If you’re looking to get into training and working out, you may have already found the perfect fitness routine or the perfect gym outfit. But do you have supportive training shoes that are going to help you to perform at your best? Whether you’re just working out, getting into weightlifting or trying gout CrossFit, it’s important you have the best training shoes for your feet. Below we have compiled a buying guide so you know what to look for in training shoes and the type you need. We’ve also included our top picks for both men and women so you can find the best pair to hit gym in.
What Are Training Shoes?
Training shoes is a general term for shoes worn for different types of training sessions. A training session can mean a lot of different things to different people, but it includes working out in some form, perhaps using weights or ropes.
The Difference Between Training Shoes And Running Shoes
It is very important that if you are getting into training for the first time, you understand that training shoes and running shoes are two different types of shoes. You should not be grabbing for your well-loved pair of running shoes for your training session, although there are a few exceptions which you will see in our list of best shoes below.
This is mainly because running shoes are designed for linear forward motion, such as running on the treadmill or running outside, so when it comes to performing lateral or side to side movements such as lifting weights or climbing a rope, they are not going to perform as well. Your foot can slide off the edge of the sole for this reason, causing injury, and the plush sole compresses easily when weight is applied, such as during weightlifting, which can result in your heel wobbling.
Running shoes are also not always as durable as training shoes, especially if you are climbing walls or doing other difficult exercises. A training shoe will ensure not only your feet but also your ankle and knees are supported during sessions and you will be much less likely to experience injuries as a result of your shoes.
Different Types Of Training Shoes
There are three main different types of training shoes. It will be up to you to decide which is going to be best for you based on the activity you intend to perform. They vary based on factors such as support, cushioning, flexibility and heel stability.
Workout shoes that you would wear everyday for gym workouts, CrossFit and dance classes comes with great cushioning, lateral support and flexibility. They normally have a lightweight and breathable upper and have a low to medium heel-to-toe drop. This means you can move quickly and easily in them without any difficulty. The midsole is great for high impact and gives good firmness too, making them durable.
CrossFit shoes are similar to workout shoes in their lightweight design and flexibility, although they are reinforced and stronger. They normally have a thinner midsole and have a pliable forefoot to allow you to move easily but a firmer heel to ensure stability too. The heel-to-toe drop is normally 4mm, which means that your foot is almost flat to give you control. There are also internal and external supporting structures to increase ankle stability and to stop you from wobbling.
Weightlifting shoes are one of the heaviest shoes for training. They have an elevated heel that can measure as high as 25mm, allowing you to get deeper into your squats. The heel also normally has a rigid platform underneath it made of a material such as leather or wood, giving you a stable lifting base. This is what makes the shoe heavy but allows you to plant your foot firmly on the ground. The shoes are normally made of durable material such as leather to ensure your foot is secure and there are also often straps inside to further ensure stability.
Things To Consider When Purchasing Training Shoes
There are a few things to consider when purchasing a training shoe to make sure you get the right shoe for all your needs.
Firstly, you want the shoe to support you correctly. You need a shoe with good arch support. Some people need the space to insert custom orthotics into their shoes if their arches need extra support, so if this is you, you should ensure the training shoe you buy allows room for this. Arch support is very important and the arch of your foot acts as a shock absorber. Selecting a shoe that doesn’t have good arch support, especially if you are planning on doing high-intensity activities such as CrossFit, could really damage the muscles in your feet.
Another part of the arch support is the shank. The shank is the portion of the shoe that runs from the front to the back and directly under the arch of the shoe. It can be made of steel or reinforced rubber. If the shank is not durable, then the arch support within your shoe will not work properly.
Breathability is another important factor in a training shoe because you will likely be sweating and moisture will build-up inside the shoe. If there is no breathability, the show will not only start to smell but it will also become a breeding ground for germs and fungus, which can then transfer to your skin and give you fungal infections. A build-up of moisture inside the shoe can also be a cause for blisters that can be very painful to walk on. You will have to take a break from training if your blisters become too bad and if the blisters break open, you are opening yourself up to infection.
To ensure great breathability, mesh is always a safe option in a training shoe. Mesh also has some flexibility to it too, which is great at accommodating your feet that may swell when they get hot.
