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The 10 Best Cross-Training Shoes 2024, Every Shoe Tested and Reviewed

I independently buy and hand-test everything recommended on That Fit Friend. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission. Read more here.

It’s 2024 and we have more cross-training shoe options than ever before. Even as a reviewer, I get overwhelmed by the endless amount of shoe choices on the market — the classic paradox of choice.

After seven years of formally reviewing training shoes, I’ve built a strong system for identifying which training shoes will perform well in various categories. My coaching and Exercise Science background also plays a role in this system.

Every shoe featured below has been hand-tested by me across multiple workouts. As I review new shoes, I cross-reference their performance to other top models.

For example, let’s say I’m testing the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 for heavy deadlifts. While doing so, I consider how its midsole stability and ground feel fair compared to other top models like the Nike Metcon 9 and Born Primitive Savage 1.

A List That's Taken Hundreds of Hours to Make

My Cross-Training Shoe Review Process

Every cross-training shoe featured in this article has been personally reviewed by me and tested in a similar format. By testing models in a similar format, I can then draw more context between shoes and where they’ll be the most appropriate.

Cross-training shoes are designed for different activities based on the context of their construction. That being said when I have cross-training shoes that are specifically designed for certain activities, I’ll then take my standard approach and create a slight bias toward their specificity.

what are cross training shoes (1)

Shoe Specificity Matters for Testing

In layman’s terms, if I have a cross-training shoe that is designed specifically for CrossFit and a cross-training shoe that is designed specifically for HIIT workouts, then I’ll test each model with my standard review format, then create additional testing biases accordingly.

For the CrossFit model, I’ll do things like more heavy lifting, rope climbs, and burpees, which are specific to this style of training. I’ll then assess how the shoe performs and its durability for these specific CrossFit-focused activities. For the HIIT model, I’ll do full sessions where I tackle dynamic full-body workouts and class-style workouts.

parts of a cross training shoe

That being said, since both of these shoes in our example are cross-training shoes, I’ll test them with my standard testing process, and then I’ll create additional biases accordingly to create more context within my cross-training shoe reviews.

My Issue With Most “Best Cross-Training Shoe” Lists

If you look around the cross-training shoe review space you’ll see a lot of “best” lists claiming to have the top picks for various performance categories. Yet, when you look at these lists they don’t include any media (photos and videos) of them actually testing and using the product, and that’s not to mention the use of vague language to describe shoes.

For example, I constantly see phrasing like, “This shoe is stable,” with no follow-up context. Okay, that tells us nothing — how about you describe what you mean by stability and show us images of the shoe in action creating stability, or at least give us training and testing thresholds in which you’re referencing stability? Red flags everywhere.

STRKE MVMNT Transit Street Trainer for Deadlifts

Every Shoe Featured In My List Has Its Own Review

On That Fit Friend, I’m diligent in making sure EVERY single shoe featured in my best cross-training shoe list has an in-depth individual written and YouTube video review. I spend countless hours testing shoes and building individual reviews before even thinking about including them in my best lists.

In individual reviews, that’s where you get the nuance and the context to add layers to “why” shoes made my list for various performance categories. Most review sites I see don’t even have individual reviews on products which is a major red flag to me as a consumer.

How are they going to include a shoe in a “best” list when they likely haven’t tested it to its fullest extent or worn all of the models included? This is where the Kermit the Frog drinking tea meme would be perfect.

Kermit Cross Training Shoes

That said, as someone who buys every shoe they review and as a small business owner, I’m constantly trying to improve on my craft for the love of the niche. I’m not building “best” lists solely to rake in affiliate money. I build these lists because I’m a coach, athlete, and someone who cares about the community that interacts with my content.

My Best Cross-Training Shoe Picks

Author’s Note: I try to update this list once or twice a quarter based on new shoe releases that outperform old or different models. For example, I just swapped in the new Nano X4 over the Nano X3 because it’s a superior training shoe for lifting and running.

Love playing with calculators and quizzes? Try out my Cross-Training Shoe Finder. I built this calculator to pair you with the best training shoes for your need individual asks and needs.

Best Gym Shoes 2024

Best for Lifting: Adidas Dropset Trainer 2

Dropset Trainer 2 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • Fantastic training shoe for lifting due to its stability and it's well-rounded.
  • Good breathability for hotter gym climates.
  • Ample room in the toe box for toe splay for most foot anatomies.

