The Best 10 CrossFit Shoes – Top Cross Trainers for Serious CrossFit Athletes

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There was plenty to update as we refreshed our article on the best CrossFit shoes. In fact, three new models were added to our top ten chart!

The Reebok Nano X Hero took the top spot, while we also welcomed the Reebok ROS Workout TR 2.0 and Under Armour’s Charged Engage Cross Trainer.

The winner after the latest chart update:
Reebok-Men’s-Nano-X-Hero-1
  • Size: 7 to 14
  • Upper Material: Flexweave textile
  • Sole Material: High-abrasion rubber
  • Features: Unique Hero design, interior midfoot cage support, polyurethane NanoShell, Metasplit flex grooves, extended padded collar, TPU heel clip

Combining Olympic lifting, powerlifting, HIIT, gymnastics and calisthenics (often in one workout!), CrossFit is the definition of a dynamic and demanding fitness regime.

While you can enhance your performance with clothing and accessories (such as good CrossFit gloves and grips), the first thing on your shopping list should undoubtedly be a stable but flexible pair of CrossFit shoes.

That’s exactly what this article focuses on. We have scoured the market and compiled a top ten list to highlight some of the best cross trainers on the market, suitable for all budgets and levels.

We have also put together a complete guide to CrossFit shoes, as well as a handy FAQ section, to help you find the best pair of cross trainers for you.

Note that, while we have included some shoes for men and some for women, most of the shoes are available for both sexes – simply search for what is relevant for you. However, we do have separate guides to the best CrossFit shoes for men and the top CrossFit shoes for women, so be sure to check those out too!

Top 10 Best CrossFit Shoes

Pros

  • Unique Hero design is a fitting tribute for emergency first responders
  • Perfect for all kinds of activity, from jumping to deadlifting
  • Enhanced fit make them well suited for running
  • New Flexweave design and extended padded collar enhance comfort

Cons

  • Possibly the heaviest Nano shoe to date

Sizes: 7 to 14
Upper Material: Flexweave textile
Sole Material: High-abrasion rubber
Features: Unique Hero design, interior midfoot cage support, polyurethane NanoShell, Metasplit flex grooves, extended padded collar, TPU heel clip

The Nano X’s are the tenth iteration in Reebok’s iconic CrossFit shoe collection and deserve all the attention they receive. Even though Reebok has removed the CrossFit branding, the X’s ability to handle running, lifting, jumping and climbing with ease make them ideal for any WOD.

While several color choices exist, we love the new unique Hero design. This pays tribute to the work of emergency first responders, with appropriate grey/blue colors and the ‘not all heroes wear capes’ slogan on the bottom.

These shoes feature the right blend of stability, flexibility and comfort we have come to expect from a pair of Nanos, with improved cushioning and fit to make them more comfortable for running. A little heavy, but these are impressive shoes, whatever your workout.

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Pros

  • Midfoot cage and TPU heel clip offer great support and stability for big lifts
  • Flexible enough for WODs with lots of running and jumping
  • Sleek and minimalist design with many colors to choose from
  • Flexweave upper and responsive cushioning enhance comfort

Cons

  • Sole is oddly prone to coming apart

Sizes: 6.5 to 14
Upper Material: Flexweave
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Multiple colors, midfoot support cage, TPU heel clip, wide toe box, decoupled sole

While hundreds of cross trainers could be utilized for CrossFit, the Nano 9 is quite possibly the perfect training shoe. Of course, this may not come as a surprise considering the reputation of Reebok’s CrossFit-tailored Nano collection.

Available in multiple color combos, this popular sneaker features a minimalist design with a comfortable Flexweave upper that hugs the foot in snugly while offering outstanding breathability.

Thanks to features like a midfoot support cage and TPU heel clip, this shoe offers excellent stability for big lifts. Yet this is not at the price of flexibility, as flex grooves in the outsole and a decoupled design make this a very adaptable shoe. Meanwhile, responsive cushioning is ideal for run-heavy WODs. It’s not the cheapest shoe, but it still offers great value!

