The Ultimate List of CrossFit Shoes That Will “Step Up” Your Game
You’re a CrossFit enthusiast…okay, maybe more of a fanatic.
You live and breathe the sport, and want to make sure your game is at pique levels. You have the chalk, the Reebok attire, bag, and you might even have a headband to keep your sweaty hair out of your eyes.
But what about footwear?
For the quick and dirty list of shoes, browse the links below:
Truth be told, a solid CrossFit athlete is built from the ground up. So you need to elevate your shoes in order to optimize your WOD or competition performance.
Luckily, we have the one-stop, everything-you-need-to-know guide on CrossFit footwear, along with the top 5 shoes on the market.
For exactly what you should be looking for in your Box kicks, read on!
What Are CrossFit Shoes Exactly?
If you didn’t know this before, there are shoes specifically designed for CrossFit, like cleats for soccer and football or high tops for basketball.
Most shoes have an arch in the middle to help with the natural curvature of your feet. The problem with wearing a normal tennis shoe or sneaker while working out in CrossFit is that this arch alters your position.
You’re probably not looking for an injury during your workout, so you want a shoe that is flatter than most.
A shoe as tough as you – this is what you’re looking for. You do a bunch of different things throughout a week’s worth of WODs.
Low arch, durability for ropes and terrain, and extra room at the front of the shoe.
If you have a wide toe box built into the shoe, your toes can spread out, which allows for weight distribution and “maintaining proper knee and hip alignment.”
Benefits of CrossFit Shoes
As previously mentioned, there are a plethora of pros to have a pair of CrossFit-centric shoes:
- Wide toe box = Better weight distribution
- Low arch (or drop) = Avoiding front load
- Lightweight = Speed + less load in quick movements (and box jumps)
- Ultra-durable = Ability to cut, traction, and constant wear-and-tear
Just like a basketball shoe offers amazing traction and ankle support, CrossFit shoes are built to better your workout performance.
These shoes are ideal no matter if you do CrossFit as a way to stay in shape or if you’re a CrossFit competitor.
The type of shoe matters. The cons of not grabbing a pair of CrossFit trainers as an investment are a decline in your performance and an increased potential of injury.
You want none of these things, so it’s best to get shoes that kick ass and keep your feet and ankles healthy.
Considerations Before Buying
So now you know the importance of owning CrossFit shoes. But there are too many options out there – how do you choose?
Well, before you go out and decide on your favorite brand or the ones that look “hella cool,” take time to research what’s really important to have in a CrossFit trainer.
If you’re a running back playing football, you can’t have a cleat with high ankle support, because it takes away your cutting ability.
The same thing applies to CrossFit. You need to move quickly, be sturdy in your weighted movements, and have a pair of trainers that last a long time.
Here is a great guide to determine which shoe is right for you:
Weight: The biggest factor to take into consideration, how much your shoe weighs is vital to CrossFit performance. It might not seem this way, but 100 box jumps, running 3 miles, and endless burpees will make you want to measure every single gram in your shoe. Go as light as possible.
Durability: CrossFit shoes are definitely an investment. You want your footwear to last when you put it through unbelievable stress. If it’s lightweight but breaks two weeks in, what’s the point? Be that guy who comes in three years later and have someone say to you, “Bro, you’ve had those kicks forever!”
Flexibility: While this is a lot to ask of a single pair of shoes, you want them to be lightweight, durable, AND flexible. Your feet move during the span of a Workout Of the Day, so you need a shoe that moves just as well.
Arch: It might be uncomfortable for you to go from a normal arch support to a near-flat sole. A suggestion would be to slowly move down the “drop,” which is the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot. While this isn’t necessarily the arch perse’, you’re on the prowl for a shoe that makes for a flatter feel. Similar to your squats, go as low as you safely can with your CrossFit shoes.
Top CrossFit Shoes Reviewed
These are the best shoes on the market for CrossFit performance. The criteria for this list is based on the characteristics mentioned above: Weight, durability, flexibility, and arch.
Reebok Nano 6
This first shoe is a 2 generations behind the Nano 8 (covered later), think of like better Nano 2 (the gold standard). The Nano 6 is reinforced with Kevlar, which increases durability while increasing strength.
It also has a “DuraGrip” layer that helps with toe durability and protection, as well as a compression mold mid-sole for both cushion and shock absorption.
All of this is to say, this shoe is built for CrossFit comfort.
As for CrossFit practicality, there is a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, a small drop for enhanced performance. Another feature for the Nano 6 is the “raised outside lug pattern” on the outsole, giving you better traction for your cuts, jumps, and snatches.
From the looks of them, the toe is incredibly wide, allowing room to spread your toes and achieve proper weight distribution.
The great thing about a shoe that’s a little older is you get a better idea about how others feel. On Reebok’s site, the Nano 6 has a 4.6 star rating and a 96% recommendation.
With a natural fit and reinforced materials, you can’t go wrong with this CrossFit classic.
Nike Metcon 4
Nike gives you what you want in a CrossFit shoe. The Metcon 4’s claim to fame is how durable and stable it is. No matter if you’re sprinting, climbing rope, or anything in between, this sneaker is a good option for the entire CrossFit arsenal.
This shoe has a firm heel and a soft, flexible forefoot, making the midsole efficient for training. It’s also lightweight; the Metcon 4 has “embroidered material in high-wear areas,” adding to the durability, while keeping the weight low by only reinforcing the shoe in places in need of such reinforcement.
Weighing only 11.5 ounces, you’ll be able to fly in this shoe.
