How to Find the Best Gym Shoes: The Complete Guide

Finding the best gym shoes for you is a lot like finding true love. Yes, these shoes are hard to come by. However, when you do happen to stumble upon them, you never want to let them out of your sight. If you’re ready to find the perfect fit, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is designed to help you navigate the ever-evolving world of gym footwear, incorporating the latest offerings from top brands like Nike, Reebok, Under Armour, and Puma.

How to Find the Best Gym Shoes

Which shoes are best for the gym?

Choosing the best shoes for the gym largely depends on the activities you will do. If you’re a Jack of all trades — and love giving every exercise type a whirl — you need to get shoes that are created for lateral movement. That way, you can move from side to side while still having the high level of stability that you need. Keep your eyes out for shoes that include:

  • A flat, wide base for extra support
  • Cushioning to give you the stability you need
  • Breathable material to keep you super cool

How should my gym shoes fit?

A good fit is crucial. There should be about half an inch of space from your longest toe to the end of the shoe. Women's gym shoes often fit true to size, but always check fitting instructions and test them for comfort, looking out for any chafing or rubbing.

How to Find the Best Gym Shoes

Can I use the same gym shoes for all my workouts?

The short answer is no. The shoes that you wear for running will ultimately be different to the gym shoes that you wear for classes.

Running Shoes: Specific running shoes are designed and built for heel-to-toe movement and have a higher heel at the back. That means that you have the cushioning you need and can move swiftly forward on a run.

Gym Shoes: also known as training shoes — are on the othe hand created for multi-directional movement. For that reason, you can wear them when engaging in cardio classes, CrossFit, HIIT, and even weightlifting. You should find that the sole of these shoes is flatter than running shoes and that there is a higher level of flexibility overall here.

Vendor: Nike Free Metcon 5 Shoes - Black/White/Anthracite
Sale price
$103.50
Regular price
$148.00
Vendor: PUMA PWRFrame TR 3 Shoes - Black/Silver/White
Sale price
$55.25
Regular price
$92.00

Which brands have the best gym shoes?

Now that you know what to look for when it comes to gym shoes, let’s delve into the best brands. We’ve got you covered. Here are some of our top picks for you to take a look at.

Nike Free Metcon 5 Shoes

Nike

As the world's #1 sports brand, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this one has an array of women’s gym shoes that fit the bill. If you’re looking to find the perfect fit, let’s take a look at some of the best gym shoes from this brand:

Metcon 9

The Metcon collection was Nike's big move into training focussed footwear, and it now on its ninth iteration. The Nike Metcon 9 delivers improvements in comfort and lifting-oriented design, featuring a wider toe box and Hyperlift heel adjustments. While it excels in lifting and various gym activities, it's not the top choice for running or high-impact workouts, compared to alternatives like the Reebok Nano or Nike Metcon Free 5. The Metcon 9 offers modern design and breathability, making it a great choice for CrossFit and functional training, with excellent stability and durability. For a more detailed look read our Nike Metcon 9 review.

Free Metcon 5

The Nike Free Metcon 5 is a dynamic training shoe, perfect for a range of activities from CrossFit to high-intensity interval training. It emphasizes a balance between lightweight flexibility and stability, making it suitable for diverse workouts. The shoe's design evolution showcases Nike's dedication to innovation, offering enhanced cushioning and superior traction. Its breathable mesh upper ensures comfort during intense workouts, making the Metcon Free 5 a top choice for athletes seeking a versatile and high-performing training shoe.

  • Merges flexibility with the durability of Metcons, suitable for agility drills and strength training
  • Offers a balance between support and mobility, ideal for diverse gym activities

Check out our Nike Free Metcon 5 review for a more detailed look.

SuperRep

The stand-out feature of the SuperRep trainers has to be the Zoom Air cushioning. The premium training shoes have been completely redesigned to make sure that they offer the highest levels of stability and comfort as you work out. The stabilising style of the shoes means that they are ideal for any type of in-the-gym workout class.

Reebok

Arguably Reebok is one of the big two in the training footwear market, with the Nano competing head-to-head with the Metcon for the best part of a decade now. In our view the Nano remains the most versatile training shoe available.

