Article last updated: January, 2019
How do you choose the best shoes for the gym?
What shoe will take you from the air bike to the box jump and onto the deadlift?
Can you use the same shoes in the gym that you use on the track?
Good quality fitness shoes are more important than most of us realize because shoes affect performance, comfort, and the right shoe for the right exercise can prevent injury.
We will look at what makes a good training shoe, what to look for when choosing the best shoes for working out and review 36 of the best shoes for the gym.
What makes a ‘Good’ fitness shoe?
One of the worst things you can do is use running shoes for CrossFit or lifting and vice versa.
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 High-Quality Shoes that are Appropriate for Your Sport
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.
This is What You Need to Know before Buying a New Pair!
How to choose the best workout shoes for:
CrossFit: 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.
Check out our TOP 24 CrossFit shoes for men and TOP 27 CrossFit shoes for women.
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, but performance wise it is best for running.
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 below.
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 with flat feet find barefoot style shoes extremely comfortable. There are several barefoot training shoes listed in the reviews below.
Wide Feet: The Nano 2.0 and 8.0 best shoes for working out for those with wide feet. Some shoes are notorious for being narrow. When we saw this we mentioned it in the reviews.
Lifting Weights: No running shoes, please. Barefoot styles are great for running 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.
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: See Low or high arches
Best Workout and Training Shoes for 2019
Reebok Men's Crossfit Nano 8.0 Cross Trainer
Review: They are finally here. New for 2019 the much anticipated 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
- Thicker insole than the 7.0.
- Flexible, softer sole, padded tongue.
- One of the wider Nano models, best workout shoes for wide feet.
- Thinner laces than other models.
- Does not climb ropes as well as the 7.0, likely due to the softness of the sole.
The most comfortable, flexible, well designed Nanos so far.
Reebok Men's Crossfit Speed TR 2.0
Review: This Reebok Speed 2.0 is a 2017 update to the original Reebok speed and it has several welcome changes.
For one, they switched out the stiff mesh with flexible and durable Cordoura fabric upper with rubberized overlay for added strength and grip.
The 2.0 is a bit wider, and the outsole and midsole are more flexible than the previous models.
- Flexible in front, including the upper, stable through the heel area.
- OK for occasional, short distance running.
- Relatively flat 3mm drop.
- Price to value ratio is high.
If you are looking for a high quality shoe at a good price the Reebok Speed 2.0 can handle just about any gym or cross training based exercise you throw at it.
NIKE Men's Free X Metcon Shoes
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 mid sole 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.
- Super comfy soft neoprene collar.
- 5 mm drop, good for lifting and running.
- Wide, comfortable and flexible toe box.
- Flexible and stiff where needed.
- Some experience heel slip.
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.
- 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 over-pronaters because they are so stable.
- Run small and fore foot is on the narrow side.
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.
- 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.
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.
- Stiff low compression midsole.
- Flared at the base of the sole for an extra stable platform to lift on.
- “Boost” technology in the mid sole delivers good energy return for jumping, agility and explosive movements.
Comfortable and flexible training shoe that works for lifting and agility because they are both responsive and stable.
Nike Men's Metcon 2 Cross Training Shoes
Review: These Metcon 2 training shoes have an upgraded upper that is more durable than the Metcon 1 model.
The heel is harder than the previous model and is more stable.
They added a heel clip to protect the heel of the shoe from separating if you use the shoes for handstand pushups and similar moves.
- Best all around cross training shoe. Good at everything, even a little running, but not long distances.
- Medium width toe box, not for wide feet.
- Stable and supportive, low heel, good for lifting.
- Run a half size small and a bit narrow.
These MetCons are overall more durable than the previous model, designed to withstand all the abuse cross training can throw at them.
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.
- 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.
- Run a bit small and narrow.
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 RM have Zoom Air, a special technology at the front of the sole containing pressurized compartments of air that bend under pressure, creating reactive cushioning.
- Great for wide feet.
- Zoom Air reactive cushioning.
- Removable inserts.
- Great for running, even long distances.
The Zoom Air cushioning makes them some of the best shoes for high impact workouts.
Nike Men's Zoom Train Action Cross Trainer
Review: These lesser known Nike Zooms are a bit wider than other Nike shoes and are perfect for functional training and light running.
