Best shoes for INSANITY and T25

There’s a lot of hype behind shoe designs lately and one of the questions I get asked the most is what kind of shoes you should wear for programs like INSANITY and T25. So, for Train with T Tuesday, let’s talk shoes!

I have SUUUUUPER flat feet—like no arch at all! So shoes can really HURT my feet. Like BAD. That’s why I actually do INSANITY and T25 barefoot when I’m at home (well, usually in some fly a$$ socks, but you get the point). When I go barefoot during these workouts, my feet are able to perform and move naturally, allowing me to move and pivot in all directions.

When I go barefoot during these workouts, my feet are able to perform and move naturally, allowing me to move and pivot in all directions.

But since we can’t always go barefoot, which shoes should YOU be wearing to DIG DEEPER?

Well, you want a shoe that is pretty flat. Some people call this “minimal” but all I mean is that the shoes don’t really have a big drop from heel to toe or a lot of cushioning. These shoes will mimic the human foot and allow you to handle all the different movements and drills that we do in INSANITY.

To really get into it though, I feel like first we need to talk about which shoes you should NOT be wearing…

What shoes should you NOT wear?

Most people assume that the best shoes for INSANITY would be cushioned shoes, like you’d typically wear for running—BUT these are actually something you want to avoid for this sort of training. Running shoes really aren’t appropriate for doing INSANITY type workouts. They’re really designed for forward motion only and the cushioning is meant to absorb the shock of impact when your foot strikes the pavement. When doing plyometrics, that extra cushioning doesn’t allow you to land properly and can potentially cause knee and ankle injury from instability.

When doing plyometrics, that extra cushioning doesn’t allow you to land properly and can potentially cause knee and ankle injury.

The best INSANITY shoes

The shoes I recommend are going to be a cross-training shoe or a “minimalist shoe” since they are designed for lateral movement. There are tons of brands out there these days, so do some looking around and TRY THEM ON and MOVE!

One that I found that works really well for me is a pair of the Reebok CrossFit models. They were some of the first shoes I ever found that didn’t hurt my feet. I’m not endorsing them or saying they’re the best INSANITY shoe out there for everyone, I’m just saying that they happen to work really well for my flat feet and exhibit the traits of a shoe that I’d recommend for these programs—flat, close to the ground, allowing you to move and pivot like the human foot would allow.

YOU guys have an INSANE amount of first hand experience though, so I want to know what YOU are wearing. So, tell me—what shoes have YOU found to be best and WHY do you recommend them for others and me to try?

256 Comments

  • Alisha D

    I’ve been wearing Nike Free’s but I checked out the Reebok CrossFit and think I may try them out. I have pretty flat feet too and plantar fasciitis and sneakers with an arch kill my foot.

    • KyleJeffreyKranz

      Interesting, I noticed the same, that shoes with too much support hurting my heel/pf. I’ve now moved to 100% zero drop shoes and the only time I get the heel pain is if I wear shoes with a raised heel. Check out the SKORA Running shoes if you’re looking for a new pair :)

  • Magda Maggie O

    This article is so great Shaun!i was asking myself the same question yesterday during my workout (core cardio &balance)-thanks for the prompt answer yay!I’m preparing to get new shoes because I use running shoes at the moment-the only trainers I’ve got.I’m wondering though If working out barefoot make you more prone to injury? Thanks,have a great day!

  • Ann C

    I wear addidas crosstrainers. But thanks to this awesome information I am going to do insanity right now with no shoes on! I never thought of trying that. And i also have super flat feet. Thanks for the tips. I am excited to go try!

  • Sam

    I gotta say – vibram five fingers work amazing – if you’re not familiar with them they are toe shoes that are form fitting to your feet – you get the feel And maneuverability of going barefoot but you get the grip/protection of shoes – plus you can workout “barefoot” in the gym

  • Jill William

    Shaun! OMG! I cannot believe you have the same issues with your feet that I have with mine! I have never seen anyone with feet flatter than mine….even people that say they have flat feet look at me barefoot and say, “wow! yours are like…REALLY flat”…ummm, yeah I know. I HATE it! My ankles actually roll inward as well. It makes me feel a little better knowing someone like you understands and shares my problem. Not that I am happy you have flat feet…just that you understand :)
    I have done Insanity and I am in my 3rd week of T25 now and I have always worn crosstrainers, but my feet still ache where my non-arch is. I have never thought about doing it barefoot. I shall have to try that tonight.
    Thank you for sharing this and THANK YOU for your programs and all of your dedication and hard work. I know you don’t just do this as a career, but also b/c you truly want to help people live healthier lives. You are a blessing Shaun!
    Jill

  • Cynthia Gomez Castellanos

    I love my 5 Finger Vibrams you should sooo try those :-D. I also love Asics and Nike Flywire & Lunarlon 😀 I wish I could workout completely barefoot but I have a bad ankle and it does not do well without shoes, I will feel it for days!! LOL

  • Alesha Insanebody Rose

    I use the Vibrams. BEST shoe ever for running and doing INSANITY, Asylum, or any program! I don’t have issues with my knees or hips anymore since I have been wearing them. And I used to get really bad cramps in my arches when doing INSANITY and realized it was my shoe causing it! I have the vibram finger shoes and then a pair of Merrells for my military training since we cannot wear the toe shoes and need to have on socks. LOL.

  • Ali

    After the first day of T-25, I noticed Shaun T was wearing Asics volleyball style shoes. This made perfect sense to me. Lateral movements, vertical jumping, yet support and grip. I went out that evening and bought a pair. Freaking love them! Some of the minimalist shoes aren’t very supportive in my opinion. Shaun T’s workouts involve a LOT of jumping. Minimalist shoes don’t have the support or lifespan to endure the complete 50/60 day workouts. Asics: Best shoe I’ve worn for cross training.

