What Shoes Should I Wear?

What Shoes Should I Wear?

You’ve started CrossFit so you need a CrossFit shoe, right?  Maybe a basketball shoe?  A weightlifting shoe but they look so weird.  What about a minimalist shoe?

“I don’t know what to do from here…”

Let’s look at the demands of CrossFit and see if the shoe fits:

  • Can you run in them?
  • Can you jump or jump rope in them?
  • Can you climb a rope with them and not tear your shoe apart?
  • Is your shoe stable enough to squat in?  Lunge in?
  • Does your shoe allow you to deadlift in a safe, stable, environment?
  • Is there too much cushion to do any serious Olympic Weightlifting in?
  • Is there any reason you couldn’t row, bike, or perform gymnastics movements in them?

The point is this:  your shoes need to be multi-faceted to meet the demands of what you’re about to embark upon.

Most of the Time

For MOST of what you’ll do in CrossFit, you’ll need something which has a pretty stiff sole, minimal heel lift, and very durable around the entirety of the shoe.

  • A stiff sole provides you with a stable base of support for almost any heavy lifting you will be doing:
    • Powerlifting movements, Olympic Weightlifting movements, any general strength training movements as well
  • Minimal heel lift not only helps you with your deadlift but encourages you to walk and run in a better position
  • A shoe, which is durable around its’ entirety, will NOT tear apart on your very first rope climb
    • Trust me.  We’ve found bits of the sole of people’s cross training or running shoes regularly

Do a Google search of “CrossFit shoes” and you’ll find all kinds of things but your more notable ones include:  Nike MetCons, Reebok Nanos, and NoBull.


I’m more partial to the Nano and NoBull, myself…

Some of the Time

Sometimes you will ONLY perform Olympic Weightlifting movements (snatch, clean & jerk, and squats).  In these instances, you’ll want something with a little bit of heel lift, something with has a very stiff sole, and doesn’t need to be required to climb a rope.

  • A bit of a heel lift will allow you to stay more upright when you squat
    • This is important when you have heavy weight over your head and in one of these lifts
  • A very stiff sole will provide you with a much, much, much, much (did I say much?) more stable platform to lift from
    • I know the shoes you bought are supposed to be supportive and you can “do anything” in them.  But take a look at how the shoe roles on itself when the sole squishes on one side or the other?
    • Do you really want to trust this lack of stability as your base when you’re lifting heavy?

Common weightlifting shoes include:  Nike Romaleos, ADIDAS Adipowers, Reebok Legacy Lifters, NoBull has theirs as well.


Again, if you want my opinion, I’m partial to the company Position USA.  Can anyone say Blue Suede Shoes?

Even Less of the Time

You might be asking yourself, “what about if we do something which has lots of running in it?”

Well, without getting too detailed (and in my case, opinionated) on what types of shoes you need to be running in know two things:

  1. You can run in your standard CrossFit shoe.  You could even run long distances in your CrossFit shoe.  I use mine to run 3 or 4 miles at a time without issue, for example
  2. If, and I emphasize if, you are currently running in something resembling the shoe box more than the shoe, don’t make the switch to something else quickly
    • Apply the 10% rule
      • If you are running a mile (approximately 1600 meters), run ONLY 160 meters in your new shoes
      • Do this for a period of time (a week or two) before you work your way up from there
    • This is a general rule of thumb.  You NEED to listen to what your feet, shins, knees, hips, back, and everything are telling you when you’re switching and at what pace


You do not need to buy yourself 3 pairs of shoes to be successful in CrossFit.  You need a good attitude, a supportive community, and a readiness to take responsibility for yourself to be successful in CrossFit.

But… you can buy yourself some more shoes.

You don’t have to.

You can.

But if you need an excuse to buy more shoes, hopefully I’ve given you some rationale to do so!

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