When it comes to any explosive jumping movements, ensuring you have the right shoes is pretty important as we’re dealing with large amounts of force transferal.
Doing plyometrics in the wrong shoes often means weak or unstable jumps and a lot of stress on your joints… along with sore feet.
I’ve spent the last couple days researching which shoes are the best fit for the express purpose of plyometric exercises such as box jumps, depth jumps, bounding, and sprinting.
At the end of the article I discuss the extensive research process I went through to create this list, as well as a number of things you should keep an eye out for when shopping for shoes for plyometrics.
Just briefly, the selection criteria I used to narrow it down to these 5 shoes included responsiveness, fit, comfort, versatility, as well as price.
Best Shoes For Plyometrics – At A Glance
- Best Overall Shoe – Mizuno TC-01
- Most Lightweight – Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3
- Best Budget Shoe – Under Armour HOVR Rise 3
- Best For Agility – Nike Free RN Flyknit
- Best For Conjugate Training – Nike Metcon 5
So without further adieu, let’s jump right into it!
One of the most versatile, comfortable, and athletic shoes we’ve seen in recent years, the TC-01 is perfectly configured for explosive jumping movements like plyometrics.
Best Overall Shoes For Plyometrics
Perhaps the coolest thing about the TC-01 is Mizuno’s ‘Center of Balance’ tech they’ve packed into the midsole in this shoe.
This is supposed to give you “increased awareness and improved balance” and while it might be difficult to quantify whether it actually does, by all reports it certainly seems to feel that way on foot.
I shouldn’t need to explain how increased control over your body is going to be beneficial while doing plyometrics!
The TC-01s are super comfortable with the booty design and have fantastic maneuverability, making them the ideal choice for a wide variety of training styles, but absolutely perfect for plyometrics.
They’re also stupidly cheap at the moment going for less than $100!
- COB Technology improves balance and coordination.
- Comfortable, versatile, and super form fitting.
- Extremely affordable at less than $100!
- The outsole on this shoe can be really slippery on wet surfaces!
Most Lightweight Shoes For Plyometrics
There’s two really cool reasons you should strongly consider the Inov-8 F-Lite for your plyometric workouts…
The first is the dynamic fascia band outsole which is literally designed to improve leverage during toe-off!
This gives you a super ergonomic feeling grip on the ground and helps with the efficient transferal of force when jumping.
The second reason I love the F-Lite 235 V3s is because they’re about 30% lighter than your average cross-trainer…
Anyone doing plenty of jumping is going to prefer having lighter feeling shoes, and they simply don’t get any lighter than these!
They feel as though you’re wearing nothing at all!
- Dynamic fascia band improves ergonomics when running and jumping.
- More than 30% lighter than your average cross-trainers!
- Definitely on the more expensive side.
Best Budget Shoes For Plyometrics
The HOVR Rise 3 stands out as being ridiculously versatile, meaning it’s a fantastic cross-trainer for everything from HIIT to lifting as well as agility and plyometric work.
If you’re doing both plyometrics and strength training/lifting in the same session, you can pretty happily wear the Rise 3 for the entire workout, as it’s responsive enough to jump in but the compression isn’t going to prevent you from lifting heavy.
Having personally trained in the HOVR midsole for several years, I can say it’s one of the most comfortable rides out there.
I remember feeling super athletic at all times with this midsole under my foot!
- Not only fantastic for plyometrics, but versatile enough for lifting and cardio.
- This is the most affordable shoe on this list!
- Overall durability could be slightly improved.
Best Shoes For Agility & Change Of Direction
One of the most popular cross trainers of all time, the Nike Free performs exceptionally well for jumping movements and make a great choice for your plyometric workouts.
These shoes are super flexible throughout the upper and midsole, which forces your feet and ankles to move through their full natural range of motion while jumping.
Support is almost nonexistent which is actually a desirable trait for plyometric training…
Since we’re trying to teach our body how to deal with loading and absorbing force quickly, we don’t want our shoes doing all the work for us.
Not only are the Frees great for jumping, but they work really well for any sort of agility work and excel when it comes to changing directions.
The Flyknit design is widely regarded as one of the most comfortable uppers we’ve ever seen on a sneaker!
