You probably already have an idea of what CrossFit is all about. But, before we reveal our picks for the best CrossFit shoes currently on the market, let’s begin with a brief but necessary introduction.
CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program designed to improve all aspects of an individual’s fitness (e.g. strength, flexibility, speed, balance, agility, etc.). As part of this broad goal, participants train in diverse and randomized physical challenges.
On any given Workout of the Day (WOD), you will find yourself performing a multitude of movements: running, jumping, squatting, pulling, pushing. And if you’re like us, you will inevitably wonder what to wear to CrossFit to perform these exercises at the most efficient level. You will also most likely come to the conclusion that those running shoes you used for Insanity just aren’t cutting it. This is why it is so important to have a quality shoe designed specifically for the athleticism required of CrossFit athletes. Whether you need a flat, hard-soled lifting shoe with minimal padding for your squats and deadlifts or an all-around shoe to use during burpees, double unders, and rope climbs, we’ve reviewed them all and narrowed it down to the best by category. Our picks are based off of what countless CrossFitters have emphasized as most important to them, so you can be confident that you are purchasing a solid pair of CrossFit shoes.
And ladies, if you are looking for the right shoes for your CrossFit workouts, be sure to check out this list of top CrossFit shoes for women.
|Inov-8 F-lite 240
||Vibram Five Fingers SeeYa
||Inov-8 F-lite 262
||Reebok CrossFit Lifter
||Converse Chuck Taylors
|Materials||Upper: Mesh; Insole: Injected EVA; Outsole: Rubber w/ Meta-Flex grooves||Upper: Polyester mesh; Insole: Polyurethane; Outsole: TC-1 Rubber||Upper: Synthetic mesh & TPU; Insole: Injected EVA; Outsole: Rubber w/ Meta-Flex grooves||Upper: Synthetic leather; Insole: Polyurethane; Outsole: Rubber||Upper: Canvas; Insole: Polyurethane; Outsole: Rubber|
|Best||All-Around||Barefoot-Like||Wide Feet||Weightlifting||Bang For Your Buck|
How To Choose the Best CrossFit Shoes
When searching for the best sneakers for CrossFit, there are several factors you should take into consideration. Below are some key features to look out for that you should use as a checklist when comparison shopping. Note: The trend with CrossFit footwear is towards minimalist shoes. Minimalist shoes allow for your feet to be positioned so that your weight is more stable on your heels and not transferred from heel to toe as in traditional athletic shoes. Most of the shoes on our list were chosen with that in mind.
If a pair of shoes don’t fit well and are uncomfortable, chances are you are not going to be a satisfied consumer, regardless of how good they are in other aspects. Comfort level comes into play in many ways: breathability of shoes, ankle support, wideness of toe support, weight, etc. The good thing is that most of the shoes listed here are designed specifically for CrossFit activities, and thus should provide maximum comfort. But, as with any other shoes, make sure to adapt according to your needs. So, for example, if you have very wide feet, you might find that many Inov-8s are too narrow for you. So make sure to look for shoes that are a good fit for you.
This is pretty simple. You want shoes that can take a punch and last throughout all the brutal exercises you will perform. Exercises like burpees, box jumps, and rope climbs will cause a lot of friction and wear on the shoes, so it is crucial that you find shoes that can withstand that kind of hardcore activity.
As we have stated multiple times, CrossFit requires a wide variety of explosive movements. Flexible shoes are crucial to allow your feet to move freely and with minimal friction.
Some shoes like the Reebok CrossFit Nano 3.0 can be used in a variety of your workouts. Others, such as the Adidas Powerlift 2 Trainer Shoes are ideal for lifting, but not necessarily for workouts that require more quickness and agility. Versatility is important, but if you are looking for a shoe designed for a particular set of activities, you may find other factors more important.
A majority of the time, you will be moving or jumping around during your workouts. For example, exercises like double unders and burpees require sudden, quick movements. That is why you want a shoe that is light and will not weigh you down.
