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Published Aug 18, 2022 10:33 AM

CrossFit shoes offer the perfect combination of comfort but allow for agility and stability throughout the session. We ask a lot of our footwear when it comes to CrossFit. We need something that works for lifting, running, jumping, and quick pivots. The majority of the popular ultra-plush running shoes don’t cut it when it comes to good cross-trainer shoes.

Below, we’ve picked out our favorite shoes that match your needs during a CrossFit workout where we’ll compare some pros and cons and point out which shoe is the glass slipper for each CrossFitter. Here are our top choices for the best CrossFit shoes for women.

Best Overall

The always-popular Nike Metcon earns our top spot as the best overall CrossFit shoe for women. Over the years, Nike has nailed down that we need a CrossFit shoe to incorporate thoughtful design elements like laces that lock into place and a rope guard so it doesn’t look like you took a cheese grater to your shoes. The company also added React foam to help with cushioning for cardio and jumping without sacrificing stability.

While sweating is inevitable, you won’t be sloshing around thanks to the lightweight mesh upper material that helps with breathability. The flat and wide heel has an inner plate, designed to evenly distribute weight during heavy lifts or quick pivots.

Nike also offers a customizable option with the Metcon where you get to pick your own color/designs for 12 elements of the shoe including the upper, tongue, sole, and even an option to add your own text or logo. So although everyone at your box might be wearing the Metcon, no one is wearing your Metcons.

Product Specs
  • Size range: 5 to 15
  • Color options: 6 (plus endless customization)
  • Heel drop: 4mm
Why It Made The Cut
  • A staple in the CrossFit comp world (and for good reason), the Nike Metcon 7 performs as it should through all disciplines.
PROS

Rope guard design for better durability

Customizable options for unique shoes

Laces feature lock tabs

New colors and collabs arrive often

CONS

Narrow midfoot

Best Budget

The Nobull brand has become synonymous with CrossFit, in part thanks to its involvement in the CrossFit games. The other part is that the Nobull shoes are designed to perform in every CrossFit activity. Their versatility in performance is only rivaled by the company’s style and color options that include low, mid, and high-top trainers, some of which are the most budget-friendly CrossFit shoe options.

Nobulls are made with the company’s SuperFabric material that’s a lightweight mesh covered in guard plates to essentially create a shielded shoe. Nobull says this can even protect you from zombies, but we didn’t get the chance to put that claim to the test.

When it comes to features we love, the one-piece construction means there’s a much lower likelihood of a section becoming delaminated. The Nobull logo is reflective in case you feel like getting a late-night neighborhood run in, and all Trainer pairs come with two sets of shoelaces.

Expert reviews mention the Nobull Trainers are some of the best cross-training shoes when it comes to durability. Others mention how awesome the high-top versions are for rope climbs to help avoid rope-burned ankles.

Pair your Nobull Trainers with some Red Bull, and you’re entering prime PR territory.

Product Specs
  • Sizes: 5 to 11
  • Colors: 20+
  • Heel drop: 4mm
PROS

Large range of colors and designs

Each Trainer pair comes with two sets of laces

One-piece construction for added durability

Reflective elements for added safety

CONS

Some models/colors are outside of budget-friendly range

Best for Running

Altra has taken the running world by storm. The company designs shoes meant to fit how feet naturally spread out when we put weight on them. A wider-than-normal toe box and heel deviates from most standard athletic shoes, and heaps of runners swear by this fit.

The Solstice xt 2 is the brand’s cross-trainer designed to take you from road-running into the gym. For this model, Altra made the upper sturdier to give more lateral support and added toe reinforcements for better protection when lifting. The Solstice is also made with Altra’s Balanced Cushioning which keeps the forefoot and heel area on at the same distance from the ground for better alignment and form.

The natural fit of the Altra Solstice xt 2 means it’s likely not a great choice for female CrossFit fans who have narrow feet. While the shoe is not labeled as “wide,” it errs toward a more generous toe box.

While your favorite running shorts could easily be worn for CrossFit, it’s unlikely your running shoes will work for all CrossFit disciplines — until you enter the world where a well-known running shoe brand like Altra makes cross-trainer shoes.

Product Specs
  • Size range: 5.5 to 12
  • Color options: 2
  • Heel drop: Zero
Why It Made The Cut
  • A leader in the running shoe world, Altra designed the Solstice xt 2 to perform just as well in the gym as it does on the road without sacrificing Altra’s signature fit.
PROS

Lightweight at 8.3 ounces

Features Altra’s Standard Footshape Fit

Added support for lateral movements

CONS

Not for narrow feet

Best for Everyday Wear

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is for the CrossFit female who doesn’t love the feel of a minimalist shoe. Instead, these have a 6mm heel-to-toe drop, meaning the shoe keeps your heel 6mm above the level of your toes, adding extra cushioning in the heel area of the shoe. It’s not enough to make lifting feel unstable, but it can be great for jumping-intensive movements and running.

