We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

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. Myself and the Garage Gym Reviews team has 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, we’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. We also look at important factors like:

  • Cushioning: Does it have the level of cushioning for your preferred training style? Minimal cushioning is better for strength training and maximum cushioning is for those who prefer endurance training.
  • Versatility: Can it be used for multiple exercises? Can you run and lift in them with ease?
  • Breathability: Is your foot cool?
  • Durability: Can it be used daily and still remain in good condition for multiple years?

I 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 

Best Cross-Training Shoes Overall: Nike Metcon 9

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

Best Cross-Training Shoes Overall

Nike Metcon 9

Product Highlights

  • Released August 2023
  • Versatile, durable training shoe
  • Meant for CrossFit workouts and training
  • Enhanced rope guard
  • Larger Hyperlift crash pad
  • 11 colorways available at launch

Pros & Cons


  • Versatile training shoe
  • Rope guard wrap-around
  • Rigid heel great for stability
  • Multiple colorways to choose from
  • Lace locking system
  • High-traction outsole
  • Durable upper
  • Breathable woven textile upper
  • Wide toe box


  • Not great for running or WODs with longer run intervals
  • Some people may find them too rigid
  • Expensive at $150 a pair

Bottom Line

The Nike Metcon 9 training shoes were released in August 2023 and build upon the Nike Metcon 8s with an enhanced rope guar wrap-around, plus a larger and more rigid crash pad. They feature a tightly woven and durable, but breathable, upper. The patterned, grooved outsole provides great traction during most weather conditions.

Metcon is a type of workout that combines strength training and cardio, so it’s no wonder the Nike Metcon 9 is our top pick for the best pair of cross-training shoes. The name aside, Nike changed the cross-training shoe game when they released these and made what is, in my opinion at least, the go-to gym shoes for anyone who needs a versatile pair of kicks.

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 their last two versions. The 7s were the first iteration that doesn’t have a squeaking issue, which was caused by the prior versions having a combined midsole and insole, and the 9s continue that tradition. 

If you’re looking for the best-of-the-best, 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 our in-depth Nike Metcon 9 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

NOBULL Outwork

Product Highlights

  • 4mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Stylish looks
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Great for CrossFit

Pros & Cons


  • Performs well across a variety of exercises
  • Stylish look
  • Durable
  • Several height levels


  • Expensive
  • Takes a while to break in
  • 4mm heel-to-toe-drop may not be good for some movements (such as squats)

Bottom Line

A versatile and durable cross-training shoe with some unique colorways.

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. 

Wearing NOBULL Trainer Plus for rope climbs

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 Cross-Training Shoe for CrossFit: Reebok Nano X4

Good for: CrossFitters looking for a reliable training shoe.

CrossFit Choice

Reebok Nano X4

Product Highlights

  • Flexweave woven upper textile for breathability
  • Lift and Run chassis in the sole with Floatride Energy Foam cushioning
  • 7 mm heel drop
  • Available in multiple colorways for both men and women
  • Durable material that's built to last
  • Best for CrossFit workouts or any type of strength training
  • Not ideal for long runs

Pros & Cons


  • Stable, supportive heel and cushioned sole
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Stylish enough to wear in and out of the gym
  • Versatile enough for nearly any kind of training in the gym


  • Sizing runs small, and many have to order half a size up
  • Not cushioned enough for long-distance running

Bottom Line

The Reebok Nano X4 is a new and improved version of the Nano X3, and a versatile training shoe that looks good in and out of the gym. It's great for strength training, explosive movements, and sprint workouts, but it's not designed for running long distances.

The Reebok Nanos have been a mainstay in the CrossFit community, and in our opinion, the Nano X4 are the best version yet.

The cushioned midsole and wide, flat base provide enough support during cardio bursts and lifts, though certified personal trainer and Garage Gym Reviews Everything lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele says the cushioning is a 3 out of 5. “There are more cushioned shoes, but for a cross-training shoe it’s perfect,” she says in our Reebok Nano X4 review.

Reebok Nano X4

Unlike the X1s, these have a lower heel cup and there were fewer reports of blisters during testing. These are also incredibly durable when compared to their older sibling, which is always a plus in our books. In fact, Lindsay says her X3s are still in nearly perfect condition.

Lindsay says she recommends ordering a half size up from what you normally wear. She adds that they’re comfortable and aesthetic enough to be worn while doing everyday chores. “I have been wearing them seriously all day for the last week and I have used them in my workout and workout clothes while also wearing them with jeans and a sweatshirt and think they look great,” she says, giving the design a 5 out of 5.

As with any good CrossFit shoe, the Nano X4s don’t excel in any one category but they’re very good at a lot of different things.

Read our full Reebok Nano X4 review for more on these shoes.

Best Cross-Training Shoe for Wide Feet: Inov-8-F-Lite G-300

Good for: People with larger feet, or those who need arch support

Best Cross-Training Shoe for Arch Support

Inov-8 F-LITE 300 G

Product Highlights

  • Built for those with wide feet
  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to break in

Pros & Cons


  • Comfortable for those with wide feet
  • A durable shoe
  • Only weighs 10.5 oz.
  • No lengthy break-in period


  • Laces don’t get very tight
  • Not sold in a lot of stores
  • Not good for people who like tighter shoes

Bottom Line

Perfect for people with wider feet or those who need a shoe that won't take long to break in.

