Best Workout Shoes

When it comes to working out, there are a lot of different clothing items and accessories you need to buy.

Unless you enjoy simple home workouts, getting into fitness can cost quite a lot of money. 

Even then, home workouts will at the very least be better with some good quality workout shoes.

A decent pair of workout shoes will provide you with proper support. They will also give you a good grip and protect your feet. 

When you see “workout shoes”, your mind probably first goes to sneakers. Especially running sneakers. But these aren’t the only options available.

Sure, sneakers are great and some will be included on this list. But workout shoes can be very varied and running sneakers may not be the best shoes for the kind of workouts you enjoy.

Even if you are just looking for a new pair of sneakers, that isn’t as simple a process as you might expect.

Workout shoes are surprisingly high-tech and it can be difficult to understand exactly what makes each pair of sneakers so great.

So, to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the best workout shoes.

Read on for some great options, as well as some tips to guide you through this surprisingly difficult buying process.

OUR TOP PICK

Vibram Men's KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe,Black,43 EU/9.5-10.0 M US

Now, you have probably seen these shoes around. If nowhere else, you have probably seen them shared on social media along with captions about how weird and bizarre they are.

If you haven’t seen them before, then you’re probably wondering what on earth you are being shown. But don’t be too quick to dismiss these shoes.

They may look a little weird but they are designed like that for a reason. (They are also definitely not the weirdest looking shoes around either).

Read on or scroll down to our Buyers’ Guide for some more in depth explanations and information on the differences between barefoot and standard sneakers.

These shoes are barefoot sneakers which are specifically designed for running. They provide support and comfort due to their unique design.

Aside from the unique design, these shoes have some other great features. If you have worked out before, you will understand the annoyance of laces getting in the way.

Especially when running, having laces flying and flapping around can be irritating and distracting. These shoes do have laces but they are short and the ends are sewn into the shoe. They are instead tightened or loosened with a clip. 

When it comes to other workouts, they can even get in the way and cause an accident if you step on them or if they become trapped.

So, the laces on these shoes are super useful. Rather than having the standard lace weaving through that needs to be tied up. These shoes are slip ons and have laces that simply need to be tightened using the clip. These shoes are still adjustable.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • Specially designed for running
  • Laces tucked away
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Strange appearance

EDITORS CHOICE

Reebok Men's Lifter Pr Cross-Trainer Shoe, Ash Grey/Black/White, 9 M US

These workout shoes are specifically designed for weight training.

One specific feature of this is that they have a thick dual rubber sole. This will provide support for the feet but also stability. The positioning of your feet and your overall stance is incredibly important when it comes to weight training. 

The dual sole essentially provides the thin support of a normal sole, with added support between the base sole and the shoe. This layer is specially designed to provide extra support and stability.

At the heel, the shoe is raised quite high. This provides support, specifically for squatting. It helps to keep the wearer in an upright position. It also provides more support for the heel so that it doesn’t become strained. 

The thick dual sole provides support across the base of the shoe. It is made from a non-compressible material which will remain strong when the wearer presses down. This means that there will be a resistance and the shoe won’t collapse beneath the weight. 

There is also a strap across the top of the shoe. This provides stability as it keeps the foot in place. The shoes do have standard laces and the strap goes over the top. This is adjustable and will essentially strap the foot down.

All of these features work to keep the foot steady and allow you to remain in control.

These shoes also have an anti-friction lining that will keep feet comfortable. This lining will also prevent feet from sweating and remain cool and dry.

Pros

  • Multiple colors available
  • Specifically designed for weight training
  • Breathable material
  • Sturdy design

Cons

  • Price varies depending on size

BEST VALUE

Reebok Men's CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross Trainer, Black/Alloy/Gum, 8.5 M US

These shoes might appear to be standard sneakers. But they are actually specifically designed for CrossFit.

As you likely know, CrossFit is a very intense and strenuous workout. So shoes that have been built to best support this workout is a great idea. 

Due to the kind of workouts involved in CrossFit, a lot of flexibility is required. To support the feet and allow for this flexibility, these sneakers have flex grooves at the forefront. This will also provide support and protection for your toes during the workout. 

In addition to this, these sneakers are low cut which will also allow for flexibility. It will also help with general mobility. It supports the ankle while still allowing it to have a good range of motion.

Although they are designed for CrossFit, these shoes are also suitable for different workouts. CrosFit is a very intense way of working out.

Whereas most other workouts can be done wearing standard sneakers, it’s a good idea to invest in some special shoes if you’re going to be doing CrossFit. 

Another great feature of these shoes is that they look good. This might not be your primary concern but it’s still nice to like your workout shoes.

If you’re someone who struggles with motivation, having a nice pair of shoes that you enjoy wearing might just get you going.

They can also be worn in casual non-workout settings. This is great in general. But you will definitely be getting good value for money as these shoes are relatively expensive.

Pros

  • Wide range of colors available
  • Fashionable enough to wear every day
  • Specifically designed for Crossfit

Cons

  • Price varies depending on size

RUNNER UP

adidas mens Ultraboost 20,Dash Grey/Frost Mint,12 M US

These shoes are a great standard workout shoe. They are specifically designed for running but can be used for a range of workouts.

They also look great. In recent years, sneakers have become more popular as an everyday casual shoe. Even sneakers that look sporty and are designed for workouts are worn as everyday shoes.

So it’s great that these sneakers are available in such a huge range of colors and styles. If you enjoy putting together a workout outfit, you will also be able to match your shoes to your workout clothes. 

Workout shoes can be pricey but these running sneakers are relatively expensive. They have great features and are the product of a well-known brand. So they can be trusted. Workout shoes take a lot of strain and need to be durable. 

