Best Crossfit Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Crossfit is a particular practice. Unlike other activities, it combines a wide variety of specific motions, lifts, and exercises. Exercises which, of course, are not as effective if performed wearing generic shoes. Not only is wearing a pair not specifically designed less efficient but doing so may also become hazardous with particular exercises. Wearing the wrong trainers for High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), for example, will result in poor performance or can lead to soreness, irritation, and even easily avoidable injuries. Thus, the right footwear is just as important as proper training equipment.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
True to Size
Locked Down Fit
- Adidas Powerlift 3.1
- Nike Metcon 4
- Puma Fierce Core
- Reebok Nano 8.0
- Inov-8 FastLift 325
- NOBULL Trainer
- Nike Romaleos 3
- ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR
- Vibram KMD EVO
- Puma Cell Riaze Heather
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Crossfit Shoes
1. Adidas Powerlift 3.1
True to Size
Locked Down Fit
Ideal for weightlifting, the Adidas Powerlift 3.1 will give you the support and stability you need when lifting your powerful weights. The 3.1 have a toe box that is flexible with a forefoot that is open helping you to express natural movements. A midsole wedge that connects with the heel improves your cushioning and stability giving you the correct form to perform explosion from the right side of your foot. They are a lifter’s top choice.Read more
The last problem you need during lifting is uneven weight distribution that puts too much pressure on one side or area of your body. The 3.1 help to eliminate that problem with its weight distribution plate that helps to keep the weight in its proper place evenly and securely for a correct explosion.
The upper of the 3.1 is constructed with synthetic leather helping to keep it lightweight without having to sacrifice stability and durability. This keeps them from being unnecessarily bulky and helps to keep it long lasting with added fitted security of the foot.
2. Nike Metcon 4
Molded Flex Grooves
Sticky Forefoot Rubber
Maximum Support Heel
Tight Toe Box
Laces Come Undone
If you know Nike, you know they always come with the best in mind. The Nike Metcon 4 is highly durable and is made with explosiveness, grip, speed, and stability in mind for the wearer. This new model is constructed with a reinforced print from heel to toe and has an additional six eyelets for more precise lacing. These dependable trainers with their lockdown fit and breathable, lightweight construction will last for a very long time.Read more
An exclusive technology only offered by Nike, Flywire is filaments that have smartly placed throughout the shoe’s construction and operate like suspension cables when in use. What does this mean for you? It means precise support that moves with you and absorbs any movement tension when you need it while keeping your feet in place.
Participating in an intense exercise generates a lot of friction and heat throughout the body, especially the feet. The 3.1’s midsole is constructed with an abrasion-resistant film that helps to reduce any unnecessary friction and heat during your workouts. This gives you better comfort, support, and traction.
3. Puma Fierce Core
Pivot Points on Outsole
Easy On & Off
Unsuitable for Heavy Lifting
The Puma Fierce serve multiple purposes. It’s a very comfortable piece for cross-training and aerobic exercise, and arguably the best-looking women's sneaker in this list. This designed counts with extra bilateral sole thickness for increased stability during workouts. Pivot points on the outsole allow rotational movements to be totally smooth. They are perfect for dancing sessions and other wide variety of cardio training.Read more
The Puma Fierce is designed with multiple lightweight and breathable materials to keep comfort at a maximum. The Ariaprene upper meets high standards of comfortability and breathability. It allows the air to flow stopping the heat from accumulating at the inner sole.
This model includes enough stability to support each move. An internal flatlock stitching will reduce friction and make sure everything stays in place. The bilateral extra thickness makes sure to keep them in the right place.
4. Reebok Nano 8.0
Wide Toe Box
Great Protective Traction
Unsuitable for Flat Feet
The Reebok Nano series is known for its ability to break boundaries and achieve greatness. The latest model, the Nano 8.0, gives you the same ability that you have come to love plus updated innovative features to take your game to the next level. This very versatile model gives you a powerful foundation, secure footing, and a superb range of movement. You can purchase it in a variety of colors and designs.Read more
Flexweave technology is a fully engineered weave that is weaved in a figure-eight style to ensure great levels of breathability and flexibility. This technology is only featured in the upper and doesn’t skip on the reliability and durability of the Nano series.
