Gear for CrossFit: Whatcha Need Versus What’s Nice to Have

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

I receive all sorts of inquires about my CrossFit gear, including specific questions about my favorite products as well as my thoughts about what someone new to CrossFit should buy. Obviously, I’m not an elite athlete and everyone’s needs are different, but here are some of the things I personally use in my CrossFit workouts: gear I cannot WOD without and gear that I think is just nice to have.



Reebok CrossFit Nano 3.0

When I first joined CrossFit, I was one of those people who thought you could wear any old sneakers, so I wore my running sneakers for the first couple of months. Eventually, I saw everyone at my box wearing flat, minimalist shoes, so I finally tried a pair. Immediately, I loved how they felt during a WOD and the rest is history.

I’m love with the Reebok CrossFit Nano 3.0 and recommend them to everyone. I recently reviewed them on CNC, so be sure to check it out if you’re thinking about purchasing a pair. They really, truly make a difference in my performance at CrossFit.

reebok nano 3.0

This video below features Rich Froning, the three-time Fittest Man on Earth, further speaking to the benefits and features of the Reebok Nano 3.0.

Jump rope

Like the sneakers, I thought any old jump rope would do for CrossFit workouts. I honestly thought they were all the same. Mal went out and bought a jump rope right away, but I waited a good year before I finally bought one. (Remember my Two Stories About Double Unders?) I’m actually sort of pissed at myself because I waited so long to buy a good jump rope””it made Double Unders so much easier for me! FYI: I have the Again Faster Revolution X Rope and love it.

again faster jump rope
[image source]

Notebook/WOD Log Book

I’ve blogged a bunch about performance tracking and how important it is in CrossFit. A WOD Log Book is definitely a necessity. When you have a record of your workouts and lifts, you always have a personal goal to surpass, and CrossFit is all about being better than yesterday. And, of course, it’s always motivating to see how far your fitness level has progressed!

crossfit notebook


Ok, this one is personal, but I can’t WOD without a headband. I have crazy hair (frizzy layers and whatnot) and sweat like a beast, so I hate having any sort of hair stuck to my face or neck. I love JUNK bands for CrossFit. They come in all sorts of fun colors and patterns. I like the regular size ones that tie.




Knee-high socks

You know those high socks that you see CrossFitters wear? Well, they’re not just a fashion trend! They actually protect your shins from all sorts of CrossFit-related movements””from deadlifts to box jumps to rope climbs. Of course, you could easily wear long pants or just deal with the scrapes and bruises (like some people do), but knee-high socks are a great addition to your CrossFit gear. My favorites: Reebok CrossFit Socks and, obviously, my new “Zombie Killa” socks from Sox Box. So fun!

zombie killa socks

Olympic Lifting Shoes

Ok, there’s definitely a pattern here”¦ Mal bought Olympic lifting shoes within a few months of starting CrossFit; I waited more than a year to buy them. I love CrossFit and all, but Olympic lifts just aren’t my thing. Honestly, lifting heavy weights, especially over my head, bugs me out. I’d much rather do a metcon or WOD with heavy-ish weights than try for a 1RM or something like that. Long story short, Olympic lifts aren’t my favorite, so I didn’t buy Oly shoes for the longest time. But, after wearing them a few times, I realized they 100% make a difference in my lifts. I feel so much more stable (and confident), so my lifts have started to improve. I have the Reebok CrossFit Lifters and really like them.

reebok olympic lifting shoes

Hand Grips

I have the wussiest hands ever, so no matter what I do, they always end up ripping. I usually end up taping my hands before a workout on the bar, but I recently discovered hand grips, which slip on your middle and ring fingers and velcro around your wrists, which is a whole lot quicker than dealing with tape.

I just got the Again Faster Grips a couple of weeks ago, so I’m still trying to get used to them, but I like them so far, especially if the WOD doesn’t have a ton of bar stuff in it. I can just throw them on and not deal with a 5-minute taping project. I still prefer tape, but I’ve heard once you break in the hand grips, they’re awesome.

again faster grips (450x600)

Wrist Wraps

I don’t personally use wrist wraps, but when I showed this post to Mal, he insisted that I include them. He uses the Schiek Wraps (12”) all the time in his workouts. They provide added wrist support during overhead and heavy lifts.


Callus Shaver

I saved the best for last! Haha!

Ok, this one is really gross, but it makes a world of difference when it comes to hand maintenance. Basically, when you use your hands a lot in CrossFit, you develop some pretty gnarly calluses, which build up and then rip””often during a WOD””which is both painful and disgusting.

