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Footwear For Every Training Occasion: Best Workout Shoes (2022)

Reebok Nano X2 shoes

We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Table of Contents

Do you make buying new shoes harder than it needs to be? It’s not uncommon to feel inundated with endless options and features. Because there are so many to choose from, how do you know what gym shoe is the best option? Here’s the thing: Most shoes are designed with something specific in mind, be it aesthetics, comfort, stability, or performance.

When it comes to choosing the best workout shoes, it’s wise to start with the type of activities you plan on doing in them. For example, a running shoe is constructed differently than a shoe designed for weightlifting. Whether you plan on lacing up for squats, burpees, trail runs, or spin class, this shortlist of the best workout shoes will empower you to choose the best footwear for your activity, foot anatomy, and style preference.

11 Best Workout Shoes in 2022

Best Workout Shoes Overall:

Best Workout Shoes Overall
Reebok Nano X2
Reebok Nano X2

You’ll like these if you train with a blend of barbell strength training and metabolic conditioning.

Reebok Nano X2 Specifications
Upper Material Flexweave breathable, woven textile
Midsole Material Reebok’s Floatride Energy Foam (Injection EVA)
Outsole Material Rubber lug outsole
Heel-to-Toe Drop 7 mm


  • Comfortable for everyday wear
  • Shock absorption for high-impact workouts
  • Flexible and breathable upper material


  • Offers more cushion than stability compared to other cross-training shoes
  • Roomy toe box, but not wide enough for wide feet
  • Not enough cushion for long runs

The Reebok Nano X2 offers a blend of comfort, stability, and aesthetic that allows you to wear them for lifting, conditioning, and everyday activities. The Nano X2 is versatile enough for both the big lifts and high-impact cross training. With a do-it-all shoe, it’s worth mentioning that it might not be ideal for you if you need a shoe that’s exceptionally good at one specific thing. This shoe, however, could be your go-to footwear if you train with a blend of lifting, conditioning, and running.

The Nano X2 has multiple colorways to choose from, ranging from flashy orange to subdued neutrals. The X2 model is priced at $135, which is on par with other CrossFit and cross-training shoes. The comfort, durability, and sheer versatility of this shoe are worth the price increase.

Best Workout Shoes for CrossFit:

Best Workout Shoes for CrossFit
Nike Metcon 7
Nike Metcon 7

You’ll like these if you lean in favor of stability for heavy lifts (but still want flexibility for conditioning and endurance work).

Nike Metcon 7 Specifications
Upper Material Breathable mesh upper with textured overlays
Midsole Material Nike React Foam midsole
Outsole Material Full rubber outsole
Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm


  • Stiff heel for ultimate squat stability
  • Grippy outsole material for lateral movements and rope climbing
  • Multiple colorways and the option to customize


  • Not enough cushion or flexibility for long bouts of running
  • Laces are a bit flimsy
  • Not ideal for wide feet

The Nike Metcon is a CrossFit classic, and the Metcon 7 is a much needed redesign from the 5s and 6s. New for this model is a rigid heel featuring a hard plastic layer that functions like an Olympic lifting shoe. It not only offers stability, but a slight lift to the heel, which is ideal for ankle flexion during squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts. This amount of stability in a cross-training shoe is unmatched by other sneakers.

The drawback to a rigid heel and flat sole is less cushion and flexibility for cardio training, especially running. However, the Metcon 7 does feature a flexible forefoot to allow more bend in the front of the feet for lunges, sprints, and box jumps. Although the Metcon 7 offers some cushioning, this is not the best shoe for running. Lastly, the Metcon 7 offers a variety of colorways and customization. When ordering customized colors, expect the delivery timeframe to be longer.

Best Running Shoes:

Best Running Shoes
Brooks Ghost 14
Brooks Ghost 14

You’ll like these if you want soft landings and a steady heel-to-toe roll while going long distances.