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Pros

  • Enhanced fit and comfort, with additional tongue cushioning
  • Excellent shoe for lifting, short runs and rope climbs
  • Hyperlift insert adds even more versatility
  • Plenty of colors to choose from

Cons

  • Quite an expensive shoe compared to others

Sizes: 5 to 12
Upper Material: Synthetic
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Multiple colors, rubberized haptic printed upper, textured bi-directional rubber outsole wraps, Hyperlift insert, TPU heel clip, flywire cables with lace integration

Nike’s Metcon series is a collection of shoes that is inseparable from CrossFit as they boast everything needed for a dynamic workout – stability, flexibility, comfort and a few WOD-enhancing features! The Metcon 5 Women’s are ideal for female athletes, although men have their own selection as well.

The Metcon 5 features a Hyperlift insert to increase stability and heel drop for better squats, although can quickly be removed for a flatter, more cushioned experience. They are therefore excellent for all kinds of lifting, but just as versatile for jumping, running and climbing thanks to the ridged outsole and textured rubber wraps on the sidewalls.

Comfort is never a question with these shoes, as Nike have added more tongue cushioning as well as boosted flexibility in the forefoot area. Expensive, but well worth the price!

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Pros

  • Superb blend of flexibility and stability
  • Slight heel-drop aids in squatting moves
  • Comfortable and lightweight but with good protection
  • Great grip and traction in all directions – including on rope climbs

Cons

  • Shoe feels quite expensive

Sizes: 9 to 15
Upper Material: SuperFabric upper
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Breathable SuperFabric upper, flexible sole, multiple colors, high carbon lateral grip, medial rope grip, heavy-duty sole traction

Want something that looks as good in the CrossFit box as it does on the street? These NOBULL training shoes are a solid choice for CrossFit athletes hunting for a no-nonsense cross trainer with a little attitude.

While minimalist in design, there is still plenty of tech packed into this shoe. It features a seamless SuperFabric upper that is very comfortable, breathable and flexible. However, it is just as supportive for all kinds of movement, thanks to guard plates built-into the fabric.

The rubber sole is flat but flexible, and offers great traction for sled pushes and rope climbs, while giving users the stability required for heavier lifting. A great all-rounder and ideal for the fashion-conscious athlete. Also available for women.

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Pros

  • Extremely comfortable and flexible
  • Great traction on the sole
  • Versatile – great for CrossFit, lifting and fitness classes
  • Ultra-stylish and available in a wide range of colors

Cons

  • Pretty expensive pair of shoes
  • Can be a little difficult to put on

Sizes: 9 to 15
Upper Material: SuperFabric upper
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Breathable SuperFabric upper, flexible sole, multiple colors, high carbon lateral grip, medial rope grip, heavy-duty sole traction

Want something that looks as good in the CrossFit box as it does on the street? These NOBULL training shoes are a solid choice for CrossFit athletes hunting for a no-nonsense cross trainer with a little attitude.

While minimalist in design, there is still plenty of tech packed into this shoe. It features a seamless SuperFabric upper that is very comfortable, breathable and flexible. However, it is just as supportive for all kinds of movement, thanks to guard plates built-into the fabric.

The rubber sole is flat but flexible, and offers great traction for sled pushes and rope climbs, while giving users the stability required for heavier lifting. A great all-rounder and ideal for the fashion-conscious athlete. Also available for women.

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Pros

  • Features a comfortable knitted upper with extended collar
  • Excellent stability thanks to Tribase outsole and large external heel counter
  • Flexible sole design for more dynamic WODs
  • Looks great in both men’s and women’s models

Cons

  • Quite an expensive pair of shoes

Sizes: 5 to 12
Upper Material: Textile
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Two choices of design, knitted upper, UA TriBase, Micro G foam midsole, larger external heel counter, rubber outsole wraps

Newly released for 2020, the Tribase Reign 2.0 is one of Under Armour’s many excellent cross trainers and makes a perfect fit for CrossFit athletes who care about their training. This shoe gives you everything you need to perform in the box!

