13 Best CrossFit Shoes of 2021 – Footwear News
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CrossFit is one the most fun and engaging forms of exercises you can do. Each workout is done in a supportive social setting and offers new and different challenges that combine calisthenics, weightlifting, running and gymnastics packed into one short, high-intensity routine. The group environment creates a fun and friendly competitive community to help get you through the toughest workouts of the day. And if you’re ready to try out a class, we’re here to help you find the best Crossfit shoes to add to your arsenal of workout shoes.
How CrossFit Started
The origins of CrossFit date back to 1995 when Greg Glassman opened a gym in Santa Cruz, Calif. Glassman’s style of training was somewhat unique at the time. In an effort to mimic the type of whole-body fatigue gymnasts, fighters and athletes feel during the late stages of competition, Glassman developed short, high-intensity workouts that incorporated a wide variety of exercises. These workouts were often timed and repeated frequently to measure progress and would eventually evolve into what’s known as the “Workout of the Day”, or “WOD.”
Shortly after opening his gym, Glassman was asked to train the Santa Cruz Police Department. Knowing he didn’t have enough time in a day to train everyone one-on-one, Glassman started them in groups. Not only was this a more efficient method for Glassman, but the officers enjoyed the sense of community and competitive encouragement from their fellow teammates.
Thus, the idea that CrossFit should be a fun, social workout was born.
Why Wearing the Best CrossFit Shoes Makes a Difference
Just like with any other specialized sport such as running or cycling, having the proper footwear is essential to both performance and comfort. “As with running, when you reach the extremes (sprinting vs. ultra-running), you should shift toward specialized shoes. CrossFit entails heavy-lifting workouts with lots of running as extremes,” says Karen Jonczak, a Masters CrossFit athlete and Olympic lifter. CrossFit shoes will give you the support, stability and grip to safely and effectively get through your workout, not to mention increase your chances of a personal record.
What to Consider When Looking for the Best CrossFit Shoes
CrossFit shoes should have a firm heel with minimal drop, secure midfoot wrap for stability during lateral movements and a grippy rubber sole. “Features include supportive lifting foundations, toe bumpers, rope climb protection, grippy outsoles and super flexible uppers,” says Fran Calvert, Inov-8 training marketing manager. “The variety of features gives you support, flexibility and protection in all of the right places without hindering any singular movements.”
Jonczak advises it’s important to get new CrossFit shoes regularly. Just like a running shoe, CrossFit shoes wear down, so replacing them every 3 to 6 months (depending on usage) is suggested.
Below, shop the 13 best CrossFit shoes for men and women. We included styles backed by Calvert and Jonczak, as well as our own testing and enthusiastic customer reviews.
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Nike Metcon 7 Shoes
Best Overall CrossFit Shoes
When it comes to stability for lifting and cushioning for running and jumping, no other shoe out ranks the latest version of Nike’s top-selling cross-training shoe. A true all-around CrossFit/cross-training shoe, the silhouette includes a Nike React midsole for just enough cushioning to lessen the impact for runs. Meanwhile a wide, flat heel and inner plate help distribute weight evenly throughout the shoe.
“Nike knocked it out of the park with this one,” noted one happy Metcon customer. “Best Metcon ever. Perfect fit and super comfortable.”
Inov-8 F-LITE 260 V2 Shoes
Best CrossFit Shoes for Competitions
The team at Invo-8 joined forces with CrossFit Games legend Scott Panchik to make this versatile CrossFit shoe even better. The F-Lite 260 V2 still retains much of what it’s known for — a breathable knit upper, grippy outsole and exceptional rope climbing ability — but gets a more protective front toe bumper and supportive heel for enhanced stability during lifting. Invo-8 has a reputation for making some of the best traction shoes, and its F-Lite 260 V2 is no exception.
Under Armour TriBase Reign 3 Shoes
Best CrossFit Shoes for Lifting Weights
The best weightlifting shoes allow a firm and stable stance that’s rooted to the ground. Under Armour’s TriBase system helps your foot maximize contact with the ground. Additionally, strategically-placed grippy rubber throughout the sole keeps your feet glued to the surface. The low stack height and two millimeter drop give you excellent ground feel and power through the shoe.
“Very satisfied with these shoes,” said one happy customer. “They’ve really helped me stabilize on leg day, especially while squatting. Great fit and feel, definitely will order again once they wear out.”
Asics GT-2000 10 Shoes
Best CrossFit Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is painful. That deep radiating pain in the bottom of your foot can bring your CrossFit session to a screeching halt. More often than not, having a supportive and sturdy shoe can help you manage, and sometimes eliminate, the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Asics’ GT-2000 10 is just that shoe. Designed for running, the style admittedly isn’t ideal for CrossFit, but may allow you just enough relief to enjoy a pain-free CrossFit session.
