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Picking the right CrossFit shoe in 2014

By December 22, 20132 Comments

Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions! For many it will be a time to explore new fitness endeavors such as CrossFit,  Olympic Lifting, or Strength Training.  For those already participating in CrossFit, it will be a chance to improve beyond their current level of performance. The New Year can sometimes be filled with many obstacles, so I have complied a list of shoes that will help CrossFitters achieve more PR’s than ever before.  The accessory that is most important to the development of a CrossFitter is his or her shoes. So treat yourself this year to a new pair of shoes that you only wear for working out. There are many options available when deciding upon the right shoe for you.

reebok_nanosReebok, for starters, offers the most popular styles for CrossFitters around the globe.  There are two popular varieties of shoes for CrossFitters:  the Nano’s (1, 2, and 3) and the Nano Speeds. The Nano’s are made for the everyday CrossFitter and are a very good shoe to buy as your first CrossFit shoe. They are generally pretty durable and will last the 5 day per week Crossfitter between 8-10 months.  Whereas, the Nano Speeds are geared more toward the CrossFit Endurance athlete. Personally, I have yet to buy a pair of the Nano Speeds, but by what I have heard from those who own them, and from reviews I have read, they suit their purpose well as an endurance shoe.  You can pick up a pair of Nano’s for around $99-$150.00 per pair.  You can customize them for color, design, shoe laces, etc.  The customized ones must be ordered online, but the regular colors can also be found locally in stores like Dicks Sporting Goods.  If you are considering a pair, we recommend you go to a local store and try them on.  See how they feel and look for sales and discounts.

komodo sportAnother option, though apparently losing some foothold (no pun intended) with CrossFitters, is the Vibram Five Fingers.  These are what Matthew Becker (CrimLaw) wears exclusively.  Have you ever seen him wearing a regular pair of workout shoes?  Weird!  Vibram Five Fingers are the leader in the minimalist revolution and provide the most natural ground feel and movement for your feet.  These are a great option for the minimalist athlete looking for a more natural feel from his or her training surface. Vibram offers many different styles for many different outdoor activities.   One issue is that some of the styles are not built to stand up to the demands of CrossFit.  In my time knowing CrimLaw, I have seen him go through 2 or 3 pairs.  He tells me that, in his experience, the KMD Sport (pictured here) style lasts the longest.  Some of the styles last about 4-5 months of vigorous training.  CrimLaw usually gets about 10-12 months from his KMD Sports.  Vibram Five Fingers also come designed for specific sports, like running, water sports, and hiking.  So if interested search through each of them to find out which best suits your training needs.  Again, they will run you between $100.00 and $120.00.  REI and other stores often have sales.  The sizing can be difficult, so find a local store to try them on in person.  Locally, you can find them at REI, Littles Shoes, and Elite Runners (used to anyway).

inov8 ShoesFinally, rounding out our list of popular CrossFit shoes are Inov8’s.  Again, I have never owned or even tried on a pair, so they are my third choice amongst the list of shoes that have been previously mentioned.  Inov8’s became popular before Reebok release a CrossFit shoe.  Before Reebok, almost everyone wore Inov8’s.  The soles of the shoes range in thickness, but are considered some of the best shoes for minimalist training.  Inov8 has also designed multiple shoes for CrossFit, some designed for extra support through rope climbs or as an all purpose shoe with olympic lifting.  However, after reading a lot reviews and talking to others, Inov8’s have a short training lifespan when speaking of their durability.  Even with that being said, I have seen them worn by many CrossFitters, so I would consider them a decent shoe.  Once again, these will range about $100.00.  I don’t really know anywhere local to buy them.  But, because of their past popularity, you can find great deals online.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  There are other companies out there who make great shoes for CrossFit.  But, these are the 3 brands we see the most amongst our community.  You want to find a show that has a minimalist zero drop sole.  It needs to be sturdy, light weight, and designed for multiple sports.  No matter what shoe you decide upon realize that each person is different and each one of us has different needs when it comes to training. Don’t buy a shoe just because you think they look cool. When CrossFitting, you should be striving for function and not fashion.

— Tony (ToneWod) Didomenico

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • JPCaldwell says:

    I have owned all 3 shoes, and my personal choice will have to be the Inov8’s. I have slightly more narrow feet than most, so these fit me perfectly. The Nano’s are a great, all around shoe, but they run pretty wide, which I don’t care for all that much. With that said, they do have a nice, more “flat” base than the Inov8’s, so they are definitely better suited for a lot of the weighted movements we do, ie, Overhead squats, deadlifts, etc. Especially if you don’t want to shell out the money for a pair of Oly shoes. Something that i’ve been putting off for awhile.

    The Vibrams are just weird. I don’t know how Crim still has two functioning Achilles’ tendons. They’re fun to walk around in, and have great ground feel to them, but for me, that’s about where the allure ends.

    I’m in agreement with Tony, these 3 are probably the best Crossfit shoes that are being mass-produced right now. Also, let’s not forget that you can customize you’re Nano’s to say interesting things, like “Butthole”.

  • dggrant says:

    Being a newbie, I know that you guys know a lot more about shoes than me. That said, my son who is an experienced crossfitter recommended the New Balance Minimus shoes with the vibram soles. Like Crim’s but just not individual toes. I have noticed a lot of these around at various boxes. Like Reebox they do lines for all sports. The reason I mention them is that there is a guy on Ebay called “Ask David” who regularly knocks these out for $50. Just saying.
    How sad is it that I’m reading crossfit websites on Christmas ;-(
    Have a Merry