The Best Gym Shoes For Every Type Of Workout
Dont sweat it. Put your best foot forward with these kicks ready for any fitness endeavor.
When it comes down to it, so to speak, shoes can make or break your gym or home workout experience. Training ill-equipped can leave you disinterested, uncomfortable and, worst case, injured. To get the most out of your exercise regimen, its best to have a go-to pair of gym shoes.
But which shoe is best for your routine? Which features should you look for to give your workouts some traction? From CrossFit to running and every discipline in-between, weve traversed the landscape to determine the best gym shoes for every fitness goal. Lets lace up and get into it.
- Best Overall Gym Shoe
How We Test The Best Workout Shoes
There are as many different types of workouts as stars in the sky have you heard about Happy Intensifying Interval Training yet? Is it possible for one workout shoe to be perfect for all of them? No, it isn’t.
In most cases, manufacturers will tell you which workout their shoes are best suited for, but this doesn’t mean those shoes can’t be used for other purposes, something we’re always keen to find out.
Some of the essential criteria we check are step-in comfort, ergonomics, padding, cushioning, technology involved, design, aesthetics, and, of course, workout performance.
Of course, your feet are shaped differently from ours, so when we say particular shoes feel snug on our wide feet, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll feel the tightness yourself, so bear this in mind when reading our verdicts.
Read more about how we test at T3 by clicking on the link.
Best Shoes For Leg Day
From my clients and through my training shoe reviews, Im constantly being asked about which shoes are best for leg day. When considering the best shoes for leg day, I think its important to break this topic into different performance categories.
If we can better understand how you plan to train in the shoes, then we can select good leg day shoes for the context of your needs. For example, the best leg day shoes for a weathered bodybuilder will generally look different than a more beginner recreational lifter.
Different leg day training contexts will come along with different training demands and leg day shoe needs. As a strength coach, this is also my coaching brain kicks on because different shoes can change biomechanics, and if I can help you better understand this, then you can make more educated shoe choices for leg day.
In this article, Im going to include cross-training shoes, barefoot shoes, and weightlifting shoes that all excel for leg day and explain why I like each of these picks for particular contexts.
Read Also: How To Make Money Selling Shoes
Reebok Nano X1 Best For Lifting Light Weights
Although these shoes werent the overall winner, I was impressed with them from the moment I got them. They were comfortable right out of the box and didnt require any break-in period.
The midsole cushioning is made from a foam material called Floatride Energy. According to Reebok, this material is only on the forefoot and not offered throughout the entire shoe. Still, this extra cushioning makes it less stable for very heavy weights.
The sole isnt as stiff as what youd find in a weightlifting shoe, but it still provides a decently stable platform.
The shoe also has a 7mm heel drop, which is higher than most of the previous Nano models. This makes it less than ideal for heavy lifting since it adds more cushioning to the shoe.
Like the Nike Metcons, the Nano X1s are sufficient for light or moderately heavy deadlifts. For anything above 80%, the cushioning is too much and its hard to drive power from the floor in them. My foot also slipped a little inside the shoe when I did sumo deadlifts in them.
I didnt notice as much foot slippage when I wore these shoes for squats, but the cushioning made me feel less stable.
It does make it a good shoe for running, though. I wouldnt recommend running a marathon in them, but for distances up to a couple of miles, there is enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable.
One thing that I dont love about these shoes is that the heel counter comes up pretty high on the back of the foot.
Reebok Legacy Lifter Ii
My favorite weightlifting shoe for leg days is the Reebok Legacy Lifter II. Ive competed in this model and have multiple squat PRs in this shoe and it has yet to let me down.
The heel in this shoe comes in at .86 and is made with a durable TPU. I like this heel height for a variety of lifters and think theyll work with a wide range of anatomies and ankle mobilities.
The upper construction in this shoe is also fairly durable. I have yet to run into breakdown issues in my model and have used them for countless leg day and squat sessions. I think your investment will last with this weightlifting shoe if you take care of them.
The midfoot security in this shoe is also solid for anyone who plans to use these shoes for different types of leg days and for tackling movements like clean & jerks and snatches. This shoe locks down the feet well.
- Best For: Weightlifting, Squats, and Other Heel Wedge-Focused Exercises
- Heel Height: 22mm
- Removable Insole: Yes
Also Check: Where Are Mephisto Shoes Made
Why Best Shoes For Leg Pain
The best shoes for leg pain will keep your feet comfortable and feeling good. There are many brands that produce a range of styles, colors, materials, etc., to meet the needs or tastes of all kinds of people with different budget ranges as well! It is important to pick out high-quality footwear so it doesnt cause you more discomfort while wearing them.
Keen Targhee Ii Soho Shoes
It was only a couple of years ago that Keens water sandals emerged as a key player in the fashion conversation, but the brands bulbous hiking clog is the real star of its roster. The Targhee boasts the same forgiving handles as its summertime counterpart, except it draws the bulk of its powers from a duo of premium leather uppers and ultra-comfy EVA midsoles. Taken in the context of luxury fashion’s current fascination with, uh, challenging footwear, the Targhees hulking, so-bad-its-good silhouette looks weirdly prescient. Will it take you a few days to wrap your head around the idea of rocking a clog this unabashedly clunky? Probably. Will you feet thank you for it as soon as you do? Absolutely.
