Reviews

The Best CrossFit Shoes, As Told By a CrossFit Coach Who’s Worn Them All

June 9, 2022 by
talking about crossfit shoes
Talking about various CrossFit shoes. Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews
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Shoes can make or break your workout. The right shoe is a vessel for optimal comfort and improved performance, while the wrong shoe is a curse that can turn your workout into a dumpster fire. Our expert guide to the best CrossFit shoes will help you find your vessel for top-of-the-whiteboard scores. 

We Know CrossFit Shoes 

Our team of product testers includes multiple long-time CrossFitters and certified CrossFit coaches who have spent years dragging shoes through all types of CrossFit workouts. In addition to testing more than 10 pairs of shoes for this guide specifically, we leaned on our years of CrossFit experience, our knowledge of what specs make a good training shoe, and customer reviews.  

Editor’s note: The only CrossFit shoes in the truest sense of the term are currently NOBULL training shoes and Reebok Nanos generations 1 through 10. Throughout this guide, we use the term “best CrossFit shoes” in reference to shoes that are, in our opinion, the best for CrossFit-style fitness regimens.

The Best CrossFit Shoes in 2022

Editor’s Choice: CrossFit Nano X2

Reebok Nano X2 shoes
The new Reebok Nano X2 CrossFit shoes Credit: Amanda Capritto/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: These have the perfect blend of stability and shock absorption to propel you through whatever the WOD brings. 

Pros: 

  • Flexweave knit upper is flexible but reinforced in the right spots 
  • Midfoot and forefoot cushioning make these comfortable for running longer distances 
  • Deep, patterned lugs provide ultimate traction in any conditions

Cons:

  • Heel cup rides high on some people
  • Toe box is wider than other CrossFit shoes
  • Not available in many colorways

Reebok released the OG CrossFit shoe in 2011 and has launched a new version yearly ever since, adapting to the ever-evolving needs of CrossFit athletes. The brand knocked it out of the park with the 2022 release of the Nano X2. 

This shoe builds upon the Nano X1 with deeper outsole lugs for improved traction, midfoot teeth for increased abrasion resistance, and an extended heel clip for a wider base to promote stability. The X2s also have a higher heel-to-toe drop of 7 millimeters, as opposed to the 4 millimeters seen in previous models. 

Amongst all these improvements, everything we loved about the Nano X1 remains: flexible forefoot cushioning, a reinforced knit upper, and a moderate Floatride Energy Foam midsole.

Runner Up: Nike Metcon 7 

wearing Nike Metcon 7 shoes
Nike Metcon 7 training shoes Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: Metcons have everything Nanos have, but they’ll fit narrower feet better.

Pros: 

  • Extra-thick media rope grip for abrasion resistance 
  • Nike React foam supports you during ballistic movements (e.g., box jumps)
  • Hook-and-loop closure on laces keeps them locked down during WODs

Cons:

  • Might get squeaky after several wears 
  • Runs narrow
  • Not great for intervals of running longer than 400 meters

Nike launched the Metcons in 2015 as a direct response to Reebok’s head-first dive into fitness as a sport. While some versions of the Metcons have been total flops, Nike made a true comeback with the Metcon 7s, which sport an ultra-durable rubber wrap and a wider, flat heel for a stable platform. 

The Metcon 7s also features a thin midsole of Nike React, a proprietary foam Nike originally launched in basketball shoes for improved energy return. In practice, this means you get more bounce-back during running intervals and any plyometric movements, like box jumps and burpees. 

Our biggest complaint? Nike Metcons have always run narrow in the midfoot and forefoot, and that’s still true with the 7s.

Best CrossFit Shoes for Barbell WODs: NOBULL Trainers 

high top NOBULL trainers
NOBULL SuperFabric Trainers Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: Barbell cycling is cake thanks to the minimal midsole and flat, grippy outsole.

Pros: 

  • Minimal midsole creates an ultra-stable lifting surface
  • Seamless upper is super durable
  • Molded sockliner hugs the foot but is still breathable

Cons:

  • Soles are too flat for some athletes
  • SuperFabric doesn’t promote optimal breathability
  • Not great for running, period

After four years of wearing the same pair of NOBULL Trainers, I’m inclined to say these are the most durable CrossFit shoes I’ve ever had. This is thanks largely to the seamless SuperFabric upper, an abrasion-resistant material unique to NOBULL. The rubber lug pattern has proved durable, too, showing minimal signs of wear after many years of consistent use. 