The heel-to-toe drop offset is 4mm, just like the Reebok Nano 7. They have flywire cables so the shoe stays snug, mesh to keep them airy, a heel clip that “helps reduce drag during wall exercises,” and powerful traction with rubber found in the forefoot.
Specifically for rope workouts, there’s textured rubber in the mid-foot for optimal durability when you’re climbing like a maniac.
It’s easy to favor a Nike shoe over others at times, but when it comes to your CrossFit sneaker, make sure you check the reviews and exactly what it provides.
Nike Free X Metcon
The second Nike shoe on this list, the differences between the Nike Free X Metcon are enough for them to both be included.
This might be the coolest looking shoe of the five. Breathable and stable, the Flywire makes this shoe perfect for “lightweight ventilation and lockdown for intense cross-training activities.”
The Flyknit is combined with the laces to offer additional support. These also have foam cushioning, heel clips, and sticky rubber like the earlier Metcon model.
The difference between this shoe and the other Metcon (and every other sneaker on this list) is the heel-to-toe drop. It’s a little higher on the Nike Free X Metcon, at 6mm.
When you put them on, you feel a bit taller, and the mid-sole is tough to compress under your feet. This makes the Nike Free X Metcon an ideal option for people slowly changing their drop, but otherwise it might be best to check out the other choices.
The origin of Flyknit is quite interesting. Runners gave feedback to Nike, saying they wanted the shoe to fit like a sock: Unnoticed and snug. It took Nike 4 years, but they finally figured out how to utilize knitted technology.
What you get is a seamless, beautiful CrossFit trainer guaranteed to make a statement in your local Box.
They are a little on the spendy side, but what you get is a good-looking shoe with outstanding support, exceptional durability, and light fabric. If you enjoy the feel of Flyknit, this is the ultimate shoe for you.
Reebok Nano 8
The newer brother of the Nano 6, Reebok took the best of from the previous edition and made it better. With a sleeker design and updated footwear technology, Reebok claims the Nano 8 was “Created by CrossFitters, for CrossFitters.”
Reebok’s version of Nike’s Flyknit is called “NanoWeave,” which adorns the upper part of the shoe and allows for breathability and incredible comfort.
It has a low-cut design, giving your ankle room to maneuver during your workouts, and an ortholite sockliner that cushions every blow your explosive lifts bring.
Like the previous shoes on the list, the Nano 8 has a 4mm drop, reinforced heel clips, and rubber traction, so you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
You might be wondering: Why is the 8 super cheap compared to its predecessor the 6? Well, if you look on Reebok’s site, you can see that reviews are everything.
Compared to the 4.6 star rating and 96% recommendation the earlier version totes, this particular sneaker has a 3.7 star rating (with a similar amount of reviews) and only a 69% recommendation.
It appears some love the newer shoe, claiming it’s the best CrossFit trainer out there; others don’t like how narrow this shoe fits, and are disappointed that they discontinued adding Kevlar to the upper.
If you have a narrow foot and like to look awesome in your CrossFit shoes, the Reebok Nano 8 is a solid choice. But if you know your foot to feel better in a wide-set shoe, opt for the 6 instead.
The only non-mainstream choice on this list, NOBULL Project is a company built around the CrossFit culture. They can meet all apparel needs when it comes to looking fly as hell in your Box. But their trainers are show stealers.
There are multiple types of trainers on their site, so this will focus on their first low-cut design, the Charcoal Heather Trainer.
The upper for this shoe is comprised of what NOBULL calls “SuperFabric,” which – you guessed it – gives you exceptional breathability, durability, flexibility, and is also abrasion resistant.
The outsole lug pattern is created with multi-environment in mind; no matter if you’re out on a trail run or doing your favorite exercise in the Box (burpees!), you’ll have enough support and traction to conquer anything your workout throws at you.
A 4mm heel-to-toe drop seems to be the standard in CrossFit trainers, and the Charcoal Heather is no exception. They also have a reflective logo for visibility in low light situations.
Plus, NOBULL added “high carbon lateral and medial for added protection on sidewalls.” To top it all off, the design of this shoe is gorgeous as far as trainers go. Simple and elegant, with safety as the main priority.
If you aren’t a big Reebok or Nike fan, this is a fantastic alternative. NOBULL’s brand is built on perseverance, toughness, and dedication, while cutting out unnecessary BS.
You feel the same way while kicking ass day in and day out doing CrossFit; you want footwear that mirrors your dedication to the sport and your health.
If you aren’t sure which shoe to try out, just remember the order of importance: Weight, durability, flexibility, arch. Your CrossFit shoe has to be lightweight, because speed is the key in most workouts. Then it has to be ultra durable – it’s an investment, so it needs to last.
Next, you have got to be flexible for cutting and distributing weight evenly across your body during weight training. Finally, the heel-to-toe drop should be at least flatter than your normal tennis shoe or sneaker, to aid in weight distribution.
After that, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference. If your foot is narrow, go for the Reebok Nano 8. If you want unchallenged comfort, trust in the Reebok Nano 6.
If you enjoy the feel of Flywire and Flyknit, either of the two Metcon shoes are optimal for your purposes. And if you want to make a statement, leave all of the fluff behind, and kick some serious behind in workouts, NOBULL’s got your back.
Whichever one you choose, you can “rest” assured that your fresh pair of CrossFit kicks will “step up” your game to levels you’ve never reached before. Push yourself in the right shoes, and you’ll love the results you see!
Now get to stepping!