Cross training refers to a combination of exercises across disciplines like swimming, running, weightlifting, cycling and other strength training activities. This regime is basically followed to strengthen those muscles that remain unused and undeveloped during running activities. A term commonly used today, CrossFit is actually a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. which overlooks this branded discipline officially founded in 2000 by Gregg Glassman and Lauren Jenai.
It is very important to have the proper gear before getting on with CrossFit, or else you may end up badly injuring yourself. Getting the correct shoes is the first step in the process. CrossFit shoes are the shoes you would need for a wide range of exercises like running, weightlifting, climbing a rock, and the like. Basically, while a running shoe is designed only to make you do precisely that, that is run, CrossFit shoes offer you support across a wide range of exercises.
CrossFit shoes are light and flexible. It has a thinner sole, which allows you to take part in intensive weight training. It has more solid material on the upper portion to keep your foot firmly set inside the shoe. The lower heel height is perfect for lower stability without making you sprain your ankles. They are basically minimal shoes with lesser material and less sole comparatively that helps them to adopt across a wide range of exercises.
Why Should You Buy a CrossFit Shoe?
There are a number of reasons why you should buy Crossfit shoes.
Crossfitters often get into intense, difficult conditions that demand the best their bodies have to offer. After all, that is the very purpose of getting into cross training in the first place. So you need gear that would be optimal for each part of your body. Your feet doing the most of the work in such exercises, you certainly need the best shoes that would help them utilize their full potential while at the same time taking care of their health and safety.
You need to get what works best for you. CrossFit shoes are specifically designed to serve the purpose. For cross training, simple exercise or running shoes won’t do. So, even though you may need to shell out a few extra bucks and devote some time, find a suitable pair of shoes; the effort is worth it.
You don’t want to end up with the wrong pair during High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Things to keep in mind when you are out buying that pair of CrossFit shoes.
You need to keep in mind exactly what you need those shoes for. Often, as you will understand from the list, you will see that shoes are custom made for a particular activity. So while one pair of shoes maybe great at helping you with weights, it may not be up to the mark when it comes to running activities. The best bet is to go for the shoes which cover a wide range of activities.
Be careful about the essential features that the perfect CrossFit shoe should come with. Some parameters you can’t overlook are grip and stability, shock absorption power, traction, the flexibility and comfort provided by the shoes, breathability, durability and weight. Each and every activity requires your shoes to do well on one or more of these parameters, and though the ideal CrossFit shoes should look into all of them, they often fall short in one department or another. It is best to go through a number of manuals before you zero in on a pair, or consult your trainer.
10 Best CrossFit Shoes for Fitness Enthusiasts
Listed below are the 10 best CrossFit shoes available in the market, including the latest products.
The latest offering from the Nano line, which started in 2011, is not as good as Nano 6.0 according to many, though it is still among the best. Minimalist though it is in style, it comes in bright, sophisticated colors that also make it visually appealing. As an added bonus, it doesn’t have the big ‘Reebok’ written across it.
This shoe is best for lateral movements and rope climbing. Its top features are anatomical shaped fit, providing excellent support and stability, and improved toe area comfort as compared to the previous versions. This also ensures a natural feel and maximum ankle mobility.
The reinforced wraparound heel clip and the power launch toe box ensure lockdown stability. The 360 degree TPU heel wrap provides a secure, locked in fit to your foot.
The outsole made of crystallized rubber flexes very easily when required, to provide you with stability during intensive workout sessions. The multi-directional patterning of the sole helps you go for quick direction changes, while providing extra grips all along. The cushioning is excellent, thanks to the ortholite sockliner.
The Nano Weave technology on the upper side ensures ventilation and helps your skin breathe without moistening it, thus preventing the age old nemesis, odor. This shoe is best for activities like rope climbing and weightlifting. Both the men’s and women’s versions come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. These shoes are a bit stiffer and thinner compared to the Nano 6.0, and can be a bit uncomfortable along the toe line due to the folding.
This has been designed keeping the anatomical structure of the foot strictly in mind, which provides good stability and firmness while helping you maintain a natural fit.
While this shoe may not be as wide as some other CrossFit models, your forefoot gets enough breathing space. It comes with very detailed attention to its features, something which Reebok is famous for. It has some of the best features of Reebok CrossFit shoes brought together- it looks like the Nano 2, fits like the Nano 4, and performs like the Nano 5. It has done away with excessive stiffness found in the previous versions by increasing the heel cushioning and the thickness of the inner tongue.
An added attraction is the Kevlar Rope protection in the inner shoe which makes it more durable. The inner shoe also comes with a better arch support, and has a good fit in spite of the optimum breathing space for the foot. The outsole is similar to the Nano 5 and ensures a very good grip and stability. It is fit for a wide range of CrossFit exercises.