The heel-to-toe drop or differential refers to the difference in height between your heel and forefoot. Ideal CrossFit shoes have very little to no heel-to-toe drop. The zero drop is crucial because a lot of exercises like squats and deadlifts require maximum stability in your feet, ankles, and legs.
Last but certainly not least is price. You will find that CrossFit shoes vary greatly in cost. For example, a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars will put you out approximately $50 and is perfectly functional for a many of your CrossFit needs. Meanwhile, the Reebok Crossfit Nano 3.0s are excellent all-around shoes that will cost about $130. The important thing here is to remember that a pricier shoe doesn’t necessarily mean a better shoe. Each person will have different needs and priorities and that will determine the best shoes for you.
Top Crossfit Shoes – Our Top Picks
Best All-Around: Inov-8 F-lite 240
This much we know. After trying out Inov-8s, many people never look back…and for good reason. The Inov-8 F-lite 240s are sturdy enough for lifting, but also versatile enough for plyometrics, box jumps, rope climbs, you name it. Additionally, these kicks maintain the comfortability and lightweight that people have come to love with the Inov-8 brand. With a 6mm heel-to-toe drop, the 240s can also be used as a transition for those looking to switch over to no-drop shoes. In short, the 240s are one of the most versatile CrossFit shoes out there, and one of our personal favorites for all your workout needs.
Honorable Mention: Reebok Crossfit Nano 3.0
Best Barefoot-Like: Vibram Five Fingers SeeYa
The au naturel of Crossfit shoes, the Vibram Five Fingers are as close as you get to going barefoot. Vibram has done a really good job designing a super lightweight shoe made of a breathable polyester mesh and a thin but supportive rubber outsole. The end product is an ideal CrossFit shoe that has support and protection in all the right places. An added benefit to wearing these shoes regularly is that it will build up muscles in your legs and feet that you would not otherwise utilize with regular shoes. One minor drawback is that they can get staankyy since you’re wearing them without socks. Also, be sure to look at the sizing chart provided by Vibram, as the fitting is very unique.
Honarable Mention: Merrell Hammer Glove
Best for Wide Feet: Inov-8 F-lite 262
If you’ve got feet like that of a platypus, these shoes are meant just for you. The F-Lite 262’s wide toe box gives you greater flexibility and mobility while not sacrificing in stability. Just note you might need to order them a half size bigger than normal, as people have mentioned that they run on the smaller side.
Honorable Mention: New Balance Minimus MX20v3
Best CrossFit Weightlifting Shoes: Reebok CrossFit U-Form Lifter
For those looking for a shoe geared towards lifting, Reebok’s U-Form Lifter is designed exactly for that purpose. It has a nylon mid-foot strap to secure your feet and a dense carbon rubber outsole that really allows you to plant your feet into the ground and apply maximum force during those clean and jerks and squats. The “U-Form” in the name refers to Reebok’s patented technology where you basically cook your shoes in an oven (yea, seriously) to get the best custom fit. And at 13.4oz, these are one of the lightest weightlifting shoes out there. They are also versatile enough to use with various workouts outside of lifting. A great thing with the U-Form Lifters is that they last a loongg time, so they are a great long-term investment for those serious about weightlifting.
Honorable Mention: Adidas Powerlift 2 Trainer Shoes
Best Bang For Your Buck: Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
If you don’t have the budget for some of the other fancy shmancy shoes on this list, but are still looking for a good all-around shoe to use in the gym and elsewhere, may I introduce you to my good ol’ friend, Mr. Chuck…Chuck Taylor…say what?! Yep, you heard me. Really, the beauty of Chucks are in their simplicity. They’re a great choice due to their flat, non-compressed rubber soles that provide stability during lifts and squats. You probably aren’t going to run a marathon in these, but it will serve you well in most of your workouts. And they even look fly outside of the gym! At about $50 a pop, there’s really not much to lose.
Honorable Mention: Nike Free Trainer 5.0