Both casual sneakers and workout sneakers exist. Athletic footwear needs to provide adequate stability and flexibility. If you choose the wrong ones, your entire cardio routine will be off. It may also seem natural to always train in running shoes, but you should try to avoid doing so, as these shoes are designed primarily for propulsion. Conversely, good workout shoes offer stability not just for forward motion, but also for lateral movements, like those used in sports like tennis and volleyball. In order to find the best sneakers for the gym, we consulted with fitness experts and compiled a list of the top picks from a wide range of women who regularly engage in a variety of gym-based pursuits, from lifting weights to running on the treadmill.
The Best, the Best for Less, the Best for Tennis, the Best for Spin, the Best for Running, and the Best for Everyday Use are some of the Best Shoes Available.
The soles should be flat and supportive so that you can push off confidently; the forefoot should have reinforcements to prevent slipping during lateral movements; the lacing system should be tight; and the upper construction should be designed to maintain foot position during aerobic activities.
While all of the sneakers on this list have some degree of cushioning, the majority of them have a flat, semi-cushioned sole that serves as a great foundation for a wide variety of exercises. Weight lifting shoes typically have a flatter midsole and thinner cushioning to provide a more stable base of support, while aerobic shoes tend to have a higher heel and thicker midsole foam for added bounce and comfort. We'll specify the material and, where applicable, the degree of cushioning in each pair of shoes.
We need shoes with a sturdy outsole that can grip a variety of surfaces, from rubberized gym floors to polished wooden studios to rougher roads and pavement. Working out more confidently in shoes with excellent traction can help you stay in the zone. The types of traction you can expect from each shoe are outlined below.
Zero-heel | Extra-cushioned | Ultra-grippy
Shona Vertue, yoga instructor and author, prefers shoes that are "varied in flexibility and stability" for her cross-training routines because of the wide range of motions involved. They are flexible at the front of the foot, which allows for good movement through things like lunges or running, and they also have a stiff heel, so the Nike Metcons are her "go-to all-around shoe" for working out. which aids in maintaining balance during strenuous exercises like deadlifts and squats "sleek design, incredible fit, perform great, and stabilize your foot when doing any cross-training workout," are some of the reasons why Melanie Miracolo, a former head of retail at yoga studio Y7, recommends the Metcons. Co-founder of Trooper Fitness and runner Jen Romanelli agrees the Metcons create stability and says they also allow lateral movement, which is what she needs for HIIT classes. The Metcon 6 AMP was originally suggested by Virtue, Miracolo, and Romanelli; however, the newer Metcon 7 provides the same stability and versatility in a slightly revised design. We also chose the Metcon as the best workout shoes for men because we think it makes a great gym companion.
Wedge-shaped heel | Extra-cushioned sole | Non-slip tread
The Reebok HIIT 2 may not be the most eye-catching shoe, but it has everything you need in a versatile workout sneaker: a simple build, a breathable mesh upper that secures your forefoot, and a foam midsole for cushioning. Tempo's head of fitness, Melissa Boyd, equates HIIT (high-intensity interval training) with cross-training (which incorporates both weighted and cardio-based movements). It's important to have shoes that are "flexible enough for speed work, structured enough for weighted movements, and responsive enough for jumping," as she puts it. These cross-trainers are perfect for her because they can withstand rigorous workouts as well as compound lifts.
Simple Sole; Moderate Cushioning; Moderate Traction
Women we spoke with both recommended the Nike Free TR8. Romanelli calls herself a "minimalist" runner because she opts for shoes with minimal cushioning and support. I have flat feet and everyone says I need 'arch support,' but I don't. If I'm going to be doing a lot of cardiovascular work, I'd rather have less support so that my ankles and feet are forced to be more stable and strong. Simple and light, this shoe allows her to use more muscle power and run without feeling weighed down. Because there isn't enough cushioning for Boyd, she doesn't like them for long runs, but she does recommend them for shorter runs. Even so, she considers these her go-to sneakers because they are both sturdy and pliable enough to be used for weight training and high-intensity interval training.
Size: Low; Cushion: Medium; Grip: Weak
When we were looking into the next trendy pair of gym shoes for women, fitness director and personal trainer Bari Lieberman recommended the Nobull training shoes because of their "versatility and durability." Lieberman explains that the Nobull shoes' flatter soles help you feel more "grounded and stable during heavy lifts." According to Zo Weiner, senior beauty editor at Well Good, "I fell in love with these shoes before I even put them on because of how sleek and minimalist they looked. which made me ecstatic to realize they are also the cushiest footwear I have ever worn. During her workouts, she says, "It feels like I'm standing on a cloud," due to the shoes' excellent traction and support. ”
Sole is flat; Cushioning is moderate; and Traction is average.
