Best Cross Training Shoes For Agility, CrossFit, And More

Jump high, lift heavy, and sharpen your agility with a new pair of cross training shoes.

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Over the last decade, functional fitness and cross-training style workouts have exploded in popularity as the benefits of hybrid training have become more apparent. Cross training can include multiple exercises all in one bout, such as squats, cleans, deadlifts, box jumps, rope climbs, and much more. These workouts can vary dramatically, so wearing shoes that can keep up with the multitude of movements is a must. 

A variety of cross-training shoes have appeared in response to booming demand from athletes and enthusiasts alike. Every year, big brands produce new and improved cross-training shoes, increasing their tech to match the high demands of these high intensity workouts. More variety is great news for those in need of new cross-trainers, but it can also be overwhelming to decide which cross training shoe is the best for you, so we’ve sifted through them all to help guide you to your final decision.

Best Cross Training  Shoes

Best Cross Trainers Video Review

Get a first hand look at our list of the best cross training shoes with our in-depth video review, including sizing, materials, and our favorite construction features. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Men

If you’re doing regular weight training, by now you will be well aware of the value of a strong and stable foot. One potential complication is that these measures are a bit subjective, meaning no two athletes want the exact same amount in the exact same places. Some athletes might want a lighter, more flexible shoe, while others prefer a heavier, more grounded feel. HYLETE’s Circuit II trainer addresses that by offering three different, interchangeable insoles, so athletes can customize their feel around an already supportive base.

HYLETE Circuit 2

HYLETE’s shoe comes with three interchangeable insoles: 0mm drop, 4mm drop, and 6mm drop. As an example, the 0mm drop insole is close to a “barefoot” feel, and a lightweight Vibram® outsole gives the shoe a remarkable amount of traction. They’ve also redesigned the shoe’s heel for more stability than the first Circuit model. The non-tapered toe box lets you “grip” the ground with the full foot more effectively, spreading force transfer and creating a more stable feel across a variety of movements. 

Hylete Circuit 2
Hylete Circuit 2
Hylete Circuit 2

Hylete's Circuit II has more durability in the heel and a full mesh upper for great breathability. It comes with three interchangeable insoles so users can easily change the effective heel-to-toe drop. The toe box is non-tapered, which helps ensure a more natural feel as you grip the ground when running, lifting, or jumping. 

Who Should Buy the HYLETE Circuit 2

  • Athletes looking for a super stable and adaptable shoe for their workouts. 
  • Trainees who want a shoe with interchangeable insoles to help customize the feel.
  • Lifters who want a shoe that won’t compress much under heavy weight but is still comfortable enough for running. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the HYLETE Circuit 2

  • People who do a lot of rope climbs, as there are other shoes on the market that may provide more grip.
  • Anyone who is more price conscious. 
  • Runners who want a cross training shoe that offers a softer feel while jogging and sprinting and don’t care much about lifting heavy weight.

The redesigned heel, interchangeable inserts, excellent traction all add up to create a unique shoe in the cross training space. HYLETE has done something that sets them apart. The interchangeable soles can be a game changer for athletes who train using different modalities, but don’t necessarily want to invest in three (or more) pairs of shoes to use throughout a given week.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Women

The Hylete Circuit II is our pick for both men and women. As we said, Hylete has really done a stellar job with this model. We found it to be a flexible, adaptable shoe thanks to the interchangeable insoles and other features to maximize stability. 

Hylete Circuit II (Women’s)

Adaptability is the name of the game when it comes to cross-training. Hylete has gone the extra mile (or three) in that regard, and the Circuit II comes with three interchangeable insoles with different firmness and heel heights. The variety in heel differential should accommodate many of the most frequently seen cross training movements, like squats, lunges and wall balls. All of these benefit from a more upright torso position and a higher heel is generally beneficial here. The Vibram® Outsole provides solid grip, including when athletes are changing direction quickly.

Hylete Circuit II (Women's)
Hylete Circuit II (Women's)
Hylete Circuit II (Women's)

Designed for a female athlete's center of gravity, Hylete's hallmark cross-training shoe comes with 3 interchangeable insoles for lifting, running, or whatever else you're tackling in the gym. The Vibram® Outsole provides a great level of grip for quick movements and changing direction, and we like the non-tapered toe box for extra stability through the toes.

