So, you’re getting (back) to jumping rope. Kudos for that. It’s probably the best fitness decision you’ll make this year. It’s also not an easy one – I get that.
If you’re anything like me, when that rope gets caught on the heel of your shoe, you probably blame yourself. Worst-case scenario, you jump to the conclusion (no pun intended) that rope is “not for you” and you remove it from your fitness regime – been there, done that.
It’s not your fault; chances are you just have the wrong shoes on. Today, I’ll give you my recommendations for the top 10 best shoes for jumping rope and explain the logic behind my picks.
Rundown for those in a hurry
For those of you in a hurry, here’s a quick look at the top choices in three categories – for men and women overall, ankle support, and a top pick from Nike.
|Best Overall (for men & women) – Reebok CROSSFIT Nano 9|
Best for those with Ankle Issues
Reebok CROSSFIT Nano 9
Nike Mens KD Trey 5 VIII Basketball Shoes
Nike Metcon 5
Price not available
Reebok CROSSFIT Nano 9
Price not available
Best for those with Ankle Issues
Nike Mens KD Trey 5 VIII Basketball Shoes
Nike Metcon 5
|Best for those with Ankle Issues – KD Treys|
|Best Nike – Metcon 5|
Best Shoes for Jumping Rope – Top 10 Picks
Table of Contents
Let me dive right into the results. I did my best to make the picks versatile and stress what earned them their place on the list.
I’m confident that the top 10 picks below are a well-rounded pool of choices for all levels of rope jumping.
CROSSFIT Nano 9 – Best for Men
Almost all the shoes in Reebok’s Nano series will be a good choice for jumping rope, but the Nano 9 is the king of the hill.
Support vs. Flexibility
It’s at the sweet spot between support and flexibility, and its flat profile looks like it’s designed for jumping rope. The sole edges are just sloped enough to minimize rope-catching, and the rubber has a solid bounce to it – just what we’re looking for in a shoe of this type.
The light textile upper locks your feet in just enough to give you solid control without being constrictive, especially once a few weeks go by and the shoe adjusts to your foot.
Nano 9s has one of the best values for money on the list, and when you’re not using them for training, they make for a great lifestyle shoe.
Bottom line – not all CrossFit shoes make a good rope-jumping shoe.
For example, CrossFit models with substantial grooves for rope climbing are rarely a good choice. The downsides of the Nano 9 as a Crossfit shoe are precisely what make it a superior shoe for jumping rope.
Reebok Women’s Nano 9 Cross Trainers – Best for Women
The women’s Nano 9 is at the top for pretty much the same reasons as the men’s shoe.
In case you scanned the article looking for this section, let’s reiterate.
The unique combination of a sturdy heel and a compact toe box will give you that optimal control and support combo. The toe box is just thin enough to let you ‘feel the bounce’ without letting your calves get tired or cramp prematurely.
The extra layer of responsive rubber on the heel has little to no grooves, which means the rope will slide right off even when it touches the shoe.
The better ‘feel’ you have of the shoe, the easier it will be to avoid catching the rope. The all-fabric upper of the Nano 9 will give you just that – a snug, close fit paired with cozy comfort.
If you feel like you’re between sizes, it’s probably wise to go with the smaller option, as the malleable fabric will quickly break in.
Overall, the Nano 9s are great cross-trainers. There are a few aspects that could be better if you’re seriously into CrossFit. For our purposes today, it’s precisely those ‘faults” (like no grooves on the sole) that make them the best shoes for jumping rope.
Runner-up for Women – Nike Metcon 5
I remember the day I first held these Nikes in my hand.
It was July 15, 2019 – just a week after the official global release. I knew then and there that this shoe would quickly find its way into many a category on my website.
Best Nike for jumping rope
It’s fair to say that the best Nike for jumping rope is the runner-up since the top 2 picks above are really the same shoe.
Nike Metcon 5 comes in second to the Nano 9 by a whisker only because I feel that the heel of the Nano 9 allows for a bit more movement freedom.
To be fair, this isn’t something all rope jumpers will notice. I dare say that subtle nuances like this will fly under the radar for 9 out of 10 people.