NOBULL Trainers aren’t the most versatile CrossFit shoes—try Nanos or Metcons for that—but they do have the most stable base for lifting, thanks to the minimal midsole and snug insole. This means NOBULL Trainers aren’t great for running or jumping, as they provide limited arch support, shock absorption, and energy return. 

However, they excel during barbell cycling and any other move that requires supreme stability, such as deadlifts, overhead walking lunges, weighted box step-ups, and lateral movements.

Best CrossFit Shoes for Running WODs: Nike Free Metcon 4

holding Nike Metcon Free shoes
Nike Free Metcon 4 training shoes Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: Nike Frees and Nike Metcons had a baby so you can tackle WODs with long run intervals.

Pros: 

  • Flex grooves are ideal for running
  • EVA midsole provides shock absorption for plyo moves
  • Ultra-flexible forefoot is great for cardio-focused WODs

Cons:

  • Thick midsole is not suited for heavy lifting
  • Shallow lugs won’t hold up like those on targeted cross-trainers
  • Runs a little small and narrow, but half sizes should accommodate

We know not everyone can have different shoes for every purpose, but if you’re looking for a pair of CrossFit shoes for running, we recommend the Nike Free Metcon 4s, which combine the best of Nike running shoes with Nike Metcons. 

For WODs with long running intervals—so, more than 400 meters in the CrossFit world—these will support you better than any other CrossFit shoes. This is thanks to the forefoot flex grooves and chunky EVA midsole, which allow your feet to adopt a better heel-to-toe gait than shoes with flatter soles. 

Unfortunately, this means the Nike Free Metcons don’t perform optimally during other CrossFit exercises, especially barbell cycling or heavy lifting. Still, they’re a great choice for those who need to prioritize reduced joint impact. 

Best Budget CrossFit Shoes: Reebok Nanoflex TR 

wearing reebok nanoflex shoes
Reebok Nanoflex TR training shoes Credit: Amanda Capritto/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: These have the most essential CrossFit shoe features for less than $100.

Pros: 

  • Deep grooves in the outsole provide flexibility for running and ballistic movements
  • Higher (10mm) heel-to-toe drop helps with squat depth
  • Sole extends past heel counter, increasing stability for lifting

Cons:

  • Runs very narrow in the midfoot 
  • Heel cup runs slightly high 
  • Mesh upper is not reinforced like it is on the Nanos

It’s hard to find good CrossFit shoes under $100. For a list price of $90, you can snag the Reebok Nanoflex TR trainers, which I see as a little sibling to the Nanos. 

While the Nanoflex TRs lack some durability compared to Nanos, they’ve held up fine through a year of moderate HIIT and functional fitness workouts for me. I wouldn’t continuously put them through rope climbs or exercises with a lot of heel drag, such as handstand push-ups. 

The slightly higher heel-to-toe drop of 6 millimeters helps with squat depth during WODs, and the extended sole provides ample stability. I would love to see a redo of the Nanoflex TRs featuring a wider midfoot, as they took some time to break in and start feeling comfortable.

Best Hybrid CrossFit and Lifting Shoes: Reebok Lifter PR 2

Reebok Lifter PR II
Reebok Lifter PR 2 shoes Credit: Amanda Capritto/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: You can transition from strength to metcon without changing shoes.

Pros: 

  • Heel height is high enough to help with Olympic lifts, but low enough to tackle a metcon
  • Budget-friendly as far as lifters go ($100)
  • Reinforced toe box, heel counter, and midfoot promote longevity

Cons:

  • EVA midsole is too responsive for heavy lifts
  • 15.5mm (about 0.6”) heel height isn’t ideal for heavy Olympic weightlifting
  • Midfoot runs slightly narrow

The Reebok Lifter PR 2 shoes are my go-to pair for WODs with a lot of squats or Olympic weightlifting movements. With a 15.5-millimeter heel height, these shoes straddle the line between trainers and weightlifting shoes. 

If your WOD doesn’t include running, you can easily transition from the strength portion to the metcon portion without changing shoes—all the while, enjoying improved barbell receiving positions and shock absorption.

Some people would prefer to train in different shoes for specific purposes, but I love a hybrid shoe that provides extra support for lifting while remaining flexible and flat enough for most CrossFit movements. 

Best Weightlifting Shoes for CrossFit: Adidas Adipower 2

wearing adidas adipower weightlifting shoes
Adidas Adipower 2 weightlifting shoes Credit: Kate Meier/Garage Gym Reviews

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: With a more flexible upper than the average Oly shoe, the Adipowers feel more like trainers but still assist with depth and receiving positions. 

