We’ve evaluated dozens of cross training, minimalist and court shoes from multiple manufacturers to narrow down the field and make your decision of which shoe to use during P90X3 a much easier one. Our overall winner for best shoes for P90X3 is the Reebok Crossfit Speed TR and we’ll get into the reasons why below:
Most people are under the impression that they can simply strap on whatever sneaker they have in their closet and it will work perfectly well for any workout. Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case – in fact, wearing the wrong style shoe during a unique and intense workout like P90X3 can not only limit your ability to perform the movements properly, it can ultimately result in injury.
Running shoes might seem like an obvious choice, but you’ve got to remember that most top quality shoes are designed with a very specific purpose in mind – to propel you forward as quickly and comfortably as possible. During a P90X3 workout you will be moving forward, backward, side to side with quick stops and jumps, running shoes simply aren’t built for that style of movement.
Things like the weight of the shoe, quality of construction, grip and sole all play a major impact in just how well a shoe will perform and hold up during a P90X3 workout. A low quality shoe could blow out during hard lateral movements or plyometric sequences ruining your workout and potentially causing injury. A shoe that is too heavy could limit movement or fatigue your lower body too early in the workout for you to continue at the torrid pace necessary to get big results.
Thankfully the explosion of workout programs like P90X3, the Beach Body series and Crossfit style training has prompted major footwear companies to focus on producing shoes that allow athletes to perform at a high level during specifically during this style of activity.
Reebok Builds Shoes for Movement
Reebok has a major sponsorship agreement with Crossfit – while other shoe brands continued to focus on sports like running and basketball, Reebok began developing shoes for the explosive movements of Crossfit athletes. Like Crossfit, P90X3 features multi-lateral movement, explosive jumps and plyometrics and Reebok is the leader of the pack in developing shoes specifically for these athletes.
Range of Motion
Forward, backward, up, down, sprawl, side to side… You can’t make these movements efficiently and effectively with ankle mobility. A shoe that is too high on the ankle will restrict movement and make P90X3 workouts uncomfortable and more difficult to work through. The Reebok Crossfit Speed TR manages to provide a full range of motion while still providing the support and stability you need to safely complete the wide array of movements that comprise the P90X3 workouts.
A mesh and synthetic upper makes the Reebok Crossfit Speed TR super lightweight – and if you have never done a P90X style workout, let me assure you that lightweight shoes are an absolute essential. During P90X3 workouts you are almost constantly in motion and your movements need to be quick in order to make the most of each session. An unnecessarily heavy pair of sneakers can weigh you down and make movements sluggish, you’ll also fatigue faster which means less calories burned.
With all of the jumps, hops and explosive movements it would seem like a heavily padded sole would make for the most comfortable situation. As we discussed above though, the thick and heavily curved soles you tend to see on running shoes are designed primarily for forward propulsion – if you want to get the most out of your P90X3 workout though, a shoe with a flat sole that allows for effective lateral movement actually creates a safer and more comfortable workout for your feet and lower legs.
Reebok has also taken the style of movement during P90X3 workouts into consideration with the Crossfit Speed TR as well. The rubber sole delivers excellent traction on all surfaces during all planes of movement – regardless the lift, jump, shuffle you are executing you can feel confident that you’ll remain stable and upright.
We talked a little bit about the mesh and synthetic upper above in the section about weight, but it merits mentioning again here for an entirely different (though equally important) reason. P90X3 workouts are designed to get you hot and sweaty – it takes a lot of work to completely transform your body in such a short period of time and you get do it without turning your body’s motor into overdrive.
If you wear a heavy, leather pair of sneakers you run the risk of getting overheated during your workout. This can force you to quit early on sets or put forth less effort during your last few sets which can sabotage your results. Having a shoe that is lightweight and breathable will keep you cooler and allow you to continue working at 100% during your workouts which gives you a much better chance of smashing your goals.
Fit and Comfort
The Reebok Crossfit Speed TR aren’t what you would consider a “minimalist” shoe, but they do offer great flexibility and allow the foot to move naturally. You get the perfect amount of cushioning through the heel and midsole – the Crossfit Speed TR isn’t obtrusive at all, but delivers enough padding to mitigate the pain of repeated impact.
With most workout shoes, you can’t wait to get out of them once your workout is complete – that isn’t the case with the Reebok Crossfit Speed TR. These shoes are comfortable – and not just workout comfortable – you can wear them before, during and after workouts, during work, sports or leisure activities with no issue at all.
P90X3 is insanely popular, and there are a number of workout programs and disciplines that share similar styles of movement. Reebok may be the most ingrained brand in this style of workout, but other top brands aren’t too far behind. We take a look at a few other top options for those of you who want to explore alternative options:
Asics Gel Craze TR 4
Asics may not have the clout of the Nikes and Reeboks of the world, but they certainly excel when it comes to producing comfortable, high performance shoes for athletes. The Asics Gel Craze TR 4 are super lightweight and very comfortable. These shoes are flexible without sacrificing anything in terms of stability. You can move well in all directions and the sole has outstanding grip. The one big potential knock on the Gel Craze TR 4 is that they don’t seem to hold up over the long term as well as the Reebok Crossfit TR.
Nike Metcon 2
It’s almost tough to put together a “best of” athletic shoe list without an inclusion from Nike. Nike has been producing footwear for athletes at the highest level of all sports for decades and their cross training effort is among the top of the heap for performing P90X3 style workouts.
The Metcon 2 features outstanding cushioning through the midsole that doesn’t break down over time. This means you get a comfortable fit from the time you take them out of the box until the time you “retire” them. The Metcon 2 are also made from the best materials and are built to last – you won’t have any issues grinding through the toughest and most intense workouts in these shoes.
The only potential downside is the price – the Metcon 2 carries a price tag a bit higher than most of the other shoes on our list which may put it out of range for the fitness enthusiast who is on a budget.
New Balance 20v5 Minimus
Minimalist shoes got put on the map with the release of the book Born to Run back in 2009 and have been gaining popularity in many circles over the past few years. Weightlifters, runners and crossfitters have all embraced the minimalist shoe or barefoot workout and the New Balance 20v5 Minimus is the best of the bunch if you are inclined to go the “bare” route.
The 20v5 Minimus are super flexible which creates a very natural feel during ground contact. You get an excellent range of motion throughout the entire foot in a package that is far more subtle than your typical “toe shoe”.
The 20v5 Minimus feature excellent traction and, despite being designed to be “barely there,” they are very durable and hold up well to the use and abuse of P90X3 workouts.
The potential downside for the 20v5 Minimus is that some people just may not be ready for them. If you’ve spent your entire adult life in the most cushioned, shock absorbing, extra support boots and shoes, suddenly switching to barefoot or minimalist footwear workouts can be a big shock to the system. This transition can require time and if you jump in too quickly you may be putting yourself in a position for unnecessary discomfort which could shorten your workouts.
Most of the shoes on our list can be found for less than $100, so even P90X3 trainees on a budget shouldn’t be limited too much by price. If you are looking for the best all-around shoe in terms of comfort and performance in your P90X3 workouts (or in CrossFit or plyometrics…) get your feet into the Reebok Crossfit Speed TR.
If price is no object and you are a hardcore Nike fan, the Metcon 2 is an outstanding shoe. For those of you that are part of the minimalist footwear movement or who have been going barefoot for a while and just need a little support for workouts, the New Balance 20v5 Minimus should be on your wish list.