Brooks Ghost 14 Specifications
Upper Material Engineered mesh
Midsole Material DNA LOFT cushioning
Outsole Material Rubber, segmented crash pad heel
Heel-to-Toe Drop 12 mm


  • Fairly lightweight
  • Good blend of support and cushion
  • Carbon neutral
  • Not overly cushioned compared to brands like HOKA or On Running


  • Neutral arch support might not be enough for flat feet
  • Larger heel-to-toe drop than other shoes
  • Upper material not super breathable

The Brooks Ghost 14 is a great shoe if you’re a runner seeking the best mix of support and cushion. The DNA LOFT midsole material—made from a combination of EVA foam, rubber, and air—offers ample cushioning starting at 31 millimeters under the heel and dropping to a 19 millimeter base under the toe.

When running in these, you’ll feel a soft stride but still get a bouncy responsiveness underfoot. Even with 31 millimeters of cushioning, the Ghost 14 is still a lightweight option, weighing in under 10 ounces per shoe. A bonus for eco-conscious runners, the Ghost 14 is the first carbon-neutral Brooks shoe, made possible by using recycled materials and reduced manufacturing waste.

Best Walking Shoes:

Best Walking Shoes

You’ll like these shoes if you want to feel like you’re walking on clouds but with ample arch support.

ASICS GEL-KAYANO 28 Specifications
Upper Material Engineered multi-directional mesh
Midsole Material FLYTEFOAM BLAST™: lightweight
foam with responsive cushioning
Outsole Material AHAR® Plus Outsole
(exceptionally durable compound, 3x more conventional rubber)
Heel-to-Toe Drop 10 mm


  • Responsive to walking on many surfaces
  • Roomy toe box
  • Durable construction
  • Designed to reduce foot pronation


  • Expensive price tag
  • A bit heavy at 10.9 ounces per shoe
  • Some may say the padding is excessive

The ASICS GEL-KAYANO 28 is designed to keep up with the wear and tear of daily training and the impact of repetitive foot striking on concrete. ASICS’ proprietary gel cushioning system is applied to high-impact areas, like the heel for soft landings during your daily walks. But what exactly is this special gel technology? Inspired by silicone gel and its ability to reduce vibrations in machinery and appliances, ASICS figured out how to contain the semi-fluid substance and use it for ultimate shock absorption.

These trainers feature durable materials that lend themselves to a bit more padding in the overall construction of the shoe. One of the many features on this shoe is that the durable construction offers extra stability for those who overpronate with a low or flat arch. Some wearers report the construction has excessive padding and feels warm through the upper part of the shoe compared to other trainers with light and breathable mesh. These shoes also have a high price tag at $160, running a bit more expensive than comparable walking shoes on the market.

Best Indoor Cycling Shoes:

Best Indoor Cycling Shoes
Nike SuperRep Cycle
Nike SuperRep Cycle

You’ll like these if you’re an indoor cyclist seeking maximum airflow once the pedaling turns up.

Nike SuperRep Cycle Specifications
Upper Material Ultra breathable mesh upper
Midsole Material Nylon-based plastic mold
Outsole Thickness Nylon-based plastic, featuring traction pads under heel and toe
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm


  • Heel pull tab
  • Breathable
  • Rubber-tipped studs for non-slip grip when you're off the bike


  • Metal cleats not included
  • Sizing runs small
  • Not as stiff as other cycle shoes

The Nike SuperRep Cycle is your pair of cycling shoes if you consider yourself an indoor cycle fanatic. You know how hot those feet can get when the flywheel turns up; that’s why Nike has you covered with a lightweight and breathable upper material that allows airflow and cooling more than other cycling shoes on the market. The SuperRep comes in six colorways and features rubber-tipped traction pads underfoot to give you non-slip stability when you’re walking to and from the bike.

This cycling shoe is compatible with 2- and 3-bolt cleat systems, however the metal cleats are not included in the sale of the shoe. You can purchase cleats through Nike’s website and they also have a helpful visual guide for cleat installation. This cycling shoe is the ultimate choice for comfort and temperature regulation. It is possible to cycle outdoors with the SuperRep, but they are not comparable to the stiffness of a typical outdoor cycling shoe.