    • KyleJeffreyKranz

      My SKORA Forms lasted me 1100 miles. Some have approached 2000 in them.

      Minimalist shoes don’t have the cushioning of thicker shoes, so there’s actually less to compress and breakdown over time. Leading to (some) very durable models out there.

  • Joe Cap

    I have been wearing Asics Noosa’s. They are designed as a running shoe however they support the feet and lower back better than any other I have tried. They feel great and especially look great! Colorful shoes for the bad a$$ socks!!

  • Rachael Wegener

    I did all of Insanity barefoot as well. However, with t-25, I feel like I have needed a better base of support for some of the balancing that is required. I have been using some Nike cross trainers, but I am not sure if they are the right shoe to be using.. A friend of mine reccomended the Minimalist, so I might give those a try!

  • Tatiana Hill

    I wear Inov8 shoes. Very low profile and minimal amount of cushion. I have knee issues and was VERY concerned about wearing such a low profile shoe. I have been wearing them for 2 months now and have not had a single issue. They have different profiles for different needs. I bought mine at a running store and the the reps were excellent at gauging what my needs were.

  • Rachael Garling

    I wear new balance cross-trainers and I love them. I have knee issues and I find that they do not aggravate my knees or hurt my feet! I’ve also done t25 and insanity barefoot on my high impact flooring and it works. :)

  • LillCountryGirl

    Right on! Myself having flat feet/no arch whatsoever (my entire life), I have the same issue. I have cross country shoes, but do go barefoot more than not since I have noticed it’s also easier on my feet. I had been previously going to the gym and doing a lot of running so bought a pair of Asics that are for flat feet! Worked wonders but I have noticed, they aren’t the best for Insanity, so I use my older shoes since there isn’t any running involved.

  • earlzie

    Vibram fivefinger shoes. They are very comfortable and it’s like going barefoot. The only bad part is when your skipping. Sometimes I hit my foot and the skipping rope gets stuck between my toes. Overall I would rate them a 5 out of 5 for comfort and performance

  • JanetKiburz

    I have the opposite problem and have super HIGH arches. I actually like working out barefoot at home, but I need to tape my arches if I do that since I won’t have my orthodics. I wear Asics normally when I teach, and those are great for a hardwood floor, but at home I work out on a mat or carpet, and they almost have too much tread for as quickly as you have to move in T25. They get stuck as I try to pivot.

  • Donna

    Used to do Insanity in Nike Shox….but I injured the top of my foot and couldn’t put trainers on. I didn’t want to stop working out so did it bare foot……BEST thing I ever did. My Diamond & Power jumps form is so much better!

  • Jessica Ralls

    I have the exact opposite problem, I have super high arches and two really bad knees. The shoes I use is any ASICS gel cross trainers. The support my feet but are light enough for me to move!

  • Marie Callahan

    I started Insanity with bare feet and found the movement much easier. I ended up having trouble slipping on the carpet though so I invested in some Asics Gel-180s. My arches had a hard time getting used to them and were sore for a week before my feet would accept them. I’d prefer to workout barefoot, I may have to invest in some Vibram. =D

  • Emma

    Going barefoot or wearing the shoes you’ve recommended are a no go for me as I have high arches that need support. I did the first three weeks of Insanity in the shoes you’ve recommended and I started having ankle and knee issues, to the point where I couldn’t walk. So I changed for the gel cushion trainers that are recommended for intense work and within a week I stopped hurting in my ankles and knees. Even my mild hip problem pre-Insanity has eased up. And I’m still moving with ease and landing as I should.

      • Emma

        I should’ve put that in originally lol. I wear the Asics Gel Contend W trainer. Like others have commented, they’re tight at first, but a couple of Insanity sessions and they fit perfectly (also buy half a size up) and if you’re arches are anything like mine, the relief is immense at the support. I might also add that my husband wears some form of Asics gel cushion for general wear and he has lower backs issues, but not when he’s been wearing his Asics. It’s when he wears shoes with no arch support. So I’d highly recommend giving them a try to see if they ease up your issues. I wasn’t sure they’d make that much difference, but as I said, I have no pain now and my mild hip problem is non-existent now.

  • phillipreid

    Def cross-trainers–lateral stability is no good at all with running shoes. I’m using New Balance 813. I have a tendency to get fasciitis and with Asylum, I’m going to get some of it regardless, but with a reasonably fresh pair of these, I just hobble a bit instead of having to hold on to the wall to get out of bed :) Really important to change them out about every six months of hard use, though–makes a huge difference.

  • Manda

    I did most of Insanity with my Vibram Fivefingers. Pretty much like going barefoot. I forgot to pack them one weekend and I did the workout barefoot and I do it barefoot all the time now. Shoes made my feet feel numb and (being a college kid) I don’t have much money to throw into another pair of shoes. Barefoot is cheap :)

  • Keith Landry

    My feet are pretty flat, too. I’ve only used one basic model of cross-trainers for the last ten years, and they feel terrific during Insanity workouts… New Balance 600-series cross trainers. I was halfway through my second round of Insanity when I needed new sneakers… Replaced the old model 608’s with the new model of 608’s and didn’t miss a beat (with extremely minimal breaking in). But like you said, Shaun, everyone’s feet are shaped differently, and this is a great thread for people to have an idea of what works for others (and maybe for themselves).

  • LukeHenry

    It all depends on the surface I’m dealing with that day and the type of activity. I really like my Vibram Fiver Fingers – I use the bikila model. For a harder surface like cement in the garage or hardwood floors I use Asics Gel cross-trainers – they offer great support for lateral movement compared to a running shoe.

  • Zane Walls

    I personally use the Vibram five finger toe shoes. They look a lot like a foot in every aspect, but has a little bit of padding and tread on the bottom for some cushioning and traction. I find it does a really good job mimicking the foot movement and helps me stay on my toes. Since I’ve been using them for so long now, this use of them every day helps me stay on my toes while using regular sneakers or shoes as well. I really enjoy wearing them.

