The Best

CrossFit Shoes – Find The Best CrossFit Shoe for You

If you are riding the wave of the CrossFit tsunami, odds are high that you’ve started noticing that footwear plays a large part in performance and comfort when rocking WODs. Whether you are a veteran CrossFit warrior or relatively new to the game, shoes play a crucial role in ensuring that you get the most effective workout possible.

Women's crossfit shoes

In this comprehensive guide to the best CrossFit shoes, we will dive into our top three and other recommended shoe options, as well as some testing criteria explanations, advice, frequently asked questions and more.

The goal is to make certain that when you are finished reading, you are armed with the knowledge necessary to pump out AMRAP box jumps and more with ease. Without any further ado, here are our top recommendations.

How We Tested Our Top Recommendations

The only way we could truly put these CrossFit shoes to the test was to try them out in a legitimate CrossFit focused environment. The perfect location for us here in sunny Jacksonville, Florida was the newly opened “Corkscrew” on the iconic Northbank Riverwalk on the picturesque St. Johns River.

The Corkscrew features workout equipment and amenities including free weights, yoga mats, jump ropes and medicine balls. A sculpture combines art and exercise by including pull-up bars and exercise rings. There is also outdoor seating and access to public restrooms.

This location provided us the opportunity to truly test out the breathability of these CrossFit shoes, as well as their performance across a variety of terrains.

Our WODs Performed

For the shoes we tested, we wanted to ensure we got a solid, equal set of exercises in for each of the shoes. We wanted to perform enough WODs to get a good sense of how the shoes performed under a variety of circumstances. This meant avoiding chest-only work WODs. The WODs performed were as follows:

  • Ten to One Countdown WOD. Perform ten kettlebell swings and ten dumbbell thrusters. A dumbbell thruster is when you hold a lighter dumbbell in front of the chest with both hands, squat in place, and then stand straight and raise the dumbbell overhead simultaneously. When ten of each are done, then rest, do nine, rest, do eight, all the way down to one rep of each.
  • SPPR WOD. This stands for squats, presses, pull-ups, and runs. This is three rounds of the following: a dozen front squats, ten pull-ups, and eight push-presses. Once this is complete, do a 200-yard sprint along the Riverwalk.
  • Ten for Ten. For ten minutes, perform as many possible rounds of ten reps of each: kettlebell swings, box jumps, and ring dips.
  • Burpees and Push-Ups in 5s. Perform five sets of the following three exercises – Five push-ups, five burpees, and a 200-yard sprint along the Riverwalk.

These four WODs, along with rest periods between sets, were a solid hour of conditioning work and intense interval training. Perfect for well-rounded, outdoor testing of some of the most effective CrossFit shoes ever manufactured.


CrossFit Shoe Summary Table

Shoe Brand and Style Name

Images

Our Rating and Notes

Rating: 5.0


Price: $$$


Notes: Top Choice.  Specifically designed for CrossFit.

Rating: 4.9


Price: $$

Rating: 4.8


Price: $$


Notes: Best minimalist choice.  Excellent overall.

Rating: 4.7


Price: $$$

Rating: 4.7


Price: $$$$


Notes: More lifting, less running.

Rating: 4.6


Price: $$$


Notes: Another solid minimalist option.

Rating: 4.4


Price: $$$$

Rating: 4.4


Price: $$

Rating: 4.2


Price: $$

Rating: 4.2


Price: $$


Notes: FiveFingers style if you're into that.

Rating: 4.0


Price: $$


Detailed Reviews: Finding the Best CrossFit Shoes

While we wish that we could recommend every single CrossFit shoe that went through our research and testing phases, such cannot be the case. We expected that there were going to be standouts amongst others in this realm. Our expectations were correct.

The top four are the standouts that we put through rigorous training in a real-world setting. These are our top choices listed below. To be honest, the ordering of these four was a bit of a coin flip since they all performed excellently.  There were also seven additional models that we were mostly impressed with, and they made their way onto our list as well to give you a few more options to look at.

1. Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

Reebok’s Nano line of CrossFit focused footwear has long been known for their ability to cross through barriers and push wearers to the next level of fitness. Their latest offering is the Reebok CrossFit Nano 9. It provides the agility and supportiveness that has been expected with Reebok, in addition to quite a few new and innovative sets of features to push things to the next level.

This model is incredibly versatile, and provides a very powerful foundation, a strong range of motion, and supportive, secure footing. The number of designs and colors available with this shoe have also been amped up. For these reasons and more, they were one of the highest shoes on our list of the best CrossFit shoes.

Video, photos, and prices of the Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 - Men's and the ​Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 - Women's​​​ are available at Reebok.

Highlighted Features

Reebok has incorporated their patented “Flexweave” technology into these shoes, offering a scientifically-engineered weaved fabric upper in a thin figure-eight style. This ensures enhanced levels of both flexibility and breathability in the upper of this shoe. Only found in the lightweight upper, this feature does not detract from the durability, reliability and performance of the midsole and sole.