Do note that the outsole durability isn’t the best as the tread wears down fairly quickly – and you’ll often get stones stuck in the holes/tread pattern…
Aside from that, the shoe is super solid!
- Flyknit design is about as comfortable as you can get!
- Super form fitting and flexible design allows for natural movements while jumping.
- Very responsive midsole makes this shoe ideal for agility work.
- You will definitely get a few stones stuck in the tread pattern on the outsoles of these shoes!
The Metcon 5 is an ultra durable, super stable option which is quite different to each of the other shoes on this list, but might still be a decent option for certain athletes.
Best Shoes For Conjugate Training
Nike’s Metcon 5 separates itself from each of the other shoes on this list by bringing some serious support to the game!
Because of the increased heel rigidity, these shoes double as fantastic lifting shoes in the gym, so you can wear them whether you’re squatting or jumping (or jump squatting)!
This makes them a great fit for conjugate training where you’re mixing jumping with heavy lifting.
It has a dual density midsole which means a softer forefoot and firmer heel section which aims at providing support where you need it most.
None of the shoes on this list provide close to the stability you get from the Metcon 5, so for anyone looking for a more supportive and secure shoe, this might be your best option.
The 3D printed haptic upper is ultra durable, making this a great shoe for anyone doing the majority of their plyometric work outdoors.
Comfort isn’t fantastic but this is to be expected with the increased stability – they’ll certainly get the job done for a few plyometric workouts each week.
- Dual density midsole increases support in the rear of the shoe but maintains a nice, responsive feel through the forefoot.
- Super durable!
- Could be a little more comfortable.
- On the more expensive side.
If you’re happy to spend a little extra cash, I’d strongly recommend giving the Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 a go – they’re ultra lightweight and designed for maximum energy transferal when running and jumping.
Otherwise it’s pretty tough to go past the Mizuno TC-01 which is a more affordable yet still super versatile shoe that is almost perfectly built for plyometrics!
Also be sure to check out my article discussing the best shoes for jumping your absolute highest in!
My Shoe Testing & Review Process
I always make it my mission to be as comprehensive as possible with these product reviews so I can be as helpful as possible to my readers.
Unfortunately, I’ve not yet begun doing plyometric training as I’m still working through my strength block, so I’ve not yet had a chance to personally test any of these shoes.
So in the interest of full transparency, I cannot yet speak about all of these shoes from first hand experience.
I found however that there wasn’t much information on the internet pertaining to which shoes are appropriate for plyometrics, so I decided to write this article anyway, hoping some of you would still find it useful.
10+ Hours Of Research
I also did plenty of research while making this article which involved making a shortlist of about 15 shoes based on preliminary research and then watching performance reviews of each to narrow it down to just 6.
The shoes I selected were the ones that came up repeatedly as being excellent matches for plyometric activities, that you can actually buy in 2023.
Continually Updating With New Products & Information
As I gain more experience using each of the shoes on this list, I’ll be updating this article so that you know exactly how my feelings towards each shoe evolve over time.
I’m also constantly keeping an eye on new releases, so as soon as something else comes along that’s also great for plyometrics, I’ll add it to this article.
Feel free to read more about my product testing standards and review process.
What To Look For When Buying Shoes For Plyometrics
When we think of plyometrics, people think of lots of jumping and automatically think of big thick midsoles that have excellent bounce and shock absorption to protect your joints.
While those things are important while you’re performing (i.e. actually playing your chosen sport such as volleyball or basketball), they’re actually not beneficial to us in a controlled training environment such as when we’re doing a plyometric workout.
Since we’re deliberately trying to stimulate our muscles and tendons with high impact landing forces, we don’t want our shoes taking over and doing the job for us.
Opt For Minimalism
When doing plyometrics, we want our feet and ankles to actually have to work.
Avoid super thick midsoles with tons of cushioning (like basketball shoes), since we want our muscles absorbing the force, not our shoes.
Flexibility throughout the entire shoe is important. We don’t need a super caged heel inhibiting our movement.
Some people might actually prefer doing plyos barefoot or using toe shoes – that’s about as minimalistic as it gets!
This is definitely not be the best option for plyometrics on harder surfaces like concrete courts, however.
Best Shoes For Box Jumps?
Any of the shoes discussed in this article are exceptional choices for box jumps.