Best CrossFit Shoes
Taking care of your feet when you work out, move, or experience your favorite hobbies outdoors is always important since your feet provide the foundation for all of your activity. So, getting a good pair of CrossFit shoes becomes important because the better the quality of your shoes, the better your performance becomes and you’ll be less likely to sustain an injury. When your feet are happy, you’re happy.
There are so many CrossFit shoes available on the market today offering a wide range of benefits and technology for a variety of prices, so it’s no surprise that making a decision can be overwhelming for some. Trying to figure out what is best for you will depend on your budget and what you need, so to help save you a little time we’ve developed a list of some of the best CrossFit shoes available for purchase today. We’ve also outlined a list of criteria we use for our decisions, and an FAQ section to cover the most common questions people have about finding the perfect CrossFit shoe.
- Nike Free 5.0
- Nike Metcon 3
- Exceptional grip
- Brooks Glycerin 12
10 Best CrossFit Shoes
Nike Free 5.0
The grip on Nike’s Free 5.0 CrossFit shoes are made from a hexagonal rubber sole construction that is really top-notch in this class of shoes. These shoes are also made to have a zero drop feature, making weightlifting very easy.
Nike’s Free 5.0 CrossFit shoes are made to be super lightweight, and when that’s combined with the great grip, you’ll find it’s easy to climb ropes or perform well at any training activity. With their lace-up closure and mesh frame, these shoes are made to grip your foot and provide the extra stability, support, and balance you need for all of your training.
Nike’s Free 5.0 CrossFit shoes are also made to be breathable, windproof, and water resistant. You can also throw these shoes in the wash to keep them clean, which is an added benefit to keeping your feet healthy when you work out.
- Stable support
- Not great for longer workouts
- Metallic frame can come off
Nike Metcon 3
Nike’s Metcon 3 CrossFit Shoes stand out against its competition because of the ability of these shoes to easily handle a wide range of activity with effective foot protection and comfort. Made for intense activity and workouts, you can do anything from hiking to heavy lifting in these shoes.
The upper is made of mesh, which is similar to most Nike shoes, even ones not designed for CrossFit. This allows for enough freedom of movement to be comfortable, while the sole and flywire keep your feet secure. The mesh also provides breathability, so your feet will stay dry no matter how hard you train.
Made with a durable rubber sole, these shoes help absorb shock to the feet and legs no matter what activity you decide to utilize them in that day. They also come with flywire and mid-fit technology, which locks your foot in place and increases balance and performance while you work out.
With a wide variety of colorways, and sizes ranging from US Men's 6 to US Men's 18, you're sure to find a size and color option that works best for you. While some other CrossFit shoes either fit too wide or too narrow, the Nike Metcon 3 CrossFit shoe fits true to size and comes in multiple width options.
Nike’s Metcon 3 foot-locking technology adds stability while you weightlift, helps you transfer weight when running, and even helps you grip better while climbing. For the price, you get a lot of durability and versatility with these shoes, and a comfortable amount of stable foot protection.
- Versatile for a wide range of sports
- Exceptional grip
- Great power transfer
- Heels can slip
- Soles feel stiff during long runs.
Brooks Glycerin 12
The modular sole and unique materials of the Glycerin 12s make a notable difference in performance and comfort. You'll definitely notice the difference when you're pushing yourself.
These shoes are called cross-trainers for a reason. Their light weight makes them great for running. They also provide a great deal of support thanks to high tech materials.
These are incredibly comfortable shoes. Their design is great for anyone with foot or knee pain, as the cushioning will help alleviate some of those issues. These shoes fit as expected and can fit most orthotics inside easily.
- Great support
- Good cushioning
- A lot of style choices
- Not minimalist
Reebok Nano 7.0
While they put a bit less emphasis on the comfort needed for a long run, the Reebok Nano Crossfit shoes perform well across a range of other sports, including climbing. The multi-surface outsole on these shoes is designed to improve grip and to boost your climbing experience.
Reebok’s Nano CrossFit shoes are also made with a solid external heel counter, which helps stabilize and support you as you lift weights. Plus, the sole on the shoe is made from crystallized rubber, adding more flexibility to the shoe so that it moves the way you move.
Reebok’s Nano shoes also come with a power launch toe box, a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, and updated Nano tooling. These cross trainers are low-profile overall and offer a lot of stability, durability, comfort, and balance within a range of sports activities.