Training shoes normally come with a thick outsole. A thick outsole ensures that the shoe is durable, especially if you are doing a high-intensity activity that is likely to wear the sole of the shoe down. Outsoles are normally made of thick rubber or foam and have strong stitching to hold it in place so the shoe doesn’t break. A good sole should be thick enough to not only last, but also support your feet, ankles and knees if you are moving around a lot, cushioning the impact when you hit the ground.
Your outsole should also have good traction. You don’t want to be slipping around all over the place while trying to work out because your shoe doesn’t have good traction, so this is something to look out for. The more varied traction the shoe has, the better it will be at distributing your weight evenly across the sole of the shoe.
Comfort is a big factor to ensure you get right when choosing a training shoe. If your shoes are not comfortable, you are not going to want to wear them and training won’t be fun! You want the shoe to be durable but not so stiff it is painful. You always don’t want it to be too flimsy, because then it won’t feel like it is supporting you. You also don’t want your shoe to be too tight as this can cut off the circulation to your foot or cause blisters.
Something to remember is that if a training shoe doesn’t feel right when you put it on right out of the box, you should send it back. Training shoes are not supposed to be “broken in” and if so they don’t feel good right away, they never will!
You obviously want a shoe that is going to fit properly. There is no point in buying shoes that are too big or too small, because they are just going to be uncomfortable while you are training. While you should always pick your size, always read the reviews of the shoes you are buying first to see if other customers mention whether the shoes run a little big or a little small. This should help you get the perfect fit.
Are you ready to find training shoes that not only look great, but support your feet and keep you comfortable while you work out? Take a look at the fifteen training shoes we recommend for men and women below, all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Training Shoes Reviews
Mens Training Shoes
These iconic New Balance Men’s Mx623v3 training shoes are great for those looking for a versatile yet comfortable shoe. Perfect for everyday training, ABZORB cushioning in the midfoot provides excellent shock absorption while QUIX technology provides support during side-to-side movements. There is a 10mm heel-to-toe drop and an EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) foam footbed for cushioning and IMEVA (injection-molded EVA foam) midsole for firm yet flexible cushioning, ensuring these shoes stay comfy while you’re training.
Great for cross-training, the shaft in this shoe measures approximately low-top from the arch and they have great breathability too. These shoes are made from 100% leather and have a thick and durable rubber sole. They come in a range of colors and are also available with a suede upper.
Under Armour’s Men’s Charged Assert 8 running shoes are best for those looking for shoes they can both run and train in. Not designed for heavy training however, these shoes are neutral and designed for those who need a balance of flexibility and cushioning. The lightweight mesh upper with a 3-color digital print delivers complete breathability and the durable leather overlays give great stability and lock in your midfoot so you aren’t moving around inside the shoe.
The Charged Cushioning midsole uses compression molded foam for even greater responsiveness and durability, providing optimal cushioning and energy return as your foot hits the ground. The soles are made from rubber and are very strong and an EVA sockliner provides soft, step-in comfort. These shoes come in a variety of dark colors.
The Nike Men’s Retaliation Trainer 2 are training shoes that have versatility to go from cardio class and weight work to strolls in the park. With a lightweight, flexible construction, dual-density foam creates supportive cushioning and the sandwich mesh tongue creates stops the shoe from feeling heavy on your foot. There are flywire cables that provide a secure fit and lockdown support, ensuring that your feet don’t move around in the shoe too much and you can plant your foot firmly on the floor.
The open-hole breathable mesh upper also uses skin overlays for support and the solid rubber outsole has a training-specific pattern to provide great traction and grip so you don’t slip. These training shoes come in different black and gray color ways.
Created with input from the CrossFit community, the Reebok Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave training shoes are designed to meet the specific needs of CrossFit athletes. With a flexweave dynamic upper construction with targeted support such as flexibility, durability and security for however you perform, these shoes are great for those who really know their stuff, or those who are just starting their CrossFit journey. The new heel bootie construction provides ultimate performance comfort and Toe Tection provides durability in the toe area for high intensity workouts.
The low-cut design gives you great mobility and the 4mm heel-to-toe drop means your foot is flat and can be planted on the ground. The sole is made from rubber and is very durable too. These CrossFit training shoes come in a variety of colors, so you can have a pair for every mood!
