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Are you cross training or heading to the gym soon? Before you go, you will need a good pair of shoes depending on the type of activity you plan on doing. It can be daunting going through the different types of shoes available so we broke it down for you by category. Here you can find shoes on the following exercises:

  • Weightlifting
  • CrossFit
  • Treadmill
  • Aerobic
  • Mixed Use

Best Weightlifting Shoes Overview

The following shoes are highly rated when it comes to weightlifting. The Nike Metcon 4 is best for all-around lifting where the Adidas Adipower was specifically designed for weightlifting. Reebok Legacy Lifter shoes are also a favorite among weightlifters because of the stability they offer. Each shoe will help you get the most out of your lifts by keeping you grounded.

The Nike Metcon 4 is best for all-around lifting. The shoe has a flat, sticky bottom and a 4mm heel offset. It is sturdy, grounded, and provides solid ankle stability. You may notice the shoe is harder than previous models, which is good for heavy lifts.
The Adidas Adipower are specifically made for weightlifting. The shoes offer grip, comfort, and stability. The 4mm heel has anti-slip rubber to add stability. In the misole, you will find TPU rubber, which is designed to provide structure and strength.
The Reebok Legacy Lifter is designed specifically for weightlifting exercises. It has a solid base to help you maintain an upright position during squats and a double strap locking system to help secure your feet in place.

Best CrossFit Shoes Overview

CrossFit shoes need to be flexible, help you keep your form, and perform a variety of activities. The Nike Free X Metcon, Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave, and the New Balance MX40v1 can handle CrossFit classes with no problem.

The Nike Free X Metcon is designed especially for CrossFit. The upper is flexible and more comfortable than the standard Metcon. This shoe has other CrossFit features like a stable midsole, wide toebox, heel counter, and a 5mm drop. These shoes are designed between the Nike Metcon and the Nike Free.
The Reebok CrossFit Nano 8 Flexweave is lightweight and has a 4mm drop. The internal booty is padded at the collar to make it more comfortable. The midsole features dual density midsole and a flexible forefoot.
The New Balance MX40v1, also known as the New Balance Minimus 40, is designed for CrossFit, HIIT, short runs, and weightlifting. The shoe is low-profile, has a stable feel, lightweight, and has a grippy outsole. Some have found it too narrow on the forefoot, but New Balance does offer wide sizes.

Best Treadmill Shoes Overview

When you run on a treadmill, you need a shoe that offers cushioning and can offer grip as you run on the tread. Brooks Ghost 11 is well-known for its cushioning and the New Balance 1080v9 offer excellent support. Furthermore, Saucony Kinvara 10 can handle long distances on the treadmill.

Brooks Ghost 11 - Top
The Brooks Ghost 11 is good for wider feet and offers solid arch support. These shoes can handle high mileage as they have lots of cushioning, are flexible, and adapt to your stride. The foam midsole has a better crash pad than previous versions of the shoe. Read full review »

Pros

  • Responsive
  • Breathable
  • Responsive
  • Good traction

Cons

  • Narrow toe box
  • Not as soft as previous models
  • Upper lacks some structure
New Balance 1080v9 - Lateral Side
The New Balance 1080v9 is comfortable and has lots of cushioning. It does tend to be a little heavier than some other shoes but it offers excellent support and is durable. The Freshfoam midsole and Ortholite footbed are what make this shoe stand out from other shoes. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lots of cushion
  • Very responsive
  • Upturned toebox helps stride transition
  • Upper is supremely comfortable
  • Breathable upper without openings for dirt

Cons

  • Heel a little loose
  • Foam firms up in cold weather
A decade after its ground-breaking debut as a lightweight, low-drop daily trainer/racer in a market fraught with heavy, bulky shoes, the Saucony Kinvara is still leading the industry as a reliable long-distance road shoe.

The Kinvara 10 pairs the best features of early models with more recent technological advancements to provide the ideal running shoe for distances from 5k to the marathon.