One of the best shoes for the gym.
- Flat sole for lunges and squats, low rise.
- Quick responsive cushioning for active cardio, running, agility moves.
- Stiff heel with extra support.
- Not great for lifting really heavy weight.
Diverse and flexible functional fitness and jogging shoe.
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.
- 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.
- Thin laces, annoying and breakable, but designed to stay tied.
True to size, newly designed Metcon for cross training.
Jordan Nike Men's Trainer Pro Training Shoe
Review: The Nike Jordan Pro Trainer is an attractive trainer reminiscent of the Air Jordan 11 with the weave lace.
The shoe has a full neoprene bootie and elastic straps at the midsole that lock in the foot.
- Full neoprene bootie.
- Flex grooves at midsole for mobility.
- Rubber outsole with traction pods.
- No heel clip or cup for stabilization. Good for running, not lifting.
One of the best workout shoes for men, superior grip and traction for agility moves.
Reebok Men's CrossFit Nano 4.0 Training Shoe
Review: Not as popular as the 2.0, but still a classic in its own right.
The Nano 4.0 is not as flexible as the 2.0, but is still decent for running. It has a flat bottom, just like other Nano models.
- Keeps your feet flat on the ground and stable, minimal cushion.
- Good grip, solid base, roomy toe box.
- 4mm heel drop.
One of Reebok’s best cross training shoes.
Nike Men's Metcon Repper DSX
Review: This Nike is a reasonably priced Nike Cross Training shoe. Flexible mesh upper that moves with you.
Similar outsole to the Nike Metcon one or two.
- Flex grooves make the sole flexible, and the sole is sticky and grippy.
- 6mm drop, pretty flat.
- Flexible toe, overall, these are probably better for running than other MetCons.
- Run small.
- No drop in midsole.
This Metcon is flexible enough for a little more running than most cross training or functional shoes.
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 other new versions since.
- Fuse frame around the upper give the shoe structure.
- Extremely flexible and durable.
- Blocky grip pattern that is sticky and great for rope climbing.
- No heel clip for handstand pushups.
A good, wide, comfortable and flexible Nano, and decent for running.
Nike Men's Metcon DSX Flyknit 2 WP Nylon Shoes
Review: These NEW Nike Metcon DSX Fly knit 2 are quite attractive, with a structured fly knit that is not as loose as previous fly knit shoes.
There is more structure in the ankle area.
- Tongue less one piece sock like construction.
- TPU heel with pad that keeps your heel secure in the shoe.
- Pull taps on the heel to ease into the shoe.
- Very thin slippery laces.
The Fly knit 2 is responsive, secure, and rivals the Metcon 3 as a performance training shoe.
Vibram Men's KSO EVO Cross Trainer
Review: This barefoot style show 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.
- Excellent feedback feel from the ground.
- Breathable, sweat wicking, antimicrobial and machine washable.
- Lighter than previous models of Vibrams.
- More durable than the New Balance Minimus shoes.
Natural feel with unrivaled ground perception.
Adidas Performance 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.
- TPU heel counter to hold the heel in place and add stability.
- Instep rope climb grip, excellent hold.
- Wide toe box, raised to cap, best workout shoes for wide feet.
- Good for lifting.
- Not as flexible as the women’s model with the same name.
Best workout shoes for men for all around training.
Under Armour Men's Commit
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.
- Padded around the collar, with added TPU support.
- Good lateral support.
- Leather saddle and mesh upper provide stability and air circulation.
A light, all purpose shoe, good for lifting and training.
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.
- Flexible and light rubber sole.
- Padded tongue and collar.
- Mesh upper, breathable and cooling.
Seriously comfortable training shoes.
New Balance Men's 40v1 Minimus Training Shoe
Review: These are some of the most comfortable functional minimal training shoes available today.
The Vibram sole has a lot of grip, the shoe is flexible and ultra light, and good for lifting.
- Rev lite heel and TPU heel clip.
- Breathable woven upper.
- Vibram outsole, flat with 4mm drop.
- Run narrow and true to length.
Best training shoes with a minimalist style and barefoot feel.
New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe
Review: As close to barefoot as possible, the MT10V1 is made from breathable mesh, very cooling.
