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Cross-training shoes are your all-purpose kicks that can support you during weightlifting, CrossFit, cardio, and everyday life. They help you save on money, because you’re not buying several pairs of specialty shoes, and time, because you’re not changing them when switching from lifting to running. 

With that in mind, we’re aware that not every cross-trainer is a shoo-in (sorry, had to) for everyone’s gym bag. Some people may need more arch support than others, and your desired level of cushioning will be determined by how you train. It all comes down to what feels best on your feet, and only you can be the judge of that. 

That’s why, like a great cross-trainer, our list of the best cross-training shoes has a little something for everyone.

Why You Should Trust Us

I’ve laced up shoes from Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Asics, Under Armour…I could go on for hours but I’d probably start to bore you. The point is, I’ve tried out countless pairs, going back to long before I started posting my honest thoughts about them online. I’ve made it a point to actually try on every one before I tell you whether or not I think they’re worth your time and money.

That research has led me to compile the lists of the best CrossFit shoes, best weightlifting shoes, and even a guide to figure out what kind of shoes you should wear based on your style of training. 

I also have a team of fitness enthusiasts and experts who aren’t afraid to debate me on the qualifications of certain shoes, so you’re not just getting my perspective here. We went back-and-forth and did plenty of sole searching before finalizing this list. 

My Picks for the Best Cross-Training Shoes 

Editor’s Pick: Nike Metcon 7

Good for: People who need a shoe for lifting and cardio.

Editor's Choice
Nike Metcon 7
Nike Metcon 7

The Nike Metcon 7 is the gold standard for weight training–even tougher and more stable than previous versions. We've also added React foam that ups the comfort to keep you ready for high-intensity cardio.

My Favorite Things:

  • Comes in various colorways and can be customized  
  • Good for people with narrow or wide feet 
  • An easy shoe to break in
  • Great for anyone who’s into CrossFit 

My Callouts:

  • Some designs may cost $150 or more 
  • Laces are not the most durable 
  • Flexibility is average at best 

Metcon is a type of workout that combines strength training and cardio, so it’s no wonder the Nike Metcon 7 is our top pick for the best pair of cross-training shoes. The name aside, there’s a few obvious reasons why these have become my go-to gym shoes. 

For one, they’re designed for just about every activity you can think of. The wide base keeps you stable during deadlifts and squats; a well-cushioned forefront makes cardio bursts a breeze; you can do handstand push-ups with ease thanks to the heel handstand clips; and there’s a mid-foot rope guard to give you additional grip during rope climbs. 

I’m a big fan of the grippy all-rubber outsole that provides awesome traction whether you’re doing box jumps, burpees, or heavy lifting. They have an extremely breathable mesh upper, which makes a huge difference during those grueling workouts. The flexibility is average, and I wouldn’t recommend running more than a mile in them, but if you’re doing anything more than that, you should probably switch to running shoes anyway.

I’ve worn every Nike Metcon from the Metcon 6 down to the OGs, and I think Nike perfected it with the 7’s. It’s the first iteration that doesn’t have a squeaking issue, which was caused by the prior versions having a combined midsole and insole. 

The Nike Metcon 7’s start at $130, though some designs can cost you more than $150, so it might not be the most budget-friendly option. If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best, though, these are my runaway favorites. And if you’re willing and able to spend the money, Nike also allows you to fully customize every part of the sneaker to truly make it your own. 

Read my full Nike Metcon 7 review.

Community Choice: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

Good for: People who want a reliable, inexpensive shoe with a stable base

Community Choice
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars

Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars are the original minimalist shoe. With a near-zero heel-to-toe drop, a sturdy rubber outsole, and lace closure, they provide stability for heavy lifts. The minimal drop also allows you to feel grounded during deadlifts and squats.

My Favorite Things:

  • Flat heel is perfect for deadlifts  
  • Can get them in high-tops or low-tops 
  • They look great, and at $60, they’re very affordable 

My Callouts:

  • Canvas construction isn’t very durable   
  • They’re not the best for squatting 
  • Narrow through the midfoot 

We asked our Home Gym Community on Facebook (if you’re not a part of it, then what are you waiting for?) what their favorite training shoe is and while the No. 1 pick was the Nike Metcon 7, the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star was a close second. 

