Comment from: Dave Parmly [Visitor]
Dave Parmly

Great article. Empirical data at my CF box ( says Innov8s are the shoe of choice, with V5Fs second. We do a fair amount of O-lifting (a strength component is a typical element every day - not all boxes do that) and most of us switch to O-lift shoes for that part of the training. You can keep them O shoes on for a lot of indoor metcons (good for DUs, for example). I walk in to the gym in my KSOs, carrying my O-shoes and can handle just about anything between those. Oh, and for metcons that combine lifting with running outside, depending on the lift, I wear my V5Fs and put 10# plates under my heels to get the proper angle, if I think it's needed. Your actual mileage may vary.

10/24/11 @ 16:27
Comment from: [Member]

@Dave. Nice to meet you, brother. We are on the same page, in that we do a strength component in every class. I love it, and I think that is what many CF gyms are missing.

I have tried O-lifting shoes too, and I have to respectfully disagree on that. I will sometimes recommend the plate under the heel to clients who have poor ankle flexion, but with good, open dorsiflexion in your ankles, there isn't any lift where that should be necessary. Myself, I prefer doing my strength lifts sans shoes as often as possible, like Arnold in the above pic.

I have always found it strange that we in CrossFit always say that we promote "functional" strength and yet many among us strap on specialty shoes when we want to lift something heavy. We talk about all of our training applying to real life, unlike a bicep curl, or lateral raise, or other body building junk, but if you're in a real life situation where you have to lift something heavy off the floor in your day-to-day, are you really going to go change your shoes first? Doubtful. Just a thought.

Having said all that, I fully recognize that if you plan on competing in any juried weight-lifting competitions, O-shoes are important and useful, but neither myself not any of my clients plan on that, as far as I know.

10/24/11 @ 18:59
Comment from: Nick Hind [Visitor]
Nick Hind

Thanks for the overview - nice and thorough! I've been Crossfitting in Australia for 2yrs now and have got progressively more minimalist in shoe choice. Initially went to Onitsuka Tigers (Asics I think) which were a great allrounder compared to previous cloud shoes (far from barefoot though).
Not brave enough for VFFS (be nice!) so got Merrell Ture Gloves - awesome grip, light and moulded to foot so my choice for running/bodyweight metcons (esp burpees).
We also do strength almost every session, and I find the Merrell's a touch unstable (rounded heel) for this.
I'll throw another into the mix - Vivobarefoot Ultras. I have their Neoas well which is a good allrounder, but the Ultra is so light and low it's totally different again. Very soft compound but so thin there is little squish. Good for running, bodyweight, fine for O-lifting, just not the cone-runs etc as shoe flexes a lot.
Even wore them without the sock-liner for a holiday WOD involving HSPUs and laps of the pool as the water drains straight out!

10/25/11 @ 01:24
Comment from: Rob [Visitor]  

I don't think this dilemma is unique to CrossFit (whatever that is? :) ). In just about every sport there is no "be all" shoe. The best we can do is find a shoe that best matches it's intended use. For trail running I go for my Inov-8 trail shoe, sure they're not perfect in all situations but they work most of the time. Same with runs on the road or hybrid XC runs. I don't worry about it because it's not about the shoe but about the activity.

10/25/11 @ 09:07
Comment from: Wayne [Visitor]

What is your opinion of the rest of the Inov-8 line-up, in particular the F-lite 195 and 220? I own a pair of 220's and to me they are a good all around CrossFit shoe. I've had no issues with double unders, max lifts, climbing or running. I also own pairs of VFF Bikilas LS, Merrell's Glove and Inov-8 Road-X 155's, which may be replacing my 220 soon. Surprisingly, my next shoe of choice would be NB Minimus Trail, however NB is supposed to come out with a new minimal shoe called the Zero I believe.

10/25/11 @ 19:12
Comment from: [Member]

I have not yet tried any of the other Inov-8 models. There are a couple other models of theirs that I am supposed to be receiving samples of at some point, but not sure when.

As far as the Minimus Zero, it's essentially an update of the Minimus line where they kill the 3mm heel drop, and zero out the sole. Other than some cosmetic changes, that seems to be the only change of substance, but Justin may know more about that than I.

10/26/11 @ 00:13
Comment from: Craig [Visitor]

Has anyone tried The Instinct or The Adam by Altra? If so, what are your thoughts and would they be a good all purpose shoe for CrossFit/trail running?

These may be a good shoe to review next! :)

10/26/11 @ 08:41
Comment from: [Member]

Altra sent me the Instinct, and they said they were going to send the Adam to Justin. I will say that I like the Instinct more than I expected to. It's a good shoe, but the sole is too stiff and thick for my tastes.

The Adam looks like it's the answer to that problem since it's everything I like about the Instinct, but with a thinner, more flexible sole. I haven't tried one on, but I had a smaller size in my hands at the CF Games this past summer, and it looks legit to me. Kind of like a KSO without toe pockets. I say go for it, Craig! Drop back on this comment thread and let us know how you like it if you do.

10/26/11 @ 11:35
Comment from: Todd [Visitor]

Hey Joey, Thanks for the information! A great article. I love reading reviews and hearing the opinions of others.

10/29/11 @ 23:32
Comment from: Guillermo Bujanda [Visitor]
Guillermo Bujanda


We don't strap on speciality shoes because we are not functionally strong. If you read any crossfit journal on oly lifting it says that Oly lifting is a specific skill that you use in crossfit.

Sorry to call you out!

So I run barefoot most of the time. I wa s an olympic weightlifter and competed for years.
Now that I am specifically doing crossfit I believe in my opinion that Metcons that require running and lifting that the minimus mx20's. You do need some heel! The lift in the heel is to help place the bar over your center of gravity. The use of oly lifting shoes for oly lifting is just common sense! I don't like using them in a metcon WOD because they are not meant for that!
Reebok just came out with a hybrid, and I have seen videos where guys are running in them for a 400-800m! If you go to fitbomb they have pics they will be out in Dec maybe?
VFF are not a good choice to do oly lifts.

10/30/11 @ 15:45
Comment from: [Member]


You said: "If you read any crossfit journal on oly lifting it says that Oly lifting is a specific skill that you use in crossfit. Sorry to call you out!"

...I'm not sure what you think you're calling me out on, but I never said Oly lifting isn't a CrossFit skill. Nobody who identifies as a CrossFitter would say that. I am merely politely disagreeing that you need special shoes or even any shoe with a raised heel for lifting. And keep in mind that I already made the concession that if you're going to compete in an O-lifting specific competition with a purse and judges, then I fully understand the need for the shoes. Every little edge can make the difference between a failed lift and a P.R. and I get that. But I myself will never be in that situation because I am not interested in competing at that level. I lift to build strength, and keep in shape. I don't need the shoes to do that, and neither does the average CF box member.

IMHO one of the greatest things about the CrossFit community is the "open-sourced" nature of it. We are allowed to disagree, and we often do. There is disagreement among CF Journal contributors sometimes from one article to the next. There is disagreement between the way USAW teaches a snatch and the way CrossFit level one teaches a snatch. Do they both work? Yes. Is one better than the other? Maybe. When deciding if something is "right" or "wrong" you only need to ask if it's safe. Can I safely O-lift without O-lift shoes? Yes. Can I do so without increased risk of injury? Of course I can. And that's all I need to know.

10/30/11 @ 22:36
Comment from: Guillermo Bujanda [Visitor]
Guillermo Bujanda

Joey I guess I came off wrong.
It has been my experience as coach, most that athletes/crossfit that go to oly shoes find it better.
Apologizes if I came off harsh.

10/30/11 @ 23:47
Comment from: Anthony [Visitor]

Hey Joey,

Thanks for the article. Do you have any thoughts on what minimalist shoes are best for rope climbing? After a few months of owning my NB Minimus Trails and a few rope climbing wods the soles got ripped up (I do Spealler's style of rope climbing). I currently use my KSO's for rope climbing, and I try to have the rope locked between the velcro strap and sole, but I've painfully missed that mark a few times and have gotten burned.

I'm looking to order another pair of minimalist shoes sometime soon, but I don't want it to waist more money. I was looking at Inov-8 Bare-X 180 through Again Faster.

Thanks for any advice,

10/31/11 @ 13:10
Comment from: [Member]

Yeah, rope climbing seems to be the bane of the minimal shoe movement. The materials we tend to like get chewed up badly and quickly on the rope. Inov-8 has a rope climbing shoe that they are sending me. I have had a pair in my hand at the Games, but it wasn't in my size, so I haven't been able to give them a whirl yet. As soon as I know more about them, I will post something.

10/31/11 @ 14:22
Comment from: Mike Petty [Visitor]
Mike Petty

I'm using the NB MT20 CT2. It's an excellent shoe for CrossFit. It does everything I ask of it and more. I would recommend it to any athlete.

02/22/13 @ 13:24
Comment from: Tammy [Visitor]  

Have you ever tried SOM Footwear's shoes for Crossfit? Personally I love them- they have zero drop and a roomy toe box so it feels just like being barefoot. Oh and they are made in Colorado which I think is AWESOME!

05/12/15 @ 18:05
Comment from: Andrea [Visitor]

Hi! Have you tried the Luna sandals yet for CrossFit?

08/10/18 @ 09:31

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