Featuring GEL technology and an EVA midsole, the ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 7 shoe is made for athletes who love to run in the great outdoors. GEL technology in the rearfoot area of the shoe provides shock absorption as your foot hits the ground, while the ORTHOLITE sockliner provides an additional layer of cushioning underfoot, as well as great breathability and moisture management. The shoes also mold to the shape of your foot as you run, ensuring comfort.
The sturdy upper is crafted from synthetic leather for great support and the internal heel counter gently helps your foot remain in its natural line of motion, making for a more efficient stride. The sole is made from high abrasion rubber for excellent traction too. While not specifically designed for training, this shoe is excellent if you run outdoors or complete your training outside where the terrain is more uneven compared to an inside gym or studio.
The Brooks Mens Adrenaline GTS 19 shoes are designed for runners, but with great arch support they can be great for runners getting into training for the first time too. With a new Guiderail Support System, these shoes help to support your knees as you move, absorbing the shock as your foot hits the ground so your knees don’t take the force. Soft and protective, these shoes provide just the right amount of cushioning and BioMoGo DNA and DNA LOFT cushioning work together to provide a just-right softness underfoot without losing responsiveness and durability, yet they are still lightweight and don’t feel heavy on your feet.
The modernized fit means they fit as expected without your foot moving around inside the shoe, providing great comfort and stability so you can workout without any problems. Again, these shoes are available in different colorways.
Although designed as a basketball shoe, the adidas Originals Men’s Speed Trainer 4 has the versatility you need in a trainer shoe. With excellent cushioning no matter the sport, this shoe also has the forward and lateral support you need for fast and quick lateral movements. The grippy outsole provides excellent traction also helping with fast motion and ensuring you don’t slip, perfect whether you are on the basketball court or in the gym. The heel counter prevents heel slip, locking your foot into place and minimizing slipping.
The mesh upper provides excellent breathability too and the durable overlays give abrasion protection and lightweight, flexible support. They’re also lightweight and won’t feel heavy on your feet. There are a range of colors available for these training shoes, including both dark and bold colors.
The Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV CrossTraining shoe is a lightweight gym shoe that is great for a range of activities. With a leather upper that features overlays for support and perforations for airflow, this pair of shoes have great breathability and moisture control. To make for comfortable training there is a Foam Phylon midsole and full-length encapsulated Air-Sole unit that cushions and supports and the solid rubber outsole is durable and provides traction over varied surfaces.
Even better, the mesh shoe tongue enhances breathability and the heel pull tab helps with easy on and off too. These come in different black and white color ways, including an all black pair which can make for a comfortable and supportive work shoe too.
Womens Training Shoes
The New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 Cross Trainer is a shoe design for both everyday wear and hitting the gym. With a snug textile upper this shoe molds to the shape of your foot for comfort and it has a REVlite cushioned midsole too. The lace-up closure adds additional support, while the comfortable bootie construction helps ensure you can slip these shoes on quickly and go.
With a 6mm heel-to-toe drop these shoes allow you to plant your foot firmly on the ground for support and there in a memory foam sole comfort insert so it remembers the shape of your foot every time you put them on. The lightweight and stylish design also means you can wear them whatever the occasion. This training shoe comes in many different colors, so you can get a pair to match every gym outfit!
The ASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 5 running shoe is perfect for runners looking to get into training too. The rugged neutral design of this shoe gives it a high abrasion design, perfect for intense activity, and the trail-specific outsole with multi-surface traction ensures you won’t slip at all, even when you are moving quickly. There is a GEL cushioning system in place inside the shoe to absorb shocks as your foot hits the ground so your ankles and knees don’t have to, and the mesh upper with bright overlays give great breathability, perfect for many different training situations.
The removable foam sockliner also accommodates orthotics and different insoles, for those who over or under-pronate. This shoe comes in a number of different bright colors for you to choose from.
In these Nike Women’s Free Tr 8 training shoes, a full bootie construction creates a sock-lit fit ensuring maximum support whatever training you are partaking in. Although labelled as running shoes, these sneakers have a foam midsole that provides lightweight cushioning for a variety of activities and the 3D printing design gives you great flexibility and structure for fast, quick movements.
The flywire cables also integrate with laces for secure midfoot lockdown, so you know your foot won’t be moving around inside the shoe as you exercise. They are also very light on the foot, making them perfect for indoor workouts such as CrossFit, HIIT classes and machine drills. They come in multiple colors for you to choose from.