Poll of best cross-training shoes

Honestly, I like our readers’ style. I mean, what’s not to love about Chucks? You get a rigid outsole, great ankle support (if you choose the high-top version, which I recommend), and they look great so you can wear them in the gym and to dinner. Talk about versatility. 

Some of our readers pointed out, and I agree, that Chucks aren’t the best pick for every lift, particularly the back squat. This is due to the minimal heel-to-toe drop, which is fine for deadlifts and other moves. The flat, thin midsole is another reason why these shoes are great for people who need to feel grounded during their workouts. 

The shoe’s upper is made from canvas fabric, which isn’t great from a durability standpoint but awesome because it’s breathable and flexible. 

To put it bluntly, these aren’t the best if your workouts involve a lot of cardio. If you’re just doing warmups, they’ll hold alright, but I wouldn’t do anything too competitive in them like sprints, or even burpees. On the bright side, they’re great for everyday use and should hold up just fine on long walks.    

RELATED: Best Deadlift Shoes 

Best Cross-Training Shoe for Cardio: Nike Free Metcon 4

Good for: Anyone who does a lot of running or cardio workouts 

Best Cardio Cross-Training Shoe
Nike Free Metcon 4
Nike Free Metcon 4

The Nike Free Metcon 4 combines flexibility with stability to help you get the most out of your training program.

My Favorite Things:

  • Good for people who do a lot of running and jumping  
  • The rubber tread is very grippy
  • Well priced at $120 
  • Evenly disperses pressure throughout your foot to keep it supported

My Callouts:

  • They run small and narrow, so they’re not good for people with wide feet   
  • They’re a little tighter than most cross-training shoes 
  • More suited for cardio workouts than for weightlifting 

Cross-trainers are supposed to combine different shoe attributes into one, and Nike took that literally with the Free Metcon 4 by taking the best parts of the Free running shoe and the Metcons. 

We like the Nike Free Metcon 4 for cardio workouts because it has a great foot hug, another feature from the Free, and a rubber tread that prevents slippage on quick cuts and jumps. Additionally, it has a flexible forefoot and internal webbing to support your midfoot. 

Your feet will not only stay supported during those cardio workouts, but they’ll remain cool as well thanks to the chain-link breathable mesh upper.  

Now, it’s true you want a snug pair of shoes for things like running, but the Free Metcon 4 might be a bit too tight for some people. In our testing, we found we had to go a half size up to find a pair that fit us well, but others we spoke to said they fit them true to size. Everyone’s feet are different after all, but these are cut on the smaller side so if you’re a member of the wide foot club it could be a struggle to get in them. 

This shoe certainly takes after both its parents, but we think it has a little more of the Free in it because it’s so great for cardio movements. That’s not to say you can’t wear them while weightlifting, especially since the wide heel provides ample stability during squats, but the traditional Metcons are a better pick if you’re primarily doing strength training or Olympic lifts. 

Read my full Nike Free Metcon 4 review 

Best Cross-Training Shoe for Arch Support: Inov-8-F-Lite G-300

Good for: People who need plenty of arch support 

Best Cross-Training Shoe for Arch Support
Inov-8 F-LITE 300 G
Inov-8 F-LITE 300 G

The latest addition to our versatility collection, the new F-LITE G 300 is our most responsive and protective cross-training & fitness shoe to date. Featuring brand new, exclusive technologies this versatile training shoe brings you maximum lifting support and stability, without compromising on cushioning and flexibility.

My Favorite Things:

  • Good for people with wider feet  
  • Anyone who needs a durable shoe 
  • Lightweight, at just 10.5 oz.
  • No lengthy break-in period 

My Callouts:

  • Laces don’t get very tight (a good thing for some, not so much for others) 
  • Not sold in a lot of stores in the United States 
  • Not good for people who like tighter shoes

Cross-training shoes are known for a lot of things, but arch support isn’t one of them. That is, unless you place in your own specialty insole, but it’d be nice to have one with support already built in. Enter the Inov-8-F-Lite G-300. 