To prevent this from happening, you can literally shave down your calluses using a pedicure tool like the one below. I usually wait until the end of my shower when the skin on my hands is nice and soft, and then I shave down the calluses on my hands, which prevents them from ripping later on. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I know it sounds nasty, but it helps so much. I swear!


Question of the Day

CrossFit friends: When it comes to gear, what do you need versus what’s nice to have?

P.S. Speaking of CrossFit, I loved this post: Three Reasons to Get Upset About CrossFit.



  1. I have yet to try CrossFit but I really want to. I think I’m a little scared of the intensity and whether or not I could keep up, but I’ve heard that anyone can start wherever they’re at with their fitness level. Is this really the case? I’d love any thoughts!

  2. Good timing on this post. I just (finally) became a member of a box after floating around for the last 9 months. I’ve been sticking to running shoes but I’m thinking of investing in Nanos. I still can’t seem to swallow it though.

    I use lifting gloves at the moment. Honestly, I’ve noticed that if my hands hurt (and they will hurt w/o gloves), I can only think about how my hands hurt and it really sacrifices my form, which is no bueno.

  3. Great tips!! I’m on the search for shoes for CrossFit–I have had a streak of bad luck with buying (expensive) shoes and them not working for me (I have complicated feet and currently now suffering from plantar facsitis). Also tried using wrist wraps for the first time Monday working on 1RM for overhead squats (hate those). The callous scraper is a great idea!! (While networking/job searching, I notice people wondering why my hands feel rough when I shake their hand. LOL)

  4. Great post! I workout from home and try to do as much Crossfit styled workouts as possible and have been noticing its super uncomfortable to do my squats and deadlifts with running shoes. Really want a pair of reebok nanos. I need the callus shaver for my runner’s feet too (yepp, i know, gross) hahahaha

  5. Tape! Gotta have my tape for my hands for lifting (the barbells sometimes are really rough) and pull ups! I know you put grips in here but tape just seems to be that all around helpful item.

  6. I have knee wraps! They are a must during heavy squat work outs and box jumps. My knees are so much more stable in them. I’ve noticed more and more Elite CrossFit athletes wearing them too! I wear the Original Rehbands.

  7. I finally sucked it up and bought a pair of Nano 2.0s, and once my heals got used to them (they are higher than the Inov-8s), I am kind of addicted, I want to wear them all day/every day. But I want to let you in on a little secret, if you have small feet, you can order kids sizes, less expensive 🙂

    I won 30% off a pair of Atlas Power Wraps, so I got a pair of those. I love them for heavy lifts, my wrists feel so much better now. Before they ached the entire week after a heavy front squat or press!

    Agree with the jump rope! I got my first string of double unders in my work parking lot one day, when I needed a break 😉

    A GREAT sports bra! I realized that wearing 2-3 cheap ones, is just as expensive as buying a $40 one that holds my boobs in place

  8. Do the Nano 3’s run the same as the Nano 2’s? I can’t seem to find a store carrying them to try them on!

  9. I use a dremel to shave my hands. I forget how weird it is to file your hands. Haha!

    I held out on the nanos for several years, but now I have them and LOVE them. I was in a minimalist pair before, but the nanos were a much better fit for me. Love them!!

  10. Love my nanos. They are so worth it because I ruined some regular shoes before I got them.

    A MUST for me was getting a pull-up bar to work on at home… I don’t think I would have ever gotten a strict pull-up without having that available for daily practice!!!

  11. Wrist wraps are the most important for me!! I have weak wrists, so to do any sort of overhead lifting, I have got to have them. I have the same ones Mal does, but in pink 🙂

    I am still rocking my Nano 2.0s. but the toe box is starting to wear pretty badly. Everyone at my box is upgrading to the Nano Speeds instead of the 3.0s. Have you tried those yet?

      1. @Tina: Awesome, thanks! Don’t know how I missed that post, sorry! I think I may give them a whirl–I hate doing WODs that have any running in them in my regular Nanos. I guess they aren’t supportive enough around the ankles? Love your insight, thanks!

  12. Agree on the headbands, 100%. Especially with growing-out bangs! I like the Junk brand, or just plain bandanas you can buy in a 4-pack from Target for 5 bucks. Along the lines of tracking progress, there are also a few apps out there to track your weights, wods, PRs – I use MyWod and it’s free! Something else I’d add is a good gym bag to cart all this around. You never know when your rope climb socks or hand wraps will be needed. Great post!

  13. Great post! My Nano 3.0s should be delivered today!! I agree with Mal – my wrist wraps get a lot of use!

  14. LOVE this!!! I use strength wraps and Rouge wraps for my wrist. I also think tape is key to have incase of a rip haha. I also agree JunkBands or Sweaty Bands are a MUST!!! I love my Nanos and rope. I need a bag. With a shoe pocket. On the look for that! Love what you share for our sport! Hopefully regionals next year we can catch up 🙂

  15. Great list! I really want a pair of the Nano 3.0’s but they’re out of stock online in Ireland at the mo. Do you ever were compressions socks as opposed to straight up knee highs?

