TOP 41 Best Workout Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed 2019

If you are looking for the best shoes for the gym, box, or studio for your workout you are in the right place.

I have 41 of the best training shoes of 2019 for men and women right here.

As an athlete myself, I can tell you the pros and cons of each shoe, what activity they are best for, and why I think they are good for working out.

Now let’s look at 41 of the best shoes for the gym.

Contents

TOP 41 Best Workout and Training Shoes for 2019

Reebok Men's Nano 9 Cross Trainer

Review: These brand new cross training shoes from Reebok are the 9th edition of this long-standing classic. They are a favorite for a reason, they work great at the gym.

They are perfect for lifting heavyweight, like the Olympic lifts. They are flexible enough for other tasks like jumping and lateral moves. And they have very little cushion underfoot which allows you to feel the ground and get the feedback you need.

They can even be used to run short distances, under a mile, when your workout calls for it.

Pros

  • Flat sole with minimal cushion, great base for heavy lifting.
  • Form-fitting and flexible flex weave locks your foot in and allows it to move.
  • OK for runs under a mile.

Cons

  • Takes a few weeks to completely break in, can be a bit stiff at first.

Takeaway

Comfortable durable cross training shoes for the gym, great for lifting!

While these are my favorite CrossFit shoes for men, I have a list of several more top-rated CrossFit shoes for men right here.

Nike Men's Metcon 5 Training Shoe

Review: These are the perfect shoes for cross training, especially when your routine includes lifting. These shoes come with a mini lifter insert that helps you improve your range of motion and this model Metcon is good for running distances less than a mile.

The Metcons also happen to fit best if you have narrow feet, although this model does have a wider tow box than the previous one.

Pros

  • Nike Hyperlift insert helps ROM on squats, pistol squats and lunges.
  • Wide stable flat sole, great for lifting.
  • Flexible in the front and stable and supportive in the heel.

Cons

  • Tends to separate from the sole after extended wear.

Takeaway

Best gym shoes for lifting and cross training style workouts like CrossFit.

Nobull Men's Training Shoe

Review: No Bulls are famous for being simple and durable, hence the name, No Bull. They also come in some pretty wild colors.

They have a flexible breathable upper made of superfabric, which is infused with guard plates, tiny indestructible dots that make the fabric strong while still allowing your foot to move.

The sole is flat and these shoes have a close to the ground feel that you will love if you lift weights or like minimalist style shoes.

Pros

  • Indestructible fabric upper. These shoes last longer than top-rated competitor shoes.
  • Multi-directional lug pattern offers grip on gym floors, pavement, and box environments.
  • Flexible in front and stable in back.

Cons

  • Not great for running.

Takeaway

The jack of all trades gym workout shoe that does it all with understated style.

No Bull shoes are easily one of the most popular CrossFit shoes, and one reason is because they perform well when lifting heavy weights, like Olympic lifts.

If you want to see more shoes that are great for weight lifting, check out this list of the best weightlifting shoes to see the latest and greatest available.

Under Armour Men's TriBase Reign Training Shoe

Review: Under Armor has created a truly unique shoe with this Tribase Reign cross training shoe. It is quite different from other shoes in their lineup.

This shoe has a ripstop material upper that is durable and flexible, a full rubber outsole that stands up to abuse, a Micro G® foam midsole that adds a little cushion while still keeping your feet connected to the ground, making these great for lifting, jumping, lateral movements and more.

Pros

  • Low to the ground feel.
  • Rubber outsole wrap up for greater all-around durability.
  • External heel counter for heel stability and lateral support.
  • Excellent style – very attractive.

Cons

  • Runs narrow.
  • Not great for running or walking long distances.

Takeaway

A unique shoe by Under Armour that is great for weight training and hitting the gym.

Mizuno Men's TC-01 Cross Trainer

Review: Mizuno designed this trainer especially for the gym or box environment. This shoe has sensor pod technology that allow your feet to feel ground feedback, so you feel stable while lifting, jumping and during lateral movements.

The upper is soft, flexible and form-fitting like a sock, while the sole keeps your feet low to the ground.

