In case you are in a tearing hurry and don’t have the time to read our detailed Crossfit shoe reviews, you would want to take a quick look at the very best Cross training mentioned shoes on the market today. You would want to note that just like everything else in this world, there’s no such thing as one size fits all … some shoes are excellent for impact exercises like jumping jacks, while others are great for Olympic lifting. But many shoes strike a good balance and are very well suited for a wide range of routines
QUICK ANSWER: BEST CROSSFIT SHOES
1. Under Armour Men’s Tr96 Sneaker
Tr96 sneakers by Under Armour are suitable for all-purpose training. Its construction and style make it suitable for all types of CrossFit training. The top part of Tr96 sneakers is of basic lightweight mesh. Synthetic overlays along with mesh provide protection across the toe and lateral support at the middle part of the foot.
Tr96 has sturdy EVA foam sole which is good cushioning. The sole also has lateral grooves which allows them to flex easily during your training sessions.
What is Crossfit training
Crossfit is all about constant variation. In any given WOD, (workout of the day) you could be doing running, climbing, biking, swimming, throwing, burpees, lifting, swinging, jumping and more – all at an insane level of intensity, more so when you are chasing points. So you cannot use shoes that are designed for one particular activity – like running shoes. This is not for specialists. And that is what makes choosing shoes so very hard …
Why Do You Need Cross Training Shoes
Most people do not pay much heed to select the right kind of athletic shoes, but that’s very, very important for the cross.
You see, most other athletic shoes are designed for one kind of activity – running, climbing, weight lifting, biking and so on. They are specially designed to keep your feet comfortable and safe when you are doing the thing the shoe is designed for.
For instance, running shoes are typically made of lightweight, breathable material. The outsole provides good cushioning and grip on a wide range of terrains. These shoes are strong, flexible, and durable – and absorb a lot of the shock the feet experience when running. The soles are curved and the front tip arches upward to help forward movement. These by design have thick heels, midsoles that allow a lot more flexibility to the toes and a fair amount of cushioning to absorb the impact of a runner’s feet impacting the ground at high speeds.
And that is everything a weightlifting shoe should not be. Unlike a running shoe, a weightlifting shoe should not absorb energy. It should help you lift more weight by helping you use all of the force your body generates. If the sole is squishy – like that of a running shoe, you will lose force and have poor form when you are doing exercises like deadlifts or squats – and poor form could be dangerous.
Weightlifting shoes do not have to cushion, have a hard sole, a raised heel and are also a lot more stable. It’s better to lift weight barefoot than while having running shoes on.
Weightlifting shoes are hard and inflexible while running shoes are light and very flexible.
At this point, some people wonder whether they can do Cross training barefoot as well. You could do probably do some of the activities like weightlifting barefoot, but definitely not all.
You definitely can’t run or jump rope without shoes. Not at the high levels of intensity that is common to CrossFit.
How to Select a Shoe That’s Perfect for Your Needs
Cross training pushes you – and your shoes – to the limits of endurance. That’s the whole point. Unless you have the right equipment, not only will you not be able to push yourself to your very limits and gain the full range of benefits of the workouts, you might also end up causing pain or even injury to yourself.
That said, selecting the right shoe isn’t some kind of formula. You cannot input your age, weight, height and workout routine into an app or a computer program and have it spit out the perfect pair of shoes for you. Such a thing does not exist.
To select the right pair of shoes, you will have to become aware of your body’s needs. No … we are not getting into Zen here. But you will need to understand the basic mechanics of how your body behaves during the workouts, which parts of the feet forces act on and where you need cushioning or support.
To become aware of this, you will need to work on your flexibility and form first … and that requires quite a bit of work for a lot of people. Only once you have the flexibility to do the exercises and your form is right will you be able to get to know what you really need …
The form is very, very important. Do the overhead squat wrong and you could hurt yourself. But you will not be able to get the form right unless you have the ankle and hip mobility.
If you are just starting Crossfit, you will most likely want to practice mobility drills to make your hips, ankles, and calves a lot more flexible. Not having flexibility in these key areas can be very bad for you.
The 10 Pillars of Crossfit
- Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance
- 7 Coordination
The 9 Basic Movements
- Front Squat
- Overhead Squat
- Push Press
- Push Jerk
- Sumo Deadlift High Pull
- Medball Clean
The tendency many people have is they focus a lot on power, speed, and stamina. But they ignore flexibility, coordination, balance, and accuracy.
Fact is, without flexibility, you will never have the proper form to do many exercises. And poor form can be really dangerous when you are doing high-intensity workouts. So the number 1 thing you would want to focus on if you are a beginner would be flexibility. Only with the right kind of flexibility and form will you be able to boost your performance and as a result increase your stamina, power, and strength.
As long as you are not flexible in your calves, hips, quads, shoulders, and spine, the shoes you wear will not matter. You may have the best pair of shoe money can buy, but that will not make an iota of difference.