One of the features of the Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 that ultimately led us to purchase and test these CrossFit shoes out was the incredibly roomy toe box. This went above and beyond competing CrossFit shoes, providing stability and comfort, two of the most important things in the fast-paced world of WODs and lifting.

The Nano 9’s toe box has a powerful launch adaptation to it, providing a perfect foundation for power, stability and fit. A wider than average toe box also provides enhanced movement and space, without making the parts of the shoe that should remain snug looser. It was truly the best of both worlds.

Results of Our Testing

These shoes absolutely killed in our testing (in a good way). They were the middle-ground weight-wise, with the Minimus on the lighter side and the Inov-8 235 v3 on the heavier end of the shoes we tested. This being the case, they provided ample support and traction when performing standard exercises, and worked flawlessly in sprinting across a variety of surfaces.

For heavy kettlebell swings, the grip provided was impressive, and for box jumps on a slippery and wet surface, we experienced no loss of traction or stability. The toe box is extremely roomy, and led to one of the most comfortable overall experiences that we have had with any shoe, period. Overall, these CrossFit shoes performed incredibly well, and we are more than satisfied to have purchased them and added them to our list of the best CrossFit shoes.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

As with any shoe, regardless of the praises sung in reviews and of course on their own web properties, there are going to be pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. The Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 is no exception. We would be remiss to only talk about the positives without touching on a few of the noticed drawbacks. Below are the advantages and disadvantages we found in our research and testing.

Advantages

These shoes had by far the widest toe box of any of the shoes on our list, which was one of the main reason we wanted to purchase them to try this feature out for ourselves. This feature, combined with the low-cut design, ensured free-flowing comfort throughout the workout process.

Additionally, these shoes come with minimal drop, which allows for a true barefoot experience. However, the thick padding in the sole ensures that you don’t end up dealing with after-workout soreness, all too common with the specific minimalist, barefoot shoe types that frequent the CrossFit realm.

Finally, an impressive level of traction on the sole helps the shoe grip better when sprinting, running or jumping, and when moving heavy objects. We have all seem someone (or been in a situation ourselves) drop a heavy weight because their feet come out from under them. With the CrossFit Nano 9, the odds of this occurring greatly decreases thanks to the traction provided by the rubber soles.

Potential Disadvantages

While we were testing, we noticed that there was a significant lack of flexibility when compared to thinner-soled models such as the New Balance Minimum. Regardless of the thicker sole and lack of flexibility, they were still astonishingly non-structured when it came to those who suffer from either flat feet or plantar fasciitis.

If you are a sufferer of either of these ailments, we urge you to try an alternative model of CrossFit shoe. However, if you aren’t concerned about this, it will be difficult to find a more qualified CrossFit shoe than the Reebok Nano 9.

Prices, reviews and photos:

2. New Balance Minimus 20v7

It should come as no surprise that a shoe from comfort-and-quality focused giant New Balance has made top marks on our list. New Balance tends to show up on almost every one of our top lists on Shoe Guide, and with good reason. Their offerings are built with the user in mind.

While they have been a company for well over a century, it is only in the past couple decades that their popularity has witnessed an impressive rise. This is due in part to the shoe options they provide spanning across many different sports and activities. CrossFit is no exception, especially with the New Balance Minimus 20v7.

Video, photos, and prices of the New Balance Minimus 20v7 and the New Balance Minimus 20v7 - Women's are available at New Balance.

Highlighted Features

These shoes are a bit expensive relative to some comparable alternative minimalist CrossFit options, however this expense comes with the benefit of ample features, a high-quality design, and extensive comfort and support.

The upper of the 20v7 is made from a yarn that is infused with nylon, making the material feel like a cross between blue jeans and a comfortable sweater. However, there is no lack of breathability, thanks to mesh windows in the sides of the upper, providing ample ventilation during even the most intense workouts in summer heat.

This shoe’s rubber sole is thin and Vibram branded, providing the stability, support and durability Vibram is always known for, along with the added bonus of a lighter shoe and less bulky feeling. The “asym” (asymmetrical) collar molds perfectly to the shape of the top of your foot, adding to the comfort that isn’t experienced in shoes with symmetrical collars. With all of this and a laundry list of color and style options, there was no doubting that we had to buy these and test them out.

Results of Our Testing

These shoes are a dream come true for those looking for a more minimalist, barefoot-style shoe. The upper materials were very breathable, even though the non-mesh sections seemed to be a bit “thick” (they weren’t). Even with a far thinner sole than the other two CrossFit shoes that were field tested, we experienced no lack of traction or comfort as a result.

