Unlike your one-trick pony running shoes, the ultimate sole mate for your CrossFit workouts needs to withstand everything from hoisting heavy weights to climbing rope and busting heart-pounding burpees. And yes, running.
But with so many options for cross-training pairs, it can be hard to choose one that checks all of your boxes.
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So, we did the work and put together a guide on how to find the perfect CrossFit shoes for your workouts. Plus, we rounded up five versatile shoes to consider adding to your cart.
Manufacturers typically market shoes according to gender, so we have listed both women's and men's picks below. However, the main difference between most men's and women's shoes lies in the shoe width and size. In some cases, men's shoes are built to support greater weights. So people with bigger bodies may want to opt for men's versions, whereas people with smaller bodies may prefer women's versions.
1. Reebok Nano X
A CrossFit workout can take you from deadlifts to hill sprints to jumping jacks in just a matter of minutes. So, you need CrossFit gear that can work with all kinds of motion. And the Reebok Nano is a great choice, according to Jereme Schumacher, PT, a California-based physical therapist and CrossFit Level-1 trainer.
"This would be good for any athlete looking for a shoe that can be worn during all CrossFit movements," he says.
The flexible upper stays comfortable during high-impact movements like box jumps and burpees, and the sturdy outsole and heel shape provides a stable base for heavy lifts.
2. Inov8 Bare-Xf 210 V2
When your workout involves heavy lifting, you want your shoes to provide as much stability as possible, according to Schumacher. Inov8's shoe is comfortable but low in cushion, so your feet feel rooted in the ground as you train.
While these kicks are versatile, they aren't built for running farther than a sprint. When you want to go from heavy snatches to a 5K jog, it's best to keep a pair of running shoes handy.
3. NOBULL Trainer
Those tough WODs could leave you with extra sweaty feet. NOBULL's trainers have a breathable SuperFabric upper, making them a worthy workout partner, according to Schumacher.
Their grippy soles and sock-like construction also provide a great mash-up of support and flexibility. The result: those sled pushes become just a little bit easier.
4. Nike Metcon 6
Fans of the CrossFit Games will definitely recognize the Nike Metcon. Everything about this shoe speaks to functional fitness, Schumacher says.
For one, its inner sole sports a layer of rubber grip for traction during rope climbs. Its heel has a small jut-out that helps you slide seamlessly during handstand push-ups. And it comes with several insoles so you can customize (or minimize) your cushion based on the workout at hand.
5. Hylete Circuit II Cross-Training Shoe
The best part about Hylete's cross-training shoe? It's totally customizable, and even comes with three different insoles. Choose the 0-millimeter insole for lifting, the 4-millimeter for cross-training and the 6-millimeter for running.
Schumacher also loves the roomy toe box, which lets you position your feet more naturally during exercises like squats or deadlifts.
3 Tips for Buying the Best CrossFit Shoes
1. Put Comfort First
The first thing Schumacher looks for in a good training shoe is comfort. Considering CrossFit workouts can get lengthy, shoes with a breathable mesh upper and roomy toe box are ideal.
2. Look for Versatility
One of the best parts of CrossFit workouts is the variety of exercises involved. But that can make shopping for training shoes a little tricky.
The solution? Opt for a versatile trainer that you can use for an array of exercises and modalities, Schumacher says. Your perfect CrossFit shoe should feel stable and flexible, so you can go from a lift to a run with ease.
For example, you want a pair of sneakers with durable guards climbs and crawls, flexible uppers for explosive movements and sturdy heels with minimal cushioning for heavy lifts.
3. Prioritize Stability
Although CrossFit workouts involve a lot of cardio, you still want to feel comfortable while lifting, Schumacher says. When you try on a pair, you want to feel securely rooted in the ground, so look for shoes that don't have a thick cushion underfoot.