Best Weightlifting Shoes:

Best Weightlifting Shoes
Reebok Legacy Lifter 2
Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

You’ll like these if you’re a weightlifter seeking a heel lift and a sturdy, locked-to-the-ground feel.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Specifications
Upper Material Textile upper
Midsole Material Thermoplastic urethane (TPU) heel clip
Outsole Material Rubber outsole
Heel-to-Toe Drop 22 mm heel height


  • Stable heel clip
  • Heavy and durable feel
  • 22 mm heel lift


  • Not versatile for cross-training
  • Velcro strap could be longer
  • Narrow compared to other lifters

The Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 is specific to wearers who plan to perform squats and Olympic lifts, and would not be a good fit for CrossFit WODs or cross-training endeavors. It features a 22 millimeter heel height that slopes gently to a minimal profile around the forefoot to help facilitate new depths in the squat and to help keep a stable midline in the receiving positions when performing Olympic lifts.

The Legacy Lifter 2 features a super sturdy thermoplastic urethane (TPU) heel clip with a secure and locked-in feeling. The construction of the shoe is heavier than the average pair of gym shoes, but for the weightlifter, the heaviness lends to stability. This weightlifting shoe might come at a higher price point than most gym shoes ($200), but it does compare to other weightlifting shoes and is well-constructed for durability.

Best Workout Shoes for HIIT:

Best Workout Shoes for HIIT
Under Armour HOVR Sonic 5
Under Armour HOVR Sonic 5

Great for deadlifting, snatches, WODs, and accessory work, the Synergee Regional Bar is affordable and durable.

Under Armor HOVR Sonic 5 Specifications
Upper Material Breathable mesh upper
Midsole Material Responsive UA HOVR™ cushioning (olefin wax)
Outsole Material Carbon rubber in heel; blown rubber forefoot
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm


  • Ample cushioning and shock absorption
  • Ability to track workouts and connect to UA MapMyRun™ app
  • Lightweight; under 10 ounces


  • Lacks versatility
  • Not great for wider feet
  • Not stable for heavy weight training

Under Armour HOVR Sonic 5’s have spring and bounce like no other to carry you through any type of HIIT workout, sport training, high-impact and fast-paced workouts—yet they also have great ankle support, so the Sonic 5 is also great for running.

Most gym shoes feature a midsole made of ethylene-vinyl acetate, better known as EVA. The HOVR line of shoes feature a midsole with UA’s responsive HOVR material—made from a synthetic wax-like material called olefin, which is strong and resilient. UA’s goal was to create a running shoe that will not lose the bouncy feeling of a brand-new sneaker. Many reviewers report no loss in comfort or spring after initial purchase.

In addition to a durable midsole, the HOVR Sonic 5 also features a chip in the midsole that allows you to connect with the UA MapMyRun™ app. Additionally, since 2020, the HOVR line of footwear (when connected to MapMyRun™) can track and analyze your workout data to help you perform better and get feedback from real coaches.

Best Workout Shoes for Outdoor Workouts:

Best Workout Shoes for Outdoor Workouts
Altra Lone Peak 6
Altra Lone Peak 6

You’ll like these if you need a shoe to stand up to the elements and uneven terrain.

Altra Lone Peak 6 Specifications
Upper Material Quick-drying mesh
Midsole Material Altra EGO™ foam
Outsole Material Grippy MaxTrac™ outsole material featuring TRAILCLAW™ rubber lugs
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm drop; 24 mm total height


  • Roomy toe box for splaying
  • Ultra grippy outsole materials
  • Zero drop heel for mastering your natural gait


  • Too wide for those with narrow feet
  • Not for runners who prefer an elevated heel
  • Minimal protection for toes along the upper construction

The Altra Lone Peak 6 is a minimalist style trail running shoe, with some added cushion and shock absorption. The outsole material is different from your average indoor trainer; it features a grippy material and slanted rubber lugs allowing you to grip uneven surfaces and bound over rocks and branches.

The Lone Peak 6 is also different in its zero-heel-drop design—the insole sits 24 millimeters off the ground, but the shoe as a whole doesn’t have any angle from the heel to the toe. This feature is becoming more popular (among both runners and lifters) and can help you strengthen your feet and improve your running gait.

