Use the top-rated cross-training footwear to spice up your workouts. The best models strike a balance between convenience and adaptability, letting you go straight from weight training to running or high-intensity interval training.
It's not easy to find the perfect pair of cross training shoes, but you should look for a pair with a sturdy outsole and a cushioned midsole to minimize impact. They need to fit snugly around your toes and heels while still being supportive and pliable.
The top-tier Peloton cycling shoes are ideal for indoor and outdoor cycling, while top-tier running shoes provide a customized fit for runners. If you're the type to switch between deadlifts and a five-kilometer run, however, you'll want to invest in a good pair of cross-training shoes.
Many shoe companies, for instance, rubberize the midsoles and beef up the tread patterns so that the wearer has a firmer grip while doing rope climbs or running outdoors. Statistics Canada, to paraphrase In this new window: In 2021, nearly 10 million Americans engaged in cross-training; we've evaluated the top cross-training footwear to help you maintain your exercise routine throughout the new year, no matter your budget or level of competition.
The Top-Rated Shoes for Cross-Training
What makes Tom's Guide so reliable So that you can make an informed purchase, our professional reviewers put in countless hours of research and testing. Learn more about our testing procedures.
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A shoe designed specifically for cross-training, the Nike Metcon 7 It is constructed with multifunctional performance in mind, serving as both a stable base for the barbell and a supportive base for the treadmill. And it passes with flying colors for the most part.
When I put on Nike's Metcon 7 for a deadlift session, I understood why they call themselves the "Gold Standard for weight training." Most of the time, I find that cross training shoes are too flimsy for intense resistance training. Nonetheless, the widened and flattened heel base helped me keep my balance throughout a number of strength sets, as did the inner plate reinforcement that helped disperse my body weight more evenly. This essential lower body stability was further increased by the relatively low drop (the difference in height between the heel and the forefoot, measured in millimeters)
However, this does not mean that the Nike Metcon 7 does not provide sufficient cushioning for high-impact activities of shorter duration, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or a few sprints around the track. Newer Nike Metcon models feature "React" foam in the midsole for a more responsive ride. After several sets of squat jumps, burpees, and brief Fartleks, my sensitive foot and ankle complex felt appropriately supported (and comfortable). You can forget about interrupting your cardio routine to retie your laces thanks to the velcro tab at the top of the shoe's tongue.
You're in luck if your workout routine consists of reliving your worst memories from sixth grade gym class. The thick rubberized arch wrap on the Metcon 7 should improve grip on rope climbs. Unfortunately, I haven't had nearly enough therapy to try a rope climb again, so I'll have to take Nike at their word.
Overall, the Metcon 7s are versatile enough to be worn during almost any training session. Even so, the fact remains that it's a heavy shoe without a lot of responsive padding. My feet hurt after I ran for about a mile in them. Consider upgrading to a more suitable pair of running shoes for longer distances.
As a conclusion, the Nike Metcon 7 is a highly adaptable shoe that can be used for a wide variety of workouts and non-gym pursuits.
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Cross training shoes, like many other types of footwear, are typically made with men's feet in mind. The Ryka Devotion XT, to be exact, is a shoe designed by Ryka specifically for a woman's foot, with a few minor but significant modifications to the standard design.
I had become accustomed to needing a band-aid across my Achilles occasionally, but it wasn't until I tried on the Devotion XT that I realized how often my heel slips up and down in my regular sneakers. To better accommodate a woman's foot, the Devotion XT was designed with a narrower heel, a wider toe, and increased arch and heel support. Despite the subtle nature of these adjustments, I noticed a significant improvement in performance; the Devotion XT remained in place throughout my workouts without causing any discomfort.
As an added bonus, the Ryka Devotion XT was also extremely cozy. Slipping them on for a walk felt like I was walking along some fluffy cumulus clouds, and walking out on the gym floor felt like I was stepping on mini mattresses. In some ways, this is a positive trait, but it also has some drawbacks (which I'll discuss below).
