I Tried 5 Crossfit Shoes So You Don't Have To
By: Nina Meyer
5 CROSSFIT SHOES
5 CROSSFIT MOVEMENTS
One thing you learn after a few trips down Metcon lane is that a very important aspect of crossfit is your gear. The last thing you want is to have something, besides your old ticker, slowing you down.
Whether it be clothes that don’t stay in place, hair falling in your eyes, or shoes that work against you. If you’re struggling with your workouts, it might be time to kick your kicks and upgrade to something made for the job.
I took 5 popular crossfit shoes and wore the hell out of them for months, to decide which shoes work best for which movements.
So here you have it:
5 Shoes: 5 Crossfit Movements:
Movement: BOX JUMP
Box Jumps and Box Jump Overs are a heavy impact - plyometric movement. The basic concept is simple. Get both feet to carry your exhausted skeletal frame from the floor to the top of the box, simultaneously, and as agilely as possible. Also known as (drumroll please) “A Jump”. But the actuality of it can be a lot more trying.
Some peeps like to hop up and down and back again in a quick rebound. Others prefer stepping down from the box after jumping up, doing a fancy little spin along the way, like a crossfit ballerina.
Either way, the general gist is that a jump at some point is required onto or off of a large wooden cube. I think you’re following.
So here’s how it felt in each shoe:
Reebok nano 9: Lightweight, soft and cushy. Kept up the pace with even weight distribution.
Felt good on a jump down. Sticky enough to not feel like you’ll slip on the top of the box.
Nike Metcon 5: These are less cushioned than the reeboks so you’ll feel alot more pressure on your feet when you come down. BUT they feel like they have more arch support and are bouncier so you can move faster in them. Side point: they're also louder. Squeeky as hell. Sounds like a high school basketball game. But if that doesn’t bother you I’d say they’re my top choice for box jumps - because of speed.
Inov-8 F-LITE 235 V2 Cross Trainer: I do not love this shoe for box jumps. It has zero cushion, so it doesn’t really help any with the impact. It is incredibly lightweight and snug to my foot so it feels grippy and safe which is nice - I don't feel like I'll be eating a box sandwich. But for sure I felt like the minimal aspect would make my calves blow up if I did a ton. So, if you’re only doing a few box jumps it will be fine and quick. If you’re doing a ton though I feel like you would want a little more cushion to steeve off some super sore feet.
Nobull: Also do not love these shoes for box jumps, they look cool as hell, and are stable and supportive for lifting. But I felt like I was box jumping in a pair of clogs. Would not recommend.
Asics Gel Quantum 90: Lol, my feet felt heavy and awkward and I definitely almost ate it when the ridges hit the side of the box. Bad idea.
Movement: ROPE CLIMB
The ol’ rope climb.
Rope climb can also be broken down very basically to say, you use your arms (and usually feet) to get yourself from the floor, up up up and up, to the top of the rope.
The way you can do this may vary a bit depending on your skill level. But since legless rope climbs do not require shoes, we will just look at the usual, full body rope climb, which requires feet.
Here’s what the shoes felt like doing one:
Reebok nano 9: Stable and firm on the rope. Recommend
Nike Metcon 5: Also very good for rope climbing. Didn't feel like I would have any problem with grip on the rope. Super Secure. No issues.
Inov-8 F-LITE 235 V2 Cross Trainer: These seem like they don't have enough reinforcement in them and a quick slide down the rope might eat through your sole. Not a good idea.
Nobull: Way too slippery and no reinforcement makes me worry about the sole getting disintegrated after time.
Asics Gel Quantum 90: To be honest I actually LIKED rope climbing in these! Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t do a 9/11 tribute and climb the towers in them, But for a WOD which has alot of running and a few rope climbs they’re actually kind of totally fine. I was expecting to be slipping but I felt like the grooves in the soles helped with gripping the rope well and allowed me to never slow down during a workout which required 5 rope climbs a round. 9/10, would do a rope climb / running WOD in again. BUT would not do alot or quick slides down as they would eat the soles.
Everybody say, “EWWWWW THRUSTERS”. And then dramatically pretend to barf everywhere.
A thruster is a barbell movement combining a front squat, and a press over head.
Here’s the thing, I don’t hate thrusters. In fact, I’ll even venture to say, if they’re light (#65 or less) I actually LIKE them. Now please stop throwing tomatoes at your screen and let me explain. I feel like thrusters are all about stability, breathing, and pacing. If you can keep a good SLOW pace, breath at the top and keep your form strong and solid, rest at the top and never put that barbell down. You’ll blast past everyone and look like a badass! Because the people who shot out of the gate too fast, didn’t worry about their breathing and weren’t focusing on form but just speed, well honey, sit back and watch them red line. They have to put the bar down WAY too much. And once you put the bar down you’re screwed. Because now you’re tired and winded and you’ve added the mental aspect of picking it back up.
Anyways. That’s my hot tip. Take it or leave it. All I’m saying is slow and steady wins the thruster race...
But here’s how the shoes held up:
Reebok nano 9: comfy, cushiony, stable, but maybe a little wobbly
Nike Metcon 5: Stable, Arch support, less cushion but also less wobble
Inov-8 F-LITE 235 V2 Cross Trainer: very minimal, felt like my feet were holding me firm with full weight distribution. No cushion tho so I wouldn’t want to do a ton.
Nobull: Favorite for thrusters. Very stable. They do kind of cut into the top of my foot though which I don’t love. But they are super flat, stable and sturdy.
Asics Gel Quantum 90: unstable, pushed me to my toes like a rocking chair.
Movement: DOUBLE UNDER
Its kind of a cruel joke to myself that I even put these on the list as I am a TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, EMBARRASSING double under-er. Like, let’s just not talk about it.
I'm trying though, So, I might as well try with different shoes on lol.
Reebok nano 9: Comfy shoe, but I found myself tripping way more in these for some reason? I have no explanation.
Nike Metcon 5: oooo so bouncy! Got my best dubs in these. would recommend very strongly.
Inov-8 F-LITE 235 V2 Cross Trainer: definitely hurt my feet while I tripped through a million, but, they’re fine besides that. No complaints
Nobull: Maybe I was just tired at this point but I was tripping EVERYTIME. Seemed harder to get the height on the jumps.
Asics Gel Quantum 90: awful lol. I quit
Another thing I don’t like to do is run. But, the first step of trying to be a runner is just telling everyone you're a runner now and then hoping that it worked. Did it work? Maybe post on facebook a picture of a 2 miler you did nbd... Then next thing you know you’ll breeze by Kasilyn in a half marathon. Right? Amiright? Did that work? Am I a runner now?
Here’s how the shoes went down:
Reebok nano 9: Not too bad. I ran two miles in them and felt pretty good. I wouldn't go any further than that though.
Nike Metcon 5: meh. 800 meters is about my max in these
Inov-8 F-LITE 235 V2 Cross Trainer: nooooo thank you.
Nobull: Also definitely not for running, feels almost like running in lifters.
Asics Gel Quantum 90: OMG where have you been all my life, it's like running on comfy cushiony cloud feet, yes please.
OVERALL WINNER: Nike Metcon 5
These shoes are GREAT. They help you move fast and are pretty all around just a good crossfit shoe. My VERY CLOSE second would for sure be the Reebok nano 9 though, and it's a tough choice. The reeboks are FOR SURE the winner for most comfortable. Nike's are winners for best overall performance.
That's it. That's my highly scientific opinion on some shoes, do with it what you will.
Thanks for following friends!