8 Best Cross Training Shoes 2022

There are so many cross-training shoes on the market that finding the perfect pair can be a pretty daunting task. Every day, I spend a considerable amount of time answering questions about cross-training shoes on my YouTube channel. Which cross-training shoe is best for CrossFit? Which cross-training shoe is best for women, men, and shorter runs?

The questions never stop and there are always layers of context needed when finding the best cross-training shoes for your needs. Plus, companies are constantly innovating and coming out with new cross-training shoes so I’m constantly updating this article to feature the best of the best.

Every cross-training shoe listed below has been hand-tested by myself and there are individual video and article reviews on each shoe, which are all linked below to provide you with even more information. My goal is to provide you with as much information and context as possible to help you decide on the best cross-training shoes for your needs and wants.

Make sure you check out the TF2 Cross-Training Shoe Calculator. This calculator matches you with cross-training shoes that I’ve reviewed that will match your needs best.

 

Best Cross Training Shoes for CrossFit

When testing cross-training shoes for CrossFit, I assess how a model responds to multiple training asks. For example, I’m looking at stability, versatility, and a shoe’s ability to support niche training asks that come with CrossFit, such as rope climbing, handstand push-ups, and more.

1. STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer

The STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer has earned my top spot for best CrossFit shoes in 2021. This model continually delivers strong performance across the board for both CrossFit and heavy lifting.

STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer Lifting

The medium-density midsole provides a strong blend of versatility and stability and I’ve trained well over 500 lbs in this model as well. In addition, this model also features a wider toe box that is comparable to what the Altra Escalante uses (if you’ve ever worn them!) and has a highly maneuverable outsole.

The outsole bends and flexes well to accommodate all styles of training. The upper construction is also durable and resilient to abrasion.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewSTR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer Review

 

2. R.A.D ONE

The R.A.D ONE is one of the newer cross-training shoes for 2022 and it’s a stellar model for CrossFit. This shoe features a midsole and outsole that when blended together walk a really good line between being versatile and stable. Whether you’re new CrossFit or maxing out your lifts, this shoe will support your needs really well.

In regard to durability for CrossFit workouts, this shoe’s rubber outsole wraps over the midsole which is awesome for both traction and additional durability for things like rope climbs where abrasion can tear up the midfoot.

The upper on this model has strategic layers to prolong durability around the toe and midfoot, which are both areas that can break down quickly with this style of training. For a newer model, I’m really impressed with the R.A.D ONE’s performance for CrossFit workouts. 

  • Best For: CrossFit
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 12.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: R.A.D recommends going up a half size, I went true and they fit fine (more on that in my review article)
  • Read My Review: R.A.D ONE Review

 

3. Nike Metcon 6

My second pick for CrossFit in 2021 is the Nike Metcon 6. This model features an incredibly stable construction, a dual-textured insole for versatility support, and multiple features to support the avid CrossFit athlete.

 

In this model, I’ve trained well over 500 lbs and have never had issues with stability and this model is fairly durable across the board. Plus, with the Nike Metcon 7’s release, you can usually find the Nike Metcon 6 marked down so it’s a win-win.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm (with removable 8mm Hyperlifter insert)
  • Weight: 12.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, but Toe Box Fits Slimmer
  • Read My Review: Nike Metcon 6 Review

 

4. Reebok Nano X

The Reebok Nano X is also another fantastic cross-training shoe for CrossFit. This model’s split outsole construction, rope guards, and high-density foam midsole provide an awesome blend of versatility, stability, and long-term durability.

In the Reebok Nano X, I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs with ease and really like to use this model for my athletic-focused training. The split outsole construction provides this shoe with awesome traction and the ability to really ground the feet when training.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.9 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Reebok Nano X Review

 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Lifting and the Gym

If you’re more of a recreational lifter and you want a pair of cross-training shoes for the gym, then you’re likely not as worried about some of the more CrossFit-geared features of some shoes. Great cross-training shoes for the gym and recreational lifting are those that are stable with a blend of versatility.