A toe box that gives the wearer room, comfort and stability are paramount. The Nano 8 is equipped with a toe box that has a power launch to give you an unbreakable foundation in fit, stability, and power. The toe box is also wider give you better space and movement.
5. Inov-8 FastLift 325
External Heel Cage
Inov-8 has an excellent reputation for their previous models, and the FastLift 325 was no exception. This model is ideal for weightlifting and cross training, having everything necessary for it. From stability, forefoot flexibility and versatility to solid grip. The lightweight build (11.72oz) allows maximum performance with reduced efforts and is one of the lightest Inov-8 models available.Read more
An external heel cage along with power-truss technology provide bilateral stability and a sound basis for each lift. This technology allows users to access a greater variety of exercises within the optimal performance.
Meta-flex technology placed in the forefoot makes this model extremely comfortable. It also improves range of motion, allowing users to transition from competitive powerlifting to other exercises during the same session.
6. NOBULL Trainer
SuperFabric Guard Plates
Flexible & Supportive
Durable Lug Patters
Unsuitable for Knee Problems
This simple trainer has become quite popular in the community, and it has to do with the fact that they really do live up to their name. It is designed for a multitude of exercises, in whatever environment you choose to do them in. Outdoor, indoor, rain, shine - it is going to hold up and keep you going.Read more
The upper is crafted from their trademarked SuperFabric, a stretchy, flexible material that is lightweight and breathable. The material is also resistant to abrasion, so they aren't going to break down on you any time soon. There are guard plates added in to ensure that there is no damage when you climb ropes, or other wear and tear activities.
The tread is fantastic, and it's going to serve you well in both wet and dry conditions. Go straight from the inside of a gym to running outdoors without any issue. Great traction and support are the key points here, exactly what any trainer needs.
7. Nike Romaleos 3
Honeycomb-Patterned TPU Plate
The Nike Romaleos 3 is a new addition to Nike's weightlifting line. They're updated from the previous 2 model with some added design benefits. The most obvious addition in the 3 model is Nike's signature Flywire material that enhances the shoe's flexibility and decreases their weight.Read more
As a hybrid lifting shoe, the Romaleos 3 are used for a variety of strength activities. But, with their .79 inch heel height, they are great for lifters who need a little help with their range of motion. The elevated heel helps a lifter remain stable in the squat, snatch, or clean and jerk.
The upper of the shoe is made from the flywire material Nike is known for. Flywire is lightweight and flexible but strong. These are the first lifting shoe designed with flywire and wearers say you can feel the difference in the material and weight. Flywire gives the shoe a completely different feel and flexibility and could completely change your lifting game.
8. ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Mesh & Synthetic Leather Upper
Trusstic System Technology
Forefoot & Rearfoot GEL Cushioning
One of the highest rated pairs of gym shoes available on the market, the ASICS GEL-Quantum TR edition is the perfect choice for anyone looking for something reliable, flexible, cushioned and lightweight to do their morning (or evening) workouts in. It’s a stable sneaker that’ll make take-offs quicker and lifts easier, seeing that it provides a base you’ll be able to rely on. The upper is made with a combination of mesh and synthetic upper for a combination of breathability and support, while the vamp has reinforcements to prevent any tears or damage in the shoe.Read more
What ASICS is known for is their cushioning system that uses a silicone-based GEL compound that does an amazing job at absorbing shock with every landing, as well as providing a good amount of energy return when taking off. With GEL pads located both in the forefoot and heel areas of the shoe, the GEL-Quantum 180 TR is a great choice for the varied types of movement Crossfit requires.
Combining lightweight and abrasion resistant materials, ASICS found the perfect balance between weight and durability. On one hand, the midsole of this sneaker is made with a Solyte material that’s extremely lightweight and less likely to pack than regular EVA foam, while a Trusstic System ensures durability and integrity. The outsole is made with ASICS High Abrasion Rubber that won’t wear down, giving you great grip both indoors and outdoors.
