If you want to perform at your maximum potential, avoid injury, and look cool at the same time, then you need the right shoes, plain and simple. You can be the biggest, baddest beast in the gym (and we’re sure you are), but if you don’t have a stable, solid platform to support your efforts, you may come up short in your performance.
And to ensure this doesn’t happen, we made a list of the 13 best CrossFit shoes that you can get at the moment. Although these cross trainers are very versatile overall. Now, keep in mind, there’s no one best shoe for everyone (hence the selection). But that’s also why we’ve provided an in-depth description of each shoe including the features, and pros, and cons, in addition to a buying guide to help you choose the best option for your needs.
Alright, let’s get started…
- Reebok Nano X Cross Trainer – Buy here Editor’s Choice
- Nike Men’s Metcon 5 – Buy here
- NOBULL Men’s Training Shoe – Buy here
- Reebok Men’s Nano 9 Cross Trainer – Buy here
- INOV-8 Men’s F-Lite 235 V3 – Buy here
- Reebok Men’s CrossFit Nano 8.0 Flexweave – Buy here
- Nike Metcon 4 Cross Training Shoes – Buy here
- Reebok Men’s CrossFit Speed TR 2.0 – Buy here
- WITHIN Men’s Cross-Trainer – Buy here
- Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainer – Buy here
- New Balance Men’s Minimus 20 V7 Cross Trainer – Buy here
- Vibram Men’s KSO EVO Cross Trainer – Buy here
- Nordic Venja Weightlifting and CrossFit Shoes – Buy here
Related article: 10 Best Weightlifting Shoes Reviewed for 2021
The Nano X celebrates Reebok’s 10th anniversary of the Nano performance shoe, the first official “CrossFit” shoe, originally released in 2011. The Nano X has an upgraded version of the Flexweave upper technology that further enhances the breathability, security, and durability while providing plenty of stretch. The minimal drop outsole improves stability that’ll support any challenge that you’re up against and the high-density foam collar and lightweight design makes for comfortable all-day wear.
This is the perfect functional fitness shoe because it’s designed for just that… functional performance.
- Lightweight EVA foam cushioning
- Upgraded Flexweave technology
- Minimal drop outsole
- High-density foam collar
- Compression-molded midsole
- Great multi-activity shoe
- New upgraded construction
- Several color options
- Runs a bit small
- May be a little clunky for some people’s taste
The Metcon is a legendary line with classic Nike aesthetics aimed at CrossFit athletes who perform at the highest level. Nike calls it their “most tuned Metcon yet”.
It’s most ideal for heavy lifting and high-impact activities due to the stability that it provides, although it’s not the best show for run-intense workouts. The shoes also offer high traction capability for stability during quick and intense movement and cushioning w/ firm back and dynamic front provides a supportive platform for better transitioning and overall performance.
It comes with a Hyperlift, which is a foam riser that you can insert into the shoe and that is also compatible with previous models. These lifts can aid performance, especially heavy lifts, thrusters, etc.
- Improved traction is ideal for all various surfaces
- New cushioning supports movement transition
- Wide, diamond-shaped heel improves stability
- Good for lifting and high-impact training
- Great looking shoe
- Comes with Hyperlift insert for performance versatility
- Several cool color options
- Not great for running
- May be too narrow for some
NOBULL shoes are used by top CrossFit athletes and really embody the CrossFit lifestyle. They’re super functional, simple, and aesthetic, and the color choices provide lots of options for style too. Not to mention, the flashy NOBULL logo is big, and reflective which comes in handy.
They’re lightweight and breathable which also makes them an excellent multi-function shoe that works whether you climb, run, or engage in CrossFit activities. The outsole lug pattern design provides superior grip for multi-surface use and the flexible material allows you to move around easily and with optimal comfort.
- High carbon lateral and medial guards for added protection on sidewalls
- Superguard material enhances breathability, durability and protects against abrasion
- Bold reflective NOBULL logo for high visibility
- Outsole lug pattern allows for superior gripping and multi-surface transitioning
- Medial rope grip
- Perforated canvas upper
- Very aesthetic and several colors to choose from
- Great all-around shoe
- Not the best for maximal lifting
This top-rated shoe from Reebok is one of the newest offerings in the Nano lineup as an iteration of previous models. It’s undoubtedly one of the best CrossFit shoes on the market and has been since 2019.
This shoe has a wide toe box that is ideal for optimal comfort and performance, in addition to an improved design woven textile upper that allows for breathability, durability, and security when you’re attempting PRs. The minimal drop outsole provides that much-needed stability and responsive midsole cushioning is perfect for run-focused WODs.