Available for both women and men, the Tribase Reign 2.0 features the same Tribase sole as the original shoe, although with a larger external heel counter for greater support and feel while lifting.

The knitted upper is incredibly snug and comfortable – enhanced by the newly-extended collar height – while remaining breathable for when the sweat starts to pour! Meanwhile, the rubber base provides great traction for pushing, pulling and lifting of all sorts, with zonal flex improving mobility when running and jumping.

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Pros

  • Versatile shoe that can cope with anything in the CrossFit box
  • Offers great outsole traction and rope protection
  • Comfortable mesh upper keeps your feet cool
  • More reasonably priced than Nano collection

Cons

  • Shoe feels a little long

Sizes: 6.5 to 15
Upper Material: Mesh
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Multiple color choices, injection-molded EVA midsole cradle, FINN-patterned outsole, RopePro carbon rubber section

Whatever makes you sweat – lifting, HIIT or CrossFit – the Workout TR 2.0 from Reebok will tick a lot of boxes. It’s a mid-range shoe that is reassuringly priced, but more accessible than the higher-end Nano collection.

The no-nonsense design makes them a good all rounder. There’s an injection-molded EVA midsole cradle to absorb shock when you are running and jumping, while the low-profile design makes them suitable for weightlifting. Comfort is no issue either, with a mesh upper offering good ventilation.

The outsole has been developed with a raised FINN design and RopePro carbon rubber sections to give you the edge on movements that require traction, whether that’s pushing a weighted sled or climbing a rope. Another winner from Reebok!

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Pros

  • Stripped-back design that means business
  • Firm and flat – perfect for deadlifts
  • Flexible enough for running, burpees and box jumps
  • Includes Rope-Tec protection on upper to enhance rope climbs

Cons

  • Shoe feels quite tight around the midfoot
  • Not as cushioned as many others on this page

Sizes: 4 to 15
Upper Material: Synthetic
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Zero heel-to-toe drop, Y-lock heel system, sticky rubber grip, Rope-Tec protection, Adapterweb cradle lacing system

Another popular CrossFit shoe from Inov-8, the Bare XF 210 V2 is a stripped-back trainer that places your foot close to the ground, with zero heel-to-toe drop. This makes it exceptional for transferring power into the floor and creating rock-solid stability.

This stability is reinforced with a hardy outsole made from Inov-8’s patented ‘sticky rubber’, which is designed to provide maximum connection with the ground. Combined with the flatness, the Bare XF 210 V2 is ideal for deadlifts and power cleans.

However, it’s as suitable for the more dynamic portions of your WOD – although it offers very little cushioning, the sole flexes with your foot to provide a natural feel as you run and jump. Other features include Rope-Tec protection on the upper, which gives you the edge on rope climbs!

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Pros

  • Good price for a popular pair of cross trainers
  • Offers great comfort with a locked-in feel
  • Charged Cushioning provides shock absorption and energy return
  • Features a simple but stylish design that looks great anywhere

Cons

  • Not as well-suited to some CrossFit activities like rope climbing

Sizes: 7 to 15
Upper Material: Synthetic
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Charged Cushioning, forefoot webbing, TPU midfoot films, 3D screenprint upper, internal heel counter, multi-directional traction outsole

The Charged Engage cross trainers from Under Armour are another solid pair of CrossFit-suitable shoes and come in at less than half the price of some of the leaders. This makes them a sensible choice if you crave high performance without having to spend premium prices.

These shoes feature a forefoot webbing, TPU midfoot films and an internal heel counter for a snug and locked-in fit that inspires confidence, no matter whether you are running, jumping, skipping or lifting. Under Armour’s unique Charged Cushioning plays a big part in both comfort and energy return.

While these shoes are less suitable for some more specialist activities, such as rope climbing, the 3D screenprint on the upper still enhances durability a little. For the price, this is an excellent option.

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Pros

  • Wonderful ground connection with thin, wide and flat sole
  • No heel-drop makes for a stable lifting platform
  • Comfortable and flexible for running and jumping
  • Very good price means very good value!