  • Craig Johnson

    That’s great advice – as well as Insanity I also practice Ashtanga Yoga which we do barefoot and I had thought about doing the same with Insanity but wasn’t sure. So will do my next session barefoot and see how it goes!

  • Loretta Mercredi

    Has anyone tried tae-kwon-do shoes? They’re flat and mobility is great when doing Tkd type classes. I’m going to try it when I start my T25 on Aug 5th… hope it’s ok. If not, bare feet for me too 😀

  • Chase Koop

    I’ve tried multiple types of shoes, and gone barefoot for your workouts Shaun and other, at the end of the day I have to give Vibram 5 finger shoes my highest approval, they take a little while to get used to, but because they offer little to no cushioning you learn proper form very quickly for jumping, pivoting, etc. or you really feel it in your back and knees or via shin splints the next day. The shoes also encourage your toes to spread more naturally instead of being crammed close together like in many shoes which then compromises the body’s natural way of balancing. The few problems with the Vibram shoes is they don’t look stylish if you aim for that in your workouts, they can retain oder unless washed regularly (however you can throw those shoes in with your clothes in the washer and dryer which is a plus), and the material would rip more easily on say a deep country hike than proper hiking shoes/boots. Even with those very minor problems, read the other benefits others have posted about these shoes, I give them the nod for workouts.

  • J Lopez

    I made the mistake of wearing a running shoe when I started Insanity, a pair of Brooks Dyad 7’s. I quickly tried my Nike Free 5.0’s, and have not looked back. The minimalist shoe is definitely best for me :)

  • Hannah Brintnall

    Thank you for this post! I always thought by doing t25 barefoot I was doing something wrong, but all the times I’ve worn shoes, my legs hurt, and not the kind of hurt you get from working out.

  • Jaimie

    I wear Vibram Five Fingers Komodo Sport. I have the opposite problem as you, as I have high arches, but I’ve had trouble with plantar fasciitis. You’d think that with less support, the barefoot shoes wouldn’t be a good choice, but they actually force your feet to use more muscles and support themselves instead of relying on something else for support.

  • Steve M

    When I first did Insanity last year, I used running shoes and did end up with an ankle injury. After that I switched to the Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0s — much better lateral support, minimal, light weight. Did P90X2, Asylum, Les Mills Combat, Body Beast and now I’m in the 4th week of Focus T25 and I’m super happy with them. I recommend court shoes or crossfit shoes when people ask what kind I have. But when my Reeboks wear out I’m getting another pair.

  • David Siewiorek

    Asics, I am 23 year diabetic, and im only 24. Foot pain is bad for diabetics, and I love my asics. However the probelm I run into is tying them too tight. If your current shoes are hurting your feet especially during insanity or t25 try loosening them just a tad. Doesn’t sound like much but sometimes can make a world of difference.

  • Cliff

    I started my Beachbody fitness with POWER90 because that is what I had bought when the company first launched and I figured those VHS tapes needed to be put to good use, once I got them transferred over to DVD’s of course. :) I only had running shoes at the time and didn’t really understand the difference a shoe makes. Those shoes were fine for POWER90 but when I attended a fit club and we would do an Insanity, P90X, and Turbo Fire workouts, I would feel my feet twisting and my knees hurt afterwards. I heard about a real fitness store where the sales people were trained by the manufacturers about their shoes and found the Nike Free5.0 Cross Trainer and immediately noticed a difference when I jumped side ways along with other plyometric moves. They immediately felt much safer and seemed to grip the floor much better for me. I also learned I should get a size larger to give my feet room to swell some during the workouts, didn’t know that either. Now it is time to replace my shoes and they aren’t making the same sole design (bummed) and I am trying new brands and the minimalists to see what will work for me. I can’t workout out barefoot, I sweat to much and my feet slip. Thanks for the information.

  • Bethany Lewis

    Thank you for writing this. I also have flat feet and have tried so many shoes but couldn’t figure out why my feet/body always hurt. The only ones that I have found not to hurt as bad are Nike duel fusion. I am going to try the reebok ones.

  • Tina

    You are right Shaun T!! Barefoot is the best… I have the same problem… flat feet, and I found a training shoe that resembles being barefoot, it was made to make you feel barefoot while working out, they are Nike Free T3… no more injuries…! xD

  • Mintshoes

    OMG! I loved doing insanity barefoot (Mostly because I don’t like to use shoes inside the house lol) but all this time I was assuming that it was wrong! Thanks for your blogs, I’m really enjoying reading ’em :)

  • Micheline

    Fila Skeletoes works well for me. I too have very very flat feet. I was doing insanity with Nike Shox (which I normally used for running and aerobics and doesn’t cause pain) but mid way I would have to take them off and do the rest barefoot (which I love)

  • roberto esposito

    For men and women, try the new asics gel fortius cross training shoe. Hits all the points Shaun mentioned. Best pair of exercise shoes I’ve come across that allows me to work at my highest intensi-T! Plus they look fly

  • Taline

    I was doing Insanity for the majority of the program barefoot until it came to the second last week where I experienced some serious shin/calf splints. Everytime I jumped and landed the pain was becoming more excruciating to the point where I wasn’t able to finish the last week and a half :( I gave myself a month off to recover and when I started it up again (barefoot) I had the same pain. I then thought that my body needed some shock absorbers from all the jumping so I started wearing my Nike Free running shoes. They are very light with little cushioning. They worked like magic, immediately the pain was gone. I won’t ever workout barefoot again since that clearly didn’t work for me.

  • Melinda Jefferey

    I have just got orthotics and have very flat feet that is why I got them. They really help with knee pain. I am a bit afraid to try a minimalist shoe, so now I have to find shoes that fit the orthos. Do you think I should try a insanity workout in bare feet? I don’t want to injure my knees.

