Skip to content
Home » Cross Training Shoes

The 6 Best Training Shoes for Running and Lifting (Hybrid Options!)

That Fit Friend is supported by its readers. I [Jake Boly] run this site myself and buy the gear I review. If you purchase through my site, I may earn commissions on sales, read more here!

As training and running shoes continue to evolve, more companies are entering the world of hybrid shoes. Essentially, these are workout shoes that are in theory built to excel in lifting and running — basically, a do-it-all-style shoe.

It’s worth noting that most hybrid training shoes function on a performance spectrum. On one side, there is serious lifting, and on the other, there is running. Hybrid training shoes are intended to fall somewhere between these two extremes.

They may not be the best at any one activity, but for tackling both, they can hold their own. That said, when looking into hybrid training shoes, I think it’s important to understand this to avoid letdowns or misaligned expectations.

Shoes for Running and Lifting Buying Guide

Author’s Note: I updated this article in March 2024 to reflect new picks in my outdoor, lifting, and HYROX categories. I update round-ups every quarter based on shoes that outperform their older peers.

How I Test Hybrid Training Shoes

I have two main performance categories that I keep my eye on when testing hybrid shoes, and that’s assessing a shoe’s thresholds for running and lifting. A lot of companies market their shoes as “hybrid,” and I work to challenge this in my tests.

When it comes to running, I assess the following:

  • Mileage Comfort: The mileage where a shoe starts to lose its comfort.
  • Versatility of Wear: The settings in which you can run comfortably in the model.
  • Midsole Feel and Responsiveness: The amount of energy return you get from the shoe.

Best Hybrid Training Shoes

When it comes to lifting, I review the following:

  • Stability Assessment: At what weight does the shoe’s stability start to drop off and when does the midsole compress?
  • Lifting Contexts: What types of lifting settings does the shoe best with: free weights, machines, bodyweight, etc.)?

Once I’ve identified these thresholds, I dive into the shoe’s construction to better understand the materials used in the model. This can then suggest the shoe’s durability and value, which can relate to the two threshold categories above.

What I Wear for Treadmill Runs | On Cloud X 3

  • Best For: Treadmill Running, Light Lifting, HIIT, Agility
  • Mileage Comfort Threshold: 0-5 miles
  • Lifting Stability Threshold: <275 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 8.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • For More Info: Read My Review
  • Runner-Up Inov8 F-Fly: Read My Review

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

Cloud X 3 Pros and Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Comfortable for walking and all-day wear
  • Good pick for cross-training and moderate lifting
  • Works great for runs up to 3-5 miles

Cons

  • Midsole isn't great for heavy lifting
  • Arch can feel uncomfortable for flat feet
  • Midsole durability isn't the best on concrete

The On Cloud X 3 is my top hybrid training shoe for anyone who plans to use their model frequently for treadmill running. I often describe this shoe as being a good pick for the lifter and athlete who likes to tack on a few pre and post-workout miles when at the gym.

For this context, I like the CloudTec midsole and how it provides a pretty comfortable ride, especially for short (<3 miles) and mid-range runs (3-5 miles). I also like this model’s upper for running due to its lightweight and breathable nature.

On Cloud X 3 Try On Review

When lifting, the On Cloud X 3’s stability is okay, and it will work for loads up to 275 lbs, I’ve found. Once you pass this threshold, you’ll start to notice a little midsole compression due to the CloudTec lacking a more stable construction.

If you plan to primarily do HIIT workouts, classes, and light lifting with a fairly regular bias towards treadmill running, then I think the On Cloud X is a good shoe to look into.

Keep in mind, that two performance areas where the On Cloud X 3 falls short are maximal lifting and lateral explosive movements. I haven’t loved this shoe for this context due to its midsole compressing on me and lacking support.

