Home » 7 Best Gym Shoes (2022 Update) | Picks for Lifting, Running, and More

7 Best Gym Shoes (2022 Update) | Picks for Lifting, Running, and More

The process of finding the best gym shoes can be both overwhelming and exciting. There are countless gym shoes on the market and every gym shoe has its own list of pros and cons in regard to construction and performance.

As a strength coach and someone who’s reviewed literally hundreds of gym shoes, I’d highly suggest taking a moment to write down what you want from your gym shoes and how you plan to use them.

If you can be more specific with your gym shoe search, then you can find models that will align best with your training goals, wants, and needs, and find shoes that fit your foot’s anatomical needs best.

In this best gym shoe round-up, I’m going to break some of my favorite gym shoes into categories based on different gym shoe asks.

On the market for new gym shoes? Make sure you try out the TF2 Cross-Training Shoe Finder. My calculator takes your training wants and matches you with the best pairs of shoes for your needs.

Best Gym Shoes for Women

When testing and reviewing the best gym shoes for women I constantly refer to my YouTube community and girlfriend for their thoughts on particular gym shoes.

Similar to the other sections in this best gym shoe round-up, I cross-reference the feedback that I receive about different gym shoes for women with my review process to suggest the best gym shoes for women in different contexts.

Top Choice: Nike Metcon 7

The Nike Metcon 7 is earning the top pick for the best gym shoes for women. This model is a really strong well-rounded gym shoe for gym-goers that like to lift, do class work have out here and there, and do athletic-style training.

Testing the Metcon 7 for Box Jumps

The star players for the Nike Metcon 7 are the midsole, outsole, and upper construction. The Nike React foam midsole gives this shoe’s forefoot a nice edge for versatility when jumping and explosive movements.

The outsole has a good level of traction when training on different surfaces and the medial and lateral midfoot outsole wraps boost this shoe’s overall durability and functionality for things like rope climbs.

Nike Metcon 7 Rope Climbing

My girlfriend wearing the Nike Metcon 7s for rope climbs.

There’s a TPU Hyperlift insert built into this shoe’s heel and this helps contribute to this model’s stability. The chain-link mesh upper and synthetic overlays also help boost this shoe’s overall durability for abrasion resistance.

Nike Metcon 7

$130

Nike Metcon 7
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.4

Best For

  • Heavy Training
  • CrossFit Workouts
  • Rope Climbs
  • Plyos and Agility Workouts
  • Short Runs

Falls Short

  • For Long-Distance Runs
  • For Wider Feet

Best Gym Shoes for Men

To review and assess the best gym shoes for men, I utilize a process that assess’s a gym shoe’s overall construction and look at how that influence’s the gym shoe’s performance and durability.

By doing this, I can get more specific with gym shoes and contextualize where they perform the best and where they tend to fall short.

Top Choice: UA TriBase Reign 4

The Under Armour TriBase Reign 4 is earning my top pick as the gym shoes for men. This section was tough to rank because I think there are a variety of great gym shoes for men that all have their perks and shortcomings for training.

under armour tribase reign 4 for lifting

Why I’m taking the UA TriBase Reign 4 as my top pick for this section is for three key reasons. First, they’re a really good well-rounded gym shoe for lifting, CrossFit, athletic-style training, HIIT workouts, and even sprints or short tempo runs (100-400-meters bouts).

Second, I like the overall width of this shoe. This model’s width was increased slightly from the UA TriBase Reign 3 which ran fairly narrow for most guys. The width increase in this model I think does a better job at feeding into the anatomical needs of men’s feet.

under armour tribase reign 4 for shorter runs and daily wear

Third and lastly, I like the TriBase tech in this shoe’s outsole, Micro G foam midsole, and 2mm heel-to-toe drop. The blend of the midsole and outsole give this shoe a nice stable, yet versatile feeling and this can be a good model for gym-goers who like lower heel-to-toe drops.

