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What Are Crossfit Shoes And How I Chose My Perfect Pair

Crossfit is an extremely popular exercise program right now. So many Crossfit specific gyms have opened up nationwide, gaining huge popularity amongst people who want to shed weight and benefit from weight lifting at the same time.

It’s even starting to bring in people from other exercise regimes that want to switch things up a little, like runners who want to gain some strength and weight lifters who are looking to add some extra cardio to their exercise mix.

If you’re looking for a serious pair of Crossfit shoes, you’ll need to consider a few things:

what are crossfit shoes1They’ll Need To Be More Supportive Than Running Trainers

Okay, that’s not strictly true, running trainers have good levels of support, however, that support is designed for running only – a fairly linear type of strain which requires looking after the lower limbs of your body. They’re also designed with a healthy amount of drop and plenty of support on the midsole to keep runners comfortable on long stints.

The Crossfit shoes, in comparison, has to be able to copy with multiple types of strain:

• Running
• Jumping
• Lifting
• Heat And Moisture

This means that Crossfit shoes shouldn’t have much drop, yet should have just enough give to offer comfort during sprints and box jumps. For those who are used to running shoes, you’ll have a shock at the decrease in shock absorption compared to a quality set of running shoes.

If you’re coming to Crossfit from running. I’d say stick with the running trainers, at least until you begin to really get into the Crossfit regime. After that, look for a half-way house between minimalist shoes and running trainers, something like a pair of Nike Metcons or Reebok Nano’s would be my choice.

They Need To Have More Give Than Weightlifting Shoes

At the opposite end of the scale, weightlifting shoes are completely designed to have no give whatsoever. Soles will be firm and the heels tend to be taller to allow for an easier lift.

If you’re coming to CrossFit from weightlifting, you’ll probably want to slowly lower the drop from heel to toe, otherwise you’ll find the running, climbing and jumping parts of your WOD really tough going.

However, I’ve always had a sneaking feeling that weightlifters will likely take to a good pair of Inov-8’s really quickly. Perhaps it’s the fact weightlifting shoes share much of the minimalist features of weightlifting trainers or because weightlifters tends to have experience of two different types of trainer. (They wear running shoes for cardio)

Whatever it is, if you’re coming to Crossfit from weightlifting, give a minimalist pair a try.

Strength Is Key, Especially For Rope Climbing

Depending on your box, the toughest task your trainers will be asked to cope with during a WOD is the rope climb. Even if you’re a zen master at using your legs to take the strain you’ll still occasionally have to dig your trainers in to maintain balance.

If you’re a relative newcomer to Crossfit, I would suggest looking for a trainer with plenty of support on the instep. Yes, this could make weights a pain but once you master the rope climb it could be worth switching to a more “pure” design with better balance. Reebok Nano’s are a good choice for this, as they’re a sturdy shoe with little heel drop, you can upgrade to something a little more “fluid” later.

What Are Crossfit Shoes and What Actually Makes A Good Crossfit Shoe?

I began my Crossfit training years ago, with fairly standard Nike trainers. (Yes, I know) It’s only over the past year I discovered that a dedicated Crossfit trainer would actually be better than simply wearing a standard pair.

A top crossfit shoe, is one that somehow manages to balance the support you need to lift without any drop, whilst still remaining flexible enough to WOD without any pain. This is a really tough ask for many trainer manufactures as you’ll notice inside many boxes. Lots of people actually take their trainers off to perform certain weight lifts.

Weight is an issue too, personally I like to wear a pretty light trainer to WOD in. Anything under 10oz is perfect and thankfully, some companies are starting to create trainers in that weight category.

Sweat And Odor Is A Big Thing

Running trainers typically spend most of their time outside. They rarely have to put up with indoor temperatures which makes the amount of support and padding less of an issue.

what are crossfit shoesCrossfit trainers, on the other hand, perform most of their work inside (Although some Crossfit trainers love it out in the cold!) where heat, sweat and odor become big issues. My feet get hot very quickly during a WOD, part of the reason I rate the Inov-8 range quite highly, especially the Lite 235.

As for what Crossfit shoe is best for you, think about the climate you’ll be training in. Is it outdoors, indoors and the amount of air movement in your box. The last thing you need during a lift is instability caused purely by sweat on your insoles!

They Have To Be Comfortable

This is by far the most important issue to contend with. After all the science, heel drops, strong soles and caged outers, if your chosen pair doesn’t feel right then they’re far from being the best shoe for CrossFit, whatever the reviews might say!

To be honest, it’s taken me a good year to discover the brand I like, heel drop that’s right for me and finding a shoe that had all that bundled with a breathable upper for my sweaty feet! The most important thing is to take your time, try a few different pairs and don’t be afraid to call a pair a bust if they really don’t work out.

If my experience of the box is anything to go by, your tastes in trainer will change over time and also become more defined. For the newcomer, you’ll probably get away with a standard pair of running shoes, yet after a while you’ll crave sturdy support whilst lifting or alternatively (Like myself) you’ll want to switch things up and move to a more minimalist shoe. I tried a pair of New Balance and two from the Reebok Nano range before settling on my current Invo-8 pair.

Take your time, have patience, finding a best Crossfit shoe is a journey.