Cons

  • Not the best shoe on the market for running and hybrid workouts.
  • Arch can feel a little uncomfortable for flat feet.
  • Ventilation in midsole isn't the best for walking in wet climates.

Specs

Adidas Dropset Trainer 2

$130

Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.6

Best For

  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit Workouts
  • Heavier Strength Training
  • Athletic Focused Sessions
  • Wider Feet

Falls Short

  • For Running

Testing the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 for Deadlifts

Why I Chose the Dropset Trainer 2

The Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 cross-training shoes are my favorite shoes for overall lifting and gym sessions. This model has received multiple updates that have made it awesome for heavy lifting sessions, specifically.

This shoe features a dual-density midsole that gives you more flexibility in the forefoot and stability in the heel. The blend of these two densities gives this model a stable feel in different exercises when under different loads.

Another perk for lifting with the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 is that they have a wider toe box which is awesome for accommodating toe splay when tackling heavy leg days and lower body accessories.

Testing the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 for Daily Wear

The Dropset Trainer 2s features a 6mm heel-to-toe drop. I like this heel-to-toe drop for lifting, and I think it’s a nice in-between drop for most lifters who don’t want to train with a flat foot or overly elevated heel.

Best for Men: UA TriBase Reign 6

TriBase Reign 6 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • The drop-in midsole has given this shoe a much more flexible feeling compared to the thicker Micro G Foam midsoles used in the last five models. If you're feeling spicy, swap the drop-in midsole out for a thinner insole for a super minimal feel.
  • This shoe's upper feels more "athletic" on the foot because it hugs the foot well and feels seamless after the first wear. The internal heel counter helps contribute to the security that you get with this shoe, too.
  • The outsole's tread is awesome and does a phenomenal job of gripping different surfaces. This shoe has been fun to use on turf, rubber gym floors, and wooden platforms. You shouldn't have slip issues in this model.

Cons

  • While I like the drop-in midsole, I'd be remiss to not disclose that drop-in midsoles are an acquired taste. For example, if you don't love models like the PUMA Fuse and Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 then you may not like the Reign 6.
  • If you have high-volume feet and you don't want to swap out the drop-in midsole then you may find that this shoe's fit feels snug on your foot. Thick feet be warned, this shoe may feel snug out of the box.
  • For hybrid workouts, this shoe works for runs under 800 meters but it's not going to be your best bet for tackling workouts where you're running over a mile in a single bout.

Specs

UA TriBase Reign 6

$130

UA TriBase Reign 6 Product Image
4.7
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • Athletic Workouts
  • Cross-Training and HIIT
  • CrossFit
  • Sprints and Ploymetrics

Falls Short

  • For Exceptionally Wide Feet (<EE-width)
  • For Runs Over a Mile

Under Armour TriBase Reign 6 Stability Testing

Why I Chose the TriBase Reign 6

The UA TriBase Reign 6 is a great option for men who love to go hard with their gym sessions. This model is a good versatile cross-training shoe that can do a little bit of everything well, and low-key, it’s the best Reign model to date — by a long shot.

The drop-in midsole in this model provides a nice level of stability for heavier sessions, yet is also responsive for power-focused training sessions. The TriBase tech on this model’s outsole is also a nice perk for stability and balance.

I think if you want a cross-training shoe that performs well for recreational lifting, CrossFit workouts, and HIIT sessions, in addition to having a lower heel-to-toe drop, then you’ll enjoy this model. With its 2mm heel-to-toe drop, this is one of the “flatter” cross-training shoes on the market.

TriBase Reign 6 On Feet

One of the perks of the UA TriBase Reign 6 is that it breaks in quickly and feels great on the feet at a fast rate. After a few sessions, the flexible nature of this shoe gives it a nice athletic and seamless fit which helps expedite this shoe’s natural feeling on the feet.

Best for Women: Nike Metcon 9

Metcon 9 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • Similar to the Nike Metcon 7 and 8, the Metcon 9 delivers a pretty strong performance for recreational strength training and has good stability.
  • The upper construction in the Nike Metcon 9 feels more durable through the toe box and the aesthetic of this shoe sans the rope guards looks better.
  • This model features a wider toe box which is great for accommodating toe splay and giving your feet more room to move and do their thing when training.