What I Wear for Outdoor Sessions | Reebok Nano X3 Adventure

  • Best For: Trail Runs, Road Runs, Lifting, Daily Wear
  • Mileage Comfort Threshold: 0-5 miles
  • Lifting Stability Threshold: <500 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 10.8 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • For More Info: Read My Review
  • Runner-Up Vimana Hybrid Runner: Read My Review

Reebok Nano X3 Adventure

$150

Reebok Nano X3 Adventure Product Shot
4.6
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.6

Best For

  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Outdoor Workouts
  • Short Runs and Sprints
  • Recreational Lifting

Falls Short

  • For Low-Volume Feet

Nano X3 Adventure Pros and Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Great option for outdoor workouts
  • Works well for heavy lifting and cross-training
  • Aggressive lugs and durable upper

Cons

  • Arch can feel uncomfortable for flat feet
  • Not the most breathable upper
  • Can feel "heavy" for minimalist lovers

The Reebok Nano X3 Adventure has been one of my favorite shoes for outdoor hybrid workouts. Generally, I don’t love wearing my normal gym shoes for outdoor sessions due to their long-term durability being a greater concern.

In my Nano X3 Adventures, I usually work out outside, focusing on short runs, bodyweight movements, and barbell exercises. For example, at my buddy’s home gym, we’ll do things like heavy squats (for me, that’s reps at 315 lbs), then transition into burpees and run around his house.

Testing the Reebok Nano X3 Adventure for lifting

The more aggressive lugs in the Nano X3 Adventure help me grip on grass and trails with looser terrain. I don’t find that these lugs take away from the grip in gym settings either, in case you’re concerned about that and were debating between these and the normal Nano X3/X4.

I also like that this shoe has a more aggressive outsole wrap over the toe box. For me, this has helped prolong this shoe’s durability on trails and on concrete when there’s been any form of friction. This should also translate for you in the gym.

For anyone wanting that one-stop-shoe for CrossFit, cross-training, and outdoor workouts with short runs programmed, it’s tough to fault the Nano X3 Adventure. They’ve been a fun shoe to test across all verticals.

When I’m Moving FAST  and Sprinting | Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295

  • Best For: Sprints, Short-Mid Range Runs, Light Training
  • Mileage Comfort Threshold: 0-6 miles
  • Lifting Stability Threshold: <225 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
  • Weight: 11.45 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to size
  • For More Info: Read My Review
  • Runner-Up NOBULL All-Day: Read My Review

Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295

$170

Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295
4.7
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Sprints and Fast-Paced Runs (<1 mile)
  • Short Mid-Range Runs (1-5 miles)
  • Circuit-Style/Hybird Training Sessions
  • Long Walks and Standing

Falls Short

  • For Runners That Want More Cushion
  • For Lateral Training On Turf and Grass
  • For Cost-Efficiency

F-Lite G 295 Pros and Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Graphene construction boosts this shoe's durability
  • Midsole feels responsive for sprints and plyometrics
  • Great shoes for track-style workouts

Cons

  • Outsole tread can fade on concrete over time
  • These don't have the widest toe box
  • Arch can be a turnoff for flat feet

The Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295 is my top hybrid training shoe for short and mid-range runs mixed with sprints, I’ve loved these for this context. Note that this model is technically designed for running, but it can also work for bodyweight exercises and light functional fitness workouts.

When conceptualizing the Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295, I put them into the performance category of being a top performer for the person who loves going to the track to get in sprint work, put in some mileage, and tackle some bodyweight, dumbbell, or kettlebell work.

Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295 Sprint Testing

This shoe has Inov-8’s proprietary Fly+ midsole and does a great job of providing a nice level of energy return when tackling different running workouts. I like the blend of the EVA foam and Graphene in the sole of this shoe and how they assist performance.

I also like that the Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295 can hold its own for longer, slow-paced recovery runs. I’ve used this shoe for runs up to 7 miles, and they were comfortable—[yes, I consider that long for casual runs!].

My two drawbacks with this model are its higher price point and its performance when doing lateral explosive work on surfaces like turf. If these had a traditional rubber sole, they’d be an even sicker shoe for things like HYROX and turf-based sessions.

