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The 11 Best CrossFit Shoes, According to CrossFit Pros and Coaches

Aug 01, 2023

We evaluated over 25 pairs of shoes and narrowed down on these pairs for all your squatting, curling, and metabolic conditioning needs.

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Shape / Brian Kopinski

Trying to do CrossFit in footwear that isn’t specifically made for functional fitness — AKA running sneakers, cycling shoes, or weightlifting shoes — is about as comfortable as getting shampoo in your eye. Read: not at all.

"You really don't want to do CrossFit in a shoe that has a cushioned, springy sole, like a running sneaker," says Kayla Tote, co-owner and head coach at CrossFit for the People in Albany, NY. "A cushioned sole will constantly shift your weight back and forth from your toe to heel, which will mess with your center of gravity and make almost all movements—wall balls, box jumps, barbell moves—more difficult."

So, what do you need in a CrossFit training shoe, exactly? “You need a shoe with a relatively flat sole that's stable enough to keep your weight in the midline of your foot to your heel when you're lifting," explains Chelsea Potter, CrossFit Level 2 certified instructor at BRICK in New York City. But you also want those shoes to be comfortable and light enough for running and plyometric movements, like burpees and box jumps, she says.

Basically, your CrossFit shoes have to be the Jane of all trades. Luckily, there are plenty of CrossFit-specific shoes on the market. To guide you, we put over 25 CrossFit training shoes through the gamut to put together this list of the best CrossFit shoes to train in, depending on your particular foot shape and training needs.


Why We Like It: The Flexweave woven upper protects the shoe from wear and tear and supports its shelf (er, sweat sesh) life.

It's Worth Noting: The shoe is better suited for folks with wider feet rather than narrow.

The CrossFit Games were sponsored by Reebok from the event's inception in 2011 all the way through until 2020. As such, most CrossFitters (like Tote and myself, hi) who started the sport before the current decade turned to Reebok — more specifically, the Reebok Nano — to outfit their feet.

Even as more and more brands have popped up in the CrossFit training shoe space, however, the Reebok Nano reigns supreme. Equal parts flexible and sturdy, the Nano will keep your foot glued to the ground while you’re doing movements like the overhead squat, barbell back squat, and strict press. But, thanks to the all-new Lift and Run Chassis system within the shoe, the X3 is also flexible enough to keep you feeling springy while you run and jump.

“I’ve worn this shoe for lifting for years,” says Kristen Geil, Shape senior commerce editor. “The wide, stable base helps me feel grounded so I can lift heavier weights with confidence.”

The body of the X3 is made from Flexweave® woven textile upper that is strong enough to combat the friction of the rope during leg-assisted rope climbs. This high-tech material also protects the shoe from general wear and tear that can take down competitor options.

Worth mentioning: The Reebok Nano is wider than a show like the Nike Metcon. So as Tote says, while they are a good pick for anyone, they are especially great for athletes with a slightly wider foot. "They're wide enough for my wide feet, flat enough for when I lift heavy and still built to support your arch," she adds.

Price at time of publish: $140

Drop: 7mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 12oz | Sizes: 6.5-14.5 | Color: 16

Rogue Fitness

Why We Like It: The wrap-around grip supports stability and provides extra clench during rope-climbs.

It's Worth Noting: The upper is breathable, but slightly less durable than other CrossFit trainers which means you may need to replace the trainer more often.

The brand TYR (pronounced like a tear-drop) has been widely known for its product in the swim space. (fun fact: they’re one of Olympian Katie Ledecky’s sponsors). But during the 2022 CrossFit Games, the brand released a pair of CrossFit trainers and has been making waves (get it?) in the functional fitness space since.

Now, we know what you're thinking: How good can a pair of shoes made by a company that specializes in water sports be? The answer: VERY.

The TYR Women’s CXT-1 Trainer is a high-tech shoe made specifically to meet the demands of CrossFit. There is a wrap-around side gripper that extends around the heel for added stability, which also helps you clench a rope during rope climbs. Meanwhile, the midsole is outfitted with responsive surge nrg foam that’ll keep you feeling explosive during double-unders, box jumps, and running.