Cons

  • The Hyperlift TPU heel limits this shoe's runnability and versatility and this was an issue that also plagued the Nike Metcon 7 and 8.
  • The $20 price increase is pretty steep for this shoe especially since its performance isn't that noticeably better than its predecessors.
  • The rope guard on the medial and lateral sides is pretty excessive and it seems to just add weight and bulk to this shoe when it's not a critical feature, in my opinion.

Specs

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 13.25 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNike Metcon 9 Review
  • Runner-Up: RAD ONE

Nike Metcon 9

$150

Nike Metcon 9 Product Shot
4.0
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.0
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.8

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Athletic Focused Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Overpronators

Nike Metcon 9 That Fit Friend

Rationale Behind the Metcon 9

For blending versatility, durability, and stability, the Nike Metcon 9 does a good job. The dual-density foam midsole in this model gives this shoe a nice bounce for classes and HIIT workouts where you’ll be on your toes a lot.

Then the Hyperlift insert in the heel adds a nice level of stability for different types of lifting and stability shouldn’t be an issue in this model. I also like that the Metcon 9’s upper has been improved and is a bit more durable than the Nike Metcon 8.

The Metcon 9 does a good job for the athlete who likes to tackle a blend of training styles every week. Compared to the Metcon 8, the 9 does feel to have a little more versatility in its construction.

Nike Metcon 9 Outsole

One of the main complaints you’ll see against the Nike Metcon 9, is that while the Hyperlift insert does a good job with lifting, it can feel clunky at times. This feature feels better compared to the 8, but it’s still not the best feature for versatility.

Best for CrossFit: RAD ONE

RAD ONE Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • If you like training shoes with a more bouncy and responsive midsole, you'll enjoy the SwellFoam midsole in this model.
  • This shoe delivers a well-rounded performance with a bias towards CrossFit. If you want a shoe for CrossFit and a bit of everything the RAD ONE works well.
  • The RAD ONE can be a great travel-friendly shoe. They're comfortable for walking and have a classic streetwear look to them.

Cons

  • These can run a little narrow at times through the toe box and if you have a wide foot then you may want to pass on these.
  • The upper can be a little problematic for outdoor-focused workouts where you could run into abrasion with concrete. If you train outside, keep this in mind.
  • If you love shoes that feel more minimalist then these may not be the best pick for you. They're not as low-profile as other CrossFit shoes.

Specs

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 12.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: R.A.D recommends going up a half size, I went true and they fit fine (more on that in my review article)
  • Read My Review: R.A.D ONE Review
  • Runner-Up: Born Primitive Savage 1

R.A.D ONE

$150

RAD ONE Training Shoes
4.6
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.2
Quality
4.5

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • CrossFit Workouts
  • Recreational Lifting
  • HIIT Training
  • Athletic-Focused Training

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Wider Feet

Testing the RAD ONE for CrossFit

Why I Chose the RAD ONE for CrossFit

The R.A.D ONE has become a favorite model for countless athletes and it’s a stellar model for CrossFit across the board. This shoe features a midsole and outsole that when blended together walk a really good line between being versatile and stable.

Whether you’re new to CrossFit or maxing out your lifts, this shoe will support your needs really well. The midsole has been stable enough for my lifts up to 500 lbs and comfortable enough for more athletic-focused training sessions.

In regard to durability for CrossFit workouts, this shoe’s rubber outsole wraps over the midsole which is awesome for both traction and additional durability for things like rope climbs where abrasion can tear up the midfoot.

Testing the RAD ONE for HIIT workouts

The upper on this model has strategic layers to prolong durability around the toe and midfoot, which are both areas that can break down quickly with this style of training. For a newer model, I’m impressed with the R.A.D ONE’s performance for CrossFit workouts. 

Best for Flat and Wide Feet: Born Primitive Savage 1

Savage 1 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • This shoe excels for CrossFit, lifting, and cross-training and has held its own across a wide range of workouts that I've used them in.
  • The durability of this shoe feels strong thus far and its upper has done well with abrasion resistance and its midsole and outsole feel well-constructed.
  • This model feels like a nod to older cross-training shoes and if you long for some of the original CrossFit-focused trainers, then you'll probably enjoy this shoe.

Cons

  • The tongue on this shoe can press into the top of the foot during the break-in process which can be a little uncomfortable.
  • If you want a plusher training shoe with more runnability and daily wear-friendliness, then you may want to pass on this shoe.
  • For narrow-footed folks who like lower-profile training shoes, you may find that there's too much room in the Savage 1.

