Review: These Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V3 got an updated look with several new features you need if you cross-train. They are very light and have a natural feel that moves with your foot.
They have a low drop, which makes them great for barbell lifts, but they also have a special Powerflow+ midsole which manages to give better shock absorption and energy return than standard midsoles, all while remaining thin and nimble. How did they do that?!
Powerflow+ midsole is thin and flexible, yet has superior shock absorption and energy return.
Metaflex outsole means the forefoot remains flexible.
Rope Tec and rubber sole bumper for added durability.
They run just a tad wide.
A functional training shoe that is lightweight, protective, flexible and has a natural feel, this shoe is everything you need from a cross training shoe.
Review: The Under Armour HOVR Phantom shoes have HUGE impact protection and massive energy return which is why they call these “Zero Gravity” shoes and named them HOVR, because they make you feel like you are hovering above ground.
They have a very comfortable soft knit upper that allows your foot to breathe while holding it in snug and secure.
Excellent impact protection and energy return.
Stretchy breathable knit upper holds the foot secure.
External heel counter for rearfoot support.
Run small, order a half size up.
You are going to love the way these feel and perform, they will make your run feel like flight.
Review: The new Metcons are here! If you CrossFit, Cross Train, or are involved in functional fitness, these are the shoes for you ladies!
Nike thought of everything when they designed this version of the Metcon.
It has wrap-around protection for the rope climb, a heel clip to help with handstand pushups, a flexible front, stable heel and a removable Hyperlift insole that helps while lifting and can be removed for other activities.
Hyperlift insert gives you a 6mm drop for lifting and is removable.
Outsole wraps up over the outer to protect shoes during rope climb.
Flexible forefront allows your foot to move.
Heel counter keeps heel stable during lateral moves.
Metcons are not great to run in. Best as a Cross Training shoe.
One of the best Metcons yet and a fantastic shoe for CrossFit, one of the best women’s workout shoes too.
Review: These Nobull trainers are the unsung heroes of many CrossFitters closets.
They are some of the most durable shoes around, lasting twice as long as other trainers thanks to the Seamless one-piece Superfabric upper which is coated in indestructible microbeads that stand up to any abuse you throw their way, yet allow the upper to be flexible so you can jump and run.
The sole is flat and stable, so these shoes are great for lifting and they have a snug fit, so they become one with your feet as you train.
Superfabric stands up to rope climb and other abuses.
Carbon lateral and medial guards add structure and lateral support.
Flexible upper and forefoot.
Not for dynamic dance or Zumba style workouts because the soles are too grippy making it hard to turn fast.
Excellent pair of trainers specifically designed for CrossFit, Cross Training and functional fitness.
Review: These running shoes give your running a performance boost while remaining plenty flexible and comfortable too.
The 360 Primeknit upper moves and stretches with your foot. The 3D heel frame and Stabilizing Torsion Spring provide just the right amount of support without making the shoe feel clunky or restrictive and the dual-density midsole provides the liftoff you need to stay motivated mile after mile.
Stretch knit upper conforms to and hugs the foot.
Flexible stretch web outsole.
Continental brand rubber provides superior traction.
The upper gets dirty and looks worn pretty quickly, probably because of the knit fabric style.
Energetic running shoe with a stretchy, form fitting knit upper for comfort that’s hard to beat.
Review: APL’s best selling workout shoe, the Phantom, is surprisingly attractive and stylish. But looks are not everything.
The technology built into the shoe is what truly makes it shine. This cross-training shoe is built with Advanced Propulsion Labs proprietary Propelium.
This Propelium midsole material is more durable and has better energy return than EVA used in other shoes, so the shoe is lighter, uses less material and returns more bounce to your stride than others.
Minimalist style, minimal arch support and cushion – good for weight lifting.
8mm drop helps propel you forward – also good for squats.
Form-fitting knit that hugs your feet.
Run about one size small.
No arch support, minimal cushion.
Perhaps the most elegant looking cross training shoe you can get. Minimalist feel with a luxurious look.
Review: This new Speed Sutamina running shoe by Puma will become your new favorite. Not only is it a great looking shoe that is sure to capture attention and compliments, but it incorporates smart technology that make it great for running.
The Proplate, in combination with the 12mm drop, give you a boost forward, and the Profoam EVA insole gives you plenty of energy return without weighing you down.
3D TPU support supports the heel for stability.
Proplate drives you forward using a reflex toe-off.
High rebound lightweight Profoam midsole.
Upper is not very breathable.
Attractive, responsive women’s running shoe with flexible knit upper.
Review: Here comes Mizuno, known for running shoes, busting onto the scene with a new pair of cross-training shoes.
This shoe incorporates BASFs Elastopan® polyurethane for the midsole which enables Mizuno’s ‘Center of Balance’ (COB) technology to transmit ground feedback to the feet through activation bumps molded into the midsole. This improves the athlete’s balance, and athletic performance.
COB technology for enhanced ground feedback, balance and performance.
Stable and comfortable minimalist style shoe – good for lifting.
Flat multi-directional grip.
I’m not sure the upper would hold up well during rope climbs.
I love this new low profile training shoe from Mizuno, the minimalist style and superior ground feedback are just what you need for cross training movements.
Review: Previous models of Merrell Vapor Glove are some of the most well-loved CrossFit shoes known to the sport. These new Vapor Glove 4s follow the tradition with the same barefoot feel.
They are super stable and keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, making them great for lifting.
They are flexible enough for other cross-training movements and conform to your feet. It’s the closest you can get to not wearing shoes at all.
Vibram rubber outsole for greater traction.