Another benefit of Reebok’s Nano shoes is their stylish design. These shoes come in a wide range of sizes, running from US Men's 6.3-13. They're also available in a breadth of color options, making these shoes look as great as they work. Given this, you'll be able to easily find the perfect pair for you.
- Lots of stability for balance
- Good style and color choices
- Excellent support
- Not as breathable as some competitors’ shoes
- Can be uncomfortable for running
Adidas Powerlift 3
Adidas’s Powerlift 3 CrossFit Shoes are designed with a lockdown fit, meaning your feet will be held into place and stable, adding plenty of extra support and shock absorption as you move and workout. Also, the shoes are made to be flexible and move as you move, adding some versatility to your movements. The synthetic leather outer is made with tank-like durability in mind, without sacrificing support or comfort.
These shoes also come with an extra-wide design that lets the foot spread, meaning you’ll have a shoe that works with your foot to help boost your performance. Plus, there’s a snug-fitting upper part area with a wide midfoot strap on the shoe, adding an additional boost of support. This strap also allows for a more customizable fit, without it digging into your foot.
These shoes are also made with a high-density die-cute wedge midsole, putting you closer to the ground and adding even more stability and balance for better performance. These shoes fit comfortably and provide a wide range of versatility and support to keep your feet protected.
- Great foot protection
- Good support for weightlifting and running
- Nice stability
- Not as breathable as some competitors
- Can be uncomfortable on long runs
Asics Gel-Fortius 2 TR
The Asics Gel-Fortius 2 TR CrossFit Shoe has a wide variety of features that make it versatile for cross-training, including a reinforced toecap for protection and a sticky outsole that helps hold your grip as you climb ropes. Plus, this shoe is also made to help you with heavy lifts with its steady stability and firm heel.
The Asics Gel-Fortius 2 TR CrossFit Shoe is also designed to give you great protection as you run, because its mid and forefoot area are very flexible, allowing the shoe to move and adjust to your foot as you run. Plus, this shoe is designed with an air mesh “chimney system” that breathes and offers excellent ventilation for your feet.
These shoes are designed to fit closely and comfortably for added support, balance, and also to help with shock absorption. You’ll get a lot of durability even during your longest and hardest workouts with this comfortable shoe.
- Snug fit
- Great support
- Sizes run small
- Could offer more styles
No Bull Trainers
No Bull’s CrossFit Trainers give you the chance to climb, run, lift, or do just about any sport or workout you need. Made with lightweight, breathable technology, these shoes are very flexible and move with your feet, meaning you’re never restricted while you’re performing your activities, and your feet will stay dry throughout the course of your training.
The upper part of the No Bull CrossFit Trainer is made from a seamless one-piece material known as SuperFabric, which is very strong, breathable, and helps protect your feet from abrasions. The SuperFabric plates are also made of a flexible mesh base layer, meaning you are not only protected from injury but also know the shoes will move as you move.
The No Bull CrossFit Trainers are also designed with an outsole lug pattern, making the shoes versatile and flexible while they still provide you with plenty of traction support. Plus, these shoes come with high carbon lateral and medial guards, protecting the sides of your feet. The super low drop ensures stability during all sorts of movements, from running to lifting.
- Nice style
Toe box is narrow
Adidas Crazy Power
One thing to remember when ordering this shoe is that it tends to run larger, so you want to make sure you get the right size and the perfect fit to really boost your performance. However, this Adidas show is all about enhancing your footing foundation and providing you with a supportive, stable base of balance so that you can train well and play harder.
Inside the Adidas Crazy Power CrossFit Trainer, you find a sock-like lining that really grabs your foot for extra stability and support, plus a wide forefoot strap and solid laces to get your foot in the right spot. The shoe also has grooves on the forefront area so that you get a nice amount of flexibility as the shoe moves with your foot.
These shoes work well for a variety of sports and training purposes, with a comfortable, secure fit and effective shock absorption. Plus, they come in a wide variety of colors and styles, making it easy to find a design you really want to wear.
- Great for loaded carries
- Wide fit
- Not as breathable as some competitor’s shoes
Inov8 F-lite 235 V2
This shoe provides support for most exercises without getting in the way. It is more flexible and snug-fitting than other cross training shoes and allows athletes to feel less restricted during plyometrics, cardio, and climbing exercises. With a wide toe box and structured heel, you will still get great support and stability to keep weight in your heels while lifting and squatting.