Pros

  • Soft, flexible, one-piece upper.
  • COBtechnology means increased sensitivity underfoot.
  • Internal midfoot support straps keep foot locked in while forefront remains flexible.

Cons

  • NOT running shoes – OK for short distances.

Takeaway

An excellent pair of cross training shoes by Mizuno that provide stability and balance while lifting.

York Athletics Men’s The Henry Gym Shoe

Review: If you have not heard of these shoes, check them out. They are stylish and understated training shoes for you guys who are not a fan of the clown colors some other trainers come it.

Not only do they look great, these athletic shoes perform. They are minimal and light, keep your feet close to the ground, they breath well, and if your routine calls for a little jogging, they can do that too.

Pros

  • Flat, stable, low to the ground – great for lifting.
  • Breathable mesh upper – plenty of ventilation.
  • Lightweight.
  • Good looking, subtle style – people will ask where you got ‘em!

Cons

  • A tad narrow, but the upper is forgiving.

Takeaway

If you want to try a NEW gym training shoe, not what everyone else has, these York trainers fit the bill.

Reebok Men's CrossFit Nano 8.0 Cross Trainer

Review: The Nano 8.0s do not disappoint. Forget the flaws of the 7.0, the 8.0 addresses those issues, even though they look similar they are quite different.

The 8.0 is constructed with a heel bootie and sock liner, making the upper flexible and well-padded and super comfortable. The heel counter is not as hard as it was on the 7.0. and the midsole is the dual-density midsole like every generation previous (except the 7.0).

There is a lot to love here with the 8.0

Pros

  • Thicker insole than the 7.0.
  • Flexible, softer sole, padded tongue.
  • One of the wider Nano models, good workout shoes for wide feet.
  • Thinner laces than other models.

Cons

  • Does not climb ropes as well as the 7.0, likely due to the softness of the sole.

Takeaway

The most comfortable, flexible, well designed Nanos so far.

Nike Men's Free X Metcon Shoe

Review: Nike designed the Free X Metcon to double as both running shoe and cross trainer. The TPU heel counter wraps around and serves as an adjustable lacing system to get a good lockdown.

The midsole is very stiff to add stability while lifting. The Free X Metcons are true to size and very comfortable, especially considering they are designed for training.

Pros

  • Super comfy soft neoprene collar.
  • 5 mm drop, good for lifting and running.
  • Wide, comfortable and flexible toe box.
  • Flexible and stiff where needed.

Cons

  • Some experience heel slip.

Takeaway

Easily one of the best training shoes of 2019, Nike hit a new PR with these shoes that take you from lifting to training to running with ease.

Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Running Shoe

Review: The 35th version of this shoe includes a complete coverage air cushion throughout the shoe. If your training includes the treadmill or track, these shoes are for you!

The drop is a forward propelling 10 mm and the 9.9 oz weight feels almost like training with no shoes on.

Pros

  • Flared Achilles wing prevents ankle chafing.
  • Incredibly breathable and flexible upper Air Zoom cushioning provides great energy return.
  • Not overly padded or cushioned, these shoes are stable.
  • Can be used by overpronators because they are so stable.

Cons

  • Run small and fore foot is on the narrow side.

Takeaway

If your gym training includes the treadmill or track, these shoes are a great choice.

Inov-8 Men's F-Lite 275 Cross Trainer

Review: The Inov-8 F-lite 275 is a light responsive cross training shoe that is right at home in the gym. It works well for agility, plyometrics, a little running and even some weight lifting. The shoe has ample room in the toe box and is a good choice for wide feet.

Pros

  • Flexible midsole and upper.
  • Metatarsal Adapter strap locks foot down.
  • Super light training shoe, 9.6 oz.
  • 8mm drop, good for folks with hip or ankle mobility issues.

Cons

  • Run wide and long.

Takeaway

A well rounded training and gym shoe, especially good for people with wide feet or mobility issues in the hip or ankle.

Adidas Men's CrazyTrain Elite Cross Trainer

Review: The Adidas Elite shoes feature Adidas boost technology, which is designed to offer energy return.

