Find the perfect footwear for every activity, from lifting or cardio classes to running. The editors at Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine tried out dozens of options to help you find your favorite kicks for training day.
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Cross-training sneakers are the Swiss Army knives of your shoe closet. Do yours stand up to the challenge? For cross-training, your sneakers need to have breathability, cushioning, grip, and stability in one light frame. That’s a tall order to fill, but these options bring all the versatility and comfort you need to excel.
Adidas Ultra Boost ST
“The ST stands for stability, which is built into the midsole. I love the lightness of these; they are amazingly comfortable for walking and studio classes. I tried a three-miler in these but felt like I had to change my stride to not feel the impact vibrations as I landed on my heel. That could be a great thing, though, since heel striking is known to be worse for your body. On the other hand, I wasn’t ready for it. Overall these are incredibly light and comfortable shoes for studio classes and are probably a great fit for many runners.” —Cat Perry, Deputy Editor, M&F Hers $180, Adidas.com
Asics Gel-Quantum 360
“I liked the extra support even when doing high-impact moves in multiple directions like lateral hops and skaters, especially in the heel area (where many shoes tend to slip). They fit well and are comfortable. The cons are that these are a little on the heavy side, so they’re not ideal if you want to run a couple of miles on the treadmill.” —Alyssa Shaffer, Executive Editor, M&F Hers, $170, Asics.com
Reebok Crossfit Speed TR
“Balance, that’s what this one strikes. It’s durable like the Reebok CrossFit Nano 6.0 but has a tiny bit more cushioning and more of that classic sneaker look and feel, with more rounded toes, rather than more squared off like the Nano 6.0. They also sport the flared outsole for ultimate stability, so you’re not rolling over the cushion. Light and fast, grippy on the bottom, these are a crowd favorite from CrossFit trainers (and aspiring ones) I’ve talked to. That’s a big vote of confidence for me that Reebok is onto something with this one, too.” —C.P. $100, Reebok.com
New Balance 99V1
“These sneakers are true to size, super-lightweight so they don’t weigh you down, offer great flexibility when moving, and fit like a snug sleeve. The drawbacks are that if you need arch support, these don’t have it. Plus, the cushion isn’t too supportive, they don’t have great grip, and the upper felt a little stiff when flexing my foot, but that could mean they need breaking in. Overall these have a lively aesthetic that’s hard to pass up.” —Christina Simonetti, Editorial/ Photo Assistant, Men’s Fitness, $80, Kohl’s Stores
Gait, terrain, and pace help determine the best shoe for you to put miles on. These sneakers have comfort, spring, and stability.
Saucony OMNI 15
“I was impressed. Tons of additional foam to boost comfort along the back of the heel, tongue, and sides of the foot. The outsole has maximal support cushioning that absorbs impact. The shape encourages a forefoot strike. Superstretchy laces let you create a close-to-skin fit without feeling like it’s cutting circulation. Really comfortable.” —Brittany Smith, Assistant Editor, Men’s Fitness, $130, Saucony.com
Mizuno Wave Paradox 3
“If you’re looking for a high-support running shoe and don’t mind a little extra weight, the Wave Paradox 3 gets the job done. Internal cushioning will keep you going through high- mileage runs. The thick outsole helped minimize jarring on my knees and reduced shock every time my feet touched the ground.” —B.S., $140, Mizuno.com
Brooks Launch 3
“These felt light and comfortable as soon as I put them on. I set out on a run and felt like I was going faster than usual because the shoes felt so light on my feet while still providing the support and cushioning I like for my high arches. They were comfortable during weightlifting and on the elliptical, too.”—Diana Kelly, Senior Web Editor, M&F Hers, From $100, Brooksrunning.com
Under Armour Speedform Gemini 2.1
“These shoes are so light that when I felt strong in my stride, I could switch pace at the flip of an internal switch. Love that I also felt pretty comfortable with the level of cushioning, and even the seamless upper was supportive enough for road running, except for going downhill.”—C.P., $130, UA.com
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This category needs a special spotlight because we spend a lot of time in the weight room. Here are some of our favorite kicks for pumping iron day after day.
Under Armour Speedform Slingride
“These were very lightweight and comfortable, although I prefer a bit more support, even while lifting. They’re probably best for lifting while traveling or exploring a new city via short runs (like three miles). I liked the blue-green hue!” —D.K., $100, UA.com
Asics Fuzex TR
“These are really great overall. They have a very comfortable feel with a snug fit and a decent amount of cushioning for a cross-trainer, so they’re just as comfortable for lifting as they are for running or agility training. They have great lateral support. I used them on turf, but they have pretty good grip on every surface. They have really good stretch toward the front for optimal toe splay for lifting.” —CS $110, Asics.com
Reebok Crossfit Nano 6.0
“When I had no idea what was in store for my training WOD, I donned the Nano 6.0 to get me through. The superflat, grippy outsole and wide toe box are amazing for lifting and plyometric moves, though I personally prefer a bit more cushion for anything involving box jumps. I love their versatility and total durability, though. A key shoe for lifting.” —CP $130, Reebok.com
Rykä Vida RZX 2
Slipper-like comfort— I barely knew they were on. Cute design, too. And my feet stayed nice and cool while training. Although the toe is narrower than other lifting shoes, I’d definitely lift in these. On the other hand, these didn’t have a lot of support, so I wouldn’t trust them for plyo day or any kind of high- impact moves.” —as $75, Zappos.com
Vibram Fivefingers Kmd Sport LS
“Proprioception refers to your ability to sense your body in space. The concept behind Vibram FiveFingers is to boost exactly that. Fit: I love that the custom lacing allows for my higher instep to remain comfortable; they’re literally rubberized gloves on my feet. Function: Weight training in these allows my feet a pure connection to the ground that foam on regular sneakers limits. Squats, lunges, and snatches become even more total body when your lower body has complete contact with the ground.” —CP $115, us.vibram.com