Wearing The Best Shoes For CrossFit

For the first 6 months or so, I never wore CrossFit shoes. I had running/athletic shoes and lifters. I figured regular athletic shoes were about as good as the best shoes for CrossFit.

Plus, I didn’t want to spend the money. I was already paying a membership to my box. I had already bought Olympic lifting shoes, and was spending money on supplements and vitamins. CrossFit was expensive! (If only I knew how expensive owning one was, I would have never complained about a few hundred dollars).

I wore my lifters for basically everything except running. Box jumps, DU, T2B, burpees, everything. I remember that I only got Reebok Nanos because they were on sale and I finally thought, ‘Well let’s give them a shot. If they don’t work I only lost $60.’

Wearing them for the first WOD was awesome. They made a huge difference. I could jump higher, do more T2B, and string together more DU. They were my personal P.F. Flyers, okay, they didn’t directly make me run faster or jump higher. But, in a way, they did. 

Shoes for CrossFit are very different than regular athletic shoes and even more different than lifters. They allow your feet to move and breathe differently than other shoes. They offer a stiffer, flatter sole, so you are not standing on what feels like a pillow.

Having the proper shoe for the job can make all the difference. While the gear you wear may not make you better, it can allow you to work for longer. Maybe it weighs a pound less, but a pound compiled over 50 box jumps is an extra 50 lbs your body has to move.

Just like you wouldn’t wear basketball shoes to play golf, or ballet slippers to go hiking, your footwear can make a big difference during the WOD. 

Selecting the right shoe for CrossFit can be a challenge for a new athlete. If you need some help and guidance, check out our article What Shoes To Wear For CrossFit?


CrossFit Myth: Chalk In The Gym

Chalk has been used in sports for ages. Crossfitters took chalk in the gym from a useful tool and made it a fashion. Not kidding, chalk is overused to the extreme in the CrossFit world.

Like with most things in CrossFit, it got pushed to the limits. If one rep is good, 100 is better. If a little chalk is good, a lot is better! Right?  Well maybe not…

Why even use chalk in the gym?

Now, I am sure someone with a degree in some ultra-science major will know much more about what chalk does. The ridges of our fingerprints create friction when we try to hold onto something. The chalk particles create a bond between the skin and an object, blah blah blah. 

Here’s the CrossFit answer. Chalk helps remove moisture from the skin. In most cases, the hands. 

If you have ever tried to hold onto something with sweaty hands, you probably noticed that it’s more difficult than with dry hands. Chalk dries the skin, so as long as you have the grip strength you can theoretically hold onto whatever is in your hands.

Chalk also helps to increase friction. This is partially due to drying the skin but also because the small little particles give you more surface area and angles to “grab”. 

Why more chalk in the gym isn’t necessarily better

One thing I see quite a bit, especially in the summer or when people are very sweaty, is people LOAD up on the chalk in the gym thinking it will help. Inevitably, they rip their hands and then are surprised. 

They believe that since they used every ounce of chalk in the bucket that their hands should somehow be able to repel not only rips and blisters, but flames, needles, and knife wounds.

Here is what actually happens. The sweat mixed with the chalk creates a nice paste that holds the moisture against the skin. A little moisture is okay and can sometimes help. But, once you add too much and then throw in the friction of swinging on a bar for lots of reps, then your skin will eventually rip. 

How to avoid ripping

Here are a few ways you can avoid ripping your hands:

  • Dry your hands before using chalk in the gym.
  • Use the right amount. Don’t go for AMCAP (as much chalk as possible).
  • Give it time. Most people who are new to CrossFit have soft hands. Over time, you will build up calluses, scar tissue and general toughness.   
  • Try healing balms. Bagbalm, Ripfix, Badger Balm…there are lots different healing balms out there that help heal rips faster than just letting them heal on their own.
  • Let your rips heal. If you rip your palms, give it a day or two to close up. Otherwise it will never heal and you will get blood on all the things.

Health and safety

If you do rip, clean everything you touched! No one wants to grab your nastiness. Ripping isn’t a big deal, it happens. Leaving your blood on stuff is a big deal!


Do I Need a Weighted Vest For CrossFit?

Training with a weighted vest, or additional weight added to your body, is not a new concept. Strongmen, CrossFitters, first responders and military, are some of the many groups who use gear to help them create a more difficult training environment. This helps them to perform better in real-life scenarios. A weighted vest, for CrossFit or any activity, is the most well-known and widely used piece of gear for this purpose.

In recent years, a weighted vest has evolved to be more tactically inspired. This helps them appeal to various groups, but also helps them become more functional and utilitarian.  