9. Vibram KMD EVO
Five Finger Design
Suitable for Outdoors Use
Heel Pull Tab
Unsuitable for Heavy Weights
The FiveFinger Vibram is an asphalt specialist when it comes to sprinting, running, and jumping. It has a total sole thickness of 11.8mm, which is pretty thick for a FiveFinger. The barefoot-like experience makes them the ideal choice for aerobic exercise. The grip is firm, and it meets high standards of responsiveness.Read more
The FiveFinger KMD Evo is very agile. Flexibility, shock absorption, and balance make up for a dynamic combination for this design. The sole is thick enough to deal with the impact and sufficiently flexible to maximize each gait and jump. Its design makes it even good for parkour.
Individual toe boxes make the fit very comfortable. The overall design is lightweight and thin, providing a barefoot experience during each training. No more tight toes. Cushioning and shock absorption reduce any possible pain.
10. Puma Cell Riaze Heather
Heathered Textile Upper
Rubber Gripped Outsole
Added Heel Cushioning
This trainer looks fantastic on and is great for people who are going from the gym to dinner, or to meet up with friends after. But looks aren't the only thing that Cell Riaze Heather has going for it, as it is well-cushioned and very breathable, which makes it perfect for taking to your next workout.Read more
The bubble styled midsole offers up a great level of cushioning for your foot, and it also focuses a lot of attention on the heel. If you happen to suffer from pronation, or heel pain, this option is going to give you great stability and comfort while you work out.
Keeping your foot cool, sweat-free, and comfortable is the EcoOrthoLite sockliner that is featured inside. The softness and style give a great fit and ensure that your foot feels snug and comfortable all day long.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Grip & Stability
They need to be firm and stable to deliver an acceptable lifting experience. It’s crucial to maintain a steady grip on the floor's surface at all times. Otherwise, lifters are susceptible to slipping, which is not only annoying but also extremely hazardous. The last thing you want while carrying a heavy-loaded barbell is to slip.
The grip depends on multiple factors. For instance, your training surface has a direct impact on the effectiveness of the grip. The materials of which the outsole is made of also plays a crucial role. The best ones need to have a grip which supports lifting, rope climbing, and jumping. Ones that slip during any of these exercises are unacceptable. Your pair must maintain a grip on any dry or plain surface, excluding grass and dirt.
Stability is important to optimize the range of motion in each exercise. The lack of stability in a shoe will cause undesired lateral and frontal swings. This is another huge no for weightlifters. Stability is essential during lifts; the trainers should act as a steady platform on the way up, and a firm cushion on the way down. Thus, they must be able to maintain a stable stance during every stage of a training session.
During intensity workouts, such as box jumps, the sneakers must be able to deliver a stable landing as well. A cross-trainer that can’t adequately support jumps defeats the purpose of cross-training. We know how important this is for each workout. Thus we have included these parameters in our search for the best.
Crossfit involves a wide variety of physical motions and exercises. Thus, the best trainers for it must allow users to move around freely and perform these movements adequately. This is where traction comes in.
Traction is generated by an object being pulled off or moved across a surface. In this case, we’re talking about the surface of our cross-trainers and the floor. The surface must be dry to optimize friction. Think of it as a tire on the road; if the road is wet, traction won’t be as efficient, and thus the wheel won’t grip properly. In cross-training footwear, if there’s no traction, chances of slipping during training increase by 100%.
The amount of traction generated between two surfaces is basically the quality of the grip they have in conjunction with one another. Many factors determine adhesion, such as the exercising surface and its state (wet, dry, moist, etc.). The outsole of your footwear is in charge of generating traction when performing your exercises as well. Even though the trainers for men are designed differently than those for women, they often share the same outsole design.
The outsoles of the best cross-training footwear include carefully designed patterns that grip and grab the texture on the floor's surface. Believe it or not, there’s a whole science going on behind the blueprint of these outsole patterns. Even those with stylish outsole designs were crafted to maintain a steady balance between style and function.
To distribute traction correctly, the outsoles are designed based on three parameters: impact, biomechanics, and multidirectional movement. These factors help calculate the surface ratio of a shoe during training (the amount of time each part of the outsole is in contact with the surface). When running, for example, only the third quarter of the shoe is in contact with the surface. Thus, such part of the shoe must be designed to generate traction on its own.
