The Best CrossFit Shoes for Women
Why You Should Invest In CrossFit-Specific Shoes
Trying to do CrossFit in running sneakers is about as comfortable as getting shampoo in your eye. Read: not at all.
"You really don't want to do CrossFit in a shoe that has a cushioned, springy sole, like a running sneaker," says Kayla Tote, co-owner and head coach at CrossFit for the People (CFTP), in Albany, NY. "A cushioned sole will constantly shift your weight back and forth from your toe to heel, which will mess with your center of gravity and make almost all movements—wallballs, box jumps, barbell moves—more difficult."
So ICYWW whether it's worth investing in a pair of shoes specifically for CrossFit, the answer is yes. "You need a shoe with a relatively flat sole that's stable enough to keep your weight in the midline of your foot to your heel when you're lifting," explains Chelsea Potter, CrossFit Level 2 certified instructor at BRICK in New York City. "But you also need that shoe to be comfortable and light enough for running and plyometric movements, like burpees and box jumps."
Basically, your CrossFit shoes have to be the Jane of all trades. Luckily, Alyssa Royse (owner and head coach of Rocket CrossFit in Seattle) assures that there are plenty of CrossFit-specific shoes on the market. To guide you, CrossFit coaches shared their favorite CrossFit shoes to train in. (Once you have your shoes, check out the 12 WODs CrossFit trainers love.)
Converse High Tops
"If someone isn't sure that CrossFit is right for them yet, I recommend Converse," says Royse. Why? For one, they're cheap. They also have a super-flat sole. "I urge people to look for 'flat' shoes, versus what I lovingly call 'puffy runners.' That's because you need this stability for lifting and jumping, as well as lateral movements," she explains.
Note: These aren't super comfy for running, so if your gym programs running often, you may want to consider a different pair. (Related: Here's What to Expect from Your First CrossFit Workout)
Nike Metcon 2
In CrossFit, the cardio portion of the class is known as the "MetCon" (short for metabolic conditioning). So it's not too surprising that a shoe with its namesake is a coach fave.
"They provide stability to flexibility, and are sturdy but also lightweight," says Tessie Tracy, CrossFit Level 2 Certified coach in Los Angeles. "This combo is helpful when a WOD has a lifting component (when sturdiness is helpful), running or box jumps (when flexibility is helpful), and a gymnastics component (when you don't want extra weight pulling down your feet)."
Bonus: Because these were one of the first generations of Nike Metcons on the market, you can usually find them for pretty cheap.
No Bull Trainers
If you follow any famous CrossFitters or powerlifters on Instagram, you've probably heard of No Bull. Even if you're off the grid, you likely recognize this hot-hot-hot brand. Thanks to their über-flat sole, they've earned a rep for being incredibly stable—and that's exactly what Abbee Bailey, CrossFit Level 1 certified coach at WillyB CrossFit in Williamsburg, NY, loves about them. "They give me support and stability while I'm lifting, and have grips on the top that help with rope climbs."
"These allow me to go right from testing my lifts to doing a MetCon," says Katherine Gundling, CrossFit Level 1 certified coach at ICE NYC in Manhattan, NY. Also, whether you're a fan of black-on-black-on-black, camo, or fun prints, they've probably got a color you'll dig.
No Bull High Top Trainer
If No Bull and Converse had a baby, it'd be the No Bull High Top Trainer. It has the same stability the classic No Bull trainer is known for, but in the high-top style loved both by Tote and by Meredith Felts, CrossFit Level 2 certified coach at CrossFit for the People. "They're lightweight, provide enough support for my arches when I run, and sturdy enough for anything from rope climbs to squat snatching," says Felts.
Nike Metcon 4
Yep, this is an updated version of the Metcon 2. "I like that the outer edge of the heel has a coating that allows you to travel efficiently up and down the wall on handstand push-ups," says Catherine Lewis, CrossFit Level 2 certified coach at CrossFit Queens in New York. Oh, and they look dope.
Note: Nikes are known for having a narrower toe box, so if you have a wide foot you may want to go up half a size. (Here's the full story of how the Nike Metcon 4 was designed and tested.)