Low-Profile & Heel Clip
Nike Metcon features a low profile that maximizes freedom of movement and minimizes bulk, which is ideal for jumping rope.
The heel clip is still there, even though I fully expect Nike to change that in the Metcon 5.
For jumping rope, this is a good thing because it allows smooth sliding over that part of the shoes. This leaves you, the jumper, more room for mistakes without interrupting the jump training session.
Finally, the planted heel will give you the stability you need without interfering with any of the motions you’ll need for an intense jump-rope session.
Outsole & Tongue
The outsole is made out of two different kinds of sticky rubber – the heel is denser, and the forefoot has more grip. There’s also a significant difference in the hardness of the two rubber parts – this allows for extra flexibility towards the toe box while the heel remains stable.
This is precisely the kind of design details we see in some of the best shoes for jumping rope.
I’m not a fan of the tongue portion on the Nike Mat Frazer, and based on the change I’m seeing in the Metcon 5, I’m probably not the only one. Here, the tongue is flexible without moving around.
Overall, these are great jumping shoes and my favorite from Nike.
Xero Prio Cross (Lightweight Zero Drop) – Runner-Up for Men
If you have strong feet with no pre-existing problems and ankle issues, one of two things will happen when you get the Xero Prio.
You’ll either love the natural feel right away, or you’ll grow to love it within days or weeks. That’s what I’ve seen in reviews of people talking about these.
They all stress how hard it is to go back to any other trainer after getting used to the natural feedback.
The shoes feature a patented, thin (5.5 m), rubber sole, a non-elevated heel, a wide toe box, and adjustable straps.
New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 – Top Budget Pick for Women
At spot 5, we have one of the most popular cross-training shoes ever to see the light of day – the New Balance Nergize V1.
They are light without being uncomfortable, and these are the main reasons for it:
- The gel cushioning and responsiveness are well balanced.
- The flexible sole has enough ‘give’ to help you make more jumps without compromising stability.
- The material of the upper is thin, textured mesh. It’s stretchy but doesn’t feel cheap or lose shape over time (which is not a given at this price point).
- The rev-light midsole will give you solid bounceback and, more importantly, pairs well with the rubber outsole.
Finally, these areas are budget-friendly and fashionable as they come.
Nike Men’s KD Trey 5 VIII – Best for those with Ankle Problems
Out of the basketball models I looked at, two pairs stand out – these KDs and Hardens Volume 5.
The main reason behind choosing KD Trey 5 as the top dog is the superior ankle support.
If you’re looking at basketball shoes for jumping rope, you probably have an existing ankle problem and could use the support.
This pair of KDs is just slick and light enough to be a solid jumping shoe. It will keep your feet and ankles stable while not interfering with your routine.
If you don’t have ankle problems, you’re probably better off with some of the lower profile shoes I talk about in this guide.
Most Versatile – Nike Free TR 8 (Men)
If you aren’t a fan of dedicating shoes to one activity and want something more versatile, Nike Free 8 might be where your search ends.
Apart from being one of the best shoes for jumping rope, it makes for a great trainer and lifestyle sneaker.
This is my favorite shoe for driving. I’m mentioning this because the reasons behind it are the same as those that make it a great jumping shoe – the balance between responsiveness and support as well as the snug, but not loose, fit.
Vibram Men’s KSO EVO – Closest to a Barefoot Experience
If you’re into the unrestricted feel of natural movement, these Vibrams might give you that absolute freedom you crave.
If you plan to jump rope and chase that unhindered barefoot experience in the process, you better make sure that you go with a top-notch sole.
And what’s better than a Vibram sole?
It offers enough grip to lower the stress on your feet, even with intense activities like jumping rope.
The list wouldn’t be complete without at least one pair from Inov-8.
That might sound strange because there’s a good chance that you have never heard of the brand before; however, those passionate about high-intensity workouts probably have.
Since I first published this guide, there was at least one pair from the brand in the top 10. This update is no exception.
Who will choose them?
These will be a great fit for advanced rope jumpers who aren’t prone to catching the rope and like a bit more heft in the uppers.
I’m mentioning ‘advanced’ and ‘catching’ because the grooves on the sole are more substantial than most shoes in the top 10.
