CrossFit Shoes vs. Running Shoes – A Detailed Comparison Guide

At first glance, CrossFit shoes and Running shoes look very similar. However, they are not! 

The rights shoes can have a significant impact on your workout. Wearing the wrong shoe will not only be uncomfortable but will also reduce performance and increase the risk of injuries.

So before you buy shoes for working out, it is necessary to know the difference between running and CrossFit shoes.

Hence, in this article, we will explain the differences between CrossFit shoes and running shoes and identify their specific features and uses.

You can find similar articles at : Are CrossFit Shoes Good for Running?

What are CrossFit Shoes?

CrossFit shoes are specially designed footwear to support CrossFit training. These shoes are built to be an all-rounder that supports all types of diverse CrossFit training, from weight-lifting to HIIT to sprints. Consequently, a CrossFit shoe is firm, durable, and heavy to support and withstand intense training.

It provides maximum stability and support for heavy exercises such as weight-lifting. At the same time, it ensures that your feet are comfortable and protected during your training. 

The low and dense heels, the wide toe, the firm sole, the solid body - all these features combine to create a shoe that fits all the requirements. The purpose is to ensure the highest possible performance while limiting the risk of injuries.

What are Running Shoes?

Running shoes are specifically devised for maximum impact while running. The shoes are designed in a way that helps to move forward by supporting a heel-to-toe movement.  The shoes are light-weight and high shock absorbent, which aids to withstand force and help in frontward steps. The high and dense heels, curved soles, arced tips, and mesh body further assist fast movements. 

These shoes are intended for stretching or regular running. Hence, there are different categories of running shoes to meet your needs. Depending on whether you want to run a marathon, go for a leisure jog or run to get fit -  You can choose from barefoot, minimalist running shoes or stable and highly cushioned running shoes.

CrossFit Shoes vs. Running Shoes

The main differences between running shoes and CrossFit shoes are as follows –

  • Heel Drop

The first and easily visible between CrossFit shoes and Running shoes is the height of the heel. 

Running shoes have a heel drop of 8 mm to 12 mm, while in CrossFit shoes; the maximum heel drop is between 4mm to 6 mm.   

Traditional running shoes have a high heel drop with dense cushioning for maximum impact while running. It helps to shift the stress from the lower leg and provide more support, thereby reducing the risk of strained muscles.

On the contrary, a low heel drop in CrossFit shoes provides more stability and lateral support. It gives more efficient pivoting and push-off by lowering the center of gravity, distributing body weight evenly, and rooting your feet firmly to the ground. So, it helps to reduce the possibilities of injuries during heavy and intense training.

  • Sole

Running shoes have a thick and foamy sole. It gives a spring like and responsive feel that provides more support while running. It also helps to feel energized throughout the run. 

On the contrary, cross-training shoes have flat and wide soles. It helps the shoes to remain firm and stable during different exercises. The design helps to hold you in place and maintain balance during weight lifting and lateral movements.

  • Weight

Running shoes are lightweight to aid fast movement without causing fatigue. CrossFit shoes are comparatively heavier than running shoes as they are made to provide more stability and protection during exercises.

  • Durability

CrossFit shoes are designed to perform a variety of high-intensity tasks, so the prime concern for a CrossFit shoe is durability. They are sturdy and durable to withstand any training and give the best possible output. It also focuses on the maximum protection for the foot to the risk of strains and injuries.

Maybe not as much as Cross trainers, but running shoes are durable too. However, the more run more in them, the faster the groove and texture will fade away into smoothness.

  • Breathability

Running generates a lot of heat, so the shoes are made with a decent amount of mesh to make them breathable. The design allows free airflow and prevents trapping sweat and humidity inside the shoe. It helps to keep the feet cool and dry during the run.

CrossFit shoes, on the other hand, are made of thick and heavy materials. It makes them durable enough to withstand intense training but reduces breathability heavily.

  • Movement

CrossFit shoes are designed to suit various types of training. CrossFit trainers work best for sudden and lateral motion. Running shoes, on the other hand, supports heel-to-toe movement. They are devised particularly for forward movement.

Crossfit Shoes vs Running Shoes

Photo by victor-freitas

Are the Two Types of Shoes Interchangeable?

Cross-training comprises a variety of training activities, from jumping to weight lifting to cardio to circuit training. A running shoe may be used for all those activities, but it might not be the best choice. 

Running shoes are built for a forward movement, while cross-training is more focused on lateral movements. Moreover, running shoes are not stable enough for weight-lifting or heavy training. 

While it is not completely impossible to use running shoes for cross-training, but it will significantly lower performance and increase the risk of injury. Besides, it will also make the shoes wear out faster.

On the contrary, Cross-trainers are not a good swap for running shoes either. While you can use them for short runs or warm-up sessions occasionally, they are not ideal for long distances. These shoes are made for side-to-side workouts and are not likely to support continued forward movements.

CrossFit shoes are heavy, so they will only slow you down and make you tired if you try running in them. Moreover, running in a CrossFit shoe will cause back pain, if not any serious injuries. 

Bottom Line

To summarize, CrossFit shoes and Running shoes are different in many ways. So, if you are a frequent runner, then running shoes are the best option for you. But if your training involves a variety of intense workouts, cross-trainers should be your go-to.

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