Great connection between your feet and the ground.
Durable Cordura and TPU upper.
The sole is quite thin, these are great on a gym floor, but not on rocks or pebbly surfaces.
Great minimalist barefoot shoe for cross training and weightlifting.
The Merrell Vapor gloves make excellent shoes for lifting weights, but there are many other shoes out there dedicated to the sport of weightlifting. I have a list of my favorite weightlifting shoes reviewed right here.
Review: The Altra HIIT XT 2 is quite different from other Altra models. To be clear, this shoe is designed for weight lifting and other cross-training movements and therefore has very little padding a wider footbed and wider toebox, because when you lift, you need a stable flat base and room for your toes to splay.
This shoe also has good lateral support for side to side movements.
Designed for lifting and CrossFit.
Flat, wide base.
Low drop and minimal cushioning.
Not for running or dance style classes, minimal cushion.
Great weightlifting and CrossFit shoe for women, stable and durable shoe that keeps your feet connected to the ground.
Review: This Puma Weave XT workout shoe is a great multipurpose gym shoe that is just as comfortable inside as out in the street. It is flexible and soft and thanks to the weave upper, conforms to your foot and stays secure.
This is an ideal shoe for the treadmill, elliptical, stair stepper, light jogging, and other low-intensity workouts.
Snug yet comfortable sock-like fit.
Attractive feminine design.
Flexible midsole and upper.
Not for long distance running or weight lifting.
Fashionable, flexible workout shoes great for the gym, exercise machines light jogging and walking, one of the best gym shoes for women.
Review: My favorite feature of the Nike Free TR8 is the sole and upper are flexible, while the heel has a locked-in feel with plenty of support.
If your workout has lots of side to side movement, like with HIIT or dance style workouts, you can feel secure that the ankle support is there. If you need to run, these shoes work for that too.
The mesh upper is breathable, the shoes are very light and they are flatter and wider in the heel, so you can use them for lifting and squatting, no problem. These are truly multi-sport workout shoes.
Perfect for gym, HIIT, cross-training and dance class.
Flexible upper and sole.
Flat wide, stable sole – good for squats and lifting.
This model runs narrow.
Best women’s training shoes for virtually all sports.
Buyers Guide to the Best Workout Shoes for Women
What is Your Workout or Exercise Style?
Think about what you plan to use your workout shoes for. Features that make great cross-training shoes are different from what makes a good lifting shoe or a good shoe for a dance style class.
Nike Metcon 5 make great shoes for CrossFit because they are minimally padded, have a flat sole and are flexible in the front while locked in at the heel. These shoes would not make good shoes for running or dance class, because they are minimally cushioned and do not have the bounce or energy return needed for running.
On the other hand…
The Brooks Women’s Ghost 12 are perfect for running. They are well cushioned, really lightweight, and have plenty of energy return. But they are too cushioned for lifting and CrossFit style workouts, because they do not create a stable base you need for lifting.
Are You an Over or Under or Neutral Pronator?
Pronation is a term you might find used when describing running shoes.
Underpronation is when your foot strike the ground as you run, the heel hits at an angle without pronating inward.
Underpronators need shoes with ample cushioning.
Neutral pronators feet hit the ground at the outside heel and pronate inward a little, which is the best since this style absorbs shock from running most efficiently without causing injury.
Neutral pronators can wear neutral running shoes.
Overpronation is when you run and your foot lands on the outside of the heel and then pronates inwards too far, putting too much pressure on the inside of the foot.
Overpronators need shoes with good stability and structure to correct and guide the foot to prevent the overpronation of the foot as it strikes the ground.
Do You Have Any Issues like Plantar Fasciitis, Shin Splints of Knee Pain?
If you have any issue with your feet, consider choosing your workout shoe based on what works for your particular needs.
What is the Difference Between CrossFit or Weightlifting and Running Shoes?
The ideal CrossFit shoes are much different from the ideal running shoes. Running shoes are typically well-cushioned, supportive and designed to return energy to your stride.
Running also have a steeper drop, meaning the heel is higher than the tow, propelling you forward as you run.
Running shoes are designed to move you forward.
CrossFit shoes are typically less padded, minimalist style even. They have a flat wide base and more room. CrossFit shoes are designed to allow you to lift and squat comfortably and safely.
Cushioned shoes will not work because they do not provide a stable base to lift from, and the cushion would be destroyed of crushed under the repetitive strain of heavy weight.
What is the Difference Between Running Shoes and Shoes for Zumba?
The biggest difference between running shoes and shoes ideal for Zumba is the sole and the level and areas of support.
For Zumba you need shoes that allow you to move and pivot quickly. Running shoes are designed to move forward, Zumba shoes allow you to move in all directions and often have a round pivot point under the ball of the foot.
Zumba shoes also have solid ankle support since Zumba uses a lot of lateral, or side to side movements, so your ankle must be kept secure.
Can I Wear Regular Running Shoes on the Treadmill?
You can wear regular running shoes on a treadmill. The only thing you should know is that running outdoors will wear down the shoe cushion faster than a treadmill because treadmills have their own built-in impact protection.
If you wanted to, you could choose a shoe with less cushion to use with the treadmill, but regular running shoes are also a great choice for the treadmill.
This wraps up the best workout shoes for women of 2021, I hope you found the perfect pair for you.
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Busy wife and mother of four. Katie is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Garage Gym Power. What makes her credible is the fact that she made her own home gym from scratch and she is a true time-management wizard! She guards her gym time jealously, and would rather miss a PTA meeting or get takeout for dinner than miss a workout!