    1. I guess I wear them interchangeably to CrossFit since they do the same thing (protect my shins). I like compression gear after long runs/races, but I don’t normally wear it for CrossFit.

  16. I LOVE my Nano 2.0’s and was so glad when I bought them. I definitely feel like my WODs improved. I do love some of the Olympic lifting, but I think I’m like you! I bought wrist wraps (PR wraps) because I noticed mine would be VERY sore after those WODs! I think I agree with you – workout clothes are a given but I like items that are tight; loose-fitting clothes always feel like they are in my way! I hope to get OLY’s (from Reebok) in the future!

  17. This is awesome!! I’m taking my first Crossfit class tomorrow so this came at the perfect timing. I’m so nervously excited I might poop my pants and barf at the same time.

  18. Wrist wraps fall under my MUST have list. I struggled for a while with pain in my after HSPUs, overhead squats and snatches. I have some jacked up wrists, with a cyst in one of them, and the wraps have made these movements so much easier (well as easy as those 3 can be..haha..).

    Mobility stuff should also be on that list. Foam roller, lacrosse ball, resistance bands.

    I have Nano 3.0s on the way this week. WOOP!

  19. Couldn’t agree more with everything on this list – including the headband.. thats a MUST HAVE for me as well! And I’m glad that Mal insisted on the wrist wraps, they truly make a difference. I don’t use them everytime but they do help, especially when alot of front squat work is involved (at least for me). Have you ever tried Inov-8’s? I know your a Reebok lover (and who isn’t?) but I am a HUGE fan of their shoes. You should check them out sometime!

    Oh and I just read an earlier comment – mobility stuff is a must! PVC pipe for foam rolling, LAX balls and bands for sure!

    1. Mal used to wear Inov-8s, but they got destroyed from rope climbs, so he’s a Nano lover now. I’ve never tried them, but it would be tough sell since I love all things Reebok! 🙂

  20. I use the Reebok U-Forms for any lifting we do before a metcon–squats, cleans, snatches, etc. I cannot imagine lifting without them and my coach hates it when people try to lift in nanos or running shoes.

    I do the metcons in innov-8s. Personally I think the nanos are way overhyped. I’ve tried them and found them to be clunky and not very streamlined of a fit. The innov-8s fit like a glove and are light and fast on metcons.

    Beyond this, I keep my gear super minimal. Sometimes I throw on wrist wraps for cleans and snatches, but that’s about it. I’ve never been able to figure out the point of wearing long socks and shorts. It’s so much easier and more comfortable to just throw on a pair of lulu tights and you’re good to go. Everyone I see in shorts and socks is constantly adjusting their clothes!

      1. @Tina: Actually yes! I was surprised and disappointed by how quickly my first pair of innov-8s broke down. I’d say the crossfit lifespan of that shoe is like 4-5 months (and we don’t rope climb that often). They seem to fit my foot better than the nanos, so I am sticking with them for now, but I was REALLY hoping for more mileage out of that shoe. Maybe over time they will improve the quality/lifespan of the shoe 🙁

        1. @Tina: I feel like you’ve been writing a ton about running lately and variety is the spice of life@Lisa: You should try New Balance Minimus shoes, they’re great and have a long lifespan as long as you don’t buy the ones with circle treads on the bottom. I’ve had mine for over a year and they still l look brand new but other gym members bought the circle tread ones and they came off within 4 months of purchase.

  21. I realized that I didn’t love crossfit when my coach started talking about tracking our workouts in a notebook. I have a yoga journal where I log what I do and the goals I reach and what my practices are, but I didn’t have the same desire to do that for crossfit. (I also think I had a crappy coach.)

    So, I’ll vote for the notebook/journal being an important part of whatever sport you are doing.

  22. I use the PedEgg (you know that thing that they always advertised for getting your heels looking great!) on my hands – it’s easier & quite a bit safer and you just buff it across your hands a couple of times a week and you’re good to go! We also have the “Beyond the Whiteboard” app at our box, so you can keep your stats on line (private so only you see or you can share) and access them from your smartphone or PC — nice! I’m also with Mal on the wrist wraps! I love them for the over the head work, my wrists feel better after the WOD than they did before them. My favorite rope is the RX rope – having one cut to your size and just for you makes all the difference! Great list!