UA TriBase Reign 4

$120

Under Armour TriBase Reign 4
4.6
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.5

Best For

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

Falls Short

  • For Wider Feet
  • For Longer Runs

Best Gym Shoes for Flat Feet

For testing the best gym shoes for flat feet, I’m mostly concerned with a shoe’s comfort for those with flat feet. Flat feet can vary pretty greatly and better comfort in gym shoes can lead to better performance.

Once I’ve assessed the shoe’s comfort, I’ll then dive into its performance and review where it excels, falls short, and how its comfort translates to different gym contexts.

Top Choice: NOBULL Trainer+

The NOBULL Trainer+ is taking my top pick as the best gym shoes for flat feet. This model is a good all-around gym shoe and they deliver a midsole and construction that is solid for gym-goers with flat feet.

NOBULL Trainer Plus for lifting and CrossFit

This shoe has a thick EVA foam midsole which has a good amount of stability, but also a nice degree of comfort for jumping, HIIT workouts, and outdoor training. The NOBULL Trainer+ also does a fair job with motion control which can be nice for some.

Another perk of the NOBULL Trainer+ is the overall durability of this shoe. With a thicker outsole that features a deep herringbone tread pattern that wraps over the toe with the SuperFabric, I don’t think durability will be an issue for most in this model.

NOBULL Trainer Plus for running and daily wear

If you have flat feet and like to vary your training every week with things like lifting, CrossFit, and some HIIT sessions, then the NOBULL Trainer+ can be a good option. Additionally, the NOBULL Court Trainer is also another good option to explore for gym-goers with flat feet.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting, Flat Feet, CrossFit-Style Training, and Flatter Feet
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 12.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My ReviewNOBULL Trainer+ Review
  • Second Choice: NOBULL Court Trainer
  • Third Choice: Reebok Nano X2

NOBULL Trainer+

$139

NOBULL Trainer Plus
4.5
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Cross-Training Style Workouts
  • CrossFit
  • Recreational Lifting

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • For Cost-Efficiency

Best Gym Shoes for Lifting

When testing and reviewing the best gym shoes for lifting I’m constantly trying to assess what gym shoes are best in certain contexts. Truthfully, there are a lot of great gym shoes for lifting and each model will resonate differently with lifters based on how they train.

Below, I’m going to provide some of the best cross-training shoes for lifting. However, there are also non-training-focused shoes that work well for lifting like the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star and Nike Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage.

Top Choice: STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer

The STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer is taking my top pick for the best gym shoes for lifting. This model’s performance for lifting is really solid and the Haze Trainer delivers an interesting fit and feel regarding promoting lifting performance.

Testing the Haze Trainer for Strength Training

In the context of lifting, the Haze Trainer excels for three key reasons. First, the mobility of this shoe’s sole is really solid and they give you a nice level of articulation when training and doing exercises where the foot is bending and stabilizing.

Second, the MediumCush 50 midsole provides a nice level of stability while also working for versatile training contexts. This shoe is technically designed for lifting and CrossFit, so it walks a fine line between being stable yet comfortable and versatile.

Testing the Haze Trainer for Lifting

Third and lastly, this is a good model for those that like more minimalist style gym shoes for lifting. They’re not true minimalist shoes, but compared to other cross-training shoes they have a much more minimalist fit, feel, and vibe.

STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer

$150

STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

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

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Custom Orthotics

Best Gym Shoes for Wide Feet

To test, review, and assess the best gym shoes for wide feet I’m primarily concerned with the shoe’s width through the forefoot and midfoot and how it accommodates different foot anatomies.

Once I’ve assessed a shoe’s width, I’ll then dive into the performance and construction assessment of the shoe. This helps me recognize which training contexts are best for certain gym shoes.

Top Choice: Reebok Nano X2

The Reebok Nano X2 is my top pick for the best gym shoes for wide feet. This model is fairly known for its forefoot and midfoot width and it does a good job providing a comfortable ride for a variety of wide-footed gym-goers.

Reviewing the Reebok Nano X2 for HIIT Training

I also like the lateral and medial midfoot clips in this model because they help provide additional midfoot support. If you have a wide foot and like having a bit of support on the medial midfoot around your arch, then you’ll enjoy this feature.

