The best workout shoes for every type of exercise, according to fitness trainers



Trainers share their tried and true picks for the best workout shoes.

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Whenever you start a new training or workout program, one of the first things you should do is decide the best workout shoes to wear. The right type of sneakers can be crucial to your workout (and your feet, from heel to midsole to toe), even if you just plan on weight lifting at a gym or using the stair climber. It’s even more important if you want to run or do CrossFit, where you need gym shoes that offer comfort and support your feet and joints. 

If you’re new to working out, chances are you’re a bit lost about which gym shoes will be the best to support you and your feet in your new workout. And you don’t want just any pair of gym shoes, especially if you’re going to be investing a lot of time (and potentially money) into your new training routine.  

Sneakers can ultimately be a personal preference, but if you’re looking for some suggestions, the best people to ask (in my humble opinion) are fitness trainers. Why? Trainers pretty much spend 24/7 in sneakers and likely have tried them all. They know which sneakers to skip, which sneakers to invest in, and oftentimes can save you from a headache when you’ve just bought 4 different pairs of sneakers but hate all of them.

Read more: 9 of the best running shoes for 2020

So let these fitness trainers save you some precious time (and hopefully money) by checking out their recommendations for the best workout shoes for every kind of exercise. No matter if you’re running, boxing, or dancing and beyond — this guide to sneakers has you covered.


“For trails, I prefer Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX.  These are Gore-tex to keep your feet dry and have firm soles for added stability on the trails.  The toe box is also reinforced to keep you from stubbing your toe. As these shoes are sturdier, they are good for indoor cycling and some indoor exercise classes.  With a firm sole, some activities (such as calf raises) might be difficult in these shoes.”

– Mollie Millington, runner and certified personal trainer.


“I love the Asics Kayano as they provide additional ankle stability for people with muscle imbalances, which we all have. Once the ankle and knees are supported correctly, the proper shoe can relieve pain in the knees and ankles and help correct over-pronation which is when your foot rolls inward, causing shin splints and can cause knee pain and swelling.

“A good stability shoe will help minimize the rolling inward and help the heel-to-toe transition slowly, correcting your running form over time.

“I personally love how light this model has become over the years. The shoe has transformed into a fashionable and light shoe while helping correct the form of our feet while we run while improving the pressure on our joints while we run with added cushioning. Every client I put in these shoes loves them, as they can be worn while strength training or running.”

– Holly Roser, certified personal trainer. 


“There are two main things you look for in a CrossFit shoe: durability and versatility. A good CrossFit shoe takes you from squats to rope climbs to burpee box jumps all in one workout. A good pair of CrossFit shoes feels just as comfortable during an 800-meter run as it does during a couplet of deadlifts and push-ups — and NoBull surpasses standards for all of the above.

“NoBull shoes have a reputation for being heavy-duty yet comfortable, supportive yet flexible. Plus, they’re sleek and simple, and you can choose from high-top, mid-rise and regular to find your perfect fit,” 

— Amanda Capritto, CrossFit Coach, certified personal trainer and CNET writer.


“My fave sneaker model is the Asics Gel Nimbus. They were the first pair of shoes I bought when I started training with DanceBody in 2016, and I’m seriously committed to them. I’ve tried a bunch of different sneaker brands and models, but I always come back to the Gel Nimbus. 

“They have amazing shock absorption for high-impact movements, but are light enough that they don’t feel like clunky moon shoes; the perfect balance for dance cardio.” 

– Sam Ostwald, trainer and instructor at DanceBody


“For boxing workouts, these are super-comfortable and feel like you’re walking on clouds! I also like that they can be slip-on and not tied with laces. I do a lot of strength training and high-impact moves and have loved these shoes for the past four years. I still wear them whenever I do boxing workouts, drills and high-impact training,” 

Amanda Alappat, former pro boxer and personal trainer. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


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