How to Pick the Best Gym Shoes: Our 2022 Round Up!

How do I find the best gym shoes?

Is it possible for one gym shoe to be perfect for all workouts? No, it isn’t. There are specific gym shoes for every imaginable exercise. And choosing the right pair of shoes for a certain type of workout is important. The essential criteria are:

  •  step-in comfort
  •  ergonomics
  •  padding
  •  cushioning
  •  technology involved
  •  design
  •  aesthetics – individual style
  •  workout performance

The best workout shoes will not only have you looking good in the gym but will offer improved grip and support so you can work out safely and with greater effectiveness. Wearing specialized footwear for HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, heavy lifting, or cardio classes can support and help you achieve your fitness goals faster and safer.

Even the best running shoes aren’t fit for gym workouts unless you spend most of your time on the treadmill. When exercising, you need footwear meant to be used in the gym and tailored for the type of workout you plan to do.

Reebok Nano X is a great pick for the best overall gym shoe. It has a soft and durable knit body, and a responsive, flexible footbed with a Floatride cushioned insole. And it’s supportive with a high-density foam ankle collar.

It’s also breathable, comfortable, stable, balanced, and strong, making it a perfect choice for the gym.

Best Gym Shoes of 2022

What are the different types of gym shoes?

Shoes are shoes, right? Wrong! The best gym shoe for you is going to depend on what type of workout you’re focusing on.

Training shoes

Training shoes have the most versatility of any athletic shoe on the market. They’re also called cross-training shoes — they allow lateral movement and can be worn for many sports and physical activities. Training shoes are all-in-one gym shoes. Cross-trainers wear these shoes for:

  • Weight training — excellent heel support allows for deeper squats and standing up without losing stability.
  • HIIT workouts — cushioning aids high-impact exercises and run training.
  • Aerobics — stability and flexibility for multi-directional movement.
  • Agility training — the outsole of training shoes is designed to facilitate multidirectional movements.
  • Strength training — extra space in the forefoot region makes them great shoes for strength training.

Training shoes allow a range of movements, from simple to complex, movements like cutting, breaking, stopping, jumping, and quickly changing directions. All can be performed with ease, making them a great choice for many workouts — whether it’s jumping jacks, box jumps, or sprints.

The flat sole in this footwear allows flexibility while walking or running. The lateral sides of training shoes feature added support, in addition to considerable stability, comfort, and durability.

Cross-training gym shoes have lighter treads that make it easy to take part in cardio exercises. However, they cannot be used for short- or long-distance running as the shoe is heavier in weight and has limited cushioning.

Treadmill shoes

Is there a difference between training shoes and treadmill shoes? Yes.

Treadmill running shoes experience a lot of pressure under the body’s moving weight. Because of that, treadmill shoes are made of flexible, sturdy material — such as rubber — that can withstand impact and wear.

Walking shoes have a roomy toe box and a narrow heel for a more secure fit. The shoes should be flexible, not rigid, and offer sufficient stability in the forefoot and heel.

The specific support you need from your treadmill shoes will depend on your foot and gait. For flat feet, a dual density midsole for shock absorption is best and prevents your feet from turning inward (overpronating). People with high arches need a cushioned midsole since their feet tend to turn outward.

The best running shoe for the gym is the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38. It’s lightweight, with springy React foam midsole cushioning. It makes a great indoor running shoe and is also just a great all-around gym shoe.

Weightlifting shoes

The key characteristics of weightlifting shoes are:

Gym Shoes for Weight Lifting
  • Raised heels, appropriate for a person’s height — helps to improve posture and maintain proper form.
  • Solid, non-compressible sole — flat and very stiff, which creates a stable base that’s good for proper biomechanics when performing deadlifts and other lifting exercises.
  • A roomy, secure fit.
  • Ankle support.
  • Nonslip outsoles.

It’s best to purchase a pair of weightlifting shoes once you’ve learned the proper mechanics and movements — this will allow for a better assessment of what shoes you need.

Narrow the selection by favoring shoes with straps, laces, or stiff uppers — details that will keep the feet firmly in place for heavy lifts. Also, prioritize shoes that are breathable and comfortable. 