  • leah B

    I started out in an Asics running shoe, and like you said, they started causing a lot of leg pain. I switched to Merrell vibram Mix masters, and they feel like a dream. They are much flatter.

  • Aimee Lezberg Yawnick

    I thought like you mentioned about that a well cushioned shoe would be best and have always worn those. Someone in my T25 Challenge Group asked if we were wearing shoes or not to workout and the thought NEVER crossed my mind not to wear them. But now I’m training barefoot and I can move better on my rug and transition better. I was concerned my feet would hurt but they don’t! Thanks for this info, it makes me feel better about going bare foot. :)

  • Angela Bowen Young

    I’m currently wearing Nike Dual Fusion. I had a heel spur and a slight fracture on my left foot but refused to stop in the middle of my challenge group, so I went out and bought a few new pair of shoes and fell in love with these! They are slightly cushioned but firm enough I can move freely, so much so that I never stopped and both are healed 😉 a moment or two of DIG DEEPER!

  • Mikhaila Thornton

    Ive found several shoes that work great for me. Im a barefoot runner, but i do like some traction while doing plyometrics and insanity so ive found that the new balance minimus line is great, vibram five fingers, and my new favorite, Altras! Altras have an amazingly wide toe box for my wide and FLAT feet and give me enough room to spread out and land properly. I run in a lone peaks for trails and cross train in the delilah which is super flat and has no cushion. I recommend everyone at least try an altra on, favorite shoe in over 10 years of competitive running and cross training.

  • Fabian Mora

    Hi Shaun T, since I am a long distances runner, I always wear my running shoes for Insanity and I have never think that this could be the problem that sometime, I ended with lower back pain, for my long runs, I use Adidas Adizero Boston 3, and Mizuno and Asics. Now I will think in buying a cross fit shoes for Insanity, to see if I can get rid of lower back pain after finishing my Insanity or FT25 routines. I will buy a Reebook Realflex CrossFit as soon as I can. Thanks

  • Lee

    My husband has the same problem with flat feet. I was wondering tho, when you say you go barefoot, is that on carpet or on hardwood floors (or another surface)? We have hardwood floors where we exercise and will soon be doing T25 so wanted to check.

  • Angel Paravicini

    I wear the Reebok Women’s RealFlex transition cross-training shoe and they work great for me. They are the lightest shoe I have ever purchased which has been great for these workouts. My only negative feedback on these shoes is the tongue moves and it can be a little annoying.

  • She-She Ealom

    I have flat feet also, but barefoot does not work well for me. My knees bother me more. I was wondering which shoes would be recommended. I will look at reebok cross trainers for sure. Thanks Shaun T My favorite and Best Trainer “EVER”!!!

  • Lindsey Kurszewski Earle

    Looks like the 5 fingers Vibrams are popular for Insanity! I love them and use them too. I especially like how quiet they are while I workout. Regualr sneakers can be so noisy when you are trying to land softly and not wake a sleeping todler 😉

  • Jenny Lam

    I’m so thankful that you posted this, since this was also my question the other day! I, too, normally workout BAREFOOT, because I have carpeting in my house and with shoes, my feet tend to drag on the carpet and I do more tripping then I do pivoting and transitioning. Since I also have flat feet and bad knees, it’s important for me not to further injure my knees by having my shoes drag one direction and my knees twist into a different direction.

  • James

    I tried a pair of Merrell Barefoot shoes, they hurt my feet. I tried my very thin, flat soled Puma shoes, they hurt my feet. I went on to my extremely comfy, thin soled Diesel shoes. They still hurt my feet. After all of that I tried barefoot. No more foot pain!

  • Jing Chef

    I’m definitely going to get a pair of Crossfit shoes for myself. Like you I usually workout barefoot in the house, but when I’m away from home, I’d like to have a pair I can use!

  • Maria Andrews

    When I don’t workout barefoot I use the Reebok CrossFit for all the reasons you mention in your post AND because they’re exceptionally lightweight and wide at the toes. It’s as close to being barefoot as you can be.

  • Hillary

    I really love the Nike Free Fit 2 shoes. I am specific because other free fits from Nike didn’t work for me. They hurt my feet. Unfortunately these e difficult to find now since they are an older model.

  • Harry Moors

    I wear Adidas AdiPure Trainers that are similar to the Vibrams. I really like them as they are a lot like working out barefoot. Love the advice and information Shaun T, thanks!!!

  • luciftian

    LOL Wish this topic had come up a couple of weeks ago… I simply could not do Insanity with the trainers I own as they are simply too heavy, so I ended up doing it bare foot and then purchasing a pair of bare-foot trainers (vibrams), very light, and foot shaped… unfortunately the pair I got sent was faulty, hence the jury is still out on whether they actually work!

  • haley

    I use Brooks Dyad 7. They are runners, but I have a severe ankle injury from a car wreck and have extreme pronation. These help keep my feet flatter. However, I did still have a lot of knee issues with Insanity. So, my next round I will try a different shoe. But for the most part, I recommend them for people with severe pronation.

  • Courtney Short-Prudhomme

    This totally explains why my feet (instep) have been cramping up when i do T25 i my running shoes.. I have completely flat foot like you (like duck feet).. I LOVE working out barefoot and so glad to hear you endorse it.. My feet are SO going commando from here on out!! T25 barefoot BAY-BEE!!

  • Amy Young

    I love my Reebok Crossfit Realflex! $55 give or take on Amazon! Considering I’m always doing Insanity, Running etc…I go through shoes fast so these helped me with my knee pain and don’t hurt the wallet when it comes time to change them out.

  • Carolyn88

    The Asics Jumpshot…. F240811. It’s a cross-trainer shoe very comfortable, and very supportive. It is a little bit on the on the heavy side, but because of the damage I did to my ankles in the Marines I really need the support and I find that they allow me to preform at my best.

