The Very Best Workout Shoes for Women – New York Magazine

The Very Best Workout Shoes for Women – New York Magazine

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers



What we’re looking for


Best overall workout shoes

Nike Metcon 7 Training Shoes

$130

Flat sole | High cushion | Maximum grip

For cross-training, yoga teacher and author Shona Vertue likes shoes that are “varied in flexibility and stability” to adapt to the different types of motions those workouts usually require. The Nike Metcons — which she calls her “go-to all-around shoe” for working out— fulfill both requirements, because “they’re flexible at the front of the foot, which allows for good movement through things like lunges or running,” while also having a “stiff heel, which creates stability in movements like heavy deadlifts and squats.” Melanie Miracolo, the former head of retail at yoga studio Y7, loves the Metcons because they have a “sleek design, incredible fit, perform great, and stabilize your foot when doing any cross-training workout.” Jen Romanelli, the co-founder of Trooper Fitness, agrees the Metcons create stability, but says they also allow lateral movement, exactly what she needs for HIIT classes: “It’s a sturdy shoe, yet light enough to change directions and sprint.” (Vertue, Miracolo, and Romanelli initially recommended the Metcon 6 AMP, but the newer Metcon 7 offers the same stability and versatility in a slightly new design.) We think the Metcon is a solid gym companion, which is why we also picked it as the best workout shoes for men.

$130


at Nike

Buy

$130


at Dick's Sporting Goods

Buy



Best less expensive overall workout shoes

Reebok HIIT 2

$100

Flat sole | High cushion | High grip

The Reebok HIIT 2 isn’t the flashiest shoe, but it does have everything you could ask for in an all-purpose workout shoe: a simple construction and breathable mesh upper that keeps your forefoot secure, plus a foam midsole for comfort. Melissa Boyd, head of fitness at Tempo, considers cross-training and HIIT one and the same — including weighted and cardio movements. For these exercises, a shoe “should be flexible enough for speed work, structured enough for weighted movements, and responsive enough for jumping,” she says. These cross-trainers check off all her boxes, handling intense training sessions just as well as compound lifts.

$100


at Reebok

Buy

$100


at Dick's Sporting Goods

Buy



Best workout shoes for weight lifting

Nike Free TR8

$100

$100

Flat sole | Medium cushion | Medium grip

Two women we talked to mentioned the Nike Free TR8. “I am a minimalist when it comes to running,” says Romanelli, who prefers less arch support in her running sneakers. “I have flat feet, and people swear by ‘arch support’ — I don’t. I’d rather have less support when doing more cardio-intensive activities, because it forces ankle stability and strengthens my foot.” With a simple lightweight shoe like this, she can engage more muscles and doesn’t feel like she’s being held back with each stride. Boyd recommends them for short runs but doesn’t like them for long runs, as there’s not enough cushioning for her. But she does count these as her favorite all-around sneakers — supportive and flexible enough for weight lifting and HIIT, respectively.

$100


at Nike

Buy



Best status workout shoes

Nobull Training Shoes

$129

Low profile | Medium cushion | Light grip

Fitness director and personal trainer Bari Lieberman loves the “versatile and durable” Nobull training shoes, which she had initially told us about when we investigated the next status gym sneakers for women. The Nobull shoes have a flatter sole, Lieberman explains, which allows you to stay more “grounded and stable during heavy lifts.” Well+Good senior beauty editor Zoë Weiner agrees: “I fell in love with these shoes before I actually put them on because of how sleek and minimalist they looked, so I was very happy to discover that they are also the most comfortable shoes my foot has ever become acquainted with.” She adds that they have great traction and support during workouts: “It feels like I’m standing on a cloud.”

$129


at No Bull

Buy



Best workout shoes for everyday wear

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi


From
$60

Flat sole | Medium cushion | Medium grip

These classic Converse also have a flat bottom, and two of our experts wear them while weight lifting. Our men’s fitness experts also love their Chucks for weight lifting; they made our list of the best workout shoes for men. “When you are power lifting, you need to feel the ground beneath your toes,” says Romanelli. “This helps to engage your feet, calves, glutes, etc. Thus the flatter the sole, the less the cushion, the better because your feet are connected to the ground, allowing you to become planted.” Denajha Phillips, a NASM-certified personal trainer, says she feels a “greater and more secure impact on the ground” when she wears them. She’s partial to the traditional colorways, while Romanelli likes to spice it up with an animal-print pair.