Pros: 

  • Full canvas upper is very flexible
  • 0.79” (20.1mm) heel height assists with squat depth and barbell receiving positions
  • Wide toe box allows feet to splay

Cons:

  • At 14.3 oz per shoe, they’re heavy to wear in a WOD
  • Shallow lug pattern may wear quickly, depending on usage
  • Expensive ($200)

If you don’t mind changing shoes mid-CrossFit class—or you just want to focus more on the Olympic lifts—we recommend the Adidas Adipower 2 weightlifting shoes, which feature a flexible canvas upper, 20.1-millimeter heel height, and a velcro midfoot strap for security.

Due to the heel height, we don’t recommend wearing the Adipowers during most WODs, although they’ll perform fantastically during Grace or Isabel. Murph? Not so much. 

Wear these on the platform, though, and you’ll feel radically stable as you attempt a new personal best in the clean-and-jerk.

Best CrossFit Shoe for Wide Feet: New Balance Minimus Prevail Trainer

New Balance Minimus Prevail Shoes
New Balance Minimus Prevail Trainers Credit: New Balance/Amazon

Why CrossFit athletes will love this: No true CrossFit shoe offers wide sizing, so we went out and found the shoe with the best specs in W. 

Pros: 

  • Comes in actual W sizes, unlike any CrossFit shoe on the market 
  • Vibram outsole and TPU heel clip for traction and durability
  • Reinforced toe box and heel cup

Cons:

  • Lacks the thick medial rope grip found in other CrossFit shoes
  • Some reviews report the upper coming unglued 
  • Heel cup rides low, so it might slip

The New Balance Minimus Prevail trainer is the only shoe on this list I haven’t personally tested, but I couldn’t leave it off after countless requests to find the best CrossFit shoes for wide feet. The problem is, no true CrossFit shoe comes in wide sizes, so people with wide feet are left to dig through specs on their own and hope for the best. 

After combing through product listings and customer reviews, our team landed on the New Balance Minimus Prevail trainers as the best cross-trainers for wide feet. They feature many attributes you’ll find in other CrossFit shoes, such as a medial rubber grip, a 4-millimeter heel-to-toe drop, deep outsole lugs, and a reinforced toe box. 

According to customer reviews, these may need a bit of refining in the overall contour, but they do provide a wide, stable base and serve as a lightweight, versatile cross-training shoe for people who need a true wide size.  

Other Great CrossFit Shoes

wearing NOBULL Trainer Plus during rope climbs
The new NOBULL Trainer+ shoes Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

Here are some other CrossFit trainers that are great, but not as exceptional as the ones on our final list of best CrossFit shoes.

Reebok Nano X1

We love the Nano X1, but the newly released Nano X2 builds upon the X1 with a more responsive forefoot outsole, deeper lugs for improved traction, and a stickier medial rope grip. 

NOBULL Trainer+ 

The Trainer+ is a new, but not necessarily improved, version of the NOBULL Trainer. I like the Trainer+ shoes, but the increased midsole EVA is a bit much for WODs where optimal stability is required. 

Reebok Speed TR

A classic budget-friendly pick, the Reebok Speed TR is a great entry-level CrossFit shoe, but I’ve found that it doesn’t hold up well over time. I recommend spending more on a shoe that will last longer. 

Nike React Metcon Turbo

This version of the Nike Metcon was designed to be more lightweight, but shaving down the upper instep, heel clip, and rope wrap means they’re less durable.

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

Inov-8 is a longstanding name in the CrossFit game, but I’m not overly impressed with the F-Lite G 300. The midsole is too chunky for most CrossFit movements, and the 6-millimeter heel-to-toe drop means the shoe isn’t as flat as a typical CrossFit shoe.  

Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3

The F-Lite 235s have more CrossFit-specific features than the F-Life G 300. Overall, I’m a fan, but they don’t quite match up in comfort or durability compared to my top picks. 

How We Picked the Best CrossFit Shoes

wearing reebok nano x2 shoes
Testing the Reebok Nano X1 CrossFit Shoes Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

Training, training, and more training. We have a team of expert product testers, multiple of whom are long-time CrossFitters and certified CrossFit coaches, who have taken dozens of pairs of CrossFit shoes through countless workouts. 

I’ve worn all of the shoes on our list of the best CrossFit shoes, with the exception of our top pick for wide feet, because I don’t have wide feet and, well, I wouldn’t be the best judge of how they fit—which is why I took to Reddit and customer reviews for that pair. 

