Are you tired of uncomfortable and ill-fitting gym shoes holding you back during your workouts? Look no further! In this article, we have curated a comprehensive list of the best gym shoes for men, guaranteeing ultimate comfort, superior performance, and impeccable style. Whether you're a CrossFit enthusiast, a weightlifting aficionado, or a dedicated runner, we've got you covered. Join us as we explore the top picks, including the highly sought-after Nike MC Trainer 2 and the versatile Reebok Nano X3. Get ready to take your fitness game to the next level with the best gym shoes for men in 2023!
Benefits of Gym Shoes
Wearing a good pair of gym shoes can greatly enhance your workouts. When it comes to weightlifting, having stable and solid shoes can make or break your lifts. For long runs, you'll need running shoes with sufficient cushioning and support to keep you comfortable. If you're looking for a shoe that can do both, a good cross-training shoe is essential. Investing in a high-quality pair of gym shoes will ensure you get the most out of every workout.
Furthermore, gym shoes can be stylish and add a cool factor to your workout attire. While functionality should always be the priority, there's nothing wrong with feeling pumped up by a stylish pair of gym shoes.
How Your Gym Shoes Should Fit
Unlike casual sneakers, your gym shoes should fit snugly and provide support. While leaving some space in the toe box may be recommended for running shoes, it is important for training shoes to provide support during movements that require one foot at a time. A secure and locked-in fit is crucial for optimal performance.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in the Best Gym Shoes for Men
Choosing the right gym shoes can be overwhelming due to the variety of options available. If you're not ready to buy multiple pairs of shoes, here are some factors to consider when making your decision:
The amount of cushioning in the midsole can vary depending on the shoe's purpose. Running shoes typically have thicker midsoles to absorb impact during long distances, while minimalist shoes have less cushioning to allow natural foot movement. Weightlifting shoes have very little midsole cushioning and a tough outsole for stability. Cross-trainers usually fall in between. Keep in mind that a thicker midsole generally means more cushioning, so pay attention to the product description to make an informed decision.
For gym shoes, good grip and traction are important. A stable base is necessary for weightlifting, while a shoe designed for trail running or hiking should have rubber lugs on the outsole for better traction in rough terrain.
The size of the heel-to-toe drop is a personal preference, especially if you plan on using your gym shoes for running or cardio exercises. Higher heel-to-toe drops are suitable for heel-first runners, while lower drops are better for those who land with the front or midfoot. In weightlifting, a higher heel provides advantages for squats, but powerlifters prefer minimal heel-to-toe drop for deadlifting to maintain a low position.
Breathability is essential for gym shoes as you'll likely be moving around a lot. Many gym shoes have mesh uppers for a lightweight and breathable feel. However, if you plan on using them outdoors, consider shoes with more durable materials than mesh.
Proper ankle support is crucial during various movements in the gym, including running, jumping, squats, and lifts. Look for shoes with low-top options that offer ankle support through features like cradles.
While not the most important aspect, having a gym shoe that you feel good wearing in public is a plus. There are plenty of options available, ranging from colorful designs to more reserved styles. Choose a shoe that suits your style and makes you excited to wear it.
Other Gym Shoes for Men We Researched
While these shoes didn't make our list of the best gym shoes for men, they are worth mentioning:
Under Armour HOVR Rise 4: While we haven't tested this specific model, we have experience with similar shoes from the brand. The HOVR Phantom 2 offers excellent shock absorption, and we're curious to see if the Rise 4 delivers the same performance.
Hoka Clifton 8: These lightweight running shoes have a responsive midsole, but they have mixed reviews compared to the previous model. Some enjoy the comfort, while others find the changes made from the Clifton 7 less satisfactory. Durability may also be a concern.
Adidas Adipower 3: As a weightlifting enthusiast, I personally recommend these shoes for Olympic lifts. While I haven't had a chance to try the Adipower 3 yet, they seem to have moved closer to the original design, which made the original Adipowers a solid choice. However, further testing is needed to provide a thorough review.
