CrossFit is a form of interval training, mixing up different exercises and disciplines to improve all-over fitness and strength. Participants end up running, weightlifting, rowing or doing gym exercises. These are generally combined into your CrossFit Workout of the Day (also referred to as CrossFit WOD).
Workouts are intense, high-impact and highly varied. CrossFit shoes have to be used outside and inside, and secure the feet during running phases but be flexible enough for gym work, and durable enough to do rope climbs.
Fortunately, there’s a growing array of shoes created specifically for CrossFit. Here’s an overview of the 7 elements you need to consider when buying CrossFit shoes.
The first question is, “what do the shoes need to do?”
Do you need an ‘all-round’ shoe that is suitable for all disciplines of CrossFit, or would you like for something which was created more for weight lifting? Are you planning to do rope climbing in them, and therefore need to be more durable?
Purpose-made crossfit shoes happen to be built to deal with the different demands of specific exercises, and the stress and strain that’s thrown their way. A typical running footwear is usually very cushioned to soak up the shocks of roads and difficult surfaces but aren’t ideal for crossfit training.
Crossfit shoes are typically built to appeal to the many gym exercises, allowing athletes to feel the floor, and supply a stable base for lifting. Too much cushioning makes you unstable when you’re lifting, which can cause major problems, so you need to find a compromise between cushioning and flexibility.
Some shoes, such as the range of Inov-8 CrossFit shoes, have very technical soles which resist crushing whilst still being flexible. It makes them suitable for short-distance running, as well as most other crossfit workouts.
Other shoes are designed specifically for weightlifting, for example, the Reebok CrossFit OLY Lifter. However they’re not suitable for running.
So, it’s important to start with the end in mind, and determine what these shoes need to do before starting shopping.
It’s vital your shoes fit well. If they’re way too short, your toes will bang up against the toe-box, causing bruising and blackened toenails. Too big, and the foot will slide around, causing blisters and chafing. And remember, your feet will swell during the workout as they get hot, so it’s important there’s enough room to accommodate this.
Some brands offer gender-specific fits, for example, the girls shoes are slightly narrower in the heels and toes. This can make the difference between a good fit and a great fit.
The best advice is, try different brands to determine which are the best fit for your foot.
Breathable mesh uppers will assist you to wick away sweat and moisture, keeping the feet dry. Also, the level of ‘drop’ in the shoe will dramatically impact the comfort. The ‘drop’ relates to the height difference from the heel, to the toe.
Many CrossFit shoes have minimal drop to provide you greater stability when lifting, and to reduce weight. For individuals accustomed to the reduced drop, the shoes can be extremely comfortable however if you’re used to traditional training shoes with greater cushioning, you may need a transition period. Going from traditional trainers to zero-drop could cause you discomfort, or even injury.
Other points to consider are the construction, and the shape. Are there any internal seams that might rub? Are there any high spots, or tight areas?
Since your goal is to finish the WOD in the fastest time, you need to make sure your shoes will improve your performance, and not hinder it. A number of features can impact your performance, for example, flexibility of the sole, and flat, stable heels.
For heavy lifts, such as a deadlift where the force is driven through your heels, a flat, hard sole and stable heel is usually recommended in order to get essentially the most amount of force transferred to the ground and remain on your heels.
If you’re wearing a shoe which has a soft, raised heel it cushions the force through your heels and will push you onto your toes, making you unstable.
CrossFit shoes typically lead a pretty hard life, so that they don’t always be as durable as other training shoes. However some shoes have specific features that will enhance their durability.
For example, some shoes include rope guards to protect the mid-soles during rope climbs, and where the soles are made to be crush resistant.
You don’t want to be carrying extra weight when you’re pushing to complete a high-impact, high-intensity WOD. Lightweight, or ultra-lightweight, is the order of the day; and there are plenty of shoes to pick which weigh remarkably little.
Look at the manufacturer’s specification but don’t sacrifice comfort or fit, just for a couple of grams of weight.
Unfortunately the perfect technical, lightweight, comfortable, indestructible shoe doesn’t come cheap. Ultimately you need to decide how much you’re willing to spend on your shoes but be mindful that cheap shoes can be a false economy.
In summary be clear about what the shoe needs to do. Try different brands so you can see what fits you best. Anything uncomfortable in the shop will be ten times more uncomfortable when you’re pushing through a workout.
You can read reviews and look around, nevertheless, you have to work out what’s right for you. Everyone is unique, and there simply isn’t a “one-size-fits-all”
Reebok Nano 3.0
For people seeking all over body strength and massively improved fitness, CrossFit is the way to go.
Consisting of varied, high intensity exercises, the CrossFit Workout of the Day challenges athletes to keep improving, and to record that improvement over time.
CrossFit is so effective since it is so varied. From rope-climbing to rowing, and from running to weight-lifting, every muscle group in the body has to do its turn. With CrossFitters working so hard, shoes play an important role.
Here is how the Reebok Nano 3.0 compares.
New Balance Minimus 20v3
Here is how the New Balance Minimus 20v3 compares using our 7-step selection criteria.
For developing all-round fitness, CrossFit takes a lot of beating.
A high-impact, high-intensity, highly variable session, the CrossFit Workout of the Day will challenge athletes. Participants could be running, rowing, rope-climbing or doing gymnastic exercises, so CrossFit gear needs to be able to handle all these different demands. Challenging for any fitness kit but particularly for shoes.
Here’s how the Inov-8 230 compares against our selection criteria.
Inov-8 195 Review
CrossFit is a specialized and highly effective fitness training regime, based on high-intensity interval training. It incorporates activities like running, rowing, weight-lifting, gymnastics and rope-climbing. Since it’s all about fitness and not about specializing, CrossFit gear needs to handle a number of varied demands.
The most important kit is shoes. CrossFit workouts are varied and include high-impact sessions, so shoes need to be judged against a number of factors. Here’s how the Inov-8 195 compares against our 7-step selection criteria.
Inov-8 F-lite 232
So clothes and, more than anything, shoes, need to be able to handle competing demands and perform under a range of circumstances.
So how does the Inov-8 232 compare?
Reebok Nano 2.0 Review
Reebok CrossFit shoes have a reputation among gym veterans of being reliable top performers. This review will focus on Reebok’s popular Nano 2.0 model.
Let’s see how it compares using our 7-step selection criteria.