Updates include removal of the Pro-Lock system, a reduction in blown rubber on the outsole, the addition of Achilles cushions, and a new Formfit footbed insole. Read full review »

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Highly responsive ride
  • Supremely comfortable
  • Versatile
  • Smooth heel-to-toe transition

Cons

  • Unnecessary addition of Achilles “pillows” that don’t improve the feel or fit of the upper
  • Lack of forefoot traction on wet surfaces

Best Aerobic Shoes Overview

Aerobic shoes need to be versatile, which is what the Adidas Adipure 360.3, Under Amour Micro G Assert 7, and Puma Ignite EvoKNIT 2 offer.

The Adidas Adipure 360.3 has a solid outsole and fits like a glove. It works well for the gym, CrossFit, and aerobics. The shoe is lightweight but also provides stability and traction. The sole is flexible so you can move freely through your aerobics class. This is a good all-around footwear.
The Under Armour Micro G Assert 7 is lightweight, flexible, and breathable making it a great option for a versatile shoe. The lacing has been improved on this version for a better midfoot lockdown. These shoes do run a half size smaller so that is something to keep in mind.
The Puma Ignite EvoKNIT 2 can be used for running or a mixture of exercise activities. The shoe has a stretchy midfoot strap for security and a midsole with excellent energy return. This is a versatile shoe that offers good energy return and shock absorption.

Best Mixed Use Shoes Overview

When you need to go from one activity to the other, you need a mixed use shoe. The Reebok Fast Flexweave, Adidas Ultraboost 19, and Adidas AlphaBounce Beyond are all good choices for this category.

The Reebok Flexweave fast offers a good fit, sleek look, and is comfortable. The shoe is designed to be lightweight, flexible, and offer decent arch support. These shoes are good for crossfit, heading to the gym, or walking.
Adidas Ultra Boost 19 - Pair
Adidas had the advantage over most other shoe companies with their Boost midsole, but they’re now drifting away from making the Ultraboost shoes a top tier performer in favor of making it better for the general casual gym goer. Read full review »

Pros

  • Plush ride with flexible upper
  • One of a kind upper design
  • Energy efficient Boost foam

Cons

  • Shoe is catered more towards leisure wear than running
  • Very high price point for a shoe without cutting edge tech
  • Plastic overlay holds moisture
The Adidas Alphabounce Beyond are a versatile pair of trainers that can be used in the gym, walking, or for high intensity interval training. The shoes have a wider platform and are comfortable to wear.

Features You Want in a Weightlifting Shoe

Weightlifting shoes have unique features, which is why you need the right ones. These features provides benefits, which include:

  • The ability to activate more muscles
  • Push through the floor easier to produce more force
  • Supportive Soles

Now you know the benefits, what are you doing to look for? There are three major features that your weightlifting shoes should have. These are:

  • Fit
  • Support
  • Proper fit

Squats and Deadlifts Shoe Features

Shoes designed specifically for squats and deadlifts should have an elevation of the heel from 0.3 inches to one inch, which helps to anchor and ground you to the floor. This heel height is idea for squats and deadlifts because the heel provides more stability depending in your stance. Another benefit of this pronounced heel is it will provide you with deeper compound moves while providing stability your body needs.

While searching for shoes, you will notice there are two types of strapping systems to choose from: the traditional lacing system and the strapping system. Double strapping provides extra security that traditional lacing may not give. However, this is personal preference so you may need to try both types to see what type works best for you. When trying on the shoes, make sure they offer a snug fit and allow you to ground yourself while lifting.

Keep in mind that weightlifting shoes are designed for short bursts of energy, so they may not be as breathable as other shoes, especially running shoes.

Regular Squatting and Olympic Weightlifting Shoes

This type of weightlifting happens when weights are being placed on your back or above your head. Because of this, you need a shoe that has an elevated heel, has lateral support, and a hard sole. Being close to the ground helps generate strength, which is why you need a hard sole.