This shoe is the best for rope climbing exercises though. The cushioning and shock absorption also makes it suitable for both squats and box jumps.
Its only disadvantage is that it has not much space for the toes, and many could have done with a 0.5 larger measurement of the toebox.
#03. Nike Metcon 3
Metcon is short for ‘Metabolic Conditioning’ and with its awesome design, the latest product in this line is an absolute killer, even more so for because of its cool features. It is designed to take care of most of your Crossfit workouts.
The reinforced polymer gives it better stability while retaining the light weight of the shoe (11.2 oz).
This shoe is the best for weightlifting sessions. It is also ideal for box jumps, hand-stand pushups and heavy lifts. The platform is suitable for steady exercises, providing a flat foot experience especially suited for squats. The stability is also enhanced by the adjusted fit of the shoe box.
The shoe has a 4 mm heel to toe drop. The upper mesh is lightweight and breathable, giving your toes and tendons a lot of support while helping your skin breathe at the same time.
The FLYWIRE filaments provide structural integrity by ensuring a secure lockdown. The ‘zero drag’ heel design with the clips gives a lot of stability to your heels and prevents slipping in wall activities. To maximize traction, the forefoot comes with sticky rubber.
However, these shoes may let you down in case you are planning long runs in them. Also, they have the tendency to slide a little toward the sides at times. Also, they are not one of the cheapest shoes out there, though it has a good performance to cost ratio.
#04. Vibram Komodo
If you are looking for shoes that would be comfortable, would serve your purpose and look out of the box at the same time, this should be your pick. Because the Vibram FiveFingers KMD Sport LS Multisport Shoes, designed to look like gloves for your feet, are totally badass.
Because they are rather warm and have no heel to toe drop, it would take some time to adjust for those transferring from running shoes to training shoes. They are the best options for outdoor activities done ideally with bare feet, like climbing and trekking, and also for barefoot lifting, deadlift and its variants.
Another thing to be kept in mind is that they should not be used as primary shoes for long distance runners, as they are not optimal for running for than 5 miles at a stretch over long periods of time. Other than that, these shoes are very comfortable, and are perfect for those who prefer minimalism and are looking for shoes that would act as a sturdy protection to bare feet.
The biggest advantage of this design is that it can be used for almost anything, thus being one of the best all-around training shoes. They are also extremely comfortable, in addition to being quite cheap, coming at around $109.
#05. Nike Romaleo 3
Coming in different designs for men and women, the Nike Romaleo 3 is the best buy for all kinds of weightlifting workouts as it provides great stability with its locked-in fit. However, it is more suited for modern weightlifting instead of the traditional weightlifting, and thus will not last as long as a traditional leather weightlifting shoe. Uncharacteristic for Romaleos, these shoes are so lightweight (a little under 13 oz) that they can also be used for a wide range of activities in addition to weightlifting.
The shoe is very light, as the inside of the shoe is hollow. But you needn’t worry, as it has a strong pylon framework to help it retain its strength and structure. The solid rubber outsole helps you get a very secure holding of the floor, while two interchangeable insoles provide natural support and durable traction. The three quarter inch honeycomb TPU heel is incompressible and solid, and the midfoot of this edition is narrower than the Romaleo 2, giving you a narrower and firmer fit. The toe box is really flexible, and the straps are well-adjusted.
To ensure breathability without compromising support, the shoes are made of meshed yet strong synthetic leather. There are cut-outs all along the toes to allow air circulation. The cables designed with Nike’s FLYWIRE technology and nylon midfoot strap provide dynamic lockdown. The heel comes in heat wrapped fabric, while the toe is made of synthetic leather.
The men’s version comes in two colors – university red, white, dark gray and black, whereas the women’s version comes in the limited black and white.
This would be an excellent choice for crossfit as it is lightweight, flexible and durable. The air mesh collar, tongue and lining, and open forefoot design guarantee air circulation inside the shoebox, keep your feet healthy, and reduce smell.
After receiving complaints about the fit of Adidas Powerlift 2, the latest version has been made to have an extra-wide fit, thus leaving sufficient space in the toebox.
This shoe is extremely flexible and provides both vertical and horizontal flex. The synthetic upper is very comfortable, while providing support to your ankles and extended durability. The lightweight nature of the shoe shouldn’t worry you, as the extremely powerful rubber sole is designed in such a manner as to ensure zero slipping and awesome grip enhancements during very heavy powerlifts. The heel is properly cushioned to provide comfort while ensuring a firm hold while you squat, deadlift or do anything else.