Anyone who has done this type of practice (or any aerobic activity for that matter) knows how important shock absorption is in their footwear. The only protection we have from receiving the full impact of when our feet hit the ground is the shock absorption system a proper shoe incorporates. A cross-trainer that fails to diminish impact during workouts is as good as a pair of sandals, and certainly not adequate. This is especially important for those suffering from plantar fasciitis.
The best pair must be able to absorb shock from the basic to the most intense of exercises. Those doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), for example, rely on adequately performing footwear. If their footwear lacks impact absorption, their feet will take a toll after the first 10 minutes. Not to mention, soreness the day after working out will be intensified from the unnecessary beating. The same goes for runners, sprinters, jumpers, and even weightlifters.
Not all of them support running. Those that do not only minimize the impact from each gait but use the same impact to impulse the next move as well. Because of this process, running requires less effort and energy. Thus, performance is optimized. During jump exercises, such as box jumps, these sneakers utilize shock absorption technology to make landings softer. If jumps are consecutive and quick enough, users can also turn impact into impulse with the proper footwear.
Shock absorption primarily consists of cushioning and specific technologies that have the ability to absorb shock and hard impacts. One example is the Reebok trainers that have a compression-molded midsole to enhance impact reduction.
But, shock absorption isn’t necessarily limited to direct shock (gaits from running, landing from jumps, etc.). In the case of weightlifters, the cushioning is used to reduce tension in the heel area when performing heavy lifts. Additionally, the compression generated by the weight against the specially designed midsole acts as an impulse. Squats are an example of this when most of the tension from the exercise builds at the midsole. When going back up, the same pressure is released, assisting the user through the motion.
Depending on the shoe design, the heel and outsole might also assist shock absorption. If no such capabilities were present in the footwear, our heels would be responsible for absorbing any and all impact or pressure. Think of your heels absorbing 300lbs+ of squat tension; sounds painful doesn’t it?
Comfortability may seem secondary to a necessity when it comes to performance, but it’s just as important as flexibility. Imagine trying to work out with a pair of trainers that are constantly smashing your toes. Or, a pair with excess space causing your feet to dance around every time you take a step. Your performance would be greatly hindered. At the end of the day, if you don't take care of your feet, you don't care for your workout.
Cross-trainers must be comfortable to provide the most optimal performance. Some people think of comfortability as a not-so-necessary feat. They’re plain wrong. Multiple factors determine the comfortability of the shoe. Each of these factors must be on point, as the lack of a single one will considerably reduce performance.
The toe box should be wide enough. Compressed toes will obstruct running and jumping, as well as irritation from friction. Aim for the right size, and the right fit. Avoid ones that let your feet wiggle around; it's hazardous when dealing with weights. Last but not least, flexibility is necessary when performing various aerobic exercises.
True, the platform of cross-trainers must be rigid for lifting. But this doesn’t mean they must be completely stiff. Cross-trainers are not intended exclusively for weightlifting, not all of them are powerlifting. Without flexibility, users wouldn’t be able to perform box jumps, rope jumps, and sprints. Look for a shoe that bends into the exercise.
When we talk about flexibility, we don’t mean just the vertical running flex. The best cross-training sneakers must support lateral flexibility as well (when engaging laterally). We don’t want them to flex to the sides with each step. Trainers that imitate the ankle flexion allow users to have a wider range of motion.
Breathability is another factor that affects the comfortability of the sneaker. However, it is an entirely independent factor that affects the overall training. A completely closed shoe just can’t be called a quality shoe. Not only will it decrease comfortability, but also many other aspects of training.
The accumulation of heat in the inner sole can produce excessive sweating. This triggers a list of side effects that will decrease performance. To start off, it makes feet more susceptible to irritation (and becoming an irritating factor on its own). In some cases, it may also disturb the grip between the feet and the inner sole. This brings the place to the annoying “wiggling” effect. Additionally, it generates unwanted odors later on.
When training under the sun, breathability becomes a critical factor. Some circumstances, such as wearing non-breathable black footwear, will stop users from continuing their training. Cross-training sneakers must include breathable materials that allow enough air to flow through the structure.
The best cross-training sneakers strategically place their breathable zones. Quality manufacturers, such as Reebok, Nike, and Adidas know where heat is more likely to accumulate. Thus, they apply breathable technology where feet need it the most. Look for a pair that contains breathable materials, preferably mesh. Usually, heat accumulates the most on the upper side of the feet and the heel.