1. R.A.D ONE

The R.A.D ONE cross-training shoes are brand new on the cross-training shoe scene and they have been really strong performers for my lifts. This shoe features a Swell Foam midsole which is R.A.D’s proprietary midsole material and it provides a really nice level of stability. Another perk of the Swell Foam is that it’s a relatively responsibly-sourced material as well.

R.A.D ONE Training Shoes for crossfit and lifting

In the R.A.D ONE, I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs in them and squatted over 385 lbs and have had no issues with compression whatsoever. This shoe’s rubber outsole wraps over the midsole around the entirety of the shoe which also helps to add this shoe’s stability.

The R.A.D ONE features a 6mm heel-to-toe drop. I like this heel-to-toe drop for lifting, and I think it’s a nice in-between drop for most lifters who don’t want to train with a flat foot or overly elevated heel.

  • Best For: Heavy Lifting, CrossFit, and HIIT Workouts
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 12.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: R.A.D recommends going up a half size, I went true and they fit fine (more on that in my review article)
  • Read My Review: R.A.D ONE Review

 

2. Nike Metcon 6

The Nike Metcon 6 delivers a stable sole construction for even the heaviest training sessions. The tread in this model provides adequate grip and the split density insole provides a nice blend of forefoot versatility and midfoot/heel stability for heavy barbell lifts.

I also like that the Nike Metcon 6 comes with the additional Hyperlift insert. This helps bring the heel-to-toe drop from 4mm to 12mm which is awesome for the lifters that want a bit more heel elevation for their training goals. For the context of lifting and gym workouts, this can make the Nike Metcon 6 like a pseudo-lifting shoe in the event you want an “all-in-one” style gym shoe.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm (with removable 8mm Hyperlifter insert)
  • Weight: 12.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, but Toe Box Fits Slimmer
  • Read My Review: Nike Metcon 6 Review

 

3. FOOST Trainer HD210

The FOOST Trainer HD210 is a lesser-known cross-training shoe. This model gives me Nike Metcon 5 vibes in a good way and delivers a strong performance for lifting. This shoe has a 5mm heel-to-toe drop and comes with an additional insert that adds another 13mm to the heel. This is similar to the Hyperlift insert that comes with the Nike Metcon 5 and 6.

foost trainer hd210 for lifting

I like this for lifting because it provides you with a wider range of heel elevations to lift with. If you like having an elevated heel when hitting squats and other exercises, then you can easily turn this model into a pseudo-weightlifting shoe.

In this shoe, I’ve deadlifted well over 475 lbs and have squatted over 365 lbs without compression issues. The FOOST HD210 is also a really great model for CrossFit and casual HIIT training as well.

  • Best For: Lifting, CrossFit, and Casual HIIT
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 5mm (comes with an additional 13mm insert)
  • Weight: 11.4 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes (comes with two insoles, one for training and one for running)
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: FOOST Trainer HD210 Review

 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Men

Generally, men will want a cross-training shoe that has a slightly wider last. In addition, durability and stability are usually at the forefront of the types of cross-training men are looking for when they ask me for recommendations.

1. Reebok Nano X

It’s tough to beat the Reebok Nano X when it comes to tackling a variety of tasks in one shoe. The Reebok Nano X has a slightly wider toe box, has a durable upper construction, and the stability for crushing heavy lifts. When training over 500 lbs in this model, I never really notice an issue with compression whatsoever.

 

In addition, the high-density foam midsole in the forefoot makes this model a good option for the guys that like to blend athletic-focused training with their lifting. To top it off, this model is marked down pretty heavily right now due to the Reebok Nano X1’s release.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.9 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Reebok Nano X Review

 

2. Nike Metcon 6

For the guy that has a more neutral foot width, it’s hard to fault the Nike Metcon 6. This model can be highly versatile for the gym-loving guy and provides plenty of stability for maximal lifts. The dual-textured insole also provides a little versatility for the guy that likes to tackle athletic-focused training here and there.

Another perk to the Nike Metcon 6 in regard to lifting is that you receive an additional Hyperlift insert which gives you the option of increase the heel-to-drop from 4mm to 12mm to support lower body training goals. This lift provides a nice middle-ground for guys that don’t want to invest in weightlifting shoes.