“At the moment the TYR CXT-1 is my favorite CrossFit Trainer as it provides both stability for lifting weights and also the flexibility required for running and jumping etc,” says Aimee Cringle, the 2nd Fittest Woman in the UK in 2023.

The breathable upper that makes up the bulk of the shoe keeps your foot from overheating when you’re WODing on warm days. However, because the upper is not coated with protective film, it's slightly less durable than the Reebok Nano so you may need to replace your shoes more often.

Price at time of publish: $140

Drop: 9mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 12.65oz | Sizes: 6-15.5 | Color: 7


Why We Like It: The flat sole encourages you to ground through your feet when you move weight.

It's Worth Noting: While these are great for lifting, they are suboptimal for running.

Yep, your fave streetwear shoes can double as a CrossFit training shoe.

"If someone isn't sure that CrossFit is right for them yet, I recommend Converse," says Alyssa Royse owner and head coach of Rocket Community Fitness. Why? For one, they're cheap. Ringing up at just $65, these shoes are half the price of most CrossFit training shoes.

Don’t read it wrong: These shoes aren’t just cheap, they’re also well-suited for (most) CrossFit movements, thanks to their super-flat sole. "I urge people to look for 'flat' shoes, versus what I lovingly call 'puffy runners.' That's because you need this stability for lifting and jumping, as well as lateral movements," Royse says. While puffy runners interfere with your ability to really grip the floor when you’re moving weight and thus limit how much you can lift, she explains, flat-soled shoes (aka zero-drop shoes) encourage you to ground through your entire foot and thus give you access to more power.

Note: These aren't super comfy for running, so if your gym programs running often, you may want to consider a different pair. Or, ask your coach if you can sub running for rowing when running is programmed to save your foot the impact of running.

Price at time of publish: $65

Drop: 0 | Available in Wide: Yes | Weight: 14.3 | Sizes: 5-18 | Color: 12

No Bull

Why We Like It: There are basically more color waves of this shoe available than there are Games athletes wearing them.

It's Worth Noting: The shoe is incredibly flat and has less cushion compared to competitors. If you have a high arch, this may not be comfortable for you.

No Bull is the brand that took over sponsoring The CrossFit Games after Reebok’s reign came to an end. So, if you follow any famous CrossFitters or powerlifters on Instagram, you've probably heard of No Bull.

Even if you're off the grid, you likely recognize this hot-hot-hot brand. Thanks to their über-flat sole, they've earned a rep for being incredibly stable — and that's exactly what Abbee Bailey, CF-L1 CrossFit Level 1 certified coach, loves about them. "They give me support and stability while I'm lifting, and have grips on the top that help with rope climbs."

Indeed, these shoes are great for the wide variety of movements that you’ll see in the CrossFit space. "These allow me to go right from testing my lifts to doing a MetCon," says Katherine Gundling, CF-L1, CrossFit Level 1 certified coach.

Also, whether you're a fan of black-on-black-on-black, camo, or fun prints, they've got a color you'll dig.

Price at time of publish: $129

Drop: 4 | Available in Wide: Yes | Weight: 11oz | Sizes: 5-11 | Color: 20


Why We Like It: This do-it-all shoe by the Just Do It company is equal parts supportive and flexible.

It's Worth Noting: Some people find this trainer clunkier than other options and prefer a lighter shoe during running-based workouts.

Of course, Nike has a CrossFit training shoe — a good one at that! The Nike MetCon is one of the most popular CrossFit trainers on the market for the way it marries stability with flexibility, and sturdiness with spring.

"I like that the design is agile enough to allow me to jump rope without feeling weighed down,” says Chelsey Hughes, CF-L2, a two-time CrossFit Games athlete and CrossFit Level 2 certified coach.

"I'm also in love with the upper," she says. Made of breathable, lightweight mesh, the upper helps keep your foot cool yet sports the kind of durability that can withstand scrapes, slashes and quick-drag movements. Oh, and the toe and side are both reinforced to be more durable—super important if you're doing a ton of burpees, wall walks, toe-to-bars, or rope climbs.

Note: Nikes are known for having a narrower toe box, so if you have a wide foot you may want to go up half a size.