The only thing of concern is that you need to be careful while using it outside the gym for on field activities, because it is better suited for the former. This line is very affordable and has the best price among those offered by the brand, and has a very good performance to cost ratio.
#07. Inov-8 FastLift 325
Unmatched flexibility, durability and versatility make the Inov-8 FastLift 325 an awesome pick for fitness workouts, weightlifting and running. The solid support allows you to put the maximum stress and strain possible on your feet. The cushioned outfit also makes it ideal for broad training workouts like runs and sprints and is a welcome replacement to your old running shoes.
In fact, the power-truss technology along with the external heel cage provides a lot of stability and a sound basis for each lift. The forefoot is built with meta-flex technology, which makes the shoe extremely comfortable. This also allows improved range of motion, making it easier for you to shift between exercises in very short periods of time.
It is lightweight (11.72 oz) makes you perform better with a lot lesser effort and it is one of the lightest Inov-8 models out there.
However, you need to be very careful while buying shoes from this line as some sizes tend to be rather tighter than would be expected. Also, the laces can be a bit stretchy, thus doing away with many of the advantages offered in the stability department. But none of these problems are unsolvable if you pay attention while buying the product.
This model isn’t a cheap buy, but offers good service for the money. It is best to try them out at a store first.
This shoe is one of the best shoes out there for lifting exercises and circuit training, though it may fall a bit short in the running department.
Some of its best features are the incredible stability that it offers, in spite of its lightweight nature (15.8 oz). This is because of the injected polymer that makes it incredibly stable. The adjustable hook-and-loop instep strap, set in the ‘zero internal slipping’ design, also ensures a firm footing while lifting heavy weights. It is also very firm when it comes to rear-foot stability.
It has improved ventilation and is breathable thanks to the VentFlow openings. The rubber outsole takes care of any freak slippings.
While this shoe is costly, it has a good performance to cost ratio, and is durable, not needing replacements in a long time. It has awesome reviews and is a favorite among cross trainers.
The biggest real disadvantage is that there are no separate sizes for women. The company should definitely make a point to look into this, as at present women need to order around 1.5 smaller if they choose to buy this, making it difficult for them to trust online products and thus depriving them of the discounts.
#09. Adipure 360.3 W
Designed for women, the Adidas Performance Adipure 360.3 W, with its intelligent design and sleek look is perfect for trainees rather than highly intensive practitioners. The non-marking rubber outsole is especially designed for the gym settings.
The lightweight cushioning in the midsole protects the feet from injuries and freak slips. An adjustable mid-foot frame keeps the feet well supported and more stable during all types of training exercises. In fact, one of the USPs of this model is the adjustability that it offers. Even the forefoot is adjustable to provide the required support during workouts.
The stability is also ensured by the PUREMOTION midsole which replicates barefoot orientation and natural ground contact for the exercises which best go with it. A comfort collar holds the ankle. The natural foot motions with a good grip are also ensured by a non-marking, high traction rubber sole and flex groove construction.
The feet are given a good chance to breathe by the mesh upper with the four way stretch which prevents irritation and gives a natural fit. The shoe is medium priced and comes in a whopping range of seven contrasting shades. The only place where it may fall short is the cushioning, as many might feel better with a bit more of it.
This is a shoe to opt for if the Nanos are too stiff for you to run in. Officially labeled as running trainers, they have been found to be best suited for MetCons with box jumps and burpees, though you can risk some light-weight Oly WOD. Perfect for high-intensity workouts, these comfortable shoes are also ideal for workouts and activities involving efficiency and speed. They are not as stable as Nanos and Nike’s MetCons.
These shoes are efficient within their functioning range though. The extremely durable DuraCage upper with MonoMesh wraps offer lightweight protection, maximum bite during climbs, and easy breathability for the feet. The internal FitFrame offers a customized fit and a non-slip tongue, while the anti-friction lining prevents internal heating and accumulation of moisture. The metasplit grooves on the underside support comfortable natural foot splay without negatively affecting the muscles while the outsole pattern helps provide a strong grip.
These shoes are the best for running, double-unders, box jumps and burpees. The ultra soft cushioning is an added bonus for lightweight running though things may get a bit tricky for heavier weights.
However, the thin mash up makes this vulnerable to tears especially during intensive sessions and miles of running. Also, this shoe may not be the best choice for those with wide feet who want to go for long-distance running, as the model has been especially designed with a narrow frame.
So, take your pick among the best available in the market as of yet. While with time, there are better products available, you should remember that the latest releases are not always the best. So go ahead and buy those shoes, but do that after carefully considering your requirements. In the end of the day, all that matters is what works best for you.