If The Shoe Fits…

shoeI recently purchased a good pair of new running sneakers, which made me think that I should also look into getting a good pair of CrossFit sneakers as well. I currently use the Nike Free Run 5.0's for CrossFit. They're decent but I've been considering other sneakers. Here is a great article on choosing the right CrossFit sneaker for you. I would also love to hear some member feedback and reviews on sneakers they are currently using or have used for CrossFit in the past.




Best Shoes for CrossFit: Your Up to Date Guide


by HANNAH-http://workoutgearreview.net/crossfit-2/best-shoes-for-crossfit-your-up-to-date-guideShoes are arguably the most important piece of gear you can buy for CrossFit. This guide will help you select the right pair.



So, what makes a shoe good for CrossFit?


In this article we’re starting off with a bit of background, surveying the critical features any training footwear suitable for CrossFit should have. Then we’ll move onto  a review of the best shoes, looking at the top five sneakers for CrossFit in 2013 to help you find the shoe that assist you the most in your WOD.

How to Choose the Best Shoes for CrossFit


One of the great things about CrossFit, is that it involves a range of activities and movements. Runners have specific demands from their shoes for their singular activity, so too do tennis players and other dedicated sports. A CrossFitter however is doing all sorts of different activities involving running, lifting, jumping, skipping, climbing, pushing, pulling – all with a lot of downward pressure through the feet. As such, the perfect pair of shoes for CrossFit will be something that can perform across a variety of activities. You’ll need a shoe stable enough for weightlifting, but you’ll also need a shoe light and flexible enough for sprints or plyo box jumps, burpees or any other movement. A versatile shoe for CrossFit can be a tricky find and some CrossFitters do prefer to work with a couple of different pairs of shoes on the go for whatever WOD they’re doing that day.

Like every other type of training shoes, shoes for CrossFit come in all shapes and styles and your best choice will depend on your own body and your CrossFit training needs. There’s generally not going to be a lot of difference between the best women’s shoes for CrossFit and the best men’s shoes for CrossFit besides the colors and designs between styles. Some brands, the Innov8s for example,  even come in unisex sizing.

For both men and women’s shoes, there are four essential  features to consider when looking for the best shoes for CrossFit:

  1. Weight

  2. Flexibility

  3. Durability

  4. Heel to toe drop.


Shoe Weight

CrossFit involves a lot of quick movement in running and jumping, so the last thing you’ll want for your WOD is a heavy shoe. Can you imagine doing a box jump with a shoe that fits like a lead weight putting you off your game?  The best shoes for your CrossFit workout will be lightweight with maximum breathability to ensure your feet aren’t weighed down and they stay cool.

The Reebok Nano 2.0 is a perfect hybrid CrossFit shoe with its lightweight and breathable fabric. Click on the picture to find out more.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 is one of the most lightweight CrossFit shoes. Shown here is the Charged Design. Click on the image to find out more.

Shoe Flexibility

CrossFitters also require a great deal of flexibility in their shoes to achieve maximum foot mobility. In the same way that a heavy shoe impedes your movement and reduces your training effectiveness, so too does an inflexible shoe.

The Nike Free 3 is one of the most flexible shoes on the market, good for a range of CrossFit workouts. Shown here is the Team Red and Pure Platinum design. Click on the picture to find out more.

Nike Free 3

Nike Free 3 (shown in Team Red) is one of the most flexible shoes for CrossFit. Click on the image to find out more

Durability

While good shoes for CrossFit need to be light and airy with a flexible range of motion, any CrossFit athlete will tell you, you’re also going to need a quality shoe that can take a serious pounding and still go the distance, so durability is also really important. A training shoe that balances durability with a lightweight and flexible construction can be a tricky equation, but the Reebok Nano 2.0 has done it, featuring a carbon rubber sole. Shown here is the Women’s Blue and Red Nano 2.0. Click on the picture to find out more.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 women's blue red white black

Best sellers, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 is an ultra durable show for CrossFit. Shown here is the women’s blue red white black design. Click on the image to find out more.

Heel to Toe Drop

Shoes for CrossFit are most effective and most safe with the smallest heel to toe drop, also called the heel to toe offset or differential. This refers to the difference between your heel height and your forefoot height, and for CrossFit, a shoe with a zero or close to zero heel to toe drop – as close as you can get to being in bare feet – is your best choice. If your foot is sitting firmly in your shoe and your heel and the ball of your forefoot are both the same height off the ground, then your shoe has a zero drop. The lower your heel to toe differential, the easier it is to land on your midfoot which means your step is firm and stable and you’re minimising your risk of ankle, knee, foot and back injuries. For this reason, the barefoot shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers have been popular with some CrossFitters.