Price at time of publish: $190

Drop: 4mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 10z | Sizes: 5-12 | Color: 5

No Bull

Why We Like It: The upper is made from indestructible SuperFabric® that holds up against all kinds of friction.

It's Worth Noting: Given the shoe’s construction, it weighs more than low-top shoes.

If No Bull and Converse had a baby, it'd be the No Bull High Top Trainer+. It has the same stability the classic No Bull trainer is known for, but in the high-top style loved both by Tote and by Meredith Felts, CrossFit Level 2 certified coach at CrossFit for the People.

"They're lightweight, provide enough support for my arches when I run, and sturdy enough for anything from rope climbs to squat snatching," says Felts.

Notably, the upper is primarily made from indestructible SuperFabric®, which helps protect the shoe from abrasion. This means this shoe is likely to hold up longer than other options. However, it is a little heftier in weight than low-top options. While some athletes feel sturdier in a heavier trainer, others feel weighed down (in a bad way).

Price at time of publish: $149.00

Drop: 4mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 15 ounce | Sizes: 5-11 | Color: 6


Why We Like It: Built specifically for workouts with running, the Nike Free Metcon 4 is a great pick for workouts like Murph.

It's Worth Noting: The shoe is slightly less stable than other Metcon variations, so if you get these you’ll also want to invest in a weightlifting shoe for one rep max days.

Remember how we said that some people find the Nike Metcon 9s a little clunky for running workouts? Well, the Nike Free Metcon 4 is an antidote to this very complaint.

The Nike Free Metcon is made specifically with running in mind. The special Nike Free technology in the forefoot creates flexibility throughout the sole that you need to run with agility and speed. Meanwhile, the built-in stretch around the collar lets your foot move naturally as you burst and brake, cut and cruise.

Given that the shoe is less sturdy than other Nike Metcon variations, this wouldn’t be our first option for weightlifting, powerlifting, or Olympic lifting. However, it would be our go-to pick for workouts that combine running and gymnastics, according to Catherine Lewis, CrossFit Level 2 certified coach.

"I like that the outer edge of the heel has a coating that allows you to travel efficiently up and down the wall on handstand push-ups," she says. Plus, it has a little toe-coating to protect your tootsies during toes-to-bar and toes-to-rings.

Price at time of publish: $120

Drop: 5mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 11.2oz | Sizes: 5-23.5 | Color: 2


Why We Like It: Weighing in at 20 ounces, these lifts keep you VERY stable while under load.

It's Worth Noting: Lifters aren’t a substitute for mobility work, so don’t expect these to fix ALL of your lifting form issues.

As seasoned CrossFit athletes know, MetCons — that’s CrossFit speak for metabolic conditioning, the higher-intensity workout of the day — are one part of a CrossFit class. But they aren’t the only part. Many classes also have a portion of the class where your sole focus is to lift weights. Here, many athletes choose to wear lifting shoes.

Lifters, if you don’t know, are shoes that are designed specifically (and only!) to be worn when you are power or Olympic lifting. They have a higher heel drop compared to regular CrossFit trainers and are generally heavier. The greater heel drop allows people to sit deeper into their squat than they would without them, in particular, if they have tight ankles or other immobilities that limit squat depth.

While Cringle doesn’t always wear lifters during strength work, she reaches for the Nike Romaleos 4 when she is squatting heavy. “These improve my stability under load, and enable me to get into a good squatting position with an upright position,” she explains.

That said, lifters aren’t a substitution for mobility and formwork. “If you do really struggle with squat mobility, lifts aren’t a solution to the issue,” says Cringle. “You can invest in lifters but you should still work on that separately as part of your movement mechanics.”

Price at time of publish: $200

Drop: 20mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 20.1 | Sizes: 5-16.5 | Color: 3


Why We Like It: This tried-and-true CrossFit shoe has a shock-absorbing midsole that provides comfort during higher-impact movements.

It's Worth Noting: The heel-drop is just 3mm, which is more shallow than competitor products, and may make the shoe less comfortable for folks with imperfect ankle immobility.