Cons

  • Barefoot-style design may not be for everybody
  • Sizes seem to run quite large

Sizes: 7 to 15
Upper Material: Textile
Sole Material: Rubber
Features: Zero-drop sole, wide anatomic toe box, thin outsole, removable insole, elasticated laces

Shopping for a good CrossFit shoe on a budget? You’d be hard-pushed to find something better than this trainer from WHITIN, which comes in at well under fifty dollars!

In the same mold as some of Inov-8’s higher-end ‘barefoot-style’ training shoes, the budget brand removes everything you don’t need to deliver a vegan-friendly shoe that is wide, thin and flat. This makes it ideal for everything from running to lifting.

With a thin sole, wide toe box, and zero heel-to-toe drop, it provides great floor feel and power transfer to the ground. The lack of cushioning may require some getting used to, yet in action they work very well for WODs that include running and jumping.

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Choosing the Right CrossFit Shoes for You

Whether you are a man, a woman, an experienced CrossFit athlete or a complete beginner looking for the right CrossFit shoes, finding suitable footwear is vital to your safety, comfort and performance in the box.

Our top ten chart will have offered some inspiration as to what shoes are popular among other CrossFit athletes, lifters and fitness enthusiasts. Now all that’s left to do is choose a shoe that’s right for you!

This is where this buyer’s guide comes in. In the following sections, we highlight what you should be looking for when browsing the market, including the design, the build, the materials, the fit and any extra features.

Design

CrossFit shoes tend to fall into the ‘cross trainer’ section of the market. This means that they aren’t running shoes and they aren’t dedicated weightlifting shoes, although they do take elements from both.

This is because CrossFit is such a mix of fitness disciplines. There’s a bit of heavy lifting, there’s some high-intensity cardio, and there is plenty of climbing, jumping and lateral movement to keep your body guessing.

For running and jumping movements where impact on your joints is higher, you will need a shoe that offers flexibility and shock absorption. However, because you may be moving into a deadlift straight after your burpees, you will also need a shoe that provides a firm surface with good support.

Ultimately, this is what a good CrossFit shoe will provide. A cross trainer will place your foot closer to the ground than running shoes, while also removing a lot of the midsole compression. This means you get better power transfer into the ground when strength training. They also offer more stability and lateral support, so you can move in any direction with confidence.

On the other side of the coin, they are more lightweight and comfortable than your average lifting shoe. Cross trainers are also more flexible in the forefoot, to make short runs, jumping and sled pushes more comfortable to perform.

As for aesthetics, different brands offer different styles tailored to both men and women with different tastes. Some will offer more blatant sport shoe designs, with a rainbow of colors and loud logos. Others will be stealthier in their design, while others don’t look like sports shoes at all (NOBULL’s range of cross trainers, for example).

Of course, this is all personal preference – only you know what style will appeal to you. Just ensure the rest of the shoe offers the right build and features you need to perform.

Material

It is worth paying attention to the materials used in your CrossFit shoes, as these will largely determine how well the shoe performs and how durable it will be.

As with aesthetics, every brand is different, although there are certainly some common materials used on shoes from all manufacturers and in all price ranges.

Starting with the bottom of the shoe and you will find rubber is the prime material used for the outsole. This should come as no surprise – rubber is flexible, durable and offers great traction.

The outsole pattern used will differ depending on the manufacturer and what traction they wish to offer. Some will use simple rubber dots, others use multidirectional grooves, and others split the sole into multiple parts (known as a ‘decoupled sole’) to increase flexibility. Some will combine elements of all of these patterns, which is no surprise considering the variety of movements CrossFit demands.

Sitting above the outsole, is the midsole. This important area is the part that will determine how much cushioning and shock absorption your shoe will provide.

The midsole on a cross trainer will usually be made from a piece of EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam, with a medium density to offer the firm feel and power transfer required for resistance training (deadlifts, squats and presses, for example). However, this foam will still offer a degree of compression and flexibility – more so than your typical lifting shoe – to also cater for higher-impact portions of the workout.