You May Like: Where To Sell Well Worn Shoes
What Features Make Training Shoes Different From Running Sneakers Or Walking Shoes
For gym workouts and training programs like CrossFit, Malek says, most brands will offer a flatter trainer with more flexibility for easier lateral and multidirectional movement. That means if you’re doing circuit rounds of box jumps, burpees, and squats, you want to look for a cross-training shoe with a flat heel and lots of flexibility to allow for quick moves.
On the other hand, Malek says walking and running shoes are more often structured for linear, heel-to-toe movement so you feel propelled forward. Perkins notes that walking shoes are generally heavier than running sneakers, as a running shoe is designed for speed and performance. In terms of fabrication, they also typically feature mesh uppers for added breathability and lightweight-ness. Finally, Perkins says that running shoes tend to have lots of cushioning in the forefoot and heel to help absorb the shock your shins and Achilles tendons get from hitting the pavement. Cue the walking on clouds sensation.
Easy Spirit Pine Clog
Dr. Brenner recommends Easy Spirit, noting that the brand considers all the main factors that make a comfortable shoe. And on top of that, these clogs are also fitting with the current trends. Deemed the “ugly” shoe, Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon have been spotted showing their support for clogs recently. This leather pair features a cushioned insole, durable outsole, and a unique stitch design that would make SJP proud.
“Bought for my mom and fits her perfectly,” one shopper said. “She hasn’t been able to find a nice, comfortable clog until she got this one. She’s a doctor and says these have been great for her long days on her feet. She even wanted a second pair to wear outside of work.”
You May Like: How To Make My Own Shoes
Best Budget For Women: Altra Women’s Hiit Xt 2
If you need a wider toe box that lets your digits spread out as you train, this shoe is for you. Altras womens line has a specific Fit4Her design that mimics the anatomy of a woman’s foot, making the shoe extra comfortable and allowing your feet to move more naturally.
The zero-drop outsole means your heel and forefoot sit at the same distance from the ground. In this particular pair, youll experience a low-to-ground feel, which is great for strength training. The rubber outsole will also help you stick the landing of plyometric exercises and more.
How Often Should You Replace Your Workout Sneakers
There isn’t an exact day or time to replace your shoes, but experts typically advise every four to six months. Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a board-certified physician and surgeon based in Washington, DC, recommends picking up a new pair every six months or 500 miles. The reason you want to replace your shoes relatively often is that old and worn-out shoes tilt the way you walk and can cause pain to your back, hips, and legs, explains Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a New Yorkbased podiatrist and member of the Vionic Innovation Lab. Sutera recommends keeping an eye out for signs of wear like holes, uneven tread, or thinning.
Theres obviously a lot to take inand even though the brand name or aesthetics may be what draw you in at first, you should always prioritize your foot type and athletic needs. Below, get a head start on your search for the best workout shoes for women to buy right now.
All products featured on Glamour are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Read Also: Where Are Sperry Shoes Made
Can I Buy Something Similar Cheaper Elsewhere
One of the most common questions that a lot of customers ask is, Can I buy something similar cheaper elsewhere? The short answer is no. When you are looking for a quality leg day shoes, the most important thing to know is that cheap is not always better. You should carefully research the best leg day shoes before buying and consult the prices on some online sales websites to make the best decision.
What To Look For In The Best Shoes For Squats
A good squat requires a solid and stable feet-to-floor connection meaning your toes should have enough room to spread and your heel should be secure and comfortable enough to grip the floor rep after rep.
We cant be chasing things if we dont have a really good connection to the floor, says Duffin, whos squatted a record 1,001 pounds for three reps, is the founder of strength equipment company Kabuki Strength and is known in strength circles as the Mad Scientist for his innovative influence in strength gear. If our toes are picking up, were rolling in, not actively controlling a squat, going into supination or pronation with the ankle complex to a greater degree, not driving down with the large toe and dont have enough room for toes to splay for enhanced control, we can end up with back, knee and hip problems.
When shopping, remember that even the best cross-training shoes are not ideal to squat in.
John Wolf, chief fitness officer at supplement, health food and fitness equipment brand Onnit, recommends looking for styles with wide toe boxes for greater stability and solid heels to give you that tripod of support along the big and small toes and rearfoot.
If youre only using your squat shoes for, well, squatting, youre in luck, as youll probably be able to keep a quality pair for a few years. But, there are signs to be on the lookout for that may mean its time for a new pair.
Ahead, shop the 7 best squat shoes weve tried and that customers love, too.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean White Shoes With White Vinegar
Best High Top: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic
Once a staple on the basketball court and now better known as fashionable footwear, the iconic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers are actually a great option for weight lifters. Priced for popular consumption, these shoes are an affordable option for weightlifters who dont want to shell out the big bucks for specialty footwear from top names.