  23. Just curious… Are you recommending this gear because you have working relationships with the companies? No judgment, just curious.
    I think it could be misleading for newbies looking to get involved because there’s a hefty price tag that comes along w everything you said you “need” I’m a crossfitter+ have hand grips + a jump rope and that’s it. I don’t even use the jump rope that much and don’t think it’s a necessity. I tear through callouses all the time which is why I have the hand grips. I’d love nanos, but I wod just fine in my Nike frees + noticed some athletes at the games wearing them. I think most things are just nice to have.

    1. The only company I work with that I mentioned is Reebok, and I think their CrossFit shoes are the best, so I recommend them.

      Like I said in my post, everyone’s needs and workouts are different. I’d be able to CrossFit just fine with Nanos, a jump rope, notebook, and headband, but someone else might need more or less. For example, Mal needs wrist wraps. You need hand grips. I blogged about items that I thought were most beneficial to CrossFitters.

  24. What good timing! I finally signed up for crossfit yesterday and have taken 2 out of 3 on ramp classes so far. Still nervous!

  25. Great tips! I haven’t tried Crossfit yet. Mostly because I don’t want to go alone and I can’t get anyone crazy enough to go with me! 🙁 I would have never thought about shoes or knee socks. Or really, any of your tips!

  26. I love using Beyond the Whiteboard online program to log my WODs! I find it so much easier than a paper log since it automatically compares old WOD times with updates, making it easy to track progress 🙂 It requires membership but we get it free through our box.

  27. Great list!!! I would love to invest in Nanos, but my kids kinda need sneakers first!!! Darn!!! I was like you when I first started CF 3 years ago…I’m a “runner” and I wore my running shoes! Eventually I found out that’s the minimalist shoes were the ones!!! Now….I want Nanos!! I enter every contest and haven’t win yet!!!

    Wrist wraps are a MUST…found that put the hard way after a WOD!!!

    Thanks for this post!!!

  28. I would add that you need clothing that will stay in place! I did a month of CrossFit earlier this year and found it was helpful to wear compression-type clothing on the bottom that would stay in place when jumping, lifting, running, etc. You don’t want to be trying to do a pull-up and also having to worrying about pulling up your pants!

  29. Totally agree with all your picks Tina! I don’t think I could crossfit without my nanos and there’s no way double unders would happen without my jump rope 🙂

  30. I really love your blog, and I’ve been reading it for several years now, but I feel that lately (and ever increasingly) it’s been less carrots and less cake and more CROSSFIT. I know you love it, but your blog isn’t what it used to be, and I miss the old carrotsncake! I’m sure others feel similar 🙁

    1. Carrots ‘N’ Cake is about my life, which includes CrossFit. I’m sorry you don’t enjoy reading about it, but I don’t see it changing any time soon. Also, if you look at my previous posts from the last couple of weeks, hardly any of them are about CrossFit!

  31. My husband just got the Nano’s and he loves them! They are pretty intense with all the “bells and whistles” made just for Crossfit… I am kinda jealous of him, not gonna lie 🙂

    Oh and I am totally ordering a Chevron Shock headband… I love that you can tie them since the pull-over ones always mess my hair up and I end up using a billion bobby pins to fix it anyway! Thanks for introducing us to them!

  32. I would add Body Glide!! Lol. I always apply it before we do a ton of sit-ups or I will have the worst strawberries!!!

  33. great list/post as always tina! just wanted to chime that while i have not worn nanos I did wear a pair of inov-8 for about 6 months that I really liked but I just need more ankle support and not just for running so I switched back to running shoes, asics kayano, and while I am not the heaviest lifter (1 rep max front squat 95lbs my latest crossfit victory) I feel better knowing my ankles are secure.

  34. For me, spandex shorts were a game changer! I hate to admit it, since they are ridiculously overpriced, but my favorite pair are Reebok CrossFit ones that I received as a gift. I move a lot faster when I’m not constantly pulling my shirt down or my shorts up. As for the tanks, Hanes men’s undershirts are my go to, cheap and long since I’m 5’11!

    As for Oly shoes, totally help with all lifts and I love mine. I got shoes made specifically for Olympic lifting, not for CrossFit lifting, but it just depends on what you’re looking to do with them. .75 inch heel is a must regardless of the brand.

    Last but certainly not least, a subscription to Beyond the Whiteboard. I know there are tons of different ways to log but it’s so much easier to grab my phone and check what I did previously for a lift instead of having to flip through the pages of a notebook. It’s also a great community tool since most members of our gym use it and you can comment on what someone did for the day, even if you weren’t able to WOD with them.

  35. well, thanks in advance… now I have everything I want for Christmas 🙂

    Can the nanos only be ordered online? I would love to try/see them in person before ordering them. I wish Nordstroms carried them… haha

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