The heel-to-toe drop of these Reebok Women’s CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave trainers is 4mm, making them the perfect shoe for CrossFit as you can plant your foot firmly on the floor. Made of durable and lightweight material, these flex weave woven sneakers provide resilient stretch and support and re-engineered Flexweave technology provides stability and flexibility. Extra support and stability comes from the heel bootie construction that ensures your foot is locked into place and doesn’t move around inside the shoe.
This footwear features Toe Tection that provides durability for high-intensity workouts and the low-cut design gives increased ankle mobility, so you can move quickly around the floor without your joints hurting. Perfect for high-intensity interval training and weightlifting too, these shoes come in over 20 different color ways, so you can be sure to find a pair you love.
Another shoe perfect for running and other less-intense gym training sessions, the adidas Women’s Questar Flow shoe have great breathability with a knit textile upper and are the perfect shoe for all-day comfort. With a regular fit, the sock like construction hugs the foot to ensure great stability and the laces lock your foot into place so you can move around without your foot slipping inside the shoe. The combined Cloudfoam midsole and outsole for step-in comfort and superior cushioning means they stay soft and comfy at all times, too.
The sole is rubber and durable and there is good traction on the bottom of the sole to stop you from slipping. The shaft measures approximately low-top from arch, supporting the arch and keeping your feed stable. These trainer shoes are available in 13 different colorways.
Nike’s WMNS Metcon 4 XD CD3128 009 women’s workout shoes have been designed to withstand the demands of CrossFit training. With a drop-in midsole that offers a stable heel with a flexible forefoot, your foot is locked in yet your can move quickly without any restrictions. The shoes are great for abrasion resistance, meaning they are very durable and perfect for long-lasting wear. A thin web of rubber stretches from the outsole to the mid foot for extra durability too and the sticky rubber in the forefoot of the sole offers excellent traction so you don’t slip.
The flywire cables work with the laces for an even more snug fit and the low-profile heel clip rolls up on the sides to help minimize any dragging during wall exercises and handstand push ups. Perfect for those looking to get into CrossFit, these shoes come in five different colors.
The Nike Women’s Flex Experience Run 8 shoe are lightweight shoes designed for running and low-intensity training. With a soft knit material upper, these shoes fit to your feet well, giving great flexibility for quick movements. Designed to fit your natural foot, the flex grooves on the outsole also provide a natural flexibility and comfort that lasts. There is also soft mesh in the heel that gives you cushioned comfort and the textured outsole provides additional traction and durability. The heel of this training shoe is rounded to promote a natural range of motion, too.
Easy to get on and off, there is a loop at the back to help, and the laces have a no-show overlay that covers the foot, not only giving a sleek design but also ensuring the laces don’t get in the way while you exercise. The sole is rubber, making it durable and supportive. These trainings shoes are available in multiple colors.
Best Training Shoes FAQ’s
How can I wash my training shoes?
According to experts, you shouldn’t ever wash your training shoes in the washing machine as this can damage them. They recommend washing them in a bowl of water and laundry detergent if they are really dirty, or doing a spot clean on the body as and when is needed.
How often do I need to replace training shoes?
The answer to this question really depends on the amount that you are using them and what you are using them for. You will need to replace your shoes more often if you are a runner than if you do CrossFit, but it all depends on how often you use them. You should be able to tell when you need to replace your training shoes.
Is a training shoe good for walking or other sports such as basketball?
Every sport has shoes that are specially designed to fit the needs of that sport. Walking and hiking is usually done over rocky and uneven terrain, so training shoes are not going to be supportive enough to protect your feet and ankles from hurting or twisting. Likewise, your feet need extra support when participating in games such as basketball, as you can hit the ground quite hard when shooting hoops. While training shoes are fine for sports like basketball if you are only playing once a week, any more than this and you should purchase shoes designed for the sport.
Whatever kind activity you are doing, whether you are weightlifting, doing CrossFit or hitting the gym for the first time, you (and your feet) deserve comfortable shoes that are going to support you in the right places. Remember to check the arch support and the breathability of the shoe, and ensure they fit properly before you use them for the first time. You’ll also want to make sure the outsole is durable and provides shock absorption to protect your ankles and knees. We know you’ll love the shoes in our list above!