Choosing The Best Crossfit Shoes Guide

It is surprising the difference the right pair of shoes can make in your performance, and this is certainly true for CrossFit. In a sport which is constantly pushing you to bet a personal record, the last thing you need is a pair of shoes that are holding you back. Whether you are new to the sport or simply want to make it through a workout without your feet killing you, the information continued in this guide will make it easy for you to choose the right shoes for CrossFit.

Three Most Important Factors to Consider

  • A good example of a CrossFit shoe with a hard, stiff sole is the Nano from Reebok. While we're not necessarily say this is the best athletic shoe, it does have some of the features that are important if you want to be successful at the sport. Unlike running shoes which generally have plenty of cushioning to protect you from impact shock every time your feet hit the ground, ones designed for CrossFit have thinner soles with minimal or zero padding so you can always feel the ground underneath your feet. This ensures that you have plenty of stability to perform lifts and squats.
  • A shoe's "drop" refers to the height difference between the heel and forefoot. This measured difference will affect how the shoe feels and performs, and the best CrossFit reviews suggest choosing a pair with a minimal drop in height between the front and back of the shoe.

    It is not uncommon to find athletic and running shoes with a 15+mm heel drop, and while the thick cushioning is ideal for comfort it can affect mobility. If you need the supportive padding due to weak ankles but want the lightweight mobility of a minimal drop, the best CrossFit shoes for you might be ones with a 6mm differential. This will still give you the support your ankles need while still providing plenty of mobility, which is perfect for when your workouts call for sets of sprints.

  • During CrossFit workouts torque is created which can cause your weight to shift. Your knees are often bent, and the majority of your weight is supported by your heel. To prevent your ankles from turning and other potentially painful injuries it is important to find a pair of CrossFit shoes that come with plenty of lateral support. You will want to look for athletic footwear that has a wire or "cage" type design in the center of the shoe that will keep your feet securely on the soles, and not pushing out over the sides.

If you choose your footwear solely based on these three aspects you will be able to find supportive CrossFit shoes that will help you improve your performance during your workouts.

Best Type of Shoes for Crossfit

There are several types of athletic shoes claiming to be ideal for CrossFit, but not all are able to provide the support, flexibility and comfort you need and also come with a durable and lightweight construction. You do have several options when it comes to choosing a pair of shoes, and sometimes the best ones for you will be determined by the type of workouts you love to do.

  • Some of the top rated CrossFit shoes have a 3mm or lower heel to toe differential which is ideal for sprinting, running, and climbing. Minimalist shoes are versatile and can be easily worn through almost any stage of your workout, and there are several models to choose from. Some of the most popular CrossFit shoes include the Inov8 and the RealFlex from Reebok. New Balance also has the Minimus, which is also known for its versatility. All of these athletic shoes are also durable, flexible and lightweight.

    There are also extreme minimalist shoes, like the popular Vibram Five Finger. These shoes are popular with runners and CrossFit athletes who prefer to feel the ground underneath their feet. It should be mentioned that due to the absence of any padding these shoes might not be the right choice for all athletes.

  • You will find yourself lifting weights and performing squats throughout your workouts and in box gyms. While minimalist shoes can give you the support and stability you need to power safely through the repetitions, there is footwear that is designed specifically for weightlifting. These shoes have a raised heel that helps give you an added boost when you are lifting, squatting and pushing your way through box jumps. Shoes designed for weightlifting also have additional support on top, which will provide extra stability and help prevent foot and ankle injuries. While shoes by manufactures like Rogue Dowin are great for the weightlifting part of your workout, the footwear is not exactly designed to be versatile or flexible.
  • Surprisingly enough Converse high tops are a popular choice with CrossFit athletes. The thin, flat sole provides stability and flexibility, while the shoe's taller height provides a little support without adding weight. Converse is lightweight, stylish and relatively inexpensive, which also adds to the shoes' popularity.
  • Some CrossFit athletes prefer to push through their workouts barefoot, and this is a matter of personal choice. Some people prefer to have nothing between them and the ground, and don't have to worry about turning weak ankles or other issues with their feet. While working out barefoot isn't for everyone, there is absolutely nothing that says you can't if it is what feels comfortable to you.