The Ryka Devotion XT is a unique cross-trainer because its midsole is as flexible as a pair of dance shoes. This, along with the shoe's pivot point (a circular smooth area under the ball of the foot that helps with turning), makes it a great pick for aerobic dance classes.
Although the Devotion XT could be great for Zumba and Jazzercise, I wouldn't recommend wearing them to try to set a new personal record in strength. While the extra padding may feel good at first, it actually decreases the foot's stability, which is especially problematic when carrying heavy objects. Although these shoes could be used for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuits or light resistance training, I wouldn't recommend them over others because of their less-than-stellar outsole traction.
In conclusion, Ryka's Devotion XT is specifically tailored to the shape of a woman's foot, which will make a noticeable difference for female athletes.
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There is no dearth of choices when it comes to men's cross-training footwear. The NOBULL Trainer, however, features several design elements that are better suited to a man's foot.
The Trainer's outsole is both wider and less tapered, which is fantastic in a number of ways. For one, you’ll get a little more surface area to work with and, in turn, a greater degree of stability and grip The solid base and decent grounding that the Trainer provides is especially useful when working with heavier loads.
There's more room for even a not-so-feminine foot thanks to the wider outsole. Although I found the Trainer to be a bit boxy for my taste, a male coworker who also owns a pair says they are the most comfortable cross-training shoes he has ever worn.
The Trainer's outsole features a deep herringbone tread pattern, making them ideal for the transition to outdoor training. When I put them on to do some functional training in the backyard, I was pleasantly surprised by how easily I was able to maintain my balance on the uneven ground. For those of you who like to mix in some masochism (rope climbs), the deep herringbone tread creeps up along the inner midsole. The upper's sturdy one-piece mesh design means you won't have to fret over wear and tear from repeated exposure to the elements.
The Trainer is, without a doubt, a sturdy shoe; however, "solid" is often synonymous with "heavy," which is unfortunately the case here. When I tried to run or do a HIIT workout in these, I felt more like I was wearing a hiking boot due to the thick outsole. In addition, the cushioned midsole does not provide much in the way of arch support. After wearing them for only an hour, my abnormally flat feet were in agony.
The NOBULL Trainer is an excellent choice for male athletes thanks to features like its wider outsole.
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If there's one thing I've learned the hard way, it's that you shouldn't skimp on a good pair of training shoes. However, a quality pair can set you back more than $150 and often approaches $200. The UA HOVR Rise 3 is the perfect solution for those who want to spice up their workouts without breaking the bank.
The upper mesh of the HOVR Rise 3 surprised me with its breathability, flexibility, and durability, and the outsole and internal "UA HOVR" cushioning pleasantly surprised me with its supportiveness without being too firm to feel comfortable. The Rise 3 are ideal for a moderately intense resistance circuit due to their firmer than average midsole.
Because of this cushioning, the HOVR Rise 3s are also a decent option for high-intensity interval training and shorter runs. Overpronation is a common foot problem, and it's rare for me to find a shoe that provides adequate stability and support without being made for that purpose. When I wore the HOVR Rise 3s for a few HIIT tabatas and a mile run, they performed admirably, and I didn't experience the usual morning foot and ankle pain. The outsole of the HOVR Rise 3 is a little thick, and my other foot kept bumping into it, so they aren't perfect.
The HOVR Rise 3 features the trademarked "UA TriBase" design, the specifics of which I was unable to ascertain through my own investigation. Under Armour claims that it improves lift performance by increasing foot flexibility and ground contact. When performing barbell squats and deadlifts, I noticed that the HOVR Rise 3 gave me a much firmer connection to the floor than other cushioned shoes on our list, such as the ON Cloud X's.
However, there is still too much cushioning between your foot and the floor in the HOVR Rise 3 for it to be an ideal pair of shoes for extremely heavy lifting.