Just look at the reviews for the Inov-8-F-Lite G-300 and you’ll see why people with wider feet, like GGR product tester and fitness writer Anthony O’Reilly (size 15), appreciate them so much. They provide enough room to keep such people comfortable, but aren’t so loose that they come off during training.  

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: NOBULL Rec Trainer

Good for: Those who need a shoe that supports lots of short bursts of movement

Best for HIIT

NOBULL Rec Trainer

Product Highlights

  • Training and everyday shoes
  • Roomy toe box
  • Seamless knit upper material 
  • Herringbone outsole pattern
  • Reflective NOBULL branding

Pros & Cons


  • Lightweight
  • Stylish vintage sneaker design
  • 4 colorways
  • Large size range


  • Neutral colors only
  • Not for folks with a zero-drop preference

Bottom Line

The NOBULL Rec Trainers are lightweight, breathable, and versatile. You’ll have the roomy toe box and minimal heel-to-toe-drop NOBULL is known for with a sneaker design reminiscent of classic Chuck Taylors and Vans. these Rec Trainers offer

The NOBULL Rec Trainers provide the flexibility, grip, and stability you need when performing quick bursts of multi-directional movements during your high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, according to NOBULL fanatic and certified personal trainer Amanda Capritto.

“The Rec Trainer is very similar to the NOBULL Trainer, but more flexible and versatile,” says Amanda, who’s tried multiple NOBULL and other training shoes for HIIT and CrossFit-style workouts. “I feel like I get maximum ground contact with these compared to other training shoes.” She awarded the stability a perfect 5 out of 5.

nobull rec trainer

Her one warning is that these shoes aren’t the best for wet surfaces, as the outsole loses its grippiness—but they’re fine indoors or in normal conditions.

NOBULL’s appearances are a divisive topic. Amanda’s one of the few people on our team who loves how they look and gave them a 4.5 out of 5 for aesthetics, but as always beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“They look like the original NOBULL Trainer and Vans made a baby,” she says. “Very easy to wear with jeans or with a cute workout set.”

Read our NOBULL Rec Trainer review for more.

Best Value Cross-Training Shoes: Feiyue FE LO 1920

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

Best Value

Feiyue Kung Fu Shoes

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Super affordable
  • Very flexible
  • Great traction
  • Order a half-size up from what you usually wear

Pros & Cons


  • Super flexible
  • The tread offers great traction
  • Great for recreational athletes


  • 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)

Bottom Line

A super-cheap pair of cross-training shoes that's been trusted by Shaolin monks and international Martial Arts masters for decades.

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. 

A person is shown wearing the Feiyue FE LO 1920 shoes.

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 $35 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 four for the cost of a Nike Metcon. 

Read our Feiyue FE LO 1920 review for the rest of our thoughts.

Best Barefoot Cross-Training Shoe: Xero 360 

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

Best Barefoot Cross-Training Shoe

Xero 360 Shoes

Product Highlights

  • Barefoot-style shoe
  • Surprisingly supportive
  • Affordable
  • Wide toe box

Pros & Cons


  • Wide toe box that allows the toes to splay and grip
  • Durable yet breathable materials
  • Very comfortable if you're used to this type of shoe


  • Will take some getting used to for people accustomed to cushioned shoes
  • Feet and ankles might become sore at first
  • Not as durable as most true CrossFit shoes (a la NOBULL and Nanos)

Bottom Line

A great shoe for those who want to try barefoot-style training.

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. 

Coop wearing the Xero 360 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 Cross-Training Shoes for Squats: Adidas Adipower 3

Good for: People who need support to get deep down during squats

Best for Squats

Adidas Adipower III

Product Highlights

  • High, 22-mm heel great for squatting and Olympic movements
  • Comes in men's and women's sizes
  • Breathable upper

Pros & Cons


  • 22 mm heel
  • Wide range of sizes for men and women
  • Lace and Velcro closure system
  • Uses recycled materials
  • High-density midsole
  • A unique ripstop upper to give strong support yet remain breathable
  • Perforated toe holes to enhance airflow without sacrificing stability


  • Expensive around $220
  • Meant for weightlifting, not running or plyometric exercises

Bottom Line

The Adidas Adipower III is the latest iteration of this weightlifting shoe that features a high heel, sturdy midsole, and great feedback.

An elevated heel can be especially good during squat sessions because it allows the lifter to get deeper into the hole, and helps transfer force to your quads while decreasing the range of motion at the hips. The Adidas Adipower 3’s 22-millimeter heel-to-toe-drop is one of the highest I’ve seen in a training shoe, and it’s incredible that you can do much more than weightlifting in these kicks.

The Adipowers have a forefoot that’s flexible enough for conditioning workout, though I wouldn’t run any more than a quarter of a mile in these things at a time.

Woman set up for a deadlift wearing the Adidas Adipower 2 weightlifting shoes

Another great feature that lends it to those who like to squat is the toe box, which is just wide enough to allow lifters to spread their toes out (helping them gain balance).

