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Style & Function! The Five Best CrossFit Shoes

Put in work, in style!

Is there such as thing as the Best CrossFit Shoes? Full disclosure, I’m a member of a cult. I had my first sip of the Fit-Aid 7 years ago and I’ve been worshipping ever since. Crossfit changed my life. Not only as a member but even a leader. As head coach and CFL2 I’ve seen physical transformations that still overwhelm me with pride and I’ve been around the things and people that make Crossfit such an easy target for the outside world. And, as a methodology, I’d put it up against any other regimen on the planet.

As a community, it’s built friendships I’ll have forever. As a brand, it’s a juggernaut. After a long overdue shake-up and restructuring, it’s on pace to be bigger than ever. The functional fitness industry has hitched to the success and brings in billions of dollars every year. From custom jump ropes to gymnastics grips and weight belts, it’s a gear head like myself’s perfect physical fitness choice. And having been around the game for a while, nothing has advanced faster or farther than the sport and fitness specific shoe market tied around the WOD at the box 

Whether a twice a week beginner or a Crossfit Games bound superhuman, your footwear when you hit the floor can make or break your workout. And your wallet if you’re a sneaker head like me. Doe the Best CrossFit Shoes exist? Absolutely and not even close. By definition Crossfit is “Constantly varied functional fitness performed at intensity to achieve an intended physical stimulus.” Yes, I did recite that from memory. The constantly varied part is what makes the shoe choice so vital. Any given WOD (Workout of the Day) can feature anything from sprints and heavy deadlifts to gymnastics and double under. No shoe was capable of all those things day one. Hell, even year three.

But Reebok bit early and partnered with Crossfit exclusively. The Reebok Nano was born, and so was the race for its competition. Since then it’s been a cold war arms race to develop a shoe that can handle it all. Features like stability, durability, grip, cushioning and flexibility all factor into the algorithm of the footwear finder every CrossFit athlete needs. Spoiler alert! The search can be somewhat exhaustive. That’s why I’ve taken the time to rate my Top 5 Best CrossFit Shoes from years of first hand experience. I’ll even throw in a couple honorable mentions and upcoming releases.

The Five Best CrossFit Shoes

1) Nike Metcon 6 – The sixth iteration of the Nano slayer proves yet again that Nike is not afraid of a fight. The signature shoe of the 5 time Crossfit Games champ Mat Fraser boasts over 10,000 hours of testing and development. A new more ventilated upper makes it lighter and cooler on foot. Different rubber throughout the sole provide cushioning and stability in almost all the right spots. Make no mistake, these won’t be your marathon choice but they’ll handle anything the WOD throws at you.

2) Reebok Nano X – I’ll probably catch hell from my friends for even typing this but it’s time to bury the hatchet. The Reebok Nano was the OG and it deserves a little respect. The lack of competition early on let the minds behind Reebok’s development get a little lazy. That’s not the case anymore though. The shoe that put Crossfit specific footwear on the map has progressed nicely in its 10 year evolution. A lightweight Flexweave synthetic upper is both comfortable and durable with multiple PU overlays for a more structured feel than previous models. The Nano X is the heaviest Nano to date and it it a little noticeable during repetitive plyometric movements. The toe box is also going to be more tight than the 9s.

3) Nike React Metcon – This shoe features the same sole as the regular Metcon but it has a Nike React foam midsole and a super comfortable slip on synthetic upper with a drawstring style lacing system. The React Metcon is a an awesome option for the everyday demand of Crossfit and other functional fitness movements. I promise it will hold up to your 225lb deadlifts and you’ll be glad you wore them for the 1200m run to finish out your WOD. When you add that 4th plate to each side of the barbell, these might lack the stability you’re going to need.

4) Inov8 F-LITE 235 V3 – A real dark horse in the race to functional fitness footwear supremacy, the Inov8 F-LITE 235 V3 showcases the brands dedication to providing an alternative to the offerings from the big guys on the block. A more neutral and less bulky option with a subtle nod to it’s running shoe roots has been nipping at Reebok’s heels since day one. The V3 is slammed with Inov8-ive technology like uppers that hug the foot and provide snug, well-fitting support. The 235 may be the most beginner friendly option on the list because they’ll probably feel more like shoes you’ve worn before. There is nothing wrong with that. These will probably feel more at home on a run that under a heavy clean and jerk, but they’ll get the job done for a while.

5) Converse Chuck Taylor – When we mention OGs, there are none more original than Chucks. Almost everybody’s first ‘weightlifting” shoe is a Chuck Taylor. And for good reason. Super stable flat soles, inexpensive, and pretty bombproof. They’ll do alright on a short run and they promote soft landings on box jumps with that solid unforgiving sole. A rope burn will go straight through them, but we’ll cover that more in class.

Honorable Mention:

Nike Free Metcon 3 – The least structured of the Metcon line features a one-piece upper with Flywire lace loops and a pull loop on the tongue and heel. It’s a lightweight shoe with tons of flexibility and enough stability. The footbed on these feels a little harder than I’d have liked them too.

No Bull Trainers – These shoes only make this part of this list because people keep buying them. They’ve remained virtually unchanged since they hit the scene a couple years ago. Very minimal design or structure but they do check the boxes for stability, durability, and function.

Upcoming releases:

Under Armor Tribase Reign 3 – The third installment from Under Armor’s training division is set to be released in the US any day now. The newest version sticks to the founding principal of the Tribase mentality. Three points of contact with the ground really lock in for stability during lifts and they help propel athletes both forward and/or upward when needed. A lightweight ripstop and mesh upper provide durability and comfort.

Reebok Nano X1 – As history has proven, odd numbered Nanos indicate a completely new design for the now former flagship footwear of Crossfit. The addition of FloatRide Energy foam in the midsole gives the idea that these may be softer but preliminary reports indicate otherwise. Pretty noticeable for those familiar with the silhouette is the change from the 4mm drop to the 7mm. A more aggressive toe spring angle means these might be a little better for running than previous years. Keep an eye out for the early February release with a Member Unlock as sometime around the 29th.

While this list is extensive and particular, understand that your shoes should be the last thing keeping you from the gym or an at home workout routine. Whatever you’re wearing will get you going in the right direction and that’s the goal. If you’ve made it this far, chances are you’ve already gotten the ball rolling and footwear is a formality at this point. Lace up whatever shoe you picked from our Best CrossFit Shoes and get to work.

Written by Moustache Johnny

Father, firefighter, author, two wheel enthusiast, a fan of the outdoors and fitness. Forever grateful to be on this journey.

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