The Crazy Train Elites manage to provide boost without sacrificing stability, which means you can also use these shoes for lifting and other moves that require stability.

Pros

  • Stiff low compression midsole.
  • Flared at the base of the sole for an extra stable platform to lift on.
  • “Boost” technology in the midsole delivers good energy return for jumping, agility and explosive movements.

Cons

  • A little heavy at 13 oz.

Takeaway

Comfortable and flexible training shoe that works for lifting and agility because they are both responsive and stable.

Asics Men's Conviction X Cross Trainer Shoe

Review: The Conviction X is a functional fitness shoe by Asics, designed to handle a wide array of abuses, from box jumps to lifting, rope climbs and cardio, these shoes are a jack of all trades.

The upper is made from synthetic “Rhyno skin” and mesh, which is tough and durable. The tread is very grippy and there is a 4mm heel to toe drop, on an already slip sole, making it a decent shoe to lift in.

Pros

  • Minimal insole, removable.
  • Low riders, 4mm drop, 10mm at the heel and 6mm at the toe.
  • Runs true to size, medium to wide.
  • Stiff heel, stable, with a heel counter.

Cons

  • Run a bit small and narrow.

Takeaway

Solid and stable, yet flexible. Best shoes for working out all around.

Nike Men's Free RN Distance Running Shoe

Review: The Nike men’s Free RN have Zoom Air, a special technology at the front of the sole containing pressurized compartments of air that bend under pressure, creating reactive cushioning.

Pros

  • Great for wide feet.
  • Zoom Air reactive cushioning.
  • Removable inserts.
  • Great for running, even long distances.

Cons

  • Run narrow.

Takeaway

The Zoom Air cushioning makes them some of the best shoes for high impact workouts.

Nike Men's Metcon 3 Training Shoe

Review: The all in one training shoe, the famous Metcon 3 by Nike, is stable enough for lifting, solid in the heel and midsole, and flexible at the toe. Enough cushion for light running and agility work.

Pros

  • Cross train and lift in this flat soled shoe.
  • Good arch support TPU heel cup, and heel clip.
  • Upper is fly knit with a thermal flexible coating.
  • Mesh toe, flat sole, crazy outsole pattern.

Cons

  • Thin laces, annoying and breakable, but designed to stay tied.

Takeaway

True to size, newly designed Metcon for cross training.

Reebok Men's R CrossFit Nano 2.0 Training Shoe

Review: Possibly one of Reeboks most popular training shoe, the Nano 2.0 is probably the most comfortable gym shoes for functional fitness.

This model came out in 2012 and is still extremely popular in 2019, despite having many new versions since. If you can find a pair, pick them up, you won’t be disappointed.

Pros

  • Fuse frame around the upper give the shoe structure.
  • Extremely flexible and durable.
  • Blocky grip pattern that is sticky and great for rope climbing.

Cons

  • No heel clip for handstand pushups.

Takeaway

A good, wide, comfortable and flexible Nano, and decent for running.

Vibram Men's KSO EVO Cross Trainer

Review: This barefoot-style shoe has individual toe compartments, unparalleled ground feedback and are a favorite among barefoot runners.

They are great for running, but also stand up in the gym environment. They are low profile, super grippy, and as stable as lifting in bare feet.

Pros

  • Excellent feedback feel from the ground.
  • Breathable, sweat-wicking, antimicrobial and machine washable.
  • Lighter than previous models of Vibram shoes.
  • More durable than the New Balance Minimus shoes.

Cons

  • Odd looking.

Takeaway

Natural feel with unrivaled ground perception.

Adidas Men's CrazyPower TR M Cross Trainer

Review: The Men’s Crazy Power TR’s by Adidas is designed for multiple surfaces, movements and exercises. It has a flat sole with a varied tread pattern that works on multiple surfaces.

Pros

  • TPU heel counter to hold the heel in place and add stability.
  • Instep rope climb grip, excellent hold.
  • Wide toe box, raised to cap, great workout shoes for wide feet.
  • Good for lifting.

Cons

  • Not as flexible as the women’s model with the same name.

Takeaway

Great workout shoes for men for all around training.