Vibram Five Fingers
The Vibram Five Fingers are a unique style of barefoot running shoes, popular among CrossFitters. Click on the image to find out more.

While the Vibrams do have zero heel to toe drop and offer all the flexibility you’ll need, a lot of athletes do prefer a shoe for CrossFit that has a bit more padding on the sole and more sturdy across the top of the foot. And let’s face it, some people just don’t like the curious look of the Five Fingers, depending on their taste. The Inov8 F-Lite 195 is a brilliant alternative to the Vibram barefoot shoe with the same lightweight and flexible benefits. Shown here is the unisex grey/blue/yellow design. The Merrell Hammer glove with a zero differentiation and good durability is also a great alternative to the Vibram Five Fingers.

Innov8 f lite 195

The Innov8 F-Lite 195 is a great lightweight alternative to the minimal Vibram Five Fingers. Click on the image to find out more information.

Merrell Barefoot Hammer Glove

The Barefoot Hammer Glove by Merrell has a zero heel to toe drop making it a perfect alternative to the Vibram Five Fingers or barefoot training for those looking for more foot support. Click on the image to find out more information.

Remember, with any minima,l natural-movement shoe you use, you’ll probably need time to get used to it as you’ll be using different muscles in the foot, especially if you’re making the transition from heavier or bulkier traditional training shoes.

The Best Shoes for CrossFit – The Top 5 Shoes for 2013 Reviewed


Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0

reebok

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 are one of the most popular training shoes among CrossFitters. The Nano 2.0 are the new generation of Reebok CrossFit shoes and offer everything you need in a pair of good all round shoes for CrossFit, perfect for running, squats, lifting, jumping, climbing and anything else you’ll come up against in your WOD.

Reebok Nano 2.0 are built with an athletic mesh covering most of the forefoot area providing great breathability to help keep your feet cool and dry.  They’re lined with an Orthalite sock liner for a really natural feel which means you don’t lose any natural foot action responsiveness.  This means the Nano comes really close to a barefoot feel while still giving you a good amount of cushioning. The carbon rubber outsole is really durable, able to withstand just about everything you can throw at it while still being a super lightweight shoe.

The Reebok Nano 2.0 has a 4mm heel to toe drop offering a good neutral and natural movement while still providing an effective stability for safe, quick and comfortable movement. The sole also offers enough firmness to really help to drive your heels down for maximum lift stability and power that you need for dead lifts or squats.

CrossFitters whose focus is weightlifting often stick with the Nano’s cousin, theReebok Lifter (which used to be called the Reebok Oly CrossFit shoe). While the Reebok Lifters are a great shoe for olympic and other lifts ( snatches, cleans, squats, dead lifts) they’re a touch heavier and don’t have the flexibility and breathability of the Nano 2.0 making the Nano the better all round shoe for hybrid CrossFit training. However, if your WOD contains mainly big lifts, then the Oly Lifter is going to be the preferable shoe.

Reebokc crossfit lifter

Reebok’s Crossfit Lifter (aka Reebok CrossFit Oly), a pure weightlifting shoe are specifically designed for lifts. Click on the image for more information.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 come in a range of colors and designs in both men’s and women’s styles.  Reebok also offers a custom design service (click this link for more details). Shown here are the men’s green “Charged” and women’s pink. The Nano do run a touch to the narrow size, so a lot of CrossFitters prefer ordering half a size up from their usual sneaker size to compensate for the tight fit.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 is one of the most lightweight CrossFit shoes. Shown here is the Charged design. Click on the image to find out more.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 women's pink

Women’s Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 Pink and Black. Click on the picture for more information.

The Reebok Nano 2.0 are currently available from $109.99.

Pros – Good all rounder suits a wide range of activities.

Cons – sizing can be too narrow

New Balance Minimus X20

new balance

New Balance make some of the best general fitness shoes in the industry and the New Balance shoes for CrossFit are no exception. The New Balance Minimus X20are a good and reliable pair of cross training shoes perfect for CrossFitters looking for a shoe to suit a variety of activities. In fact, they are fast becoming a favourite among CrossFitters and at least a few people can be seen wearing them in most boxes.

The mesh covering a lot of area over the top of the shoe gives the X20s a good level of breathability. The Minimus X20s are also  light weight, perfect for quick sprints as well as jumping. The shoe’s upper construction is flexible but it is still a bit stiffer than other options we’re covering here.