With met-cradle lacing system providing snug but flexible security to lock the foot in place so your shoe will move with your foot.
With a design to fit like a glove, people love the secure and flexible fit. The shoe is especially popular for cardio buffs who are not accustomed to the sturdier feel of lifting shoes.
- Stable and supportive
- Shoe can feel narrow
- Sizes tend to run small
Nike Romaleos 3
Nike’s Romaleo 3 CrossFit Shoes are designed to be lighter than many other CrossFit shoes, and the midfoot section is also narrower so that it hugs your foot and supports it with a snug fit. The heel on this shoe is a three-quarter inch TPU heel, meaning it’s very solid and won’t compress.
Inside the TPU heel, the area itself is hollow so that the shoe is lighter, but the material on the heel is made with pylons for even more stable support. Plus, this shoe has a tacky outsole material, helping to lock you in better to the floor.
To make sure your foot stays locked securely in the shoe, there is synthetic upper with integrating lacing that includes double hook-and-loop closures, locking the foot in place. The top of the shoe also has elastic so that the shoe will move effectively as you move.
- Great locking technology
- Stable support
- Could offer more style choices.
- Sizes can run small.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When looking for the right CrossFit shoe for you, there are a few things you’ll want to consider as you evaluate what you need. While your budget will obviously be a factor, we’ll cover a few things you’ll want to look at when you investigate which type of shoe to purchase.
First, focus on what you’re going to be doing when you workout in the shoe, and consider exactly what you’ll need to use the shoes for. Along these lines, there are some features you’re going to want to have to make sure you get the comfort and support you need, and we’ll cover those below.
Quality CrossFit training shoes should come with a stiff, hard sole for many reasons. For instance, Reebok’s Nano has been so popular over the years because they created one of the best stiff soles made on any CrossFit training shoes, and that’s a plus.
One problem you’ll run into when you want to purchase a great CrossFit shoe is the sole—a lot of companies simply take the soles they use for running shoes and stamp them on their CrossFit shoes. Obviously, this doesn’t pan out well for cross-training, since running soles aren’t great for climbing and weightlifting, and you need a harder sole if you want a versatile shoe.
Soles on running shoes usually have about an inch of foam or gel between your foot and the ground, meaning the shoes work more like weight distribution function. Running shoes don’t work for other areas of cross training because cross-training requires a shoe that allows your foot to stay solid inside of it, making you stable and firm.
So, make sure you get a CrossFit shoe that has soles made out of something stiff and hard. You don’t want to purchase shoes that advertise CrossFit capabilities but are really made for running because they won’t help you balance out to lift weights, or give you grip when you climb.
Heel to Toe Drop
A quality CrossFit shoe should have a very small heel to toe drop, meaning the difference between the forefoot’s height and the heel’s height should be very small. A good CrossFit shoe will have a minimal drop, some have zero-drop features, and should be very flat from heel to the forefront.
Exactly how flat you want your shoe to be can be something that’s a personal opinion. Some people feel better in shoes that have a 6mm drop, which is on the higher side of the minimal drop scale for this type of shoes, while others want zero.
While personal opinion comes into play with the assessment of any shoe’s minimal drop, your decision should also depend on the type of workouts you plan on performing. If you plan to run more and want more support than a 6mm drop probably would be more comfortable. However, people planning to do more weightlifting probably want zero drop to feel more stability and support from their shoe’s foundations as they lift.
If you aren’t certain about what drop you want, you can always go to a local sports store and try some shoes with different levels of minimal drop on them to see what you feel most comfortable with. After you assess that, it’ll be easier for you to tell what types of shoes will make you feel comfortable, and what size of drop you need.
Good CrossFit shoes give you great options for lateral support. When training in CrossFit, torque builds up from our hips meaning your knees come out, placing weight on your outer heel area within your foot. Shoes without good lateral support are going to push your feet out over the sole, creating an over-the-top effect that isn’t comfortable and can hurt your feet.
Shoes that have good lateral support features usually include some kind of cage or wire that’s found in the center of the shoe. This cage or wire should hold the foot in place over the sole of the shoe, so that the foot doesn’t slide while you train, keeping your body stable and your feet comfortable, while preventing injuries.