Under Armour Men's Commit Training Shoe

Review: The Commit TR by Under Armour are great for the gym, with a sock liner that helps the shoes stay snug and offers a little cushion.

Pros

  • Padded around the collar, with added TPU support.
  • Good lateral support.
  • Leather saddle and mesh upper provide stability and air circulation.

Cons

  • Narrow shoe.

Takeaway

A light, all purpose shoe, good for lifting and training.

Adidas Men's CloudFoam Racer TR Shoe

Review: These attractive black on black Cloud Foam Racers are cushioned with a cloud foam bed which feels like running on air. These have a removable insole if you like a flat footbed.

Pros

  • Flexible and light rubber sole.
  • Padded tongue and collar.
  • Mesh upper, breathable and cooling.

Cons

  • Run Small.

Takeaway

Seriously comfortable training shoes.

New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Shoe

Review: As close to barefoot as possible, the MT10V1 is made from breathable mesh, very cooling. These shoes keep you connected to the ground.

Pros

  • Great for running, deadlifts, box jumps and all types of training.
  • Vibram soles, flexible, grippy, thin and flat.
  • 4mm drop, anti-microbial.

Cons

  • Shoe runs small, order larger size.

Takeaway

Feel the ground beneath your feet, whether lifting or running. Best exercise shoes for running and beyond.

Nike Men's Metcon 4 Training Shoe

Review: The Metcon 4 are one of the best training shoes that Nike has made. The upper is flexible and softer than the Metcon 3 so running is considerably easier.

These Metcon 4s are some of the most durable Metcons too. They have a rubberized texture printed right onto the weave that gets heavier in high wear areas like the toe, and where a rope would rub.

Pros

  • 4mm drop, discrete heel clip, and TPU heel for stability.
  • More cushioning in the front, good for high impact moves.
  • Fly knit upper is flexible and comfortable and creates a sock-like experience.

Cons

  • Runs small, the upper is fitted, which may affect those with wide feet.

Takeaway

Best shoes for high impact workouts from the Metcon series.

Asics Men's GEL-Kayano 22 Running Shoe

Review: This Asics Gel Kayano is both lighter and produced more bounce back than the previous years model. It’s a responsive lightweight running shoe.

Pros

  • Running shoe for high arches. Good for over pronators.
  • Rear and front foot gel cushion shock absorption, good for high impact.
  • Great for running long distances.

Cons

  • 10 mm heel drop, not great for lifting heavy weights.

Takeaway

Good workout shoes for arch support and perfect for running, high impact exercises and agility moves.

Nike Men's Air Zoom Pegasus 33

Review: The Nike Pegasus 33 shoes are some of the best exercise shoes for plantar fasciitis because they have good arch support and are well cushioned, even more so than the Pegasus 32. The shoe is also offered in wide and extra wide to accommodate wider feet.

Pros

  • Great kicks for plantar fasciitis, great arch support, and cushion.
  • Well padded, cushioned collar, with two impact-absorbing zoom pockets near the heel and at the forefront.
  • Very light shoe, mesh panel front, breathable.

Cons

  • Run small, typical with Nike’s.

Takeaway

Best for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Inov-8 Men's Bare-XF 210 V2 Cross Trainer

Review: The Inov-8 210 V2s are improved over the previous model, they are more durable and perform better.

One of the best barefoot training shoes you can own, great for lifting, box jumps, burpees.

Pros

  • Narrower shoe for quick movement.
  • Rope Tech TPU saddle that adds stability and durability.
  • “0” drop shoe, good for lifting. No midsole.
  • Has a removable insole.

Cons

  • No cushioning, save a thin 3mm insole.

Takeaway

Best training shoes of the barefoot style.

Nike Women's Metcon 5 Training Shoe

Review: The new Metcons are here! If you are in the market for a gym shoe or cross training shoe, give these a try.

They are redesigned to be a little better at running, and GREAT for all your other CrossFit activities like Olympic lifts, jumping, thrusters, etc. They are stable, and reasonably comfortable for short runs.