As for the upper, this is where materials can differ considerably. Some shoes will use a stretchy knitted/textile upper, while others will use a synthetic mesh or synthetic leather. It is rare to find genuine leather used in cross trainers these days, although some do exist.

Either way, these materials have to be as durable as the outsole, considering they will endure a lot of movement, bending and friction (especially from rope climbs). They should also offer good ventilation to allow your feet to breathe during a high-intensity WOD. With a mesh or knitted upper this is usually a given, although a leather/synthetic leather upper will require the addition of ventilation holes.

Fit

The fit of your cross trainer is perhaps the most important part of finding the right CrossFit shoe for you.

No matter how good it looks, how breathable the material, or how durable the outsole, if the shoe does not fit your foot correctly, it won’t be doing its job. Don’t put up with the discomfort and distraction of a shoe that is too tight or too loose – make sure you buy the correct size.

If you are buying in a sports store, then this is easy – simply try on the shoe, then walk around in it for a while (maybe try a few burpees if you get a chance!). You will soon find the correct fit.

However, if you are buying your CrossFit shoes online, then you will need to use some other techniques.

Firstly, check out the manufacturer’s website, as they will often offer a size guide to help you find your correct size, whether you live in the US, UK or EU. For example, here is Nike’s shoe sizing chart for men. This will require you to measure your feet in either centimeters or inches and then reference a graph. While it may seem like a bit of hassle, this small effort will be worth it in the long run.

If in doubt, browse user reviews on sites such as Amazon, if the shoe is listed there. This will usually highlight if other users are having problems with the size. For example, if five people all mention that the shoes run small, consider buying the next size or half-size up.

If you are buying your cross trainers online, then go with a dealer that has a fair and clear returns policy. Despite measuring your feet and selecting the best size, sometimes a shoe just doesn’t feel right. If this is the case, be sure you can easily return the shoe and request a different size, or a refund.

Features

To remain competitive in a world of hundreds of good cross trainers, each brand will add their own stamp of innovation to their shoes. Some of these features will be genuinely useful.

A very common feature is wraps on the sidewalls of the shoes, which aid with grip during rope climbs. While the exact design will differ depending on the shoe, you will usually see textured rubber or a TPU (hard plastic) panel with different patterns to help increase traction.

Adding texture to the upper through haptic printing is another popular technique which can also aid during rope climbs, while enhancing the durability of the shoe.

As for inside the shoe, you can expect some manufacturers to use brand-name insoles and sockliners (such as OrthoLite) to increase the appeal. You may also find some will include removable inserts – such as Nike’s Hyperlift insert. These boost the versatility by offering a quick way to make the shoe more rigid and increase the heel-to-toe drop – ideal for squat-heavy WODs.

Other features may include things like special lacing systems or midfoot straps. While not worth buying the shoe solely because of these features, they can all add up and offer better performance and a more comfortable CrossFit session.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are doing CrossFit, then yes – a good pair of CrossFit shoes or cross trainers can be the most useful piece of gear you buy. In fact, your shoes can make or break your CrossFit experience.

As this article has explored, CrossFit shoes sit somewhere between a running shoe and lifting shoe in terms of design and functionality. CrossFit is such a demanding and dynamic workout that you need a shoe that can cope with multiple disciplines, often crammed into the same workout.

For example, you may be running the track one moment, then deadlifting your bodyweight the next. Most running shoes wouldn’t cope well with the deadlifts, while running in a rigid lifting shoe is a recipe for disaster!

Good CrossFit shoes, on the other hand, offer athletes the perfect balance between stability and flexibility, allowing them to cope with running, jumping, climbing and heavy lifting. They are also very durable, meaning they shouldn’t fall apart after a session of rope climbs or sled pushes.

If you are serious about CrossFit, circuit training, and functional fitness, then a suitable pair of shoes is worth the investment. However, you actually don’t need to spend more than fifty bucks to land yourself with solid cross trainers that perform well, no matter what the WOD demands.

