The importance of using quality gym apparel cannot be understated, just ask any experienced gym-goer or bodybuilder. With the right gear, you avoid causing yourself unnecessary harm and fatigue, which might, in turn, render your workout unpleasant or ineffective. In this respect, no other piece of equipment is as important as footwear. With the right shoes, you not only avoid injuring yourself when the going gets tough but you also minimize the amount of effort you generally put into each routine.
It is important to remember that the type of footwear you should use varies according to the type of exercises you perform. This way, you should own a pair of running shoes for all running or pacing exercises and a different pair of shoes for static exercises. We should point out that even among shoes of a similar build, some stand out as being much better than others. It is for that reason that you should learn as much as you possibly can before committing to a purchase. To help you through, we put together a list of the ten best workout shoes the market has to offer.
Best Workout Shoes – Reviews
10Feetmat Women’s Athletic Slip-on Fashion Sneakers
These breathable shoes from Feetmat employ a knitted upper made with soft fabric lining, a design that renders them breathable, lightweight, and extremely comfortable. At the same time, the seamless design allows the sole to be extremely flexible, much more so than other knitted sneakers. Furthermore, the pair also benefits from anti-slip rubber outsoles for added support and reliable traction on all types of terrain. This makes them perfect for most intensity exercises, daily walking, outdoor running, or playing low-intensity sports.
9NIKE Men’s Free Trainer 5.0 V6
With these mesh trainers from Nike, you get a highly breathable solution to all-around training. The shoes owe their versatility to a synthetic sole and a surprisingly practical shaft that measures no less than 2.85″ from the arch. You also get an enhanced Nike Flywire system that offers greater stability without any of the weight usually associated with these type of shoes. On a related note, the hexagonal flex grooves with the rubber grip also stands out as an essential feature, as it offers a much better grip while allowing your foot to move as naturally as possible.
8New Balance Women’s 711 v3 Cross Trainer
You should always consider a shoe’s weight and flexibility when looking for workout shoes, which is precisely where these particular shoes from New Balance excel. Known for their remarkable flexibility, these shoes boast a comfortable yet elastic synthetic sole with TPU reinforcements for good measure. The shoes also benefit from NB Memory Sole Comfort inserts that customize the shoes according to your feet’s measurements. Other than that, we should point out that the shoes have no-sew overlays to speak of and that they are a lot lighter in weight than most shoes in this category.
7Feetmat Men’s Tennis Knit Walking Running Gym Sneakers
These lightweight yet highly durable gym sneakers from Feetmat are equipped with a breathable, all-mesh knit upper to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Given their slip-on design, they are very easy to put on and equally easy to take off. They also boast non-slip, rubber soles that are high in elasticity and of a slip-resistant texture. What’s more, they are a lot more affordable than other similar models, which may explain why they are so popular to begin with. Sturdy and durable, these flexible shoes stand out as some of the most reliable all-purpose shoes out there.
6QANSI Men’s Mesh Ultra Lightweight Gym Shoes
It is important for any workout shoes to be above all breathable and flexible enough not to cause unnecessary fatigue. Equipped with cushioned insoles and with a breathable lining, these shoes offer exceptional support while optimizing every touch and push for maximum reliability. Due to their flexible outsoles, they allow the feet to move freely in any direction, a feature only the best gym shoes possess. Furthermore, the shoes also benefit from a classic low-top design with a three-eyelet lace-up closure for easy putting on and taking off.
5Nike Women’s Flex Trainer 7 Cross
Nike’s Women Flex Trainer 7 Cross is seen as one of the most flexible yet reliable gym shoes out there. Boasting a synthetic build with rubber soles and a low-top shaft to top it off, they are perhaps some of the most comfortable such shoes. Given their quality mesh upper, they deliver above and beyond the industry standard for breathability. All this without causing the wearer any discomfort to speak of on account of the cables in the forefoot which provide a locked-down fit. They also boast a traction pattern that allows for flexible grip in every direction with the guarantee that they are unlikely to take any damage from regular use.
4New Balance Men’s MX517v1 Training Shoe
These training shoes from new balance are among the most affordable workout footwear the market has to offer. Do not think for a second that their price tag affects their overall quality because these particular shoes are top-notch by most standards. Built from 100% textile/synthetic materials, these lightweight shoes can be used by pretty much any activity that involves a lot of stretching and running. Equipped with a low-top shaft and removable insoles, these shoes are also rather complex in their construction, a complexity that recommends them for a variety of activities.
3Champion Women’s Gusto Cross Trainer
Few workout shoes can rival Champion’s Gusto Cross when it comes to breathability and overall comfort. Boasting a fabric-based breathable upper and a padded collar along with a soft lining for added comfort, they are perhaps the most comfortable shoes in this price range. Speaking of which, the smaller sizes are without a doubt the most affordable out there, which makes them perfect for gym goers of all ages. Due to their cushioned memory foam insoles and lightweight, non-marking outsoles, they also deliver a near-perfect fit that molds to your feet for maximum comfort.