Pros

  • Removable Hyperlift insert improves lifting and range of motion.
  • OK for runs under a few miles.
  • Best weightlifting shoe for women with narrow feet.

Cons

  • None!

Takeaway

Excellent ground feel and heel stability with a flexible from make these some of the best-rated gym shoes available today.

The Metcons are OK for running short distances, and if your Cross Training routine includes running, you will appreciate that.

Since I also include running in my workout from time to time, I went in search of the best CrossFit shoes for running and made this list to share. Check them out!

Reebok Women's Nano 9 Cross Trainer

Review: The new Nano 9s deliver as promised. They are better for running than the 8s, and have just a touch more responsiveness from the dual-density midsole. They are good for runs under 2 miles.

They are also excellent cross trainers for women. They have an external TPU cup that locks the heel in and provides support for lifting and lateral movements and they have a comfy wide toe box, which I appreciate during Olympic lifts.

Pros

  • Wide toe box – these shoes are good for wide feet too!
  • Breathable and flexible upper keeps you cool when your workout heats up.
  • Good for running short distances – better than the Metcon.

Cons

  • The upper is not as durable as other trainers.

Takeaway

Attractive, comfortable cross training shoes that work well for athletes with wide feet.

I love CrossFit and have an obsession with CrossFit shoes. I put together this list for the ladies: The best CrossFit shoes for women. Take a look!

Under Armour Women's HOVR Phantom Shoe

Review: These super comfy running shoes will make you feel like you are hovering above the ground as each mile easily glides by.

Ladies, if you run long distances, you should know that shoes really do make a difference in your performance and enjoyment, so choose carefully! You will not go wrong with these if you run a lot.

Pros

  • Energy returning UA HOVR Foam gives bounce to your stride.
  • Soft breathable compression knit upper fits like a glove.
  • External Heel counter gives heel support.

Cons

  • Run small.
  • Tight in the ankle.

Takeaway

Absolutely stunning running shoes that fit comfortably and feel like running on air.

New Balance Women's 20v7 Minimus Cross Trainer

Review: These minimal style cross training shoes for women are a hit with those who like to feel the ground and feel connected.

They are perfect for weightlifting because they provide a flat stable base and allow your foot to spread out. They are also flexible enough for plyometrics, wall balls, thrusters, and other dynamic moves.

Pros

  • Great fit for wide feet.
  • Excellent for lifting, minimal and give good ground feedback.
  • Minimal structure and padding, low to the ground feel.

Cons

  • Not great for running more than a few kilometers.

Takeaway

Flexible and wide in the front, a great cross training shoe for women with wide feet.

Brooks Women's Revel 3 Running Shoe

Review: The Brooks Revel 3 running shoe is cute and comfortable and stylish enough to wear out and about. The super-soft form-fitting upper is very comfortable.

They feel a little more low to the ground and have a lower profile than standard running shoes, but they still feel soft underfoot and have an adequate cushion.

Pros

  • Good for runners with narrow feet and heels.
  • Soft bootie-like fit will not stretch or warp.
  • BioMoGo DNA offers decent cushioning and impact protection.

Cons

  • Run a bit small and narrow.

Takeaway

These are great shoes for medium distance runs, being on your feet all day, and dashing out to run a few errands.

Adidas Women's Alphabounce+ Parley Shoe

Review: The stretch mesh upper and energy-returning midsole of these Alphabounce running shoes will make you look forward to your workout. They take virtually no time to break in, are comfortable to wear and look great.

Bonus, they are made with recycled material, so you can feel good about doing your part for the environment.

Pros

  • Forgedmesh upper creates a snug comfortable secure fit.
  • Bouncy and energizing cushion, perfect for running.
  • Material is made from recycled plastics – eco friendly.

Cons

  • The shoes are a little shallow for runners with high arches.

Takeaway

Stylish and comfortable running shoes that will put a spring in your step.

Ryka Women's Influence Cross Training Shoe

Review: I love these Ryka shoes for high energy dance and Zumba style classes. They feature a unique pivot point on the sole that allows you to twist and turn easily.

They are even good for basketball! These shoes are well padded, great for any gym floor surface, and offer plenty of support, especially in the heel.

