CrossFit Shoes and What to Shop For

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“Because CrossFit is focused so heavily on full-body training and diverse exercises, the demands it puts on shoes are unique. You need support for weightlifting, flexibility for running, sturdiness for gymnastics, and the shoes have to balance all three factors at once.”

 @ Shoeguide.com

There are many reasons why your favorite running shoes might not cut it in your journey through CrossFit. Much like what a cleat is to soccer or a high-top is to football, there are shoes intended to help you perform better and safer in CrossFit. 

CrossFit demands vigorous movements of many kinds. From deadlifts to squats, running, jumping and rope climbing–your shoes need to be as supportive and durable as possible. How flat or flexible your shoes are will decide how grounded and stable you feel during workouts. So I’ve done a little research. 

This article will talk about:

  • What to look for in a CrossFit shoe
  • Popular brands
  • What others are saying

 

What features should I check for?

Shoe drop 

The shoe drop–which is the difference in height from heel to toe– is important for your stability and how your foot moves.

Unlike running shoes, which have a higher shoe drop of about 8mm, CrossFit shoes should have a lower heel drop of about 4mm. This is to give your foot a more natural foot position on the ground. It helps distribute your weight evenly across your feet, resulting in more stability and balance.

 

Hard Sole

Firmer soles allow you to feel the floor solidly while lifting and will help keep you firmly in position.

Running shoes are typically more flexible, with more “spring” in their soles. Being able to feel the ground is important, having a hard sole is crucial for a safe workout.

This is especially true if you are interested in Olympic weightlifting. Shoes with an inbuilt cushion are good for absorbing force, but for weightlifting, you need a shoe that will help you use all the force your body produces through your foot to the ground.

Weightlifting shoes have little to no padding and a raised heel to which allows you to squat deeper, follow-through from under the bar and ensures that you have a strong and consistent base to land on. 

 

Lightweight and Durable

You want your shoes to be lightweight, but durable. CrossFit is notoriously hard on your feet, so you want to opt for a good brand of shoe with an outer fabric that will last. Your workout will be rigorous enough, so choose a shoe that won’t weigh your feet down. 

 

Breathability

It’s best to have a very breathable pair of shoes to avoid your feet getting too uncomfortable and sweaty during long workouts. 

 

Lateral support

And finally, lateral support is an important, but overlooked feature in a workout shoe. When we drive our knees out during workouts, we are shifting our weight to the outside of our feet. This puts a lot of strain on the outsides of our shoes. A shoe with good lateral support will have an outer “forcefield” (like Flywire) that keeps our feet aligned above the soles, rather than “spilling” over the sides. 

 

Buy for your comfort

CrossFit combines a broad range of disciplines, from weightlifting to gymnastics to running. Ask yourself first what area(s) are most in line with your fitness goals. If you are more prone to weightlifting rather than running or climbing, the type of shoe you select should have a low shoe drop and firm grip. Intensive rope climbing should have reinforced outerwear and anything heavy in cardio demands a shoe that breathes as you sweat your butt off!

Workout shoes are constantly being redesigned to meet the needs of growing CrossFit, so it is difficult to find a shoe that encompasses all your needs. Pick a pair that give you the most comfort in the area and level of CrossFit that you are currently at. Some people have more than one pair, each with different features and benefits. If you find yourself still unsure, ask coaches or other members for their recommendations and feedback!

What others are saying

Here are some performance reviews of popular shoe brands, thanks RunRepeat and @Angela Stringfellow for doing the heavy lifting:

 

Adidas Performance Powerlift 3.1Adidas-CrossFit shoes

  • Amazon Rating: 4.6
  • Removable insole 
  • Rubber sole
  • Extra-wide design
  • Cross-over strap for extra support

 

ALEADERsALEADERs-CrossFit shoes

Amazon rating: 4.1

  • Shock absorbant
  • Full support
  • Lightweight
  • Double mesh upper lining for breathability

 

Inov-8 F-lite 240Inov 8-CrossFit shoes

  • Amazon rating: 4.3
  • Rubber sole
  • Rope-tec integration
  • Lightweight

 

No BullsNo Bull-CrossFit shoes

  • Amazon rating: 4.5
  • Flat, solid sole with very little differential from heel to toe
  • Flat, solid rubber sole and extra-wide design
  • Stable enough for lifting and rope climbing

 

Nike MetconsNike Metcons-CrossFit shoes

  • Amazon rating: 4.5
  • Durable
  • Drop-in and flat midsole
  • Rubber heel
  • Abrasion-resistant mesh
  • Flexible durability

 

Nike Flex Supreme

Nike Flex Supreme-CrossFit shoes

  • Amazon rating: 4.2
  • Rubber sole
  • Dual-density foam
  • 360-degree movement
  • Flywire cables

 

Reebok Crossfit Nanos

Reebok CrossFit shoes

  • Amazon rating: 4.3
  • 3-D Fuseframe construction
  • Lace closure
  • RopePro protective wrap
  • Very flexible
  • Great lateral support

 

The Bottom Line

As long as you keep in mind the sole, flexibility and durability of your workout shoe, you will be just fine on your journey to CrossFit. Great sites like RunRepeat and Amazon are good places to start shopping, and don’t forget to ask others! The average retail price for the brands listed above range from $60 – $115, but online deals like these are easy to find. 

Have a favorite CrossFit shoe experience? We’d love to hear from you.

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