The best options are those that count with openings around the top, heel, and lace area. Lightweight materials are usually much more breathable and comfortable than heavy ones. Aim for a light design that allows air to flow. If buying them from a store, feel free to step in front of the ventilation systems or air conditioners. Assume a pose that lets the ventilation hit the shoe, and evaluate the amount of air that goes in.
The best sneakers for this are far from cheap. We know no one wants to have to buy a second pair of $100+ after just two months. That’s why we made sure to feature only those that are durable enough on this list. One would expect that a product with a big price tag is durable, but that’s not always the case, unfortunately.
The durability of a shoe will depend on multiple factors. For instance, the materials that compose the cross-trainers must be able to endure high-intensity training. While we didn’t look for bulky, heavy materials, we didn’t select short-life materials either. The technologies incorporated into the shoe should also be durable. If these appliances deplete their usage time before the shoe as a whole, it will defeat their purpose. Keep in mind that not all of them are protected against water damage.
We kept in mind that the durability depends on the use. Powerlifting footwear won’t last if not given the proper use. We know this. Thus we clarified the particular purpose of each shoe in this list. We searched for those that are not affected by quality performance. If a shoe shows signs of degrading after heavy workouts, it's not a good option. The best cross-training footwear can keep up with the most intense and heaviest of workouts.
Each part of the shoe meets a function. For example, in a powerlifting shoe, the midsole and the heel take the most pressure from a heavy squat. Hence, a durable powerlifting shoe must endure massive lifts without the midsole and heel degrading quickly.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
One of the most intense, yet effective workouts, is sitting through a WOD at a crossfit box. CrossFit focuses not just on strength, but also agility and endurance. Utilizing Olympic style lifts such as a snatches, cleans, and many powerlifting moves such as deadlifts and squats, it's a calorie torcher to say the least.
If you're just starting out, err on the side of caution with your weight ranges to avoid early injuries in the wrist or shoulders, as many Olympic movement do require some practice to master!
One of the best things about joining a CrossFit box near you is the community of athletes involved to support and motivate you. Everyone goes through the same workout, pushing their limits, and at the end, it give a sense of team accomplishment.
Not only do these little hot spots get you involved in fitness, they also support local businesses and charities. You'll get nutritional advice, recipes, and challenges to keep you going!
Other Factors to Consider
When choosing footwear for any type of athletic activity, it's crucial that you go with an option that doesn't only provide the necessary technical features, but is also suitable for the unique shape of your foot. It's important to note that your athletic sneakers should not be uncomfortable to start with.
Before making a purchase, you need to consider not just size, but also width, as well as internal padding on the tongue and collar to ensure that there are no spots in which rubbing or blistering may occur. You should also keep in mind that as you warm up, your feet will not only swell, but will also sweat which can result in mild to heavy discomfort due to blisters, corns and chafed skin.
With this in mind, however, you should also never go for footwear that's too big. Instead, look for a snug fit that's flexible and allows proper circulation, that gives your toes enough room to splay and grip the floor, and that won't become too uncomfortable to wear after a couple of hours.
If you've signed up for a gym membership with the intention of attending their CrossFit programs, then you'd do well to choose a sneaker with a non-marking outsole that'll provide adequate grip on wooden or linoleum flooring. Running footwear or hard court tennis shoes won't do well with such surfaces, and you should go for higher quality, sticky rubber soles that won't easily wear down, and that won't damage the floor itself.
However, it's possible that you've decided to do some cross training on your own (or with a group), which may take place outdoors, on a variety of surfaces including concrete and grass. In that case, you'll need a more durable pair of sneakers that won't wear down too quickly. Also note that concrete is harder than indoor floors, so a better shock absorbing system may be of use.
The sneakers found on the list above have a wide variety of closure systems, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Whether you prefer hook and loop or laces, you need to make sure that the closure on your sneakers is secured to prevent any possible injuries that may happen due to loose footwear or tripping on your laces.
If your workouts tend to be longer, you might also want to go with an option that allows for quick adjustments. While laces are usually the more secure and durable option, adjusting them may take some time. That's why velcro straps such as the ones found on the adidas Powerlift 3.1 can be a great choice.
