By Rehan Iqbal
Looking for the best CrossFit shoes? If you’re new to telling literally everyone on social media that you love CrossFit, then you know how important it is to get a shoe that fits your body type, budget, and goals. The only way to know what works for you is to try, but since nobody has the time or money for that, we did it for you. We hit the box hard, and these 14 lived to tell the tale.
Don’t play games with your body: CrossFit is HARD. Really hard. The wrong shoe could throw you off and risk injury. Make the right choice and ease into your CrossFit workout SLOWLY.
Ready to rise and grind in style without breaking the bank? Don’t worry, you came to the right place
Are you looking for a trainer or a lifter, or both? You doing mostly cardio or strength training?
Whether you’re into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), doing box jump burpees to a tabata stopwatch, dominating the rowing machine, throwing monster truck tires, or climbing rope, you NEED maximum comfort and performance out of your gym shoes. If you purchase the wrong shoe for the job, you’ll end up paying for it.
Without further adieu, here are our top picks when it comes to CrossFit shoes.
NOTE: We’ve divided shoes into trainers and lifters for easier shopping!
Top Trainers for CrossFit
#1. The Best Overall CrossFit Shoe - Reebok CrossFit Nano X3
Ladies and gents, we have a winner.
Reebok’s special-made CrossFit shoes are MOBILITY MACHINES. Not only are they light weight (10.2 oz), they feature low-cut ankles (so you can pivot and push seamlessly), and a wide-toe box for extra comfort. It felt like we were working out with new feet. They’ll especially help if you’re new to CrossFit and you’re feet aren’t used to the torture.
The second we slipped them on, we were blown away by the comfort, especially the wider toe box (this feature really took our squats to the next level). They’re a bit wide (we were calling each other duck feet all day), but who cares?
The comfort, fit, and mobility more than make up for any flaws. Nobody is looking at your feet in the box.
Note: If you’re looking to hit the runway with a stylish shoe, we’ve got a few for you aspiring CrossFit models later on.
#2. The Flat Footed Deadlifter - Nike Metcon 9
Got flat feet? Looking for support? Look no further. These shoes are the friend you need to hit the box every day and not need a foot transplant in 10 years.
There are plenty of flat footers among us, so we put the Metcon 9s to the test. They passed with flying colors. The Metcon’s strong treads were a godsend for achy feet.
Those of us with flat feet said running (especially those 100 meter sprints) was especially easy, even after a couple hours of working out. Those of us with deeper arches found ourselves tapping out early because they were a bit uncomfortable for us. If you’ve got flat feet, they’re worth the money. If not, keep searching.
TIP: If you’re not sure what kind of arch your foot has, see a professional and get the measurements. The arch support provided by your gym shoe can make or break your workout, so you should educate yourself.
#3. The Minimalist Outdoors Trainer - Merrel Trail Glove 6
Sometimes less is more. The name says it all: these shoes really shine in nature. If you’re into running trails, and like the barefoot feel of a light, yet durable shoe, then the Trail Glove 4 is right for you.
The shoes didn’t hold up running asphalt, but that’s now what Merrel intended here. These are specifically for rugged trails and the wild outdoors. That’s not all either! The traction on the sole makes them killer shoes for sled pushing and deadlifts. Don't use them for rope climbs. The uppers will shred!
NOTE FOR MUSICIANS: One of our crew members was especially excited about taking these shoes home to try with his drum kit. The light weight (9 oz per shoe), and the strong grip kept his feet limber and supported through his blast beats (his neighbor loved it!).
#4. The Distance Running Trainer - New Balance Minimus TRV1
ATTN: TREADMILL RUNNERS - these are the best option for you. At 6 ounces and sporting a mesh construction, they’re ideal for indoor running in controlled environments.
They feel great for outdoor running, but the light construction WILL cause these shoes to shred pretty easily. If you’re an indoor running warrior, you will love how these shoes feel like you’re wearing nothing at all.
You can throw a serious cardio party with these suckers, and for that alone the Minimus TRV1 wins our seal of approval. A lot people just like to run under fluorescents at the gym, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sure, this shoe seems like a one trick pony, but it does that trick very well, so we had to tell you about it.
#5. The Lightweight Running Shoe - New Balance Minimus 10v1
For all of you runners out there, these shoes will be your hero. Weighing in at 6.6 ounces for each shoe, the Minimus 10v1’s are extremely light weight. They’re great for runners who LOVE a good old fashioned bare-foot run.
We pushed them to the limit in suicide drills, and they had the grip and stability to get us through effortlessly. While they are THE LIGHTWEIGHT ALTERNATIVE to running barefoot, they are NOT TRUE TO SIZE.
We found that these shoes run a half size smaller than your regular shoe size. If you want to maximize your comfort with the Minimus 10v1 shoes, definitely try them on and round up to the next nearest size if you’re in between.
#6. The Barefoot Box Jumper - Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V2
Finally, one only for the ladies. Who said girls couldn’t have a badass CrossFit shoe? Women can train just as hard as men, but men and women do have different kinds of feet, so some special modifications were made to make these bad girls.
Not only do these shoes provide a barefoot experience with ample support, they have rubber outsole wraps that also make these trainers ideal for rope climbs. The wide box area allowed them to have better toe mobility, too.
Another thing that the ladies will love is that these shoes make it way easier to do some female-friendly WOD’s (for when you go heavy on the lunges and box-jumps!).
If your WOD takes place in the gym, and not on the trails, you will love how this shoe looks and feels. But with any lightweight performance shoe, they often lack durability in situations with rough terrain. This is not a flaw in design or style, but just a reality you need to think about. Like any product, if you use it for its intended purpose, it’ll last you a long time.