When I Want More Toe Wiggle Room | Altra Solstice XT 2

  • Best For: Wide Feet, Short Treadmill Runs, HIIT Workouts, Casual Training
  • Mileage Comfort Threshold: 0-3 miles
  • Lifting Stability Threshold: <315 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 9.5 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • For More Info: Read My Review
  • Runner-Up Wide Feet Option Inov8 F-fly: Read My Review

Altra Solstice XT 2

$130

Altra Solstice XT 2
4.1
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.5
Durability
3.8

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • HIIT Workouts
  • Classes
  • Wide Weet
  • Shorter Runs

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting
  • For CrossFit

Solstice XT 2 Pros and Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Wide toe box is great for toe splay
  • Medium-density midsole is stable yet responsive
  • Upper has good breathability

Cons

  • Long-term outsole durability is an issue
  • Not great for narrower feet
  • Can look a little clown-like at times

The Altra Solstice XT 2 is my favorite hybrid training shoe for wide feet, however, I’ve been heavily rotating in this category between this shoe and the F-Fly. I find this model to work best for those who want a hybrid training shoe for some casual treadmill running and lifting.

I like the wider toe box in this shoe, and if you’re a fan of having room for toe splay, then you’ll appreciate it. I have an E-width foot and have PLENTY of room in this model to let my feet move and do their thing while running and lifting.

altra solstice xt 2 for walking running and standing

In this model, I’ve squatted up to 315 lbs and have deadlifted 455 lbs, and they’ve been “okay” for those asks. They’re not going to be the densest and most stable shoes in the gym, but they should hold their own for most lifters and strength asks.

The zero-drop of this shoe is also nice for giving this model a more minimalist feel. I like to rotate between barefoot shoes and training shoes so having zero-drop options with a bit more cushion is always nice for workouts or contexts where I want more comfort.

While I’ve liked the Solstice XT 2 for running and lifting, they’re not perfect. My two drawbacks to this model are the outsole’s durability and the fact that they’re not the most aesthetic shoes — they can look a little clunky around the toe box at times.

When I’m Also Lifting Heavy | Reebok Nano X4

  • Best For: CrossFit-Style Training, Lifting, and Short Runs
  • Mileage Comfort Threshold: 0-3 miles
  • Lifting Stability Threshold: <525 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 7mm
  • Weight: 12.6 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • For More Info: Read My Review
  • Runner-Up Vimana Hybrid Runner: Read My Review

Reebok Nano X4

$140

Reebok Nano X4 Product Image
4.4
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.4
Quality
4.2

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

Show Me the Pros & Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Great option for doing a little bit of everything
  • Floatride Energy Foam midsole is stable and responsive
  • Good shoef for short runs/HYROX-style workouts

Cons

  • Can feel bulky for minimalist lovers
  • Arch can feel uncomfortable for flat feet
  • Toe box isn't as wide as older Nano models

The Reebok Nano X4 can hold its own for heavy-strength work and short runs. I use this model for pretty much every type of workout and that’s due to its versatile construction — I call them a “best-of-all-worlds” type of trainer.

In the context of lifting, I’ve deadlifted up to 525 lbs in this shoe and have used it for 405 lb squats and haven’t found any issues with the midsole compressing. I’ve also liked their performance for heavy machine lower-body exercises like leg presses and hack squats.

Me Deadlifting 505 lbs In the Reebok Nano X4

When it comes to running, the Nano X4 will be best served for intervals and bouts of running under 3 miles, in my opinion. For these running asks, this shoe feels responsive enough and isn’t so dense that they beat you up despite having a stabler feeling midsole.

I also appreciate that the Nano X4 works for my athletic and CrossFit-focused sessions. This model’s durability works well in these training verticals, and the Flexweave upper has done a good job with overall abrasion resistance.

I think my only hang-ups with the Nano X4 are that it can feel a little clunky at times if you love minimalist-feeling shoes and its arch and narrower toe box can feel offputting for flat and wide feet.