Ask any OG CrossFitter: "These were the shoes to wear before the Nano, Metcon, or No Bull—an d they're still a great training shoe," says Allison B. Warner, M.D., Ph.D., a California-based CrossFit Level 2. "I've had these shoes for about 10 years and they're still top of my pile of training shoes!” Now that's an endorsement.

In addition to being super lightweight and flexible, they also have a minimal drop (3mm), which she says makes them work well for running and gymnastics movements. That said, this shorter drop will be noticeable for athletes with imperfect ankle and hip mobility who rely on a 9mm or more lift in their training shoe to hit depth.

A cool feature of this trainer is that it has a 360° ROPE-TEC™ system that wraps around the upper to provide maximum grip during rope climbs.

Price at time of publish: $129.95

Drop: 3mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 7oz | Sizes: 5.5-11 | Color: 6


Why We Like It: This shoe features a Vibram outsole that is designed to grip the ground so you can sprint safely on wet gravel or grass.

It's Worth Noting: This is a great shoe, but it’s better as an addition to a CrossFit shoe collection than the start of one.

For the average CrossFit athlete who simply follows the programming of their local CrossFit box, the Reebok Nano is the best CrossFit shoe in general. If, however, you are a serious CrossFit athlete who follows a program (like HWPO or PRVN) that regularly programs trail running, or other outdoor activities, the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure is worth a look.

“For outdoor workouts, I love the Nano X3 Adventure,” says Brianna Henley, Sr. Director of Sport Footwear at Reebok. “This shoe has all the stability of a Nano but features a Vibram outsole for grippy traction and water-resistant mesh upper that helps keep your foot dry in wetter conditions,” she explains.

Can you wear this for indoor CrossFit workouts? No doubt! But that’s ultimately not what this shoe was primarily designed for. So doing so is a bit like wearing walking shoes while you run, or hiking boots while you trail run.

Price at time of publish: $150

Drop: 7mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 13.45oz | Sizes: 7.5-15.5 | Color: 6

Strike Movement

Why We Like It: This minimalist shoe manages to cushion and cradle your foot, so you aren’t aware of the fact you’re wearing a minimalist shoe your entire workout.

It's Worth Noting: This shoe does not have any protection from rope-climb descents, so you’d be wise to buy another pair if you’re an advanced athlete.

Strike Mvmnt may not have much brand recognition (yet!), but Natalie DiCocco, CrossFit Level 1 certified and weightlifting coach at Telegraph CrossFit in San Francisco, swears by them.

"I tried many better-known CrossFit trainers, but they were either too narrow, sizing was off, or they were too expensive." Then she got a pair of Haze Trainers which she says are comfortable enough to wear when she's on her feet and coaching all day long and to keep on for WODs with a lot of gymnastics or lightweight barbell movements.

Their comfortability is thanks, in part, to their sole construction which combines a Cush50™ midsole and a custom molded SuperFoam™ footbed. Together, these materials work together to cradle your foot, cushion it, and enhance lateral stability.

Just note: For heavier lifts, DiCocco does switch to weightlifting shoes, which are a bit more supportive. (Here's where you can find the best shoes for strength training.)

Price at time of publish: $150

Drop: 4mm | Available in Wide: No | Weight: 12.1oz | Sizes: 5.5-15.5 | Color: 9

In order to find the best CrossFit shoes, we consulted with nearly one dozen experts in the CrossFit training shoe space, including coaches, athletes, and footwear designers. During our conversations with them, we asked them to share what their go-to training shoe is overall, as well as what specialty shoes they wear during things like trail runs, outdoor workouts, and lift-only sessions.

We also included CrossFit training shoes that we've previously tested at Shape. Each shoe was tested for at least four weeks, and worn during a wider variety of CrossFit workouts. At the end of the testing period, the tester used their insights on fit, durability, comfort, stability, value, and more to make educated recommendations on who would benefit from donning them on their dogs.

In CrossFit, the variety of outdoor and gymnastics movements can do a real doozy on your CrossFit trainer. So, when you’re searching for a CrossFit shoe you want to look for one specifically designed to combat wear-and-tear. In practice, that means you want the upper for your CrossFit trainer to be made with a protected friction-resistant coating. Or, to be made from a material that can’t easily fray from friction.