Best Gym Shoes for CrossFit and HIIT
Reebok Nano X2
Reebok's Nano X2 is a reliable option for CrossFit and HIIT workouts. Its defined heel clip offers excellent support during intense training sessions, and the lightweight Floatride Energy Foam provides a comfortable experience during weighted exercises. However, the stiff sole may not be ideal for agility or running exercises.
Nobull sneakers are popular in the CrossFit community for their performance and style. The Trainer lineup, in particular, offers improved comfort and traction for dynamic movements. They also recently introduced high-top silhouettes for those who prefer more ankle support. While the minimalist design may not appeal to everyone, these shoes make workouts easier and more stylish.
Inov8 F-Lite G 300
If durability is a top priority for you, consider the Inov8 F-Lite G 300. These lightweight gym shoes are constructed using graphene, one of the strongest materials in the world. The resilient knit upper provides comfort and breathability, while the extended Rope-Tec protection improves grip during climbs. These shoes are a favorite among cross-training athletes.
Best Gym Shoes for Weightlifting
Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
Do-Win may not be as well-known as other brands, but their weightlifting shoes are worth considering. These shoes feature a 0.75-inch hard plastic heel, which is optimal for Olympic lifting. The wide design aims to improve comfort and stability. With a mix of leather and mesh in the upper, the shoes offer durability and breathability. The double metatarsal strapping system ensures a secure fit for lifting heavy.
TYR's lifting clogs provide the ideal heel lift and stability for heavy pushing and pulling. The latest silhouette offers plenty of space within the toe box, allowing for a perfect stance during lifts. The outsole provides reliable traction, and the aesthetics add a nice touch to any lifter's outfit.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneaker
Despite being known as a street shoe, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is a solid option for weightlifting. Its flat sole and durability make it suitable for static lifts. While not ideal for all movements due to the lack of an elevated heel, Chuck Taylors are a great entry-level shoe for weightlifting enthusiasts.
Best Gym Shoes for Running
Hoka Mach 5
Hoka's Mach 5 is a race-ready sneaker with a responsive dual-density ProFly midsole. While it provides a lightweight and plush ride for daily runs, some users may find the cushioning insufficient for longer distances.
Under Armour UA HOVR Phantom 3
For workouts that combine strength training with treadmill running, the UA HOVR Phantom 3 offers cushioning and support. Its IntelliKnit upper enhances breathability, but we recommend saving these shoes for indoor workouts as they may lack comfort on outdoor surfaces.
Merrell Vapor Glove 5
For barefoot running enthusiasts, the Merrell Vapor Glove 5 is a top pick. Its stretch collar provides a sock-like feel, while the zero-drop nature allows for maximum ground contact. These shoes are perfect for both running and weightlifting.
Best Gym Shoes for Status
Athletic Propulsion Labs McLaren HySpeed
If you want to add a touch of luxury to your gym wardrobe, the APL McLaren HySpeed sneakers are an excellent choice. Inspired by McLaren designs, these shoes offer cushioning and energy return. However, they are best suited for running and accessory work rather than heavy lifts.
Reebok Nano X2 Froning
Designed by one of CrossFit's most decorated athletes, the Nano X2 Froning delivers exceptional performance for various modalities. Its lightweight design is ideal for cardio-focused workouts. Grippy socks are recommended with these sneakers to prevent heel slippage.
Adidas Ultraboost 22
Combining athletic and leisure elements, the Ultraboost 22 offers a comfortable and stylish option for everyday wear and training sessions. The BOOST midsole provides energy and responsiveness, making it suitable for workouts of any intensity.
Best Gym Shoes for Men for Everyday Use: Nike MC Trainer 2
The Nike MC Trainer 2 is a versatile and stable shoe that can be worn all day long. Its design and features make it suitable for various activities throughout the day.