These days, a weighted vest usually has pockets for body armor shaped plates, and is typically called a fitness plate carrier. There are tons out there and there are plenty of reviews on them. But, many people still have questions about them. Let’s touch on some of the most common questions.

Are there any benefits to using a weighted vest for CrossFit?

Research is pretty mixed on this. There are many variables, and the simple answer is that it depends. From my own experience, there are times it is beneficial to wear one and there are times it isn’t. 

If you are not used to the additional weight, it can actually slow you down because you are having to rest more. Therefore, you have trouble keeping high intensity throughout your workout.

Some benefits are they can increase your VO2 (how much oxygen your body can actually use while working out). The added resistance can help increase speed and your time to exhaustion.

When should I use a weighted vest?

First and foremost, focus on performing a movement correctly without any additional weight. If you can do high reps of a movement without loss of form, then you might consider a weighted vest.

There are also certain movements where a weighted vest isn’t necessary, doesn’t do much for you or can actually be harmful. For instance, doing bicep curls with a weighted vest probably won’t do much for you. Exercises such as sit ups or hollow rocks with a weighted vest on can do damage to your back and spine, so should be avoided.

You also don’t need to wear one every single day and for every single workout. Give your body a rest. Plus, variety is part of the CrossFit methodology. Follow it.

What weight should I use?

Well, that depends! A weighted vest for CrossFit is usually 14lbs for females and 20lbs for males. However, if you are not accustomed to a weighted vest or physically exerting yourself in heavy gear then you might want to start with a lower weight. 

The nice thing about a plate carrier vest is that you can adjust weight simply by switching to heavier or lighter plate(s).

How do I know it’s the right size?

Weighted vests typically don’t have sizes because all of the plates are made to be a standard size. They are more like a one size fits most thing, but they are usually adjustable. The problem with having the standard plate size is that for smaller framed individuals the vest can feel way too big. Sometimes, it may not be able to adjust down to small enough.

But, for those the adjustments do fit, you want the vest snug, but not tight. A weighted vest that is loose will allow you to breathe a little better but depending on your movements, it can make you feel like you’re taking a beating. A vest that is super tight will be more like a part of you and therefore more comfortable, but it will not allow you to breathe as deep because it will constrict you.

What should I be careful of when wearing a weighted vest for CrossFit?

In my opinion, the biggest thing to be careful of is the impact it can have on your body. Your body is a very fine tuned machine. It is used to moving you (and your exact weight) through space.  hrowing a vest on is instantly more weight with no time to adjust. 

This is where proper movement and form come in. If you don’t maintain these you open yourself up for injury. The chance of injury increases with the more weight you add.

Another thing I learned early on is that if you are doing anything involving a violent hip extension (i.e box jumps, push press, thrusters, etc) then there is a good chance that the vest will upper cut you. You are moving in one direction, the vest is moving another, next thing you know there is a shooting pain across your lower jaw. If you are lucky, you had your mouth closed and your teeth gritted. 

Do I really need to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on a weighted vest?

There are some very expensive weighted vests out there. By the time you add in the plates and shipping it can get very pricey. I have worn some expensive carriers and yes, they are definitely comfortable and nice. But I have also had a $50 carrier for years and it has done just fine.  

The nice thing about the more expensive tactical ones is they usually allow for more and easier adjustment. If that is not a big issue for you, then save your money and go with the less expensive choice. When it comes to workout gear, more expensive often doesn’t mean better.

What to look for in a weighted vest?

There are tactical plate carriers, and there are plate carriers that are more designed for athletic functions. You can use a full on tactical carrier for your plates, but typically they have a cummerbund that is very wide to accommodate MOLLE and/or side plates. 

Having a cummerbund that goes from hip bone to rib cage and is made out of thick material is going to make you very hot, very fast. So, look for one that has low side attachments, or at least allows air to get to your skin easier.

Also, pay attention to rub points. The vest obviously has to rest on you and touch your skin, unless you always wear a shirt under it. Vests are made from thick, heavy, course materials and have lots of velcro, plastic or metal bits. Point is, anywhere that touches and rubs your skin will get rubbed raw after even a few reps. If you wear a vest regularly this is just normal, but most people don’t and so they never even consider this. But now you know!

Have questions about a vest?  Let us know, we would love to help.


What Shoes To Wear For CrossFit?

So, you’ve just signed up for CrossFit, and when you were at the box you noticed a lot of people wearing a certain style or brand of shoe that looked nothing like the shoes you had on. And you start thinking: what are the best shoes to wear for CrossFit? Do I need special shoes?The short answer is a big fat no. You don’t NEED CrossFit shoes, sometimes labeled as training shoes.  

But they will definitely help you. First, some history.