Top Crossfit Shoes Brand Reviews

Things to Consider While Buying CrossFit Shoes

CrossFit is a demanding sport that requires constant movement, which means you need to find a pair of athletic shoes that are durable, have a sturdy structure, and are breathable. Here are a few tips to help you get an idea of what to look for in a new pair of CrossFit shoes so you can be assured you are getting the best value for your money.

  • At some point during your workouts you will find yourself having to do rope climbs, which is one of the reasons why structure is an important feature to look for in a pair of CrossFit shoes. You want to find footwear that has some texture on the sides, and Nike has come out with some that feature tiny rough nubs. The shoes also need to be durable and protective, especially during a double-under. Rubber, nylon or even vinyl uppers will provide you with the lightweight protection you need. One pair recommended by the best CrossFit reviews is the Reebok Nano 5.0.
  • You want your CrossFit shoes to be a good value for your money, which means you want the pair you choose to last for more than a couple of workouts. The Metcon 1 from Nike has a rubber outer sole that is durable and designed to withstand even the most strenuous workout. Other features to consider ensuring the shoes will last include rope guards on the instep and Kevlar added to protect the uppers. Individual manufacturers will use different materials to add strength and prolong the life of the shoes, and the right ones for you will often depend on the type of workouts you frequently do.
  • It is important to remember that you won't always be doing CrossFit workouts indoors, and weather is something that you will want to consider. If you frequently find yourself running through the snow during a "Helen" WOD you want to choose a shoe that is still lightweight, but has plenty of traction.
    If the weather is usually hot where you live, then breathability is important for comfort and your health. If your feet overheat it could affect the rest of your body, resulting in heat stroke or other serious complications. Look for CrossFit shoes that come with mesh liners and uppers to prevent moisture and sweat from soaking your feet, and to allow plenty of cooling air flow.

A Few Helpful Buying Tips

Before you go running off to buy new CrossFit shoes here are a few last buying tips that will help you make the best decision for the health of your feet, and your comfort.

  • Sometimes it is worth it in the long run to spend a little more, and this is certainly true when you are buying a pair of shoes for CrossFit. Some of the best CrossFit shoes like the Nano 4.0 from Reebok or Intensity 2 from ASICS might be priced slightly higher but the long lasting construction and comfortable design make it worth your money in the long run. There is also no denying that you get a boost of confidence during your workouts when you are wearing a pair of high quality shoes.
  • We simply can't say enough about support. Shoes that are supportive are more comfortable, and better able to prevent injuries. Having plenty of support can also improve your overall performance during your workout or when you are competing against other athletes. In general most minimalist shoes are able to provide some support, but athletes with ankle or foot problems might want to choose a slightly heavier pair that is designed for running.
    While minimalist shoes have moderate to little support, this type of footwear is sturdy and lightweight. You also have the advantage of the flexible design, along with the shoes' versatility. One pair of minimalist shoes to consider is the Nano 4.0, which offer slightly more support than other brands.
  • If you prefer workouts that come with plenty of sprints and 2 mile runs you will probably want a minimalist shoe. If you are new to the sport than look for one with a 3+ differential, while experienced joggers might one a pair with a true minimalist design. Shoes with higher height differential are also ideal for strength training, especially calf and leg muscles.

    Weight lifters will want shoes with a higher lift ratio so they get an extra boost during squats and other exercises. Some Olympic style footwear has a 17mm differential, but this can be impractical for wear during other workouts. In most cases a 4-6mm height ratio between the toe and heel will provide you with the added lift you need, while still being versatile enough to be worn through rope climbs, jogs and even up on rope climbs.

    Knowing what type of workout you need the shoes for can help narrow down your options so you can easily might the right decision.
  • If you are purchasing the athletic shoes in a brick and mortar store, it is easier to ensure you picked the right size. When you are ordering online you don't have the advantage of trying the shoes on first, which is why it is important to take a few seconds and measure both of your feet. You can either use a measurer at a local shoe store or do it yourself at home. Simply trace a precise outline of your feet and measure the length and width to find your exact size. It is also a good idea to read customer reviews to see if there are any complaints about the shoes not running true to size.

For those of you that are purchasing your CrossFit shoes online, it is also important to make sure that you are buying from a reputable seller such as Amazon.com.

We hope that information in this buying guide makes it easier for you to find the best pair of CrossFit shoes so you can perform at your best level through all of your workouts.