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The best gym shoes have features specific to certain activities. Running shoes are typically more cushioned to reduce the impact on the joints. Weightlifting shoes help to align and stabilize the lower body to reduce the risk of injury.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

This article explores why different workouts may require different gym shoes, and lists a range of gym shoes available. Finally, we answer some frequently asked questions about gym shoes.

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Best weightlifting shoes: Under Armour Project Rock 4 Training Shoes

  • Approximate weight:9 ounces (oz)
  • Fit: regular
  • Number of sizes: 14
  • Price: $75-260

Under Armour is a fitness shoe and apparel company that sells shoes for different sports, including baseball, football, and golf. It also makes military and tactical training shoes.

Under Armour’s weightlifting shoes use the company’s HOVR technology to provide a feeling of zero gravity. According to Under Armour, this patented technology helps people maintain energy return, which reduces impact on the joints.

These shoes may provide adequate stability to assist people who lift weights.

The shoes are available in men’s and women’s ranges. Color options vary between these ranges and include:

  • black/gray
  • lime/black
  • blue/black

The Under Armour Project Rock 4 Training Shoes cost between $75-260. The company also offers interest-free payments and 60-day returns.

Best all-terrain shoes: Under Armour Charged Assert 9 Running Shoes

  • Approximate weight: 8 oz
  • Fit: regular
  • Number of sizes: 14
  • Price: $30-125

Under Armour’s Charged Assert 9 Running Shoes feature a compression-molded foam midsole that responds to and reduces impact while running.

The solid rubber outsole spreads over several high impact zones, ensuring the shoes have good durability no matter the running surface.

A mesh upper ensures breathability for a comfortable run.

These shoes may suit runners who need flexibility, cushioning, and breathability. They are available in men’s and women’s ranges. Color options vary between the ranges and include:

  • black
  • black/white
  • white/black
  • gray/white
  • teal/white
  • pink/white

The Under Armour Charged Assert 9 Running Shoes cost between $30-125. The company also offers interest-free payments for those who do not wish to pay the full amount in one go.

Best cross-training shoes: Reebok Nano X Shoes

  • Weight: 14.4 oz
  • Fit: regular
  • Number of sizes: 12+
  • Price: $60-200

Reebok is an established sports brand that sells a range of fitness apparel and sports equipment, from leggings and trainers to treadmills and free weights.

The Reebok Nano X shoe is a crosstraining shoe. Features include:

  • Flexweave material breathability, stability, and durability
  • enhanced comfort, with a new collar construction that holds the ankle in place
  • a minimal drop outsole
  • low profile stability that secures footing

These shoes are available in men’s and women’s ranges. Color options vary between the ranges and include:

  • black/black/white
  • black/white/orange
  • black/gray
  • army green/poplar green
  • white/black/red
  • chalk/navy/sepia
  • pure gray

The Reebok Nano X Shoes cost between $60-200.

Best running shoes: Reebok Lavante Terrain Running Shoes

  • Approximate weight: 11 oz
  • Fit: regular
  • Number of sizes: 12+
  • Price: $25-90

Reebok specifically designed these shoes for outdoor running, though a person can also use them in the gym.

These terrain shoes have the following key features:

  • FuelFoam in the midsole to provide a cushioning response
  • a textured rubber sole for increased grip, even in muddy and other challenging terrains
  • soft and breathable material

These shoes are available in men’s and women’s ranges. Color options vary between the ranges and include:

  • black/white
  • black/gray
  • gray/red/blue
  • pure gray

The Reebok Lavante Terrain Running Shoes cost between $25-90.

Best strength training shoes: Nike Free Metcon 7 Shoes

  • Approximate weight: 11 oz
  • Fit: narrow
  • Number of sizes: 15+
  • Price: $70-250

Nike is a well-established sports brand, and its fitness products are available globally.

According to Nike, the Nike Free Metcon 7 supports various activities, including boot camps and strength training.

The shoes feature a durable strap that offers stability during workouts. They have a snug, sock-like fit and are lightweight, flexible, and breathable.

The shoes are available in men’s and women’s sizes. Color options vary between the ranges and include:

  • black/white
  • orange/gray/white
  • gray/white
  • pink
  • black/white/green
  • yellow
  • white/green

The Nike Free Metcon 7 Shoes cost between $70-250 but are also available with payment installments. There is also a 60-day return for Nike members purchasing directly.

Best sustainable gym shoe: Nike Tanjun Shoes

  • Approximate weight: 7 oz
  • Fit: tight
  • Number of sizes: 15
  • Price: $38-155

Nike’s Tanjun shoes feature a lightweight but durable midsole and outsole and a low-cut padded collar for comfort. The shoes also comprise a minimum of 20% recycled material by weight.

Reviews on the company website indicate that users find the shoes comfortable and suitable for all-day wear, walking, and gym use.

The shoes are available in men’s and women’s ranges. Color options vary between the ranges and include:

  • black
  • white/black
  • black/white
  • pink/gray
  • gray/white

The Nike Tanjun Shoes cost between $38-155. The company also offers four interest-free payments.

Best treadmill shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 25 Running Shoes

  • Approximate weight: 8 oz
  • Fit: tight
  • Number of sizes: 13
  • Price: $78-200

The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 Running shoes contain a patented Mizuno Wave plate, which the company claims disperses energy from impacts over a broad area for stability and superior cushioning. These shoes also feature a durable and breathable mesh upper.