The standout feature of this shoe is the ETPU (or expanded thermoplastic polyurethane) cushioning on the footbed, which is somewhat similar to the TPU cushioning you see in the Reebok Nanos, with the added benefit of being treated with high pressure and heat for improved elasticity and shock absorption. Because of this, the material is often found in insole inserts, safety footwear, and even heavy-duty work shoes. 

Not many cross-trainers are being made with ETPU, but the G-300s are, and that’s why they’re our pick if you’re someone who needs arch support. We found the cushioning felt great no matter what surface we were on, whether that was the cold-hard pavement or a gym mat. Another bonus is that there’s virtually no break-in period on these things, so you can slip them on and just get to training. 

As for their cross-training abilities, they’ll help you get the job done. The knit upper keeps them breathable, and the infused graphene outsole and midsole makes these shoes one of the most durable pairs out there. Seriously, these should last you for quite a while.

We wouldn’t recommend going for a deadlift PR in them, or training for a half-marathon, but if you’re a recreational athlete who just needs a few minutes of physical activity while getting plenty of support where you need it you can’t go wrong with these.

Read my full Inov-8-F-Lite-G-300 review here 

Best Cross-Training Shoe for HIIT: UA HOVR Phantom 

Good for: People who need a shoe to support them through dynamic movements 

Best for HIIT
UA HOVR Phantom 2
UA HOVR Phantom 2

We took our most comfortable running shoes for men, gave them a sock-like fit, and built them to connect to UA MapMyRun™ for real-time coaching and Training Plans. Get the same energy return in a newer, faster package.CONNECTS TO UA MAPMYRUN™: tracks & analyzes your running metrics to help make you a better runner Responsive UA HOVR™ cushioning reduces impact, returns energy, and helps propel you forward Engineered flat knit upper for zonal stretch & support where you need it with a sock-like fit & feel Molded midfoot panel for added structure & plush interior cushioning Ultra-breathable, SpeedForm® 2.0 sockliner provides softer underfoot support Full rubber outsole features unique knobbed texture for elevated traction & durability External heel counter creates the ultimate in stable support

My Favorite Things:

  • Have great shock absorption  
  • Keep your feet secure at all times, no matter how much you move around
  • You can track your workouts by linking these with the Under Armour app 

My Callouts:

  • These run small, so not the best choice for people with wide feet
  • Have too much cushioning for heavy lifts 
  • Require a bit of a break-in period 

To be honest, I haven’t tried out the UA HOVR Phantoms, but our fitness writer, Caroline Lubinsky, who’s also a fitness enthusiast and former NCAA D1 Women’s College Soccer player, has and she loves them (and I trust her opinion). In fact, she’s gone through two pairs of them already. 

Here’s a pic of her current pair, which she admits is a little beat up. 

UA HOVR Phantom 

Caroline says she likes these shoes for HIIT workouts because they’re comfortable, keep her foot secure during dynamic movements, and can be laced up tightly to accommodate more narrow feet. She’s also able to wear them comfortably with her ankle brace she has from a prior ankle reconstruction surgery. 

“I never feel like I think about my shoes during the workout when I’m wearing these, which to me shows it’s a good shoe,” she says. I’d have to agree with her assessment. 

Looking at the shoes, I can see why she likes them. They come with an all-rubber outsole for increased traction, and the HOVR cushioning is great for shock absorption and propelling into different movements. 

One of our other fitness writers, Anthony O’Reilly, has tried different UA HOVR shoes and agrees the cushioning is top of the line (he prefers them for running over HIIT training, but to each their own). He and Caroline agree the cushioning is a bit much for people who are going for heavy lifts, though. 

Under Armour has made their HOVR shoes compatible with their apps, so you can link the Phantoms to your smartphone to track your workouts and runs. That’s not going to impact how they feel on your feet, but it’s still pretty cool! 

Best Cushioning in a Cross-Training Shoe: Reebok Nano X1 

Good for: People who like, or need, ample cushioning in their shoes. 