  • Best For: Lifting, CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm (with removable 8mm Hyperlifter insert)
  • Weight: 12.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True, but Fits Slimmer
  • Read My Review: Nike Metcon 6 Review

 

3. Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is a model that often flys under most lifter’s radars. Personally, I love this shoe for tackling hybrid tasks in the gym. This model as a whole has been incredibly durable for me and has supported some of my heavier lifts. I noticed very little compression in this model when working over 450 lbs in deadlifts.

One of the biggest pros of this model is the Graphene construction — hence the “G” in the name. Graphene supports this model’s overall durability and ability to perform well with stability and versatility geared tasks.

  • Best For: Lifting, HIIT, CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 12.3 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Review

 

Best Cross Training Shoes for Women

Generally, when women ask me about cross-training shoes on my YouTube channel, they want models that provide a nice level of versatility, a fit that is conducive for their foot anatomy, and a nice level of stability.

1. Nike Metcon 7

For blending versatility, durability, and stability, I think the Nike Metcon 7 does a pretty solid job. Plus, this model has a more neutral fitting last so they’re not so wide that women feel like they’re swimming in this model. Additionally, the Nike React Foam midsole is reactive for a wide range of tasks.

 

Another nice perk of the Nike Metcon 7 is its overall weight and upper construction. This model is lighter than the Nike Metcon 6 by a slight margin and the chain-link upper construction does a good job at resisting friction from various objects in the gym.

I think the Metcon 7 does a good job for the athlete that likes to tackle a blend of training styles on a weekly basis. These shoes are stable enough for heavy lifting and provide a nice level of responsiveness for HIIT workouts and classes.

  • Best For: Lifting, HIIT, and CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 12.4 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Nike Metcon 7 Review

 

2. Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3

The Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 is seriously a slept-on cross-training shoe. This model has a lower 4mm heel-to-toe drop and a Dynamic Fascia Band construction that gives it a more “natural” feeling. Basically, it’s a great model to promote one’s feeling with the ground and its overall width is more neutral so its fits really well for most women.

The PowerFlow midsole in this shoe walks a nice line between stability and versatility, too. When you blend this with this model’s Dynamic Fascia Band Outsole you get a really nice reactive and maneuverable fit and feel.

For the athlete that loves lifting, tackling HIIT sessions, and lighter runs, the Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 is a great pick. The flexibility is solid, it’s lightweight, the fit feels athletic, and the stability is solid across the board.

  • Best For: Lifting, HIIT, Agility, and CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 10.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 Review

 

3. Nike React Metcon Turbo

The Nike React Metcon Turbo is also a great cross-training shoe for blending elements of stability and versatility together. This model features an outsole that has a disassociated construction between the heel and forefoot. Basically, the forefoot and heel rubber are separated so the outsole is highly mobile.

This is a nice touch for creating a shoe that has good maneuverability for things like classes and HIIT workouts. You can also train fairly heavy in this model without any issues which is a nice perk for anyone that wants these for lifting, too.

The React Metcon Turbo’s insole features Nike React Foam which helps to give this model a nice level of reactivity in HIIT and plyometric sessions. If you love a more “minimalist” style shoe that feels very athletic, then I think you’ll really like the Nike React Metcon Turbo.

  • Best For: Lifting, HIIT, Agility, and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 12 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: Length Is True, Width Is Narrower
  • Read My Review: Nike React Metcon Turbo Review

 

Best Cross-Training Shoes for Flat Feet

If you have flat feet, it can be a total drag trying to find the right cross-training shoes to accommodate your needs. Oftentimes, cross-training shoes are not the most conducive to flatter footed individuals, so below, I’ve provided three of my picks that I think do a decent job for lifters and athletes with flat feet.

1. Reebok Nano X1

The Reebok Nano X1 provides a slightly wider last and bit of arch support than prior Reebok Nano models. For flat-footed athletes, generally, the toe box in this model is wide enough to accommodate wider foot anatomy and the overall mid-foot is okay for providing some support.

reebok nano x1 lifting

The Nano X1 features Reebok’s signature Floatride Energy Foam throughout its midsole which gives this model a heightened level of reactivity compared to prior Reebok Nanos. In addition, the Reebok Nano X1 has a ton of iterations, so you can select a model that is conducive to your wants.

