Beyond ‘will these look cute with my activewear?’ our training shoes are something many of us don’t give too much thought to. That is, until we’re halfway through a workout and our feet are aching, blistering or slipping all over the place. Not fun! The truth is, the right pair of shoes can make or break your workout—more so than any of your other training gear. A great pair of exercise shoes is supportive, comfortable, durable and will hold your foot in place without feeling like they’re being squished. Oh yeah, and they need to look good, too!
That said, training shoes aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase (both literally and figuratively). Different shoes are created for different purposes and it’s important to tailor your kicks to the type of exercise you’re going to be doing. Read on for our guide to picking the right shoes to power through your workout.
When it comes to strength training, stability is the name of the game. The last thing you want is to be wobbling around when you’re squatting or deadlifting heavy weights. Not only will wearing ill-fitting shoes increase your risk of injury, it’s also detrimental to your form—which means you won’t get the best results out of your workout. There’s a good reason the hardcore gym bros take their shoes off to do these types of exercise at the gym. But that’s dangerous, too—and thanks to these strength training shoes, you won’t have to do that!
With a stronger heel than ever before, plus extra cushioning that hugs and contains your foot, the Nike Free TR8 is as sturdy as they come. The sole is also incredibly flexible, offering a natural, lightweight feel and lateral support through every rep.
Shop the Nike Free TR8.
Not only are these Under Armour kicks gorgeous, they’re specifically designed to help you get the most out of your strength workouts. The stretch mesh upper allows for natural movement while the full-length EVA midsole provides premium cushioning for impact protection.
Support is just as important in running shoes, to stop your ankles from rolling around. But there are also a few other elements that are equally important—grip (to stop you from slipping over when you’re running on wet surfaces) and shock absorption, to help reduce some of the impact as you pound the pavement. Here are some of our top picks:
This may be one of the prettiest running shoes we’ve ever seen, but it’s not just a pretty lace (sorry, couldn’t resist!). Crafted with yarn spun from ocean waste and high-performance Boost cushioning, these lightweight kicks are just as functional and environmentally-friendly as they are fashionable.
Asics has long been known for making some of the best running shoes on the market—but sometimes, at the cost of looking good. With these stylish and highly supportive runners, it’s safe to say they’ve well and truly shed that image.
Shop the Asics Gel-Kenun.
The Under Armour HOVR Phantoms are literally like wrapping your foot in a pillow—but one that’s so super-light that you forget it’s there. They’re also incredibly high-tech, using UA’s Record Sensor™ technology to tracks, analyse and store your running data, so you know exactly what you need to do to get better.
Shop the Under Armour HOVR Phantom.
If you’re after a pair of running shoes that literally feels like you’re not wearing shoes (but still provides maximum support), look no further than the WaveKnit. With a performance-enhancing knitted wave construction on the upper, this innovative material provides a breathable, natural yet dynamic sock-like fit thanks to its unique stretch and hold ability.
Shop the Mizuno WaveKnit.
In a typical HIIT session, you can find yourself doing anything from squat jumps to sprints. For this reason, you need a pair of versatile cross-training shoes that combine the key functions of both running and strength training shoes. Here are some that tick all the right boxes:
There’s nothing more annoying than your shoelaces coming undone during a HIIT session. That will never happen with these Nike kicks, thanks to the secure flyknit cables that lock your feet in. They’re super lightweight and breathable, too—so you won’t get those gross, sweaty feet vibes.
Shop the Nike Luna Exceed.
Lightweight and flexible, these Puma trainers offer optimal comfort and support to maximise agility during your HIIT sessions. The mixed rubber outsole pods also provide full ground contact and traction without weighing you down.
Shop the Puma Flex XT Training Shoes.
These Adidas trainers will make you feel superhuman during your HIIT sessions, thanks to its innovative motion capture technology, flexible cushioning and incredible support.
Shop the Adidas Alphabounce Beyond.