  • HollyBranch

    I workout in my basement which is a concrete floor. I had some Reebok Cross trainers with a minimal and the balls of my feet were really hurting (almost feeling bruised) after I did the plyometrics (anything where I had to land on the balls of my feet). I switched over to a thick sole (Saucony Excursion) and the balls of my feet did not hurt anymore. I have never had issues with knees and ankles twisting. The shoes are clunky but I find it softer on my feet. Again, it may be because I have a concrete floor.

  • Melinda O'Callaghan Martinez

    Hey! Don’t give running shoes a bad name! There is a huge movement for more minimalist style running! I run in my New Balance Minimus (smaller heal to toe drop) and I use them for Insanity too! I do not have flat feet. I have an average arch. I have also tried Nike Lunarlon. They are good too. I haven’t found the perfect shoes for Insanity and T25. I do prefer a more minimal style sneaker all of the time (even while training and for running a half marathon).

  • David

    I prefer to do Insanity with bare feet, but when I wear shoes, I wear the F-Lite 230’s from Inov-8. They’re a flat-bottomed, minimalist shoe. Very light weight, no extra support. Great for running, and great for Insanity.

  • Charles

    I wear either Nike Free 3.0 or Vibram FiveFingers, or go totally barefoot. ZERO knee or hip issues since I switched to minimalist shoes. I recently ran a half-marathon in my Nike Free’s, no problems at all (other than the soreness that comes after running 13 miles in under 2 hours).

  • Chris Dillon

    ive tried so many different types of shoes for these workouts ranging from new balance 660’s to asics gel , i have found though that the reebok zigtechs were the most comfortable for my feet when doing plyometrics

  • Bronte Dakota

    I was always a huge fan of my Nike Frees but when I started doing Insanity I was getting horrible pains and cramps in my feet and switched to Asics Gel and haven’t had a problem since. =] but I also try and work out barefoot as much as possible,

  • LaTxchic77

    I didnt know you can go barefoot while doing insanity or T25. I have hardwood floors and have had foot surgery on both feet. Still looking for a good shoe. Not sure if going barefoot would be a good idea on hard wood. Guess I will try it. Any suggestions?

  • Sol Schwartz

    Hello all. I am in the athletic footwear business and have a few suggestions for all of you. Speaking from both the business side and the fact that I have done Insanity, Asylum 1 and 2, all the hybrids and am now currently doing T25. Ultimately, what you would like to avoid are shoes that have a relatively significant heel to toe drop, which will encompass many of the running shoes. Running shoes are great for the cushion aspect, but not so much for the stability part. Where this category works is with minimalist category of shoes where they sit much flatter to the ground. The lower that you sit to the ground, the more stable your foot will be. These shoes would ultimately have a bit less cushioning overall, but will have the stability needed for all of the jumping. Also, the cross training market of shoes are now beginning to grow again. Several great choices from brands such as Asics and New Balance, as well as Reebok who is the official sponsor of Crossfit. One running shoes that I would call out specifically due to it’s relatively small heel drop, but the most cushioned shoe in the industry, is the adidas Boost. Shaun complains a lot about his feet. These will supply as much cushioning as there can be. If anyone has specific questions, please feel free to email me at sol@holabirdsports.com and I will respond as soon as I can.

  • Wendy

    I’m so glad you addressed this topic. I have high arches but I have the same problem wearing shoes. I’ve tried several different shoes. cross trainers included, and they all cause pain. I gave up on wearing shoes altogether while working out. I can wear them for running but not for Insanity, P90X and a few other workout programs.

  • Betty Martinez

    I love my Nike Free Run and my 5 Finger Vibrams. Of the two though, Nike Free Run is the best in my opinion…I dont feel any pain whatsoever and I am actually able to jump higher. I used to use some Asics but hurt my ankle while doing insanity with them which is why I got the other 2 shoes. :)

  • Ivanche

    I have a super high arch, I have also hurt both of my feet and get MAJOR pains in my metatarsals and pretty much both of my whole feet when doing Insanity, I really feel it in the end. I feel like I need foot massages every single day. I’ve tried a bunch of different types of shoes and nothing has worked for me It’s suuper frustrating. I’ve tried wrapping my feet to keep them secured but that did nothing except cut off the blood flow. I will try a minimal shoes and give my old school flat Asics a shot with T25.

  • Kiely655

    My Vibram Five Finger shoes were perfect for Insanity. I started out with my cross-trainers and they were far too clunky. I would highly recommend going the Vibram route.

  • Lance

    Hey Shaun! I’ve found the Brooks line of minimalist training shoes to be outstanding for the Plyometric-centric workouts like Insanity, Asylum, T25 or even Combat… I have particularly good success with the PureConnect line, as they kind feel like a sturdier track spike! Great “feel” with the surface, yet a rugged enough sole for durability and traction for lateral movement. I highly recommend them, plus … they look Dang Nice!

  • Nicky L.

    I would recommend Altra shoes. Not only are they Zero drop but they have the wide area for the toes to fit naturally instead of squeezed into a tight spot. When the toes have room it provides better support on the ankles. Altras come in several styles, including minimalist and you can pretty much choose the amount of cushion you want by selecting the style with the right amount.

  • Charlie

    I did two rounds of Insanity on Mizuno runners but when I started Asylum 1 & 2 I switched to bare feet on exercise mats. It took some getting used to, but after that I felt my feet getting stronger and more controlled and I haven’t looked back since.

  • Mina S.

    Wow, I have been working out barefoot to Insanity and T25 because I also have really flat feet, but after reading the comments below I might have to try the Vibram toe shoes! Shaun T, you are the bestest for talking about all these topics that really matter to us!!