The UA HOVR Rise 3 is a reasonably priced, yet highly functional, cross-training shoe.
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Choosing a single outfit suitable for yard work, a casual Sunday brunch, and a black-tie wedding is a lot like trying to find a pair of cross training shoes that will work for all of your athletic endeavors. The Hylete Circuit II is a cross training shoe that can be used for anything from weightlifting to your upcoming 5K.
How could that be possible Support, stability, and cushioning can be adjusted between three insoles with drop lengths of 0mm, 4mm, and 6mm. It's an excellent innovation, and I'm baffled as to why more shoe companies don't use it. When you couple the shoe's adaptable drop with the grip provided by the "Vibram" outsole, you have a shoe that can be worn anywhere.
Hylete Circuit II allowed me to perform a wide variety of exercises, including squatting, running, and light resistance training, all while wearing the same pair of shoes. While the 0mm drop was adequate for some heavy barbell squats and maintaining some proprioception (the body's ability to sense movement and position) in the feet, the 4mm drop was the ideal compromise between support and comfort during a lower-body superset. Additionally, the 6mm reduction in height absorbed the shock of a fast 2-mile run. The process of switching out the insoles for different uses was simple, and the insoles themselves remained firmly in place throughout every outing.
The Circuit II's non-tapered toe box promotes a healthier, more natural foot posture. Although not as spacious as the toe box on the Altra Solstice XT 2, I found that the extra room for my toes helped keep me stable when doing more weighted exercises. My toes felt pretty squished at the end of my run because the Circuit II's lacked some forefoot space. If you order a size and a half larger than you normally would, the issue should go away.
While the 6mm insole is designed for high-impact activities, I noticed at the end of my run that it lacked some of the cushioning properties of shoes like the On Cloud X and the Brooks Adrenaline. Though I know there are those who would see that as a plus, my blistered feet would disagree.
Conclusively, the Hylete Circuit II is equivalent to buying three pairs of shoes because it has removable insoles designed for different sports.
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Having a flat foot comes with (many) disadvantages, such as increased risk of musculoskeletal problems, inherent balance difficulties, and the unfortunate realization that a career in ballet is unlikely. While a pointe shoe may feel uncomfortable, a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22s will provide superb comfort.
For the better part of my life, I've been a chronic overpronator, and it's been a constant struggle to find shoes that offer adequate arch support and stability. On the other hand, the Brooks Adrenaline has always been my favorite, and with each new iteration, they impress me even more. In addition to providing a comfortable and supportive run, the trademarked "GuideRails" technology from Brooks helps to restrict motion at the foot and ankle while still allowing for a natural gait.
Having a shoe with such stability is essential for runners, but it's also beneficial for high-intensity interval training, light resistance exercises, and even just regular old walking. The Adrenalines were one of the few pairs of shoes that we tried that felt good during high-intensity interval training's (HIIT) quick impact exercises, running's longer stretches of impact, and resistance circuits' slower, steadier movements. And the American Podiatry Medical Association has given their stamp of approval to this shoe alone, making it a hit with your podiatrist.
Weight is an issue with stability shoes because of the added support and cushioning. However, in comparison to the Nano X2 or the Trainer, the Adrenalines don't feel overly ponderous on the ears.
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is one of the best running and HIIT shoes you can buy, especially if you have flat feet. However, the Adrenalines won't help you if you plan on stacking a lot of weight onto the barbell. You won't be as stable carrying a heavy load in shoes with a lot of padding, a big drop, and a big toe spring.
All things considered, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is a great choice for athletes with flat feet due to its high levels of support, stability, and comfort.
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As indispensable to your high-intensity interval training as your stopwatch, the On Cloud Xs are a lightweight, supportive shoe designed to keep your feet stable through any number of burpees or squat jumps.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an increasingly popular strategy for enhancing cardiovascular endurance and general health. On the other hand, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises are typically quite fast and explosive, so it's crucial to have the right footwear. The heel and midsole of the On Cloud X are adequately cushioned, and the trademarked Helion superfoam outsole absorbs shock perfectly. My normally grumpy ankles and knees felt great while wearing the Cloud Xs for a tabata full of jumps and butt kicks.