So investing in a reliable pair of running sneakers is a good idea. If you choose to buy a cheaper pair, you will eventually have to replace them and likely end up spending the price of a more expensive pair in the end.

So, if you can afford to, invest in a good quality pair of sneakers that will last you several years. 

Pros

  • Huge range of colors available
  • Well-known and reliable brand
  • Supportive
  • Specifically designed for running but can be worn for any workout.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Price varies depending on size

RUNNER UP

New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker, Black with Gold, 5 Wide

These sneakers are a great all-rounder option when it comes to working out. So much can be done in them and they also look great. So you can wear them for a workout or when you’re going out with friends.

These shoes come in an absolutely huge range of colors and styles. Sure, they’re designed for a workout but they are also intended to be a fashionable and stylish footwear.

As mentioned throughout this article, there are some who argue that the gym isn’t a catwalk. So you shouldn’t care about how you look. 

But working out isn’t just something you do for your physical health. Workouts also make you feel good.

So, if wearing a pair of workout shoes that look good is what makes you feel good and is what gets you through those workouts. Then we say go for it. 

These sneakers are also super comfortable. They are well-cushioned and provide great support. They have memory foam soles that will mold to the shape of your foot. Giving you specialized support and protection.

Pros

  • Can be worn for any workout
  • Fashionable enough for casual everyday wear
  • Affordable
  • Huge range of colors available

Cons

  • Price varies depending on size

Best Workout Shoes Buying Guide

Buying the correct workout shoes is incredibly important.

Every other item of clothing and accessory is completely unimportant compared to workout shoes.

If you don’t have workout shoes that fit properly and are the correct style for your workouts, then this can lead to big problems. 

If your shoes aren’t right for you, they can potentially cause injuries to your feet and make them uncomfortable.

But, due to the nature of most workouts, they can also cause strain on your legs, back, and even neck and shoulders. Improper footwear can cause injuries across your body.

So, here are a few things to consider before buying your new workout shoes.

Shape

If you’re relatively new to fitness, you may think there is just one shape of workout shoe: running sneakers.

This is fair and there is nothing wrong with investing in some good running sneakers that will support you through every workout.

Different workouts will put a strain on different areas of the body and different areas of the feet. Crossfit is a high-intensity workout that strains the toes.

Weight training mostly puts pressure on the heels and ankles. Running mostly causes strain and impacts on the balls and arches of the feet.

So, it is logical that shoes for Crossfit have specific supports in the feet. Shoes for weight training have support for the heel. And shoes for running provide support for balls and arches.

Consider the kind of workouts you usually do. If you are just getting into fitness and aren’t sure, have a look at some guidance on stances and positioning. This will give you an idea of which areas you need to support and protect the most. 

Sizing

You probably have a general idea of your shoe size. But, like most people, it probably varies depending on which store or brand you buy from.

Shoe sizes aren’t as unreliable as most clothing sizes (especially women’s) but they can still vary a lot.

When it comes to workout shoes, you really need to get the sizing right. If you wear shoes that are too big or too tight, then they won’t just be uncomfortable, they can potentially cause you injury. Not just because you might trip or fall. But because they won’t give you proper support.

Workout shoes are specifically designed to support your feet based on specific areas. This means that, if the arches and balls of your feet aren’t in the right place, then they won’t be getting the right support.

This can cause issues not just for your feet but for your legs and back as well.

Style

The style of workout shoes you get will depend on your personal preference. Your preference for both how they look and also how you work out.

Different workouts require different footwear. But it’s not a bad thing to want to invest your money in shoes that you just like. We wear clothes for sensible, practical reasons but many people like to dress well for the gym. 

For a lot of people, fitness is an interest and a hobby. So it’s something they want to take the time, and expense, to enjoy doing. Just because some people want to get a workout over with as soon as possible, doesn’t mean you have to have the same attitude.

It’s okay to want to look good at the gym. So, first of all, make sure that you know the kind of shoes that will best support and protect you. Then you should choose the ones you like the look of best!

Barefoot Sneakers

Although there are variations, most workout shoes look the same. That is until you discover sneakers that have forefronts divided up for toes. 

These workout shoes are often described as “barefoot sneakers”. They are designed to mimic the shape of your feet and feel as though you are running and working out barefoot.

Obvious, working out barefoot is not a great idea. Especially in the gym or running on the sidewalk.

So, these shoes give you the closest feeling to running barefoot as possible. But with the protection and support that you will still need. 

Safety

Safety has been mentioned a lot throughout this article but it’s worth mentioning again.

When it comes to choosing workout shoes, comfort is usually the factor that most people consider to be the most important. 

To stay safe when working out, make sure that your shoes fit correctly, are the correct style for your workout, and are of good quality. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Wear Running Shoes For The Gym?

Sure! The kind of shoes you wear to the gym should depend on the kind of workout you’re going to do.

Most people will warm up with some cardio, usually on a treadmill. So wearing a pair of running shoes will give your feet great support. 

If you then move on to strength training and using weights and machines, you might feel that you need different shoes. But do you really want to be changing shoes midway through a workout? It will take up a lot of space in your gym bag.

You can buy specific shoes for weight training and other workouts. But there’s no problem with wearing running shoes in the gym.

Just make sure you buy running shoes that will give you the best grip and stability. 

What Kind of Shoe Should I Lift Weights in?

This generally depends on the kind of weightlifting you do.

If you regularly deadlift and squat, then you should try and find some good quality weight training shoes. These will have specifically designed soles to support your feet and ankles.

If you use free weights or weight machines in general, weight lifting shoes can still be a good idea. But most workout shoes will be fine for this kind of workout.