  • Reise

    Lots of comments about Vibrams. Which is fine if you like the separated toes. But I have found some shoes made by Merrell that have Vibram soles, and look fairly normal; laces and a toe box and all that. So thats a cool choice is you want the awesome Vibram sole and minimalist feel, but a normal shoe look and no separated toes. I love the Merrell Bare Access 2. Awesome shoes. Light as can be too

  • Tammy Megow-Jones

    I love my New Balance Minimus – the bare bones original model. Next best thing to going barefoot. I tried FiveFingers but maybe the running shoe store guy fit me wrong b/c I ended up with chaffing problems – especially during lateral movements. I had to relegate them to more static things like weights. Now I don’t use them at all. Love the New Balance and plan to stock up! 😀

  • Trevor S. Crockett

    Nice timing… I just started (yesterday) with FocusT25. Today while doing Speed 1.0, I noticed that my arches (on both) feet began to hurt in my brand new Nike running shoes. Tomorrow I’ll go barefoot and give that a shot. Thanks for the advice Shaun T.

  • Abby Wells

    I was all ready to do my Insanity, read this and then took my shoes off and did it…loved it! I usually wear my running shoes but by doing without I had so much more lateral mobility which was awesome! I have a screw in my foot though so I think in the long run, no shoes might cause some pain and I do need the support so I can’t wait to go get some new cross fit shoes. Thanks Shaun T!

  • Steve Adolt

    Because of a degenerative foot condition I need to wear permanent orthotic inserts. Suggestions on shoes that would support this requirement would be greatly appreciated!!!

  • Candyman

    When I started Insanity I did the first few weeks in Adidas running shoes and found that my joints, especially knees and ankles, were sore all day. I dug up my pair of Saucony Hattori’s and it was love. By the 3rd it test I made HUGE improvements. The Hattori is a totally minimalist shoe. I wore them during my leg days at the gym because it is literally a water resistant sock with a sole. On most days i usually go barefooted (like Shaun, with some fly a$$ socks) Love All!

    On a lighter side. Thank you Shaun for helping me get motivated again. You’ve done more for me then you will ever know. All the best,

    Candido

  • disneygeek

    After living with HIGH arches and I found that for Insaninty a cross-trainer with an arch insert worked the best. Provided me the cushion that I needed but also the support so that I don’t pronate inwardly. The jury for me is still out on what kind of shoes for T25. But I know the shoe will have an arch insert so that I don’t injure that muscle or tendon.

  • JaysCyn

    I have flat feet / fallen arches and the dr. insists that I wear a shoe with great arch support at all times, and once I started doing that my foot pain went away… Now I’m curious to try a workout barefooted because I too have noticed my shoes, which are a bit heavy because they have arch support plus the dr. prescribed insert, hinder me on some of the movements. So you other guys with flat feet really are able to work out barefooted without pain??

  • Julie Sorenson

    What interesting info. I love it. I was into running and have a good pair of running shoes. I have had difficulties with my knees in the past and so just used my runners to do Insanity. I would have thought the cushioning would’ve been idea for plyo type movements – seemed logical in my head, but I’m often told I’m not entire logical :) Have looked at the five toe type shoes, may have to give those a try or find something flatter. Wish I would’ve read this two months ago. I have 4 days left in my Insanity challenge.

  • Tonja Sullivan

    I can’t wear any shoes. I’ve tried Nike cross trainers and Reebox Smooth flex(running shoes) both hurt my feet so I prefer to workout barefoot and run in my Saucony’s. I have a pretty high arch. My husband works out in his Fila’s which are just the feet looking shoes an he loves them!

  • Danielle

    I just bought the Nike Free TR and I love them for T25. Did half of my Insanity training in Brooks running shoes and my feet were in PAIN!! Switched over to INOV-8 and they worked! Minimalist shoes are the best!

    • Hope it helps

      Take a couple weeks off and do calf stretches two or three times a day. This cured mine. I had plantar fasciitis on both feet and my achilles felt like they were going to pop. After I started stretching my calf muscle 2-3 times a day it went away pretty quick. Shoes didn’t matter this was a physiological problem.

  • MissBossy Live

    I have tried at least 10 different types of shoes and they ALL hurt my feet. that is until I discovered Vibram Fivefingers. I wear the KMD Sports and I haven’t had any foot or knee pain since!

  • Kara Williams

    I’m nervous to go without shoes, Yoga KILLS my back if I do that barefoot. But with shoes, I sometimes catch the carpet and it interferes with my workout so maybe trying barefoot will be good in other ways. Did anyone notice any muscle soreness in adjusting to barefoot workouts?

    • Sheri

      Kara — if you are not used to being barefoot, you should transition not it slowly so as not to create an Achilles injury. Start by walking around your house barefoot if you don’t already, then gradually transition in.

  • Krys

    Nike Free 5.0… Are these ok? I just bought them for my upcoming T25 challenge, and using them for my current Insanity challenge. Ankles hurt a little but my whole lower body is always in pain lol

  • Tomytomz

    I started Focus T25 with my Rebook ZigTecs and I messed up something on the top of my left foot. Really hurts and don’t know what it is. I was hoping that it would go away but the pain is still there.

  • Kate cook

    This is the worst absolute worst advice I’ve ever heard!!! As a certified insanity trainer and having completed nearly a dozen rounds of insanity and now t25, you need a shoe with a good cushion medial arch to lift the one that doesn’t exist when you have flat feet. You need shock absorbing sneakers. Minimalist sneakers are the absolute worst for over pronation aka flat feet. Please stop making up your own science behind your crazy suggestions. I pray to God no one listens to your nonsense suggestions

  • Nicole

    Thank you so much for this! I have super flat feet too and when doing Insanity the outsides of my feet always ached. I did do some inserts in my shoes and that helped a lot. I never even thought about going barefoot. I always wore running shoes too, because they are light. What you say makes total sense, so thanks!!