Running shoes are designed for running in a straight line – meaning that they are built to cope with heel-to-toe movement with no support for sudden stops, quick changes in direction, or lateral movement (when the foot moves sideways).

They tend to feature a few common design points. For example, they are built with substantial cushioning to protect the foot and joints from impact. They are also built with arch support and are very flexible, while also being very lightweight.

Now, all of this isn’t a problem for some aspects of CrossFit – for example, WODs that order multiple 800m runs. Here, running shoes would be very welcome!

However, CrossFit is just as heavy on lifting, climbing and lateral movements, for which running shoes are notoriously poor.

This is why cross trainers are a good call. These shoes are built with firmer, flatter soles to cope with the demands of big compound lifts. While they may offer a little give (after all, they aren’t devoted weightlifting shoes), they still provide the stability needed for deadlifting and squatting. Running shoes, on the other hand, don’t.

Running shoes also don’t tend to provide lateral support, which is required when moving sideways – lateral lunges for example. Neither do they provide the durability needed in CrossFit. Try climbing a rope with running shoes and see how well they cope…

Ultimately, if running shoes are all you have, then you could get away with using them for a Murph or Tosh, but the sooner you can find a pair of decent cross trainers, the better.

As highlighted above, CrossFit shoes are very durable when compared to running shoes. They are built with more reinforcement in key areas, which is why they hold up well to lifting, jumping and climbing. They therefore last much longer than running shoes when subject to regular beatings at your local CrossFit box.

How long do they last? Ultimately, this depends on the shoe and how often you use it.

As with any piece of fitness gear, the more you pay, the more durable the product tends to be. This isn’t always the case, but it’s generally true. Compare the build quality of a $30 pair of cross trainers and a pair of $130 cross trainers, and you should see a big difference in the materials and build quality.

It also depends on the frequency these shoes are on your feet. If you perform five WODs a week and also use your shoes for some short runs, then they will not last as long as if you only use them for two WODs a week.

For a midrange pair of shoes used multiple times a week, you should be able to squeeze at least six months use from them, although often much longer. However, any longer than a year and you clearly aren’t using your shoes enough!

You may also notice that – as there is no padding to compress, combined with more durable builds and added reinforcement – cross trainers will last longer than running shoes of a similar price.

It’s usually easy to see when the shoes need to be replaced. Telltale signs include worn out soles, ripped uppers, soles coming away from the upper, or – sometimes – foot or knee pain.

Whether it’s a couple of minutes of running for your warmup, or a prescribed 800m run as part of your WOD, putting one foot in front of the other very quickly is a big part of CrossFit!

However, can CrossFit shoes cater for running? Where should you draw the line?

Generally, CrossFit shoes and cross trainers can cope very well with the kind of running you would do in a CrossFit or circuit training class. These shoes have enough compression and flexibility to make running feel comfortable on your feet and lower-body joints. Compared to running in a rigid weightlifting shoe, running in a cross trainer won’t pose many problems.

However, the problems may start to develop if you are running for longer distances or durations. Put frankly, a CrossFit shoe would not be the best shoe in which to run a marathon – or train for one, for that matter.

This is because cross trainers offer only a certain amount of flexibility and cushioning. Not enough to protect your joints from the repetitive impact caused by taking thousands of steps during a longer run.

If you are planning to weave some longer running into your activity schedule, do your feet a favour and buy a pair of running shoes, which are built specifically for that purpose.

Even a cheap pair will be better than a midrange pair of CrossFit shoes. Trust us, your joints will thank you in the long run!

The Ver(ve)dict!

Whether you are buying your first or fifth pair of CrossFit shoes, we hope our guide has been handy and given you something to consider.

Ultimately, any good pair of cross trainers would work well for a CrossFit workout, although some shoes certainly perform better than others.

Our top ten chart is a good starting point, but don’t limit yourself to these shoes – there are loads of options out there. Browse the market using the information in our guide, make an informed decision, then go crush your next WOD!

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