Specs

Born Primitive Savage 1

$130

Born Primitive Savage 1 Product Shot
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8
Quality
4.8

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • CrossFit
  • Cross-Training
  • “Minimalist” Trainer Lovers
  • Wide(r) Feet

Falls Short

  • For Running

Born Primitive Savage 1 Sizing and Fit

Why I Picked the Savage 1

The Born Primitive Savage 1 is earning my top pick as the best option for flat and wide feet. This shoe is built with an anatomical toe box and its midfoot isn’t aggressively tapered.

If you like shoes that don’t have a ton of arch and feel flatter throughout this shoe is a good option to look into. I have an E-width foot and I find that I have plenty of room in this model for toe splay and letting my arch do its thing.

In the context of performance, this shoe will resonate best with athletes who like more “minimalist” feeling training shoes. This model has a lower stack height and a dual-density midsole which is great for giving you responsibility and stability.

Testing the Born Primitive Savage 1 for Deadlifts

 I also like this this shoe’s performance for CrossFit and if you’re someone who needs a stable and wide cross-training shoe that can do it all then the Born Primitive Savage 1 is a great option to explore.

Best for Classes/HIIT: Nike Free Metcon 5

Free Metcon 5 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • The reworked upper and tongue give this shoe a more spacious fit and they're easier to get on than the FM4.
  • If you want a shoe for mostly HIIT/class-style workouts with some strength blended in, then you'll enjoy this shoe.
  • The Nike Free midsole is flexible in the forefoot while the heel is a little more stable. This shoe should be stable enough for most light to moderate-weight training contexts.

Cons

  • The heel can feel a little clunky and blocky at times and if you like lower-profile shoes, then you'll want to consider this.
  • The exposed midsole foam in the midfoot can hinder this shoe's long-term durability for daily wear and outdoor workouts.
  • For heavy strength sessions, I'd pass on this shoe. This shoe's midsole started to compress when I was lifting anything over 225 lbs.

Specs

Nike Free Metcon 5

$120

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.3
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • HIIT
  • Class Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Training
  • Short Runs (3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting (225+ lbs)
  • For CrossFit

Me Testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for gym workouts

Why I Chose the Free Metcon 5

The Nike Free Metcon 5 can be a strong well-rounded shoe for HIIT workouts and classes. This model is a strong performer for HIIT workouts and a variety of different classes for three key reasons.

I like how the Nike Free technology in this shoe gives it a very mobile and maneuverable feel and have enjoyed training in them. It’s easy to get up on the forefoot when jumping in this shoe and this shoe articulates pretty well with the foot for multi-directional work.

I also like the reworked bootie-style construction of this model because it has a little more upper volume compared to the Free Metcon 4. Plus, there’s a reworked “tongue” on this shoe which makes them a lot easier to get on and off which is great for casual use.

Me testing the Nike Free Metcon 5 for jump rope

This shoe blends moderate stability and versatility together pretty well. For lifting, I’d suggest capping your loading to about 315 lbs as this is when you’ll start to notice a little compression in this shoe, so if you’re casual with your strength work with HIIT this shoe works well.

Best Minimalist Feeling Shoes: STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer

Haze Trainer Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • Great for those who love minimalist-feeling trainers. This shoe's midsole flexes and articulates well which feels awesome for lower body training.
  • The casual appearance of this model adds a nice layer of versatility to them for casual wear. This is why I use and bring the Haze as my singular gym shoe when traveling.
  • The jacquard knit upper hugs the foot well and does a good job with general breathability. This model is easy to wear in different climates and gym settings.

Cons

  • The toe box can rip from excessive friction and I've noticed my heel collar splitting after about 8-10 months of high-volume walking and training.
  • The outsole tread isn't the most aggressive and can fade with high-volume concrete use. My models tend to start showing signs of fading around month 6 of frequent use.
  • If you have high-volume feet or a high instep then you may find the lower tongue gusset used in the Haze Trainer to be uncomfortable

Specs

STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer

$150

STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer
4.4
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.0
Quality
4.5

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Cross-Training Workouts
  • Athletic-Focused Sessions
  • Shorter Runs (<3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Custom Orthotics
  • For Thicker Feet

Testing the Haze Trainer for Daily Wear

Why I Chose the Haze Trainer

The STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer is often what I describe as a good “bridge” training shoe for lifters who love barefoot shoes and traditional cross-training shoes.