This shoe is by far the lightest of the three, which makes them more breathable and increases the comfort and decreases fatigue in longer workouts. However, the durability may take a hit because of this. Please note the isolated issue in the Potential Disadvantages section below for more about this. Irregardless, this has become our daily wear shoe for more than just CrossFit.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the New Balance Minimus 20v7

As is the case with any shoe we review, regardless of the positive nature of product reviews and descriptions on their own sites, there are going to be pros and cons for everything. New Balance’s Minimus 20v7 is no exception to this. We wouldn’t be doing you any favors if we neglected mentioning some of the negative points we noticed in our testing processes. Below are the advantages and disadvantages we found in our testing and research.

Advantages

The very thin asymmetrical collar ensures the highest possible level of comfort. An incredibly thin tongue adds to this comfort level with minimal bulk in the forefoot. These also have a very thin sole, but not so thin that there were issues underfoot when stepping on surfaces that were not uniform. We expected these to be like the Nike Free shoes, where you can feel every pebble. Such was not the case.

These are also incredibly stylish CrossFit shoes. With their minimalist design, the New Balance Minimus 20v7 has a muted upper which we tested in navy blue. They are also very light, with a pair of them coming in at 12 ounces, some of the lightest exercise-related shoes we have ever used.

Potential Disadvantages

In comparison to the Reebok option above, we were surprised at the lack of space and roominess in the toe box. While working out, there were times during sprints or box jumps where we simply felt a bit cramped. Also, this may be an isolated issue, but after several wears, the glue on the bottom rubber (black part) of the sole on the left outside is starting to come undone already.

Prices, reviews and photos:

3. Inov-8 F-Lite 290

This is the ultra shoe, the perfect match-up for CrossFitters looking to truly step their game up. Touted as “the world’s toughest shoes for the world’s toughest workouts”, the Inov-8 F-Lite 290 training shoe has some of the most impressive technological advancements we have ever seen in sports-based multi-purpose shoes. We just had to grab a pair and check them out.

Inov-8 has continued their presence in the specialty exercise-related shoe world. While their short existence on the market have been marked with impressive showings in the world of all-terrain running, this new set of shoe options have made the promise of the perfect CrossFit shoe a reality.

Video, photos, and prices of the Inov-8 F-Lite 290 - Men's and the Inov-8 F-Lite 290 - Women's are available at Inov-8.

Highlighted Features

The most notable feature of the Inov-8 F-Lite 290, and many of their newer CrossFit shoe options, is the presence of Graphene. Graphene is a thin semi-metal that is durable and extremely tensile. Through the utilization of graphene, Inov-8 has been able to take some of the weight out of their shoe offerings, while retaining extensive durability. They are the first shoe manufacturer to utilize graphene in their shoes.

But that isn’t the only solid feature of these shoes. They are also impressively thin, flexible, and light, providing a feel that really moves with the foot. The grip on the soles (which are thicker than the other options we purchased and tested), provided exceptional grip on every surface we tested them on. The material is incredibly durable from the sole to the upper, providing a flexible, yet responsive sole.

A product review has also stated that these shoes are “50% stronger, more elastic, and harder wearing than other training shoes on the market”. Needless to say, we had to try this for ourselves.

Results of Our Testing

And try it we did. These shoes performed incredibly well in our testing. It was difficult to compare these shoes to the New Balance Minimus and the Reebok CrossFit Nano. They were at another level in many aspects, and had the price point to match this. One of the things we noticed right away, though, was that they were quite a bit heavier than the other two CrossFit shoes we tested, even with the Graphene.

However, this added weight didn’t really translate into the wearing process. To be honest, we didn’t notice the added weight when exercising. What we did notice was the impressive combination of flexibility and responsiveness. This is usually a one or the other trade-off when looking at shoes, and this goes double for CrossFit shoes. The Minimum was more flexible, the Reebok’s were more responsive. This was a solid middle ground of both, and we were fans of that.

We had no issues when sprinting, no issues when lifting, or doing box jumps, or kettlebell swings. The grip was perfect on wet concrete, and from what we have been told these are ideal for rope climbs as well.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Inov-8 F-Lite 290

As with any shoe, regardless of the praises sung in reviews and of course on their own web properties, there are going to be pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. The Inov-8 F-Lite 290 is no exception. We would be remiss to only talk about the positives without touching on a few of the noticed drawbacks. Below are the advantages and disadvantages we found in our research and testing.

Advantages

In addition to all the advantages we have already mentioned above, these shoes are built to last. They have the rugged nature that one would expect from a shoe twice its weight. We have been wearing these as our official workout shoes for a while now, and unlike most alternatives we have tried, these shoes are showing no signs of wear, not even in the sole as an over pronator.

Potential Disadvantages

So far in our long testing processes (outside of the initial test workout) we have noticed that the collar padding tends to get tight after long periods spent working out. They rubbed a bit, and this has persisted, but we got used to it. Additionally, compared to the New Balance and Reebok options, there was no mesh to enhance breathability, meaning our feet got very hot very fast.

