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Best Cross Training Shoes 2020 — For CrossFit, Classes, and More

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Over the last decade, functional fitness and cross-training style workouts have exploded in popularity. Cross training style workouts can include multiple exercises all in one bout, such as squats, power cleans, deadlifts, box jumps, rope climbs, and much more. These workouts are highly versatile, so they need shoes to complement their various exercises.

On top of cross training style workouts growing in popularity, the shoes that accommodate these workouts have grown, too. Every year, big brand cross-training shoes continue to increase their tech to match the high demands of these workouts. This is great news for those in need of new cross-trainers, but it can also feel tedious finding the perfect pair.

You could consider us cross-training sneakerheads. Every time a new model is released, we love to give them a try and put them to the test across the board. The best part of reviewing multiple cross-training shoes is that it provides us with a large overview of what to expect from each shoe.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Men

Anatomically speaking, men will need a different style of shoe than women. Generally, men will need a slightly wider shoe with a stable outsole.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 offers a newly constructed midsole for comfort and a reworked outer Flexweave to improve performance and comfort in cross training workouts.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 9
Reebok CrossFit Nano 9
Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 offers a newly constructed midsole for comfort and a reworked outer Flexweave to improve performance and comfort in cross training workouts.

Who Should Buy Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

  • Lifters that want security. Plastic heel counter and TPU heel to promote foot security and stability.
  • Anyone that wants breathability. Flexweave material provides a maneuverable and lightweight construction.
  • Athletes that want stability. High-density foam midsole in the forefoot provides support and reactivity.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

  • Athletes with narrow feet. Maybe a little too wide for narrow footed athletes.

Best for Cross Training Shoes for Women

Women will typically want shoes that are a little slimmer in nature. Below are our favorite cross training shoes for women that want security, stability, and versatility.

Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3

The Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 cross training shoe provides a dynamic fascia band outsole, PowerFlow midsole, and lightweight outer construction. This is the perfect shoe athletes that want a tight-fitting model to provide stability and reactivity is multiple types of workouts. 

Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3
Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3
Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3

The Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 cross training shoe provides a dynamic fascia band outsole, PowerFlow midsole, and lightweight outer construction. This is the perfect shoe athletes that want a tight fitting model to provide stability and reactivity is multiple types of workouts. 

Who Should Buy Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3

  • Lifters that like “true” fitting shoes. These have a dynamic fascia band gives this model a “barefoot” feeling.
  • Athletes that love durability. Durable outer construction to resist rope climbs and early breakdown.
  • Lifters that like to train heavy. These have a PowerFlow midsole is stable under heavy weight.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3

  • Lifters with wider feet. These are not a comfortable model for wider footed athletes.

Best Cross Training Shoes for the Money

Trying to save money and have a stellar shoe to support your performance? The shoe below is our favorite for the money and value.

Nike Metcon 4

The Nike Metcon 4 is one of the most stable cross-training shoes with a solid outsole, TPU layered heel, and mesh outer construction. Now that this model has been out for a couple of years, it’s one of the better-priced trainers on the market!

Nike Metcon 4
Nike Metcon 4
Nike Metcon 4

This new version of the Reebok Speed TR offers full Flexweave construction and lower heel cup for versatile training.

Who Should Buy Nike Metcon 4s

  • Lifters that want maximum stability. These have a very hard outsole and firm, durable TPU layer in the heel. 
  • Athletes that like durability. Strong outer construction with rigid TPU to ensure a durable and tough shoe. 
  • Versatile lifters. The outsole provides adequate grip on multiple surfaces. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Nike Metcon 4s

  • The avid runner. These have a tighter fitting shoe and not great for running.

Best Cross Training Shoes for CrossFit

So, you want to a versatile, supportive, and dynamic pair of shoes for CrossFit? These are our favorite shoes for walking the middle ground between multiple workout asks.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

Reebok CrossFit Nano 9
Reebok CrossFit Nano 9
Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 9 offers a newly constructed midsole for comfort and a reworked outer Flexweave to improve performance and comfort in cross training workouts.