When I’m Training Like a HYROX Athlete | Inov-8 F-Fly

  • Best For: HYROX-Style Training, Cross-Training, and Short Runs
  • Mileage Comfort Threshold: 0-3 miles
  • Lifting Stability Threshold: <325 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 8.65 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size, wider fit
  • For More Info: Read My Review
  • Runner-Up Nano X3 Adventure: Read My Review

Inov-8 F-Fly

Inov-8 F-Fly Product Shot Used for That Fit Friend Review
4.6
Stability
4.3
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • HYROX-Style Training
  • Runs From 1-5 Miles
  • Strength Training (best up to 415 lbs and below)
  • Cross-Training Workouts
  • Workout Classes

Falls Short

  • For Narrow Feet
  • For CrossFit WODs With Rope Climbs
  • For Court Sports

F-Fly Pros and Cons

Logo

Pros

  • POWERFLOW PRO midsole is highly responsive
  • Good option for moderate strength training
  • Wide toe box is great for toe splay

Cons

  • Not the best for narrow feet
  • May lack for CrossFit-only lifters
  • Upper lacks for explosive lateral work

The Inov-8 F-Fly is an amazing shoe that I’ve quickly fallen in love with for my hybrid workouts. To be fair, this is one of the first shoes in a minute that has instantly clicked for me when it comes to seamlessly blending running and lifting in one workout.

I like the POWERFLORW Pro midsole used in this shoe and how responsive it felt for my interval runs and aggressive 5ks. I was shocked at how comfortable this model felt out of the box and that it didn’t beat me up with its “lower” stack height (compared to normal running shoes).

Trying On the Inov-8 F-Fly and Testing Them

I’ve also come to appreciate the 2.5mm lugs on this shoe. On turf, they’ve given me an awesome bite for explosive front-to-back exercises like broad jumps, and I haven’t experienced any slip issues with this model when doing sled pushes and drags.

The lightweight mesh upper has helped with the breathability of this shoe and I’ve also found myself gravitating towards them for daily wear use. For example, if I’m walking Maui [my dog] 2-4 miles, I’ll rock these because they’re comfy, keep my feet cool, and look good.

My only performance-related drawback with the F-Fly so far is that they can lack rigidity for lateral explosive work. There’s no internal toe counter in this shoe, so you can spill over the midsole a little at times in this context. It’s not the biggest deal, but it’s something to consider depending on how you train.

My Opinion: What Makes a Good Hybrid Training Shoe?

The best hybrid training shoes all have one thing in common. This commonality is that they can perform well in a range of lifting and running settings serving as a true hybrid training shoe.

The way I like to conceptualize training shoes, running shoes, and hybrid training shoes is by placing them on a performance spectrum. On one end, we have training shoes that excel for heavy and more serious lifting.

What Makes a Good Hybrid Training Shoe

Then, on the other end, we have models that are designed for running and excelling at different mileages. Once I’ve identified where the shoe falls on the performance spectrum, I then start to assess the shoe’s construction and how that correlates to versatility, stability, and comfort.

More specifically, I’m considering three major construction aspects. First, the midsole of the shoe and the materials used in it. A shoe’s midsole will relate to its responsiveness when running and its stability when training heavily.

hylete circuit ii for running

Second, I’m considering how the hybrid training shoe’s midsole influences comfort. Factors that can influence comfort and feed into this include a shoe’s stack height, heel-to-toe drop, and the compression you experience when training and running with the materials used.

Third and lastly, I’m assessing a shoe’s durability and what settings this durability will feed into best. For example, if you’re primarily tackling outdoor workouts, then you’ll want a shoe with an outsole and upper that can withstand the demands of outdoor training.

Basically, I like to consider the three main construction buckets below when considering factors that can influence how well a hybrid training shoe performs.

  1. Midsole Materials and Construction
  2. Stack Height, Heel-to-Toe Drop, Comfort
  3. Durability of the Outsole and Upper

These three construction buckets then help paint the picture as to the mileage and stability thresholds that hybrid shoes will be best for.