2Reebok Men’s Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross Trainer
With the Reebok Nano 8.0 Flexweave, you get a pair of 100% synthetic yet highly breathable workout shoes. Equipped with rubber soles and low-top shafts, these shoes deliver not only on airflow but flexibility as well. Interestingly enough, they benefit from a bootie heel construction that provides a very high standard of performance and comfort. At the same time, the RopePro feature allows for maximum traction and protection when performing rope climbs or similar exercises. Furthermore, they also benefit from a Toe Tection technology that provides durability without sacrificing comfort or flexibility, which is perfect during high-intensity workouts.
1New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 Cross Trainer
There are perhaps no better workout shoes when it comes to cushioning and stability in motion than New Balance’s FuelCore Nergize V1 trainers. These exquisite workout shoes boast a fully synthetic construction with equally flexible soles and low-top shafts for a tight yet comfortable fit. Modern in their design, these seemingly casual shoes benefit from a sleek synthetic upper and REVlite ultra-lightweight midsole foam for superior underfoot cushioning. As a result, they offer an impressively high standard of stability without the bulk usually common in these type of shoes. Last but not least, they also come with NB Memory Sole Comfort inserts for extra padding and support.
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Workout Shoes Buying Guide
The trick when buying workout shoes is to understand that most of these shoes are made of synthetic yet breathable materials and that they usually employ some sort of squishy materials in the midsole. Seeing how the natural inclination of your feet is to roll inward, these shoes have to somehow reduce the impact that motion has on your joints and bones. For that reason, the good ones almost always combine cushioning while still employing a lightweight build for practical reasons. One thing to remember is that fashionable workout shoes are almost never to be relied on, nor should you consider aesthetics among the selection criteria.
A Good Fit
Believe it or not but some people don’t really know their foot size, mostly because casual shoes do not require a perfect fit. With workout shoes, however, a perfect fit matters more than anything because an improper fit might cause you grave injuries long-term. Not just that but you tire faster when your shoes are causing you any sort of discomfort. Also, because your feet tend to swell towards the end of the workout, even a properly fitted shoe can cause you pain if you’re not careful.
The Gait Issue
Another thing to consider, even though not many people do, is whether the shoes you wear fit your type of gait. We say this because if your feet roll inward, then you should perhaps consider a stabilizing motion-control shoe to ease the stress your feet are subjected to. If, on the other hand, you tend to step mostly on the outside edge of your feet, then you should instead employ a cushioning shoe, one that deals primarily with absorbing shock. Actually, try to observe older shoes if you still have some around because they usually mold to your feet and walking patterns.
Not many people realize this but your socks have a direct effect on your workout routine and can impact your overall experience in ways you never even imagined. While there are plenty of workout socks out there for you to choose from, some people have found that the best working socks for them aren’t even designed for that. Instead, try your best to find socks that are breathable and stretchy enough to accommodate the wide range of exercises you generally perform.
What To Look For In A Pair Of Workout Shoes
- Soles – The main purpose the sole of a workout shoe serves is to provide shock absorption and arch support at all times. In many shoes, the sole is removable and washable, whereas in others you can even rely on it to be made of memory foam for a better fit. For perfect shock management and decent comfort, all the three layers most soles are made of need to work together in providing flexibility and traction.
- Uppers – Decent workout shoes must have uppers that are roomy enough to allow the toes to spread for maximum comfort. At the same time, the heel counter at the rear of the shoes must prevent the heels from slipping too much. What’s interesting is that most of the popular workout shoes are made of synthetic materials, meaning that if you sweat excessively, then you will undoubtedly get to see why synthetic materials are such a good idea in the first place.
- Lacing – With good workout shoes, the lacing should always be easy to use yet tight enough to provide a perfect fit. For the most part, these shoes employ fabric, plastic, and metal speed-lacing loops to make the whole tightening process as easy as possible. Interestingly enough, most of the shoes with top eyelets generally provide a better fit around the ankles than flat-laced shoes which are commonly used to ensure that the laces don’t accidentally get untied.
- Grip – You also want a pair of workout shoes that will provide stability and grip on whatever terrain you exercise on. If, for instance, you commonly exercise on a slippery floor, then you should go for gym shoes or basketball shoes for the secure grip. For fitness-based routines, you might want to give CrossFit or running sneakers a try as they are both flexible and comfortable enough to not get in the way of your routine.
- Cushioning – Last but not least, bear in mind that no matter how good a pair of workout shoes may be, without the proper cushioning you are literally asking for muscle and ankle problems. If your workout regimen involves a lot of high-impact exercises, then make sure to invest in a pair of shoes with decent cushioning. You want the cushioning concentrated around the balls and heels of your feet or else you might experience joint pain after a while. Believe it or not but improper cushioning may also lead to degenerative bone diseases long-term, a good enough reason as any to take the time and study a pair of shoes thoroughly before making a purchase.