The rubber outsole material carries up to the forefoot to create a toe bumper, but this feature is fairly minimal and you’ll still need to watch where you’re going and take care not to bang up your toes. The good news is that if you actually do stub your toe while on a trail run or while getting after an outdoor workout, the toe box is roomy enough to allow a little swelling.

Best Workout Shoes for Strength Training:

Best Workout Shoes for Strength Training
NOBULL Trainers
NOBULL Trainers

You’ll like these if you want a lifting shoe without excessive cushioning or fancy features.

NOBULL Trainers Specifications
Upper Material SuperFabric® upper and soft suede tongue
Midsole Material High-density foam midsole
Outsole Material Rubber lug pattern outsole
Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm


  • Minimalist-profile training shoe with multiple colorway options
  • Sturdy for heavy lifts, not squishy
  • Durable materials and design


  • Too stiff for longer runs
  • Upper material is not super breathable
  • Requires time to break in

If your gym routine is all about progressing the weight on the barbell, NOBULL Trainers are worth considering. NOBULLs are great for strength training-focused individuals because of their sturdy, high-density foam midsole, light arch support, and relatively low heel-to-toe drop at 4 millimeters. These features lend themselves to ultimate foot stability under heavy lifts without the squishiness of a traditional cross-trainer.

NOBULL Trainers might not be your best option if you want a gym shoe that can handle both heavy weights and running. NOBULLs are sturdy, supportive, and lack the flexibility in the forefoot for running and other high-velocity movements. Because of the sturdy construction, lifters who wear NOBULL Trainers recommend a few workouts to break them in.

Best Budget Workout Shoes:

Best Budget Workout Shoes
Reebok Nanoflex TR
Reebok Nanoflex TR

You’ll like these if you want affordable sneakers for everyday wear and recreational training.

Reebok Nanoflex TR Specifications
Upper Material Breathable mesh
Midsole Material Foam midsole and TPU heel clip
Outsole Material Rubber outsole with flex grooves
Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm


  • Budget-friendly
  • Great for narrow feet
  • Comfortable for everyday wear


  • Upper material not ultra durable
  • Not stable enough for heavy weightlifting
  • Narrow toe box, snug fit

Reebok Nanoflex TR is a budget-friendly training shoe for the recreational lifter. If you are someone who enjoys a mix of HIIT classes, free weights, and machines, this is a great option for you. That said, if you’re looking for a shoe to withstand heavy squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts, the Nanoflex TR will not be your go-to option. The TR’s midsole has a good amount of cushion and spring, not making it ideal for the heavy lifts.

The Nanoflex TRs retail for $90, and often have colorway options on sale for $10 to $20 off the original retail price. With the price point under the average cross-training shoe, there is something to be said about the construction and durability. The Nanoflex has a mesh upper and is not reinforced with Flexweave like other shoes from Reebok; reviewers and testers have reported faster wear-and-tear in the mesh material through the forefoot. Additionally, the toe box is narrow and tight, which will work well if other cross-training shoes on the market are typically too big for you.


Best Minimalist Workout Shoes:

Best Minimalist Workout Shoes
Xero 360
Xero 360

You’ll like these if you want a pair of good-looking minimalist shoes for lifting or running.

Xero 360 Specifications
Upper Material Breathable mesh
Midsole Material Rubber inlays over toe box and midfoot
Outsole Material Multi directional rubber sole
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm


  • No heel drop for a barefoot feel
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Runs true to size


  • Not enough support for some
  • Limited colorways
  • Takes time to adapt to barefoot feel

The Xero 360 is a minimalist, barefoot-like shoe option that looks more like a traditional gym shoe than most barefoot styles on the market. The Xero 360 aims to make it feel like you’re barefoot: They are sleek, breathable, and lightweight. It will be up to your personal preference and foot anatomy if you decide to wear these barefoot-like shoes for lifting or running. They are designed for all types of training, with grippy outsoles for indoor or outdoor activity.

All Xero Shoes products feature a minimalist, non-elevated heel. This can be a desirable feature for individuals seeking freedom of the toes, arch, and heel rather than being limited by the construction of the shoe. The wide toe box is great for spreading the toes and gripping the floor during heavy lifts. This style of footwear will likely take time for your feet to get acclimated to, but these shoes do promote foot strength and learning the mechanics of your own foot.