Reebok Nano X1 Shoes
Most Comfortable CrossFit Shoes
Reebok Nanos have long been one of the best CrossFit shoes you can buy. Their cousin, the Nano X1, is the more cushioned version that’s better suited for HIIT, running and jumping. It features Reebok’s Floatride Energy Foam midsole, as seen in some of the brand’s running shoes. This gives it a much more comfortable underfoot experience, but also makes it less ideal for heavy lifting than the Nano. As one reviewer noted, “It’s a good shoe for Crossfit and HIIT. It’s lighter than the Nano X, has a more flexible sole and is very comfortable. But It’s not as good as the Nano X for heavy lifting.”
NoBull Trainer Shoes
Best CrossFit Shoes for Narrow Feet
If you like clean, simple styling with minimal cushioning, these shoes are for you. The firm, low-to-ground four-millimeter drop midsole makes for an extremely stable platform that’s ideal for lifting. One of the shoes’ strongest selling points are their durability. Out of the box, they run a bit stiff, but once broken in, the one-piece seamless upper with high carbon lateral and medial guards lasts forever. The consensus among reviewers is they tend to run a little small and narrow, so if you’re between sizes, consider sizing up.
Under Armour Project Rock 4 Shoes
With input from none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the Under Armour Project Rock 4 is completely updated and better than ever. Featuring Under Armour’s TriBase system, the sole has three-point ground contact under the arch for better stability. The re-tooled upper received thicker, more durable mesh along with a TPU midfoot wrap for better security during lateral and stop-and-go movements.
“Finally, The Rock has come back with a great shoe!” wrote one reviewer. “Sorry to say, but I wasn’t a fan of any of the predecessors. Love them for all aspects of training/lifting/workouts. You won’t be disappointed.”
Nike Free Metcon 3 Shoes
Best CrossFit Shoes for Running
A more flexible sibling of the original Nike Metcon, the Metcon 3 has deep grooves in the sole that allow for natural flex while running. The lightweight mesh upper offers great breathability while feeling soft against the skin. While these don’t perform as well as running shoes, they’re one of the better cross-training shoes for short runs without sacrificing heel stability for lifts. As one customer noted, ”These shoes are the most amazing cross-trainers I’ve ever had. Rock-solid stability for squat and deadlift and are comfortable enough to run in under three miles. They also look amazing.”
Nike MC Trainer Shoes
Best Budget CrossFit Shoes
You’d be hard pressed to find a better cross-training shoe at this price point. With simple Nike styling, these supportive trainers feature a flat, wide base under the heel for good stability when lifting. A firm TPU overlay encompasses the heel counter and wraps up over the midfoot for a locked-in feeling. The high traction rubber outsole gives plenty of grip for even the most abrupt stop-and-go drills.
“My feet feel amazing on these, even with my HIIT workouts and agility days,” wrote one shopper.
Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Shoes
Most Durable CrossFit Shoes
Coined by Inov-8 as the “world’s toughest training shoe,” these versatile cross-training shoes are infused with Graphene (the strongest material on the planet) in the outsole for maximum durability and grip. A 14 millimeter/eight millimeter stack height and stable heel makes these great for all types of lifting, while the six millimeter cushioned footbed provides just enough cushioning for sprints and jumps. “These feel like they’re built for literally anything you want to do,” said one customer. “So light and durable for running and gymnastics-type stuff, and still so strong and stable for lifting. I’m in love with them and 10/10 would recommend.”
Under Armour Hovr Rise 3 Shoes
Best CrossFit Shoes for High Arches
People with high arches typically have a more structurally sound foot and should look for shoes with more cushioning. However, a soft-cushioned shoe isn’t the best fit for CrossFit. Enter: Under Armour’s Hovr Rise 3. These comfortable cross-training shoes give you just enough of Under Armour’s premium running Hovr midsole, while still maintaining a stable bottom for lifting. As one reviewer noted, “the flat bottom makes it a stable lifting shoe, while it’s light and flexible enough not to be burdensome during quick movements. The lateral support is good for side-to-side movements and transitions. Definitely happy with this purchase.”
Hylete Circuit II Cross-Training Shoes
Most Versatile CrossFit Shoes
With three interchangeable insoles that vary the shoes’ heel-to-toe drop from zero to four to six millimeters, the Circuit II cross-training shoe allows you to pick your ideal drop depending on the activity. Hylete also spared no expense on underfoot grip, opting for Vibram rubber — which is usually used in trail and climbing shoes for its excellent grip.
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive. “The versatility of this shoe is amazing. With its variety of insoles, you can customize its function to get the best out of your workout. Ankle flexibility and mobility have always given me problems with reaching full range of motion with certain exercises. The extra height from the heel raise on these helps get me there.”
Topo Fli-Lyte 4 Shoes
Best CrossFit shoes for Wide Feet
While technically a running shoe, these have all the characteristics of a CrossFit shoe with a nice wide toe box for those who need the room. Offering a firm underfoot feel with a three millimeter drop, Topo is known for its extra-wide flared toe boxes. The wide platform and 23 millimeter/20 millimeter stack height that’s relatively low to the ground makes these perform well during lifting. And since they’re a running shoe, you will feel right at home in them during sprints. Keep in mind that although these are running shoes by design, if you’re struggling to find a wide enough shoe, they’re worth considering.