Nano X4

The Reebok Nano X4 excels in versatility and performance. With its robust design and dynamic style, the Nano X4 stands out for its exceptional breathability and stability, making it ideal for a range of workouts including CrossFit and HIIT. Its 7mm heel-to-toe drop provides excellent support during heavy lifts, while the Flexweave upper ensures durability and air circulation.

The Nano X4's adaptability extends beyond the gym, doubling as a comfortable shoe for casual wear. It's a top choice for those seeking a multi-purpose training shoe..

  • Versatile for gym and CrossFit, balancing cushioning and stability.
  • Durable construction and responsive design suitable for various exercises
  • Known for comfort and breathability, great for rope climbing and moderate lifting.
  • Combines a stylish appearance with functional gym features.

 Reebok Nano X4

Puma PWRFrame

Puma

Puma has been gaining recognition for its innovative and dynamic range of training shoes. Known primarily for their stylish and performance-oriented sports apparel, Puma has also made significant strides in developing training shoes that cater to a variety of athletic needs.

Their footwear line emphasizes both agility and support, making them suitable for a diverse array of workouts. With a focus on combining functionality with modern design, Puma's training shoes are becoming a popular choice for those seeking a balance of style, comfort, and performance in their fitness regime.

PWRFrame TR3

The PWRFRAME TR 3.0 is all about helping you produce explosive movements with ease. Featuring a PROFOAM midsole for high rebound and energy return, these shoes are designed to keep you pushing your limits in the gym.

But what really sets the PWRFRAME TR 3.0 apart is its innovative features. PWRFRAME technology enhances stability during multidirectional movements, ensuring you stay grounded and stable during explosive lifts. Plus, with a TPU heel clip providing added structure and support, your foot will stay locked in place no matter how heavy the weights.

  • Ideal for functional movement training, with firm heel support and a grippy rubber outsole
  • Offers stability and flexibility for compound exercises

Vendor: ON Running Cloud X 3 AD - Undyed/Nimbus
Sale price
$103.25
Regular price
$172.00
Vendor: ON Running Cloud X 3 AD - Fossil/Hay
Sale price
$119.00
Regular price
$170.00
Vendor: ON Running Cloud X 3 - Ivory/Alloy
Sale price
$120.00
Regular price
$150.00

On Running Cloud X 3

On Running

Boasting a selection of stride-enhancing, responsive running trainers, there’s a reason that On Running has become so popular in recent years. While this company specialises in running attire, it’s worth taking a quick look at their multifaceted training shoes too.

Cloud X

The On Running Cloud X trainers have low arches, strong heel cap, and a seamless tongue. The On Running Cloud X3 is particularly strong in running performance, excelling in its lightweight, cushioned design that suits short to mid-distance runs. While it's versatile enough for various training activities, including HIIT and gym sessions, its features like CloudTec cushioning and Speedboard technology are optimized for running, offering a soft landing and firm push-off. This focus on running capabilities makes it stand out more as a running shoe than a general training shoe.

Under Armour

Innovative and completely hard-wearing, there’s a whole load to be said about Under Armour products. If you’re on the lookout for a new pair of gym shoes, taking a peek at what this brand has to offer will never disappoint you. Here is our favourite.

TriBase Reign

Packing mobility, total grip, and high durability, you have to take a look at the Under Armour TriBase Reign now on it 5th version. The Under Armour TriBase Reign 5 has been well-received, particularly for its stability and versatility in workouts. It features a solid base and improved upper, which contributes to its overall comfort and performance. While offering good stability for heavy lifts and plyometrics, it might not be the best choice for running due to its stiff construction. The shoe requires some break-in time, but once adjusted, it provides a responsive and comfortable fit, making it a viable option for various gym activities. However, those with wider feet or looking for immediate comfort straight out of the box may want to consider other options.

  • Enhances ground contact for superior grip, flexibility, and is great for weightlifting.
  • Triangular base and durable materials make it a long-lasting choice.

Under Armour Tribase Reign 4 Training shoes

Conclusion

Finding the best gym shoes for your needs doesn’t have to be stressful. In the above guide, we have taken a look at some of the features you want to search for as well as the best brands to choose. Investing in a high-quality pair of trainers could make all of the difference.