The Reebok Nano X2 is a strong all-around gym shoe for different activities. You can lift heavy in this model, use them for HIIT workouts, and short runs and they’ll be solid. Their Floatride Energy foam midsole walks a fine line between stable and versatile.

Deadlifting 505 lbs In the Reebok Nano X2 Lifting Test

I think if you like to vary your training every week and have wide feet, then you’ll enjoy the overall performance of the Reebok Nano X2. They also have a pretty cool aesthetic to them and colorways that typically work for a wide variety of tastes.

  • Best For: General Training, HIIT Workouts, Casual CrossFit, and Wider Feet
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 7mm
  • Weight: 11.9 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: For wider/neutral width feet, you should be safe going true-to-size in the Nano X2. Narrow feet, size down a half size.
  • Read My ReviewReebok Nano X2 Review
  • Second Choice: Altra Solstice XT 2
  • Third Choice: NOBULL Trainer+

Reebok Nano X2

$135

Reebok Nano X2
4.4
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.2

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Athletic-Focused Training
  • Casual CrossFit Sessions
  • Shorter Runs

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency

Best Gym Shoes for High Arches

When testing and reviewing the best gym shoes for high arches, I’m focused primarily on two key performance areas. First, I want to know much arch support a shoe provides during different styles of training.

Second, I’m reviewing how well a shoe does in different performance settings and assessing where it excels and falls short. There are a lot of great gym shoes on the market for high arches every model has its own list of pros and cons.

Top Choice: Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

The Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is taking my top pick as the best gym shoes for high arches. This is a cross-trainer that can excel really well in a lot of different contexts and is a good well-rounded gym shoe for high arches.

Inov-8 F Lite G 300 for High Arches

For example, you can lift heavy in this shoe, use them for CrossFit, and even for HIIT workouts and light runs (<3 miles or less) and they’re an exceptional performer across the board.

They also have a fairly wide forefoot which is great for those with high arches and wider feet in need of a shoe to accommodate these anatomical asks. The Graphene construction on the outsole also adds a nice layer of durability to this shoe.

Must Read: Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Vs F-Lite 260 V2 Vs 235 V3 | Which Inov-8 Trainer Is Ideal for You?

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Construction

I think if you need a gym shoe for doing a little bit of everything that provides a nice level of stability, then the Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 is a good pick for you. If you’re not a fan of bootie-style constructions on gym shoes, I’ve also included a few runner-up gym shoes for high arches below.

  • Best For: Lifting, HIIT, CrossFit-Style Training, and Higher Arches
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 12.3 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Read My Review: Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 Review
  • Second ChoiceNike Metcon 7
  • Third Choice: On Cloud X

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300

$150

Inov-8 F-Lite G 300
4.3
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.2
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Versatile Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Shorter Runs
  • Plyometrics

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency

Best Gym Shoes for Walking

When it comes to reviewing the best gym shoes for walking I’m constantly trying to assess how comfortable a model is for day-to-day wear and for longer walks on things like treadmills.

Essentially, I’m trying to see if a shoe is good for someone who likes to use your gym shoes for working out, then use them for some walking on the treadmill afterward for conditioning and heath.

Top Choice: On Cloud X

The On Cloud X is earning my top pick as the best gym shoes for this model has a really level of comfort and in the context of walking long distances both on the treadmill and outdoors, they’re exceptional shoes.

can you run in the on cloud x

The On CloudTec midsole is what gives the Cloud X its high level of comfort and this midsole maneuvers pretty well. These shoes never feel overly stiff so if you like a more plush and cushioned ride, then you’ll enjoy the On Cloud X for walking.

Outside of walking, the On Cloud X is also a good gym shoe for light to moderate lifting (cap loading to about 315 lbs), HIIT workouts, classes, daily wear, and short to moderate runs (1-6ish miles)

Must Read: On Cloud 5 Vs On Cloud X | Which Is Best for You?

nike metcon 7 vs on cloud x for crossfit

s model will definitely work best for the gym-goer that prioritizes versatility and comfort over stability when training. For example, this shoe will not be the best for heavy lifting, but it will do a good job in versatile training contexts.