The shoe has a coupled, resilient rubber outsole that’s designed for training on all surfaces, and the flex grooves offer increased flexibility.
While this is a fantastic CrossFit and weightlifting shoe, it’s made for all-day wear.
- Wide toe box
- Low-cut design
- Flexweave upper
- Responsive midsole cushioning
- Gum sole
- TPU heel clip adds rearfoot stability
- Polyurethane NanoShell provides midsole protection and supports big lifts
- Ergonomic outsole
- Designed for running and heavy lifting
- Improved engineered upper
- Tons of color options
- Wide toe box could mean sizing issues
The INOV-8 F-Lite 235 V3 certainly deserves a spot right up there with the best of em. It’s equipped with a high-performance outsole that makes contact with the ground an enjoyable experience whether you’re doing short runs or deadlifts. The wide toe box supports a balanced base for heavy lifting, and the midsole fits snug with elastic mesh liners on the upper that hugs the foot for added comfort and support so that you can feel stable during your most intense workout sessions.
The INOV-8 F-Lite 235 V3 is a very versatile option. Plus it’s lightweight and flexible and looks great.
- Wide toe box gives extra room for the toes for lifting
- Secure midsole provides a snug fit
- Rope guard technology ensures that the shoe remains intact during activities
- 4mm drop improves all-around performance
- Good for runs, lifting, and anything else
- Unique, aesthetic look
- Few concerns with quality
- A little blocky
The Reebok Nano 8.0 Flexweave is a favorite choice for serious athletes and it’s definitely equipped with some of the best performance technology. Since this model, others have come out but athletes tend to come back to this design that is hard to go wrong with.
These kicks have a heel bootie construction which is supposed to enhance comfort. It also has a Flexweave dynamic upper construction for optimal support, and the forefoot flex grooves improve flexibility, while the low-cut design offers mobility during non-lifting activities.
- Forefoot flex grooves improve flexibility
- High-abrasion rubber outsole
- Midsole has a molded sockliner cushion
- Toe tection provides protection
- 4mm drop offers support for different activities
- Proven shoe design
- Many color options available
- Runs small
We included the Metcon 5, however, the Metcon 4 is still a very solid shoe for CrossFit athletes and anyone who wants a quality shoe to support their daily performance.
It has very nice aesthetics and is an extremely versatile option whether your activities of choice are sprints, lifting, sled pushes, walking around in style, or all of the above. You have a very stable platform to train from and the textured mesh is made to endure the toughest sessions while offering breathability, and contributing to the lightweight feel of the shoe.
The midsole is firm in the heel and soft in the forefoot which is what you want when doing more high-impact exercises to allow for better function and transitioning into different positions. The sticky forefoot supports optimal traction and functionality to secure your feet to most surfaces.
- Solid upper with flexible and durable material
- Textured print reinforced from heel to toe
- Drop-in midsole firm in the heel and soft in the forefoot
- Sticky forefoot supports maximum traction on the ground
- Good for lifting and short runs
- Improved design from previous models
- Lots of interesting color options
- Midsole may be a bit firm for some
- Not ideal for longer runs
Outside of the very popular Nano series, the CrossFit Speed TR has won the hearts of many who like a top-notch shoe designed specifically for CrossFit. But they’re also great for any workouts.
With a name like Speed TR, it’s obvious that these shoes can handle quick movements and intense activities such as high-intensity interval training, run-focused WODs, etc. The EVA midsole is responsive and the RopePro technology on the sole provides a superior gripping experience due to the traction support.
- Exposed heel clip improves stability
- Upgraded RopePro technology offers the best traction support
- EVA midsole
- Low 3mm heel drop is great for weightlifting
- Fits true to size
- Versatile and great for quick movements
- Good weightlifting option
- Construction quality may vary
- Awkward shape could affect performance in certain activities
Alright, we’re changing direction a little here with a more minimalist, barefoot-style, zero-drop shoe. Not only is this shoe super unique and quite nice looking we might add, but it appeals to a certain group of individuals. Minimalist shoes allow the individual to be closer to the ground; the wide toe box creates an experience that’s close to being barefoot.
The flat, zero-drop sole platform keeps the feet neutral which could improve joint health and promote better posture. You can also remove the sockliner if you want to get closer to Earth! These are good for various environments too.
They also happen to be pretty affordable too which is always appreciated, and although not top-quality minimalist shoes, they’re a great alternative to more expensive options and an overall good value.