So before you decide on a pair of shoes, you will have to make key areas of your body flexible, try out a few Cross training routines, get to know where power is generated and which parts of your feet need the most support.
When you have sufficient flexibility and it’s time to buy the right shoes, you would want to know …
What to Look For In Cross Training Shoes
There are mainly four chief qualities you would want to have in your shoes
The best Cross training shoes should be lightweight and breathable.
If the shoes are too heavy, your agility, quickness, and speed will suffer. And since your feet will be getting very sweaty, you would want the shoe to be breathable.
Imagine doing box jumps with shoes that are heavy as lead. That would be very ineffective.
Your stamina will wear out a lot faster, your form will suffer and you end up doing a lot less than you really can.
CrossFit shoe durability is another important factor. You are going to be subjecting the shoes to a lot of wear and tear.
Burpees alone can test the limits of most shoes. You would not want the tread to wear out in a couple of months.
You would want to choose high-quality shoes that can take all the punishment and last for several months and do not get ripped to shreds in a month. It isn’t easy to find a shoe that’s both lightweight and durable.
Only the really high-quality shoes – made from the best materials – will be able to strike the right balance between weight and durability.
You will be doing exercises like burpees, jump rope, running and more that require your shoes to be flexible.
You cannot run in shoes that are hard like those designed especially for lifting weights. The shoes should help you achieve all the foot mobility your physiology allows you to.
A shoe that is not flexible will hamper your mobility and thus make your training less effective than it can be.
A near zero heel to toe drop
Heel to toe drop is a very new design parameter in shoes.
After analyzing hundreds of videos of how we humans run filmed on high-speed video cameras – the ones that shoot several hundred frames a second, engineers started forming the opinion that while running, it is the mid-foot that strikes the ground first.
But when you are wearing most running shoes which have cushioned heels, it is the heel of your shoe that strikes the ground first.
So this movement is created artificially by the shoe you are wearing and is most possibly not how nature intended us to run.
Some experts opine that by wearing shoes, we run in a way that goes against how we are designed to run. This could cause injuries to our feet over time and could be dangerous.
Experts, in fact, recommend barefoot running over using improper “running” shoes that have heels. They opine that with these improperly designed shoes, your feel loses contact with the ground, your body no longer senses right way to move your toes and legs, and as a result, your form suffers. And then you develop heel pain and could end up causing damage to your feet if you persist with the wrong running technique.
With minimalist footwear, the designers are attempting to get us to run the way nature intended us to run, reducing the impact on the feet and legs and also making the muscles stronger, more flexible and thus a lot more resistant to injury.
By providing way too much support – most of it not necessary, modern running shoes are weakening the muscles of the feet, making them prone to injury.
Running shoes with thick cushions and unnecessary supports impede your sensitivity. You lose that authentic barefoot feel that’s so necessary if you are to get your posture and balance right.
Wear them for your Crossfit training and you most likely will get the form all wrong. Doing exercises with poor form would be inviting pain and injury. Which is the prime reason to use specialized Cross training shoes?
Also, weightlifting – another very common Crossfit routine – with running shoes is not recommended. If you try lifting weights with running shoes on, you will have a tendency to roll forward because your heels would be higher off the ground than your toes. And quite a lot of the force you exert will be absorbed by the squishy and soft sole.
Zero drop shoes are ideal for weight lifting. That way, you can focus on improving your form and technique, instead of constantly having to compensate for the imbalance the shoe causes.
Heel to toe drop difference between heel height and forefoot height. So the thicker the heel is, the greater will be the heel to toe drop. Ideally, you would want the heel to toe drop to be as close to zero as possible for Cross training shoes.
When you are wearing Crossfit shoe with zero heels to toe drop, the ball of your forefoot and your heel will be equidistant from the ground.
On the other hand, a drop of 14mm would mean that your heel rests 14mm higher than the ball of your forefoot, making it that much harder for you to land on your forefoot or midfoot while running, and this is not very desirable.
7 Steps to Selecting the Right CrossFit Shoe
CrossFit is a form of interval training, mixing up different exercises and disciplines to improve all-over fitness and strength. Participants find themselves running, weightlifting, rowing or doing gym exercises.).
Workouts are high intensity, high impact and highly varied. Cross training shoes need to be used inside and outside and support the feet during running phases but be flexible enough for gym work, and durable enough to do rope climbs.
Fortunately, there’s an increasing range of shoes specifically designed for CrossFit. Here’s an outline of the 7 elements you need to consider when buying CrossFit shoes.
Do you need an ‘all-round’ shoe that is suitable for all disciplines of CrossFit, or do you want for something that is designed more for weight lifting? Are you planning to do rope climbing in them, and therefore need to be more durable?
Purpose-made Cross training shoes have been designed to cope with the various demands of specific exercises, and the stress and strain that’s thrown at them. A standard running shoe is typically very cushioned to absorb the shocks of roads and hard surfaces but is not great for Crossfit training.