The shoe’s sole is made with Graphene Grip for durability and stability, and the upper material ranks the most breathable of the Inov-8 line. The shoe also excels in durability thanks to Rope-Tec protection.

The design of the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 features a wrap-around upper cage the brand added to give all-around support. While some love this style and feel, it could feel restricting for wider feet.

The shoe doesn’t fall into the budget-friendly category when it comes to cross-training sneakers, but reviews consistently mention they’re well worth the money.

Product Specs
  • Size range: 6.5 to 11
  • Color options: 4
  • Heel drop: 6mm
Why It Made The Cut
  • A 6mm heel-to-toe drop makes the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 a non-minimalist CrossFit shoe option that functions well in the gym but looks great outside of the gym.
PROS

Graphene for added stabilization with lifting

No-slip tongue/bootie design

Durable upper material

6mm heel-to-toe drop for those who don’t love a minimalist shoe

CONS

More expensive than most options

Might not work for wide feet

Most Sustainable

The Vivo Primus Lite III is a dream for the minimalist-shoe fan. A thin, 4-mm thick sole allows you to experience the ground below your feet while offering protection for that stabby rock, nature’s version of stepping on a Lego.

Vivo also specializes in making shoes that are designed to fit a naturally spread-out foot which many find ideal with CrossFit, especially in jumping exercises. In 2022, Men’s Health magazine ranked the Vivo Primus Lite III as one of the best sneakers for weightlifting and pointed out they’re made of vegan and recycled materials.

Not many shoe brands can claim to have a refurbishment program which is another reason why we rank the Vivo Primus Lite III as a good CrossFit shoe for eco-conscious shoppers. Vivo encourages you to send back your shoes when you’re done with them. The company then performs a Cinderella-like transformation to refurbish them and then resells them on revivo.com for less than the original retail price.

We also love the Vivo Primus Lite III for the female CrossFitter who travels often. They’re incredibly lightweight and pack down to next to nothing so they won’t take up much space in your bag if you’ll be training on the road or are headed to a comp.

Product Specs
  • Size range: 5.5 to 11.5
  • Color options: 5
  • Heel drop: Zero
Why It Made The Cut
  • The Vivo Primus Lite III has a minimalist design that allows you to feel the Earth below your feet while working, but they’re also better connected to the Earth through Vivo’s recycling program.
PROS

Easy to pack makes them great for traveling

Refurbishment program keeps shoes out of landfills

Minimalist design and feel

CONS

Not for narrow feet

Best for Flat Feet

An updated version of Rebebok’s Nano cross-trainer came out in April of 2022 with enough improvements to make many agree the X2 is the best version yet.

Reebok’s Flexweave knit upper material is now more breathable than it was in the X1, something your feet will be happy about when it comes to summertime burpees.

For those who like some cushion, the Floatride Energy Foam is designed to give lightweight cushioning with extra spring in the forefoot. But reviews note the extra cushion doesn’t sacrifice agility. People with flat feet could be well suited to this extra bit of cushioning, especially in the midsole area.

The Nano X2 has a fairly wide toe box that is an individual preference you might love or hate. But Reebok also redesigned the heel on the X2 to sit lower than it did on the X1 to help avoid Achilles rubbing which was a well-known issue.

For now, we’re limited to three color options, but Reebok tends to roll out more colors as the shoe’s age progresses, and since it’s only a few months old, we expect to see more soon.

Product Specs
  • Size range: 5 to 11
  • Color options: 3
  • Heel drop: 7mm
Why It Made The Cut
  • The Reebok Nano X2 is a revamped and improved version of the X1 with added durability, breathability, and cushioning, which could be perfect for those with flat feet.
PROS

Redesigned with better breathability with more durable materials

Extra cushioning in the midsole

Wide toe box

Supportive heel design

CONS

Small color section (for now)

Less stable than some minimally cushioned shoes

Best for Wide Feet

Hate shoe laces? We hear ya. The New Balance Minimus TR BOA got rid of those because we live in the 21st century, after all. Instead, the shoes come with a BOA lacing system which not only means you don’t have to spend time tying and untying your shoes, but it affords an extra-precise fit, as well. New Balance says the lacing system provides the ability to micro-adjust your shoes for the best fit possible. Combine this with the shoe’s upper PerformFit Wrap and you’re left with support and durability — two key desires in good CrossFit shoes.