The simple rubber sole, which features less arch support, is ideal for power squats or deadlifts where youre transferring your energy through the foot and want flat support. Additionally, the minimalist canvas design provides a lightweight and secure fit that isnt going anywhere and helps you avoid tripping.
These shoes come in many colors and designs and are available in unisex as well as in men’s and womens lines.
Vans Old Skool Sneaker
They may be an iconic skater brand, but Vans are also the workweek shoe your closet is missing. This classic style has a padded collar and footbed for added comfort and shock absorption, as well as an EVA insert for support. The best part? It’s available in more than 50 different colors and patterns, so you’re guaranteed to find one that fits seamlessly into your wardrobe.
“These are like wearing a pair of your favorite slippers,” one customer claimed. “So comfortable right out of the box just like I remembered them to be.”
Don’t Miss: How Much Are Keds Shoes
Str/ke Mvmnt Haze Trainer
The STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer is one of my go-to training shoes for tackling leg days. This model is also one of my top picks for CrossFit, so if youre someone primarily focused on tackling CrossFit workouts with some heavy leg days, then this model will work well for you.
The Haze Trainer features STR/KE MVMNTs signature Cush50 midsole which does a great job at providing a good amount of stability for a variety of lifts. Ive squatted 405 lbs in this model with no compression issues and frequently use them for my machine-based leg days.
Another aspect to like about this shoe for leg day is the Cross-Platform outsole that STR/KE MVMNT uses in this model. The outsole and midsole put together in this shoe offer a highly versatile feel with a good amount of articulation which other training shoes fall short for.
If you like having a more minimalist feel with your training shoes and want a high amount of articulation and ground feedback with your training shoes, then the Haze Trainer is a good model to look into.
- Best For: Heavy Leg Days, Recreational Lifting, and CrossFit
- Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
A Hybrid Option For Shod And Barefoot Training
Dr. Joel Seedman and Dr. Michael Yessis both agreed that exercising barefoot increases activation in the feet which in turn activates the body through increased proprioception and proper neuromuscular functioning.
Both experts also agreed that if the time and effort have been taken to work on your mobility and flexibility, one could simply do the lighter weight exercises barefoot or in barefoot-like footwear. These could be for warm-up sets, volume training, and the likes where the weight is light for you. Then, as you start to increase the weight, put on the shoes of your choice. Allowing the lifter to receive the benefits of barefoot lifting and strap into their kicks for when things are about to get serious.
Where these two experts may have differing opinions is that Dr. Joel Seedman suggests for going 100% barefoot when possible where Dr. Michael Yessis seemed to air on the side of caution suggesting to wear shoes for heavier weights.
Don’t Miss: Vasque St. Elias Gtx Hiking Boots – Men’s
What Should You Consider When Shopping For Workout Shoes
Until the day comes when we’re able to pull sneakers out of our screens and try them on immediately at home, Leada Malek, PT, DPT, CSCS, SCS, tells Glamour that support, stability, and cushioning are a great starting point for figuring out what kind of sneaker you may need while online shopping. From there, Malek says, you can look into what may be best for your foot typeeither wide or narrow, high or flat arches, and the amount of ankle strength you have.
If you have strong ankles, Malek says you can wear flatter shoes for cardio exercises. But given how freeing these lightweight designs are on the foot, they definitely don’t work for everyoneespecially not if you need ankle support or if your feet have a tendency to roll in or outward, which experts refer to as over- or underpronation. In these instances, Malek says you may want to opt for a stability shoe with a wider base and arch support in the middle to help even out your gait. For those with injuries or specific needs, Perkins advises picking shoes with removable insoles to allow for custom orthotics to accommodate foot concerns like plantar fasciitis or bunions.
The Best Gym Sneakers For Lifting Weights
Are your sneakers helping or hindering your gym workouts?
This is a topic that most gym members never even think about. But the next time you are at the gym just take notice of the footwear that people are wearing Youll see everything from running shoes, to flip flops, to those funny looking vibrams that are like rubber gloves for your feet.
When it comes to workout sneakers you have a lot of choices. And each style of sneaker has its own specific purpose that it was intended for. But unfortunately many people choose the wrong sneaker for their weight training workouts.
A lot of people look for sneakers that have soft cushion, arch, and padding similar to what is found in a typical running sneaker. And while this certainly works well for making your feet feel comfortable and cushioning them from the impact of running, its NOT ideal for providing a good grip and support when standing in place lifting weights.
Not only that but all that soft sneaker padding will compress under heavy lifting and take away from some of your strength and power. Especially when doing heavy squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses.
Now you can order specialized weight lifting shoes. If you ever go to watch a powerlifting or weight lifting meet youll see a lot of lifters wearing these. And for competitive Olympic Weight Lifters and Powerlifters this is certainly the way to go.
If you have a favorite workout sneaker, please let me know in the comments section. Id like to hear your feedback.
Also Check: How To Know My Shoe Size