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No matter what exercise you’re doing, you need a solid foundation. When you’re cross-training, you want a shoe that can carry you through a bootcamp class and absorb the ground when you’re doing plyometric exercises. These next-gen kicks fuse the best features of multiple (once very separate) worlds, and they’re here to power you through any workout.
Your workout is only as good as the shoes on your feet. That’s especially true when it comes to cross-training, which calls for all kinds of movement—front to back, side to side, up and down, you name it.
So if you’re going to go all-out in a HIIT or bootcamp workout, you need a shoe that can handle everything from box jumps and cardio machines to weight-lifting in any number of environments. But how do you find a shoe versatile enough to do all of this?
Shop some of the best training shoes below:
Look for a shoe with a few specific features. “Cross-training shoes should have sufficient traction and be able to grip the floor; they should not slip and slide on different surfaces,” says Mali Pelham, CPT, CFSC, a personal trainer at Wattage in Chicago.
Not only will the right shoes enhance your performance, but a secure and comfortable fit can help you prevent injury, too. Ready to sweat? These are the best training shoes you can buy right now, per online reviews and experts.
HIIT Training Shoe
Made for explosive movement, these sneakers were designed with stability, grip, and durability in mind. They offer targeted support and a secure fit that will get you through all your jumps. Be aware that their sizes run big, so you might want to size down.
Rave Review: “These shoes are the perfect shoe for HIIT workouts. The shoes grip the floor and have a very comfortable base when doing squats.”
Influence Training Shoes
This shoe shines in high-impact studio workouts. You’ve got “Flex-Foil” layers that support lateral movement, midsole cushioning that targets pressure points for extra comfort, and an ergonomic design specifically made for women’s feet. What more could you want in a cross-trainer?
Rave Review: “The MINUTE I put them on and walked around, I felt like my feet were sighing with relief and saying ‘finally’…They are lightweight, yet support your feet so well and have padding in all the right places.”
Women’s Floral Trainer
Pelham says the NOBULL brand is super popular. These NOBULL shoes were specifically designed for cross-training and are on the stiffer side due to intentional guard plates that create a 360-degree shield around your foot.
P.S. They’re so stylish you’ll hardly believe they’re gym shoes.
Rave Review: “This is my second pair of trainers and they make such a difference when lifting. I use mine for CrossFit workouts. It is a very functional shoe. I not only wear them to workout in, but also to work.”
FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker
ICYMI, this New Balance cross trainer is both easy to slip on and off your feet *and* it’s great for those who need arch support. Basically, you can wear these sleek, comfy shoes through all of your training needs without your feet feeling achy AF.
Rave Review: “I love these shoes. They are great to slip on and go, match any outfit, and are super comfy.”
Before WH editorial assistant Addison Aloian bought a pair of flatter shoes, she used these Hoka Bodi 8s to lift and run, and she says they were awesome. While they’re made to run miles, they also offer a plush cushion and a rear crash pad, making them perfect for high-impact workouts at the gym.
Rave Review: “Great support for the arthritis in my feet. Loved them so much I bought the leather option for a more formal work look.”
Nano X2 Women’s Training Shoes
These Reebok Nano X2’s are made with Flexweave material that’s both super breathable and allows fluid movement throughout any and all workouts. The rubber sole will also keep you in place during all your squats.
Rave Review: “These are great for cross-training! They have just enough cushion to be comfortable, but they keep you steady on your feet when you need to lift heavy.”
Nano X3 Adventure
If you can’t already tell, the WH team loves a good pair of Reeboks when it comes to cross training, but Amanda Lucci, deputy editor of content and strategy, says these are her recent favorites. Unlike the OG Nano X2s, these are totally water-resistant, so they’re made for everything from outdoor workouts to gym sessions. Their Vibram soles also provide a nice grip on wet grass or rocky terrain.
Rave Review: These shoes only have one review, as they just launched on July 14. But, with Lucci’s vigorous testing and approval, they’re totally WH-approved.
These Cloud X’s offer some of the best heel support thanks to a precision-molded heel cap. The brand also touts the shoe’s ability to help your foot better absorb impact.
Rave Review: “This is my first pair of On shoes! I strength train, so I have been looking for a pair of shoes that can wear multiple hats. I think I finally found a good balance with these shoes. They’re flexible yet very light, and I’m impressed with how the shoe is able to conform with any movement.”
Minimus TR V1 Cross Trainer
These cross-trainers from New Balance are made with mesh fabric for increased ventilation and cushy foam for a customized fit. They’re also designed with premium liners that allow you to go sock-free if you want to.
Rave Review: “I do American Ninja Warrior workouts in these and their grip is amazing! Plus the toe area isn’t overly roomy, which I love as well.”
Adrenaline GTS 22
You can log miles and cross train in the latest iteration of the Brooks Adrenaline. Their lightweight design allows you to move freely while still providing cushion. They also include “GuideRails tech,” which helps limit excess foot movement that can harm your knees.
Rave Review: “These shoes provide the best support for me. My feet overpronate when I walk, which causes shin splints and other feet issues. I have had many injuries to my feet in the past due to wearing shoes that did not provide the proper support for my gait. Brooks Adrenaline GTS are the only sneakers that are not only comfortable to wear, but provide support for my achy feet.”
V-Run Retro Shoes
If you prefer a minimalist shoe, these Vibrams are the perfect cross-training shoe for you. Pelham says she often recommends people try training barefoot. But if you aren’t feeling that adventurous, Vibram will give you the closest feel of training shoeless while still wearing shoes. The thin rubber sole offers just enough grip and support.
Rave Review: “I love these—been wearing them for more than a year and still in amazing shape. I wear them at least two times a week for HIIT, kickboxing, and total-body conditioning classes. They are great.”
How Our Team Chose The Best Cross-Training Shoes
For the past few months, Women’s Health editors, including our associate commerce editor Lily Wohlner, have been researching the most popular, and top-rated cross-training shoes. Our team consulted Mali Pelham, CPT, CFSC, for the story and read through hundreds of reviews to choose the best cross-training shoes for a wide range of needs and preferences.
How to chose the best cross-training shoe
Pelham recommends keeping three things in mind when you’re on the hunt for a new pair of cross-trainers: traction, comfort, and style. “Your feet and your toes shouldn’t feel like they’re being suffocated, and you shouldn’t be counting down the minutes until you get to take them off,” she says.
But also, don’t sleep on the chance to make a fashion statement during your workout. “You need to like the shoes you wear and feel confident while wearing them!” Pelham adds.
Trying before buying is a must. But if you aren’t able to find something in-store, Pelham recommends buying online from a retailer with a decent return policy just in case it takes a couple of tries to find the perfect fit.
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