There should be some cushioning in a shoe made for HIIT, but you shouldn't feel like you're wearing concrete blocks when you've got 20 seconds of high knees ahead of you. The no-sew upper mesh of the On Cloud X is breathable and stretches to fit your foot precisely, while the rest of the shoe is made from lightweight, flexible materials. Usually, I need to wear a new pair of shoes a few times before they feel broken in, but the On Cloud Xs were as comfortable as they were weightless, almost from the first wear.
A few bad rolls of the ankle have made me wary of lateral movements in high-intensity interval training circuits. The On Cloud X's high sidewalls and moderate drop made me feel very secure when cutting between rails. Because my ankles felt so secure, I was able to increase my speed and agility on a round of skaters.
On the other hand, if your foot is wider than average, you won't be able to buy a pair of On Cloud Xs because they only come in a standard width. The excessive cushioning, as with most shoes made for high-impact sports, makes it difficult to keep your foot properly grounded while squatting or deadlifting. To change into powerlifting footwear:
The On Cloud X is a great shoe for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) due to its lightweight design, superior support, and minimal impact on joints.
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While some powerlifters swear by their Converse Chuck Taylors (or "chucks"), others prefer going shoeless when they lift. The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III strikes a balance between these two extremes by protecting your feet without interfering with your natural connection to the ground, which is essential for efficient and risk-free resistance training.
The Primus Lite IIIs felt like old-school water shoes as soon as I put them on; the thin mesh upper and extremely lightweight, flexible rubber outsole conformed to my feet in an instant. The Primus Lite III's zero-drop sole and roomy toe box convinced me that the brand was named after its barefoot feel.
The Primus Lite III's "barefoot" feel makes it ideal for heavy lifting. Due to the lack of padding in most cross training shoes, your entire foot can make contact with the floor as you run. The Primus Lite IIIs gave me the stability and proprioception I needed to fully ground myself while attempting any high-weight, low-rep strength training program. Also, my bare feet were never exposed to the filth of the gym floor.
The Primus Lite III is made, like many Vivobarefoot shoes, from eco-friendly and recycled materials. The "Revivo" program at Vivobarefoot allows you to send back your old shoes to be resold (or recycled, if they're beyond repair) In this way, you can achieve your next strength objective while also assisting the planet. Win-win
The Primus Lite IIIs are one of the more expensive options on our list, which is saying a lot considering they are a minimalist shoe. While barefoot advocates claim the Primus Lite IIIs can be worn anywhere, I personally wouldn't recommend them for running or other high-impact activities until you've taken Vivobarefoot's "fundamentals" course.
Bottom Line: The barely-there Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III allows for maximum stability and ground contact while lifting
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It can be difficult to find a pair of training shoes that will fit a wider foot. Even though it is possible to make a wide shoe that still, you know, looks cool, many well-known brands only produce shoes in standard widths. Although the Reebok Nano X2 does not come in any width options, it is designed and constructed to accommodate a wide foot without making you look like you followed your grandfather's shoe advice.
The toe box and heel of the Reebok Nano X2 are larger than average, giving those with larger feet plenty of room to breathe and move freely. Although my feet aren't what you'd call "wide," I have a significant bunion (to both high heels and genetics) that makes it difficult for me to fit into most toe boxes. One of the few pairs of shoes we tried that didn't immediately cause excruciating pressure on this annoying condition was the Nano X2s. No longer did I experience any discomfort in the heels or balls of my feet as I completed a circuit of lunges, squats, and deadlifts.
My feet don't need any more room than the toe box already provides, so the Nano X2's heel felt a little loose when I was walking, running, or lunging. The Nano X2's wider toe box means that customers with narrow or average feet will need to order a half size down from their regular size.