Our Verdict

Overall, for the price point, these are absolute tanks of CrossFit shoes. If you’re looking for a shoe that will check all the boxes that are necessary for a stellar CrossFit workout, the Inov-8 F-Lite 290 is the shoe for you. Between incredible technological advancements, impressive grip, and a wonderful level of receptiveness, you can’t go wrong!

Prices, reviews and photos:

4. Reebok CrossFit Grace

The Reebok CrossFit Grace is a women-only CrossFit shoe specifically designed by Reebok to ensure that you can zip through your WODs with impressive breathability, durability and agility. Workout-tested, yet sleek in design, the Grace fits your look in and out of the gym.

Video, photos, and prices of the ​Reebok CrossFit Grace are available at Reebok.

Highlighted Features

These shoes are ideal for most surfaces, including gyms, flatter surfaces like pavement, and roads. Although we would not recommend them for rocky surfaces or slippery grass, as the soles don’t provide the level of grip that is experienced with competing models.

Made for functional fitness, one description of the Grace is: From the weight racks, climbing ropes, box jumps and more. These functional fitness shoes are designed with a specific goal and function in mind.

Advantages and Disadvantages

With their synthetic and mesh uppers providing comfort and breathability, their low-cut design allowing for extensive freedom of motion at the ankle, and a high-abrasion rubber outsole providing extensive durability, it’s hard to go wrong with the Reebok CrossFit Grace.

However, we would recommend this shoe for only indoor use, as the sole has less grip than many have hoped. Also, with a 4-millimeter heel to toe offset, this shoe is not ideal for those needing extensive room in the toe.

Our Verdict

Overall, our impression of the Reebok CrossFit Grace was positive. It’s refreshing to see a CrossFit shoe for women that doesn’t start with a design for men. With ample cushioning and high levels of comfort, these are the ideal indoor CrossFit shoes for those serious about upping their game.

Prices, reviews and photos:

5. Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v3

Inov-8’s F-Lite 235 v3 has been manufactured to specifically follow along with natural foot movements, adapting and enhancing without being a burdensome addition to your exercise regimen.

This shoe is chock-full of incredible features and highly innovative technology, protecting your foot and providing you with insane amounts of comfort, support, traction, supportiveness and stability. Whether you are sprinting, lifting, jumping, squatting, or anything in between, you won’t have any issues with this offering from Inov-8.

Video, photos, and prices of the Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v3 - Men's and the Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v3 - Women's are available at Inov-8.

Highlighted Features

The uppers of the F-Lite 235 v3 have been designed with protective overlays on top of incredible breathable and flexible mesh fabrics. Inov-8’s proprietary “ROPE-TEC” patterns across the upper of the shoes ensure that you won’t lose traction when doing rope climbing WODs and challenges.

Additionally, the midsole of this shoe carries PowerFlow+ technology, providing extensive absorption of impact and rebounds of energy. With an outsole that allows for forefoot flexibility, increased ease of movement from their v2 offering, and a 4-millimeter drop, this is the quintessential CrossFit shoe for those with the pockets to pay for quality.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v3 comes with incredible versatility as a solid “all around” CrossFit shoe option. Additionally, it has an unheard of 4-millimeter heel to toe drop, providing great flexibility throughout the forefoot and midfoot, as well as comfort in a diminutive package. Also, its “Powerflow+” midsole provides great supportiveness, perfect for those with flat footedness or plantar fasciitis, and intense traction for wetter, more intense workouts.

The only con that we have been able to discern outside of the slightly elevated price point is that the fit tends to be a bit tight. If you plan on purchasing these and have wider feet, you need to take this into account when trying them on.

Our Verdict

Overall, our research and testing into the Inov-8 F-Lite 235 v3 have shown impressive results. With a cushion-fronted midsole, outsoles that glide and move with the foot, and uppers that support and protect the feet while remaining breathable, we were hard-pressed to find any downsides.

This CrossFit shoe is the ideal option for a versatile range of gym activities. In the end, what more can you ask for?

Prices, reviews and photos:

6. Inov-8 Bare-XF v2

Inov-8 has multiple entries in our list of the best CrossFit shoes. Another Inov-8 option that we were impressed with was the Bare-XF. 

Video, photos, and prices of the Inov-8 Bare-XF v2 - Men's and the Inov-8 Bare-XF v2 - Women's are available at Inov-8.

Highlighted Features

The Inov-8 Bare-XF is unique in that it has zero drop. What this means is that the forefoot and the heel of the shoe lie completely flat on the sole. There is no height difference, and thus it feels as if you are standing barefoot on the ground. This, combined with a very thin midsole, means that this is one of the strongest option for those looking for a “barefoot-feel” CrossFit shoe. However, this comes at a disadvantage for those looking for a bit more shock absorption. We don’t recommend this shoe if you plan on doing any quick sprints.

Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the main advantages we found with the Inov-8 Bare-XF was a commonality among all Inov-8 CrossFit shoes: no need for break-in. What this means is that the shoes will feel like you’ve been wearing them for that sweet spot of three or so months as soon as you put them on. However, this can lead to a potential disadvantage. The shoe needs to be extremely comfortable upon first wear. If not, it could lead to painful WODs in the future. There is no middle ground with the Bare-XF.

However, with sticky, graphene gripping soles, prominent horizontal flex grooves, and Rope-Tec (Inov-8’s proprietary “ROPE-TEC” patterns across the upper of the shoes ensure that you won’t lose traction when doing rope climbing WODs and challenges), it’s difficult to go wrong with the Bare-XF.

Our Verdict

Overall, if you are looking for a thinner-soled, zero drop CrossFit shoe that will make you feel like you’re wearing nothing at all, the Bare-XF is the perfect choice for you. Coming from a new to the scene company that is passionate about CrossFit and ensuring their users are satisfied, there are minimal disadvantages to this wonderful minimalist option.

Prices, reviews and photos:

7. Nike Metcon 5

We all know Nike. They are always going to put 110 percent into every shoe they develop. The Metcon 5 is no detraction to this. They are extremely durable, and are manufactured with speed, grip, stability and explosive movement in mind for CrossFit enthusiasts.

The newer 5 model has been built with reinforced uppers pushing from the toe to the heel, as well as six more eyelets, providing tighter and more accurate lacing (keep in mind you will need extra-long shoelaces for these). These shoes are made with dependability as a major focus for the CrossFitter. Their snug fit and their lightweight and breathable construction ensure that these shoes will last workout after workout.

Video, photos, and prices of the Nike Metcon 5 - Men's and Nike Metcon 5 - Women's are available at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Highlighted Features

With proprietary technologies that are Nike-only, the Metcon 5 is made with filaments placed perfectly through the construction of the shoe. They operate similar to how suspension cables of a bridge do when in use, cradling the midfoot.

But what does this mean for your workouts? Pinpoint accurate support that moves as you do, providing extensive absorption of tensions when needing it (box jumps, calf raises and more).

Advantages and Disadvantages

The Nike Metcon 5 contains a drop-in midsole, providing extensive support in the sole. Additionally, molded flex grooves and sticky forefoot rubber allows for strong flexibility and a solid design. Finally, maximum hell support ensures that ample movement and pivoting won’t lead to pain.

However, the Nike Metcon 5 also comes with a bit tighter of a toe box, which can make for difficult movement and limited roominess. Also, the laces can be a bit slick. This means that they will come undone more often than hoped, even when double knotted.

Our Verdict

Participating in the level of exercise that intense CrossFit workouts provide will cause extensive heat and friction throughout the body, most centered around the feet as they will be the most covered and layered. The midsole of the Nike Metcon 5 is made with films that are resistant to abrasion. This helps to reduce friction and workout-related heat.

This, in turn, makes sure you have a comfortable, supportive, and traction-focused experience throughout your time using the Metcon 5 for CrossFit.

Prices, reviews and photos:

8. NoBull Training Shoes

NoBull Training Shoes are a minimalist specialized CrossFit shoe to the scene. They have become incredible popular amongst CrossFit enthusiasts, due mainly that they truly live up to the name they have given to their brand.

Built to work across a wide expanse of exercise regimes and workouts, these CrossFit shoes work wonderfully in any environment in which you choose to exercise. From indoors to outdoors, dry to wet, hard surfaces to grassy fields, the NoBull Trainers will keep you powering through.

Video, photos, and prices of the NoBull Training Shoe are available at Amazon.

Highlighted Features

These shoes have an upper that is manufactured from NoBull’s trademark “SuperFabric”. This fabric is an elastic, flexible, stretchy material that provides both enhanced breathability and a lighter overall weight for the shoe. Also abrasion-resistant, these shoes are not prone to wearing out or breaking down quickly.

Additionally, guard plates located in issue-prone areas have been added onto the upper, ensuring that there is no damage to the shoe or foot when climbing ropes or performing other high-impact activities that commonly can break shoes down quickly.

Finally, its impressive tread ensures that the NoBull Training Shoes work effectively regardless of terrain or weather conditions. You can traverse from a gym to running outside on wet pavement with zero problems. Stellar support and traction is the name of the NoBull game, ideal for those practitioners of CrossFit.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of the NoBull Training shoes include a multitude of pros for their SuperFabric, including thin, breathable uppers with thicker guard plates to prevent injury. Additionally, impressive levels of flexibility and support make this the ultimate cross-training shoes for serious competitive CrossFitters.