When you’re looking for CrossFit training shoes with good lateral support, a feature you really do need to make sure you don’t lose your balance or injure yourself when you work out, try the shoes on and play around in them. Do some squats to see if your feet hold well in the middle of the shoe, or slip out or forward. If they hold well, look for the inner cage or wire in the shoe to ensure you’ve got a solid CrossFit Shoe with good lateral support.
Finding a CrossFit shoe that brings you good lateral support is a must. You’ll have more balance during your workouts and be better protected from accident, slips, or injuries when you train. This type of protection is certainly worth the value it’ll give you for your safety and health.
How comfortable your CrossFit shoes on your feet will be a matter of personal preference, but it’s certainly an important consideration. Feeling comfortable in your shoes as you train is one of the most important things you’ll need to look into, and what one person feels is comfortable to them when they train can be different from what you think feel comfortable to you. So, stick with your gut instinct and try on a few shoe styles.
One thing you’ll want to look at when feeling out the comfort and fit of a shoe is the midsole width in the shoe. These can vary depending on the shoe type, and you want to find one that will best fit your type of foot (narrow, wide, or medium feet).
Cushioning can also vary widely from shoe to shoe. Having too much cushioning in this type of shoe can throw off your balance when you weight lift. You need just enough cushioning to absorb shock while still keeping effective balance, and again, that depends on personal opinion. However, must feel that a quality CrossFit shoe has about 4mm of cushioning.
While CrossFit training techniques mean variety by definition of the training approach, nobody wants to have to purchase several different shoe types for their workouts. Buying one for everything you want to do is really the best and most cost-effective approach.
So, consider what you plan to do when you train, and how often you’ll do one activity compared to another. A quality CrossFit shoe made for versatility will have a durable outsole, stable soles for weightlifting, and enough flexibility to adapt to your feet when you run.
Q: What are the fundamental elements that make up a CrossFit Shoe?
A well-made CrossFit shoe should be able to help you stay active and comfortable in a wide variety of CrossFit movements and activities. So, taking into account the common activities when you embark on this type of training, you’ll need a shoe that can help you with deadlines, squats, sprints, box jumps, and rope climbing. CrossFit workouts are usually tough and include a lot of movement and activity combined with versatility, so you need an effective shoe that can meet all these needs.
The best types of CrossFit shoes offer you good stability and support when your lifting and jumping, but also can effectively help you run and climb ropes. So, most CrossFit shoes are a bit heavier and sturdier than running shoes, and a CrossFit shoe also has a different type of sole. You’ll notice that with a good CrossFit shoe, you’ll get a more solid and broad sole compared to a running shoe since a CrossFit shoe needs to help with stability and balance as well as providing flexibility when running.
Many CrossFit shoe types come with their own innovative features, like Reebok’s CrossFit Nano. Reebok’s classic CrossFit shoe includes a RopePro carbon rubber gripper that helps give you a better grip on rope climbs. What features you need and are willing to invest in really depends on what you plan to use the shoes for, and what your budget is.
Q: What’s the main difference between CrossFit shoes and running shoes?
Most CrossFit shoes are made to combine cross training features into a cross training shoe. However, the major difference we usually see with CrossFit shoes is that most of them are made to be more specialized and specific to meet the major demands of CrossFit workouts and those expectations.
Compared to a running shoe, a CrossFit shoe will typically provide you with more support and weigh a bit more than your average running shoe. There are many demanding heavy lifts and quick movements in CrossFit, so these shoes need to be designed to meet those needs. CrossFit shoes offer effective ankle support to prevent injury, something that most running shoes don’t provide.
Most CrossFit shoes can help prevent injury as long as you are lifting right and using the shoe correctly. Since CrossFit shoes are made to withstand many versatile movements, they work well to provide comfort, support, and stability for many workout styles.
When a person runs or jogs, they’re conducting one long exercise movement which, when compared to CrossFit’s quick and varied movements, means most running shoes won’t work well for CrossFit exercises. Running shoes aren’t meant to withstand the wide variety of quick changes in movement that you need to perform when doing CrossFit. Running shoes won’t give you the traction you need, or the balance and support necessary to perform well while doing CrossFit.
