What CrossFit Equipment Do I Need?

It’s easy to get lost in a sea of tall neon socks, joint wraps, and expensive weightlifting shoes. Here’s the CrossFit equipment you need to get started.

Nowadays there are so many CrossFit accessories on the market, it’s hard to know what’s necessary when you’re just getting started. Let’s sort out what should be in your gym bag– it’s much simpler than you might think!

Necessity: Flat Shoes

Most CrossFitters start out in their running shoes. That’s totally fine in the short term, when you’re still learning with PVC pipes and training barbells. However, running shoes aren’t the perfect shoe for CrossFit, as they will roll you forward towards your toes– perfect for running, not great for lifting weights.

At some point you’ll want to purchase a minimalist cross trainer, shoes with little cushioning and thin, non-slip soles, and a vert short heel drop (difference in height from the heel to the toes). On the upside, the reduced cushioning means the shoe lasts longer than the typical sneaker. Heck, your good old Chuck Taylors fit that description!

Here are our top picks:

  • Reebok Nano. Newest styles available through Rogue Fitness. Head to Ellenton Premium Outlets for discounts on older, equally awesome versions!
  • Nike Metcon 1. Nike finally breaks into the CrossFit market, to rave reviews. Find these kicks at Rogue Fitness or Eastbay.
  • New Balance Minimus. Recommended for medium width feet. Available here in St. Petersburg at Feet First and sometimes at TJ Maxx!
  • Inov-8 F-Lite 235. Available through Rogue Fitness or shop local at Fit2Run.

Necessity: Fitted Clothing

Over time, you’ll want to accumulate a CrossFit wardrobe of clothes you can move well in– and fit is much more important than price.

You’ll want to choose workout clothes that are cut somewhat close to your body, as it will help your coach accurately read your form. Stretchier materials will move with you, keeping your butt covered when you squat, and wick sweat as you WOD.

Sure, everyone wants to look good while they WOD, but remember: Function trumps fashion every time!

Necessity: Tall Socks

On rope climb day, you’ll be thankful you have these babies in your gym bag! CrossFitters are famous for donning bright, gaudy tall socks, but they’re more functional than you might think. They’ll protect your shins from a serious rope burn, and can keep the bar from scraping your legs on max deadlift day.

Upside: They’re super cheap and come in as many designs as you can imagine. Reason enough not to get caught with naked shins!

Rx+: RockTape Skin Shins or Rx Smart Gear Shin Guards slip on and off in a flash.

Necessity: Jump Rope

CrossFit9 is stocked with dozens of jump ropes for your convenience, but when you’re learning double unders, it can be frustrating to adjust to a different rope every time. We recommend a classic speed rope to start, such as:

Rx+: Advanced athletes may like the whip-fast RPM Speed Rope 2.0, or check out the highly customizable handles, rope weights, and bearing types at Rx Smart Gear.

Gear for Advanced CrossFit Athletes

Your toes-to-bar and pull-ups are coming along steadily. You’re starting to move some weight on your lifts. You might want to add a couple more items to your toolkit:

Weightlifting shoes. If you’re wearing them mainly for WODs, you may opt for a hybrid pair with a more flexible forefoot, like the Inov-8 Fastlift 335, or the Reebok Lifter 2.0. A classic weightlifting shoe is usually preferred mainly for strength work, featuring a stiff sole and 1/2″=3/4″ heel. The old standbys are the Nike Romaleo 2 (solid, best for wider feet), and the Adidas AdiPower (more flexible, best for medium-narrow feet).

Hand Protection. Practice safe sets… of pull-ups! No one wants to tear their mitts.

We like The Natural Grip (pictured) so much, we sell them in the CrossFit9 Pro Shop as a set with a roll of tape!

If you like full hand protection, opt for gloves. Rogue Vented Gloves are an awesome all-around option for pushing hot sleds, pull-ups, and flipping tires. Mechanix Gloves are another readily available, durable favorite. No seam along the palm means no uncomfortable rubbing.

Wrist Wraps & Knee Sleeves. The need for joint compression can vary widely amongst athletes. If you can go without it, do so.

That said, if your knees could use some love, the Rehband Knee Sleeve is a classic for a reason. The light neoprene support feels nice on achy knees, protects during burpees, and they hold up for repeated washer-dryer visits. Full-on knee wraps like those by Sling Shot are best left for heavy squat days and PR attempts.

The compression of wrist wraps are often preferred for high-rep overhead workouts. Fabric wrist wraps are great for chippers and multipurpose WOD use. Just twist ’em to adjust tightness in a flash. Stiffer versions are useful for weightlifting and pressing days.

Weight Lifting Belts. Use these sparingly, correctly, and especially if you have a history of back or core stability problems.

We worked with High Impact Fitness of St. Petersburg, FL to design our own CrossFit weight lifting belt. (pictured) We wanted a great all-around belt, comfortable enough for a WOD and strong enough for your next PR.

(Bonus: Not sure if you’re using your belt properly? Check out this article at EliteFTS.com for the lowdown.)

You’ll always want to get as much of your nutrition from real food sources as possible. But when you’re caught without a post-WOD snack, that’s where supplements like whey protein come in handy to start the muscle recovery process.

We’re in love with the entire Stronger Faster Healthier whey protein line, thanks to their super-high standards. It’s one of the only supplement companies that can brag about their hormone-free, grass fed, free range cows and A2 proteins (safe for many lactose-sensitive athletes). SFH Pure, Fuel, and Recovery whey products are available in the CrossFit9 Pro Shop!

FREE GIFT! Take home a CrossFit9 shaker with your purchase of a 2-pound bag of SFH Fuel or Recovery! While supplies last!)

Still unsure which accessories are worth your hard-earned money? Ask your CrossFit9 coach! It’s likely we’ve tried just about everything on the market.

Have a favorite piece a of CrossFit gear we missed? Tell us in the comments!