One of the most common questions we get from a new CrossFitter is what do they need to wear to the gym? Do they need a weight belt? Knee sleeves? Wrist wraps? Special clothes? Special shoes?
The answer to most of the above is NO. You don't need much to get ready for CrossFit. Wear comfortable clothes that you can move in but won't get snagged on any equipment. Don't get a weight belt, knee sleeves or any support devices (unless a doctor advises because of a pre-existing condition) for at least six months, if not longer.
But shoes are another story. Every sport has a special type of shoe. Soccer players wear cleats. Track athletes have racing spikes. Basketball players wear shoes designed to help with shock absorption and ankle support.
So what do CrossFitters wear? For the Weightlfiting component, you'll see many athletes taking out Nike Romaleos or Adidas Adipowers. Both shoes offer a hard plastic heel that enables you to maintain solid footing under a barbell. The velcro straps help keep the shoe tight on the foot. The height of the heel (higher on an Olympic Weightlifiting shoe than on a Powerlifting shoe) will enhance your ankle flexibility and enable you to get a deeper, more upright squat. Make sure you are continuing to work on your own flexibilty though so that you do not become dependant upon them.
These hard, inflexible shoes are not designed for CrossFit though. Both Reebok and Nike make shoes that are deisgned to crossover from weightlifting to WODs. Reebok makes the Nano and Nike makes the Metcon. Both shoes have a stable sole, provide good ankle support and have enough flexibility to make them great for things like box jumps and running. They also have features that help with rope climbs and handstand pushups. Whether you prefer the Metcon or Nano is entirely up to you. They have similar price points and neither has shown to be dramatically better than the other.
We recommend breaking out your old pair of Chucks first. Once you decide you're in CrossFit for good - head over to Zappo's or any store with a decent return policy and get a pair of either Nanos or Metcons. Wear them in WODs for at least a week before deciding whether they're the right shoe for you.