Pros

  • Pivot point on the ball of the foot – great for dance or Zumba style classes.
  • Removable anatomical insole provides arch support when you need it.
  • Well-padded and supportive heel – NOT minimal style.

Cons

  • Not for running – OK for short distances.

Takeaway

The perfect shoe for dance, aerobics and Zumba style classes, supportive and well built.

Reebok Women's Flashfilm Training Shoe

Review: Put some flash in your 100 yard dash with these Reebok running shoes. They fit sung and feel like running on clouds. They are also great for ladies who work on their feet all day. Good for ladies with wide feet.

Pros

  • Flashfilm midsole is responsive without adding weight.
  • Breathable upper provides great ventilation.
  • Super cute running shoes.

Cons

  • Tongue is attached on one side, which not everyone likes.

Takeaway

Stylish, responsive, daily wear running shoes from Reebok.

Reebok Women's CrossFit Grace TR Cross Trainer

Review: The Reebok Grace are designed specifically for the female foot which are narrower in the heel and wider at the ball of the foot. These shoes are decent for running, the toe area angles up and the shoes feel as if they propel you forward.

They are also meant for the gym and Cross Training, and as such, have a low compression insole and rope climbing tread.

Pros

  • Low compression insole makes for a stable training shoe.
  • Ample Rope Pro traction near the arch midfoot area.
  • 4mm drop.
  • Relatively flat, they have good contact with the floor.

Cons

  • These shoes run long. The upper is somewhat plastic-y.

Takeaway

Finally! A Cross Training shoe you can run in, designed for the special features of a woman’s foot.

Nike Women's Free Tr 7 Amp Cross Training Shoe

Review: These Nike Free TR 7’s are comfortable, lightweight and attractive. They are some of the best women’s workout shoes for all-around training. They are decent for running, offer some impact protection and fit snugly.

Pros

  • Good for both cross training and lifting.
  • No tongue, removable insole, very lightweight.
  • Built-in sleeve provides snug, comfortable, secure fit.
  • Flex grooves and Free foam sole make for a flexible sole.

Cons

  • Run about a half size small.

Takeaway

Great all around training shoes for women.

Nike Women's Metcon 2 Training Shoe

Review: These Nike Metcon 2 trainers are some of the top-rated workout shoes for women. They are wide, with decent arch support, and are comfortable to train in.

They are an older model, but easily one of the favorites, which is why they are still around.

Pros

  • Great grip on the sole, perfect for lateral moves and agility work.
  • Adequate arch support.
  • Will work for wide feet, wide toe box.

Cons

  • The laces are too short.
  • Not great for running.

Takeaway

Perfect for a training day that does not include running.

Nike Women's Flex Supreme 4 Training Shoe

Review: These are the best workout shoes for women. They are true to size, which is not always the case with Nike shoes.

They have a midsole shank for stability, but they are also flexible enough in the toe area for light running.

Pros

  • Decent arch support.
  • Fly wire in forefoot locks the foot down.
  • Tread pattern on the sole is grippy and provides a natural feel when moving side to side.

Cons

  • Not for long-distance running.

Takeaway

For all around training and versatility, these are highly recommended workout shoes for arch support for women.

Vibram Women's KSO EVO Cross Trainer

Review: This training shoe is designed to feel as barefoot as possible. The upper is a snug-fitting mesh, and they have adjustable laces.

These shoes allow you to get the most feedback from the ground, while still wearing shoes.

Pros

  • Individual toe compartments, for natural movement.
  • Antimicrobial lining to prevent bacteria and odor.
  • Vegan, and machine washable.

Cons

  • Runs small.

Takeaway

Feels like you are working out barefoot! Great minimalist training shoes.

Asics Women's Conviction X Cross Trainer Shoe

Review: The Asics Conviction X Cross Trainer shoes for women are sought after because they are lighter than Metcons and Nano shoes, and they are supportive and comfortable enough for HIIT, CrossFit, plyometrics, light lifting and more.

Pros

  • Flat stable sole.
  • Durable “Rhyno skin” outer.
  • Moisture-wicking sock liner for a secure fit.