These are not an inexpensive pair of shoes, and some designs go for over $300. They’re worth the price if you’re a serious weightlifter who’s still looking for a pair of shoes that can handle a quick cardio workout, but if you’re just a lifter or someone who primarily does cardio, you’ll want to look for a specialty shoe.

Read my full Adidas Adipower III review for more on this shoe.

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

Product Highlights

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

Pros & Cons


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


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

Bottom Line

A budget-friendly version of the Reebok Nano that gets the job done at a lower price point.

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 Cross-Training Shoe for Deadlifts: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

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

Best for Deadlifts

Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars

Product Highlights

  • Sturdy rubber outsole
  • Minimal heel-to-toe drop
  • Minimalist design
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lace closure mechanism

Pros & Cons


  • Flat heel is perfect for deadlifts
  • Can get them in low-tops and high-tops
  • Minimal midfoot cushioning won’t flex under heavy lifts


  • Minimal heel-to-toe drop won’t help with back squats
  • Narrow through the midfoot
  • Canvas construction isn’t highly durable

Bottom Line

A classic shoe that performs well on the powerlifting platform and the streets.

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 Running: Nike Free Metcon 4

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

Best Cross-Training Shoe for Cardio

Nike Free Metcon 4

Product Highlights

  • Great foot hug
  • Lightweight
  • Grippy
  • Stable
  • Priced around $120

Pros & Cons


  • Hugs the foot like a sock
  • Lightweight with a grippy outsole
  • Provides stability for CrossFit workouts
  • Priced around $120


  • Very narrow shoe
  • Not easy to put on
  • May not stand up to rope climbs

Bottom Line

A good cross-training shoe that will hold up to cardio and strength training routines.

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. 

RELATED: Cross-Training for Runners

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 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: 

Benefits of Cross-Training Shoes

Do you need cross-training shoes? Well, it depends. If you’re someone who’s dedicated to one training style, such as bodybuilding or powerlifting, you may need something better suited for those activities. If you’re like the majority of people and like different training styles, a cross-training shoe can prevent you from needing to buy a weightlifting shoe and running shoes.

Think of these as jacks of all trades and masters of none. You won’t run super fast or be able to lift super heavy in them, but they get the job done without having to untie one pair of shoes and get into another.

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 8: These are great training shoes, but honestly the Metcon 9s 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.

Under Armour HOVR Apex 3: These have fantastic online reviews, but they’re just a pair we haven’t tried out yet.

On Cloud X: These are honestly more of a running shoe than a training shoe.

Hoka Kawana: Another choice that’s better suited for dedicated runners.

Puma Fuse: A wide toe box, minimal heel-to-toe drop, and shock absorption? We have to try these!

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. 


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.


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. 


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


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. 


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 market 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. 


You’ll want to make sure that every part of the shoe, from the upper to the midsole, is made with durable materials such as Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (or TPU) or some type of responsive foam. Avoid cheap materials like plastic.

Best Cross-Training Shoes FAQs

What cross-training shoe is best for me?

That’s going to depend on the type of training you do, your budget, and the support you need in a shoe. Here are some of our favorite cross-training shoes:

Best Cross-Training Shoe Overall: Nike Metcon 9
Best Cross-Training Shoes for Flat Feet: NOBULL Trainer
Best Best Cushioning in a Cross-Training Shoe: Reebok Nano X3
Best Cross-Training Shoe for Arch Support: Inov-8-F-Lite G-300
Best Cross-Training Shoe for HIIT: NOBULL Rec Trainer
Best Super-Budget Cross-Training Shoes: Feiyue FE LO 1920
Best Barefoot Cross-Training Shoe: Xero 360
Best Cross-Training Shoes for Squats: Adidas Adipower 3
Best Budget Cross-Training Shoes: Reebok Nanoflex TR
Best Cross-Training Shoes for Deadlifts: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star
Best Cross-Training Shoe for Cardio: Nike Free Metcon 4

Can you 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. 

RELATED: How to Choose Running 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. 

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

Best Black Friday Deals for Runners (2024) Cover Image
Best Black Friday Deals for Runners (2024)

Want to save money on products you were probably going to buy anyway? Check out our best Black Friday deals for runners for the most up-to-date sales. Read more

DIY Outdoor Bodyweight Gym Cover Image
DIY Outdoor Bodyweight Gym

Training in a home gym is awesome, but being able to work out in the fresh air is one of the best feelings there is. One of our readers built and detailed how he built one of the most epic outdoor gyms we've seen. Read more

Xebex XT3 Sled Review (2024): Conventional Training With Modern Technology Cover Image
Xebex XT3 Sled Review (2024): Conventional Training With Modern Technology

Check out our Xebex XT3 Sled review for all the information you need to know about this versatile piece of fitness equipment. Read more

The Best Cardiovascular Exercises to Improve Your Fitness Cover Image
The Best Cardiovascular Exercises to Improve Your Fitness

Want to get your heart pumping and don't know where to start? Here, we break down our favorite cardiovascular exercises for your physical and mental health. Read more