Who Should Buy Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

  • Lifters that want security. Plastic heel counter and TPU heel to promote foot security and stability.
  • Anyone that wants breathability. Flexweave material provides a maneuverable and lightweight construction.
  • Athletes that want stability. High-density foam midsole in the forefoot provides support and reactivity.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

  • Athletes with narrow feet. Maybe a little too wide for narrow footed athletes.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Agility Workouts

Agility focused training shoes need to be lightweight, supportive, and dynamic in nature. The shoes below are a great blend of all of these for supporting agility workouts.

Under Armour HOVR Rise

The UA HOVR Rise features durable outer construction, 8mm heel-to-toe offset, and Under Armour’s signature HOVR technology. This shoe is perfect for the dynamic athlete that wants to tackle regular agility workouts.

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. This shoe is perfect for the dynamic athlete that wants to tackle regular agility workouts.

Who Should Buy Under Armour HOVR Rise

  • Anyone that loves a responsive training shoe. HOVR midsole is reactive and responsive.
  • Lifters that like durability. Durable outer construction that is also breathable and mobile.
  • Athletes that want a light and supportive shoe. Lightweight design additional heel cup support.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Under Armour HOVR Rise

  • Lifters that always want to max out. These are not the best model for supporting heavy weight.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Stability

A great cross trainer for supporting heavy weight will have a midsole and outsole designed to support big weight in squats, deadlifts, and other exercises.

Nike Metcon 5

The Nike Metcon 5 earns our top spot for stability. Granted, all of the shoes on this list will work for CrossFit, this model does an excellent job at providing maximal stability. The outsole of this model is the firmest on the list, so we like how resilient this shoe is to resist compression.

Nike Metcon 5
Nike Metcon 5
Nike Metcon 5

The Nike Metcon 5 has a 4mm heel-to-toe offset and an outsole designed to provide the maximal stability under heavy lifts.  

Who Should Buy Nike Metcon 5s

  • Athletes that want durability. Firm rubber outsole with additional TPU slip in the heel for firm base.
  • Lifters that like stability. Nike Flywire to promote reactivity and firm double-layer mesh and nylon-esque outer.
  • Durability lovers. Haptic outer and medial/lateral rubber outsole provides long-term durability.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Nike Metcon 5s

  • Avid runners. Not the best option for cardio-focused athletes. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Jumping

Shoes that are great for jumping need to be reactive and responsive. These are our favorites for jump-focused workouts or workouts that have a lot of plyos integrated.

Mizuno TC-01

The Mizuno TC-01 is a versatile training shoe that utilizes proprietary technology to promote balance in performance. If you’re someone who performs a lot of jumps during one workout, then this is a great model for you due to its reactive midsole and outsole. 

Mizuno TC-01
Mizuno TC-01
Mizuno TC-01

The Mizuno TC-01 is a versatile training shoe that utilizes proprietary technology to promote balance in performance. If you're someone who performs a lot of jumps during one workout, then this is a great model for you. 

Who Should Buy Mizuno TC-01s

  • Lifters that love responsive shoes. Proprietary COB technology promotes overall balance. 
  • Jump focused athletes. These have a reactive midsole is responsive and lightweight. 
  • Overall lightweight designed and comfortable.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Mizuno TC-01s

  • Lifters that want to get heavy. Not the best option for supporting heavy weight.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Squats

Squats come in all forms. A great pair of cross trainers for squatting need to resist compression and provide a secure outer construction to lock the foot in.

Nike Metcon 5

The outsole of this model is the firmest on the list, so we like how resilient this shoe is to resist compression. Additionally, this model fits snug, so there’s no block-like feeling when moving through jumps and runs.

Nike Metcon 5
Nike Metcon 5
Nike Metcon 5

The Nike Metcon 5 has a 4mm heel-to-toe offset and an outsole designed to provide the maximal stability under heavy lifts.  