- Minimalist, barefoot design
- Wide toe box provided more toe comfort and balance
- Zero-drop from heel to toe
- Thin, flexible sole
- Removable sockliner allows for a more minimalist feel
- Perfect for minimalists
- Good overall value
- Zero-drop design encourages proper walking gait
- Loads of color options
- Runs large
- Not the best construction quality (but very affordable)
The Adidas Powerlift 3.1 are some of the best lifting shoes that money can buy. Not to mention, Adidas is known for making quality options made for lifting performance.
This shoe has a different look compared to the others on this list but that’s because it’s engineered differently. It’s not a cross-trainer and therefore, it’s better suited for heavy lifts where you’re not moving around much.
It has a high-density die-cut midsole wedge for added stability in addition to a strap over the laces to ensure maximum secureness. The shoe is also made with a flexible toe and air mesh collar that offers breathability and comfort. And the Adiwear outsole ensures top-notch durability so that you can train day in and day out.
These are great for CrossFit athletes focusing on their heavy weightlifting-focused movements.
- Weightlifting-engineered design
- Includes a strap for additional secureness
- High-density die-cut wedge midsole promotes optimal stability
- Air mesh collar offers breathability and comfort
- Adiwear outsole ensures durability
- Flexible toe allows for better movement
- Excellent for heavy lifting
- Comfortable, breathable, and lightweight
- Variety of color options
- Not ideal for running and fast-paced activities
- Runs small
The Minimus 20 V7 cross trainer is our pick from New Balance. It’s more of a minimal design hence the name but this is good if that’s what you prefer. It’s a very well-designed, lightweight shoe that is comfortable. Not to mention, you’ll really like the look of these.
The upper is made from nylon-infused yarn upper which you can imagine is comfortable, but also offers flexibility to support natural movements in various positions. The single-piece Vibram midsole is a good combination of performance and minimalist appearance.
This is a great alternative to barefoot shoes.
- Flexible, breathable upper
- Low 4mm drop
- REVlite midsole cushioning provides lightweight comfort and function
- Mono mesh windows allow for better ventilation
- Asymmetrical collar offers a more natural fit
- Vibram outsole provides optimal grip
- More of a minimalist design
- Several great colors to choose from
- Awesome aesthetics
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Runs small
- A bit narrow for many
- Not the best design
Vibrams are among the best barefoot-style minimalism shoes and are similar to the WITHIN shoes on this list, but with better quality (hence the higher price). And, these have the five fingers design which provides slots for your toes to fit in, making for an enhanced barefoot experience.
These shoes are very flexible and lightweight with breathable material and an XS Trek sole that will allow for maximum mobility and traction against almost any surface.
- XS Trek sole perfect for all-terrain use
- Five fingers design
- Unique appearance
- Zero-drip design provides a minimalist feel
- Light, simple, minimalist design
- Versatile for use on different surfaces
- Very grippy
- Sizing may be difficult (runs small)
- Construction may not be the best
The Venja from Nordic just made our list and for good reason. They’re quality engineered for lifting just like the other top-notch options from Nordic. But these are also made for CrossFit performance. The shoes are reinforced to hold up to anything and are made from premium materials.
The Venja has heel support and a velcro strap for added stability, function, and performance. The anti-slip sole keeps you in place during your lifts and activities, and the open forefoot allows for optimal airflow to keep your feet cool and comfortable.
Plus, you can move in these too, so they aren’t just for the lifting platform.
- Velcro strap ensures a snug fit
- Flexible anti-slip sole
- Reinforced design
- Open forefoot improves ventilation
- Versatile performance shoe
- Good for heavy lifting and short runs and high-impact activities
- Great looking shoe
- Fits true to size
- Limited color options
- Not ideal for running
What Is A CrossFit Shoe?
While a CrossFit shoe could be considered a type of footwear that supports CrossFit activities, we opted to offer more variety for the purpose of this review. Plus, this could be subjective and it could also depend on the training focus on any given day.
So while we included shoes that fit the versatile CrossFit role such as and that are designed with CrossFit athletes in mind (cross trainers), you’ll also find other options that are more specialized in their functionality (e.g., weightlifting shoe).
It’s also important to note that only Reebok has the right to directly market their shoes as “CrossFit” shoes as they’re licensed to do so. But that doesn’t mean it is the only brand that makes shoes designed for CrossFit performance. Other companies have marketed their shoes using common CrossFit terminology or by using terms that fit the niche (e.g., Metcon, short for metabolic conditioning).
What does CrossFit involve and why the need for special shoes?
CrossFit is a competitive fitness sport that consists of various elements of physical performance such as Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, Strongman, gymnastics, aerobic exercise, calisthenics (bodyweight exercises), and more.
The movements are performed at a fast, high-intensity pace to be competitive, and involve a wide variety of functional movements and transitions. And so, the choice of footwear is essential for being able to perform at a high level.
Buying Guide/What To Look For
Here’s some information on the criteria of a suitable CrossFit-capable shoe.
The heel drop (also called offset or simply drop) is how tall the heel is compared to the forefoot. Now, a taller heel that is solid in design is best for heavy lifts such as squats and weightlifting movements like cleans and snatches because it shortens the range of motion and is better for those with less ankle mobility, while also supporting a more upright posture.
However, the shoes with a bigger drop are often designed more for weightlifting due to a rigid sole, unless the shoe has a lot of cushion such as a running shoe, although, again, you don’t want a running shoe. But you may want to have a pair of shoes dedicated to weightlifting in addition to a pair with less drop that is better for overall CrossFit activities.
Otherwise, for an overall CrossFit shoe, a heel with a 0-4mm drop is best. Any of the shoes on our list that isn’t a weightlifting-specific shoe will have an acceptable drop.
The shoe should be comfortable yet secure enough to where your feet are not sliding around in it. But this could be a subjective thing and some people may need arch support while others don’t need as much, or maybe prefer the minimalist, barefoot style.
It’s also nice when a shoe has ventilation for breathability which improves the overall comfort during long WODs or whatever activity you’re engaged in. Look for mesh uppers that are super comfortable or a shoe that has an upper with some ventilation. This is also important because a lot of sweat can cause a lot of stink and even slippage, which is no bueno.
A lightweight and flexible shoe that still offers optimal stability for heavy lifts and mobility is also something that helps contribute to progressive and productive performance.
When you’re engaged in CrossFit activities that involve lifting and rope climbing, you need solid outsoles and midsoles for maximum stability, grip, and force production. You don’t want the weight to sink you down into your shoes because your soles are bouncy, which is the case with most running shoes that absorb impact and are highly responsive to help propel you forward.
But you still want a little responsiveness to be able to do box jumps and other similar activities that require agility and transitioning.
A grippy outsole with good traction is also necessary for quick transitions and moving around on different surfaces. You definitely don’t want to be sliding around when doing clean and jerks and handling heavy loads. A good quality outsole can also protect against wear and tear that is inevitable. Usually, they’re made of tough, durable rubber.
As for the midsole, which is between the upper and outsole that dictates the long-term durability of the shoe, you want a solid material for support and function. An EVA midsole is common but a solid, quality midsole that offers support and stability is great.
With that being said, we chose quality shoes that are popular for all-use training and CrossFit. So you shouldn’t have a problem with any of these shoes as for the support that each offers during tough activities.
Some shoes offer a wider toe box that allows your toes to move more freely which could also improve your stability when lifting as if you were lifting barefoot. This is ideal for CrossFit performance, although some people may like a narrower, snug feel, but this is typically more of a desirable trait during quick runs.
Opt for a wider toe box that is going to benefit you in lifting and other movements.
There are other features of a quality cross trainer that will only enhance your experience. You may not need all of them depending on how serious you are about CrossFit but consider them too.
A rope-guard in the midfoot is ideal for protection of the midsole during rope climbs. A toe guard is good for burpees, pushups, and other exercises that cause the toe to make contact with the ground, and a midfoot rubber cage provides added stability. Another good feature to have is a sturdy heel counter that prevents abrasion and ensures secureness on the rear of the shoe.
Then you have velcro straps which are a feature on weightlifting shoes and these provide extra security and stability for big lifts.
What's the best overall CrossFit shoe?
That’s impossible to answer as there’s no one perfect shoe for everyone. You have to consider what features are best for your needs, comfort, style, and budget.
Are CrossFit shoes expensive?
Cross trainers are no more costly than good athletic shoes. For most people who want a good quality performance shoe, many options are plenty affordable.
What's the difference between running shoes and CrossFit shoes?
The average running shoe has a taller heel, is more cushioned, has a more responsive design. The CrossFit shoe or cross-trainer typically has a lower heel, is more durable, and has more support and performance features.
We hope that you enjoyed this review of the best CrossFit shoes for men in 2020. There’s something for everyone regarding style, function, performance, and price point. But most importantly, we’re certain that any of the options on the list above will do a great job of supporting your CrossFit activities or any activities for that matter.
And who says you only need one pair? Most of these shoes won’t break the bank and having more than one pair of kicks can certainly offer you more versatility in training toward your goals.
Whether you’re in the box, focusing on weightlifting performance, or want a versatile option that you can take on adventures and through trails, you have options.
Have questions or about anything of the information in this article? Leave them below along with any comments too. Also, check out this article on the 11 Best Lifting Straps Reviewed for 2021!
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