The Reebok Nano X2 is packed with useful features for a wide variety of situations. High-impact exercises are now feasible thanks to the midfoot cushioning provided by "Floatride" energy foam, while the foot stability provided is sufficient for light to moderate resistance training. When your workout calls for a rope climb (did I just hear my gym teacher yelling at me? ), the "ROPEPRO" teeth patterning along the outsole will keep you from slipping. No Okay) The versatile Nano X2 can be worn with anything from high-performance leggings to a nice pair of jeans thanks to its timeless design and wide range of colors.
The Nano X2s aren't the lightest headphones available at almost 12 ounces in weight. Since this is the case, they might not be the best of running buddies. The Reebok Nano X2 is a technologically superior option for athletes with wider feet who engage in virtually any other sport imaginable.
In conclusion, the Reebok Nano X2 is an adaptable running shoe that also accommodates wider feet.
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If you spend enough time on fitness Instagram, you'll eventually run into an influencer who will extol the virtues of wide toe box, zero drop shoes. The Altra Solstice XT 2 is a great example of this emerging market because it places your feet in a more natural position while still providing adequate room for your toes.
I, too, am one of those unfortunate people. I am a person (who has bunions because she wears pointy heels and shoes with a narrow toe box). My big toe joint hurts so badly that I have to take off my shoes around lunchtime every day. For this reason, I was excited to put on the Solstice XT 2 and see if the rumored benefits of a roomier toe box materialized.
Whoa, did it ever Walking around in the Solstice XT 2s and completing a moderately intense resistance training circuit was a breeze. I was able to perform more powerful squats, presses, and deadlifts by spreading my toes wider than usual. Also, because of the lack of a heel lift, I was able to plant my feet firmly and efficiently. More importantly, my bunion pain was never so severe that I had to remove the Solstice XT 2s.
The Altra Solstice XT 2, which has a wide toe box and zero drop, is widely regarded as the best choice for weightlifting. You can wear them for light, moderate, and even slightly heavy resistance training. The Solstice XT 2's have a little too much cushioning for proper foot awareness and stability on super heavy lifts, so I would recommend switching to a different pair if you plan on attempting a one-rep max under the bar.
Despite a firmer cage in the upper cage, the Solstice XT 2s still felt pretty flimsy and unsupportive when completing rounds of skaters and side shuffles, so you might want to look elsewhere for a HIIT shoe.
In conclusion, the Altra Solstice XT 2's more natural fit will satisfy everyone's feet.
Cross-Training Shoe Buying Guide
The two most important things to think about when purchasing a new pair of cross training shoes are your foot shape and size, and the types of activities you intend to engage in most frequently.
Choose a cross training shoe that either comes in wide sizes or is built with more room in the midsole and toe box if your foot is wider than average. Depending on your typical routine, a "wide toe box" cross training shoe may be a good idea. Finding a shoe with motion control is essential if you have flat feet.
While cross training shoes can be used for a variety of exercises, it's still important to consider your preferred routine before purchasing a pair. Cross training shoes with a higher heel-to-toe drop and supportive midsole are ideal if running or high-intensity interval training are your preferred forms of exercise rather than lifting heavy weights. Selecting a shoe with a low (or zero) drop and minimal cushioning will allow you to properly ground your foot when spending most of your gym time under a loaded barbell. When working out in the great outdoors, you need a pair of cross trainers with a sturdy outsole and a design that allows for traction.
The process we used to determine which cross-training footwear was superior
Light, moderate, and heavy resistance training, walking, running, and high-intensity interval training were all performed in each pair of cross training shoes over the course of 30 minutes. In addition, a 20-minute dance fitness class was completed while donning the Ryka Devotion XT. The performance of each pair of shoes was evaluated on three different surfaces: a rubberized gym floor, concrete, and soil.
We put every pair of cross-training shoes through our paces, rating them on how well they performed across a variety of comfort, performance, versatility, durability, and us