They have a welded toe bumper around the toe box area, but it doesn’t come at the expense of weight since they weigh just over 8.5 oz.
Nike Men’s Flyknit Free RN – Best Casual Jumping Rope Shoes
If appearance is important to you and you’re looking for a pair that will both perform in the gym and look great outside, you’ll want to take a closer look a these Nikes.
Not your Average Running Shoe
These are technically running shoes, but even Nike stresses that they’re not your best bet for long runs. They are best described as half running shoes, half lifestyle.
For our purposes, however, the fact that they are not ideal for long runs makes them close-to-ideal for jumping rope.
It means that they’re not as ‘bouncy’ as your classic running shoe, which gives you more control over each jump. It also allows you to ‘feel the surface’ better.
They are ‘neutral’ with no correction or tilting in any direction, which is a massive plus for jumping shoes.
Choosing the Best Shoes for Jumping Rope – Buying Guide
It might sound like a cliché, but it’s true that there’s no simple answer to the question, “what’s the best shoe for jumping rope?”
That’s why I did my best to make the picks above diverse so that anyone can pinpoint a style that works for them.
However, there are some key features to consider when choosing a good pair of jump rope shoes.
How good are your Ankles?
For most people, a regular training shoe will provide enough ankle support.
But it only becomes a crucial factor if you have a history of significant ankle instability.
If that’s you, you’ll want a shoe that snugly wraps around your ankles and protects the ligaments but still isn’t too bulky.
You might even find that some of the slicker basketball shoes, like Nike Men’s KD Trey 5, tick most of the boxes of a good jump rope shoe.
If you do have ankle problems and basketball shoes feel too bulky, I recommend going with one of the training shoes combined with ankle wraps or sleeves for additional support.
Do you Get Sore Feet?
This is a commonly overlooked aspect of choosing the best jump rope shoe.
When jumping rope, you spend most of the time on the balls of your feet, and it’s crucial that the way your shoe bends feels natural.
If you tend to get sore feet from exercise and walking, you’ll be better off with the more substantial, rigid sole of a basketball or handball shoe.
On the other hand, training or running shoe will be more flexible and offer a more natural bend but might result in pain for people with sensitive feet.
Do you have a High Arch?
A high foot arch doesn’t absorb shock well.
That’s why people with high arches will need a forgiving shoe that offers more cushioning. If this is you, go with running shoes like Nike Free RN instead of trainers.
Key Features to Consider
If you are jumping rope, your shoes should fit like a glove.
It’s a pretty obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how often I see people choosing jump rope shoes that are way too big. The opposite doesn’t happen because a small shoe would hurt and blister during an intense workout.
Bottom line – go with a snug fit.
The last thing you want when jumping rope is slipping and sliding. You also don’t want a deep thread in your sole – it will catch the rope and result in more trip-ups.
You want a shoe with a solid grip that still allows the rope to slide off even when it touches the sole.
The more advanced your jump-rope routine, the more critical the shoe weight becomes.
Most of the advanced jumpers I know prefer lighter shoes.
A lightweight shoe will allow you to up the tempo and get a more intense workout.
Jumping rope is a high-impact exercise, and some cushioning is a must, especially if you’re jumping on hard surfaces like concrete.
On the other hand, you don’t want a soft, wobbly sole with stability issues.
I’ve seen all sorts of bad advice in my time – from the hefty cushions of the Nike Air Max to the stripped minimalism of Converse All-stars.
If you ask me, none of the two fit the bill.
All of my top picks are somewhere between those two extremes.
Conclusions and Takeaways
Jumping rope is one of the most efficient full-body workouts for stamina, weight loss, and hand-eye coordination.
So, whatever you do, don’t give up on it just because you’ve tripped a few (hundred) times.
If you push through, the persistence will pay dividends for years to come.
About My Picks and Future Updates
I did my best to make my top picks diverse and lay out the logic behind the choices. I shaped the guide to give you the know-how to choose for yourself even if you don’t like any of my recommendations.
I’ll stay on top of things and update this guide bi-monthly to keep it fresh and relevant at all times.