Best Cushioning
Reebok Nano X1
Reebok Nano X1

The Reebok Nano X1 is designed for wearability. With Floatride cushioning, a refined toe shape optimized for more movements, an energy return running foam and speed chassis, you'll add comfort to every step, get a locked-in feel and better stability in Reebok Nano X1 training shoes.From box jumps to burpees and squats to sprints, the Reebok Nano X1 is a beast that comes in two powerful forms. Reebok Nano X1 Grit upper is built with material that's ultra-strong, durable and lightweight. And the Reebok X1 Knit is built with a softer Flexweave knit upper. Both Reebok Nano X1 training shoes feature a comfort collar for improved comfort–no break-in period needed, and all-day wearability guaranteed. If you're looking for the official cross training shoes of all things fitness, Reebok Nano X1 training shoes are all in.

My Favorite Things:

  • Wide toe box 
  • Perfect balance of cushion and stability 
  • Priced competitively around $130 

My Callouts:

  • Heel tab is pretty high and may cause blisters  
  • Not great for heavy weightlifting or long-distance running 
  • Tongue might feel a bit over padded for some people 
Reebok Nano X1 

Cushioning is one of those things that’s hard to get right in a cross-trainer. You want enough to minimize shock on your feet, but not so much that it feels like you’re walking on a pad of marshmallows. We think the Reebok Nano X1 does the best job of balancing the two. 

The midsole cushioning is made with EVA (or ethylene vinyl acetate), which is actually the same material used to make Crocs. So if you want the comfort of wearing Crocs to the gym without being labeled the weird person who does so, go for the Nano X1s instead. 

In all seriousness, many of our testers found the Nano X1s to be one of the most comfortable cross-training shoes out there. Some of us even found them to be well-suited for everyday activities like walking the dog or picking up groceries, which can’t be said about many cross-trainers. 

At the same time they were still stable enough when we put them to the test with squats, CrossFit WODs, sprints, rope climbs, and more. It’s not the best for heavy weights, but if you’re focusing on high-volume workouts, you won’t have a problem with these. The all-rubber outsole provides great traction and the flexweave knit upper is breathable and durable. 

Our one complaint with the Reebok Nano X1 is the heel comes up a little high, and may cause some blistering if you’re not wearing tall socks. 

Read my full Reebok Nano X1 review

Best Cross-Training Shoes for Flat Feet: NOBULL Trainer 

Good for: People with flat feet looking for a comfortable shoe. 

Best for Flat Feet
No Bull Trainer
No Bull Trainer

NOBULL is a footwear, apparel and accessory brand for people who train hard and don't believe in excuses. If you think gimmicks in your shoes make you a better athlete, NOBULL is not for you. NOBULL products perform with you when and where you need them. That's it.

My Favorite Things:

  • Offers great stability when lifting weights  
  • Lightweight and breathable while still durable 
  • Can be worn outside of the gym as well (so long as you’re cool with minimalist design) 

My Callouts:

  • Starting at $130, they’re pricey for a pretty simplistic design 
  • Has a narrow toe box 
  • The SuperFabric® upper causes the break-in period to be a bit long 

The NOBULL Trainer comes in low, mid, and high-top height levels, but we’re going to go with the lows for this one because that’s what we tested. 

I’ll admit these shoes aren’t the most comfortable when you first put them on, and unless you’re a NOBULL loyalist (and there are plenty out there) there might be an adjustment period with these shoes. Once that’s time’s done, though, you’ll be rewarded with a shoe that’s comfortable, durable, and functional. 

One of the reasons we picked it for people with flat feet is it has a reinforced heel that offers more protection to tendons that stretch from your Achilles to your calf muscle. The low heel might be a pain for some, but with flat feet you generally want to avoid a higher heel because it can place stress on other parts of the foot. 

These shoes are definitely more suitable for someone who leans more toward strength training than cardio. You could do short cardio sprints with them, but really, I’d limit it to about 200 meters. But again, if lifting is your thing, these are great for squats, deadlifts, and even Olympic lifts due to the harder bottom (it has a 4 millimeter heel-to-toe drop, making it best for deadlifts but you’re fine using them for any lift). 

The outsole is made with carbon rubber, so it can withstand your workouts and any outdoor elements. It’s also a great material for tendon protection, another reason why people with flat feet should check it out. 

My biggest complaint is the design is fairly minimalist for a shoe that costs anywhere from $130-$160. While I’m still a fan of their look, our team is fairly split on their appearance –– but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 

Read my full NOBULL Trainer review.