How We Chose the Best Workout Shoes

We handpicked the best workout shoes for 2022 based on the experiences of our product testers and brands and products that are raved about all over the internet.

  • Research: We investigate retail websites, forums, and blogs to narrow down footwear brands and products and create a short list based on durability, versatility, cost, and overall looks.
  • Customer reviews: We read through dozens of customer reviews for any given shoe on the retailer’s website (both good and bad) and even more reviews on major retail sites like Amazon.
  • Product testers: We have feedback from a team of product testers who are just as eclectic in their footwear needs as their workout preferences. Our product testers have dragged their shoes through HIIT workouts, CrossFit WODs, Olympic weightlifting, trail runs, and casual walks.

Why You Need Good Workout Shoes

Not all workout shoes are created equal. In a similar way, not all workouts will have comparable footwear. There are so many ways to move, train, and exercise—and there are a pair of shoes for every style of training you can imagine. It’s up to you to decide what you need from a gym shoe.

  • Not all workout shoes will fit your needs. Footwear brands (and styles) are often specific to the activity, foot width, arch support, and gender.
  • Your feet are unique. Frankly, you deserve a shoe that doesn’t rub you the wrong way. With so many options on the market, there is no reason to let your high arches remain unsupported or have your wide feet squished inside a narrow toe box.
  • Perform the best at the activities you enjoy. The construction of a pair of shoes varies a lot depending on whether they are intended for weight training, plyometrics, running, or cycling. Each sport has different requirements, like breathable materials, flexible forefoot, stable heels, and heel-to-toe drop.

How to Choose the Best Workout Shoes for You

Everyone’s feet are different—narrow feet, wide feet, high arches, flat arches, etc. Choosing the best workout shoe for you will vary depending on the unique features of your feet in addition to what kind of activity you plan on doing in them. Some individuals will need to put comfort over aesthetics or performance over cushioning.


Gym shoes typically feature a breathable mesh material that lays over the toe box area and keeps your toes in place. If you train with intensity and find yourself covered in sweat at the end of your training session, a thin and breathable upper will be important. If the upper portion includes overlays, it typically indicates synthetic materials are incorporated over (or within) the mesh for durability.


The midsole part of the shoe is where you’ll find the cushion and arch support features. The most common material used in the insole is EVA, which is a combination of two types of plastics. Another material you’ll see used in the midsole is TPU, which is normally used around the heel clip to create stability and help prevent your foot from rotating inward.


The outsole is the bottom part of shoes and is most commonly made from rubber. Each outsole varies on firmness and ability to flex or stay stable. Different outsole patterns and materials lead to different traction capabilities. For example, rubber lug outsoles offer a lot of traction with deep indentations designed to grip and provide good footing.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

Heel-to-drop is a comparison of the height of material under your heel compared to your toes. This feature is measured in millimeters, and is the relative thickness between heel and toe, not the measurement of the shoe’s total cushioning.


If you felt inclined to do so, you could go barefoot to lift weights, perform plyometrics, and even run (if you really wanted to). That said, you could probably throw on nearly any type of sneaker with the same attitude.

However, some shoes are built for certain activities and if you are pairing the right shoe with its intended activity, you might experience improved performance. For example, running shoes offer cushioning and arch support to relieve the impact of repetitive striking on the ground. Those same running sneakers, however, do not give you the stability you would seek for heavy weight training.

Running shoes are designed with both comfort and performance in mind. Running sneakers offer more cushioning and flexibility than cross-training and weightlifting shoes. Cross-training shoes are the middle ground and give a fair amount of stability through the heel for handling heavy weights and enough cushion for cardio and sprints. A true weightlifting shoe lacks a lot of cushioning because it was designed for stiffness and stability for weight training.

There are a couple of signs it’s time to buy your next pair of sneakers. Firstly, turn them over and check out the tread and compression. If you see the rubber lugs have worn down or you can see this white part under the outsole, it’s time for a new pair. Another sign that is more subjective, is that you’re in physical pain through your feet, shins, or calves after wearing the shoes in question.