#7. Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3
The F-Lite 235’s are an awesome all-around shoe, especially for core-heavy workouts.
They handled almost every test we threw at them. Much like the XF 210’s, they are both lightweight and durable. The wide box for the toes and the patented “powerheel” technology provide a ton of support for your entire workout. Our feet remained planted firmly on the ground during core weight training like kettlebell swings, and the light mesh upper materials kept us in top form during agility drills.
We couldn’t really find any downside to these shoes. They are a little heavier, weighing in at 9 ounces per shoe, but that’s not a huge leap in weight (you’re deadlifting anyways, right?), and it adds durability. This shoe is ideal for both beginners and seasoned veterans who want to try something different than the usual Nike CrossFit Shoes.
#8. ASICS Gel-Craze TR 4
If you’re doing HIIT training, bombing up and down stairs, or have bad knees, you’re in for a treat with the Gel-Craze TR 4’s.
This line is especially known for its ability to absorb shock on high impact workouts, and to provide the support you need for overpronation and flat feet. If you’re used to the TR 3’s, these might be a bit of a change. The TR 4’s have lower-cut ankle. No biggie, but if you’re familiar with the previous model, it might take a few workouts to get used to.
#9. Under Armour Men's Limitless 3.0 Cross-Trainer Shoe
Time to get back to basics. Under Armour hits a prehistoric home run here. This shoe is an affordable, basic entry-level shoe that’s great for beginners or no-frills CrossFitters.
These no frills shoes get the job done and that’s it. With a leather exterior and a superior heel support, they are great for going HARD on your WOD without your feet taking a beating. One added perk is that you can wear them out in regular life too and still look good.
One thing to consider is that these shoes are not true to size (noticing a pattern here?) in the sense that they run a little narrow compared to other brands. Comfort aside, these are our favorite shoes.
Top Lifters For CrossFit That Hold Your Ground
#1. The Lunk in the Trunk Shoe - Reebok Men's Lifter Pr Cross-Trainer Shoe
These shoes sure do pack a punch! If you’re really in the market for a solid lifting shoe that will keep you anchored, then these will work out just fine.
We weren’t adding 50 pounds to our squat routine by any means, but we were more comfortable at the end of our usual workouts because we had a solid surface to press against. Over the long run, these Reeboks will be a major benefit to your lifting.
While not necessarily a design flaw (they’re designed for lifting after all), these shoes are fairly difficult to run in. If you want a multipurpose shoe, you’ll want to check out some other trainers, because these shoes are a bit on the heavy side.
#2. Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes for Heavy Weightlifting - Men's Squat Shoe
Not only are these shoes excellent for maintaining correct posture if you’re pushing yourself beyond your limit, they are also very durable. They even have a one year warranty that backs this up. While we have not had first hand experience with the customer service department (our shoes were flawless out of the box, so there was no need), we’ve read reviews that talk about how responsive and helpful they are.
We all decided to lift 30 pounds more than our usual maximum to see how we held up. While we embarrassed ourselves tremendously, it was still easy to see how the wider base and strong sole kept our feet from rolling.
#3. Adidas Men's Power Perfect III. Cross Trainer
Adidas has come a very long way since the RUN DMC days, and we’re glad they have. These shoes boast the iconic three-stripe design, and a raised heel for extra ground support. One way to describe these shoes is “safe.” If you’re coming off an injury and just getting back into lifting, these shoes will give you the confidence you need to start getting your gains back. Confidence and comfort go hand in hand, and that’s what we like about these shoes.
It was something we all felt about this particular set of gym shoes. One of our trainers said the velcro was a little too high, and was brushing against the front of his ankle, but that’s an issue with a lot of new lifting shoes: they do need some time to break in, so don’t get discouraged.
#4. Adidas Men's Powerlift 4
Much like the Power Perfect III’s, the Powerlift 4’s are a solid lifting shoe. When doing heavier sets, you really want a shoe that makes you feel your feet are strapped to the Earth; you want to feel immovable. These shoes accomplish just that. Unlike the Power Perfect III’s, this particular line does run a little small/narrow, and it’s suggested you go half a size up to get the right fit. Some reviews stated that they held true to size, but everybody’s feet are different.
When in doubt, try them on. We felt going up a half size was beneficial, and while we didn’t have the same elevation from the Power Perfect III’s, we still felt like we had plenty of leverage to get the job done.
NOTE ON MULTI-PURPOSE SHOES: Multi-purpose shoes will get the job done, and are a great way to get some serious gains in the beginning (when you aren’t sure which route you’re going to take). But one day, you’re gains are gonna be SERIOUS and you’ll need a dedicated lifting or running shoe. Eventually, you’ll get to such a high level that only specialized shoes will provide the support you need to be a BEAST.
While there is no right or wrong way to go about this, the worst thing you could do is not try out your options. You’re working out to be a stronger person than you were yesterday, and you’re going to need the right tools for that. Don’t limit yourself. Unleash your inner beast, and squat your way to victory.
CrossFit Shoes Buyer’s Guide: How to Buy CrossFit Shoes
Still not sure which CrossFit shoe is right for you? Use this quick buyer’s guide to narrow down your choices and find the PERFECT fit.
CrossFit is INTENSE. Don’t take this choice lightly!
Remember, the demands that CrossFit puts on your shoes are both intense and diverse. Specialized shoes will make for a more productive, safer workout. Basically, get the right shoe now and you’ll thank us later. Trust us.
Terms You Need to Know:
OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about what you’ll need based on your workout choice.
Running or Weightlifting?
For Runners: The most important aspects for runners are flexibility, breathability, and stability.
For Weightlifters: Stability is priority #1 for lifters; durability second. Avoid shoes with too much cushion. You want to be connected directly to the ground so you can lift harder and with more force.