Review: This new 2019 model Metcon 5 is better for running than the Metcon 4, thanks to the dual-density midsole which puts a little spring in your stride, without adding too much bounce, so they still make great shoes for lifting and stability.
This new model now includes a hyperlift insert to use during lifting, squatting, etc. to increase range of motion.
Hyperlift lifting insert.
Good for running short distances.
Run narrow, great CrossFit shoe for narrow feet.
The upper tends to separate from the stiffer sole after wearing for a while.
Hands down, the best CrossFit shoes of 2021, especially if your feet are on the narrow side.
By now it has become a time-honored tradition to compare the Metcon and the Nano every year as they are released, and since I am not one to miss out on some good drama, I’d like to throw my opinions into the ring, so to speak.
Review: The new Reebok Nano 9s will quickly become your favorite CrossFit shoe, especially if you have wide feet. These shoes are designed to seamlessly transition between heavy lifting, light running, and other WOD moves, without giving you trouble.
One shoe that does it all. They are light, with a sturdy flat sole, secure heel, and flexibility upfront, just what you need from a good CrossFit shoe.
Comfortable – good for wider feet.
Roomy toe box.
Stable at the heel and flexible upfront.
Runs a tad large.
Lightweight, stable sole, with good heel support and flexibility in the front. Great CrossFit shoes, especially for wide feet.
Review: These surprisingly good CrossFit shoes come from Adidas, a brand not known for this type of shoe. While these shoes do have the cushion Adidas is known for, it’s not so much that it causes instability during lifting.
They are great for wide feet. They have a flat, wide base, a low drop, and good heel support.
Low drop, plenty of stability.
Comfortable to run in.
Wide base, wide toe box, overall good for wide feet.
A little heavy.
A hidden gem in a sea of men’s CrossFit shoes, these CrazyPower trainers will not disappoint for lifting or other CrossFit moves.
Review: If you have never seen these shoes before, you may be surprised by the weird look. These shoes have an individual slot for each toe. That slot allows you to really spread your toes while lifting heavy, and honestly is the next best thing to lifting barefoot, which many weight lifters would do if they could get away with it.
You will not get better ground connection and feedback with any other shoe, and they are super flexible, even ok to run in.
Super stable, great ground connection while lifting.
Next best thing to the feel of no shoes at all.
Plenty flexible in front, with great outsole traction – quite comfortable to run in.
Be careful with size, it’s not standard, always check the size chart first.
Run, jump, lift and lateral movements, these shoes do it all and allow you to feel barefoot.
Review: These Inov-8 CrossFit shoes are designed for lifting and training, and short runs. They are very lightweight, have rope climb traction, minimal drop and cushion, are flexible in the front and quite stable in the heel.
Everything you want from a training shoe from a company that knows its stuff.
Flexible front with a wide toe box.
Good heel lock, with flat sole – perfect for lifting.
Durability features like a toe bumper and rope tech, so you won’t shred your shoes doing CrossFit.
Not great for long distances.
A truly great shoe for CrossFit, light, stable and flexible in the right places.
Review: This new CrossFit shoe by running shoe maker Mizuno is worth checking out. The shoe is designed with COB technology, which are sensor pods underfoot that give you the best ground feedback possible without going barefoot.
These cross training specific shoes have a soft flexible bootie style upper and plenty of support in the heel for lifting. There are internal support straps that keep the foot snug and the shoe secure, and the hot melt overlay provides added protection you need when you do CrossFit.
COB sensor pod technology gives excellent ground feedback.
Soft flexible upper and front, shoes are good for running.
Responsive midsole is perfect for dynamic movements.
Remains to be. Seen if they will hold up under the abuse of the rope climb.
Flexible, comfortable, form-fitting cross trainer that is good for WODs that include running.
Review: The quality and durability of Lalo Grinders will match or exceed the top-rated CrossFit shoe out there. They have a ceramic-coated SuperFabric toecap and are extremely breathable, light, mesh shoes with a hot melt overlay for the most durable, yet flexible upper I have seen.
The sole is stable thanks to an EVA Heel counter and because of the relatively minimal cushion, they are excellent for lifting.
Excellent CrossFit shoe for wide feet.
Flexible and light, great for dynamic moves and plyometrics.
Wide base for stability and to prevent ankle roll.
They do not hold up well to the abuses of the rope climb.
If you want a shoe that is comfortable, works well for CrossFit, looks good, and not everyone else at your box has, try a pair of Lalos.
Review: If you are not familiar with Viktos PTFX Core shoes, they are designed by a Vet, especially for functional fitness and lifting weights. The “Pararigger” sidewall provides lateral support, they have a wide toe box, fit low to the ground and have a grippy flexible sole all with make them exceptional shoes for barbell work.