Powerlifting shoes provide a sturdier feel during heavy squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. However, these shoes were not designed to be worn during cardio or for machine work, so there’s no benefit to using them while doing any machine exercises — even leg presses.

Flat-soled All-Star Converse high-tops are well-liked for weightlifting. Some lifters like shoes with a midsole strap such as Inov-8’s Fastlift, Nobull Canvass lift, Under Armour’s Project Rock BSR 2, and Nike Metcon 7 Flyease which minimize foot-shifting mid-rep.

Crossfit shoes

Crossfit is a strength and conditioning workout made up of functional movement performed at a high-intensity level. These movements mimic actions performed in day-to-day life — like squatting, pulling, and pushing. Workouts feature variations of squats, push-ups, and weightlifting that last for predetermined amounts of time to help build muscle.

Crossfit shoe features include:

  •  a firm heel clip with a minimal drop
  •  a secure midfoot wrap for stability during lateral movements
  •  grippy rubber soles

These features provide plenty of support for intense training in the box (Crossfit speak for gym). Additional Crossfit shoe features include supportive lifting foundations, toe bumpers, rope climb protection, grippy outsoles, and super flexible, breathable mesh uppers.

Under Armour Tribase Reign features a full-length rubber outsole and prevents a breakdown of the midsole. It is the first shoe ever designed specifically for cross-training. The Tribase technology allows the foot to move naturally but with the ultimate stability of intense training.

Reebok Nano X2 is an incredibly versatile workout shoe for people who prefer wearing their cross-trainers in the gym. A variety of features provide support, flexibility, and protection in all the right places without hindering any movements.

What are the best shoes for working out with wide feet?

Wide-width shoes are variations of normal-sized shoes where the overall length is the same, but the toe box and forefoot width are increased to accommodate wider feet.

Many brands have gym shoes that offer specs to support exercise despite having wide feet. For example, Asics offers a shoe with a wide toe box that is a good choice for anyone with wide feet that require more stability and support.

What are the best shoes for working out with flat feet?

Most shoes are now hourglass-shaped and don’t provide a solid support surface for flat-footed runners. For flat feet, the optimal shoe largely depends on gait cycle, range of motion, and the individual foot.

Movement pattern and gait analysis are offered at most running shoe stores. Once you have more information about your feet and movement patterns, you can determine the best shoe for you.

One of the best shoes for working out with flat feet is the Reebok Nano X. The Reebok Nano model is well-known for its slightly wider form. If you need a bit more in the midfoot and toe box, then this is a good model to explore.

How to get fitted for gym shoes?

Measuring feet for gym shoes

When it comes to finding the right fit for gym shoes, it’s best to speak with a foot specialist — a podiatrist — who can measure your feet and recommend a variety of different shoe types. They will consider both the activity you’ll be doing and the individual fit for your feet to determine the right shoe for you.

Each shoe has different structures catered to its expected utility. Manufacturers inform their consumer base about which shoes are best suited for a particular activity, and whether the shoes can be used for other purposes.

There are so many brands of gym shoes to choose from including Nike Air, Adidas, On running, Cloud X, SuperRep, New Balance, Hovr, On cloud, and many more. So, choose a pair that fits your workout type and individual style and head to the gym!

Why choose University Foot and Ankle Institute for your foot and ankle care?

Whether you need to find proper footwear, treat an injury, or get advice on proper foot care, we’re here to help. Our podiatrists offer the most advanced podiatry care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are nationally recognized foot and ankle specialists and leaders in researching, diagnosing, and treating all foot and ankle conditions and common injuries.

For a free consultation please call (877) 736-6001 or make an appointment online now.

Our podiatrists take patients’ safety seriously. Our podiatry facility’s Covid-19 patient safety procedures exceed all the CDC’s coronavirus pandemic recommendations. Masks are always required in our institutes.

University Foot and Ankle Institute is conveniently located throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. Our foot doctors are available at locations in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Northridge, Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Granada Hills, and Valencia.

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