Best Budget Gym Shoes for Men: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars
Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars are an affordable option for those seeking a minimal shoe for deadlifts. With a flat heel and minimal midfoot cushioning, they are ideal for heavy lifts. Keep in mind that they may not provide the same versatility as other gym shoes.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
- Flat heel perfect for deadlifts
- Available in low-top and high-top styles
- Minimal midfoot cushioning for stability
- Minimal heel-to-toe drop not ideal for back squats
- Narrow midfoot
- Canvas construction may not be highly durable
The Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars have been a favorite among powerlifters for their flat sole and roomy toe box. These shoes keep your feet connected to the ground, allowing for a solid base during deadlifts. They offer great value for the price and can be worn for both gym workouts and casual wear.
Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0 mm
Colorways: Black, white, and custom options
Under Armour TriBase Reign 5
Price: $120 / £130, underarmour.com
Fit: 4/5Comfort: 4/5Performance: 4.5/5OVERALL: 4.5/5
Materials: Mesh upper / Micro G™ foam midsole / UA TriBase™ outsole | Weight: 297g | Colours: 7 colours available | Sizes: 6-14
The Under Armour TriBase Reign 5 is a reliable and versatile trainer that offers stability during various cardio and weight exercises.
Featuring a durable base, a sock-like wrap-around upper, and a thick, blocky midsole, the Reign 5 provides ample support and comfort. It is also highly breathable, thanks to its layered mesh material that prevents excessive sweat during intense workouts.
Designed to maximize ground contact and promote natural motion, the Reign 5 strikes a good balance between stability and movement.
Furthermore, the toe box is equipped with a strong rubber build for a solid base and excellent grip, making it ideal for weight lifting and mixed workouts. If you're looking for a gym shoe that can handle heavier weights alongside aerobic exercises, the Under Armour TriBase Reign 5 is a great option.
Read our complete review of the Under Armour TriBase Reign 5
Asics Gel-Kayano 29
Price: $160 / £175, asics.com
Fit: 4/5Comfort: 4/5Performance: 4.5/5OVERALL: 4/5
Material: Stretch knit upper / FF BLAST™ PLUS midsole / AHARPLUS™ outsole | Weight: 299g | Colours: 10 colour schemes | Sizes: 5 to 15
The Asics Gel-Kayano 29 is a sturdy and highly supportive shoe that excels in stability and flexibility during lateral and forward motion.
Featuring impressive technologies such as FF BLAST PLUS cushioning, LITETRUSS midsole stabilisation, and AHARPLUS heel plugs, the Gel-Kayano 29 ensures stability throughout various training exercises.
The foamy midsole provides excellent shock absorption, making it comfortable for running on treadmills that can feel hard underfoot. Additionally, the cushioned tongue, thick ankle padding, and sock liner contribute to a comfortable fit.
Lastly, the Gel-Kayano 29 is made with at least 50% recycled materials, reducing carbon emissions and waste.
Read our complete review of the Asics Gel-Kayano 29
Pick up the pace with the best running shoes
Best Outdoor Gym Shoes for Men: Asics Gel-Venture 8
Perfect for: Those seeking an affordable shoe with excellent traction for trails and hikes
Best Outdoor Gym Shoes
New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12
Price: $159.99 / £160, newbalance.com
Fit: 4.5/5Comfort: 5/5Performance: 4.5/5OVERALL: 5/5
Material: Hypoknit upper / Fresh Foam X™ midsole / blown rubber outsole | Weight: 292g | Width: Narrow / standard / wide / extra wide | Colours: Grey / orange / black / navy / blue | Sizes: 6½ to 14½
The New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 is hailed as the top running shoe in its range, delivering a perfect blend of cushioning, stability, and flexibility.
With a sleek design and a variety of color options, this trainer features a deep foam midsole that offers exceptional support. The engineered Hypoknit upper ensures breathability and stretch while keeping the shoe lightweight.