Mesh upper is lightweight and breathable with synthetic leather overlay for strength.
“Pararigger” sidewall wraps provide lateral support.
Sole is stable with good traction, perfect for lifting and pulling.
Bulky, relative to other more streamlined CrossFit shoes.
Comfortable, good for wide feet, just a little cushion with a wide stable base make Viktos great for weightlifting and CrossFit.
Review: The update to the Nano 8.0 Flexweaves, are a welcome change from the 7.0. Both shoes sport flexweave, but the 8.0 weave is better thought out.
Instead of a side to side weave, the 8.0 weave runs from heel to toe, moving with your foot, not against it.
The internal booty is better padded at the collar, a feature that contributes to the 8.0 being one of the most comfortable Nano’s ever. Interestingly, they dropped the “CrossFit” labels from the heel of the shoe.
Dual-density midsole for a flexible forefoot.
Very light, 11 oz.
Sole material is more pliable than 7.0.
Internal booty may cause a small amount of heel slip.
A welcome upgrade to the Nano 7.0, with greater comfort and flexibility.
Review: The Metcon 4 is close to identical looks-wise to the Metcon 3. There are some key updates to note.
The Metcon 4 incorporates a “haptic” raised print in high wear areas over the soft upper. The Metcon 4 also has a dual-layer mesh over the forefoot which means the forefoot is slightly cushioned, unlike the Metcon 3. Nike also upgraded the laces, which stay tied better than the Metcon 3.
Sole is flexible near the toe joints, and stiff toward the midsole and heel.
Drop-in insole, does not compress, and stays stable.
Scant 10.6 oz.
A good lifting shoe and a good Cross Trainer.
Tighter/snugger than previous Metcons.
One of the most stable CrossFit shoes available, decent for lifting and more dynamic movements too.
Review: These Nordic Lifting CrossFit shoes don’t have much grip on the bottom and are good for lifting, not running. The sole is stiff and low, also excellent for lifting.
Strong, well-built heel helps you stay balanced under heavy weight. Stable while still somewhat flexible.
Strap locks foot in – good heel support.
Solid stable base keeps your feet secure so you can focus on the weight.
Focus on heavy lifting – 1.1 inch heel height.
For lifting only.
Many CrossFit athletes have two pairs of shoes in their gym bag. One pair dedicated to lifting, and another pair for everything else. While it’s OK to choose an all-around CrossFit shoe that does both, you may feel more secure lifting in a pair of shoes dedicated to lifting. If you are looking for shoes specifically for lifting, take a look at this list here.
Great CrossFit shoes for Lifting day, good as a second pair for CrossFit, a solid lifting shoe.
Review: These classic CrossFit shoes have a 4mm heel to toe drop are more flexible than Nano 5’s and the grip is good, but not great. They include a Rope grip, and the grip is sufficient for CrossFit, but not running on dirt or gravel. This is one of the best Nano editions, which is why they are still around.
Wrapped in a “duracage” for all-around traction and durability.
Wide toe box.
Not enough traction for running outdoors or on trails.
The Nano 4.0 is a well-rounded “Jack of all Trades” which is perfect for CrossFit. Among the best men’s CrossFit shoes.
Review: These shoes have a 10 mm heel to toe drop which is excellent for running. They have a very flexible sole, which is quite grippy, but there is no rope grip on these shoes, so you might not want to use these when the WOD calls for a rope climb, but are great for WODs with running.
Excellent for WODs with running or jumping.
They absorb shock due to their “fluid ride” technology.
Not as durable or cushioned as previous models.
If you are looking for other good all-around training shoes that are not specifically geared toward the CrossFit crowd, check out this lineup of the best gym and workout shoes.
These are a good all-purpose CrossFit show at a budget price.
Review: The sole of this CrossFit shoe has a heel counter and low profile for stability. It is flexible and responsive and great for agility movements. The tread will grip any gym or box surface easily.
Good arch support.
They provide stability for lifting.
Flexible enough for running.
On the narrow side.
These are great trainers for those who need arch support and have a narrow foot. Well suited to agility movements. The best CrossFit shoes for high arches.
Review: These 5.11 CrossFit shoes have an 8mm heel to toe drop. These are good runners, but the sole is somewhat rigid.
They have an Ortholite insole which adds a layer of comfort and although they are somewhat rigid, they are flexible enough for running. The rope zone is for good grip, they have great indoor/outdoor tread, and are truly all-terrain CrossFit shoes.
Versatile CrossFit shoe.
The sole and tread work in several environments.
Rope zone tread for rope climb.
No arch support.