Also, resistance to abrasion is another layer of protection and support, and helps increase the longevity of the shoe, saving you money in the end. Finally, a durable lug pattern ensures that these shoes are built like a tank, and perform like one as well.

However, for every advantage there is likely to be a corresponding disadvantage. We found in our research that the NoBull Training Shoes tend to run small. As such, we recommend sizing up one to start, and working your way up or down from there. Additionally, with their minimal drop and extremely thin sole, we don’t recommend these shoes to those with knee issues, flat footedness, or plantar fasciitis.

Our Verdict

Overall, we were extremely impressed with the NoBull CrossFit shoes, and had no issues adding them to our list of the best CrossFit shoes. While they can run small, and come at a higher price point than most alternatives, we were still blown away by the laser-targeted feature set, ideal for CrossFitters.

Prices, reviews and photos:

9. Altra HIIT XT 2

Altra is still a rather new brand to the shoe scene, just barely around for a decade now. Regardless of this, they have developed a wonderful reputation as being one of the best shoe brands for runners. The HIIT is their foray into the world of CrossFit, and it is done in proper style.

With synthetic mesh upper materials and a solid rubberized outsole, the Altra HIIT XT 2 Cross Trainer shoes have ample features that make them ideal for both high intensity interval training (HIIT, the namesake) and CrossFit as a whole.

Video, photos, and prices of the Altra HIIT XT 2 - Men's and the Altra HIIT XT 2 - Women's are available at Zappos.

Highlighted Features

The Altra HIIT 2 has a midsole comprised of sticky rubber, making it simple to obtain traction when climbing on ropes, a common CrossFit exercise. Additionally, it comes with a removable insole, which makes life easier for those with flat footedness or plantar fasciitis, needing a customized orthotic insole to enhance their comfort levels. However, the shoe was developed to be very comfortable for most with the insole in.

This shoe also promotes the natural positioning of the foot, with a roomy toe box and plenty of room to move around while remaining snug. Finally, these are some of the most stylish CrossFit shoes that we found in our research. From tennis shoes to running shoes and now into the world of CrossFit.

Advantages and Disadvantages

For the price point that the Altra HIIT XT2 comes in at, there is a surprising amount of “technology” and a stellar feature set behind this shoe. With development that gears the shoe specifically to CrossFit, they are ideal for all facets of CrossFit and cross training activity.

The only disadvantage that we found to this shoe is that the company itself is still relatively new, and even some of their flagship models still have not had the “age” and versioning to ensure that any bug is fixed properly.

Our Verdict

Overall, we were surprisingly impressed at this lower-cost CrossFit shoe model. With their rubber sole, sticky rubberized midsole, removable outsole and breathable fabric mesh upper, the Altra model provides a perfect blend for CrossFit enthusiasts to perform time and time again.

Prices, reviews and photos:

10. Vibram FiveFingers V-Train

The V-Train CrossFit shoe of the FiveFingers line by Vibram is probably one of the most well-recognized training shoes to date. With its “five fingers” design that looks like a toe sock, there will be no question that your workout will be agile and explosive. The shoe is extremely comfortable, and feels light on your foot when used for extended timeframes compared to other “lightweight” training shoes.

Video, photos, and prices of the Vibram V-Train - Men's and the Vibram V-Train - Women's are available at Dick's.

Highlighted Features

The Vibram FiveFingers V-Train comes with an extremely lightweight upper, mid, and a thin rubber sole, commonplace with Vibram products. With an impressive level of grip from both the sole and the split toe design, these shoes are ideal for versatile and multi-faceted CrossFit workout regimens and WODs.

With a vented mesh upper, your feet will feel nice and cool in these shoes, which provide enhanced flexibility akin to a barefoot shoe, but with a bit more structure. Additionally, specialized RTLs (rope traction lugs) are in the arch, providing enhanced grip for rope climbing activities. There are also circular lug patterns, providing grip when moving laterally. The upper material is a mixture of spandex and polyester, and the mesh TPU panels are throughout the upper as well.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to the Vibram FiveFingers V-Train. Many were impressed with the barefoot-like feel that the trainers provided, along with the very efficient level of grip. Additionally, the lateral support compared to alternative thinner-soled shoes is top notch. Finally, many noted that the upper materials ensured the inside of the shoe remained well ventilated.

However, there were a few disadvantages noted. There are some who state that the laces and strap together are extremely redundant, and just lead to excessive tightness. Also, it is noted that the strap’s hook and loop Velcro-style closure consistently came loose, especially when wet or damp.

Our Verdict

Overall, the Vibram FiveFingers V-Train is a highly comfortable shoe that feels light on the foot, especially over long time periods. It is perfect for barefoot running enthusiasts looking to take their passion to the CrossFit world.

Prices, reviews and photos:

11. Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoes

This may not be what you’d expect for CrossFit. We feature these more heavily in our guide to the Best Weightlifting Shoes. However, the Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoes (not to be confused with the Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes) work wonderfully for the world of CrossFit.