Who Should Buy Nike Metcon 5s

  • Athletes that want durability. Firm rubber outsole with additional TPU slip in the heel for firm base.
  • Lifters that like stability. Nike Flywire to promote reactivity and firm double-layer mesh and nylon-esque outer.
  • Durability lovers. Haptic outer and medial/lateral rubber outsole provides long-term durability.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Nike Metcon 5s

  • Avid runners. Not the best option for cardio-focused athletes. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Deadlifts

Great shoes for deadlifts need to be supportive and accommodate for promoting and assisting ankle stability.

NOBULL High-Top Trainers

The NOBULL High Top Trainers are an awesome training shoe for supporting heavy lifts, dynamic activities, and are great to wear on a day-to-day basis. If you like a higher ankle for deadlifting, then these are a great option for you.

NOBULL High Top Trainers
NOBULL High Top Trainers
NOBULL High Top Trainers

The NOBULL High Top Trainers are an awesome training shoe for supporting heavy lifts, dynamic activities, and are great to wear on a day-to-day basis. If you like a higher ankle for deadlifting, then these are a great option for you. 

Who Should Buy NOBULL High-Top Trainers

  • Lifters that want shoes to last. Durable outer construction last a long time.
  • Athletes that want stability. Firm midsole and outsole promotes overall stability.
  • The everyday athlete. Comfortable to wear on a day-to-day basis and to the gym. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy NOBULL High-Top Trainers

  • Value shoppers. These shoes are fairly expensive. 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Day-to-Day Wear

Want to train in your shoes and wear them on a day-to-day basis? These are our favorite cross trainers for training and everyday wear.

Under Armour Project Rock 2

The Under Armour Project Rock 2 is a great general training shoe for men who perform dynamic workouts. This model has Under Armour’s signature HOVR midsole, so it accommodates a variety of activity, but also provides a decently stable base with the TriBase outsole. 

Under Armour Project Rock 2
Under Armour Project Rock 2
Under Armour Project Rock 2

The Under Armour Project Rock 2 training shoe is a great shoe for casual recreational lifting and day-to-day wear. 

Who Should Buy Under Armour Project Rock 2s

  • Athletes that want ground feedback. HOVR midsole is reactive and responsive.
  • Lifters that like ankle support. Bootie designed is comfortable and provides the ankle with stability.
  • Anyone that want shoes to go the distance. Durable outer construction resists early breakdown. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Under Armour Project Rock 2s

  • Serious strength athletes. Not the most stable option under heavy weight.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Light Runs

Love to train and put in weekly mileage? These are our favorite shoes for supporting recreational lifting and performing regular shorter runs.

Under Armour HOVR Rise

The UA HOVR Rise features durable outer construction, 8mm heel-to-toe offset, and Under Armour’s signature HOVR technology. This shoe is perfect for the dynamic athlete that wants to tackle regular agility workouts.

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. This shoe is perfect for the dynamic athlete that wants to tackle regular agility workouts. 

Who Should Buy Under Armour HOVR Rise

  • Anyone that loves a responsive training shoe. HOVR midsole is reactive and responsive.
  • Lifters that like durability. Durable outer construction that is also breathable and mobile.
  • Athletes that want a light and supportive shoe. Lightweight design additional heel cup support.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Under Armour HOVR Rise

  • Lifters that always want to max out. These are not the best model for supporting heavy weight.

Best Cross Training Shoes for Wide Feet

A wider shoe is incredibly important for lifters that have a wider toe box and need room for splaying the toes fully when gripping the floor.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave earns our third spot for men. While this wasn’t our favorite Nano model to date, this shoe has a ton of things going for it. For starters, the Flexweave (which was new in this model) has proven to be lightweight, durable, and breathable. Second, there’s a low offset and firm outsole, so this shoe is a solid bet at being resilient towards compression from workouts.

