-stack (21.5 mm) and low-drop (5.5 mm) Crossfit shoe.

Nike Metcon 9 Midsole softness

We apply an HA durometer to the shoe's half-cut midsole to measure its firmness.

Based on our lab data, Crossfit shoe midsoles are 10% firmer compared to regular trainers and 20% firmer than running shoes on average. It makes them less compressible and as a result, more stable.

As you can see, there is variation within Crossfit shoes as well:

  • if you want a more minimal, almost barefoot-like experience, go for shoes with a lower stack (<24 mm) and drop (<6 mm)
  • if you prefer more cushioning for cardio and HIIT, opt for a higher stack (>24 mm) and drop (>6 mm) and softer foam (<25 HA*)

*Midsole softness: the lower HA reading means softer and the higher HA number means firmer. 

Lateral support and stability

Stability is where Crossfit shoes undercut many other cross-trainers.

In addition to their firm and grounded platforms, these trainers are equipped with supportive components like sidewalls, shanks, sturdy heel counters, and more to keep the foot securely in place.

We assess the torsional rigidity of Crossfit shoes in a manual test.

We also check each shoe's heel counter stiffness with a squeeze and push.

Adidas Dropset 2 Midsole width in the forefoot

We measure the widest parts of each shoe's platform.

Crossfit shoes with lower torsional rigidity (score: 1-2) are less stable but more flexible. We can recommend them for fast-paced workouts with lots of agile footwork.

Durability of Crossfit shoes

There are a few durability features that usually come with Crossfit shoes: 

  • rope guards that shield the shoe's upper and sole from rope burn when descending

  • additional protective overlays that minimise wear and tear on the upper material

nike-metcon-8-microscope.JPG

We use a Dremel with a sandpaper tip to test the abrasion resistance of each Crossfit shoe in our lab.

Our lab results show that Crossfit shoes score higher in the durability department compared to standard cross-training shoes.

nike-metcon-8-vs-nike-flex-control-4-dremel-durability-comparison.jpg

*Outsole durability: the lower number means more durable. It indicates how many millimetres of outsole rubber have been burnt by our Dremel.

Consider the weight

The weight of Crossfit shoes ranges from 10 oz (285g) to 13.5 oz (385g), which is on the heavier side of cross-training shoes.

Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 Weight

But why did these shoes get so heavy? Well, all the features that make them irreplaceable for Crossfit add up to the bulk of these shoes: wear-resistant overlays, stiff supportive components, wider platforms, rope guards, and more.

The industry's flagship Crossfit shoes tend to weigh more (over 12 oz) but you can be sure that they provide plenty of stability and support.

Lighter Crossfit shoes, on the other hand, are more suitable for short runs, and jumping exercises, and in some cases provide better ground contact.

TIP: You don't have to choose one over the other as there are more than a few solid Crossfit shoes in the middle.

Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 Heel tab

How to find breathable Crossfit shoes

Because of their reinforced uppers and protective overlays, Crossfit shoes are not the most breathable category of athletic shoes.

But having the heat and sweat trapped inside your gym shoes is not the most pleasant experience either. Not to mention that it leads to bad odour, blisters, and other misfortunes.

In our lab, we perform a series of tests to determine the ventilation capacity of each Crossfit shoe:

  • we use a smoke-pumping machine to check the shoe's capacity to let the heat out
  • we hover the shoe's half-cut upper over the light to see its ventilation areas
  • we take a closer look at the fabric through our microscope to check its anatomy

In the end, each Crossfit shoe's breathability is rated on a 1-5 scale, where 5 is the most breathable.

Under Armour TriBase Reign 5 micro

Crossfit shoes vs. weightlifting shoes

These days, Crossfit shoes have advanced so far in their level of stability that most athletes don't even consider lifting shoes anymore. Why bother if you can enjoy the convenience of having just one pair of trainers for everything you do at the gym (even lifting 400 lbs!)?

Just look at how much lateral stability both shoes have.

Lateral stability in a Crossfit shoe

Lateral stability in a weightlifting shoe

But no matter how stable Crossfit shoes get, there are a few core characteristics of lifting shoes that can never make these two shoes equal:

  • heel elevation
  • non-compressible platform
  • entirely flat and stiff base

Reebok Legacy Lifter III review

FAQs about Crossfit shoes

How will I know if a training shoe is appropriate for CrossFit?

Brands don’t market their shoes using the Crossfit name because they are not licenced to do so. But they have found a way to work around this restriction by naming their CrossFit-dedicated lines of shoes after specific terms used within the CrossFit community like Nike’s Metcon line.

Can you walk in Crossfit shoes? 

Given their performance-oriented features and flat soles, Crossfit shoes aren’t intended for everyday use. They might be too expensive as well to wear casually. But they are flexible enough to be worn for many hours at the gym if you are coaching.

Author
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.