Crossfit shoes are typically designed to cater to the various gym exercises, allowing athletes to feel the floor, and provide a stable base for lifting. Too much cushioning makes you unstable when you’re lifting, which can cause major problems, so you need to find a compromise between cushioning and flexibility.
Some shoes, such as the range of Inov-8 Cross training shoes, have very technical soles which resist crushing whilst still being flexible. It makes them suitable for short-distance running, as well as most other Crossfit workouts.
Other shoes are designed specifically for weightlifting, for example, the Reebok CrossFit OLY Lifter. However, they’re not suitable for running.
So, it’s important to start with the end in mind and understand what the shoes need to do before you begin shopping.
It’s vital your shoes fit well. If they’re too short, your toes will bang against the toe-box, causing bruising and blackened toenails. Too big, and the foot will slide around, causing blisters and chafing. And remember, your feet will swell during the workout as they get hot, so it’s important there’s enough room to accommodate this.
Some brands offer gender-specific fits, for example, the girl’s shoes are slightly narrower in the heels and toes. This can make the difference between a good fit and a great fit.
The best advice is, try different brands to determine which are the best fit for your feet.
Breathable mesh uppers will help to wick away sweat and moisture, keeping your feet dry. Also, the level of ‘drop’ in the shoe will dramatically impact comfort. The ‘drop’ relates to the height difference from the heel, to the toe.
Many CrossFit shoes have minimal drop to provide you greater stability when lifting and to reduce weight. For people used to the reduced drop, the shoes can be extremely comfortable however if you’re used to traditional training shoes with greater cushioning, you may need a transition period.
Going from traditional trainers to zero-drop could cause you discomfort, or even injury.
Other things to consider are the construction and shape. Are there any internal seams that might rub? Are there any high spots, or tight areas?
Since your goal is to finish the WOD in the fastest time, you want to ensure your shoes will improve your performance, and not hinder it. A number of features can impact your performance, for example, the flexibility of the sole, and flat, stable heels.
For heavy lifts, such as a deadlift where the force is driven through your heels, a flat, hard sole and stable heel is recommended so you can get the most amount of force transferred to the ground and remain on your heels.
If you’re wearing a shoe with a soft, raised heel it cushions the force through your heels and will push you onto your toes, making you unstable.
Cross training shoes typically lead a pretty hard life, so they don’t always last as long as other training shoes. However, some shoes have specific features that will enhance their durability.
For example, some shoes include rope guards to protect the mid-soles during rope climbs, and where the soles are made to be crush resistant.
You don’t want to be carrying extra weight when you’re pushing to complete a high-impact, high-intensity WOD.
Lightweight, or ultra-lightweight, is the order of the day; and there are plenty of shoes to pick which weigh remarkably little.
Look at the manufacturer’s specification but don’t sacrifice comfort or fit, just for a couple of grams of weight.
Unfortunately, the perfect technical, lightweight, comfortable, indestructible shoe doesn’t come cheap.
Ultimately you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend on your shoes but be mindful that cheap shoes can be a false economy.
In summary, be clear about what the shoe needs to do.
You can read reviews and look around, however you need to work out what’s best for you. Every person is different, and there simply isn’t a “one-size-fits-all”
The 3 most important attributes to look at when finding the best CrossFit shoe for you are the weight of the shoe, the durability, and build of the shoe, and the amount of cushion in the shoe.
A CrossFit Shoe needs to be Lightweight and Breathable
One of the most important aspects of completing a WOD is being quick and dynamic. Therefore, having a lightweight shoe is a must for CrossFitters.
As a result of being quick and dynamic, most people doing a CrossFit WOD will start sweating within 3-5 minutes of starting!
It is very important that your CrossFit shoe has a high level of breathability as well to keep your feet as comfortable as possible.
If your feet start hurting or slipping in the middle of a workout, it is very hard to finish that workout at 100%.
A Shoe for CrossFit needs to be Durable
I don’t have to tell you that CrossFitters are probably some of the hardest working individuals when it comes to workouts.
They are constantly jumping, running, sliding, flipping, falling, etc. Based on how rugged this sport is, it is vital that your CrossFit shoes have a high level of durability.
In order to get the best Cross training shoes that are made with higher quality, you will need to shell out more money than your average shoe purchase.
However, you will be thankful you did when you see the guy who just bought his shoes 1 month prior rip the soles off during a Murph workout!
Minimum Heel-to-Toe Drop make for Best CrossFit Shoes
The heel-to-toe drop differential or the difference in height between the heel and the toe, in a shoe for CrossFit training needs to be at a minimum.
The flatter the shoe, the more stability they provide.
With a high differential, there are more risks of ankle and knee injuries. The ideal shoe for CrossFit training is as close to 0 differentials as possible.
This provides natural support for our feet, ankles, and knees which is ultimately the best.