Video, photos, and prices of the Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoe are available at Amazon.

Highlighted Features

The soles of these shoes are low and stiff, making them perfect for anything relating to lifting, box jumps, and more. These are ideal for when your WOD includes heavy lifting. The heel is well-built and strong, assisting you to maintain your balance when moving weights and more.

They are also quite flexible, while remaining impressively stable. This being the case, these are not the ideal shoes to take a jog in. They also have minimal grip, as the Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoes are built exclusively for gym floors. We wouldn’t recommend taking these out into gravel. But again, they are made for a specific purpose, and they do that specific purpose very well.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoes have a focus on lifting heavy objects and putting them back down. However, they can work surprisingly well for CrossFit. Sprinting can be a little bit difficult due to the bulk of the shoe and the pattern of the treads. However, utilization for more stationary exercises is ideal.

Our Verdict

Overall, these weightlifting shoes excel on lifting day, but would not be good for any CrossFit day where a lot of cardio is going to need to be done. Check your WODs, and if there is a good bit of heavy lifting, strap these bad boys on and give things a go. Again, remember, the Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoes are different than the Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes.

Prices, reviews and photos available on Amazon.


How We Made Our Decisions

There were quite a few factors that played into what landed us on the above 11 cross training shoes as being the best shoes for CrossFit. Three of the most prevalent factors involved in our research were shoe quality, feedback review and brand recognition.

Shoe Quality

The level of quality is by far the most important piece that we considered when researching which products would be present in our guide for the best CrossFit shoes. Quality is crucial when it comes to training-related shoes.

Remember, these shoes are going to experience extensive stress when training gets difficult. For this reason, they need to be durable enough to truly take a beating time and time again.

As such, we at Shoe Guide have taken the time to examine the shoe quality of each pair of shoes that we put into consideration. We do this to make sure that you won’t end up disappointed upon your experiences over time.

Feedback Review​​​​

Customers who purchased and tested the pairs of shoes already are going to be the most vocal critics of their experiences. You can always count on customers to have their opinion about their shoes.

Product reviews from existing owners are a wonderful medium for discovering in-the-field feedback about the product you are looking to purchase. This goes for everything, not just CrossFit shoes. We check reviews extensively to determine which “finalist” options are going to be tested.

A couple of negative reviews are not worth considering a shoe to be useless. There are times when customers may have had a one-off bad experience, or could even be reviewing the wrong shoe (their naming conventions can get tricky, after all).

We tend to avoid product reviews by people in the field or industry, as these tend to be paid advertising or promotional placements. Much like Instagram influencers finding products “incredible”, we aren’t going to let companies with extensive marketing dollars for promotional influence throw clear water on something that seems muddy.

Brand Recognition

Finally, we do put some weight into general brand recognition. Simply put, there are some brands that you know are going to put out solid products. Brands like New Balance tend to have a winner in whatever category we review here at Shoe Guide, and that’s no coincidence.

Some brands have extensive research and development budgets, that go a long way into the manufacture of a shoe that serves a specific purpose or is meant for a specific subset of users. This is the case with CrossFit shoes.

Mens crossfit shoes

Things to Look for in the Best CrossFit Shoes

While our research and testing at Shoe Guide is extensive, we are not perfect. As such, we try to stick to a credo and strict listing of features that we specifically examine and research as a baseline.

Even though there are a ton of different features available in even the simplest of shoes, for CrossFit, we are looking at a few things. These categories include: Level of comfort, ability to absorb shock, breathability, overall style, longevity and durability, and supportiveness.

Level of Comfort

Comfort is obviously the most important feature to be on the lookout for when considering CrossFit shoes to purchase. Comfort and performance go hand in hand. Imagine attempting to complete an intense WOD with shoes that crush your feet with every step, or have enough space in between your foot and the shoe to build a house. Things aren’t going to work out very well in the end.

There are a ton of different factors that play into the comfort level of a shoe. What makes this even more difficult is that a shoe that is comfortable for one person may be awful for another. It’s completely up to personal preference what level of comfort is derived from any one pair of CrossFit shoes.

However, a few general notions are relatively standard. Toe boxes, for one, need to usually be pretty wide for CrossFit workouts. Toes that are compressed are going to hinder the jumping and running process, and can cause extensive friction-based irritation. For CrossFit, the sole of the shoes need to be a good mix of rigidity and flexibility.

Ability to Absorb Shock

Anybody who has worked through a particularly intense CrossFit workout understands shock absorption is one of the most important factors in your shoe. You will be hard pressed to find a type of exercise comparable to CrossFit in the level of intensity and shock that the feet go through.

Wearing a pair of shoes that fail to assist in lessening impact over the course of an intense WOD is going to be highly inadequate and can easily lead to strain, overextension, and injury. A pair of the best CrossFit shoes is going to provide shock absorption from the most basic to the most demanding CrossFit workouts.