Since CrossFit means you’ll need to move in different ways, change directions, and lift some very heavy weights, you’ll need a lot of support to complete the lifting and jumps. CrossFit shoes provide the foundational support and balance to help you with all these movements, preventing slipping, falling, and injury. CrossFit shoes are going to weigh more than a running shoe, but that’s because of their many unique features that are necessary to have on the shoe that helps you perform well during CrossFit.
While both CrossFit shoes and running shoes can be durable and made to last, you’re much better off getting CrossFit shoes if you really want to do well in CrossFit. You might be able to get away with using running shoes for a time, but you’ll miss out on the benefits that can really boost your performance when you exercise. Also, you’re more likely to injure yourself if you wear running shoes during CrossFit, something you probably want to avoid at all costs.
Q: Can I use basketball shoes for CrossFit?
It might be tempting to grab an old pair of basketball shoes you already have to help save you a bit of money before going to any CrossFit training. However, this isn’t a good idea. Basketball shoes might sound like the movements in the game are comparable to CrossFit, but they don’t give you the coverage, support, and balance you need. Basketball shoes are made to be heavier and bulkier, and many are high-tops, which won’t give you the flexibility you’ll need to move well during CrossFit. You won’t find basketball shoes nearly as comfortable if you use them to do CrossFit in, and you might wind up injuring yourself because they restrict your movement.
In comparison, good CrossFit shoes will give you a nice, flat sole and allow your foot to move evenly over the floor, balancing you out and supporting you during heavy lists. Basketball shoes do not have flat soles, and that’s going to cause a problem for effective movement in CrossFit. Even though basketball shoes do cushion you when you jump, they won’t work well to balance you out or support you through all the elements and movements required in CrossFit, so it’s better to stay away from them and purchase a decent pair of CrossFit shoes.
Q: What do I need to look at for weightlifting, gymnastics, or running?
When looking at CrossFit shoes, you want something that’s going to combine comfort with the versatility you need for everything you do, and that includes weightlifting, gymnastics, and running. Most CrossFit shoes are designed well to provide good performance for all of these features, and some will offer better options than others to give you more benefits with one CrossFit focus. Finding a shoe that balances everything well can be difficult, and you might need to make some trade-offs, but if you know that you do better in one part of CrossFit, you might need to pick shoes that will help you out in the area where you need more help. So, if one of the features of CrossFit training isn’t working out as well as others, think about getting shoes that can help boost your level where you are weaker so that you more effectively balance yourself out.
If you focus on your weakness, then you can use your CrossFit shoes to train and focus on that area, making you better when you compete in CrossFit. That way, you can use the shoes and spend more time training in your weaker area, while you get used to your shoes. While we all like using our strengths to win, you need to be solid in several areas to compete well during CrossFit.
Q: Should I focus on competition or training when I buy my CrossFit shoe?
Really, this is a decision you’ll need to make for yourself before you buy your CrossFit shoe. If you know you’re going to compete in CrossFit, then you’ll want to spend time focusing on your weaknesses when you train, and probably want shoes designed to help give you a boost with those weaknesses. So, any CrossFit shoe that will help make you stronger and improve your weaker skills should make things easier for you as far as levels of improvement are concerned. For instance, if you don’t squat well, having a bit of elevation in the heel of your CrossFit shoe might help boost things for you.
If you are simply doing CrossFit to stay fit and don’t have any intentions to be competitive with it, then you’ll have a little slack as far as training and purchase your shoe is concerned. Again, it’s always good to focus on areas where you want to improve and buy the shoe that fits that purpose for CrossFit, but you’ll have more leeway if you are doing CrossFit for a workout.
Most CrossFit shoes are made to give you benefits so you perform well in many activities. The good CrossFit shoes focus on everything, including stability and support for weightlifting, cushioning and flexibility for running, breathability so your intense workout won’t affect your feet too much, and good protection. The balance in the best types of CrossFit shoes means you might need to deal with trade-offs when you make your purchase. But getting any CrossFit shoe should help balance you out and suit your versatility needs.
When you decide what type of CrossFit shoe to purchase, you’ll want to consider the comfort, durability, and stability of the shoe, making sure it meets your budget and workout needs. Picking a shoe that enhances an area where you are weaker should help improve your CrossFit skills overall and will make the final CrossFit shoe selection vary from person to person.
Whatever you purchase should make you feel comfortable and benefit your skills when you perform CrossFit. The better you feel with your shoes on, the better you’ll perform.