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Buying shoes for CrossFit can be tricky because it’s a sport that involves a variety of running and weightlifting activities. While most athletic shoes are designed for a specific sport, CrossFit shoes need to be all-purpose so you can maximize your WOD (work out of the day). CrossFit shoes provide enough support for running but are also flat enough for lifting. It’s a delicate balance.
In this article, we list the best CrossFit shoes for men (sorry, ladies) and the ways in which we found them. Take a gander and find out which CrossFit shoes are best for you
- Best Overall: Reebok Nano X1
- Best Budget: Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops
- Best Green Materials: Merrell Trail Glove 6
- Best for Wide Feet: Altra Solstice XT 2
- Best for Flat Feet: Inov-8 F-lite 235 V3
The Reebok Nano X1 series ranks at the top of the list as the best overall cross-training shoes for men. Reebok and CrossFit have gone hand in hand for the past decade, so every aspect of this shoe is designed for the functional athlete. It strikes the right balance for both running and lifting.
With the Nano X1, Reebok was able to keep the shoe relatively lightweight at 12 ounces for running, but still offers stability for lifting. It features an EVA foam midsole to cushion your feet and joints from jarring impacts.
Unlike most running shoes, the X1 only has a seven-millimeter drop. Less drop would make the shoe perform more like a glove (for barefoot running and great for lifting). The sole is made from 100 percent rubber and is sure to grip whichever surface you find yourself on. Your ankles will receive a little support from the mid-level upper, too.
You can get the Nano X1 trainer in 22 different color options and most shoe sizes.
- Weight: 12 ounces
- Materials: Synthetic mesh
- Drop: 7mm
- Cushion: EVA foam
- The Reebok Nano X1 shoes are made from high-quality and lightweight materials to deliver an unparalleled performance during your workout of the day.
Lightweight synthetic mesh
Natural flexing design
Regular drop for running and lifting
Mid-height for ankle support
Higher price point
There are few shoes as iconic as the Chuck Taylor All Stars, and for good reason. Initially designed for the basketball court, Chucks performed admirably for most other sports, as well. Having personally worn these while powerlifting, running, and entering a mosh pit at a 5FPD concert, I can attest to the prowess of the Chuck Taylors.
Converse still makes these shoes using simple materials of canvas and rubber to provide a snug, secure fit. The high-top canvas and laces allow you to customize the ankle support you need for the activity. Chucks are arguably the original “barefoot” shoe given that there is a zero drop between the heel and forefoot. There is minimal cushion, as well — some layered canvas makes up the insole while most impact absorption comes from the cross-patterned rubber outsole.
A word of caution to those with wide feet: Chucks are narrow shoes. While Converse makes a line of wide sizes, you’ll want to double-check before you buy. Since most CrossFit workouts involve running two miles or less, these make for great functional fitness trainers for those balling on a budget.
- Weight: 14 ounces
- Materials: Canvas
- Drop: Zero
- Cushion: Canvas and cross-patterned rubber
- Classic. Tried-and-true. Simple. There are many ways to describe Converse’s Chuck Taylor high top shoe. It’s a well-rounded shoe that’ll perform on the court, track, and gym.
Superior lifting performance
Excellent ankle support
Not ideal for runs over one to two miles
Caution for those with wide feet
The Trail Glove 6 embodies the eco-friendly focus Merrell has in manufacturing. It utilizes recycled materials, which reduces the overall environmental impact. Most of the mesh in the upper, liner, and insole is at least 45 percent recycled material. Even the laces and EVA foam insole feature 30 percent or more recycled materials.
With a zero drop, this shoe will give you a true barefoot experience, which is ideal for lifting and running short distances. It features a Vibram EcoStep that is made of 35 percent recycled rubber for gripping all terrain. Another great feature is the NXT-lined insole that fights odors, a much-needed feature for any sweater.
You can get the Trail Glove 6 in six colors and most shoe sizes. Word of caution: As this is a trail runner, it may wear out faster when running on concrete or lifting heavy weights.
- Weight: 15 ounces
- Materials: Recycled materials
- Drop: Zero
- Cushion: EVA foam insole
- The Merrell Trail Glove 6 is not a barefoot shoe, but more like THE barefoot shoe. Plus, the company uses recycled material to limit its overall environmental impact.
Utilizes recycled materials
EVA foam insole for comfort
Zero drop barefoot design
High price point
Trail runner, may wear out faster when lifting
No company makes shoes for wide feet better than Altra. The company is known for FootShape toe boxes that default wide and have to opt for narrower options.
Typically known for running shoes, Altra hits the functional fitness mark with the Solstice XT 2. This runner utilizes proprietary technology like Balanced Cushioning and an InnerFlex midsole to adapt to your workouts. The upper is made from a breathable mesh to keep it lightweight and minimize sweating.
As with all Altras, the Solstice has a zero drop design to offer a barefoot-esque feel. Combined with an athletic rubber outsole, your feet will be secure where you plant them whether you’re snatching or sprinting. The Solstice is available in black or white, and in most sizes.