The New Balance X20 has a decent rubber sole with excellent grip. The toe to heel drop is 4mm, same as the Reebok Nanos, which is generally good for achieving safe stability during squats and lifting, and hitting the midfoot strike in your stride. The sole is a touch softer than some other training shoes so if you’re looking for something to suit really heavy lifting, you might be better to keep your sights on the Reeboks. The softer rubber can also be a durability issue during rope climbs, which can wear away at the sole or side of the shoe.

New Balance Minimum x20s, like all New Balance footwear, comes in a range of sizes that tailor not only to foot length but also variable width, so athletes with a wider foot who often have trouble with width in other brands should definitely consider these shoes.

The New Balance Minimus come in the WX20 for women and the MX20 for men, and both men’s and women’s shoes offer the same weight, flexibility and durability features. Both are available in a range of colors and designs. Shown here are the Kinetic Blue in the men’s and purple in the women’s styles.

New Balance Minimus x20

New Balance Minimus Men’s MX20 (here in Kinetic blue) are a good allrounder shoe for CrossFit available in wide sizes. Click on the image to find out more.

New Balance Minimus x20 womens

The New Balance Minimus shoe for CrossFit training, women’s style WX20, shown here in purple. Click here to see more colour options and find out more information about this shoe.

At the time of writing, Amazon has sales on select options of the New Balance Mx20 starting at around $35. Typically, the NB MX20s will sell from around $95 to $110 making these some of the cheapest shoes available for Crossfit!

Pros – wide sizing options, excellent breathability, low price

Cons – not as flexible as some other shoes and rubber sole not as durable as other brands

Inov8 F-Lite 195

Inov8-logo-white-copy

The best Innov8 shoes for CrossFit are the F-Lite 195s.  Innov8 F Lite 195 is one of the lightest shoes on the market and it’s a good alternative for any athlete looking for the comfort and light flexibility of the minimal Vibram Five Fingers while still getting a bit more support and foot protection from a more traditional shoe.

The shoe has a mesh upper, making it a super lightweight and flexible shoe as well as offering unsurpassed breathability. The Innov8 has a fully lined and lightly cushioned sock for added comfort  as well as ensuring it fits snug as a slipper. The advanced lacing system also ensures a snug fit cradling the midfoot behind the base of the toes.

With its light and flexible design the Innov8 F-Lite 195 is perfect for CrossFitters with more of a running focus in their training, but it’s also good for the explosive plyometrics (e.g. box jumps). The natural barefoot design also makes it a good choice for lifters looking to stabilise their feet and perfect their form without a lot of excess padding on moves like power clean, squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings, where there’s a lot of pressure going through the feet and careful form is important.  This shoe has a 3mm toe to heel drop giving it that slight edge over the Reebok Nano or the NB Minimus in terms of the evenness of the sole.

Innov8 uses unisex sizing so do be careful when sizing up your feet. On average, women will tend to go down around two sizes from their regular shoe size number.

Innov8 f lite 195 black and white

The Innov8 F-Lite 195 (shown here in black and white) is one of the most lightweight shoes for Crossfit, but still a very stable wear. Click on the image to find out more info and see the full range of design options.

The Innov8 F-Lite 195 is currently available from around $95 to $170 with the lower price available on certain designs only.

Pros - extreme lightweight flexibility for a close to barefoot experience while maintaining cushioning and stability.

Cons – unisex sizing can be hard to fit, especially for women.

Nike Free

nike

The Nike Free is another good option for an all round pair of shoes for CrossFit, suitable for everything from sprints to lifts and everything else you might face in a WOD. There are currently three grades of Nike Free shoes – 3, 4 and 5.

Nike Free 3 4 and 5

The different flexibility options in the Nike Free Range. Click on the picture to find out more about each shoe option.

With a large area of mesh covering, Nike Free 3 is the lightest and most flexible shoe in the Nike Free range and is the closest thing Nike offers to a true barefoot running experience. The shoe has a 4mm offset.

Nike Free 3 mens

The Men’s Nike Free 3 in Volt/Reflective Silver-Pro Platinum-Anthracite. A highly flexible training shoe suitable for CrossFit. Click on the image to find out more.

The Nike Free 4 has slightly more cushioning and less mesh covering than the 3 but is still lightweight and flexible, but again, not quite so flexible as the 3. The sole has a 6mm offset.

Nike Free 4 womens

The Nike Free 4 – shown here in the women’s dark with purple style – are a lightweight shoe suitable for CrossFit training and are the mid-level flexibility in the Nike Free Range. Click on the image for more information.