Who Should Buy the Hylete Circuit II (Women’s)

  • Women who want a versatile shoe for just about any type of training. 
  • Anyone who prefers shoes with a wider or non-tapered toe box. 
  • Trainees who want a shoe that is stable and light. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Hylete Circuit II (Women’s)

  • Those who prefer shoes on the heavier or firmer side.
  • Women looking for a shoe dedicated to JUST running or squattinng.
  • Athletes who want a narrower fitting shoe. 

Cross training is for everybody, men and women alike, and the Hylete Circuit II is a great choice for women looking for a versatile shoe that can help them take on a number of challenging workouts.

Best Cross Training Shoes for the Money

We know that price is the deciding factor for many when choosing shoes, and we’re sensitive to the fact that not everyone can spend up to $150 without a worry. In the Reebok Nano 9, you can still purchase a truly elite pair of cross training shoes at a more affordable price point. At the time of writing, these shoes come in between $80 and $105 depending on the retailer.

Reebok Nano 9

Designed to be strong enough for heavy lifting but flexible and light enough for running, Reebok’s 9th version of their popular Nano trainer is a definite crowd-pleasure. Fear not though, as they are still very durable and feature Reebok’s Flexweave for support plus breathability, RopePro for grip on everything from rope climbs to box jumps and lateral movements, and additional cushioning in the forefoot for comfort. The sole is both maneuverable and supportive, making it a solid choice for a number of athletes. 

Reebok Nano 9
Reebok Nano 9
Reebok Nano 9

Reebok's 9th edition of their Nano training shoe incorporates popular design elements of previous models with updated features and a fit that will appeal to most athletes. Flexweave technology supports a sturdy yet breathable shoe with RopePro grip that comes in handy on everything from box jumps to rope climbs. We also appreciate the wide toe box.

Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano 9

  • Athletes who are more budget conscious. 
  • People who prefer a shoe with a lower heel drop. 
  • Lifters who want a lighter weight shoe for more speed work. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano 9

  • Trainees looking for a heavier shoe for squats and deadlifts. 
  • Those who prefer a stiff-soled shoe with less give. 
  • Athletes who want more ankle support during training. 

The Nano 9 is a great multifunctional shoe that is especially attractive for people who enjoy staying light on their feet. At this price, they’re very hard to pass up. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for CrossFit

Reebok is known for designing shoes specifically for CrossFit, sponsoring the “Reebok CrossFit Games” from 2011 to 2020. After examining and testing the latest version of the Nano — their flagship cross training shoe — it’s clear they haven’t been sitting on their laurels.

Reebok Nano X1

Newly upgraded, the X1 features an improved TPU heel clip for stability while lifting, a new Flexweave upper that is more breathable and a midfoot insert of Reebok’s Floatride material to give greater flexibility when running. Alongside these upgrades are all the classic features you’ve come to expect in a cross trainer, like RopePro to deal with rope climb friction. The 7mm heel drop is a step up from previous models, but it’s firmly middle of the road when compared with other models on this list. 

Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1

The new Reebok Nano X1 cross trainers incorporate Flexweave Knit or Flexweave Grit upper material and have a sleek shape to maximize speed. They are engineered for HIIT, functional fitness, running, boxing, and more.

Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano X1

  • People for whom CrossFit is their primary form of training. 
  • Athletes who prefer a wider toe box for toe splay. 
  • Trainees looking for a durable shoe that will stand up to long workouts week after week. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano X1

  • CrossFitters looking for a larger heel-to-toe differential. 
  • Athletes who may focus on longer runs and want a lighter shoe. 
  • People who are more budget conscious. 

Reebok continues to improve on the Nano design with each iteration. If you are a CrossFit athlete, the X1 should be high up on your list when thinking about which shoes you are going to buy.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Agility Workouts

Agility is a skill that can be overlooked in strength training, but immediately translates to both competition and real life scenarios. The Nike React Metcon Turbo is our favorite cross training shoe for prioritizing this aspect of cross training. 