Alternatives include elastic lacing systems that adjust to your foot automatically, allowing for a better fit, or quick lace systems that were made to accommodate quick changes.
You should also check whether your chosen pair of footwear has a lace securing system or pocket that will let you tuck them away to ensure a secure training session.
Nowadays all types of trainers are lightweight. Despite having different builds, the models for men use the same materials as women’s. However, those for women tend to be lighter, because they’re often given a more minimalist approach. This goes for running shoes, cross-training ones, cycling ones, and even football ones.
There’s a list of reasons why shoes, in general, have adopted a lightweight approach. We kept in mind these reasons to make sure our list is composed strictly of pairs that are minimalist and lightweight.
Lightweight footwear improves multiple aspects of training. To begin with, lightweight materials are much more comfortable than heavy ones. We looked for sneakers that offer the best performance through the most suitable materials. Only those that include low-weight upper materials, such as synthetic mesh and Kevlar were selected.
However, a lightweight approach isn’t limited to just the upper build of a cross-trainer. True minimalist trainers look to reduce weight on every spot of the build. For instance, the conventional rubber has been replaced by most manufacturers with polyurethane. This synthetic substance is not only lighter, but also stronger and more durable than rubber. It’s arguably the best mid-sole material available, coming in the form of gel or foam, making it almost weightless.
Other the thinnest composite materials, such as leather/canvas, are used to increase support without adding bulk. In most footwear, conventional plastic has been replaced with thermoplastic polyurethane instead. Not only is it more resistant, but also much more light.
The best models feature these lightweight materials to reduce the effort required to train. A cross-trainer that weights 10oz is way easier to move around than a 50oz one. The most important part is that these materials still maintain a firm shoe structure. At first sight, a 40oz difference may not look like much. However, after an hour of performance or more, the difference is easily notable.
Cross-trainers will make a massive difference in your workouts. Standard sneakers just can’t beat tailor-made technology that was exclusively designed for the purpose. But at the same time, this technology is more costly than conventional footwear, of course. Professional quality is never cheap, but you do get what you pay in performance. Those looking to optimize each aspect of their training, and are willing to invest, will find unique benefits in cross-trainers that can't be found in other footwear. Whether it’s optimized stability for heavy lifting, or explosive responsiveness for jumping, cross-trainers will help you dominate various workout regimens. Of course, you don't want to spend the money on specialized trainers if you're using them for walking. Keep in mind that this specific footwear is NOT efficient at work or running over 5 miles (even though some of them do support running and walking). The target of this kind of trainer is to enhance the aspects of training. Don’t expect them to be efficient at unrelated exercises. Hell, even standing all day in these is uncomfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How do they compare to sneakers made for lifting?
Lifting-specific footwear is pretty stiff, bulky, and high; they are limited to a solid platform for lifting. Trying to run, jog, or jump with those will result in sore feet and calves.
q: Are these adequate for general sports?
As long as we're talking about sprinting, lifting, climbing, or jumping, they're adequate. Surfaces like concrete and hard wood shouldn't be obstacles. They endure boxing and dodgeball for example. For anything else, you might want to try tennis shoes instead.
q: Is it okay to run with them?
Generally, they don't have enough cushioning for long distance running. Some brands do support running though, pay attention to each product. Lifting-oriented ones are a huge no for runners.
q: How should these sneakers fit?
They shouldn't be loose at all. Go for a fit that is tight enough to keep your feet in place while still being comfortable. If they're a little uncomfortable, keep in mind they might stretch out a bit after the first uses.
q: How often should I replace them?
Once the factors listed above start failing, it's time for new ones. Don't take things such as grip and stability to the limit, replace them if performance or safety is compromised. Slipping and squeaking are clear signs of degrading.
q: What kind of cross-trainers should I pick?
Depends on the use you'll give them. Running needs cushioning and flexibility, climbing needs grip and traction, and lifting needs stability. "All-in-one" trainers are the way to go if you need all of it.
q: Can the heels endure heavy weight?
Lifting cross-trainers support massive squats and deadlifts. Those that are more on the aerobic side will degrade quicker from that though.