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8
Reebok CrossFit Nano 8
Reebok CrossFit Nano 8

The eighth version of Reebok's Nano model that offers a strong plastic heel cup, 4mm heel-to-toe offset, and Flexweave construction.

Who Should Buy Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave

  • Lifters that want security. Plastic heel counter and TPU heel to promote foot security and stability.
  • Flexweave material provides a maneuverable and lightweight construction.
  • Athletes and that versatility. High-density foam midsole in the forefoot provides support and reactivity.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave

  • May be a little too wide for narrow footed athletes.

How We Rated the Shoes

The final section we need to discuss before diving into the categories is how we rated each shoe. The stability:comfort rating system doesn’t make a whole lot of sense unless we provide you with an idea of the factors we considered to come up with our numbers.

Lifting Tests  

For lifting, we performed a ton of different movements in each shoe, but we kept three tests consistent across the board. These tests were performed specifically to assess stability and compression of the shoe’s outsole. In each video, we always list tests we performed and some may be different than others, but these three tests were all performed for each shoe in this review.

(Note that the below poundages vary a bit from tester to tester based on their strength level, especially when testing women’s versus men’s trainers.)

  • Back Squat: 315 lbs
  • Deadlift: 405 lbs
  • Power Clean: 205 lbs

If you find yourself looking at a model below with a high stability rating, then chances are that shoe showed very little sign of compression under these movements.

Cross training shoe performance tests
Nike Metcon 4 Lifting Test

Day-to-Day Tests

On a daily basis, we walk roughly 6-12,000 steps commuting to work and throughout our day in the concrete jungle. This equates to about 3-6 daily miles, so on a weekly basis, each cross-training shoe receives about 21-miles of wear on the low end and 35+ miles on the higher end.

A high comfort rating indicates that the cross-training shoe is a joy to wear for long walks and doesn’t cause any form of discomfort from something such as a hard outsole. So, in respects to the stability:comfort rating, a high score means the show was very comfortable for daily use.

Why Cross-Training Shoes?

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

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.

Cross-Training Shoe Construction Features
Cross-Training Shoe Construction Features

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.

Shoe Tech

Another cool cross-training shoe construction perk worth noting is the tech that comes in certain models. For this article, we’ll 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 misoles could also be considered tech.

Cross-Training Shoe Factors to Consider

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. This makes the art of choosing the right cross-training shoe slightly tougher because you have camps of athletes who want shoes for only working out or for everything.

Cross-Training Shoes Day-to-Day Wear
Cross-Training Shoes Day-to-Day Wear

At BarBend, we test all of our cross-training shoes in heavy workouts and day-to-day settings. Since we’re New York City based, all of our shoes receive miles and miles of walking on a weekly basis, so we have good idea of their comfort and support.

Cross Training Shoe FAQs

What are cross training shoes?

Cross training shoes are a style of sneaker that are designed to tackle multiple types of activities, hence their name cross trainer. Generally, cross trainers 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

Wrapping Up

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 and asks being put upon them. Our advice, create a hierarchy checklist for your top cross-training shoe attributes. What do you value most?

  • Versatility?
  • Durability?
  • Price?
  • Stability?

This type of list can help support your next logical cross-training shoe purchase.

79 thoughts on “Best Cross Training Shoes 2020 — For CrossFit, Classes, and More”

  1. Not positive on a favorite…. I’m leaning toward the NoBull trainers for the wide aspect. Undecided, I might buy them with the card.

  2. I walk 15 to 20 miles a day and I’m always looking for a good pair of shoes that will last. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and recommendations.

  3. I would get the Nike Metcon 4 because it appears to be the only one for women. I would probably not buy it with the gift card because my boyfriends needs new shoes at the moment.

  4. My favorite cross trainer is the Reebok Speed TR Flexweave. The mesh gives it good breathability and it has a good heel clip for stability

  5. I like Nike Women’s Metcon 4 Training Shoes because they are comfortable. I probably would bot buy a pair of shoes with the gift card because I need other things more.

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