Two of our experts wear the classic Converse, which are flat on the bottom, when they lift weights. Our male fitness experts agree that Chucks are the best weightlifting footwear, and they frequently recommend them. Romanelli says, "You need to feel the ground beneath your feet when you are power lifting." A person's feet, calves, glutes, etc., are all actively involved in this. The less cushioning there is in the sole, the better, as it encourages your feet to make direct contact with the ground. NASM-certified personal trainer Denajha Phillips claims to have a "greater and more secure impact on the ground" when using them. While Romanelli prefers to spice things up with an animal-print pair, she prefers the classic colorways.
Deflated sole; Moderate padding; Acceptable traction
Anna Fielding, a contributor for the UK publication Strategist, noticed a pair of stylish and (extremely) reasonably priced sneakers by Feiyue and decided to investigate. She wrote that martial artists in the 1920s in Shanghai were the first to use the trainers. In addition to being used by parkour athletes and Chinese schoolchildren in physical education classes and Shaolin monks, the phrase "these days" also includes the phrase "also" They have a canvas upper and a foam insole, making them incredibly comfortable despite their low weight. They can jump fairly well. The tyres are firmly attached. And these plimsolls aren't like any others; they provide real structural support. ”
The Fe Lo sneakers have a flat, cushioned sole and a supportive canvas upper construction, making them ideal for weight lifting, as we discussed in our review of the best men's workout shoes. For those who prefer not to wear socks, Fielding adds, "You can easily wear them without socks, and — good to know for the sockless — I've also found they stand up to repeated washing machine cycles." The colors don't fade and the whites don't get dingy for a lot longer than any pair of Converse I've ever owned. Unlike Keds, they will not shatter if you treat them roughly and simply kick them off without removing the laces. ”
Slim fit | Mild padding | Sturdy hold
Because tennis involves so much cutting, stopping, and starting, lateral movement and quick bursts of speed, tennis shoes are among the best sneakers for working out. In addition, durability is essential for sliding around on a court. Former junior writer for the Strategist Sanibel Chai recommends the Asics Gel Resolution 8 as the top tennis shoe for women. A safe bet if you're unsure where to begin, the Asics Gel Resolution was recommended by four of our experts, she wrote. The Asics Gel Resolution is a favorite of Claire Ann Pollard, head coach of the women's tennis team at Northwestern University, and Karen Moriarty, co-owner of Tennis Professionals — Sportech in Rye Brook, New York.
Snug, cushioned, grippy, and SPD-compatible; EVA midsole;
Although Weiner spins several times per week, she has never felt it worthwhile to purchase a pair of "spin shoes" because "you can't actually wear them on the street." "Hop straight from the street onto the spin bike without changing shoes," she raves about her beloved Tiem sneakers. Bright pink, red, and blue are just three of the other nine color options available for these workout sneakers.
Sole is narrow and rockered; cushioning is high; tread is designed for road running; grip is moderate.
While you shouldn't wear your running shoes for exercises that involve lateral movement, the Nike Pegasus is a great option for a basic gym trainer designed with running in mind. Runner's World contributor and former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson recommended the Air Zoom Pegasus if "you'd rather not think too much about your running shoes." Since its debut nearly four decades ago, Nike's Pegasus running shoe has consistently been a top seller. The midsole is padded with a thick slab of Nike's React foam. ”
Former senior writer for The Strategist, Karen Iorio Adelson
Melissa Boyd, head of fitness at Tempo; Sanibel Chai, a former junior writer for The Strategist; Tembe Denton-Hurst, a writer for The Strategist; Kristen Dold, a contributor to The Strategist; Anna Fielding, a UK contributor to The Strategist
Personal trainer and director of fitness, Bari Lieberman• Melanie Miracolo, former head of retail at yoga studio Y7 • Jenna Milliner-Waddell, associate editor at Strategist
• Tennis Pros — Sportech co-owner Karen MoriartyDenajha Phillips, a NASM-certified personal trainer; Ambar Pardilla, a strategist writer; Dominique Pariso, a strategist writer
• Claire Ann Pollard, who is in charge of the women's tennis program at Northwestern UniversityTrooper Fitness co-founder Jen Romanelli; yoga instructor and author Shona Vertue
• Zo Weiner, senior beauty editor at Well + Good
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