  • Salam

    I was using Nike Trainers, but my ankles were killing me. I got Merrell performance shoes yesterday; what a difference! I didn’t how much my knees hurt until they stopped! Now I wish I’d have often these when I was doing Insanity.

  • christina

    Like you I have the worst flat feet – they look like pudding on the floor. The first days of training my feet hurt so bad in trainers and i’d have to take them off so I stopped using them altogether and my workout pains are no longer in my feet

  • Hilary Jacobs

    I Have to say I don’t understand how people with flat feet can wear a shoe that does not have a lot of cushioing. I have flat feet as well, but doing all the jumping and such KILLS my feet to the point where it is hard to put weight on them after a workout from the throbbing. My trainer said I should buy a pair of cross training flat shoes, because I wear reebok zig teks which are more geared to running, but im nervous to put out the money and still see no results. Does anyone have any advice for me?

  • luliejulie

    Hi I was wondering what is the best shoe is to stop me slipping during my insanity workouts? I am sweating so much that barefooted wont work as I find the drills hard enough from the sweat on my hands ( that and I have never really been able to do pressups!). I have tried a yoga mat but with the quick pace of insanity I have just taken chunks out of it. At the mo I am wearing my old running shoes but want to get a pair of non slip shoed for insanity so grateful for any suggestions?

  • sparrison

    I have SUUUUPPER high arches. And get plantar fascitus bad when I don’t wear supportive shoes. Wish I could go barefoot. What shoes do you recommend for T25 or Insanity for high- arched people like me, Shaun T?

    • Kat

      Have you tried Five Fingers? I have high arches too and find them very comfortable. While they don’t provide any significant support, they do fit to your foot very well and give the feel of arch support. I love them or straight up barefoot for my workouts. Good luck!

    • Jayne.

      I am like you and have very high arches and suffered through a bout of PF. I am actually only on week two of alpha, but I have done all barefoot. I found that doing yoga really helped to strengthen my feet. So far I am loving doing the workouts this way. I wish you the best in finding what works best for you and keeping the dreaded PF away!

  • Ericka Watson

    I wear my Saucony Kinvara 3, they are running shoes, however they are minimalist, the drop from heal to toe is 4mm so there is not a lot of cushion. I love them for running and worked great for Asylum and now T25.

  • Geneva

    I am doing T25 and I am like you I don’t use shoes, I use exercise socks I find that works best for me. I haven’t had to do my program out of the house yet, but if I do I will look into your suggestion of the Reebok shoe.

  • Amy Jacobsen Woodland

    I just finished day five and I feel great but my feet feel like they are developing blisters. You said something about going barefoot and I would love to go barefoot!!.Is that ok?

  • Aniket Khambete

    ok, this shoes business is very confusing and difficult to decide. I have the NIKE- RELENTLESS 2, and i encounter pain while doing the warm up on the outside of the foot (left and right), on both the foots. but i guess changing kicks wouldnt help.

  • Kara

    I have similar trouble (pain in my feet while doing home workouts with plyometrics, etc). I can’t wear shoes doing these workouts – I’ve been fitted and tried three different pairs! I have high arches and insteps though.

    Is there any “danger” in going barefoot during these workouts? e.g. is it likely to cause ankle strain from the lack of support?

  • AprilLoveShaunT

    I’m sure this questions has been asked of you Shaun, but why haven’t YOU or the members of BeachBody come up with your own “brand” of sneakers that can work best for your fitness routines? Don’t make the cost too exorbitant (smile), but affordable — and this way we can use we you all use.

  • Ricardo

    Has anyone tried Inov-8 Talon 212 or Salomon Speedcross for any of insantiy workouts? I’m researching to buy one of those models for my spartan races and I want to give them use with my workouts too. I’ve been using Nike Flywire for a while now, for all of my workouts and races and I have no complaints, but I heard these models were one of the best out there.

  • Jason R

    I have flat feet and always struggle to find the right shoe for cross training with Insanity and P90x. I got the Reebok Crossfit, stuck the insoles in the oven for a few minutes, and they fit great! Thanks for the tip.

  • Beth

    It LOVE T25 – on week 5 and starting the BETA workouts. I have been doing all of my workouts barefoot, and I am REALLY starting to have significant knee pain. Any suggestions, anyone?!!!! I don’t want to stop T25!!!!! Help!!!

  • Billyhoak

    I have flat feet too. I have good luck with the Skechers Synergy Power Switch with memory foam. It is a very cushy shoe that just makes your knees feel young again. Did I mention the MEMORY FOAM!!

  • Απόστολος Δέρβας

    Turns out my Adizero Crazy Light Low (aka D-Rose 1 Low) are perfect for Insanity workouts: great lateral movement support and immediate feel of the floor, which I really appreciate. I used to go with some cushioned running shoes but turned out they were far too soft for my taste and caused my ankles to roll especially during Heismans and similar side to side moves.

  • Kristen

    Can anyone recommend a specific Vibram shoe for women for this workout? I tore some ligaments in my ankle doing insanity (after doing it religeously for 7 months) wearing Under Armour running shoes. I am looking to get some vibrams now for when i recover, but there are so many options, and i want to make sure i get some that are best for this particular workout.

  • Julie

    Have been getting painful cramps in arch of foot after doing T25 barefoot (on carpet over cement floor). Will try the Vibrams and see how it goes. Some guys at work who do Insanity suggest this shoe as well. We all have flat feet.

  • Martin McNally

    I use the 5finger bikila. You can get em real cheap online. I decided to ease into them. At first, I used the 5fingers every other workout until I felt comfortable using them daily. It’s a lot more fun and your balance is better. Highly recommended.