Go anywhere and be prepared for just about anything with these excellent all-around functional training shoes. These are top rated CrossFit shoes.
Review: While these shoes are snug and narrow on the inside, the front sole flares a bit on the outside edge to add stability for lifting. These shoes are flexible, and use dual-density foam and flywire cables to secure your feet for dynamic movements. The tread pattern is multi-directional for excellent traction.
Comfortable cross trainer.
Good ankle and support for lift days.
Flexible enough for agility and running.
These Nike’s run small.
Well balance cross trainer that covers many WOD tasks, one of the best Nike CrossFit shoes.
Review: Another CrossFit shoe from Adidas. What I first noticed about this shoe is the wide flat base. I like that for lifting, but can the boost midsole provide stability? I think they work for some athletes.
They are not as soft as traditional boosts, so they do have more stability in the heel. They are, of course, great when the Metcon calls for running, and a wider, flexible forefront allows you to keep your footing.
Wide stable sole.
Wider in the toe box, and flexible too.
Comfortable for WODs with running involved.
No rope climb protection, may get shredded.
A good CrossFit shoe that works great for running and is comfortable enough for casual wear.
Review: These Under Armour shoes are designed for training, not for running, but they do perform surprisingly well for short runs.
They have a solid stable base for lifting and feel great to squat and lunge in. These shoes have a glove-like feel and fit snug. You should probably order a size up from your usual shoe size with these.
Flat, grippy solid sole.
External TPU Heel counter for heel stability – feels secure lifting and squatting.
Responsive cushioning, OK for short runs.
Attractive, form fitting Under Armour training shoes with a good base for lifting and enough flexibility for short runs.
Review: This stiff-soled shoe is good for heavy weights, but too stiff for running long distance. The toe box is more flexible than the previous version and these have a strong grip and rope pro on the upper allowing you to climb a rope with awesome grip and without destroying the shoes.
Nano 7.0 Weave is flexible.
Durable upper with rope pro traction.
Flat sole with locked-in heel – good for lifting.
Slightly heavier than the predecessor.
The redesigned weave on the new Nano 7.0 Weave has both horizontal and vertical weaves, whereas the original Nano 7.0 had just vertical weaves.
Review: No Bull training shoes are stiffer than the Nanos, not like soft foam. They have a 4mm heel to toe drop, a hard sole that is low to the ground and they are flexible and are fine for running and agility movements.
These CrossFit shoes include rope grip on the sole and multidirectional grip pattern, plus the upper offers grip for the rope climb.
Indestructible Superfabric upper.
Long lasting minimal CrossFit shoe.
The shoe has very little cushion.
Wide and stable, durable with minimalist styling and great indoor or out, these CrossFit shoes cover all the bases. Easily one of the best minimalist CrossFit shoes out there.
Review: The sole support of these New Balance training shoes has rapid rebound from the outsole foam for agility and running. They are flexible and comfortable, neutral shoe. And are extremely grippy and responsive with a Vibram sole that gives ample feedback.
Reasonable amount of cushion to them.
They are stable and comfortable.
Flat rubber outsole.
All around versatile WOD shoe that gives good ground feedback and stability, all in one shoe.
CrossFit is different from other sports, and requires a different type of athletic shoe.
Basketball calls for ample ankle support, and good cushion for impact protection which gets in the way while doing squats and lunges and deadlifts.
Running shoes have a large heel to toe drop to propel you forward and lots of padding underfoot which would throw you off balance while lifting heavy weights.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Let’s break it down.
There are 6 items to consider when choosing the best CrossFit shoe.
Buying Men’s CrossFit Shoes? Here is What to Look For!
CrossFit Shoes Need Hard Soles
Stiff hard soles are for stability while jumping and rope climb. But where solid stable soles are really necessary is during heavy lifting.
Solid soles help you stay planted on the ground, giving you confidence that your feet will not shift during a lift.
Do you want to know how to lift more weight?
Use the right shoe!
Running shoes absorb shock, and that shock is your power which is being lost through your feet if you use standard running shoes for CrossFit.
Hard soles and minimal padding return that power, allowing you to propel your energy into your lift.
CrossFit Shoes Need to be Durable
CrossFit can be hard on shoes. The rope climb especially is known for shredding inferior shoes.
Other shoe destroying CrossFit moves include:
rope climbing (or sliding back down the rope).
lateral like thrusters and wall balls place stress on the seams of shoes.
box jumping which can wear the shoestring area if they are laced tight.
running wears the sole at the toe.
lifting heavy weight compresses and breaks down any padding or cushion.
CrossFit Shoes Need Good Heel Lockdown
Lockdown applies to shoes you wear for lifting. Lifting shoes are meant to secure your feet snug with a strap, and keep your feet planted on the floor.