Cons

  • Run small.

Takeaway

Best cross training shoes for women. Light and flexible, with a stable heel.

Reebok Women's CrossFit Nano 8.0 Cross Trainer

Review: The Nano for women has an upper that is both flexible, breathable and durable. It has a low drop, comfortable and roomy toe box, and is extremely comfortable.

Pros

Cons

  • Run large.

Takeaway

Soft and supportive, best workout shoes for women in 2019.

Nobull Women's Training Shoe

Review: No Bull, flat and stable, with a wide toe box and good arch support, good workout shoes for flat feet. They have an indestructible upper, super grippy rubber sole, and plenty of lateral support.

Pros

  • Flat and stable, with a wide toe box and good arch support, best workout shoes for flat feet.
  • Good for lifting, rope climb, box jump and more.
  • Durable guard plate infused upper material.

Cons

  • Not great for running, especially long distances.

Takeaway

Good workout shoes for flat feet and best all around workout shoes.

Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Shoe

Review: These barefoot feel shoes are some of the best workout shoes for plantar fasciitis and flat feet.

They are very comfortable, allow you to feel the ground beneath you, make good shoes for lifting, hiking, walking and running.

Pros

  • Very light and very comfortable.
  • Moisture-wicking antimicrobial insole.
  • Vibram sole, vegan training shoe.

Cons

  • The upper could be more durable.

Takeaway

Recommended workout shoes for flat feet, barefoot minimal style will help recover natural arch.

What Makes a ‘Good’ Fitness Shoe?

workout shoes close-up

One of the worst things you can do is use running shoes for CrossFit or lifting and vice versa.

Why?

Running shoes have a high drop, in other words, their heel is higher than the toe. This helps propel you forward as you run.

But this math does not work well during a clean jerk, where you need stability.

Running shoes are often cushioned and too soft in the ankle for lifting heavy weights, and can lead to injury.

Cross Training shoes have added lateral and heel support needed for the variety of moves the sport demands.

Why You Should Always Choose Sport-Specific Shoes

High quality, sport-specific shoes:

  • Improve Your Comfort – eg. Running in 0 to 4mm drop shoes for a long time will stress calf and ankle tendons, but a low drop shoe is exactly what is needed for functional fitness.
  • Improve Your Performance – eg. Running shoes are very light and cushioned, and sometimes have a thin mesh upper, which is great for running but gets torn apart during burpees and rope climbs.
  • Improve Your Foot Health – eg. Squishy cushion found is some causal athletic shoes and may throw you off balance when doing weighted squats or snatches.

How to Choose Workout Shoes for Specific Sports

jumping in workout shoes

CrossFit, BootCamp, Functional Fitness Style Classes

Choose shoes that have a low drop, good lateral and heel support and are durable, even in the upper.

They need a solid, flat base for stability lifting, and a wide toe box so your feet can spread under the weight. They must also be flexible at the toe for rope climb and agility, but stiff and supportive in the heel.

Running

Choose shoes that have a decent heel to toe drop, to move you forward, good cushion and “bounce” to absorb impact, and light materials, with breathable fabric.

This design is not necessarily the most durable, especially in the upper but performance-wise it is best for running.

Dance or Zumba Style Class

Dance or Zumba shoes must be supportive in the heel and allow you to spin, turn and twist easily. Look for a shoe that has a TPU heel counter and makes your heel feel locked in.

Also, take a look at the lug pattern on the sole. A multi-directional sole is best. If you are considering a dance or Zumba workout, take a look at Ryka Women’s Influence Cross Training shoe which has a pivot point on the sole that allows you to turn on a dime, without twisting your ankle.

Lifting Weights

No running shoes, please. Barefoot styles are great for lifting because they allow you to feel the ground beneath your feet, allow your feet to spread, keep you stable and usually have little to no toe to heel drop.

If you lift serious weights, get a pair of shoes designed specifically for lifting. These shoes are completely flat, not cushioned at the sole, and have a metatarsal strap that locks the foot into the shoe. They are very stable.

