The shoes fitness trainers swear by for every type of workout

Trainers share their tried and true picks for the best workout shoes.

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Whenever you start a new workout or training program, one of the first things you should do is figure out the best workout shoes to wear. The right type of workout shoe can be crucial to your workout (and your feet, from heel to midsole to toe), even if you just plan on weight lifting, cycling, or you just need walking shoes. Making the right choice with footwear like sneakers is even more important if you want to run and need a good running shoe. Or if you do CrossFit workouts or a HIIT workout, you need gym shoes that are breathable, offer comfort and support your weight and joints. 

If you’re new to working out, chances are you’re a bit lost about which gym shoes will be the best workout shoes to support you and your feet as the right shoe choice for your new workout. And you don’t want just any pair of gym shoes or to pick the wrong shoe choice for your needs, especially if you’re going to be investing a lot of time (and potentially money) into your new training routine. Do you need breathable mesh, anti-slip rubber or a rubber outsole for your workout shoe? Do you need women’s workout shoes or men’s workout sneakers? Do you go for the big brands like Nike, Reebok and Adidas when selecting your perfect shoe? The options are endless.

Read more: 9 of the best running shoes for 2020 

Sneakers can ultimately be a personal preference. But if you’re looking for some suggestions, the best people to ask (in my humble opinion) are fitness trainers. Why? Trainers pretty much spend 24/7 in gym workout shoes and likely have tried all the sneakers out there. They know which sneakers to skip, which sneakers to invest in, and oftentimes can save you from a headache (in your head or your feet) when you’ve just bought four different pairs of sneakers but hate to wear all of them.

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So let these fitness training experts save you some precious time (and hopefully money, and pain in your feet, including the dreaded plantar fasciitis) by checking out their recommendations for the best workout shoes to wear for every kind of exercise. No matter if you’re running, boxing, dancing, doing high-intensity interval training, or lifting weights and weight training — this guide to sneakers has you (and your feet) covered.


“For trails, I prefer Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX.  These are Gore-tex to keep your feet dry and have firm soles for added stability on the trails.  The toe box is also reinforced to keep you from stubbing your toe. As these shoes are sturdier, they are good for indoor cycling and some indoor exercise classes.  With a firm sole, some activities (such as calf raises) might be difficult in these shoes.”

— Mollie Millington, runner and certified personal trainer.

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“I love the Asics Kayano as they provide additional ankle stability for people with muscle imbalances, which we all have. Once the ankle and knees are supported correctly, the proper shoe can relieve pain in the knees and ankles and help correct over-pronation which is when your foot rolls inward, causing shin splints and can cause knee pain and swelling.

“A good stability shoe will help minimize the rolling inward and help the heel-to-toe transition slowly, correcting your running form over time.

“I personally love how light this model has become over the years. The shoe has transformed into a fashionable and light shoe while helping correct the form of our feet while we run while improving the pressure on our joints while we run with added cushioning. Every client I put in these shoes loves them, as they can be worn while strength training or running.”

— Holly Roser, certified personal trainer. 

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“There are two main things you look for in a CrossFit shoe: durability and versatility. A good CrossFit shoe takes you from squats to rope climbs to burpee box jumps all in one workout. A good pair of CrossFit shoes feels just as comfortable during an 800-meter run as it does during a couplet of deadlifts and push-ups — and NoBull surpasses standards for all of the above.

“NoBull shoes have a reputation for being heavy-duty yet comfortable, supportive yet flexible. Plus, they’re sleek and simple, and you can choose from high-top, mid-rise and regular to find your perfect fit,” 

— Amanda Capritto, CrossFit Coach, certified personal trainer and CNET writer.

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“My fave sneaker model is the Asics Gel Nimbus. They were the first pair of shoes I bought when I started training with DanceBody in 2016, and I’m seriously committed to them. I’ve tried a bunch of different sneaker brands and models, but I always come back to the Gel Nimbus. 

“They have amazing shock absorption for high-impact movements, but are light enough that they don’t feel like clunky moon shoes; the perfect balance for dance cardio.” 

— Sam Ostwald, trainer and instructor at DanceBody


“For boxing workouts, these are super-comfortable and feel like you’re walking on clouds! I also like that they can be slip-on and not tied with laces. I do a lot of strength training and high-impact moves and have loved these shoes for the past four years. I still wear them whenever I do boxing workouts, drills and high-impact training,” 

Amanda Alappat, former pro boxer and personal trainer. 

More fitness recommendations

Originally published earlier.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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