Nike Metcon 4 XD
Just in case you weren't convinced that Nike is a CrossFit cult-fave, Chelsey Hughes (a two-time CrossFit Games athlete and CrossFit Level 2 certified coach at BRICK in New York City) adds another style to the list: the Metcon 4 XD.
The Metcon 4 XD is Nike's newest CrossFit shoe release, and the biggest difference between it and the previous versions is that the top is reinforced to be more durable—super important if you're doing a ton of burpees, wall walks, or toe-to-bars. "I'm in love with the upper," says Hughes. "I like that the design is agile enough to allow me to jump rope without feeling weighed down." (BTW, did you know that jumping rope burns an insane number of calories?)
Reebok Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross-Trainer
For many CrossFitters (like Totes and myself, hi), the Reebok Nano was their first-ever CrossFit shoe. Maybe because it's four-time Games athlete and two-time Fittest Woman On Earth Katrin Davíðsdóttir's shoe of choice. Maybe it's because athletes *have* to wear them at the Games. Or maybe it's because Reebok's name has become synonymous with CrossFit.
Whatever the reason, the Reebok Nano is a great option, especially for athletes with a wider foot. "They're wide enough for my wide feet, flat enough for when I lift heavy and still built to support your arch," says Totes. (Related: Reebok Has a Sports Bra That Adapts to Your Workout While You're Wearing It)
Inov-8 Women's F Lite 240 (S) Cross-training Shoe
Want one-stop-shop kicks? Jennifer Stevens, CrossFit Level 1 certified trainer at CrossFit Slice in Portsmouth, PA, picks these cross-training shoes. "These shoes allow a stable base for lifting while maintaining enough flexibility for gymnastics skills and running," she says. "They're comfy and grippy too." Translation: You don't have to worry about swapping shoes part-way through class.
Inov-8 F-Lite 195 V2 Cross Trainer
Ask any OG CrossFitter: "These were the shoes to wear before the Nano, Metcon, or No Bull—and they're still a great training shoe," says Allison B. Warner, M.D., Ph.D., coach at ICE NYC. In addition to being super lightweight and flexible, they also have a minimal drop (3mm), which she says makes them work for both running and lifting. "I've had these shoes for about 10 years and they're still top of my pile of training shoes!" Now that's an endorsement.
Strike Mvmnt Chill Pill
Strike Mvmnt may not have much brand-recognition, but Natalie DiCocco, CrossFit Level 1 certified and weightlifting coach at Telegraph CrossFit in San Francisco, swears by them. "I tried many better-known CrossFit trainers, but they were either too narrow, sizing was off, or they were too expensive." Then she got a pair of Chill Pills, which she says are comfortable enough to wear when she's on her feet and coaching all day long and to keep on for WODs with a lot of gymnastics or lightweight barbell movements. Just note: For heavier lifts, she does switch to weightlifting shoes, which are a bit more supportive. (Here's where you can find the best shoes for strength training.)
Reebok CrossFit Grace
The Reebok Nano has a wide toe box, but the Reebok CrossFit Grace is great for a slim foot. Blake Shutterly, a CrossFit Level 2 certified coach at Crossfit Fifth Ave in Midtown Manhattan says, "You can wear this shoe for almost any workout. It's a lot lighter than some other CrossFit-specific shoes, which makes it really comfortable for movements where you want to be light on your feet." The shoe has added toe protection, which keeps the shoe from getting scuffed up during movements like toe-to-bars and burpees. (Writer's note: It took about four wears to truly break in the shoe, but they've lasted me a year and counting. Also, hello fun colors!)
5.11 Women's ABR Trainer
The Women's ABR Trainer (which, BTW, stands for Always Be Ready) is a great option whether you're hitting an endurance WOD (like Murph) or one of The Girls. The footbed and sock liner make for extended comfort, while the rubber outsole pattern is optimized for good traction. There's also a rope traction zone on the side, for when you're feeling like Tarzan or Jane. (Related: The CrossFit Equipment You Need for a Badass Home Gym)
Vibram Five Fingers V-Train
Every box has a handful of athletes who swear by lifting barefoot (or in socks). Totes says barefoot training is a great way to feel grounded while you lift. However, there are a few movements like rowing, the assault bike, and box jumps, when you definitely need something on your feet. Vibrams are the best CrossFit shoe to feel like you're training barefoot without having to actually pedal or row sans sneaks.