Most of us don’t think twice before slipping into our running shoes for indoor workouts, be it strength training, a studio aerobic or spinning class, or at-home plyometrics. Proper footwear is essential for maximizing any workout, but there’s a slight difference in the support offered by running shoes as compared to gym trainers. While the former are designed to keep you moving forward, gym shoes are specifically created keeping lateral movements in mind. These not only keep you injury-free through high-intensity spot workouts, but also allow greater balance and flexibility as you shift between activities. If you’re getting serious about your workouts and looking to invest in a new pair of kicks, here are some of the best cross-training shoes out there.
Best for: Weightlifting, Strength training
If you’re regularly lifting barbells at the gym, an ideal fit would be a light, minimalist shoe that keeps you close to the ground. This can prevent ankle twists and other injuries while you play around with heavy weights. The adidas Powerlift.3 shoes are built with an open forefoot and flexible toe for enhanced comfort and breathability. The lightweight synthetic upper provides support and durability without adding bulk, while the midsole wedge and anti-slip rubber outsole stabilizes your stance.
Giro Sante ii
Best for: Spinning, cycling, elliptical
If a large part of your workout involves spinning, using the stationary bike or the elliptical, opt for shoes with a stiff sole to transfer the power produced by your leg and glutes directly to the pedal. The streamlined Giro Sante ii features a supple synthetic upper with breathable mesh inserts for maximum ventilation. Wide hook-and-loop straps provide a secure fit and the stiff injected-nylon sole provides high levels of energy transfer when you’re riding for long durations.
Ryka Vida RZX
Best for: Zumba, Aerobics, Kick-Aerobics, Dance Cardio
If your fitness routine involves a Zumba or aerobic class that combines several different activities in the hour, a cross-trainer is your best bet. These are sturdier than running shoes and provide more ankle support to ensure you stay injury-free and yet light on your feet. The Ryka Vida RZX makes tricky twists and turns easier thanks to a pivot point, a smooth rubber circle right under the big-toe joint. Flexible grooves on the outsole let you change direction quickly so you can follow every moment precisely.
Reebok Nano 5.0
Best for: Plyometrics, CrossFit
If you’re regularly doing plyometrics, HIIT, or CrossFit, definitely steer clear of running shoes for your workouts. You will want a shoe that is flexible enough for you to jump around in comfort but also has a solid grip that prevents slippage. It also makes sense to get something durable since CrossFit workouts are pretty harsh on your footwear. The Nano 5.0 has a mesh upper is infused with durable Kevlar® for elite-level abrasion protection while the NanoShell provides an extra defense against midsole abrasion and support for the foot during heavy lifts.