In terms of fit, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12 hugs the foot snugly and provides ample cushioning and support for a smooth and stable run.
Read our complete review of the New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v12
Best Walking Shoes for Men: Saucony Triumph 20
Perfect for: Men seeking comfortable walking shoes that can also be used for gym workouts
Best Walking Shoes
Best Tennis Shoes For Men: Altra Solstice XT 2
Perfect for: Individuals in need of high-quality tennis shoes for both indoor and outdoor gym activities
Best Tennis Shoes
The Best Running Shoes for the Treadmill: On Running Cloudswift 3
For individuals who prefer running on treadmills rather than pavement, personal trainer Dan Castillo, the chief of talent and content strategy at Sole Treadmills, recommends On's Cloudswift running shoes. The Cloudswift 3, which is the updated version of the original shoe, retains its flexible sole and bottom, providing an extremely lightweight and comfortable running experience. According to Castillo, these shoes are perfect for various activities, from sprints to longer runs, and are also great for navigating through urban environments.
Best Cross-Training Shoes for Men: TYR CXT-1 Trainer
Perfect for: Individuals seeking a versatile gym shoe that can accommodate multiple types of fitness activities
Nike Metcon 8
- Excellent for weightlifting and light cardio
- Handstand clips and rope guard
- Customizable color options
- Pricey at $160
- Not the most flexible shoe
- Similar to prior version
The Nike Metcon 8 is a superb cross-training shoe suitable for quick cardio sessions and heavy weightlifting.
Anthony O'Reilly, the GGR Performance Editor and a dedicated Nike enthusiast, approves of the Nike Metcon 8. According to his review, the shoes offer outstanding stability. The solid heel ensures stability during deadlifts, while the forefoot provides flexibility for a springy step. The midsole uses Nike React foam, offering just the right amount of cushioning. The shoes also feature a rope guard for protection during rope climbs.
The Nike Metcon 8 closely resembles its predecessor, the Metcon 7, but offers additional customization options for an extra $30. It excels as a cross-training shoe, providing exceptional performance in the gym. Nevertheless, for weightlifting or running-specific workouts, dedicated weightlifting or running shoes may be more suitable. Overall, the Nike Metcon 8 is an excellent option for individuals seeking a versatile gym shoe.
However, if you prefer a shoe that can handle a wide range of workout types, the Nike Metcon 8 is an excellent choice.
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||4 mm|
|Colorways||12 available, plus custom options|
Best Overall Gym Shoes for Men: Nike Metcon 8
Perfect for: Individuals in need of a reliable and customizable cross-training shoe
Best Cross-Functional Gym Shoes
Altra Solstice XT 2
These training shoes are designed to excel in compound lifts and cardio workouts. With a foot-friendly toe box and a full rubber outsole, the Altra Solstice XT 2 provides stability and durability. However, it is more suitable for indoor training. The abrasion-resistant mesh upper features a liquid rubber cage for ankle protection during lateral movements.
Under Armour Project Rock 5
For individuals aiming to conquer various training disciplines, the UA Project Rock 4s offer exceptional versatility. The shoes feature an innovative midsole design with a break in the forefoot, which allows for better flexibility and bend during sprints and agility ladder drills. The shoes have a roomy profile, providing a comfortable fit for those with wider feet. While they may feel somewhat bulky for longer-distance running, these sneakers are perfect for achieving peak performance in a range of workouts.
The Kawana is an all-purpose shoe that elevates your fitness experience. It boasts a reactive CMEVA midsole that energizes each step while delivering plush cushioning. The modified crash pad with SwallowTail geometry creates a wider surface for smooth transitions. While it performs well in regular training sessions, caution should be exercised during intense agility movements due to the lightweight upper. These shoes are best suited for training days with less impact on the feet.