Nike React Metcon Turbo

Nike has taken their popular Metcon training shoe and shaved down the weight by a noticeable degree (between around 0.5 to 1 ounces, depending on size). That means a shoe that still boasts features for rope climbs, handstand push-ups (low-friction heels), and heavy lifts, just a bit more streamlined and, well, lighter. We love Nike’s Metcon models for squats and even Olympic lifts, but the sleek and light design means they’re no slouch when it comes to speed work. The soles maintain a nice level of stability, too, thanks to their firmer outer layer, balancing out the softer inner core. The breathable upper is another plus for comfort, but won’t be quite as durable as some of the other shoes on this list.

Nike React Metcon Turbo
Nike React Metcon Turbo
Nike React Metcon Turbo

Nike's React Metcon Turbo is ultra-light to maximize running, jumping, and cutting performance. It still features the rope wrap and heel clip Nike Metcons are famous for, all with a focus on reducing any excess weight that could slow athletes down. That means a slightly thinner upper construction that still maintains some padding for comfort. 

Who Should Buy the Nike React Metcon Turbo

  • Athletes looking for a responsive, lightweight shoe. 
  • Anyone interested in training in a shoe that has a more natural foot feel. 
  • Trainees who want a wide heel for stability. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike React Metcon Turbo

  • Lifters looking for a shoe with less cushioning. 
  • Anyone who prefers a smaller heel drop for training.
  • People looking for a shoe that places more emphasis on durability and stability. 

With the lightness and flexibility we’ve come to expect from each variation on Nike’s Metcons, these shoes are just the ticket when you need fast, agile feet.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Stability

Cross-training means you’ll undergo a variety of movements, often quickly changing from one movement or exercise pattern to a completely different one at the drop of a hate. A strong, stable, dependable base is the last thing you want to be concerned about when trying to shave seconds off a WOD time or lift a PR.

Reebok Nano X1

Apart from being newly slimmed down for versatility, the Nano has a host of features that you want in a stable cross training shoe. (And traditional, the Nano line has been one of the most stable cross trainers on the market.) The heel clip and comfort collar that wraps around your ankle combine beautifully to deliver a very stable shoe, even under heavy loads. The wide toe box allows for ample toe splay to grip the floor (which can, again, contribute to a stable base), and the new Flexweave Knit upper is more breathable while still retaining its durability. The introduction of some Floatride Energy Foam into the forefoot allows the shoe to be more responsive while running or jumping. 

Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1

The new Reebok Nano X1 cross trainers incorporate Flexweave Knit or Flexweave Grit upper material and have a sleek shape to maximize speed. They are engineered for HIIT, functional fitness, running, boxing, and more.

Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano X1

  • Athletes looking for a shoe that can tackle just about any cross training workout with a stable base.
  • Athletes who want more stability around the ankle. 
  • People looking for a durable but breathable shoe. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano X1

  • Lifters who squat very, very heavy. Despite the TPU chassis around the heel, the shoe does compress a little bit under heavy weight. 
  • Athletes looking for a lighter cross training shoe. 
  • Shoppers with a tight budget. 

The latest iteration of Reebok’s Nano line is incredibly solid all around. While they are slightly heavier than some shoes on this list, it’s a minor difference, and that’s about the only gripe we have. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Jumping

Let’s face it, jumping can be intimidating because there is a much more obvious risk of injury involved. However, if you work your way up gently, there is a lot to be gained and the Nike React Metcon Turbos are our favorite shoes to do it in.

Nike React Metcon Turbo

Compared to many of the other shoes on this list, the Metcon Turbos are less stiff, with just a bit more give, all while being lightweight. The grippy rubber sole is great for landing those jumps, and Nike’s REACT foam cushioning is a great feature to help ensure comfort on ballistic/explosive movements. The wide and supportive heel — hallmarks in the Nike Metcon line — are also great for energy transfer into the ground and support both takeoff and landing. They aren’t going to be as stable some heavier shoes on this list, but they are going to absorb shock really well and not weigh you down, which is why they’re ideal for jumping.

Nike React Metcon Turbo
Nike React Metcon Turbo
Nike React Metcon Turbo

Nike's React Metcon Turbo is ultra-light to maximize running, jumping, and cutting performance. It still features the rope wrap and heel clip Nike Metcons are famous for, all with a focus on reducing any excess weight that could slow athletes down. That means a slightly thinner upper construction that still maintains some padding for comfort. 