Best Barefoot Cross-Training Shoe: Xero 360 

Good for: People who want to workout barefoot-style without actually being barefoot

Barefoot Shoe
Xero 360 Shoes
Xero 360 Shoes

The Xero 360 Shoes could be a great fit for you if you are interested in trying minimalist shoes - but be careful not to jump in too quickly if this is your first time wearing 0mm shoes.

My Favorite Things:

  • A great introduction to barefoot-style training  
  • Surprisingly supportive for a barefoot shoe 
  • Affordable, at around $110 
  • Wide toe box

My Callouts:

  • These shoes are not meant for everyone 
  • Not as durable as traditional cross-trainers 
  • They offer no cushion, arch support, and have zero heel-to-toe drop 
Coop wearing the Xero 360 Shoes

There’s many reasons why someone would want to workout barefoot, from increased body awareness to stronger feet and improved balance. But there’s many reasons why you might want to still wear shoes, whether that’s to protect your feet from the elements or people’s improperly disposed of trash. 

For that barefoot feeling without actually being barefoot, go with the Xero 360. If you haven’t trained barefoot-style before, be forewarned it’s unlike anything you’ve tried before. There’s no cushioning or arch support, and there’s little stability and a lot of flexibility. Don’t take these as bad things, these are just side effects of barefoot shoes. 

I actually really enjoyed working out with these and found they forced me to learn how to use my actual feet, instead of my shoes, to execute box jumps and burpees. On the strength training side, these are better for a powerlifter than an Olympic one. In other words, they’re great for static movements, like the deadlift and squat, rather than the dynamic ones, such as the clean and jerk, that require a little more stability.  

When it comes to cardio, it’s a matter of preference over anything else. I like running barefoot on my TrueForm Runner (you can also check out my picks for the best treadmills here), because the tread supports my feet, but I don’t know how I’d feel about an outdoor jog without a well-cushioned shoe. You might think that sounds great, in which case the Xero 360 is awesome to ensure you don’t step on glass or that pile of dog doo your neighbor didn’t pick up. 

My only other warning is these shoes’ materials aren’t as durable as other workout shoes, so they’re not built to last as long. Again, that’s a consequence of prioritizing that barefoot feeling. 

Read my full Xero 360 review.

Best Budget Cross-Training Shoe: Reebok Nanoflex TR

Good for: People who need a cross-trainer at a budget-friendly price 

Best Budget Cross-Training Shoe
Reebok Nanoflex TR Training Shoes
Reebok Nanoflex TR Training Shoes

Your training sessions are intense. You need shoes that won't let you down. These men's Reebok shoes have a strong and durable mesh upper designed for tough workouts. Flex grooves in the rubber outsole provide the flexibility you need.

My Favorite Things:

  • Extremely budget-friendly at under $100  
  • Great for everyday wear 
  • Versatile enough for most workout styles

My Callouts:

  • Not meant for serious athletes or hardcore lifters  
  • Toe box is super narrow 
  • Not the most durable pair of cross-trainers 

The Reebok Nanoflex TR is the budget-friendly version of the Reebok Nanos, and as of this writing, you can find some designs for $62. So if you need a pair of cross-trainers now and don’t have the money to spring for the Nanos or the Metcons, I’d suggest picking up a pair. 

Our fitness writer and personal trainer Amanda Capritto put these shoes through the ringer to find out how much of a cross-trainer they truly are, and found they were OK for CrossFit and weightlifting workouts, but where they truly shined was during HIIT workouts. That’s due to a highly responsive foam midsole that makes plyometric movements feel effortless. There’s also more cushion, and therefore more shock absorption and joint protection than other cross-trainers. 

Let’s touch on CrossFit and weightlifting again for a second. Can you wear these shoes during these workouts? Sure, but how well they perform is going to depend on your fitness level. If you’re a recreational athlete who doesn’t do anything too serious these will be fine, but if you’re a hardcore bodybuilder or CrossFitter, these might not have the stability you need. 

They’re also a great shoe for everyday use, and come in eight different colorways in men’s sizes and six in women’s. Because they have a little more cushioning, they’ll feel great on your feet throughout the entire day. That is, as long as you have narrow feet. The toe box is small so these might not fit people in the big foot club. 

As the age-old saying goes, though, you get what you pay for and because these are so affordable the material isn’t as durable as a more expensive pair. 