The Best Adjustable Shoes for Cycling: Scott Road Comp Boa
Avoid slipping and sliding out of your spin shoes when attaching them to your bike. Fitness and cycling instructor Jason Tran recommends the Scott Road Comp Boa cycling shoes. Equipped with a Boa system that customizes the fit to your foot, these shoes provide a secure and comfortable feel. The lower velcro strap adds extra security, ensuring a snug fit.
The Most Stylish Cycling Shoes: Nike SuperRep Cycle 2
Stylish workout clothing extends to footwear as well. According to Shaun Patrick Tubbs, former director of training for Harlem Cycle, the Nike SuperRep Cycle 2 shoes are not only comfortable, but also super stylish. These shoes are compatible with both SPD and LOOK systems for clipping into your bike. Tubbs suggests sizing up by a full size.
The Best Shoes for Spinning: Fizik Tempo Powerstrap
Joseph Foley, co-founder of Pedal House, highly recommends the Tempo Powerstrap shoes for individuals using spin bikes. These shoes offer a winning combination of style, value, and performance. Foley personally tested them for a year while teaching multiple classes daily and found them to be durable and long-lasting. Fizik, an Italian brand known for its high-quality cycling products, produces these shoes.
The Best Daily Trainer: Hoka Clifton 9
Running coach Matthew Luke Meyer swears by the Hoka Clifton line, and the Clifton 9 is the latest iteration. Meyer has been using this model as his go-to daily trainer for two years and continues to find it lightweight, supportive, and comfortable. This shoe strikes a perfect balance between weight, support, and comfort, making it ideal for daily training sessions.
BEST GYM SHOES 2023
Best gym shoes for treadmill running
Best gym shoes for HIIT workouts
Best gym shoes for cross-training
Best gym shoes for heavy lifting
Best gym shoes for hybrid training
Nike MC Trainer 2
- Highly breathable
- Flexible midsole and forefoot
- May not accommodate wide feet
- Some reports of heel slipping
The Nike MC Trainer 2 is a budget-friendly training shoe that offers exceptional versatility and performance.
While we haven't personally tested this shoe, it has received positive feedback from users. The thicker and extended heel provides stability during strength training exercises, while the thinner and flexible midsole and forefoot ensure versatility for various workouts and movements. The soft foam cushioning offers support during lateral movements, and the lateral support wraps keep the foot secure.
Some reviews suggest that the Nike MC Trainer 2 may not be suitable for wide feet, and others mentioned a potential issue with heel slipping. Additionally, the upper mesh material is relatively thin, which raises questions about its durability. Overall, the Nike MC Trainer 2 is a cost-effective all-purpose training shoe that delivers value both inside and outside the gym.
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||Not disclosed|
|Colorways||8 available options|
Reebok Nano X3
Price: $140 / £130, reebok.com
Fit: 5/5Comfort: 5/5Performance: 4.5/5OVERALL: 5/5
Material: Flexweave™ knit upper / Floatride Energy Foam™ midsole / Glow in the dark rubber outsole | Weight: 306g | Colours: Six colour schemes | Sizes: 4 to 13
The Reebok Nano X3 is a highly versatile gym shoe that offers exceptional lateral support, grip, and traction.
Featuring a stylish design and a range of color options, this trainer delivers stability and flexibility for a wide variety of exercises. It excels in heavy lifting and can handle the demands of cross-training. The breathable upper material prevents excessive heat and sweat.
If you're looking for a reliable all-rounder that can tackle any workout in a multi-format routine, the Reebok Nano X3 is an excellent choice. Moreover, it remains aesthetically pleasing beyond the gym, with its six attractive color schemes.
Read our complete review of the Reebok Nano X3
In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best gym shoes for men, there are plenty of options to suit every activity and preference. Whether you're into CrossFit, weightlifting, running, or simply looking for a stylish and versatile everyday shoe, the choices are abundant. From the high-performing Nike Metcon 8 to the minimalist NOBULL Trainer, there's a shoe out there to support your fitness journey. So lace up, step into comfort and style, and get ready to conquer your workouts with the best gym shoes for men in 2023 and beyond.