What are Nike's Best Shoes for CrossFit?

Buying Guide

CrossFit athletes are versatile, and every workout brings a new strength and conditioning challenge. To become a better CrossFit athlete, you’ll want the right shoes. Here are the key features to look out for.

Last updated: September 20, 2022
5 min read
What are Nike's Best Shoes for CrossFit?

CrossFit is more than just an exercise class that you drop in on occasionally. It’s a community of athletes dedicated to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and doing a lot of cross-training. Every workout of the day (WOD) is meant to push you to be the best version of yourself. But for a workout that’s as challenging as it is versatile, you’ll need a pair of cross-training shoes that can keep up. Here’s what to look for, along with Nike’s top pick for the ultimate CrossFit shoes.

Here's a quick summary of the shoes mentioned in this article:

What Is CrossFit?

CrossFit is a global fitness movement that appeals to athletes of a variety of fitness levels. The moves in CrossFit are designed to mimic everyday movements so you can build strength and endurance in functional areas. It’s an exercise program that draws from weightlifting, plyometrics, gymnastics, boxing, rowing, swimming and running. In a CrossFit class you can usually expect a rigorous routine of squatting, lifting, pushing, pulling and climbing. The variety of multi-directional movements involved in CrossFit require a special type of cross training shoe (regular old gym sneakers just won't do).

What Features Should You Look for in CrossFit Shoes?

There are certain features that make for a good pair of CrossFit shoes. You’ve got to be able to change directions quickly and without sliding. You’ve also got to have workout shoes that absorb the impact of jumping, without affecting your energy return. The best CrossFit shoes will keep the feet secure and stable during heavy lifts, without hindering foot or ankle mobility or range of motion.

You don't want any old gym shoes. You need CrossFit shoes that do more. We’ve rounded up a full review of the key features to look for.
  1. 1.Grip and Traction

    A typical CrossFit workout is likely going to include sprinting and changing direction. Often, CrossFit workouts are done in an indoor training center with a smooth gym floor. This requires shoes with traction, to prevent slips and falls, and allow you to maximize your agility.
  2. 2.Lightweight Speed

    You don’t want heavy shoes that weigh you down. You're working on your agility and speed, so you need shoes that are soft and springy. The more lightweight a shoe is, the better energy return it has.
  3. 3.Flexibility

    Your shoes need to allow for maximum foot flexibility. Unlike traditional training shoes that may be more rigid, cross-training shoes need to have flexibility and durability. The variety of movements require your feet to bend, grip and rotate. If your shoes are locked in, they'll restrict your capacity for natural movement.
  4. 4.Cushion

    Lightweight shoes often have minimal cushioning, due to a reduced or zero heel-to-toe drop. You’ll get the barefoot running feel, but it can be detrimental for impact absorption or individuals with foot issues or injuries such as plantar fasciitis or flat feet.

    When it comes to CrossFit, you’ll want workout shoes with enough midsole cushioning and arch support to absorb shock during high-impact movements such as jumping.
  5. 5.Secure and Durable

    Look for high-abrasion, durable training shoes that keep your feet stable for lateral movements, vertical jumps and everything in between. That means looking for training shoes with features such as flexible uppers, ankle support, arch support, reinforced heels and a roomy toe box.

What Nike Sneakers Are Best for CrossFit?

  1. 1.Nike Metcon

    The go-to choice when it comes to CrossFit sneakers, Nike Metcon has unshakeable stability and ground-gripping traction, making these shoes ideal for any multidirectional movement. The Metcon's revamped midsole rubber wraps up your arch for intense grip during rope climbs. Rubber tread gives you traction from the training room floor to the pavement.

    The wide, flat heel gets even more stable with an inner plate that distributes weight from edge to edge. It has a wide toe box. The Metcon also flexes to make it comfortable for cardio intervals.

    Additional Nike Metcon features for cross-training:
    • Lightweight mesh with textured overlays in high-wear areas helps keep your foot cool without sacrificing durability.
    • Handstand clip at the heel minimizes drag during wall exercises.
    • Flywire cables integrate with the laces to secure your midfoot.
    • Grooves in the Metcon sole let your forefoot bend naturally.
  2. 2.Nike SuperRep

    From HIIT to cardio, quick sprints to indoor cycling warm-ups — whatever your preference, there’s a Nike SuperRep for that. A thick layer of soft, lightweight foam gives you comfortable midsole cushioning for jumps and squats. Grooves under the forefoot create flexibility for planks and other bodyweight moves. Rubber tread in high-wear areas provides stability and traction.

    Support wraps all the way around the heel to keep your foot strapped in, and the arc on the outside acts as a brace during side-to-side exercises. The upper feels soft and breathable, and it gives you a bit more stretch across the forefoot than the last version. It also has a contoured fit around the ankle and plush padding at the collar and tongue to give you total comfort from front to back.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the Difference Between Cross-Training and CrossFit?
Gym-goers often use these terms interchangeably, but there is a difference. Cross-training is a type of training that improves athleticism. CrossFit is a workout brand that focuses on high-intensity functional circuit training. A CrossFit class can constitute cross-training, as you’ll be performing similar exercises. The Nike training shoes mentioned are suitable as CrossFit shoes or weightlifting shoes, due to key features mentioned.
What Training Shoes Are Best for Plantar Fasciitis?

If you have plantar fasciitis, you may benefit from shoes with a heel cup, arch support and a cushioned midsole. Avoid training shoes with a zero heel-to-toe drop, as it reduces shock absorption and can exacerbate pain.

Originally published: January 10, 2022

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