The Haze Trainer has a high degree of sole flexibility which is awesome for those who love shoes that move well when doing exercises like split squats, lunges, plyometrics, and agility workouts.

I also like how versatile the Haze Trainer is and how it can work for lifting, CrossFit, athletic-style sessions, and daily wear. In fact, the Haze Trainer is typically my go-to travel shoe when I can only bring one model with me.

Testing the Haze Trainer for Weight Training

The Cush50 midsole does run a little more on the dense side so while it works great for lifting it may not be the most plush for running, however, if you want a “minimalist-feeling” shoe then this should be a non-issue for you.

Best for Jump Rope: Reebok Nano X4

Nano X4 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • Faster break in time. The Reebok Nano X3 took a solid week or two to break in and that's due to its bulkier construction. The Nano X4 feels a lot more seamless to break in due to its reworked tongue gusset and boot. It took me under two sessions.
  • Good well-rounded training shoe. If you want a training shoe for heavy-strength work and versatile training, the Reebok Nano X4 is a safe bet. I agree with Reebok that this model is a solid "athlete's shoe".
  • Decent pick for hybrid training. If you want a trainer for short runs, the Reebok Nano X4 can be a good pick to look into. For my runs up to 1.5 miles on the curved treadmill I've enjoyed this model's performance.

Cons

  • Still may feel bulky for some. While the Nano X4 feels more refined than the Nano X3 it's a pretty "built out" training shoe. If you're a minimalist lover with your gym shoes then I think the Nano X4 may be a miss for you.
  • Lacks the same width as old Nanos. The Reebok Nano X4 feels narrower than models like the Nano X and Nano 8. If you appreciate the width of those shoes then you'll want to explore shoes like the Born Primitive Savage 1 (its toe box is similar to the 8).
  • May not work for flat feet. If you have flat feet then a knock against the Nano X4 will be its arch and midfoot construction. This shoe can feel pretty rough if you don't want any arch support in your trainers.

Specs

Reebok Nano X4

$140

Reebok Nano X4 Product Image
4.7
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • HIIT and Versatile Workouts
  • Sprints and Short Runs (<2 miles)
  • CrossFit and Functional Fitness

Falls Short

  • For Feet Wider Than EEE-Widths
  • For Runs Longer than 2-3 Miles
  • For Minimalist Lovers

Reebok Nano X4 Release

Why I Chose the Nano X4

The Reebok Nano X4 is a good “jack-of-all-trades” style training shoe and it can excel for jump rope. This shoe’s Floatride Energy Foam midsole has a good blend of stability and responsiveness for different types of training.

For example, a lot of lifters and athletes will use this shoe for functional fitness which entails a high volume of jumping rope, and more specifically double-unders. This shoe’s reworked upper has a good fit and security which is a nice update compared to the Nano X3.

The Lift and Run Chassis System is also a nice perk of this shoe and it helps add to this model’s overall versatility. This feature helps stabilize this shoe’s heel for lifting while promoting responsiveness for running.

Cross Training In the Reebok Nano X4

I think if you’re someone who likes to lift, do functional fitness and short runs, do some HIIT here and there, and want a shoe that can hold its own for jumping rope then the Reebok Nano X4 can be a good safe bet.

Best for Short Runs: On Cloud X 3

Cloud X 3 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • These can be good shoes for the hybrid-focused individual who wants a model for moderate lifting and running.
  • The CloudTec midsole delivers a nice level of responsiveness for jumping, HIIT, and casual wear so these can work well for all-day use.
  • The upper construction is breathable and has a nice lightweight feel which can be great for workouts in hotter settings.

Cons

  • These will not be the best shoes for heavy strength work, so you'll want to pass on them for heavy barbell-focused training.
  • The material at the base of the midfoot can overlap if you're lacing these shoes up a lot which can be annoying and take away from this model's aesthetic.
  • Midsole long-term durability can be an issue around the toe box when you're training a lot on concrete.