On Cloud X

$139.99

On Cloud X Training Shoes
4.3
Stability
3.8
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.2

Best For

  • Plyometrics
  • Short/Mid-Range Runs
  • HIIT Training
  • Agility Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Heavy Lifting
  • For Long-Term Durability

How Should Gym Shoes Fit?

As opposed to running shoes that have a fairly formulaic method for sizing, gym shoes can be a little different. Sizing discrepancies in gym shoes can vary for three key reasons.

  1. Different forms of training will require different types of fit. For example, if you’re doing explosive training, then you’ll generally want shoes that hug the feet fairly well to prevent sliding around or feeling unstable.
  2. Different foot anatomies will require different spaces in the toe box. For example, if you have wide feet, then you’ll typically want a little more room at the end of your toe box for both comfort and performance reasons.
  3. Different preferences can shift how we want our shoes to fit. Some like their shoes to fit a little looser while others like their shoes a little snugger.

How Should Gym Shoes Fit

That being said, I typically recommend a range for sizing gym shoes. The range that I recommend is having anywhere from .2-.6 inches of room at the end of your shoe’s toe box. If you have wide feet or like more room in your shoe’s toe box, then go with a thumb’s width.

As a rule of thumb, if you have so much room at the end of your toe box that you’re experiencing heel slip when training, then you’ll want to size down and aim for the lower end of the range mentioned above.

Best Cross Training Shoes In 2022 for CrossFit, Running, and More

When it c sizing, there’s really no “one-size-fits-all” answer (pun intended). Explore different models and find shoes with the last constructions that align with your feet best and allow you to perform your best.

Gym Shoes Versus Running Shoes

There are countless differences between gym shoes and running shoes. Plus, within each shoe category, there are endless variations of running shoes and gym shoes designed for different individuals’ performance wants, needs, and preferences.

For the sake of brevity and to not overwhelm you, I’m going to discuss a few key differences that differentiate gym shoes from running shoes. These differences can heavily influence each type of shoe’s performance as you get more specific with your training.

Gym Shoes Versus Running Shoes

Gym shoes will typically have midsoles and outsoles that are more firm and flatter in nature. This is to promote stability when lifting weights and doing other forms of versatile training where balance is important. 

Additionally, the upper construction of gym shoes is often heavier than what’s used in running shoes. This is to promote durability from abrasion and stress rips that can come from multi-directional training.

Running shoes will have midsoles often thicker in nature and biased towards running, AKA forward movement so they’ll be less flat and will lack the same amount of stability as gym shoes when lifting and workout. This is also why I don’t recommend lifting in running shoes.

adidas ultraboost 22 for walking and daily wear

Adidas Ultraboost 22 Running Shoe

In addition, the upper materials used in running shoes are often less heavy and layered compared to gym shoes and have a larger bias towards breathability. This is to limit the shoe’s overall weight for running.

Outside of these core differences, there are additional construction subtleties that can further differentiate gym shoes from running shoes. For example, we could discuss how different heel-to-toe drops used in both styles of footwear can influence biomechanics in the gym and when running.

Should You Use Running Shoes for the Gym?

While you can technically use running shoes for light and mod workouts, I’d actually suggest not doing this and instead investing in a good pair of gym shoes and running shoes.

can i squat in running shoes

By using the right shoes for the job you’ll not only be able to perform to your best ability, but you’ll also prolong the lifespan of your shoes. For example, heavy lifting can compress a running shoe’s midsole and limit your performance and stability.

Conversely, a gym shoe is more stable and biased towards lifting and may not be comfortable for longer runs or endurance sessions, thus making it a sub-optimal choice for the task at hand.

 

When in doubt, reach for the right shoes for the context of your training. As you get more specific and serious with your training gear selection becomes more important as task demands increase.