The shoes are available in men’s and women’s ranges. Color options vary between these ranges and include:

  • imperial blue/vivid blue
  • blackened pearl
  • black
  • lake blue/clearwater
  • pale lilac/white

The Mizuno Wave Rider 25 shoes cost between $78-200 and come with a 30-day return guarantee.

Best cycling shoes: Tiem Slipstream Shoes

  • Approximate weight: 5 oz
  • Fit: tight
  • Number of sizes: 13
  • Price: $135

Tiem has used designed these shoes specifically for studio cycling classes. The slip-on shoes have a single strap and a breathable mesh toe box. Cleats are available separately.

Tiem Slipstream Shoes are available only in women’s sizes. However, Tiem states that people seeking men’s sizes can add 1.5 to their usual size. For example, a man who is ordinarily a size 9 should purchase a women’s size 10.5.

There are 13 color options, including:

  • black
  • white
  • coral
  • navy
  • lilac
  • camo

The Tiem Slipstream shoes cost $135 and come with a 30-day guarantee.

Best shoes for fitness classes: Rykä Influence Training Shoe

  • Approximate weight: 7 oz
  • Fit: regular
  • Number of sizes: 13
  • Price: $45-165

This shoe is suitable for dance fitness and light workouts at home or at the gym.

A dual-density foam midsole provides padding for impact and helps the shoe keep its shape. The shoe aims to provide ease of movement, and the insole provides extra arch and heel support.

These shoes are available in women’s sizes, with medium or wide-width options.

There are 9 color options, including:

  • black
  • vapor gray
  • iris blue
  • pink rose
  • black/multi

The Rykä Influence Training Shoes cost between $45-165 and come with a 45-day guarantee.

The following table compares the gym shoes above on key features:

Best forApprox. weight FitNo. of sizesPrice
Under Armour Project Rock 4 Training Shoesweights9 ozRegular 14$75-260
Under Armour Charged Assert 9 Running Shoesrunning8 ozregular14 $30-125
Reebok Nano X Shoescross-training14.5 ozregular12+$60-200
Reebok Lavante Terrain Running Shoesoutdoor running11 ozregular12+$25-90
Nike Free Metcon 7 Shoesstrength training11 oznarrow15+$70-250
Nike Tanjun Shoesvarious workouts7 oztight15$38-155
Mizuno Wave Rider 25 Running Shoesrunning8 oztight13$78-200
Tiem Slipstream Shoescycling5 oztight12+$135
Rykä Influence Training Shoefitness classes7 ozRegular 13$45-165

Comfort, safety, and proper fit are important factors when choosing a gym shoe.

A safe gym shoe features a flat, nonskid sole with heel support and enough space for the toes to move around.

Gym shoes should also provide cushioning for the foot arch. People with flat feet should carefully research gym shoes, as regular-fit shoes may not provide enough arch support.

Learn about the best running shoes for flat feet here.

People should also look for shoes suitable for their chosen activity:

Depending on a person’s workout routine, they may need different gym shoes for different activities.

Below are some activities for which a person may require a specific type of gym shoe.

Running

Sportswear manufacturers have dramatically altered the look and feel of running shoes in the past century by trialing new designs and materials.

Running shoes now have technical and engineering elements that provide different characteristics important for running, such as:

  • support
  • cushioning
  • a barefoot feel

A 2015 review notes that running injury levels have remained unchanged for 40 years despite these advances. However, the authors state this may be due to changes to the running population and the definition of a running injury.

Learn more about the best running shoes for men here.

Learn more about the best running shoes for women here.

Weightlifting

The key characteristics of weightlifting shoes include:

  • raised heels, appropriate for a person’s height
  • solid, nonslip soles
  • ankle support
  • a roomy, secure fit

Although weightlifting shoes have features that running shoes lack, studies cannot confirm their benefits for all people who lift weights. A 2017 study demonstrated that weightlifting shoes may benefit experienced weightlifters more than inexperienced weightlifters.

Below are some key differences between running shoes and weightlifting shoes:

  • Running shoes focus on cushioning, while weightlifting shoes focus on alignment.
  • Running shoes are flexible, while weightlifting shoes are solid.
  • Running shoes promote rebounding, whereas weightlifting shoes help absorb force.

Learn about the best weightlifting shoes here.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about gym shoes:

How do I choose the right size for my gym shoes?

Most companies provide a size chart on their website to help people take their measurements and select an appropriate shoe size. Those who need help choosing their size may contact the customer team for guidance.

Many products also come with a return guarantee, so customers can return their shoes if they do not fit.

Can I wear regular shoes for weightlifting?

Gym instructors may recommend weightlifting shoes for individuals who lift weights. These help provide stability and maintain a comfortable position when squatting, especially if a person has ankle problems.

How much do workout trainers cost?

The cost of workout trainers varies according to the type, brand, and materials. Most cost more than $100. Many brands offer interest-free payments for people who wish to pay in installments.

When should I buy new gym shoes?

Gym shoes will deteriorate over time, so individuals should check them regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Signs that a shoe needs replacing include:

  • having tired, aching feet after physical activity
  • experiencing pain in the shins, knees, or hips after physical activity
  • noticing a worn-out tread on the shoes

Gym shoe manufacturers offer shoes specialized for different types of gym activities. Whether a person runs, lifts weights, or participates in group classes, they can find a specialized gym shoe to suit their needs.

The best gym shoe will provide appropriate durability, support, and comfort.

People can use online sizing charts to select the most appropriate shoe for their foot size and shape. Most companies also offer a guarantee period, during which a person can return their shoes if they are not a good fit.