Which Shoes Should I Wear For The WOD?!

Everyone may be a bit different, but in general, these are some helpful guidelines of what shoes to wear and when in the workouts:

Let’s start with the most obvious one…


Reebok Nanos, Nike Metcons, NOBULL, Inov-8, etc. They pretty much work for everything. They are the jack-of-all-trades. They are especially great in workouts with multiple movements, like the “Filthy Fifty,” and metcons like “Fran” and “Diane.”

They are a flat shoe with minimal cushion designed for constantly varied movements. CrossFit-specific shoes, like the Nanos and Metcons. also have added protection on the inside of the sole for rope climbs, and are designed to allow you to lift heavy, run, and workout in them.

If needed, you can switch out the insoles on some with a more supportive insert, depending on the style shoe and how thick the insert is. I put thin Superfeet inserts in my Nanos.

If you can only afford one type of shoe, or just don’t care or want to have other pairs, then invest in a pair of CrossFit shoes!

If you’re really on a tight budget, though, Chucks are an awesome alternative, and hella old school, so people will think you’re an O.G. ;-)


Similar to CrossFit shoes, but not as specially designed, because they won’t have the special features, like the added protection on the inside of the sole from rope climbs. Some minimalist shoes are “too minimal” and are more like barefoot shoes. However, there are those out there who prefer and perform better with those, so each to his own!

Depending on how minimal the shoes are, they may not be as supportive as a CrossFit shoe, especially in movements like weightlifting. Usage of minimalist shoes is the same as CrossFit shoes - good for everything!


It is rare you will be wearing your running shoes in a CrossFit class.

When the workout has a ton of running or other cardio, though, they do help a lot. “Annie” is a good one. Lots of burpees is another good movement to use running shoes, because with all that up and down the cushion in the shoes helps. “Murph” is one that depends on the person. Because it has air squats in it (and a lot of them), some people don’t do well with running shoes on and squatting, so be mindful. Running shoes are designed to propel you forward, so the heel is slightly higher than the toe. So, if you already struggle with rolling forward on your toes in a squat, DO NOT wear running shoes for “Murph.” Or, at the very least, take your running shoes off and squat in your socks, and then put them back on for the rest of the WOD.

Make sure to get properly fitted for running shoes by a professional. It really does make a difference, and there really are different types of running shoes for different types of needs. Seek a professionally trained running shoe store.

Vertical Runner in downtown Hudson, and Fleet Feet Sports in Northfield are two legit ones to go to! GO GET FITTED PROPERLY!!!

Important Side Notes - DO NOT wear running shoes for rope climbs - It eats up the inside of the soles very quickly! I’ve ruined brand new shoes that way!

Also, NEVER wear running shoes for heavy lifting, Oly lifting, and anything heavy weights. They are too squishy and unstable for that! Plus, because running shoes are supposed to fit with extra toe space in the front, your feet slip and move around too much for weightlifting.


Workouts like “DT” and “Isabel” are good ones for Oly shoes. Anything with squatting, especially heavy weights. “Karen” is good one - 150 Wall Balls. Oly shoes will help a lot with stability and proper squatting. And, they are even helpful with pistols (one-legged squats). They also work well for rowing workouts.

Some will even wear their Oly shoes for “Fran,” but a minimalist shoe will also work, just depends on the person and how much more stability you’re looking for/needing.

Definitely use for the Olympic lifts, as well as the Overhead Squat!

Important Side Notes - Oly shoes DO NOT work well for Deadlifting. You want CrossFit or minimalist shoes for Deadlifting (flat shoes). Oly shoes have a higher heel than the toe. Keep in mind, also, that when buying Oly shoes, you want them snug!

For example, in running shoes I wear a size 8 with a full thumb-width of toe space in the front, BUT my Oly shoes are a size 7, with my toes almost touching the front, but not quite.

Now, there are CrossFit weightlifting shoes, like the Reebok Lifter and Nike Romaleos, and the intention with those is that you can do a 1 RM Snatch and then go right into a WOD with pull ups, double unders, and box jumps, and not feel “clunky” like you would with Oly-specific shoes.

Oly-specific shoes are meant solely for the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, as well as heavy squatting, of course. The shoes are much more stiff, and have a wooden base, typically. They are not ideal for doing a WOD in. However, if you want to focus on Oly lifts and weightlifting, and maybe even compete in Olympic lifting, then I would suggest getting Oly-specific shoes.

Hope this helps! :-)

WOD for FRIDAY 120718:


15 min to work on:

Muscle up Transition Drills

Kipping Drills


10 min OTM:

7 Touch & Go Power Snatches

Kara PurvesComment