Why Hybrid Shoes Can Be Awesome

When it comes to training shoes that are good for lifting and running, there are two main benefits that can come along with them. These benefits can ebb and flow based on the shoe in question and your performance needs.

1. Best of All Worlds

The first benefit is that hybrid training shoes can give you a “best of all worlds” type of feel. This means that your shoes can do pretty well when lifting, tackling HIIT workouts, and even doing shorter runs.

Inov-8 F-Lite Fly G 295 Mid Range Running Testing

This can be useful for the athlete and lifter who isn’t hyper-specific in any one training category. As you get more niche with your training, you’ll want something more specific, but if you’re not specific with your goals, then a hybrid shoe can be a really good fit.

For niche examples, cross-training shoes that are super stable in nature will lack comfort when running and can leave your feet feeling fatigued. Conversely, running shoes can lack stability when training heavily and compromise performance.

2. Only Need One Pair of Shoes

Another benefit to hybrid training shoes is that you only need to bring one pair of shoes to most of your training sessions. This is great for contexts where you don’t want to bring more than one pair of shoes with you to train or when you don’t want to switch your shoes mid-workout.

This can be great for anyone who’s commuting with limited space in their bag or someone who wants to limit their overall spending by investing in one pair of shoes versus specific shoes for every type of training.

Remember, Hybrid Shoes Can’t Do It All

As you become more serious and specific about your training, a hybrid training shoe’s benefits will start to diminish. I like to use my coaching background to discuss and conceptualize the drawbacks of hybrid training shoes.

A good example here would be someone who primarily does CrossFit workouts and works to get better at the sport. These athletes will want a quality pair of CrossFit shoes to help them achieve their goals.

NOBULL Trainer Plus for lifting and CrossFit

A good pair of CrossFit shoes will deliver construction features that specifically feed into this style of training, whereas hybrid training shoes will be more general in their construction.

That being said, the main drawback to hybrid training shoes is that there will always be a threshold where their performance drops off and this could come in the form of running or lifting-focused goals.

Final Verdict

Certain training shoes on the market are purposely designed for running and lifting. If you train like a hybrid athlete, then these models can be worth exploring especially if you’re only wanting one shoe for your workouts.

As you get more specific with your training, you’ll want to look into more specific training shoes. Hybrid training shoes can be great for those looking to spend less and bring fewer shoes with them to the gym.

If you have any questions about the hybrid training shoes featured in this article, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

 
Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

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.

8 thoughts on “The 6 Best Training Shoes for Running and Lifting (Hybrid Options!)”

  1. I’m curious about the f-fly by inov8. I normally wear brooks. I’m starting to think it’s too much cushion when I do weights. I do Orange Theory. Kind of like cross fit. There is rowing, tredmill, and weight floor. Weight floor is all free weights and some cardio. No worries about loading too much there. My worry is with running. I’m a front runner. I never strike with my heel. Will this be a good shoe?

  2. What a great content! Useful and comprehensive guide! Do you have a guide about choosing the right running shoes aswell?

    1. Thank you, James! I have one in the works, but running isn’t my main training vertical/focus so I’m slower on creating content with running shoes as I’m not putting as much volume in on a weekly basis as your pure running-focused individuals and I want to make sure I properly test models before posting about them. Should have something in the next two months, though :)

  3. Honestly – such a great article. Provided the in-depth analysis I was looking for and appreciate the recommendations with images. Thanks for insight

  4. Hello. I work with kids at school. I love being active. But I think I’ve always been using wrong shoes, now I got a litttle bad feet and knees..

    I really need an outdoor shoe for asphalt, for a big variety of activites. Lots of quick movement. Like tennis, basketball, , football, running.. But there is also some standing still on asphalt that may hurt..

    Also we have artific grass (soccer field), so I need some stability for that aswell..

    Think I overpronate s little too..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *