Best shoes for CrossFit 2022: Our top picks for high-intensity training

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Finding the best shoes for CrossFit can be tricky at times, especially when you consider factors like whether they'll be able to withstand the intensity of the workouts.

If you've never heard of this type of training before, CrossFit essentially describes itself as a form of fast-paced interval training designed to improve strength and conditioning through functional movements.

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The benefits of CrossFit go beyond conditioning though, with one systematic review finding CrossFit to have a positive psychological effect on athletes, including exercise enjoyment, challenge, satisfaction, and goals achievement

So, if this sounds like the type of training for you, then our list of some of the best CrossFit shoes around has you covered. We've compiled our top picks using price, reviews, and perhaps most importantly, their build and technology to inform our selection.

Whether you're after some lightweight trainers, like these Nike Metcon8, or simply some of the best gym shoes around in these Inov-8 F-Lite G 300s, then we've got everything you need for CrossFit right here.

We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding the shoes as well as the workouts, so stick around to the end if you have any queries along the way.

Let's begin - here's our list of the best shoes for CrossFit available now...

Best shoes for CrossFit

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Best all-round shoes for CrossFit - PUMA Fuse Cross Trainer

Best shoes for CrossFit PUMA product image of a pair an all-black trainer with a blue detail on the heel.
Credit: PUMA
Brand: PUMA | Material: Fabric/Synthetic | Closure: Lace-Up

With their highly tensile mesh uppers, these PUMA FUSE trainers should be ideal for resisting tension and abrasion during fast-paced CrossFit workouts.

Comfort-wise, PUMA provides a wider, stronger toebox, which should help your stance while weightlifting and ensure you remain comfortable at the top of the lift.

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Moreover, the shoes feature PUMAGrip technology which is designed to improve traction across the outsoles to help you remain planted during weightlifting, which could be the difference between achieving and failing a new PB.

On the whole, we feel these sneakers are well worth considering if you're a CrossFit and gym fan. As an aside, check out our list of the best places to buy sneakers if you're trying to find a good place to purchase a pair.

Best lightweight shoes for CrossFit - Nike Metcon 8

Best shoes for CrossFit Nike product image of a pair of khaki shoes with white and orange accents.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Material: Mesh | Closure: Lace-Up

The Nike Metcon 8s look to be a great pick for CrossFit as they upgrade in a number of key areas from the 7s to help you float through your cardio, power through your lifts and dominate your workouts.

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Comfort-wise, the shoes come with Nike React foam in the midsoles to improve comfort and provide a cushioned base to help you kick into gear during the cardio sections of your CrossFit sessions.

For weightlifting, the shoes also feature flat heels designed to provide more stability alongside inner plates which distribute your weight from edge to edge to further increase your contact with the ground.

All in all, we feel there's a lot to like about these Nike trainers, particularly their cushioned, lightweight design.

Best weightlifting shoes for CrossFit - Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

Best shoes for CrossFit Inov-8 product image of a singular black shoe with a gum outsole.
Inov-8
Brand: Inov-8 | Material: Synthetic/Mesh | Closure: Lace-Up

For more experienced CrossFit enthusiasts, it may be worth considering a slightly more premium pick like these Inov-8 F-Lite G 300s, designed to enable your peak performance during weightlifting.

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They come with a graphene-enhanced outsole that should provide insane grip and durability, and a graphene-infused internal lifting stabiliser, designed to keep your foot supported through a full range of movement.

Furthermore, they feature 360В° ROPE-TEC protection, a TPU flexible cage, and a fully-engineered knitted upper which, Inov-8 boasts, makes these shoes its most durable pair yet.

Ultimately, if you've got the budget to spend slightly more on a high-end pair of trainers for CrossFit, then these shoes from Inov-8 might be for you.

Best beginner's shoes for CrossFit - Under Armour Tribase Reign 3

Best shoes for CrossFit Under Armour product image of a singular black shoe with a gum outsole.
Credit: Under Armour
Brand: Under Armour | Material: Synthetic/Mesh | Closure: Lace-Up

If you're new to CrossFit, then these Under Armour Tribase Reign 3s could be the trainers for you.

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They're made from a tough ripstop material which, Under Armour boasts, provides all-around abrasion resistance, which is ideal in the high-intensity environment of CrossFit.

Moreover, they come with Under Armour's TriBase sole, engineered to maximise ground contact and should help keep you stable whilst performing challenging and fast-paced lifts with your best barbell.

Also, they feature a 2mm offset which should further increase stability, and is another reason why, we feel, the Tribase Reign 3s are a great option to consider to get you started.

Best shoes for CrossFit for speed - Nike React Metcon Turbo

Best shoes for CrossFit Nike product image of a pair of grey sneakers.
Credit: Nike
Brand: Nike | Material: Synthetic/Mesh | Closure: Laces

Nike is one of the leading manufacturers of sportswear, and its expertise is clear to see in its React Metcon Turbo trainers.

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Firstly, the instep of the upper is thin and lightweight to keep the weight of these trainers to a minimum, but it's still tough enough to handle abrasions and tension during your workouts.

Also, the outer is made from a breathable mesh to keep your feet cool during fast-paced, high-heat sets, and is yet another factor in what makes these shoes so light. As an aside, check out our guide on cleaning mesh shoes right here.

It's also worth noting they come with a wide, flat heel for added stability, which is another reason why we've featured them in our list.

Best running shoes for CrossFit - Mizuno TC-11

Best shoes for CrossFit Mizuno product image of a pair of red shoes and navy trainers.
Credit: Mizuno
Brand: Mizuno | Material: Knitted Upper/Rubber Sole | Closure: Lace-Up

Mizuno incorporates a ton of technology to ensure its TC-11s are both comfortable and responsive CrossFit as well as in the mix to be considered some of the best running shoes around.

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For example, they come with Mizuno's COB midsole which has a textured upper surface that is linked with the outsole and should directly transmit information from the ground to the bottom of your feet.

Also, the midsole is made from soft PU which, Mizuno boasts, allows for natural flexibility that works with your body's movements to ensure maximum comfort.

They also feature a low 4mm drop, perfect for lifting, which is another reason why we think the TC-11s are worth considering for CrossFit.

Frequently asked questions about CrossFit

With so many options to choose from, you may have a few questions about shoes for CrossFit, but don't worry because we're here to clear up a few of the most common queries.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a form of high-intensity interval training designed to improve strength and conditioning through functional movements.

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Many workouts incorporate a combination of squats, pushups, and weightlifting that, unlike an ordinary gym session, lasts for a predetermined amount of time.

CrossFit also aims to keep its workouts varied to avoid boredom and to prepare your body for any physical tasks you throw at it. These workouts aren't random though, they're strategically designed to help you maximise your fitness potential and avoid atrophy.

A study by Barfield et al. supports this. Participants who took part in CrossFit over a twelve-week period improved their aerobic capacity by 6% and muscular endurance by 22% compared to the traditional training control group.

Studies like these are one of the reasons why CrossFit is quickly becoming one of the most popular exercise programmes around.

What features make shoes good for CrossFit?

The key to a good pair of shoes for CrossFit is quality.

Purchasing a low-quality pair of shoes may result in poorer performance, and they may not withstand the high-intensity nature of the workouts.

That said, make sure you're selecting a shoe that is durable as you'll be constantly moving and putting your footwear under a lot of stress.

It's also worth looking for trainers with relatively flat soles as you'll want to maximise your contact with the ground during weightlifting to help with stability and power.

How long do CrossFit shoes last?

This depends on their quality, how often you train, intensity, and your size.

Generally speaking though, a regular in the gym may get one or two good years out of CrossFit shoes before they start to wear out to a point where it may be time to start searching for a replacement pair.

This isn't a set rule though, so we'd recommend only looking for a new pair once you start to notice a considerable drop-off in performance or your shoes start to become uncomfortable.

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By comparison, running shoes are said to last anywhere between 300 to 500 miles according to Runners World. While this isn't a direct comparison to CrossFit shoes, we feel it gives a good indication of how long you could expect a pair to last.

What's the difference between CrossFit shoes and weightlifting shoes?

Generally speaking, weightlifting shoes are bulkier and stiffer than CrossFit shoes because they need to provide a solid platform for those looking to shift heavy weights.

By contrast, CrossFit shoes tend to be slightly lighter and more akin to running sneakers as you do significantly more cardio than during weightlifting. However, they do normally incorporate relatively flat soles to maximise ground contact during your lifts.

How do you lace CrossFit shoes?

We'd say that the best way to lace a pair of shoes for CrossFit is to use a technique not too dissimilar to the one we've outlined before in our guide to lacing football boots.

Begin by taking your shoelace and threading it through the first row of eyelets to make a straight bar across the tongue of your trainer.

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Then, take the two lengths of shoelace and cross them over in the middle before pushing them through the next row of eyelets up on the opposing side.

Repeat this all the way up your shoe until you reach the top, then do the same with your second sneaker and you should be good to go.

How do you clean CrossFit shoes?

It's important to clean your CrossFit shoes to help them maintain their grip so they're ready for you to work out in.

However, like some of the best running shoes, CrossFit trainers can be made from a variety of different materials, there's no one set way to clean them.

That said, most materials can be cleaned by using a soft-bristled brush dipped in a mixture of water and shoe cleaner to gently scrub away any dirt on both the uppers and the soles of your shoes.

For knitted trainers, we'd recommend using slightly less water when cleaning to avoid completely soaking the material.

Once you've cleaned them, make sure you leave them to air dry away from any direct heat to avoid damaging them.

Should you size up or down in CrossFit shoes?

CrossFit shoes need to fit relatively snug to keep you locked in and supported whilst you work out; however, they shouldn't be so tight that they're uncomfortable to wear as this can cause your feet to cramp and sometimes even lead to injury.

Generally speaking, Clarks recommends you leave about one finger's width of space between your longest toe and the end of your shoe, something which we feel can be used as a guide to deciding upon the right size sneakers for CrossFit.

As CrossFit shoes are typically made from tight-fitting mesh though, you may find you need to go up half a size to achieve this amount of space in your sneakers.

Most manufacturers usually have a handy size guide on their website if you're completely unsure, and you can check out our guide to measuring your shoe size to help make the comparison.

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Can running shoes be used for CrossFit?

As mentioned above, running shoes are not too dissimilar to CrossFit trainers in their design.

However, we'd advise picking up dedicated gym shoes for CrossFit because running shoes are primarily designed for forward motion and come with a ton of padding, making them not overly ideal for weightlifting.

This is because you usually want to maximise your contact with the ground during a lift, something running shoes are simply not designed for.

That said, there are some running shoes that try to incorporate the best of both worlds, like these Mizuno TC-11s, if you've only got the budget for one pair of workout sneakers. Check out our list of the best places to buy running shoes if you're looking for a pair specifically.

Can you wear Converse for CrossFit?

Converse shoes are a highly popular choice to wear to the gym due to their flat soles with minimal cushioning. As a result, they can also be particularly useful to wear during CrossFit training.

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Cushioned footwear typically removes friction between yourself and the ground which can, in turn, minimise stability.

That said, due to the highly intense nature of this type of training, a little padding and extra support, as shown by some of our top picks, can be necessary on occasion to avoid damaging your feet.

So, although Converse trainers can be worn for CrossFit, we'd recommend exploring some of the sneakers designed specifically for HIIT training.

Can you wear basketball shoes for CrossFit?

Basketball shoes are perfectly acceptable to wear; however, we'd recommend purchasing trainers specifically designed for CrossFit or weightlifting if you want to maximise your performance.

That being said, basketball shoes typically come with slightly higher collars than a regular pair of trainers, so should therefore provide a little extra ankle support during some of the more dynamic movements.

The downside with some of the best basketball shoes is that they normally come packed with cushioning to absorb as much shock as possible when landing a jump on the court.

As stated above, this isn't something you necessarily want from a pair of CrossFit shoes because the cushioning reduces your contact with the ground and, in turn, can detriment the amount of power you can produce during your lifts.

Read More: Best running shoes under 100 - Our top picks