How to Choose the Best Cross Training Shoes

CrossFit Training General Running Shoes

Make Sure Your Cross Training Shoes are Right for YOU

Cross training shoes offer great versatility, allowing you to wear them for numerous athletic activities. But since each brand is different, you need to shop carefully.

While more seasoned athletes might already know this, men’s and women’s cross training shoes feature their own unique construction, and many brands make their own versions. If you’ve been experiencing wear and tear on your muscles or joints, or you’ve had to expand your normal workout routine this year, you might be on the market for a pair of cross training shoes for the very first time and not know where to start.

Use this easy how-to guide to help you find the best cross training shoes for your needs.

Why Cross Training Shoes?

Let’s start with the basics.

Unlike focusing on a single sport or type of athletic activity like running or cycling, cross training shoes are designed to be durable and supportive enough for a number of different types of workouts. You might not want to exclusively go on long distance runs with shoes like these, but you can mix up strength training with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and other types of plyometric workouts with a single pair of shoes.

And here’s even better news: more sports medicine experts agree that balancing your workouts with different types of cardio, strength training and other types of activities will increase your overall fitness, too.

Strength Training Must-Haves

The number one quality you’ll want to look for when it comes to strength training is a supportive base.

If you’ve ever hit the weights, this won’t come as much of a surprise. As every trainer knows, building lean muscle in a safe and healthy way all comes down to form, and proper form often starts by making sure you’ve got a strong base. Shoes that were constructed for running or cycling often won’t have the kind of support you need, which is why you’ve really got to make sure you’re looking for a high-density foam midsole. Likewise, the grip on the outsole is a huge factor in making sure you’re not sliding around, whether you’re lifting at the gym or at home.

How Much Cushion Do Your Cross Training Shoes Need?

Cross training often involves short bursts of cardio and repetitive intervals that will have you jumping or lunging, or even sprinting on a treadmill.

Knowing this, brands like Nike will put their signature Air units in their men’s and women’s cross training shoes to act like shock absorbers for your workout, and they can act like a first line of defense so that some of the pressure can be taken off your joints. Brands like Reebok or Under Armour might not have the same Air technology, but their midsoles and outsoles are also constructed with impact-absorbent foam to provide the right kind of cushion and support you need as well.

Durability vs. Flexibility in the Best Cross Training Shoes

One of the biggest differences between choosing cross training shoes and shoes designed specifically for a single type of workout might be the need to find the right balance or tradeoffs.

For example, strength training sneakers might only focus on providing as much durability as possible to make sure you have the rigid support you need, but they’ll feel a little clunky as soon as you try to do some jumping jacks or burpees.

When trying on a new pair of cross training shoes, make sure you take this balance into consideration. If the cross training shoes are too light and pliable, they might not work for high-impact exercises, but if they’re too stiff for cardio bursts, you’ll literally be dragging all workout long.

Top Brands for Men’s Cross Training Shoes

  • Nike
  • Reebok
  • Under Armour
  • Mizuno

Top Brands for Women’s Cross Training Shoes

  • Nike
  • Puma
  • Ryka
  • New Balance


Cross-Training Shoe Recommendations

Nike Men's Metcon 4 Cross Training Shoe (10.5 M US, Black/Hyper Crimson)
  • Flywire built into the lacing system helps keep the foot secure and locked into place.
  • A heel clip helps stabilizes during side-to-side movements.
  • Firm rubber outsole hugs the midfoot for added support during rope exercises.
  • Sticky rubber outsole delivers optimal traction and grip and delivers long-lasting durability and stability during high-intensity intervals.
  • Fully cushioned collar with a slim and flexible tongue.
Reebok Men's CROSSFIT Nano 8.0 Flexweave Cross Trainer, Black/Alloy/Gum, 12 M US
  • Synthetic
  • Imported
  • Rubber sole
  • Shaft measures approximately low-top from arch
  • Reebok Shoes

Still not sure which are the best cross training shoes for you? Keep checking out all of the tips we’ve got throughout the site to get more guidance on how to choose the best cross training shoes and other athletic gear!

Last update on 2021-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API