Who Should Buy the Nike React Metcon Turbo

  • Athletes who want a shoe for the gym and the court (quick stop and go)
  • Trainees looking to include plyometrics in their program. 
  • Lifters on a tighter budget. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike React Metcon Turbo

  • People who consistently train with heavy weight. 
  • Lifters who prefer a shoe with a wider toe box. 
  • Those looking for a shoe with more colorways available. 

The combo of Nike Metcon features in a lighter package is a game changer in terms of comfort and spring for jumping of any description.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Squats

When in doubt, squat. You’ll be hard pressed to find a weight training program that doesn’t include some kind of squatting, and that includes cross training workouts. If you’re going to be doing something frequently, it pays to try and optimize, and shoes should certainly be part of the equation.

HYLETE Circuit 2

Here’s the thing about squats: No two lifters have the exact same positioning. So HYLETE’s decision to sell their Circuit II training shoe with THREE different, interchangeable inserts is a clever move. You can swap between inserts of various heights and support levels, which can be especially handy depending on the type of squat you’re tackling that day. (As an example, some lifters might want a close-to-barefoot feel for back squats, but more heel elevation on front squats.) Their redesigned and extra-supportive heel — combined with a high-traction Vibram® outsole great for generating torque throughout the lift — help create a stable base for any type of squats (even 20-rep squat sessions). 

Hylete Circuit 2
Hylete Circuit 2
Hylete Circuit 2

Hylete's Circuit II has more durability in the heel and a full mesh upper for great breathability. It comes with three interchangeable insoles so users can easily change the effective heel-to-toe drop. The toe box is non-tapered, which helps ensure a more natural feel as you grip the ground when running, lifting, or jumping. 

Who Should Buy the HYLETE Circuit 2

  • Athletes looking to push up their squat numbers
  • Lifters who want a very adaptable shoe.
  • People who want a shoe where they can modify the effective heel height.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the HYLETE Circuit 2

  • Individuals who prefer a heavier shoe for squats.
  • People who prefer a dedicated, traditional weightlifting shoe (this is a cross trainer, after all). 
  • Trainees with very narrow feet.

We’re going to sound like a broken record, but features like the three inserts, supportive heel, and extra grippy sole are just what you want when you require some extra confidence coming out the bottom of a heavy squat.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Deadlifts

The deadlift is a humbling exercise at the best of times, and having the right shoe as you pull weight from the floor is a must. With an insert that contains zero effective heel drop (one of three that come with the shoe), HYLETE’s Circuit II trainers are a great option for anyone looking to connect with the floor and improve their deadlift.

HYLETE Circuit 2

You want to be close to the ground and nice and stable when deadlifting. The HYLETE Circuit II fits the bill perfectly here. With an option for an insert with a 0mm heel drop and a lightweight outsole, you won’t be inadvertently performing deficit deadlifts. We also like the fact that the heel is built to be extra supportive.

Hylete Circuit 2
Hylete Circuit 2
Hylete Circuit 2

Hylete's Circuit II has more durability in the heel and a full mesh upper for great breathability. It comes with three interchangeable insoles so users can easily change the effective heel-to-toe drop. The toe box is non-tapered, which helps ensure a more natural feel as you grip the ground when running, lifting, or jumping. 

Who Should Buy the HYLETE Circuit 2

  • Anyone searching for a solid shoe that’s great on and off the deadlift platform.
  • Athletes looking for a shoe with minimal heel elevation (or at least the option to achieve that via interchangeable insert). 
  • Trainees who want a shoe that resists compression well. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the HYLETE Circuit 2

  • Athletes in need of a more cushioned shoe. 
  • People who prefer a higher heel-to-toe differential that’s built in.

Like a good old pair of Chucks, HYLETE’s Circuit II trainers are stylish, but also highly functional. Their thin sole, minimal heel elevation, and durable upper make these shoes a winner for any and all deadlift days. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Day-to-Day Wear

GORUCK has certainly built a training shoe with features that hold up after repeated training. But with an extraordinary focus on arch support and adaptability, the Ballistic Trainers also stand out to us for everyday use — truly multifunctional.