- Weight: 10 ounces
- Materials: Mesh, rubber
- Drop: Zero
- Cushion: High abrasion EVA foam
- The Altra Solstice XT 2 offers a FootShape toe box that’s naturally wider than most of the competition. Plus, it’s got enough support and breathability to max out your WOD.
Naturally wide toe box
Higher price point
You might think that buying some arch-supporting insoles will solve all flat-footed problems, but you’re only half right. Insoles will only help those with collapsed arches, but those born with flat feet would experience even greater fatigue from these types of insoles. One of the best solutions is to wear shoes that allow for your feet to spread out, with a cushion of course. This is where the Innov-8 F-lite 235 V3 CrossFit trainers can be a game-changer.
The shoe’s overall design is focused on the barefoot and natural movement of the foot. You can see this in the flexibility of the mesh upper that uses Ropetec technology for strength and durability. It combines nicely with the Meta-flex forefoot to offer a full range of motion during WODs.
The 235 has a low drop of four millimeters, which is large enough to offer support without causing form issues during heavy lifts. Inov-8 uses a proprietary technology called Powerflow+ in the midsole that helps to not only absorb impact, but also return the energy much like arches naturally would. And the whole package sits atop a rubber outsole offering a stable grip on any surface.
- Weight: 8.23 ounces
- Materials: Ropetec, mesh, and rubber
- Drop: 4 millimeters
- Cushion: Powerflow+ midsole
- The Inov-8 F-lite 235 V3 isn’t just a catchy name for a shoe, but it also offers the most room for flat feet to work naturally.
Barefoot feel and performance
Flexible design allows full range of motion
Cushion absorbs shock while returning energy
High price point
Things to consider before buying CrossFit shoes for men
A shoe’s “drop” is the height difference between the shoe’s heel and forefoot, according to shoemaker Salomon. A properly sized shoe drop will match your natural stride. If it doesn’t, the shoe will force an unnatural stride and increase the risk of injury.
Cushion can prevent joint and muscle fatigue in your legs, especially on long runs. Lifting weights is a different story. Too much cushion can cause instability during a barbell lift and put you at risk of injury. Too little cushion will make even the shortest of workouts painful. Athletes need to balance their needs.
Arch support fills the void between your heel and the ball of your foot. Some people have high arches while others have flat feet. It’s important to know what you have so you can buy footwear that fits you correctly. If you don’t know, Runner’s World magazine has a simple test that only requires wet feet and paper.
FAQs about CrossFit shoes for men
Q: How much do CrossFit shoes cost?
A: The average price for a cross-training shoe is around $80. Premium options built for specific types of functional fitness will typically cost more than $100, while budget options can be found for as low as $40 if you’re a good sale hunter.
Q: Where do I recycle my cross trainers?
A: Each year, about 300 million shoes are thrown in the garbage like a used paper plate after a BBQ, and it’s mostly because people don’t know what else to do. If you want to recycle old shoes, check with cobblers and recycling facilities in your area for programs like Nike’s Move to Zero or TerraCycle ZeroWaste.
Q: What makes CrossFit shoes different from other shoes?
A: Athletic shoes are typically designed for specific activities like running or weightlifting. CrossFit shoes, or cross trainers, are designed to perform adequately for a range of activities. They’re cushioned for repetitive movements like running but also provide a flat base for lifting a barbell.
Q: Are CrossFit shoes worth it?
A: Yes. If you wear running shoes like a Hoka One One, you’d run the risk of getting injured or tweaking a muscle group during the barbell or bodyweight portion of the WOD. On the flip side, you’ll die if you have to run in a powerlifting shoe. Buying a CrossFit shoe is an investment in your long-term functional health.
Q: Are cross-training shoes good for lifting/running?
A: Cross-training shoes are specifically made for both lifting and running. It is sad that this is one of the questions frequently asked, but I’ve read too many questions on Amazon to be surprised.
Q: How do you know if CrossFit shoes fit properly?
A: A CrossFit shoe should fit like most athletic shoes. It should fit snugly in the heel, support your arch, and have extra space in the toe box. Proper fitment will allow your feet to stretch and swell during a workout but not allow excessive movement which causes blisters.
Selecting the right CrossFit shoes is really a Goldilocks endeavor that requires a precise balance between cushion and stability to meet your personal needs. But by our estimates, you can’t go wrong with the Reebok Nano X1. It fits the bill on every mark.
Having personally worn many different brands and styles of sneakers, I started researching this article by looking at the brands I was familiar with. These include Reebok, Adidas, Puma, UnderArmour, and more. I picked out the best each one had to offer and then looked at retailers to see the best shoes that they had to offer, as well.
Next, I removed any shoe on the list that weighed more than 16 ounces, which would feel like a brick on your foot. I excluded shoes with high or regular drops because they would interfere with proper lifting techniques. What remained were shoes with a drop of zero to seven millimeters. After that, I looked for ankle support and cushioning. And finally, I looked to see if they fit any niche categories.
All that reduced the hundreds of options down to the shortlist you’ve read here. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback or stories on our selections in the comments section below.