If your shoe is highly cushioned then all that cushioning will disperse the energy you create throughout that midsole and you will not get the strength you need to properly lift. Furthermore, the elevated heel helps the natural movement of your body and keep your torso upright. If you decide to bench press, deadlift, or squat at your maximum then you will need no heel.

What to Look for in a CrossFit Shoe

CrossFit is a popular sport that has only increased in popularity over the last few years. CrossFit shoes need to handle a variety of activities like:

  • Rope climbs
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Running
  • Scaling walls

So what features do shoes need to handle everything? They need to offer grip, traction, and be somewhat sticky. The soles need to be stiffer and harder than traditional running shoes because this allows for stability in rock climbs and jumps. The harder sole especially helps during heavy lifting.

CrossFit is an intensive workout, so you need shoes that are durable. A wider toebox is ideal for the variety of movements you will do doing the workout. The 4mm rise is common and will keep you stable, propel you forward, and distribute your weight throughout the midsole.

The shoes need to be somewhat flexible as you do agility drills, ladder moves, jumps, and rope exercises. The nice thing about crossfit shoes is they are lighter in weight, so you won’t feel like you have rocks tied to your feet while you’re climbing ropes.

Another benefit of crossfit shoes is they will help you maintain your form, which helps reduce your risk of injury — such as rolled ankles — and support your joints during workouts. With heavy use, expect to get about six months out of your shoes. For lighter use, expect to get a year out of your shoes.

A few clues that you need to replace your crossfit shoes is when you start to experience pain in your ankles, hip, knee, or feet. If you replace your shoes and do not experience any more pain then the problem is solved. If you are still experiencing pain, then you should contact your doctor.

Shoes You Need for the Treadmill

Treadmills can absorb shock, so you don’t need super cushioned shoes. Instead, you need shoes that have a firm grip and are stable as you run on the tread. Other features of these shoes should include:

  • Supportive
  • Comfortable
  • Responsive
  • Breathable

Running on a treadmill may cause you to land on a slightly flatter foot than if you ran outside, so you need shoes that reflect this. The balls of your feet may take more impact because of landing on a slightly flatter foot. In addition, many people tend to have a quicker stride so that is something to keep in mind as well. The heels take a lot of shock on the treadmill, so make sure your shoes do not bend at the arch or twist because you may start getting shin splints.

Best Shoes for Aerobic Classes

Aerobic shoes are designed to be lightweight, absorb shock well-cushioned, and prevent your feet from becoming tired during your workout. When shopping for aerobic shoes, make sure to try them on after your workout because your feet will be somewhat swollen and larger than earlier in the day. When you try the shoes on, there should be a half an inch between your big toe and the tip of the shoe. Wiggle your toes to make sure there is some movement.

The shoes should have a good grip, absorb shock, and offer solid ankle support. Running shoes do not make good aerobic shoes because they are designed to go forward, where aerobic shoes allow for lateral movement. If you use running shoes, there is higher risk for injury.

The shoes should be lightweight and flexible with a wide rounded outsole. A firm heel counter is necessary for when you step down to keep you stable.

Grab These Shoes for a Mixture of Activities

Mixed use shoes need to allow for lateral movement, not forward movement like running shoes. Furthermore, running shoes normally have a higher heel drop where mixed use shoes are flatter and are better suited for wider range of movements. Generally, most mixed use shoes have a heel to toe drop of 0-4mm.

With mixed use shoes, you can jump, stop, cut, and change direction quickly. These shoes are good for:

  • Boot camps
  • High intensity gym classes
  • Agility training
  • Strength training

Make sure your shoes are flexible in the midsole and have a comfortable upper. The lower heel will put you closer to the ground so it is easier to pivot and push off. Mixed use shoes are also more lightweight than traditional running shoes.

What happens if you get the wrong shoes? It can decrease your performance, cause injury, and be generally uncomfortable.


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