Not only have I and several other product testers completed several workouts in our top picks, but we have also worn most of these shoes—the Nanos, Metcons, NOBULL Trainers in particular—through multiple iterations. I’ve been wearing Nanos since the Nano 3 and I own three pairs of NOBULL Trainers. 

During testing, I made sure to analyze the performance of each shoe for common CrossFit movements, including rope climbs, box jumps, barbell cycling, squats, running, and burpees. 

The Importance of a Good CrossFit Shoe 

NOBULL Trainer Plus white shoes
Strapping into a rowing machine wearing NOBULL Trainer+ shoes Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

A good CrossFit shoe will take you further in every WOD. If you’ve been training in running shoes or basic gym shoes without CrossFit-specific features, you might say, “Eh—I’m fine.” 

But truly, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you did the same WOD in CrossFit shoes and non-CrossFit shoes, I guarantee you would notice a difference in your overall performance and comfort. 

This is especially true if the WOD involves rope climbs or a movement that requires outstanding stability, such as clean-and-jerk cycling or box jump overs. 

Plus, CrossFit shoes are designed to be ultra-durable. I’ve been wearing the same NOBULL Trainers for almost four years—any run-of-the-mill workout shoe would not hold up that well through years of burpees and wall walks. 

How to Choose the Best CrossFit Shoes for You

holding Nike Metcon 7 shoes
Nike Metcon 7 training shoes Credit: Nathan Hay/Garage Gym Reviews

Here are some factors to consider during your hunt for the best CrossFit shoes. 

Durability 

CrossFit shoes must be durable shoes. Look for features like medial rope grips, seamless uppers, as well as reinforced heel counters, toe boxes, aglets, and eyelets. 

Stability

Deep, patterned lugs on a grippy rubber outsole and a minimal heel-to-toe drop provide ultimate stability in CrossFit shoes. Additionally, a moderate midsole prevents excessive rocking of the feet during barbell movements.

Shock Absorption

Although CrossFit shoes tend to be flat, some element of shock absorption is ideal. We love to see a thin foam midsole, like what you see in the Nano X2, which decreases joint impact without compromising stability. 

Versatility 

A good CrossFit shoe is a do-it-all shoe. You should feel supported during anything a WOD may throw at you, from running to a one-rep max snatch.  

Price

Budget is always a factor. All of our top picks fall into the average price range for CrossFit shoes—about $120 to $160—except for our budget pick, which costs less than $100. It’s hard to find a good CrossFit shoe for less than $100, so if that’s your budget cap, make sure to look for sales. 

FAQs About CrossFit Shoes 

testing Inov-8 shoes during a workout
Testing the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 shoes Credit: Caroline Lubinsky/Garage Gym Reviews

Some commonly asked questions about CrossFit shoes are: 

Are CrossFit shoes worth it?

CrossFit shoes are worth it if you want to maximize your performance during workouts and competitions. The right CrossFit shoe will provide you with an optimal blend of comfort, stability, flexibility, shock absorption, and security, so you can focus on the workout, not your feet. 

Do you need CrossFit shoes to do CrossFit?

Many people do CrossFit without shoes that are explicitly labeled as CrossFit shoes. Some people wear Converse; some people wear running shoes; some people wear basic gym shoes from brands not generally associated with CrossFit. 

So, no, you don’t need CrossFit shoes to do CrossFit. But they do help. And the right gear always improves comfort and performance during a workout or competition. 

Can you run in CrossFit shoes? 

While CrossFit shoes are designed to support your body for short running intervals, it’s generally not advisable to run long distances in CrossFit shoes unless you’re already accustomed to minimalist running. 

CrossFit shoes have a flatter outsole and less cushioned midsole than running shoes. This means they don’t provide as much shock absorption, nor do they naturally propel the foot through the heel-to-toe gait pattern like running shoes do. 

That said, a CrossFit shoe is designed to be as versatile as possible, meaning a good pair can support you through a WOD with running in it. 

What are the best shoes for CrossFit?

Our top picks represent the best CrossFit shoes for a variety of different needs. The best all-around CrossFit shoe is the Reebok Nano X2, the twelfth iteration of one of the very first CrossFit shoes ever available. The Reebok Nano X2 provides the best combination of versatility and durability needed for the ever-evolving sport. 

Can you wear weightlifting shoes for CrossFit?

People generally don’t wear weightlifting shoes during CrossFit workouts, but many CrossFit enthusiasts do wear lifters for the strength portion of the workout, and then change into flat training shoes for the metcon portion. This is a common strategy when the strength or skill portion of the WOD involves squats or Olympic lifts. 

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