Read my full Reebok Nanoflex TR review

Best Super-Budget Cross-Training Shoes: Feiyue FE LO 1920

Good for: People who need a super-affordable training shoe.

Best Super-Budget Cross-Training Shoe
Feiyue Kung Fu Shoes
Feiyue Kung Fu Shoes

The #1 shoe choice for Shaolin monks and masters! Feiyue Martial Arts shoes have a simple, durable canvas lace-up top and a padded yet light sole. The tread is perfect for all styles, providing maximum traction for ultimate performance.Most of all, you cannot beat the price. You can buy several pairs of Feiyue shoes for the price of a single pair of most other martial arts shoes. And the Feiyue shoes might last just as long, if not longer! Try a pair today. You'll discover why hundreds of thousands of martial artists are choosing to wear Feiyue Martial Arts shoes for their practice!

My Favorite Things:

  • Costs just about $25 (excluding shipping)  
  • Super flexible 
  • The tread offers great traction
  • Great for recreational athletes

My Callouts:

  • Not the most durable shoe  
  • If you’re a serious CrossFitter or powerlifter, look elsewhere 
  • If you wear a half size, round up to the nearest full one (so if you’re a 7.5, go for an 8) 

These might be the cheapest shoes we’ve ever recommended, but honestly, I like them. Plus, how can the shoe worn by actual Shaolin monks and international Martial Arts masters be bad? 

The first thing you have to know about these shoes is that they are flexible, and when I say that I really mean it. Seriously, go to the company’s website and you’ll find a picture of a guy twisting it like it’s a piece of dough. With that, you get great ankle mobility as well. What you give up on cushioning (more on that in a second) you get back in mobility. 

The all-rubber outsole also offers great traction, which is why they’ve also been adopted by professional parkour athletes. It’s got virtually no heel-to-toe drop, and is as close to a barefoot-style shoe as you can get without actually going there. That means it’s fine for deadlifts and high-volume strength training, but not so much for people who squat frequently. 

There’s a little cushioning on these shoes––not as much as in a running shoe, but a little more than you’d get with something like the Xero 360. Ultimately, the goal of the shoe is to strengthen your foot to do things like hit a Chuck Norris-worthy roundhouse kick. But if you need a little more comfort, the insoles are actually removable so you can replace them with your own (and Feiyue sells its own insole inserts). 

For $25 these are obviously not going to be the most durable shoes. If you use them regularly you can get a few months out of them, but since they’re so cheap you can pick up five for the cost of a Nike Metcon. 

Best Cross-Training Shoes for Women

Best Cross-Training Shoes for Women

It’s common for people to look for the best cross-training shoes for women and the best cross-training shoes for men independently. However, our team of product experts and fitness pros at Garage Gym Reviews has agreed that there really isn’t a “best for women” or a “best for men” independently of each other. (We talk about this in our roundup of the best weightlifting shoes, too.) 

A good shoe is a good shoe in our opinion, and the only major difference between men’s and women’s picks is sizing. Luckily, all of the picks on our best cross-training shoes list come in both men’s and women’s sizes, so regardless of gender, anyone can choose whichever pair best suits their needs and preferences. 

If you want more guidance, here’s what the ladies at Garage Gym Reviews love to cross-train in: 

Other Cross-Training Shoes We Researched

These are far from the only shoes we tested and tried out, and there were quite a few we went back and forth on that ultimately didn’t make the cut. 

Inov-8 F-Lite 235 V.2: Inov-8 has some great trainers, and one of them made this list, but the F-Lite 235 V2 isn’t as comfortable or durable as some of its other models. 

Nike Metcon 6: These are great training shoes, but honestly the Metcons 7 are better and not that much more expensive so it’s worth the few extra dollars. 

Reebok JJ IV Men’s Training Shoe: These are shoes meant for people with big feet, and as of right now we only have one guy on our staff who meets that criteria and he hasn’t had a chance to test them out yet. We’ve researched them and the reviews are positive, and we’re big fans of shoes designed by JJ Watt. We’ll let you know if and when we get to try them out.