Specs

On Cloud X 3

$149.99

On Cloud X 3 Product Shot
4.3
Stability
3.9
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.2

Best For

  • Light Strength Training
  • Versatile Training
  • Classes/HIIT
  • Short Runs (1-5 miles)
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Outdoor Workouts
  • For Heavy Training
  • For Wide Feet

Testing the On Cloud X 3 for HIIT Workouts

Why I Chose the On Cloud X3

The Cloud X 3 training shoes are a fantastic option for the lifter who wants to tackle runs regularly and doesn’t plan to train super heavy. Concerning hybrid performance, I have three things that I like about the On Cloud X 3.

First, this is one of the few cross-training shoes that you can lift with that feel comfortable and responsive for running. The CloudTec midsole is responsive and forgiving for runs ranging from 1-4ish miles.

Second, this is a good model for those who want a shoe for lighter lifting and class-style sessions. This shoe’s stability is pretty good up to about 275 lbs, so if you’re lifting lighter than that, then you should enjoy the level of stability this shoe delivers.

On Cloud X 3 Try On and Sizing

Third and lastly, the On Cloud X 3 can double as a daily wear shoe on top of being a strong hybrid performer. Of all the cross-training shoes up here, the On Cloud X 3 is the model to go for if you like blending running and lifting together every week and want a shoe for daily wear.

Best Budget Training Shoes: Reebok Nanoflex TR 2

Nanoflex V2 Pros and Cons

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Pros

  • Exceptionally well-rounded performance for lifting, cross-training, and CrossFit for a fair price.
  • The medium-density foam midsole is stable for heavy training and responsive for things like short runs and box jumps.
  • This model's forefoot width should accommodate most foot anatomies pretty well, especially narrow, medium, and slightly wider feet.

Cons

  • Flat feet may want to steer clear of this shoe as it does have a little arch which can feel uncomfortable.
  • For longer runs, this shoe can feel a little heavy and clunky at times so you'll want to cap your distances in this shoe.
  • The lateral toe box could use a little more support for explosive lateral training.

Specs

Reebok Nanoflex V2

Reebok Nanoflex V2 Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • CrossFit (for those on a budget!)
  • Cross-Training
  • Versatile Training
  • Budget-Friendly Shoppers

Falls Short

  • For Serious Barbell Training

Reebok Nanoflex V2 Lifting Performance and Review

Why I Chose the Nanoflex V2

The Reebok Nanoflex TR 2 is earning my top pick for under $100. When it comes to well-rounded performance at a budget-friendly price it’s tough to fault the Reebok Nanoflex TR 2’s $90 price point.

This model features multiple construction updates that make it better than the original Reebok Nanoflex TR which had a less-than-stellar fit through the midfoot. The Nanoflex TR 2’s last has been widened and it should work for most foot anatomies.

The medium-density foam midsole in this model also gives this shoe a nice blend of stability for lifting and versatility for HIIT and athletic-style training. You can lift fairly heavy in these shoes and use them for classes and they work well.

Reebok Nanoflex V2 Review

The RopePro tech on the midfoot is also an underappreciated feature on this model, and I like the Nanoflex TR 2’s performance for CrossFit workouts here and there. If you’re on a budget or are a beginner/intermediate, the Reebok Nanoflex TR 2 does a great job.

My Training Shoe Buying Tips

Buying Tip 1: Midsole, Outsole, and Upper Are Key

Cross-training shoes and what works best for you can be highly individual. Different last constructions and performance needs give every shoe a unique fit and performance and this is why I hand-test every shoe in this round-up to recognize their nuance.

When looking into new cross-training shoes, I’d suggest assessing a shoe’s midsole, outsole, and upper construction and referencing that with your training. A shoe’s midsole can influence how much stability and responsiveness it has.

The outsole will influence the durability and traction that a shoe will give you on different surfaces, and a shoe’s upper will influence things like breathability and security.

TriBase Reign 6 Try On

Buying Tip 2: Shoes Exist On a Performance Spectrum

Cross-training shoes are designed to provide multi-functionality. Most quality-built cross-training shoes will work for lifting, HIIT, short runs, and athletic-style training sessions.

However, if you’re specific with your training then you’ll want to seek models that have a bias to their construction. For example, if you’re pushing heavier weights than your peers then you’ll want a shoe with higher density to its midsole.

Conversely, if you’re running a lot in your training shoes, you’ll want to look into options that are more plush and responsive. Remember, your shoe’s construction should reflect your training and its hierarchy of needs.

Cross-Training Shoe Benefits, 3 Reasons to Wear Them

Cross-training shoes have surged in popularity over the last decade with the boom of CrossFit and the mass acceptance of more women and men resistance training. By nature, cross-training shoes are designed to tackle a wide variety of needs, wants, and preferences.

