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Selecting the right CrossFit shoe

-- Reece Billington

The World is awash with a new (or relatively new) exercise phenomenon. It’s called CrossFit, and it’s sweeping the World by storm. New Zealand is no stranger to CrossFit, and there are already thirty odd gyms (well actually, CrossFitters call them ‘boxes’) around the country. Within each of these ‘boxes’ you’ll find a vast array of weights, ropes, tyres etc, supplemented by a repertoire of motivating and base heavy beats, screaming and encouraging supporters, and determined, sweat soaked athletes.

These CrossFitters come in a number of forms, from young and muscle bound heavyweights, through to not so young and not so muscle bound beginners. It’s hugely popular for both men and women as a strength and conditioning programme that enables the CrossFitter to develop a well rounded, total-body fitness.

As the CrossFitter partakes in so many different activities, it’s important that they wear versatile footwear that can assist them to perform as best they can over those activities. inov-8 have developed a range of shoes suitable for CrossFit and it’s important that the athlete selects the right type of shoe for them. As with most activities there are tradeoffs, and CrossFit is no different. Here are a few inov-8 shoes that are suitable for CrossFitters:

F lite 230 – Originally designed as a hard pack trail shoe, it’s arguably become the must-have shoe for CrossFitters around the World. It’s lightweight, flexible, and breathable, with a flat and dimpled sole. Most importantly, it has a two arrow shoc zone and 6mm differential which combines to create a fantastic transitional shoe for someone that has previously worn highly cushioned trainers.

F lite 195 – Very similar to the f lite 230, but with a one arrow shoc zone and 3mm differential. This means that the foot is positioned slightly lower to the ground and on less of downwards slope, which will enable the athlete to be more stable when weight lifting. However, it also means that the athlete will need to absorb more running and jumping impact through their body, rather than through the cushioning in the shoe. Great option for someone looking to progress from the f lite 230.

Both the f lite 230 and f lite 195 are based on the performance last (or width) which some athletes find a little too narrow.

Bare xf 210 – Touted as the World’s first CrossFit specific shoe. It too is lightweight, flexible, and breathable, with the added benefit of the new ropeguard, a TPU lacing support system for increased protection when climbing ropes. The bare xf 210 is zero arrow shoc zone and 0 differential, which means that the foot is positioned as close as possible to the ground, almost as though you’re not wearing a shoe. This is perfect for maximum feel and stability, but a word of caution, you’ll need to transition into this shoe carefully! Best to adapt yourself to this new foot position with the likes of the f lite series first, especially if you’re heavy, inflexible, or inexperienced!

If you need a slightly wider fitting shoe, with the typical inov-8 benefit of being lightweight, breathable, flexible etc, you may be best with one of the road x shoes. The road x range is based on the anatomic last which is slightly wider around the forefoot, but there is still the option of two arrow shoc zone and three arrow shoc zone.

So there you have it, there are a number of options for CrossFitters in the footwear department. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us on 09 278 0099 or email us at