Whether you're into CrossFit, running, or both, there are shoes for safe and effective workouts. Discover the best shoes for Crossfit and Running.
I’m one of those unique people who’s into both CrossFit and running. Not many of us out there.
In fact, most of the people I know at my CrossFit box are only into CrossFit. They couldn't care less about running.
The same goes for my runner friends. All they want to do is hit the trails, and they're not at all interested in CrossFit workouts (though, I should note that they do cross train in other ways).
I decided to write this article, however, because I'm sure there are more people like me out there — people who love CrossFit and love running, and they want to know how these two types of shoes differ and which shoes to have for each sport.
So, here we go: the best shoes for CrossFit and running — but first, a note on the key differences between these two types of shoes.
What’s the Difference Between the Best Shoes for CrossFit and Running?
It’s obvious that not all athletic shoes are built the same. If you’re a golfer, you need special shoes. If you like playing tennis, you'll want different shoes.
Those who run sprints, lift weights, or play soccer or basketball all need different shoes too.
And this isn't some sort of grift to sell more kicks.
If you have the wrong shoes for your sport, you can get seriously injured. You also might damage the playing/workout surface you’re on, possibly preventing others from taking advantage of the space and being safe on it after you leave.
When it comes to CrossFit and running, what you're really looking at is the difference between cross-trainer shoes (for CrossFit) and running shoes (for running, of course).
Cross-trainers are designed to allow you to do all different types of movements and achieve all different types of positions with maximum stability. We all know that CrossFit requires stability and steady with lateral movements, especially. Think high intensity interval training sequences.
Running, conversely, usually only involves moving in a straight line forward. Quick lateral movements aren't as important unless you plan on doing a lot of trail running among rocks, roots, and other obstacles (or races like “Tough Mudders,” which I don’t tend to recommend).
Because of this, running shoes pretty much only need to absorb shock as well as possible, so they naturally have a lot of cushioning — especially in the heel. They should also be relatively light so they don’t weigh you down and hold you back on long endurance runs. Cross- training shoes are heavier than running shoes as a rule.
These will be the main differences you'll see between cross-trainer shoes and running shoes. Now let's get to the best shoes I recommend for each sport.
Best Shoes for CrossFit
These shoes feature a synthetic and mesh upper with the rubber soul. They’re one of the tried-and-true CrossFit shoes that I commonly see in the box.
One of the reasons a lot of people like them is their wide toe box. This gives you a lot of stability for weight-lifting, and as your feet swell, your feet don’t feel constricted.
Truth be told, one of the other reasons I like these shoes is that they’re stylish.
This is Nike’s premier line of “metabolic conditioning” shoes, and you’ll find a ton of variations here. The main selling point is that they’re all-purpose for various types of cross-training, and that includes CrossFit.
People tend to really like these shoes, and I see them a lot. I tried them on at my most recent trip to the shoe store, and I was pretty blown away with them too, but I opted for another pair in the end. These will probably be my next purchase.
For weightlifting, you’re going to have better stability with these shoes, which of course gives you added strength. At the same time, if you do end up doing any running within your CrossFit workouts, you should be pretty comfortable with the adequate cushioning. At the same time, I recommend these shoes most for sprints and quick movements (interval training).
Best Shoes for Running
If you're looking for the best in footwear for running, look no further than Saucony. I especially like the Saucony Endorphin Pro. These shoes propel you forward with their special SPEEDROLL technology and feature extra cushioning near the heel and insole for maximum bounce.
Put them on in the store, and you'll immediately feel extra springy on your feet — it’s pretty amazing. Keep in mind that these shoes tend to be a little on the pricier side, so look for sales and promotions.
Basically, make sure you are committed to running as a sport before purchasing something expensive. I even recommend to some friends who are just starting out running to get some lightly used Sauconys as their first running shoes.
If you love feeling like your shoes are hugging your feet, these are for you. I notice that women especially like these runners (while men tend to go with Sauconys more often).
Allbirds uses all-natural, renewable materials for their shoes, so they’re earth-friendly. The Allbirds Tree Dashers are produced with a super cushiony sugarcane midsole, which hugs your feet and never seems to run out of steam.
What I especially like about these shoes is that they never seem to smell too bad. And if you do notice an odor, you can toss them in the washer, and they’ll come out like new. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which can be found on the Allbirds website.
The Final Word on the Best Shoes for CrossFit and Running
When it comes to footwear, many people (especially those who are new to sports like CrossFit and running) don't think twice about the athletic shoes they wear. They simply grab something with laces from their closet and assume that’ll be good enough for their activity.
Personally, I urge against this rather careless approach. It’s really important to do your research on the best footwear for the sports you are participating in. Otherwise, you risk poor performance, pain, discomfort, and even injury — not to mention damage to workout surfaces.
The good news is, there are tons of great shoes out there, and you definitely don't have to purchase the most expensive pair to do well and stay safe in your sport. Find a few pairs that you think you’d be happy with, look for sales and promotions, and ultimately go with the most affordable option within that selection.
Good luck, and happy running and CrossFit training!