  • CiscoStu-78

    I use Goliath retro trainers (A dutch brand) – they are totally flat based and I use them for weight lifting too. From what Shaun says above I reckon I’ll stick to them.. I would imagine all stars would be pretty good also

  • Elaine McHugh

    I’ve been doing the T25 workout and having an issue with finding the right shoes also. I have high arches and need the support because my arches are actually causing me pain during the workout any suggestions? Thanks !!

    • LTS42UK

      Forgot to say I’m 2 weeks off finishing my second round of Insanity. I’ve had previous knee issues, but they haven’t prove to be a problem at all doing Insanity barefoot. I think it makes you more aware of form and landing softly.

  • Krissy

    I’m so happy I found this blog! My feet had been hurting me when doing T25, so I had started to do the workouts without shoes and I felt much better. I now am going to invest in a better workout shoe, as I had been trying to do the workouts in my running shoes. Thanks for all of the helpful info!!

  • D Richard

    Hello Shaun, I started doing T25 three weeks ago. Last night I was doing Cardio and while in a jump my foot cracked. I went to the ER and have a fracture. When asked by the nurse what I was doing I explained T25. The nurse told me they get so many people in the ER with broken bones from doing Insanity and T25. I would appreciate your response to this matter.

  • Kevin

    I do Nike Training Club/Class (NTC) at my local 24-Hour gym. The wood floor the class is held on is old, unwaxed, smooth and dry. So between the dust that accumulates on it, and especially once it starts getting sweat dripped on it, it’s EXTREMELY slippery…I have almost wiped out a few times doing lateral movements, squat-jacks, etc, and I have had to limit my intensity while working out to avoid injury. I take two towels with me to each class, and that still doesn’t fix the problem once we’re about half-way through and I’m dripping sweat. Has anyone found a great shoe that grips wood floors with sweat better than others? Thanks

    • Guest

      Actually, after a lot of research, I found a solution on my own. The Nike Free Trainer 3.0 has done the trick. I was also about to try the New Balance slip resistant shoes, but they have a much higher heel and everything else that’s not necessarily great for cross training. My local Nike store said they’ll take returns even if you’ve sweated in them, so I figured I’d try that first. Size was true to my other tennis shoes…they’re a bit tight at first, but they stretch, so give it some time. You also have to get used to the free trainers if you’re used to traditional running shoes, so give that some time as well. I guess the rubber on the soles of my Adidas Springblade running shoes was just too hard (which is good for holding up on repeated cement and asphalt contact) and just not able to give the proper grip on a smooth wet floor. That’s fine though, I’m going to keep them and reserve them for my outdoor running and treadmill days.

  • Matthew Siel

    The right shoe is very much a big deal in nailing the T25 workouts. I currently use a pair of Brooks Glycerin shoes, which is a running shoe, and I need to get into a different shoe. All the jumping, hopes and lateral movements are really putting stress on my arches and some of the workouts I cannot even make through because the pain in my arches is so intense. So, the search is on for a pair that are built for this kind of excercise. Any suggestions?

  • Shannon Burros

    This is good to know. I start the home program next week and I was worried since my entire house is tile. I have mats, but they slip too much to use. I actually have some Reebok CrossFit shoes and will try to use those over my current Nikes.

  • Amanda Blankenship

    I have been wearing ASICS® Gel Rhythmic Dance II – Women’s and they seem to work well. I just have issues with my calves cramping, but they did that with running shoes too.

  • Gaddster

    Hey Shaun, how about the adidas Taekwondo shoe? I have always used them to practise my kicks and jumps but as I now teach Insanity I am wondering if I should try the Crossfit nano instead?

  • Carrie

    Like most of the comments here, less than a week into the alpha cycle I was having major foot cramping from wearing running shoes which I found this site. I decided to go barefoot and absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, at the end of my 7th week I woke up with some intense foot pain and found out I likely stress fractured my foot from the high impact with little cushioning. I’m on crutches for 4-5 weeks. If you decide to go barefoot, BE CAREFUL

  • Jillaine

    My feet were hurting, my knees and hips, too. (I am 43, female, and severed ACL in R knee, have had several clean ups of MM). Wasn’t sure if Vibrams could be a trend of the past… Tried Vibrams after reading all these posts and love them. I wear them for Insanity and walking the dogs. I wore them for an hour the first day, two the next, then began wearing them for walks and Insanity. Didn’t think I could adjust to having individually wrapped toes, but it’s absolutely fine. (And so glad, the REI salesman suggested how to put them on, put the shoe on the floor and wriggle your foot in, guiding your toes into each compartment. Piece of cake!) It feels like they could be possibly straightening my feet. And It’s true-I felt a little more sore in my calves at first, but I have not been experiencing the same pain in my knees and hips! I am so happy I tried them! Thank you for all your posts!

  • Isa Moreno

    Hello, I am looking to buy some cross training shoes. I do have an arch and I’m not sure whether there is a good tennis shoes out there you can recommend me so that I do not get the wrong cross fit shoe.

  • Erin

    I have been wearing Brooks PureFlow 2s and love them. They are minimalist enough, yet have a little extra cushioning which I like, and are great for overpronators like myself. I hear the PureFlow 3s are even better than the 2s, but I haven’t upgraded yet. I’ve tried a few of the other Brooks Pure Project shoes, but the PureFlows win by far for me. I’m 37, 145lbs, 5’4″, female (on my way to 135lbs!)

  • Lauren

    I’ve being doing T25 for 3 weeks now and only lost 2 pounds. I’m working my butt of eating more healthy I have cut out all bad foods and snacks. I’m going to stick with it, I’m just finding it hard to do this when I haven’t seen any change

  • RebeccaM-T

    Help, Im 2 weeks into Insanity 60 day. My ankles are in so much pain, I’ve got through the last few days, but today i couldn’t complete the fit test!! Ive tried bare foot running shoes, nothings working. I don’t want to stop as i feel so much fitter and i want to loose a lot more weight. But i cant carry on like this… :( x

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