In the beginning

Believe it or not when CrossFit started, there was no specific CrossFit equipment, let alone shoes.  Everyone simply wore what they had. Regular athletic/running shoes, barefoot shoes, and Converse were all popular choices. They each had things they did well, and they each had their own Achilles heel (hahahaha). 

However, this all changed when CrossFit and Reebok entered into a partnership in 2010. The partnership basically made it so that Reebok was the only licensed company to use the CrossFit brand on their apparel and shoes. 

In 2011 the very first CrossFit shoe came out (Nano), it was designed to be similar to a CrossFit athlete: generally good at everything. This was huge. You could do box jumps and double-unders in them, then use them for weightlifting, and to finish, take off on a mile run. All that, and without having to change shoes or having to sacrifice comfort.

By today’s standards that doesn’t sound like much, but for a while most “athletic shoes” were sport specific. Or, they were focused on looking athletic, but couldn’t actually handle simple fitness requirements.

10 Years Later

The sport of fitness, and popularity of a truly functional shoe has grown over the last 10 years.  Other companies have decided to cash in on this popularity and have designed “fitness” or “training” shoes.  Some are just as popular if not more so than the Reebok designed Nano.  

The partnership of Reebok and CrossFit is in its last year, and it will be interesting to see how both companies handle this break up.  

Okay cool, but what are the best shoes to wear for CrossFit?

If you are just starting CrossFit, then you don’t need to go out and buy new shoes, just wear what you have. Most people have a pair of athletic shoes lying around. They will work just fine while you are learning the basics.

Special shoes to wear for CrossFit can be expensive, so you might get lucky and meet someone at your new box who has bought a slightly used pair, didn’t like them and now wants to sell them.  You might be able to pick up a newer pair for cheap.

It’s also good to talk to coaches and members to see what they recommend for footwear.  Trust me, CrossFit people LOVE shoes and you will make their day asking for their thoughts and advice.  If anything, you’ll have to make an excuse just to get away from them talking. 

Shoes: some good, some bad, some ugly

There are plenty of people who have done comparisons and reviews for each and every CrossFit style shoe out there. With research, you can find more than you ever knew was possible on this topic.

But if you don’t want to spend the time using Google, hopefully this will make it easier. This is not by any means all the ‘fitness’ shoes out there but it does cover the most popular.

 Reebok Nano:


These are the originals. They’ve been in the game the longest, and in my opinion it shows.  I think they are the most comfortable. Reebok has refined the shoe well, and they continue to make overall improvements.


They are known for having some bad generations.  There is a reason Reebok has the best CrossFit shoe, and that is because they have made some major mistakes in the past. But, for the most part, I think that ended with the 7th generation.


I think all Nanos are pretty slick looking.  The design of the 8s are my personal favorites. The newest generation, the X’s, have a pretty cool look.

Nike Metcon:


When these came out they were an instant hit and have grown in typical Nike fashion.  I had a few pairs and one thing I loved was the hardened heel for handstand push ups.  They also brought a new design to the game and made it to where there was variety inside CrossFit boxes.


The few pairs I had had a major issue; with every step they would squeak and squawk. It sounded like you were walking on a freshly waxed linoleum floor being followed by a gaggle of geese. Plus, the sides of the soles would always crack.


Design peaked years ago.  The newest ones look bulky and heavy. I have a wide foot and the toe box on Metcons have just never felt right.

Nobull Trainer:


If your focus is on lifting, these will probably be good for you. The firm flat sole is nice and the snug fit ensures your foot won’t move too much. Nobull probably has the most color options of any fitness shoe. They seem to make a new color scheme for their shoe’s every week.


Okay, here we go…I don’t like Nobull. They are expensive for what they are and rarely (if ever) put their shoes on sale. They have had the same basic shoe since 2017 and just throw new colors on it without actually making any improvements. 

They started with this whole ‘David taking on Goliath’ mantra which was cool, but that quickly faded when they sponsored some of the biggest names in CrossFit. Personal opinion aside, I had one pair, and they didn’t last 6 months before the sole came apart.


Despite my dislike for certain aspects of the company, I actually love the look of the shoe and all the colors. They make awesome colors, the design is simple and you can get as subtle or as wild as you like with all the themes they offer. 

If you do find something you like, you better get it quick! They are notorious for selling out of sizes/styles and then not restocking for a long time, or only offering one run of something on a certain day of the year (Black Friday, New Years, etc.) 

Wow David, your knowledge and insight of CrossFit shoes is SO impressive!

Thank you. Hopefully this helps you on your journey to picking shoes to wear for CrossFit. Be warned: it is unlikely you will only have one pair.  Everyone knows a good CrossFitter will have lots of CrossFit shoes.