Breathability

Breathability is crucial. It influences the entire training process. Shoe designs that are totally sealed will lack the breathability of mesh alternatives. From this, comfort levels will decrease, sweat will build up, and you can experience severe rubbing and discomfort.

Heat accumulation of the inside of the shoe produces excessive sweat, leading to an overall decrease in the performance of a CrossFit workout. It can also have detrimental effects on the grip present between the inner sole of the shoe and the foot, as well as the generation of obviously unwanted odor.

Many times, including in our testing regimen, CrossFit workouts are performed outside in the sun. At these such occasions, breathability plays an even larger role. The best CrossFit shoes have breathable uppers, allowing air to flow freely around the foot and into the shoe.

Overall Style

This might seem a bit haughty, but the style of the shoe matters. We cover this in all our guides to various types of shoes. Why? You don’t want to get stuck with a style of shoe that you regret. Remember, you’re going to be looking down at these shoes dozens of times per workout for months on end.

While this might not seem like a big deal for some, it can be a deal breaker for others. Think about it. If you can get to 90% perfection but the shoe looks like a gaudy neon nightmare to you, you will feel worse about it than a shoe that gets you 80% of the way there and you are happy with the way it looks.

Longevity and Durability

This might seem a bit haughty, but the style of the shoe matters. We cover this in all our guides to various types of shoes. Why? You don’t want to get stuck with a style of shoe that you regret. Remember, you’re going to be looking down at these shoes dozens of times per workout for months on end.

While this might not seem like a big deal for some, it can be a deal breaker for others. Think about it. If you can get to 90% perfection but the shoe looks like a gaudy neon nightmare to you, you will feel worse about it than a shoe that gets you 80% of the way there and you are happy with the way it looks.

Supportiveness

The feet and ankles of Crossfitters are bound to be experiencing a ton of movement across an amalgamation of positions over the course of an intense CrossFit session. What this means is that a good pair of CrossFit shoes will need ample support, lest you risk causing injury or worse.

While injury is still possible with the high-intensity workouts regardless of the supportiveness of the shoes you choose, having a good amount of support in your shoes serves to drastically reduce the level of risk involved with CrossFit. Supportiveness also assists for those who have flat feet or suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Frequently Asked Questions About CrossFit Shoes

How often should CrossFit shoes be replaced?

The feet and ankles of Crossfitters are bound to be experiencing a ton of movement across an amalgamation of positions over the course of an intense CrossFit session. What this means is that a good pair of CrossFit shoes will need ample support, lest you risk causing injury or worse.

While injury is still possible with the high-intensity workouts regardless of the supportiveness of the shoes you choose, having a good amount of support in your shoes serves to drastically reduce the level of risk involved with CrossFit. Supportiveness also assists for those who have flat feet or suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Are CrossFit shoes comparable to weightlifting shoes?

There are some major differences between CrossFit shoes and weightlifting shoes. Shoes made specifically for weight lifting and power lifting are notoriously bulky, thick and stiff. They provide a solid platform for those looking to move heavy objects. If you attempt to do serious CrossFit workouts like jumping, running and more with weightlifting shoes, you’re going to have a very rough time and extremely sore feet afterwards.

Can I use my CrossFit shoes for regular sports and running?

CrossFit shoes are more than adequate for such activities as lifting, sprinting, climbing, jumping and more. Terrains such as hardwood and concrete should not pose any issues. Dodgeball? Go for it. Boxing? Maybe you should check out our guide to the best boxing shoes. For most other activities, though, if you’re looking for a better general shoe, you might want to look into a pair of standard tennis shoes.

As far as running is concerned, we would not recommend these being your typical running shoes. Instead, we recommend our list of the best running shoes. These types of shoes will not have the cushioning and support needed for any type of distance running. While there are some brands that support runners in addition to CrossFit, those are few and far between.

Getting to the Finish Line

Purchasing a pair of the best CrossFit shoes is going to make all the difference in your intense workouts. Regular shoes just are not going to beat specifically-made manufacturing efforts, designed just for CrossFit.

However, with this, the advanced features and customized options come at a slightly higher cost when compared to standard footwear. Those who are looking to optimize every aspect of their CrossFit training, and are willing to pay for the added cost and investment, will experience the benefit.

Whether stability enhancements for heavier lifting of weights, or massive amounts of shock absorption for the explosive movements common in CrossFit, specialized cross training shoes will work to bring things up a notch.

All things considered, a high-quality pair of CrossFit shoes, like the ones reviewed above, and the knowledge needed for requested features and things to look out for, will provide the most optimal opportunities for CrossFit enthusiasts. We hope the information we have provided leave you with a more confident approach to your own CrossFit shoe research.

Leave a Comment