If you’re looking into cross-training shoes — especially for the first time — it’s important to understand some of the benefits that come along with this style of footwear. This way you’ll know exactly how to answer, “Why cross-training shoes?”

Benefit 1: Great Versatility

The first benefit of cross-training shoes is their ability to tackle a wide variety of tasks. Whether you’re lifting, tackling plyometrics, HIIT training, or CrossFit workouts, cross-training shoes will usually be able to stand up to the task.

Reviewing the Nike MC Trainer for Lifting

It’s important to note that some cross-training shoes will ebb and flow in regard to their specialties. For example, some shoes will be on the more stable end of the spectrum while others will provide more versatility.

Benefit 2: Firmer Midsoles and Outsoles

A lot of cross-training shoes are designed to support heavy lifting. In general, compared to more general training shoes and running shoes, cross-training shoes will utilize more high-density foams in their midsoles and firmer rubbers in their outsoles.

Nike Metcon 7 Vs Reebok Nano X1 Showdown

The blend of these two construction components helps this style of shoe compress very little under external loads. So, if you’re squatting heavy, cleaning, snatching, or training recreationally, these shoes will help provide you with a more stable base.

Benefit 3: Specialty Construction Features

The cool thing about cross-training shoes is that they all come with their own list of unique features. Some shoes are better at supporting niche activities like rope climbs, while others are better for supporting maximal loads over 500 lbs.

When searching for cross-training shoes, generally, you’ll start to see trends of certain construction traits that correspond to functionality purposes that more general training shoes lack and don’t possess.

How Should Cross-Training Shoes Fit?

A cross-training shoe’s fit will be individual, however, as a general rule of thumb, you’ll likely want between .2-.6″ of room in the toe box.

This will provide enough room to avoid jamming the toes excessively in every workout while also not making them too loose to where you experience heel slip.

how should cross training shoes fit (1)

It’s important to recognize that every shoe will fit slightly differently and this is due to the multiple types of lasts companies can use when creating models. This is why some models feel wider than others, it’s not you, it’s the companies using different last (foot molds) to create their models.

If a cross-training shoe’s fit feels weird on you, then I’d highly suggest looking for models that have molds that work better for your foot’s anatomy. Trial and error will be your best bet as you find your ideal pairs and brands that work well for you.

How to Properly Clean Your Cross-Training Shoes

If you want your cross-training shoes to last, then you’re going to want to clean them somewhat regularly to avoid the build-up of dust, dirt, and other materials that can cause polyurethanes and foams to break down.

I always recommend spot-cleaning cross-training shoes and using a three-pronged approach to do it thoroughly. DO NOT put your cross-training shoes in your washing and drying machines. Instead, follow the four steps below for properly cleaning cross-training shoes.

How to clean training shoes

  • Step 1: Grab your cross-training shoes, a clean washcloth, a soft soap void of harsh dyes and fragrances, and you’ll need lukewarm water.
  • Step 2: Get your washcloth a little wet with lukewarm water and dab less than a dime’s size amount of soap on the damp washcloth.
  • Step 3: Remove your cross-training shoe’s insoles and spot clean areas on the shoes that need a little attention. Do not soak your shoes. Repeat this process of getting your washcloth damp and rubbing trouble areas until your shoes look noticeably cleaner. If you have bright colorways, rub softly to avoid ruining your shoe’s colorway.
  • Step 4: Once you’re satisfied with your shoe’s appearance, place them by a vent or dry area in your house and keep their insoles removed until fully dried.

If you do this regularly and take the time to properly clean your cross-training shoes, then you’ll make them last longer which can be a good thing for prolonging your favorite shoe’s lifespan.

Why Trust That Fit Friend’s Shoe Reviews

I’ve been a strength coach for over 12 years, have a Master’s in Sports Science, and have been reviewing training shoes for the last 6+ years. I blend my coaching background with my shoe knowledge when assessing a shoe’s performance.

My educational background is in Sports Science and I’ve been a personal trainer for over a decade. I blend my science brain with my review process to assess how a shoe can also influence things like biomechanics and movement patterns.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF for deadlifts

I buy all of the shoes I review and test products independently on my own. Every shoe featured in this article has earned its spot due to its performance during my review process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
What are cross-training shoes good for?

