Recently I’ve gotten a bunch of questions regarding CrossFit footwear….which is great! I love the desire to be more prepared for WODs and the hunger for more information. Before I provide you with my brief opinion on CrossFit footwear, I want to point out that I recently enrolled our affiliate in the Reebok CrossFit Affiliate Revenue Sharing Program. What this means is if you use any of the Reebok ad links you see on our home page (any of the ones above, in the right-hand column, or at the very bottom of this page) to purchase gear from the Reebok CrossFit online store, our affiliate receives 10%. With this 10%, I promise to earmark it back toward the gym. This is your money so I’d like to make sure you get everything out of it! Just make sure you use these links!!! If it asks you for an email to reference back to the affiliate, please use email@example.com.
With that being said…..SHOES:
Reebok Nano: I have very little experience with these shoes outside of the currently unreleased pair I have been testing the past couple days. They, like all of the shoes I am discussing, have a minimal sole. The ones I have have a nice tight grip. Initially, I didn’t feel much arch support but as I have worn them a bit they’ve felt better in that sense. Reebok shoes tend to run a little wider so if you have a narrow foot, you should try to find a pair to try on first. Many CrossFitters have enjoyed this shoe and they are definitely a great place to start. They also recently came out with a lot of different ways to customize this shoe, style-wise.
Nike Free: I have a pair of the Free 3.0 V3s (last year’s model). These are fairly suitable for CrossFit. They are better for WODs with running involved as they offer some heel cushion but are still relatively flat. Unfortunately, they do not offer much lateral support. This tends not to be an issue with CrossFit as we don’t do many agility drills involving sharp cuts. As I do a search for the latest Nike Frees though, I’m reminded that you need to be careful as to WHICH versions you look at. Try to stay away from any of the Run+, 5.0, or TR versions. These seem to have a taller heel than the 3.0s. The 3.0s may be more difficult to find but they are the only Nike Frees I would recommend getting. If somehow you can track down a 2.0 from years ago then even better. The number previously determined the height of the heel – this may not be a reliable gauge now so pay attention to the shoe itself.
Inov-8s: There are many versions of Inov-8s out there now. The most popular ones for CrossFit are: BARE-XF 210s, F-LITE 195s, and the F-LITE 215s (these are women’s only). The BARE-XF 210s boast a zero differential from the heel to the toe but they don’t offer much traction in the sole – that has kept me from purchasing a pair of them. The F-LITE 195s and the F-LITE 215s are pretty well used in the CrossFit world. They come in various color schemes too. They boast a 3mm and 6mm differential, respectively. These are good shoe to start CrossFitting with, as well.
New Balance Minimus: This is a fairly new shoe line and hasn’t penetrated the CrossFit world that deeply yet. It seemingly came on right around the time Reebok began producing their own CrossFit shoe (the Nano). I really don’t have any experience with this shoe at all but the lineup does have a zero differential version (the Zero, aptly named). I believe one of our members has a pair of these and when asked about them, he said he liked them. So take that for what it’s worth. You can likely find this lineup at a running store since they tend to carry the full line of New Balance running shoes.
Vibram Five Fingers: Ah, yes. The “toe shoe”. Love em or hate em, they are out there. You will definitely see CrossFitters wearing these shoes. Not to stereotype but many come from the running world and they swear by them. I am all for them IFF (not a typo – quick math lesson AGAIN [we already have learned about the !] – this means “if and only if”. so, there’s your one thing today. 😉 ) you already know how to run WITHOUT heel striking or if you are willing to put in the time to learn how not to heel strike. They are about as bare as it gets. Basically only allowing enough protection on your soles to keep your feet from getting sliced up. They also have individual toe slots, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Converse All-Stars aka “Chuck Taylors” aka “Chucks”: I love these shoes for non-running or short run days. Zero differential, very little padding, and very stable for heavy barbell lifts without getting fancy with Oly shoes (we’ll save Olympic Weightlifting shoes for a later post). These are about as basic as they get and are probably the cheapest of the lot mentioned here. It never hurts to have a pair in your gym bag, especially when we are simply weight training.
I’m sure there are others out there but these are all I can think of at the moment. PLEASE feel free to share your experience with CrossFit shoes in the comments.
3 RM snatch balance
12 min AMRAP
- 3 power snatches (75% 3 RM snatch balance weight)
- 6 squat jumps
- 9 C2B pull-ups
Post 3 RM snatch balance weight and WOD score to comments.