Personally, my favorite Reebok Nano X1 model is the Nano X1 Adventure!

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting, HIIT, Agility, and Lighter Runs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 7mm
  • Weight: 12.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Reebok Nano X1 Review

 

2. NOBULL Trainers

The NOBULL Trainers are another good option for those with flat feet. This model’s last is fairly wide throughout the forefoot, mid-foot, and heel, so if you have wider feet, you’ll likely not feel too cramped in this model. Additionally, the NOBULL Trainers have minimal arch support so if you have low arches, then this model will likely fit pretty well.

One of the other perks for some athletes with the NOBULL Trainer is that they’re consistent. Unlike other cross-training shoes that vary a ton and have varied last construction, the NOBULL Trainer is always a consistent and safe bet.

Plus, the high-density midsole and Superfabric upper on this model help provide adequate levels of stability and durability. Overall, the NOBULL Trainers provide an overall flatter surface area for lifters with flat feet and lower arches.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting, CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 10.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: NOBULL Trainers Review

 

3. PUMA Fuse

Believe it or not, the PUMA Fuse Training Shoe is a decent option for someone with flatter feet and lower arches. This model’s toe box has adequate room and the mid-foot offers a small level of support. Factor in the low-to-the-ground feel and this model is solid for flat-footed athletes with low arches.

This model’s outsole is flexible yet stable and for a first pass, PUMA did a fairly good job on this model. It’s not as hyper-focused on some CrossFit construction elements as other cross-training shoes, but for the price and for the wider footed athlete, I think this model does a pretty good job across the board.

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 10.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: PUMA Fuse Training Shoes Review

 

Best Cross-Training Shoes for HIIT and Classes

For testing shoes for HIIT workouts and classes, I’m most concerned with two things. The first I consider is how responsive a model is during high-impact activities. The second is around the shoe’s durability and how its outsole grips the floor.

1. Reebok HIIT 2

The Reebok HIIT 2 is a solid and consistent shoe for HIIT workouts and classes. This shoe features Reebok’s Floatride Energy Foam in its midsole and has a rubber outsole for additional traction. The Floatride Energy Foam gives this shoe a nice bounce and level of reactivity but doesn’t take away from its stability.

reebok hiit 2 for hiit workouts

For plyometrics, HIIT workouts, and other athletic-focused training, I think you’ll enjoy this model because the stability that it does provide assists with things like balance and ground feedback. For example, for single-leg work, this shoe has been a really strong performer and you get a lot of feedback from them.

  • Best For: HIIT Workouts and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Reebok HIIT 2 Review

 

2. HYLETE Circuit II Echo

The HYLETE Circuit II Echo is a strong performer in HIIT workouts and class settings. This shoe excels for HIIT workouts and classes for three key reasons. First, it comes with two different insoles that you can swap based on the activity you’re tackling. One insole provides you with a 4mm heel-to-toe drop while the other has an 8mm drop.

Second, this shoe has a medium-density foam midsole and a Vibram rubber outsole. The blend of these two provides this model with a nice level of responsiveness and grip on a variety of floors. If you’re doing classes on wood floors or tackling HIIT workouts on rubber gym mats, then you should be set with traction in this model.

hylete circuit ii echo for versatile workouts

Third, this shoe breathes really well and is lightweight. This model never really feels like a burden on the feet and they feel seamless in settings when sessions go longer or you’re training in hot environments and you want breathability.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting, HIIT Workouts, and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm and 8mm (two different insoles)
  • Weight: 10.4 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: HYLETE Circuit II Echo Review

 

3. UA Project Rock 4

The UA Project Rock 4 is a good option for HIIT workouts and classes and I’d suggest looking into this model if you also plan to lift in these shoes in addition to HIIT and classes. This model provides a nice blend of stability and responsiveness and that’s due to the Under Armour HOVR midsole used in this model.

Outside of the HOVR midsole, this shoe also features Under Armour’s signature TriBase tech on its outsole. This provides this shoe with a nice base that assists with balance and stability when doing plyometrics and other dynamic exercises.

I like this shoe because it can be a decently strong performer in so many different settings, and as a whole, the upper construction on this model is pretty durable.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting, HIIT Workouts, and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 13.6 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: UA Project Rock 4 Review

 

Best Cross-Training Shoes for Jump Rope

If you train with jump ropes often and need a highly responsive cross-training shoe, then the list below is perfect for you. All of the shoes listed below have reactive forefoot constructions for accommodating jump roping.

1. UA HOVR Rise 3

The UA HOVR Rise 3 model is a solid option for jump rope due to its HOVR midsole construction. The forefoot is reactive and provides a nice bounce for both jump rope and more athletic-style bounding activities. Under the forefoot, this model also has grooved under the forefoot to improve its overall “bounce” and break in fairly easily.

Outside of the HOVR midsole, this model also features Under Armour’s TriBase outsole technology which adds a nice mid-foot level of stability for other jumping-focused activities.

  • Best For: Jump Rope, HIIT, and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: No
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: UA HOVR Rise 3 Review

 

2. Reebok HIIT 2

The Reebok HIIT 2 is a solid budget-friendly model for jumping rope and other HIIT-focused bounding activities. This model has a responsive foam midsole and grooves throughout the outsole to increase this model’s flexibility from the onset of its first use.

I also like that this shoe can walk a good line between being great for HIIT workouts and classes, but also solid enough for light and moderate lifting. Factor in that it doesn’t break the bank and it’s a good all-in-one style of cross-training shoe for individuals that vary their training often.

In addition, this model also features a bootie-style design which provides a comfortable and lightweight feel. The best part about this model is its overall price and if you plan to mostly jump rope in them, then this is a good pick for you.

  • Best For: Jump Rope, HIIT, and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Reebok HIIT 2 Review

 

3. Nike React Metcon Turbo

The Nike React Metcon Turbo is probably the most athletic feeling shoe on this entire list. This model may not be as soft overall as the above two options, however, if you’re someone that likes a little shoe stiffness for jump rope, then this model will be the best fit for you.

The low-profile design and breathable construction make this shoe a joy for jump roping for longer durations for the athlete that loves more athletic-style footwear. The bounce you get in this model is from Nike React Foam in the insole.

  • Best For: Jump Rope, Lifting, HIIT, Agility, and Classes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 12 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: Length Is True, Width Is Narrower
  • Read My Review: Nike React Metcon Turbo Review

 

Best Cross-Training Shoes for Running

It’s important to note that when I reference running in cross-training shoes, I’m specifically talking about shorter runs. Cross-training shoes are not ideal for mid-range and longer runs, so in the context of shorter runs, in this article, I’m referencing running three miles and below.

1. ON Cloud X Training Shoes

The Cloud X Training Shoes are a fantastic option for the lifter that wants to tackle runs on a regular basis and doesn’t plan to train super heavy. This model is incredibly lightweight, features ON’s CloudTec midsole technology, and is okay for casual lifts up to 225 lbs.

If you’re running 1-3 miles, this shoe is perfect for you especially if you train on the lifter side. Of all the cross-training shoes up here, this is the model to go for if you prioritize running over lifting heavy in a regular training session.

  • Best For: Shorter Runs, Light Lifting, HIIT, Agility
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 8.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: On Cloud X Review

 

2. STR/KE MVMNT Vimana Hybrid Runner

The STR/KE MVMNT Vimana Hybrid Runner is a phenomenal model for tackling trail runs, road runs, decently heavy lifts, and it works well as a daily driver. This model features STR/KE MVMNT’s Cush50™ EVA/EPE Midsole which provides a nice blend of stability and versatility.

I’ve trained up to 455 lbs in this shoe with no issues and have tackled 4-mile trail runs and this model has performed well across the board. This model also features STR/KE MVMNT’s Meta Platform outsole which provides ample ground feedback and stability and an Omni-directional tread for outdoor training. The Vimana Hybrid Runner is definitely worth looking into if you love trail running and lifting and want a shoe for tackling it all.

  • Best For: Trail Runs, Road Runs, Lifting, Daily Wear
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 10.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: STR/KE MVMNT Vimana Hybrid Runner

 

3. Reebok Nano X1 Adventure (For Outdoor Runs)

The Reebok Nano X1 Adventure has been my favorite cross-training shoe for casual trail runs. This model features a beefed-up lug pattern that grips most gravel and dirt surfaces really well. I’ve been using mine mostly on trails in Golden, Colorado, and they’ve been awesome for shorter trail runs.

In addition to the reworked outsole lug thickness, this model also features a Flexweave construction that is easy to clean and fairly durable from outer abrasion which is also great for trail running.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting, HIIT, Agility, and Lighter Runs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 7mm
  • Weight: 12.1 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Reebok Nano X1 Adventure Review

 

Cross-Training Shoe Benefits

Cross-training shoes have surged in popularity over the last decade with the boom of CrossFit and mass acceptance of more women and men resistance training. By nature, cross-training shoes are designed to tackle a wide variety of needs, wants, and preferences.

If you’re looking into cross-training shoes — especially for the first time — it’s important to understand some of the benefits that come along with this style of footwear. This way you’ll know exactly how to answer, “Why cross-training shoes?”

1. Great Versatility

The first benefit of cross-training shoes is their ability to tackle a wide variety of tasks. Whether you’re lifting, tackling plyometrics, HIIT training, or CrossFit workouts, cross-training shoes will usually be able to stand up to the task.

It’s important to note that some cross-training shoes will ebb and flow in regard to their specialties. For example, some shoes will be on the more stable end of the spectrum while others will provide more versatility.

2. Firmer Midsoles and Outsoles

A lot of cross-training shoes are designed to support heavy lifting. In general, compared to more general training shoes and running shoes, cross-training shoes will utilize more high-density foams in their midsoles and firmer rubbers in their outsoles.

Nike Metcon 7 Vs Reebok Nano X1 Showdown

The blend of these two construction components helps this style of shoe compress very little under external loads. So, if you’re squatting heavy, cleaning, snatching, or training recreationally, these shoes will help provide you with a more stable base compared to their peers.

3. Specialty Construction Features

The cool thing about cross-training shoes is that they all come with their own list of unique features. Some shoes are better at supporting niche activities like rope climbs, while others are better for supporting maximal loads over 500 lbs.

When searching for cross-training shoes, generally, you’ll start to see trends of certain construction traits that correspond to functionality purposes that more general training shoes lack and don’t possess.

How Should Cross-Training Shoes Fit?

A cross-training shoe’s fit will be individual, however, as a general rule of thumb, you’ll likely want between .2-.6″ of room in the toe box. This will provide enough room to avoid jamming the toes excessively in every workout while also not making them too loose to where you experience heel slip.

how should cross training shoes fit (1)

It’s important to recognize that every shoe will fit slightly differently and this is due to the multiple types of lasts companies can use when creating models. This is why some models feel wider than others, it’s not you, it’s the companies using different last (foot molds) to create their models.

If a cross-training shoe’s fit feels weird on you, then I’d highly suggest looking for models that have molds that work better for your foot’s anatomy. Trial and error will be your best bet as you find your ideal pairs and brands that work well for you.

How to Clean Cross-Training Shoes

If you want your cross-training shoes to last, then you’re going to want to clean somewhat regularly to avoid the build-up of dust, dirt, and other materials that can cause polyurethanes and foams to break down.

I always recommend spot cleaning cross-training shoes and using a three-pronged approach to do thoroughly. DO NOT put your cross-training shoes in your washing and drying machines. Instead, follow the four steps below for properly cleaning cross-training shoes.

How to clean training shoes

  • Step 1: Grab your cross-training shoes, a clean washcloth, a soft soap void of harsh dyes and fragrances, and you’ll need lukewarm water.
  • Step 2: Get your washcloth a little wet with lukewarm water and dab less than a dime’s size amount of soap on the damp washcloth.
  • Step 3: Remove your cross-training shoe’s insoles and spot clean areas on the shoes that need a little attention. Do not soak your shoes. Repeat this process of getting your washcloth damp and rubbing trouble areas until your shoes look noticeably cleaner. If you have bright colorways, rub softly to avoid ruining your shoe’s colorway.
  • Step 4: Once you’re satisfied with your shoe’s appearance, place them by a vent or dry area in your house and keep their insoles removed until fully dried.

If you do this regularly and take the time to properly clean your cross-training shoes, then you’ll make them last longer which can be a good thing for prolonging your favorite shoe’s lifespan.

How I Rank Cross-Training Shoes

Every cross-training shoe featured in this article has been personally reviewed by me and tested in a similar format. By testing models in a similar format, I can then draw more context between shoes and where they’ll be the most appropriate.

Cross-training shoes are designed for different activities based on the context of their construction. That being said, when I have cross-training shoes that are specifically designed for certain activities, I’ll then take my standard approach and create a slight bias towards their specificity.

what are cross training shoes (1)

In layman’s terms, if I have a cross-training shoe that is designed specifically for CrossFit and a cross-training shoe that is designed specifically for HIIT workouts, then I’ll test each model with my standard review format, then create additional testing biases accordingly.

For the CrossFit model, I’ll do things like more heavy lifting, rope climbs, and burpees, which are specific to this style of training. I’ll then assess how the shoe performs and its durability for these specific CrossFit-focused activities. For the HIIT model, I’ll do full sessions where I tackle dynamic full-body workouts and class-style workouts.

That being said, since both of these shoes in our example are cross-training shoes, I’ll test them with my standard testing process, then I’ll create additional biases accordingly to create more context within my cross-training shoe reviews.

Key Cross-Training Shoe Performance Areas That I’m Looking At

Outside of physically testing every model, I’m also making consistent notes on certain areas of each cross-training shoe’s construction. Basically, areas on the shoe that matter most for cross-training and working out. The key areas I’m looking at and comparing to other models and asking questions about can be seen below.

  • Midsole: How responsive and stable is it for lifting, jumping, etc.? How does it compare to other cross-training shoes in its class?
  • Outsole: How much traction does it provide on different surfaces? Does it work well for outdoor sessions? How durable is it long-term?
  • Upper: Does it breathe well? Is it durable against abrasion based on how it is intended to be used? How lightweight and maneuverable is it?
  • Sizing: Does a shoe run large, small, or do they fit true-to-size? How does this compare to prior models in the shoe line and other similar shoes? How long do they take to break in? How wide is their toe box? How much volume is there in this shoe?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:

What are cross-training shoes good for?

A:

Cross-training shoes get their name from being able to crossover multiple training disciplines. In cross-training shoes, you can lift, do HIIT workouts, athletic-focused training, tackle shorter runs, and much more.

Q:

How should cross-training shoes fit?

A:

I always recommend having between .2-.6 of space in the toe box of your cross-training shoes. This is usually enough space to prevent toe jamming and heel slip. If you have a wider foot, then I’d suggest sticking towards the larger end of the range.

Q:

Is it OK to run in cross-training shoes?

A:

You can tackle shorter runs in cross-training shoes. I’d suggest capping your mileage to 3-miles max in more versatile cross-training shoes like the On Cloud X and 1-mile for cross-training shoes that are more stable in nature like the Nike Metcon 6.

Takeaway Thoughts

The cross-training shoe game continues to innovate just like the talent in strength sports and the training methodologies we use on a weekly basis. There are countless options on the market, so it’s totally normal if you feel overwhelmed especially if you’re new to cross-training shoes.

If you ever have any questions at all, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally on Instagram (@jake_boly), and I’ll gladly help direct you to the best models for your contextual needs.

Best Cross-Training Shoes In 2022

  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for CrossFit: STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for the Gym: R.A.D ONE
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for Men: Reebok Nano X
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for Women: Nike Metcon 7
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for Flat Feet: Reebok Nano X1
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for HIIT: 
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for Jump Rope: UA HOVR Rise 3
  • Best Cross-Training Shoe for Running: ON Cloud X

*Subject to change as more cross-training shoes are tested and reviewed!

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

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