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

GORUCK has built their trainer based around the idea that the foot actually contains three arches: medial longitudinal, lateral longitudinal, and anterior transverse arch. So they’ve built three different arch supports into the base of their shoe. They’ve also included an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, which they call a “happy medium” that is solid for lifting and traversing long distances. Each pair also contains two sets of inserts so wearers can customize their feel. And when it comes to a shoe for everyday wear, many people want something that can fit in with a number of different outfits (and not just gym clothes). We think the GORUCK Ballistic Trainer is on the more subtle, understated side, with simple color patterns that fit well with a variety of clothes.

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

GORUCK's entry into the training shoe market contains a 3-tiered support system, 8mm heel-to-toe drop, and an extra-wide toe box. They're built to be supportive with regular, repeated wear, making them adaptable for long-term use both in and outside the gym. Each pair comes with two inserts — a high density and thinner insert — so wearers can customize their feel or switch between everyday wear and training sessions.

Who Should Buy the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

  • Trainees who want a super comfortable shoe that performs well across all training modalities. 
  • People who prefer significant arch support for walking or running long distances. 
  • Lifters who prefer some heel elevation (8mm in this model).

Who Shouldn’t Buy the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

  • Shoppers who are more price conscious. 
  • Athletes looking for minimal heel drop on their shoes.  
  • Anyone looking for a more minimalist style of shoe. 

Fairly lightweight with a lot of support, these shoes are a a great all day choice. It doesn’t hurt that they are still killer in the gym, too.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Light Runs

Running is a divisive subject. Many people find it tedious and only grudgingly add it into workouts when it’s absolutely necessary. Others love it and find themselves supplementing weight training to benefit their running. If you’re cross-training, then light runs are a standard part of your workout. 

Under Armour HOVR Rise

Humans weren’t supposed to run on concrete. But when you have to, the signature HOVR foam in the Under Armour HOVR Rise helps soften the blow to your legs. In concert with the overlapping films and dual external heel counter that wrap around the ankle, it keeps your foot comfortably in place and helps absorb impacts. Outside of that, this shoe also has an EVA midsole and an abrasion-resistant mesh upper so it can withstand some punishment in the weightroom too.

Under Armour HOVR Rise
Under Armour HOVR Rise
Under Armour HOVR Rise

The UA HOVR Rise features a durable outer construction, 8mm heel-to-toe offset, and Under Armour's signature HOVR technology. It's comfortable for training and for day-to-day wear. 

Who Should Buy the Under Armour HOVR Rise

  • Athletes who plan on including more running in their training. 
  • Shoppers looking for a shoe with slightly higher heel elevation. 
  • People looking for a training shoe that is also comfortable in day to day use. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Under Armour HOVR Rise

  • Athletes for whom weightlifting is more of a priority in training. 
  • Anyone who wants a heavier shoe for greater stability. 
  • Trainees who want less of a heel drop. 

Light and breezy, and with great cushioning thanks to the Hovr foam, you’ll find these shoes aren’t going to weigh you down on your runs. There is a small trade off with regards to stability, but unless the bar is bending for your squats, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Watch our full review of the Under Armour HOVR Rise

Best Cross Training Shoes for Wide Feet

Finding shoes to accommodate wide feet can be a pain. Thankfully within the cross training niche, you have several good options available as a wider foot can mean a more stable foot, which can ultimately benefit your workouts. Our current favorite for wide feet is the Reebok Nano X1.

Reebok Nano X1

Some of our testers have very wide feet, and some run closer to normal range. The Reebok Nano X1 is among the most popular cross training shoes for both crowds. This iteration of Reebok’s popular Nano training line features an extra-wide toe box that allows athletes to grip the floor with their toes during running, lifting, and ballistic movements. It’s actually not the widest-set training shoe Reebok has ever made — that would likely be an older iteration of the Nano, which might be hard to find — but it’s added some great additional features while still being accessible to athletes with wide feet. It’s got a roomie feel without fitting too loose, which is a must for shoes that will accompany you on hard training sessions.

Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1

The new Reebok Nano X1 cross trainers incorporate Flexweave Knit or Flexweave Grit upper material and have a sleek shape to maximize speed. They are engineered for HIIT, functional fitness, running, boxing, and more.

Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano X1

  • Trainees with a wider foot who need extra space in the midfoot and toe box. 
  • Lifters and athletes who prefer a clean, minimalist design. 
  • Anyone looking for a very comfortable training shoe that can be used day to day. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano X1

  • Athletes who prefer a tighter fit for their shoes. 
  • Shoppers who are more price conscious and are shopping on a dime. 
  • Weightlifters who want a higher heel. 

Incredibly comfortable and with more room in the mid-foot and toe box, Reebok’s Nano X1 trainer is a solid option if you have wider feet or prefer to have more toe splay generally. 

What to Consider Before Buying Cross Training Shoes

Cross training shoes really cover a wide range of the market these days. You can find models that cater to nearly every niche type of training you can imagine. This can be overwhelming, but we think there are a few main factors to think about before purchasing your next pair of cross training shoes. 

Working Out Or Day-to-Day?

Besides construction, another important consideration to think about is how you’ll primarily be wearing the shoes. Cross-training shoes are different from weightlifting shoes because they can be worn for both working out and on a day-to-day basis. Most of the shoes in this list can be worn on a daily basis and pushed to the limit in the gym, but some are better than others. Ultimately, you should consider things like your commute, how often you plan on training and what kind of training you’re doing. 

Durability

Durability is a massive consideration for cross training shoes. From toe drags to rope climbs to box jumps, your shoes are going to take a beating. The question isn’t if they need to be durable, it’s how durable and for what purpose? Rope climbs are notorious for shredding uppers and midsoles, but box jumps and other dynamic lateral movements can wear down the toe. Consider your workouts and choose accordingly.

Materials 

As we just noted, uppers regularly take a beating in cross training, so a durable material is vital here, but the choice of materials doesn’t end there. Heels, midsoles, and laces are also key points to consider. More TPU in the heel vs rubber or EVA foam will tend to be more stable and thus better for weightlifting.

Cross Training Shoe Construction and Materials Diagram

Each company also has their own proprietary materials that may be more or less to your liking. Examples here include the Under Armour HOVR foam or Reebok’s Floatride foam. You’ll have to try on shoes or chat to friends who have a pair to get their views on these different materials. 

Your Body

There is a giant rabbit hole we could dive into here, but some basics to consider include: your flexibility, the width of your feet, your foot arches, and your general proprioception. Wide feet obviously aren’t going to work well with a narrow shoe, but the other issues we’ve raised are more complex.

There are pros and cons to having a larger heel on a shoe. It may help with your overhead position, but could come at the expense of proprioception. Likewise, greater arch support can be useful if needed, but isn’t something that everyone wants. Consider the pros and cons, plus shoes you’ve enjoyed in the past, and you should be able to pick the right cross training shoes for you and your goals.

Your Budget

Looking at the shoes in this list, there isn’t a massive variation in price like with some other shoe categories. At the low end, you can get down to around $80-$90 but the high end really peaks around $130 for a new pair. Our recommendation is to try to choose based on comfort, features and durability rather than price, as cross training shoes do need to be able to withstand more wear and tear than a running shoe. That being said, if price really is an issue, older models of many of these shoes can be found on sale and offer many of the benefits we talk about. 

Heel Height and Elevation

Heel height is something that can dramatically influence your training, especially if you’re more into weightlifting. An elevated heel can help support mobility and give a stable base to rely on during training. A planted stable foot is a must for athletes — especially when moving heavy weight — so a more elevated heel can (at times) help a lifter with their training. 

Cross training shoe performance tests

Heel elevation can range from 0 up to 10mm. It may not sound like much, but it can make a serious difference to the way movements feel. Extra heel height can help support a lifter moving weight through positions like squats and snatches, but little to no elevation is typically better for performing deadlifts. It all comes down to optimal posture angles (easier to keep chest tall, knees track properly, etc) and what you feel is most important in your training. 

Design

There are some truly great looking shoes out there these days, and your choice can be influenced by many factors. Some people prefer minimalist design. Others prefer extra flare and features, like the heel clips that minimize friction during handstand push-ups. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to style points, and we’re confident there is plenty of variety in our picks above to help you find your favorite look. 

