When I started CrossFit four years ago, I simply wore my regular gym shoes which were running shoes from Saucony (“Sock-a-knee” for those that wonder about the pronunciation of the brand). Once I began lifting a barbell it became obvious that my running shoes were the wrong type of shoes to wear while lifting. Running shoes are made for forward motion with quite a bit of padding in the heel. So when weight lifting, running shoes are too spongy and don’t offer the stability of a flat shoe. After practically being on my toes for a deadlift, I thought it was time to find a good pair of CrossFit shoes.
Of course, I went straight to Nike as they have (in my opinion) the cutest gym shoes for women. I mean, come on, how cute are the Metcon 5 AMP training shoes with the while canvas and confetti print on the heel? Cute! Am I right? But alas, I have weird long feet and a size 9 in Nike is too short for me and vanity prevents me from sizing up to a 9.5.
Next up: Reebok
I originally purchased the Reebok Grace, a relatively pretty shoe in a size 8.5 as the size 9 felt too large. The 8.5 size felt ok on, but my toes hit the edge of the shoes during a workout and I knew the shoes were not going to work. I sold my Grace shoes to a CrossFit gym member for ultra-cheap.
My next purchase was the Reebok Crossfit Nano 8 Flexweave. I learned that I better get that size 9, which I did. When I first received these shoes and put them on – it wasn’t love at first sight. My goodness, these shoes are ugly. However, they are good Crossfit shoes. The flexweave allows for breathability as well as flexibility and the low cut design allows for mobility when moving through various WOD components. These shoes also have a solid grip on the gym floor. However, these shoes failed me in the running department. Every four rounds of a 400-meter run left me with shin splints. These shoes have absolutely no shock-absorbing material in them whatsoever. So when my gym WOD’s required running, I went back to my running shoes.
Then came the Reebok Nano 9 Training shoes which boasted “added midsole cushioning” and “designed to absorb impact during short runs”. Ok! That’s my shoe! I purchased the Nano 9’s and … um, what cushioning? Where was this cushioning? Sorry, no these shoes are not any better during a run than the Nano 8’s.
The Nano 9’s have a similar breathable flexweave and a new outsole for improved heel-to-toe movement, much like a running shoe. These shoes also have a thin toe cap to help ease the pain of smacking your toes against the bar on toe-to-bar raises. They also added a rubber overlay from the midfoot to heel to provide structural support and added durability.
Now, what’s a gal to do when her Nano’s cause shin splints during those short runs?
Get –> athletic inserts.
The cushioned footbed in these shoes (as in most shoes) is removable and I replaced it with the Sof Sole Athlete Neutral Arch Comfort Insole found on Amazon. I purchased two pairs for both my Nano’s and I’m happy to report that running with these insoles resulted in no shin splints. I will say that you have to be aware that a slightly thicker insole will ‘take up space’ in your shoes so you may need thinner socks and you will need to loosen your laces, insert your foot and re-tighten. Regarding size for the Nano 9’s, I did order both an 8.5 and 9 size shoes and while I thought the 8.5 would have been a slightly better fit, I knew that if I wanted inserts that I would be better off getting a size 9 and I was right.
In closing, I would recommend the Reebok Nano’s as a solid shoe for CrossFit workouts. However, I am still on the hunt for better (if not prettier) shoes, so I will probably revisit the Metcon’s and I will definitely be looking at Inov-8 and NOBULL shoe brands.
Well, my friends, that’s it for me, let me know in the comments below your favorite Crossfit shoes.