You don’t need a “crossfit shoe” in order to get fit. But owning these different pairs of shoes can help you with three different purposes: running, metcons, and lifting.
A running shoe should be round and a little “squishy” (to provide comfort). This will reduce the impact on your feet (especially heels) when running long distances.
The top choices I see from our members are: Saucony, Brooks, and any kind of Nike running shoe. I’m also beginning to hear good reviews about the new NoBull Runners.
Metcon Shoes (the “crossfit” shoe)
A metcon shoe should be flexible around the toes and stiff at the heel. You also want a shoe that is relatively flat with a hard heel to allow for good stability when squatting, deadlifting, or pressing loads overhead.
Additionally, a good metcon shoe will be durable against a climbing rope (running shoes will quickly fall apart if you J-hook your feet around the rope). They also should have a piece of plastic around the heel to allow for efficient sliding against a wall for handstand push-ups.
The top choices I see are: Reebok Nanos (definitely the preferred choice), Nike Metcons, and the NoBullTrainer.
Lifting shoes should be flat and allow for no flex at all. Remember, these are made to only lift weights in. This is one of the reasons why they are so uncomfortable to walk around in.
They also will have an elevated, hard heel to help you get into better squatting positions. You will find that catching a squat clean or squat snatch becomes a little bit easier in lifting shoes because your back stays more upright–this is because your heels are elevated in the lifting shoe.
The top choices I see are the Nike Romaleos. I also see a good amount of Reebok Lifters. I rarely see anything else, including NoBull’s new lifting shoe.
You don’t need a crossfit shoe–you need consistency in your workouts. But once you can establish the habit of working out regularly, one or more of these pairs of shoes makes working out a little bit more exciting.
But I understand that sometimes it goes the other way around: if you buy something in advance, you’re more likely to adopt the habit. If that’s you, buy the shoe.
As a final note, here’s the order that I would buy them in: first, Metcon shoes. Then, Running shoes. And finally, a Lifting shoe.