- Great for running, dead lifts, box jumps and all types of training.
- Vibram soles, flexible, grippy, thin and flat.
- 4mm drop, anti microbial.
- Shoe runs small, order larger size.
Feel the ground beneath your feet, whether lifting or running. Best exercise shoes for running and beyond.
Review: The Metcon 4 are one of the best training shoes that Nike has made.
The newly designed upper is flexible and softer than the Metcon 3.
These Metcon 4s are also probably the most durable MetCons yet. 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.
- 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.
- Runs small, the upper is fitted, which may affect those with wide feet.
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.
- Running shoe high arch. Good for over Pronators.
- Rear and front foot Gel Cushion shock absorption, good for high impact movement.
- Good for running, even long distances.
- 10 mm heel drop, not great for lifting heavy weights.
Best 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.
- 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.
- Run small, typical with Nike’s.
Best exercise shoes 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.
- Narrower shoe for quick movement.
- Rope Tech TPU saddle that adds stability and durability.
- “0” drop shoe, good for lifting. No midsole. Has a mm thick removable insole.
- No cushioning, save a thin 3mm insole.
Best training shoes of the barefoot style.
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 the 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.
- Low compression insole makes for a stable training shoe.
- Ample Rope Pro traction near the arch mid foot area.
- 4mm drop.
- Relatively flat, they have good contact with the floor.
- These shoes run long. The upper is somewhat plastic-y.
Finally! A Cross Training shoe you can run in, designed for the special features of a woman’s foot.
Nike Free Tr 7 Amp Womens Cross Training Shoes
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.
- Good for both Cross training and lifting.
- No tongue, removable insole, very light weight.
- Built-in sleeve provides snug, comfortable, secure fit.
- Flex grooves and Free foam sole make for a Flexible sole.
- Run about a half size small.
Nike Women's Metcon 2 Training Shoe
Review: These Nike Metcon 2 trainers are some of the best workout shoes for women. They are wide, with decent arch support, and are comfortable to train in.
- Great grip on the sole, perfect for lateral moves and agility work.
- Adequate arch support.
- Will work for wide feet, wide toe box.
- The laces are too short.
- Not great for running.
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.
- 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.
- Not for a lot of walking or distance running.
For all around training and versatility, these are the best workout shoes for arch support for women.
Adidas Women's Crazytrain Pro 3.0 TRF W
Review: These Crazytrain Pro 3.0’s are made for all sports and exercises.
They are some of the most comfortable workout shoes for women, with an inner bootie style sock, breathable mesh and dual density bounce responsive cushioning.
- Dual hole lacing system, keeps laces in place.
- Includes heel clip, and rubber overlays for additional solidity.
- Mesh Upper.
- The inner sock can be snug.
Hop on the Crazytrain and put a little bounce in your routine.
Some of the best women’s workout shoes available.
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 adjustable laces. Get the most feedback from the ground, while still wearing shoes.
- Individual toe compartments, for natural movement.
- Anti microbial lining to prevent bacteria and odor.
- Vegan, and machine washable.
Feels like you are working out barefoot!
The most comfortable training shoes.
ASICS Women's Conviction X Cross-Trainer Shoe
Review: The Asics Conviction X Cross trainers 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.
- Flat stable sole.
- Durable “Rhyno skin” outer.
- Moisture wicking sock liner for a secure fit.
Best cross training shoes for women.
Reebok Women's Crossfit Nano 8.0 Cross Trainer
Review: The brand new Nano for women has a newly redesigned upper that is both flexible, breathable and durable.
It has a low drop, comfortable and roomy toe box, and are extremely comfortable.
Soft and supportive, best workout shoes for women in 2019.
NOBULL Women's Black Ivy Trainer
Review: No Bull, Flat and stable, with a wide toe box and good arch support, best workout shoes for flat feet.
They have an indestructible upper, super grippy rubber sole, and plenty of lateral support.
- 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.
- Not great for running, especially long distances.
Best workout shoes for flat feet and best all around workout shoes.
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.
- Very light and very comfortable.
- Moisture wicking antimicrobial insole.
- Vibram sole, vegan training shoe.
- The upper could be more durable.
Best workout shoes for flat feet.
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.
We are here to help. If you have a question about shoes or training, leave it in the comments below.