Cross Training Shoe Construction Features

Like weightlifting shoes, cross-training shoes are designed with purpose and functionality. If you’re thinking, “cross training shoes are just regular sneakers, but dressed up” hold that thought for one second while we cover some of the construction differences. From there it should be pretty clear why they’re different from your standard sneaker.

Outer Construction

When it comes to outer construction on cross-training shoes, there’s not a one-size-fits-all formula. Each shoe offers its own take on versatility and durability. For example, some shoes from Reebok offer their signature Flexweave™ material, while shoes from Nike have a cloth, nylon, and TPU mix.

The takeaway: Every cross-training shoe’s outer construction is designed to withstand things like rope climbs, jumps, and heavy lifts, so every company will provide their own take on this feature.

Outsole and Midsole

The outsole and midsole of cross-training shoes are different in design because they’re made firmer. The midsole is the layer of material that’s in-between the bottom of the shoe and the outer construction. Most cross-trainers will combine a slightly firmer rubber with some TPU-esque material. In addition, some cross-trainers provide a medial divot that extends upwards to support movements like rope climbs.

The combination of these two construction traits provide these shoes with harder feeling than normal tennis shoes/sneakers, and an outsole that’s pretty resilient to compression under weight, but also somewhat reactive for jumping movements. Basically, these shoes try to capture a firm, yet somewhat forgiving feeling to provide stability and versatility.

Shoe Tech

Another cool cross-training shoe construction perk worth noting is the tech that comes in certain models. For this list, we consider any unique construction characteristic as tech for the shoe itself. Tech could be considered the signature features in shoe’s like the Flyknit and Flywire offered in Nike shoes or the Flexweave in Reebok’s models. Also, things like TPU inserts and extended midsoles could also be considered tech.

Final Word

You could describe Cross Training shoes as the decathletes of the shoe world. They’re pretty good at everything and work across many modalities. These shoes can save you from buying two — or maybe three — different pairs of specialist shoes, especially if you’re just somebody who wants to stay fit and healthy. If you’re training three to five times per week and mixing it up with cardio and weights, then look no further than the cross trainers in this list. 

Before impulse buying your next pair of cross-training shoes, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time doing research. These shoes continually get upgraded every year, so their construction is constantly improved for the workouts they’re designed for. Our advice, create a hierarchy checklist for your top cross-training shoe attributes. What do you value most and why? 

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for sales on old models if you’re looking to snag a great deal on your next pair of training shoes. 

FAQs

What are cross training shoes?

Cross training shoes are a style of sneaker that are designed to tackle multiple types of workouts, hence the name cross trainer. Generally, cross training shoes will tie a blend of running, lifting, and other styles of training shoes all into one model.

What type of shoe is best for CrossFit?

The best cross trainers for CrossFit will have a firmer midsole and outsole to support weight. In addition, these shoes will also have a durable outer construction to resist abrasions and wear and tear from things like rope climbs and friction from the ground.

What are the most important construction features to look for in cross trainers?

Like every dedicated training shoe, the most important construction characteristics are dictated by the demands of the activity. Cross training shoes, we’d advise considering these five main construction characteristics:

  1. Outsole Material
  2. Midsole Stability
  3. Outer Construction
  4. Heel Cup and Support
  5. Mid-Foot Durability

What's a fair price for cross trainers?

Cross training shoe prices can vary pretty greatly. Generally, a newer pair of cross trainers will cost between $100.00-$130.00 USD. The best price for cross trainers should be dictated on how often you plan to wear and use them.

If you wear them for all of your training, then investing in a nicer pay is often worth it. For those on a budget, check out older models, as these will generally have better price tags.

What's a good heel-to-toe offset for cross trainers?

The heel-to-toe offset in cross trainers can vary pretty greatly, but generally, 2mm-8mm is the norm for these shoes.

  • 0mm — New Balance Minimus
  • 2mm — Under Armour TriBase Reign
  • 4mm — Nike Metcon, NOBULL, Reebok Nano
  • 6mm — Inov-8 F-Lite G 300
  • 8mm — Under Armour HOVR Rise