How to Make Gym Shoes Last Longer

I’m a big proponent of getting the most out of your money and investment when it comes to gym shoes. As someone who reviews gym shoes for a living, I’m constantly trying to get the most out of the shoes I enjoy and review.

If you want to make your gym shoes last longer, then there are a few key steps you can take to add months to their lifespan. Below, are my four favorite tips to get the most out of your gym shoes.

Reviewing the OluKai Mio Li athletic shoes for hiit workouts

  1. Spot Clean, Do NOT Use Washing Machines and Dryers. When cleaning your shoes use a washcloth, lukewarm water, and soft soap and handwash areas that need attention. To dry your shoes, take the insoles out and set them in a dry area in your home.
  2. Take Your Shoes Out of Your Gym Bag. Gym bags can be humid after training sessions due to sweat buildup on gear. Always try to take your gym shoes out of your gym bag after training sessions to ensure humidity doesn’t wreak havoc on their materials.
  3. Wear Them Only for Training. If you’re buying gym shoes specifically for training and not walking or daily wear, then try to limit only wearing your gym shoes for your training sessions.
  4. Lace and Unlace Your Shoes When Putting Them On. I admit I can be lazy and jam my feet into my gym shoes which can cause the boot to break down pretty fast. Always lace and unlace your shoes to prevent this.

These are four simple steps that you can use to add months to your gym shoes and get the most out of your investment. It’s always cool to see how these little things can add up to get the most out of your money.

How I Test and Review Gym Shoes

Every review and round-up that you find on That Fit Friend that involves gym shoes is performed by me. This helps provide me with useful context that helps me differentiate shoes from one another.

Essentially, by being the sole reviewer for gym shoes on That Fit Friend, I can better pick the best models for the performance categories included in my round-ups and better help you find the best shoes for your wants, needs, and preferences.

Testing the RAD ONE for CrossFit

When reviewing gym shoes, I’m assessing a shoe’s overall performance and note where it excels and falls short. I’m also looking at the construction of a gym and how that translates to performance and durability. I’m asking multiple questions such as:

  • Who is this shoe best and where do they perform the best? Are there areas where a shoe falls off or performs poorly?
  • Is the construction of the shoe durable for the most part? If not, what activities are problematic for said shoe’s overall durability.
  • How does the shoe fit? Is it a better gym shoe for wide feet, flat feet, high arches, narrow feet, etc.?

This list goes and if you ever have additional questions on gym shoes, please always feel free to reach out if my individual reviews don’t answer whatever questions you might have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
What kind of shoes are used in gym?

A:
Generally, you'll want a good pair of cross-training shoes for most gym workouts. Cross-training shoes are versatile and are designed to support things like lifting, HIIT workouts, light runs, and classes.

Q:
Do I need different shoes for gym?

A:
That depends. It can be useful to think about shoes for the gym as existing on a spectrum of specificity based on your training goals and needs. For example, if you plan to lift heavy, then you'll want a stable cross-training shoe. Conversely, if you only do classes, then you'll want a lightweight, responsive, and versatile training shoe.

Q:
Are gym shoes different from running shoes?

A:
Yes, typical gym shoes are different from running shoes. Gym shoes often referred to as training shoes or cross-training shoes, will have denser midsoles designed to be supportive for lifting weight whereas running shoes lack stability.

Q:
Can I wear running shoes for gym?

A:
You can technically wear running shoes for light and casual gym workouts, however, it's important to note their performance can fall short if you plan to lift weights or do more explosive workouts.

More Shoe Content

If you’re more specific with your training, then I also have round-ups for specific activities and types of shoes. I’m going to include a few of my favorites below.

Takeaway Thoughts

When looking into the best gym shoes, I’d suggest exploring your training goals, needs, and wants. If you can nail down the specific training asks that you have from your shoes, then you can make the best investment for your individual goals.

Whether you plan to lift heavy, do HIIT workouts, or take classes here and there, there’s a gym shoe that accommodates your foot’s anatomy and training needs.

If you have additional questions on any of the best gym shoes featured in this article, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

nv-author-image

Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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