How We Picked and Tested the Best Cross-Trainers

We wanted to see how much these shoes lived up to the cross-training name, so we did just about everything in them including, but not limited to, running, powerlifting, CrossFit, rope climbs, walking around the block, wearing them to dinner, and trail running. We also went to our Facebook group for your help and got some great recommendations! 

Naturally, no one shoe could do all of these as well as a specialty shoe so we wanted to find ones that worked well enough across a broad spectrum of activities. We also took a few other qualities into consideration. 

Durability: How well did these shoes hold up to our rigorous testing system? If they fell apart after a few weeks, or caused general discomfort, we crossed them off and started on a new pair.

Value: Some of these shoes cost a little more than others we considered, but we found they performed to a degree that we considered it worth the money. On the other hand, cheaper shoes we put on our list are considered a good value because they deliver optimal bang for your buck. 

Aesthetics: Functionality is key, but you also don’t want to wear an ugly pair of shoes. 

Versatility: We already covered this a bit, but a good cross-trainer needs to carry you through various workouts. At the very least they should be able to be worn as everyday shoes in addition to being your workout shoes, but it’d be great if they carried you through cardio, weightlifting, and your evening walks. 

Comfort: This goes without saying, but your shoes need to feel comfortable while you’re wearing them. That’s true even for dress shoes.  

What to Look for in Cross-Training Shoes 

Knowing what to look for in a cross-training shoe isn’t as straightforward as searching for the best weightlifting shoe or CrossFit shoe, because it depends on your training style. Here’s a general guide that should apply to most, if not everyone who’s in the marker for a cross-trainer. 

Durable Outer  

Sneakers aren’t something you should buy multiple of every year, so you want to make sure it’s going to last you at least six months. Soft or cheap material can get easily torn up if you take them out during nasty weather, or put them through an hour-long workout that forces the material to stretch beyond its limits. 

Most shoe manufacturers will tell you what the outer layers are made of, though sometimes you have to click on “More Info” or “Specs” to find it, and you can do research to find out if that material is suited for the weather where you live or for the type of exercises you’re going to do. 


This is one of those things that comes down to preference, but generally you want to find that sweet middle spot. Or maybe you don’t. Some people prefer a little more contact with the ground and that’s totally fine. 

If you’re not sure what to look for when it comes to cushioning, know that high cushioning is great for things like running to absorb the impact on your feet, and lower-level cushioning is needed for weightlifting when you need to push off the ground. 

Width and Toe Box 

Again, just like any other pair of shoes you buy you want to make sure your cross-trainers fit snug without feeling like a boa constrictor wrapping itself around its prey. But once more, this depends on how you’re going to train. 

If you’re running, you’ll want a good “foot hug,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Weightlifters and powerlifters, though, will want a little bit more wiggle room to drive their feet into the ground when eeking out those last few reps. 

FAQs About Cross-Training Shoes 

What is a cross-training shoe for? 

As its name suggests, a cross-training shoe is a shoe that can be worn across different types of training. So you can wear them during weightlifting, running, CrossFit, and more without having to switch between different pairs of specialty shoes. 

Is it OK to run in cross training shoes? 

The answer is yes, but if you’re someone who just runs and doesn’t combine it with other training methods then you should buy running shoes, since that’s what they’re designed for. On the other hand, if you’re using them for quick sprints or jogs then you’re fine running in cross-trainers. 

What is the difference between a running shoe and a cross-training shoe? 

A running shoe is specifically designed to protect your feet from the stress you put on your body while running. A cross-trainer may have some of the same features, but to help you during other movements and exercises it also has components that aren’t as desirable in a straightforward running shoe. 

Does it matter what shoes you wear to the gym?

Yes, and no. Technically you can lift weights or run in just about any shoe, and some people don’t wear any shoes at all, but know that some pairs offer better benefits over others. For example, cross-trainers can support you through multi-directional movements and during Olympic lifts, whereas running shoes will help you sweat out cardio but won’t offer the support you need during a heavy squat. 

Are cross-training shoes good for lifting? 

If you’re a recreational weightlifter a cross-training shoe will get the job done but if you’re training for a weightlifting contest you should invest in a weightlifting shoe. Some cross-training shoes are better suited for weightlifting than others, and ultimately the shoe that feels the best on your foot is the one you should go for. 

Further reading

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