A:
Cross-training shoes get their name from being able to crossover multiple training disciplines. In cross-training shoes, you can lift, do HIIT workouts, athletic-focused training, tackle shorter runs, and much more.

Q:
How should cross-training shoes fit?

A:
I always recommend having between .2-.6 of space in the toe box of your cross-training shoes. This is usually enough space to prevent toe jamming and heel slip. If you have a wider foot, then I'd suggest sticking towards the larger end of the range.

Q:
Is it OK to run in cross-training shoes?

A:
You can tackle shorter runs in cross-training shoes. I'd suggest capping your mileage to 3-miles max in more versatile cross-training shoes like the On Cloud X and 1-mile for cross-training shoes that are more stable in nature like the Nike Metcon 6.

Final Thoughts

The cross-training shoe game continues to innovate just like the talent in strength sports and the training methodologies we use. If you want a stellar training shoe for lifting, opt for the Adidas Dropset Trainer 2 or Born Primitive Savage 1.

If you need a shoe that’s more HIIT and running-friendly, then going for a Nike Free Metcon 5 or On Cloud X 3 can be a smart move.

If you ever have any questions at all, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally on Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_fiend), and I’ll gladly help direct you to the ideal shoes for your contextual needs.

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

6 thoughts on “The 10 Best Cross-Training Shoes 2024, Every Shoe Tested and Reviewed”

  1. I’ve a flat and wide feet with messed up knees, workout consists of 2/3 mile running. I already have inov-8 f-lite fly g 295, 235 lite v3. Now thinking of getting something better. Torn between born primitive Savage 1, inov-8 lite g300 and haze trainer. What’s your recommendation? Or do you’ve any other recommendation? Keep up your hard work.

    1. I’d go Born Primitive Savage 1, they’ll give you the most width which may feel good for foot asks (flat/wide). G 300’s arch can feel a little aggressive for flat feet and the Haze are decent but I’d start with the BP model then go from there. Thank you for checking out the site!

  2. Hey Jake,

    Thank you so much for this website and all these great reviews. I’ve read bunch of them to decide my very first crossfit shoes. I’ve been on and off recreational crossfitter for two years. I’ve started by wearing an old pair of Converse Chuck-Hi and stuck with them until now! Yet, i feel that it’s time for an upgrade for a real crossfit shoes.

    My problem is that I’m living in Turkey and finding certain models are definitely a problem. Even if I find them, the prices are always too high. So, a friend of mine will bring me a pair when coming back for their visit in Europe. It means that I will buy a shoe without having a chance to try and return in case of discomfort.

    So by consequence, I am down to two choice between Puma Fuse 2.0 and Nike Metcon 8. I know that there is a difference in price. I found size 12 Puma Fuse 2.0 for sale to 50 euros (54 USD) and Nike Metcon 8 for 95 euros (103 USD). I’d like the focus to buy a shoe that won’t dissappoint with me with its comfort, performance and durability since I’m hoping to use them for a long time. Can you help me out make this difficult choice to blind-buy the shoe to stay with me for a long time? Does the price difference between Fuse 2.0 and Metcon 8 worth to go for Metcon 8?

    I’m 6’4 around 210 pounds. I work out 3-4 times per week in crossfit class WODS and sometimes doing olympic liftings sessions on my own.

    Again, thank you for all your work! It’s great to find a source of information as nich and high-quality as yours on internet.

    1. Thank you so much for checking out the content! Hit you back via IG, I believe (if I didn’t and that was someone else, lmk)! Reach out if you have additional Qs, friend.

  3. Thank you so much for this information.. For the Haze trainer’s width comparison you mentioned the Altra Escalante. Which version of the Escalante? I know that some are wider than others. More specifically to my reason for asking is that I currently have the Innov8 G300, which is a bit too narrow for me, how do the haze compare to that?

    1. Hey! I believe they rival it off of the first Escalante model, so in modern days likely close to the 2.5 or 3 (unless Altra has widened them since the OG model). Compared to the G 300, the Haze Trainer’s toe box width is about the same, but it has a wider midfoot.

      IMO, if it’s the midfoot that’s too narrow with the G 300, then you may like the Haze’s fit better. Toe box is similar though, once again. If you want, shoot me a message on Instagram and I can send you a video breakdown comparing the two shoes so you can see their sizing firsthand!

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