The sport of Crossfit has come a long way since setting down roots in 2000. While you might not be looking at competing in the next Crossfit Games (or maybe you might), you could be surprised to find that the shoes you bought for your favorite WOD can also be great for regular weightlifting sessions.
Have you been completing CrossFit WODs and want to venture more into weightlifting? If so, a question you might have is “Are CrossFit shoes good for lifting?”.
Let’s break down the characteristics of a CrossFit shoe, the difference between CrossFit and weightlifting shoes, what you should look for when choosing shoes for lifting, some of our favorite picks for lifting, as well as if you even need CrossFit shoes for your lifting routines.
Characteristics of a CrossFit Shoe
First things first, what even is a CrossFit shoe? CrossFit shoes are designed to allow you to move in a variety of ways. If you have ever participated in a WOD (Workout of the Day) before you know that you can go from sprints to hang cleans to burpees to box jumps all within one 20-minute training session. This type of training requires a shoe that can move with you comfortably as you transition from each movement to the next.
The most common characteristics of a CrossFit shoe include
- Firm, rubber outsoles (This keeps you from slipping around in your own sweat!)
- Ankle Support (because nobody wants a rolled or twisted ankle)
- Medium to high-density foam midsoles (you need something that bounces in your jumping movements, yet provides stability in your lifts)
- A lower shoe drop (the level you need will depend on your feet, body, and needs)
What is the Difference Between CrossFit and Weightlifting Shoes?
Now that know how a CrossFit shoe is built and designed, let’s look at how they are different from a traditional weightlifting shoe.
CrossFit shoes are a great option to have on hand to complete daily WODs as well as other exercise activities. Most are designed to work with your body through a variety of different movements making them a versatile option to have in your workout wardrobe.
One of the main downfalls of CrossFit shoes is that they are not designed to hold up to long-distance running. Most of them have flat, rigid soles to give your body stability in lifting and jumping movements, but they don’t have a high amount of cushioning like a traditional cross-trainer would.
Specifically designed weightlifting shoes are made to help increase your mobility and give you the ability to lift more weight with a lower risk of injury. They are a great option to have if you do a lot of weightlifting training if you have any issues with mobility, or if you are wanting to lift large amounts of weight in your daily or weekly training sessions.
These shoes are made only for weightlifting, so they won’t do you any good for other types of workouts or daily activities. They have come a long way in their style and available options, but definitely have a different look with their higher heel and belted top.
How to Choose Shoes for Lifting
When it comes to choosing shoes for lifting there are a couple of main things that you need to consider. It’s also important to keep in mind that while reviews from friends are great, each person’s feet are different, so what works for them might not work the same for you and vice versa.
Are you looking at lifting weights multiple days a week? Are you trying to set PRs by lifting a lot of weight at each training session? Are you looking at weightlifting in a competitive setting? If these are your goals, you will probably want to invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes.
If those aren’t your goals and you are looking for a shoe that will work for lifting, but that isn’t going to be your main type of training, then it might be better to look into a CrossFit style of shoe. This will give you stability in your weight training but also allows you to complete other exercise movements as well.
Outside of your training program, you also need to take into consideration your body. Each human body is different and requires different things from a shoe in order to feel supported in lifting. Are you flat-footed? Do you need extra arch support? Do you have pronation in your feet and need a shoe that can help counter that? Are your feet extremely wide or extremely narrow?
When researching shoes it’s very easy to find information on what shoes the majority of people recommend for different types of training. If you have the opportunity, it is great to go into an actual shoe store that will help fit the shoe to your foot and you can feel them on your feet. (even better if you can find a store that has someone trained in helping you find the proper size and fit) Some stores and companies will even offer a trial option for so many days to give you a better idea if a shoe will work for you or not.
Thankfully there are many different brands and styles available for you to try when it comes to a Crossfit shoe. With this variety, you are bound to find something that can work with and for you so that you can meet all of your upcoming training goals!
The NOBULL brand and the CrossFit community have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. While they have several different shoes designed to work with athletes in their training the one that seems to come up the most in regards to being the most versatile to also include lifting is the NOBULL Trainer+.
Receiving rave reviews for stability, durability, and comfort you can feel confident in how this shoe is built. It also comes in colors as bright or neutral as one could dream of. Another big pro of this style is that it goes up to a unisex size 16. For anyone who has had trouble finding shoes in their size, you shouldn’t have any issues here!