If higher-level gymnastics movements make an appearance in your personal CrossFit practice, you want to look for a shoe with a protected toe bed for toes-to-bar and toes-to-ring, as well as a wraparound grip or protective sheath for rope climbs. (Once you have your shoes, check out the 12 WODs CrossFit trainers love.)

CrossFit shoes adhere to the Goldilocks rules of cushioning: Not too much, not too little, but just right.

“You want a CrossFit trainer to contain responsive foam that provides cushioning…. but won’t be too soft or squishy,” says Henley. If the shoe has too much cushioning (like a running shoe) you’ll feel instable when doing weighted movements like squats, presses, deadlifts, and more. You also won't be able to lift quite as much because you won’t be able to grip the ground through your shoe, the way you would be a flatter shoe.

Most CrossFit training shoes have a heel drop that is between 3mm and 9mm. This is the perfect amount of drop for a wide range of CrossFit movements, including running, rowing, squatting, box jumps, and double-unders. The bigger heel drops compensate for imperfect ankle mobility better than smaller heel drops, which means 9mm training shoes may allow people who are still working on their mobility to get into positions they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

There is another category of CrossFit shoes, called lifters, which typically have a 20mm or more heel drop. “Lifting shoes also have a super solid heel to keep your heels down and provide stability under heavy weight,” says Henley.

While lifting shoes are a great addition to your shoe collection, you can’t wear them during most CrossFit metcons. Why? Because they are too heavy and stiff. “You don’t have the best flexibility in lifting shoes, but they can help keep you grounded and improve body position and technique during strength work.”

Exactly how you want your CrossFit shoe to fit will vary person-to-person, but you want to avoid buying a shoe that is too narrow.

“Training shoes also need to give your toes room to splay out while lifting,” says Henly. “When your toes can splay, you are anatomically in the best position to lift heavier.” Meanwhile, shoes that are too narrow interfere with your ability to get into the correct position.

It’s complicated. Are CrossFit training shoes safe and comfortable to wear while doing metcons that include running? Yes. Are CrossFit training shoes the best footwear option for run-only workouts or training sessions? No.

What does that mean for you? If you’re doing a CrossFit workout that includes running as one of many movements, go ahead and wear your CrossFit training shoes. If, however, your CrossFit workout is something like a 5K run or running intervals on the assault runner or track, opt for a pair of running shoes instead.

Yes, without a doubt. When you perform CrossFit movements — in particular, weighted CrossFit movements — you need a more-stable, less-cushy platform in order to properly be able to utilize your lower-body power. Broadly speaking, CrossFit shoes are much more stable than alternatives.

CrossFit training shoes also have a wider toe box compared to other workout shoes, which allows you to fully splay your toes while you lift and thus tap into even more of your strength.

Plus, CrossFit shoes often come with details that are specifically useful for CrossFit athletes who are doing high-level gymnastics movements. For example, CrossFit shoes often come with a reinforced toe bed that keeps the toes area from splaying as a result of the friction-protected outsole. They sometimes also have a protected outside that is designed to help protect the shoe from the friction of rope during rope climbs, while also helping you obtain a secure grip on the rope. CrossFit shoes typically also have heel glides that help your heels, well, glide up and down the wall while you do handstand push-ups.

Assuming you’re exercising 4 times a week, a single pair of CrossFit shoes should last you about 8 to 12 months.

However, if your CrossFit shoes are starting to show any of the below signs of wear and tear, it’s time to make a switch on the sooner side:

Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a freelance fitness journalist with nearly a decade of experience writing about CrossFit, strength training more broadly, exercise equipment, and workout wear. In addition to Shape, her work has appeared in publications such as Health, SELF, Women's Health, Men’s Health, Greatist, Bustle, and more.

She is also a CF-L1 certified CrossFit trainer who coaches at her local affiliate and a regionally competitive CrossFit athlete who is always on the hunt for a new pair of CrossFit trainers to elevate her fitness game. (Just recently she invested in a way of Nano X3 Adventure shoes to wear during her Sunday trail runs).

For this article, she tapped into her own 7 years of experience in the CrossFit space, as well as interviewed nearly one dozen coaches and experts in the CrossFit space.

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