A good shoe for lifting will be very stable and supportive in the ankle. Most CrossFit shoes incorporate a TPU or Thermo Plastic Urethane heel cup for good heel stability.

How to Choose a Shoe for Your Specific Foot Issue

Athletes foot close-up with heel support running shoes

Flat Feet

Folks with flat feet may benefit from arch support. Flat feet are one cause of plantar fasciitis.

Folks with flat feet also tend to have wide feet, so choose wider shoes. Some brands run wider than others, we have named a few of these in the reviews.

If you do not suffer any pain due to having flat feet, a barefoot-style may also work. These shoes often have little to no arch support, but some experts and studies suggest that flat feet do not need correction unless they cause a problem.

Many athletes with flat feet find barefoot style shoes extremely comfortable. There are several barefoot training shoes listed in the reviews.

Wide Feet

The Nano 2.0, 8.0 and 9.0 are the best shoes for working out for those with wide feet. Some shoes are notorious for being narrow, (looking at you Metcons!). When I saw this I mentioned it in the reviews.

High Arches

High arches are another cause of Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis is a condition where the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toe becomes strained and begins to hurt.

If your high arches are causing this pain, look for shoes with good arch support.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis causes heel pain as the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot becomes inflamed.

If you suffer from Plantar fasciitis, check out this list of the best workout shoes to help ease the pain of Plantar fasciitis here.

Gym and Workout Shoe FAQs

woman in CrossFit gym holding a kettlebell and wearing CrossFit shoes

How to Wash Gym Shoes?

According to Nike, it’s best not to throw your sneakers in the wash, or use harsh chemicals.

They recommend mixing up a mild solution of warm water with just a little laundry soap and washing the sole and laces by hand while simply spot cleaning the body of the shoe, as needed.

Then allow the shoes to air dry.

If odor is the problem, try a shot of Dr. Scholls Odor Destroyer Deodorant Spray at the end of the day. My sons had shoes so stinky we couldn’t let them in the house until they had washed, but a shot of this in each shoe at the end of the day made life bearable again.

How Often Should You Replace Workout Shoes?

It depends on your activity.

If you are a runner, track those miles and you can expect to get between 400 and 500 miles out of a pair of shoes before the midsole starts to break down and the shoes lose their bounce.

Cross Training shoes may last longer, since they don’t have the cushion that can break down like running shoes do. However, since CrossFit shoes tend to have stiff soles and flexible uppers, some have a reputation for separating where the upper meets the sole.

If you want a pair of long-lasting CrossFit shoes, pick up a pair of NOBULL Men’s Training Shoes. Rumor has it, guys can wear these for 2 years before they give up the ghost.

Can I use Running Shoes for the Gym?

Running shoes are designed for running. They have bounce and spring, and a larger drop that moves you forward, which is great for running.

But…

…at the gym, the forward tilt may cause balance problems, and the bounce is not what you want for lateral side to side type movements. And running shoes are a no go if you plan on lifting heavy weights, they are too unstable.

If you use the elliptical machine, stepper, indoor track or treadmill at the gym, running shoes are fine.

What’s the Difference Between Training Shoes and Running Shoes?

Running shoes are more structured, supportive and cushioned than training shoes.

Running shoes offer impact protection and return your energy back to your stride. They are responsive and put a spring in your step.

Running shoes also are a bit higher in the back than in the front. This elevation difference is called the drop, and it’s what makes you feel like moving or leaning forward as you run.

Training shoes have minimal to no drop and usually very minimal cushion, because they are designed for stability, especially while lifting and jumping.

What are the Best Shoes for HIIT Training?

If you are looking for a great pair of HIIT shoes look for shoes that are minimally cushioned, stable, flat, and that have a minimal drop.

You also want shoes that feel secure and locked in at the heel, and flexible at the forefront. Any shoe that works well for CrossFit will work well for HIIT. I recommend the Nike Metcon 5 or Reebok Nano 9 Cross Trainer for HIIT.

Wrap Up

The best workout shoes for you are the ones that take both your sport and your feet into consideration.

Do your homework and be mindful of how your current training shoes make your feet feel and notice how they affect performance.

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