The Nike Free 5 is the least flexible in the Free range but still a lightweight and considerably flexible shoe. The 5 has an 8mm offset so it’s not going to be a good option for CrossFitters looking for a more neutral sole differentiation but it is a good choice if you’re building up your foot resistance and working your way up to a natural barefoot workout experience.

Nike Free 5 is quite supportive with an arc of cables wrapping the midfoot and arch from underneath the foot to ensure a close and stable fit that is still adaptive to your stride.

Nike Free 5 mens pimento

The Nike Free 5 – shown here are the men’s pimento black and white – are the least flexible in the Nike Free range but are still a good lightweight shoe suitable for CrossFit training. Click on the picture to find out more information.

All shoes in the Nike Free range are fitted with sock linings that mould to the foot’s natural shape to ensure the best fit and maximum comfort. All the Nike Frees are also built with abrasion resistant rubber for excellent durability and also feature a grooved outsole with deep contours along the length and width of the midsole so the shoe moves with your natural movement rather than trying to resist it.

The Nike Free range for both men’s and women’s shoes come in a huge range of colors and designs.

Sizing on the Nike Frees in all ranges to tend to run toward the narrow so check the size charts before ordering as you may need to order a size down.

The Nike Free range sell from around $90 up to around $180 depending on your style and design choices.

Pros – a range of flexibility and toe to heel drop ratios makes the Nike Free perfect for athletes gradually adjusting to a more natural fitting shoe

Cons – Even the lowest toe to heel offset is a few millimetres off zero. All tend to be narrow in fit.

Merrell Barefoot Hammer Glove

merrell

The Merrell Barefoot Hammer Glove shoe are another leader in the minimal shoe market and their light deign and durable flexibility make them one of the best shoes for CrossFit. With a zero toe to heel drop, the Merrell Barefoot Hammer Glove have a completely neutral sole making them the only choice for CrossFitters looking for the barefoot experience while still having the overall protection of a traditional shoe. They’re also a good alternative for CrossFitters who don’t like the design of the Vibram Five fingers.  Interestingly, the durable rubber outsole of the Merrell Hammer is actually made by Vibram.

The upper part of the shoe is designed with a breathable mesh with synthetic leather reinforcements so you’re getting a light and glove like fit while still getting the lateral and medial support around your foot ensuring a stable lifting stance. For added stability, the Merrell are also fitted with a Velcro strap to secure the forefoot.

As the Merrell Barefoot Hammer Glove offers natural stability and balance as well as a light weight design, these are perfect shoes for all facets of CrossFit training.

Merrell Barefoot Hammer Glove ice

The Men’s Merrell Hammer Glove in Ice Denim Blue. This shoe is super lightweight and has a zero toe to heel drop while still providing side stability. Click on the image for more information.

The Hammer Glove are specifically designed for men and don’t have that many color options, offering mainly greys and black shades. For women looking for the same features of the Hammer Glove but in a shoe designed specifically for women, Merrell also make the women’s Barefoot Train Crush Glove shoe which has similar features to the Hammer Glove with a  zero drop, a super lightweight and flexible design. The Train Crush has less mesh covering overall making it not quite as breathable as the Hammer and does not come with the Velcro forefoot strap. The Merrell Train Crush Glove does however come in a far greater range of colors and designs.

Merrell Barefoot Train Crush Glove

The women’s Merrell Barefoot Train Crush glove also has a zero tow to heel drop off like the men’s Hammer Glove but comes in a far greater range of colors. Click on the image to find out more information.

On average, you can pick up a pair of the the Hammer Gloves for around $114, while the Train Crush Gloves come in at around $110.

Pros – zero toe to heel drop making for perfectly neutral and natural running motion

Cons – Hammer Glove only available in men’s designs (women have other design options and similar shoe specs by opting for a different style of shoe)

The Verdict


Best overall shoe for CrossFit: Reebok Nano 2.0

Best weightlifting shoe for CrossFit: Reebok Lifter

Best barefoot shoe for CrossFit: Merrel Hammer Glove (for men) and Merrell Train Crush Glove (for women)

Best shoe for people with wide feet: New Balance MX20 (for men) and WX20 (for women)

Best traditional sports shoe: Nike Free 

Remember, the right pair of shoes is arguable the most important piece of gear you’ll buy for CrossFit, so don’t let the wrong pair of shoes get in the way of achieving your maximum results and optimum health and fitness. Finding the best shoes for CrossFit might take some experimenting, but once you’ve made the match the effort will show as your performance soars to unstoppable heights.