When it comes to different types of training you know that Nike is going to bring something impressive to the game. The Nike Metcon 8 has been improved on with each new series taking in feedback directly from the customers, as well as Nike’s own research. The Metcon offers stability for lifts but also seemed to be the go-to option for those who like to throw in a little more running with their CrossFit training.
As you can imagine style is also a top priority from one of the flashiest brands on the market. You can either choose from one of the many stock color options (which are all meticulously put together), or you can make these a one-of-a-kind shoe by customizing your own. No matter which color option you choose, you know the shoe is backed by a lot of research and thought.
While Reebok isn’t still affiliated directly with CrossFit, they do have a wide selection of one of their most popular styles designed for that type of training. The Reebok Nano has several different branches of styles including the X3, 2.0, Classic, and more. You can choose a style that works the best for the type of training you plan on doing the most.
The X3 has been designed to work well for lifting as well as any running you want to add in with its Lift and Run Chassis system. The Classic is made with a mixture of leather, suede, and mesh which gives a little more stability with a vintage Reebok look.
While not as wide-known of a brand as some of the other styles on this list, the Inov8 training shoes have proven that they belong in the talks as some of the best options for CrossFit training. The Inov-8 F-Lite 260 V2 provides each athlete with a wide, stable base for lifting along with a breathable mesh upper for other intense moments in your training sessions. It might not be as flashy as some of the other styles, but it is dependable, durable, and has received some great reviews from those who have worn it.
Founded in 2003 the Inov8 brand continues to work with athletes to build shoes that can hold up to a variety of different types of training. They pay attention to the details and add important pieces like a reinforced toe cap and a midsole that molds to your feet to ensure that you get the most out of each training session.
One of the only CrossFit training shoes to offer more than just a standard width, the New Balance Minimus is a great option if you have wide feet. They are designed to give you stability, durability, and just the right amount of cushioning all in one. There are no sewing overlays so you don’t have to worry about seams inside the shoe rubbing on your toes or heel making training uncomfortable.
If you aren’t a fan of wearing socks while training this shoe can also solve that problem! With a premium liner installed inside the shoe, you can let your toes breathe without being trapped inside a sock. This also can help your feet land more naturally making lifts and other movements more fluid.
Do You Need CrossFit Shoes for Lifting?
When researching lifting you have probably come across some articles that recommend or encourage you to not even wear shoes. While lifting barefoot does offer some pros as it helps your body work in a more natural manner which gives you a lot of stability, it can also open you up to some cons. Injury is one of the top problems with lifting barefoot. While many training shoes have mesh uppers, that still offers more protection to your toes than nothing at all.
You also have to factor in the amount of sweat that comes out of your body when lifting and if you don’t have a shoe on with good traction on the bottom, you could end up slipping and causing injury to yourself or others.
You don’t necessarily need CrossFit shoes for lifting, as there are other options such as actual weightlifting shoes, or flat styles such as Vans or Converse you can choose from.
CrossFit shoes however offer a great option to increase the range of exercises you can complete without having to switch shoes on and off. Their versatility in design opens up a range of possibilities to strengthen your body while keeping your feed supported and comfortable.
Conclusion/Wrap-Up: Are CrossFit Shoes Good for Lifting?
Shoe shopping can definitely feel like an overwhelming decision when you type something as broad as “CrossFit shoes” into your Google search bar. While there will be many styles out there that are flashy, stylish, and even in your favorite color, that won’t necessarily make them the best option for your next training session.
The good thing is that with all of these options and styles, you are bound to find one that works for you and your training. Whether you are needing a wide style, a style that will work well for running and lifting, or one that can help you reach your next PR, there are options available.
Once you have completed some research on Crossfit shoes, the next best step is to find a store that you can go in and try some on to see how they feel on your feet. If you can’t make it into a store be sure and check out the site’s return policies in case you get one that just doesn’t work for your feet.
Jay is not just a writer; he’s a seasoned strength enthusiast with two decades of dedicated training under his belt. Whether he’s crafting engaging articles, reviewing cutting-edge equipment, or sharing his personal fitness anecdotes, Jay’s writing resonates with a diverse audience, from seasoned gym enthusiasts to beginners eager to embark on their own transformative fitness paths.