From
$60


at Nordstrom

Buy

$65


at Converse

Buy



Best less expensive workout shoes for everyday wear

Feiyue Fe Lo 1920

$25

Flat sole | Medium cushion | Medium grip

Strategist UK contributor Anna Fielding spotted these sleek and (very) affordable sneakers from Feiyue and decided to do some digging. “The trainers originated in 1920s Shanghai, where they were adopted by martial arts practitioners,” she wrote. “These days parkour enthusiasts use them too, as do Chinese schoolchildren during PE lessons and Shaolin monks. They are lightweight plimsolls, with a canvas body and a cushioned sole. They have bounce. They have grip. And unlike other plimsolls, they’re actually supportive.”

As we mentioned in our roundup of the best men’s workout shoes, the Fe Lo sneakers have the features of a solid weight-lifting shoe: a flat, cushioned sole and a supportive canvas upper construction. “You can easily wear them without socks, and — good for the sockless to know — I’ve also found they stand up to repeat washing machine cycles,” Fielding continues. “They stay looking fresh, whites stay white, and colors sharp, longer than any pair of Converse. They don’t fall to pieces, as Keds can, even if you treat them badly and kick them off without bothering to undo the laces.”

$25


at Amazon

Buy

$25


at Feiyu

Buy



Best workout shoes for tennis

Asics Gel Resolution 8 Women’s Tennis Shoes


From
$130

Low profile | Medium cushion | High grip

Tennis shoes make great workout sneakers because the sport requires lots of lateral movement and quick bursts of speed. Plus, sliding around on a court calls for durability under your feet. Former Strategist junior writer Sanibel Chai picked the Asics Gel Resolution 8 as the best women’s overall tennis shoe. “The Asics Gel Resolution came highly recommended by four of our experts and is a safe bet if you’re not sure where to get started,” she wrote. Claire Ann Pollard, head coach of Northwestern University’s women’s tennis team, calls the Asics Gel Resolution her favorite, and Karen Moriarty, co-owner of the Tennis Professionals — Sportech in Rye Brook, New York, says they are consistently a top pick for her customers.


From
$130


at Amazon

Buy

$140


at Zappos

Buy



Best workout shoes for spin

Tiem Slipstream Cycle Sneaker


From
$135

Narrower fit | Medium cushion EVA midsole | Medium grip | SPD-compatible 

“Despite the fact that I spin multiple times a week, investing in spin shoes always felt like a huge waste of money, because you can’t actually wear them on the street,” says Weiner. She loves these Tiem sneakers because you can “hop straight from the street onto the spin bike without having to change your shoes.” If you prefer your workout sneakers to pop, the shoes also come in nine other colors, including bright pink, red, and blue.


From
$135


at REI

Buy

$135


at Nordstrom

Buy



Best workout shoes for running

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38


From
$120


From
$120

Narrower, rockered sole | High cushion | Tread for road running, medium grip

Like we mentioned, above, you shouldn’t use your running shoes for workouts that require lateral activities, but if you’re looking for a basic gym trainer with running in mind, look to the Pegasus. In her guide to picking the best running shoes, former Strategist senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson recommended the Air Zoom Pegasus if “you’d rather not think too much about your running shoes,” she wrote. “The Pegasus has been a dependable part of Nike’s running lineup ever since it was introduced nearly four decades ago. Its cushioning comes from a generous layer of Nike’s proprietary React foam in the midsole.”


From
$120


at Nordstrom

Buy

From
$120


at Nike

Buy


Other workout shoes we’ve written about

An (even more) fashionable workout shoe

$160

Buy
at APL
Read Story

A workout shoe for sleek versatility around town

$130

Buy
at Lane Eight
Read Story

An everyday running trainer that’s easy on the knees

$120

Buy
at Zappos
Read Story

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

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