Some multi-purpose CrossFit shoes also offer some lockdown. When you hear the term lockdown, just know it means securing your foot in the shoe and on the floor.
CrossFit Shoes Need a Wide Toe box
You need a wider toe box for many CrossFit moves, and especially when lifting heavy weights. Heavy weights cause your feet and toes to spread, which is what you want, because you are more stable this way.
CrossFit Shoes Need a Low to 0 Heel to Toe Rise
Most CrossFit activities call for a shoe with a small heel to toe rise, or a relatively flat sole.
A 4mm rise is very common, but you can also find some of the best rated CrossFit shoes with a 0 rise.
Running shoes rise higher in the back to propel you forward.
Contrast that to a good CrossFit shoe.
CrossFit shoes have a low to NO rise to keep you stable and distribute weight to the midsole.
CrossFit Shoes Need Some Flexibility in Front
Some functional training exercises call for flexible shoes. While this is not the case when lifting weights, flexibility is needed for jumping, agility drills, short runs, agility ladder, wall balls, thrusters, sled pulls and jump rope exercises all call for flexible shoes.
On the other hand, some athletes prefer to change shoes for lifting day and wear a proper pair of lifters like these Adidas Powerlift 4 (link to amazon.com)
It is up to you if you and the budget you have if want to use two pair of shoes.
Men’s CrossFit Shoe FAQs
Do CrossFit Shoes Make a Difference?
Yes. Shoes that are not designed for CrossFit can slow you down, cause you to become unstable during a heavy lift, and limit your range of motion.
Many CrossFit beginners use a pair of running shoes they already had lying around to do CrossFit.
So, what’s the problem with running shoes?
The characteristics that make a shoe great for running, make them terrible for CrossFit, even though, ironically, the WOD does sometimes call for running.
Running shoes are well cushioned and have a high drop, or are higher in the heel than the toe.
The cushioning that protects your joints from running impact and puts a spring in your step as you jog are not what you want for CrossFit. All that padding in running shoes makes your foot and ankle unstable when you are under the weight of the barbell.
The high drop of running shoes also adds an element of instability because it tends to tilt you forward.
Running shoes are not designed to provide lateral, or side to side, support, which can spell trouble with dynamic and agility CrossFit moves.
Do You Really Need CrossFit Shoes?
Yes! CrossFit shoes are designed to have traction in all directions. This helps when you are pulling a sled, trying to flip a tire, climbing a rope, lifting weights or jumping.
Running shoes, on the other hand, have a more singular focus. They are designed to propel you forward, and if you flip over your favorite pair of running shoes to take a look at the tread, you will see that the tread is usually only flexible in a back and forth motion, not a side to side, or multi-directional motion.
CrossFit shoes are wider in the toe area and have a little cushion.
This is because when you are using a weighted barbell, the cushion can cause instability, at worse, or the padding can wear prematurely from the excessive weight, at best.
The wide toe on CrossFit shoes allows your feet to spread out so your feet create a wide, stable, safe base to lift from. The heel of a CrossFit shoe will also have stability, to keep your heel secure and locked in as you lift.
How Long do CrossFit Shoes Last?
CrossFit shoes will last anywhere from 6 months to a year. Some brands, such as NOBULL Men’s Trainers can last as long as two years.
If you add a second pair of shoes to your routine, naturally both pair of shoes will last longer.
Some athletes keep a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Low Top in their CrossFit bag and use them as dedicated lifters, thereby saving their other shoes for other CrossFit movements, which can prolong the cushion and life of the shoe because it is not used for lifting heavy weight.
Converse all stars are so inexpensive, it is a very economical way to prolong the life of your other athletic shoes and get the stability you need for heavy lifts.
Are CrossFit Shoes Good for HIIT?
Yes. HIIT style workouts include some of the same dynamic movements you find in CrossFit, so the shoes can be used interchangeably.
Keep in mind, a HIIT workout, just like a CrossFit workout, include a huge range of functional fitness moves, so it’s best to choose the right shoe for the specific activity you are doing that day.
But for agility, lateral movements, plyometrics and running short distances, you may be better off with a multipurpose CrossFit shoe like the Nike Men’s Metcon 5.
Can You Run with CrossFit Shoes?
Kinda, and it depends.
Remember, CrossFit WODs usually call for short distances, under a mile. Not every WOD will include running.
Running shoes are NOT ideal for most CrossFit workouts, excluding running.
…since you will be doing relatively little running, a good multi-purpose CrossFit shoe like the Reebok Men’s Nano 9 Cross Trainer is a better choice if you want a CrossFit shoe that covers all the possible exercise that a WOD might include.
Michael is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym builder. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason!