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CrossFit Shoes vs Weightlifting Shoes

CrossFit Shoes vs Weightlifting Shoes: Which Shoes are Best for Your Workout?

When performing heavy lifts, you need stability and support to reduce the risk of injury. While weightlifting shoes help provide this support, they also have a few limitations. They are designed for a specific purpose and may not offer the versatility needed for CrossFit workouts.

CrossFit Shoes vs Weightlifting Shoes

If you are looking for the best shoes for your workout, choosing the correct shoes means matching the demands of the activity with the features and design of the shoe.

With any kind of shoe that has a raised heel you will be able to get a little more depth in terms of knee flexion.

But a shoe should not be used as a substitute for poor flexibility in the ankle joint.

Instead these deficiencies should be fixed with proper mobility drills and stretching.

Both kinds of shoes should however share the same basic features:

  • Comfortable shape for your foot
  • Correctly sized
  • Made from quality materials
  • Be durable enough to withstand lots of abuse

Each type of shoes has their particular strengths and weaknesses. We'll break down the merits of each shoe below.

Weightlifting Shoes Feature a Solid Raised Heel

With heavy lifting, your heels press toward the ground. The padding used in running shoes offers too much cushioning and your feet may shift when lifting.

Unlike running shoes, weightlifting shoes have limited padding and a solid heel to offer more stability. The heel is typically made of a solid material such as wood, plastic, or leather.

Weightlifting shoes also include a raised heel to limit the range of motion for your ankles. This makes it easier to transition into a deep squat while keeping your back straight. The typical heel height can vary between one and three inches.

Another useful feature of lifting shoes is the midsole strap. This extra support helps keep your feet secure and avoid slipping or shifting. The strap is often located over the midsole, some lifting shoes include multiple straps.

While these features make weightlifting shoes ideal for heavy lifting, they may not be the best option for other types of workouts such as running or CrossFit training.

CrossFit Shoes Provide a Balance of Features

CrossFit workouts include a lot of quick movements and transitions. You may switch from a squat to a sprint, perform rope climbs, or jump rope.

Cross-training includes a wide variety of moves and lifting shoes may be too rigid for some of these exercises. However, running shoes are still too soft and padded.

Shoes for CrossFit provide many of the features found in lifting shoes with a few modifications to make them more versatile. They still have a slightly raised heel made with a stable material. However, instead of wood or plastic, you are more likely to find rubber heels.

The heels of the cross-training shoes are more flexible while still providing enough stability for heavy lifting. This also offers enough shock absorption for running and sprinting during a CrossFit workout.

CrossFit shoes are also more likely to feature breathable design and materials compared to weightlifting shoes. The use of mesh and other breathable materials help prevent sweating and overheating.

The final difference between these two types of shoes is the low profile of CrossFit shoes.

The difference in height between the heel and the toe (heel to toe drop) is often seven millimeters or less. The heel is less elevated than the lifting shoe for better performance when running and jumping.

Should You Choose CrossFit or Lifting Shoes?

Wearing the right gear is essential for any workout, including cross-training and weightlifting. CrossFit and lifting shoes both provide the stability that is necessary for safe, effective lifting. They also feature soles with proper grip and traction.

However, if you plan to perform CrossFit workouts, you will want the versatility provided by cross-training shoes.