We also love this female CrossFit shoe since it comes in a wide option, one of the few on the market that do. The zero-drop of the Minimus gives you a close-to-the-ground feel that some love for feeling the most stable and evenly weighted.

For those who hate shoelaces and socks, New Balance outfitted these shoes with premium liners that allow you to comfortably train without socks. The mesh upper material helps out with better ventilation.

One of the only negatives we see with the Minimus TR BOA is that it currently only comes in one color option.

Product Specs
  • Size range: 5 to 12
  • Color options: 1
  • Heel drop: Zero
Why It Made The Cut
  • The futuristic-looking New Balance Minimus TR BOA comes in a wide width option while offering great CrossFit-geared design features.
PROS

BOA lacing system for those who hate shoe laces

TPU-infused design for support and durability

Mesh upper provides airflow and makes for a lightweight shoe

Socks optional

CONS

Limited color options

Things to consider before buying CrossFit shoes for women

Finding the perfect pair of shoes for your CrossFit workout can sometimes feel more difficult than the workout itself. We’re all built differently and find different footwear comfortable. On top of this, CrossFit demands a ton of different movements that makes finding one shoe to do it all that much harder. When shopping for the best CrossFit shoes for women, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Cushion

How much (or little) cushion you prefer in your shoe will play a large role in which feels the best on your feet. Some CrossFitters prefer a minimalist shoe that helps them feel the ground better for activities like deadlifts and squats. Others prefer a bit of cushion especially when running or jumping. Before you decide on which shoe you prefer, consider how much cushion you’re interested in.

Durability

Arguably worse than blisters are shoes that fall apart long before we expect to need replacements. When it comes to modern-day cross-trainer shoes, a huge range of quality exists, and some shoes aren’t designed to take on the rigors of a CrossFit workout. From delamination to shoes getting ripped up on rope climbs, be sure to invest in a pair of shoes made with materials designed to hold up well with whatever WOD you drag them through.

Budget 

It’s no secret that CrossFit is not the cheapest activity to be involved with. Your box (gym) fees reflect the not-so-cheap equipment in there like rowers, kettlebells, bicycles, medicine balls, and those love-to-hate-em plyo boxes. In order to keep tears at a minimum (save those for your post-workout foam-rolling session) the price of your cross-training sneakers shouldn’t upset you. If you have your eye on a pricey pair, consider checking if there’s an older model or a less-popular color on sale. Keep in mind that price doesn’t always reflect quality. 

FAQs about women’s CrossFit shoes

Q: What makes CrossFit shoes different from other shoes?

A: There’s a whole bunch of reasons why veterans love CrossFit, one of them being the versatility of the workouts. Good female CrossFit shoes are also all about versatility. We need a shoe that can support us from the erg to squats to the speed rope. CrossFit shoes are unique in that they’re multi-discipline shoes. They’re a hybrid of your lifting shoes and your pillowy running shoes.

Q: Can I use CrossFit shoes for running?

A: Yes, you can wear your CrossFit shoes for running. A well-designed cross-training shoe should take you through a lifting, running, or calisthenics workout, among other physical activities. But if you’re exclusively running, you’re likely to fare better with a shoe specifically built for running. Check out our picks for the best running shoes for women.

Q: Can you wear CrossFit shoes outside?

A: Sure, you can wear your CrossFit shoes outside. Will wearing them outside add to the wear and tear? Yes. Will your shoes likely get dirtier by wearing them outside? Also yes. But ultimately, how and where you want to sport your shoes is up to you.

Final thoughts

The Nike Metcon earns our top pick when it comes to CrossFit shoes for women. With tons of thoughtful features that stand out as appreciated when it comes to CrossFit, we think they’re the best option for most people. We also love the fully customizable option.

Methodology 

When we started researching female CrossFit shoes, we started by checking with big-box retailers like REI and Amazon to get a feel for their selection of cross-training shoes that would fit the requirements for CrossFit’s varied demands. We also took note of what the pros are currently wearing. In the end, we had a spreadsheet with 28 pairs of shoes. From here, we narrowed down the options to ditch shoes that didn’t match the criteria of matching our hybrid needs — something agile we can run in but that also provides stability for lifting. We also considered the sole and upper materials and threw out any we noticed wore out far before they should have.

We read and watched dozens of reviews to gather as many perspectives as possible to better hone in on how the shoes performed in different exercises. Since your experience wearing a shoe is destined to be different from mine, we felt gathering as many perspectives as possible was for the best. In the end, we broke up our top picks to span a range of preferences and common foot shapes. For more information on our review process, check out the Task & Purpose review guidelines

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