6 Best Training Shoes in 2023

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
6 Best Training Shoes in 2023
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Training shoes must be some of the most versatile athletic footwear. They are meant for every imaginable activity at the gym, including jumping, lifting, treadmill running, and rowing, among other exercises.

Some trainers are more geared towards a certain type of activity. For example, weightlifting shoes have a wide sturdy base with a raised heel, while HIIT shoes have plenty of cushioning for non-stop jumping.

We have reviewed over 100 various training shoes to help you choose the best. Depending on your type of training, you may prefer one feature above others. That’s why we have selected our top picks in five different categories.

How we test training shoes

At RunRepeat, we monitor the market of training footwear on a daily basis to provide you with the most up-to-date recommendations. Our ratings are regularly revised, taking into account the newest reviews and shoe releases.

  • We have researched and compared more than 300 training shoes to choose the best.
  • Over 250,000 user and expert reviews were analyzed to list the pros and cons of each shoe.

Our verdict for each shoe is represented by the CoreScore, a number from 0-100. It reflects the summarized users’ opinions on the trainer.

Best training shoes overall

Reebok Nano X1

What makes it the best?

The Nano X1 lives up to the level of quality expected from the Nano series but strays away from its predecessors’ Crossfit-centeredness. Reebok now describes it as the shoe for "ultimate fitness." It is designed for people who love to train hard and don't want to be limited by just one type of workout.


  • Versatile, less Crossfit-specific
  • Upper hugs the foot
  • Lighter than Nike Metcons
  • Cushioned for short runs
  • Great traction on gym floors
  • Secure lockdown
  • Plenty of toe space
  • Very breathable
  • Stylish for casual wear


  • Collar rubs the heel
  • Tongue slides a bit
  • Not the best for weightlifting
Full review of Reebok Nano X1

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Any color
Dynamic Red/White/Black (FX3244)
White (FZ0634)
Pure Grey 3/Vector Navy/Vector Red (GW8891)
Negbás Ftwbla Margol (GW4303)
Footwear White/Vector Navy/Classic Teal (FZ5680)
Black (FZ0633)
Court Blue/Dynamic Red/Vector Navy (FY3534)
Black (FZ5683)
More colors

Best hiit shoes

What makes it the best?

The Nike Free Metcon 4 is a great shoe for an all-around application. If you want to buy one shoe to do most of your exercise needs, I don’t think you would regret the Nike Free Metcon 4. They are not running shoes, but they will get it done in a pinch if you need to pump out a mile or two at the end of your routine.


  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Unbelievably flexible
  • Solid platform
  • Grippy outsole
  • Highly breathable
  • Durable
  • Unique design


  • Not for wide feet
  • Not suitable for running
  • Expensive
Full review of Nike Free Metcon 4

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Any color
Red (CT3886600)
Mint Foam Ghost Green Barely Green (CT3886300)
Iron Grey Black Grey Fog White (CT3886011)
Team Red Bright Crimson Cave Purple (CT3886601)
Crimson/Grey (CT3886602)
Rattan/Thunder Blue-Sandalwood-Green Strike (CT3886234)
010black/white-black-volt (CZ0596010)
Green (CT3886393)
More colors

Best gym shoes

What makes it the best?

Belonging to Nike’s cheapest training shoes, the Legend Essential 2 manages to offer that essential comfort and support for moderate gym workouts as well as recreational use. If you take it easy at the gym, you'll make the best out of this superb deal.


  • Insanely cheap
  • Doubles as a casual sneaker
  • Lightweight
  • Breathes well
  • Snug fit
  • Very flexible
  • Reliable grip
  • Looks great


  • Not for wide feet
  • Not the most durable
Full review of Nike Legend Essential 2

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Any color
White (CQ9356002)
Black (CQ9356001)
Black (CQ9356034)
Black (CQ9356004)
Old Royal Black Racer Blue Dk Smoke Grey (CQ9356403)
Cargo Khaki Light Bone Safety Orange (CQ9356300)
Black (CQ9356005)
Iron Grey/White-dk Smoke Grey (CQ9356016)
More colors

Best training shoes for cross-training

What makes it the best?

The SuperRep has got to be Nike’s most flashy training shoe series. The third iteration receives some design tweaks to give you the right balance of cushioning for jumps, flexibility for planks, and support for side-to-side and other movements involved in HIIT. The shoe’s unusual design is not only there for looks, it enhances performance when it comes to high-impact exercises.


  • Perfect for HIIT
  • Light on the foot
  • Bouncy cushioning
  • Great flexibility
  • Stable side support
  • Snug, locked-down fit
  • Breathable


  • Not for wide feet
  • Arc catches debris outdoors
Full review of Nike Air Zoom SuperRep 3

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Any color
Black (DC9115001)
Cargo Khaki/Alligator (DC9115300)
Cool Grey Metallic Silver 004 (DC9115004)
White/Metallic Silver/Volt/Bla (DC9115107)
Pro Green Multi Color Washed Teal Black (DC9115393)
White (DC9115109)
Light Orewood Brown (DQ5357181)

Best training shoes for crossfit

What makes it the best?

Reebok has made a step in the right direction with the long-awaited Nano 9. The wearers consider it an excellent evolution of the Nano 8. The brand takes the already successful model and brings its comfort, stability, and versatility to a new level. It is deemed an all-in-one option for anything a person can do at the box: jumping, squatting, deadlifting, rope climbing, running, or simply walking around.


  • Ground contact
  • Stable
  • Wide feet friendly
  • Good traction
  • Breathable


  • Runs large
  • Overly stiff sole
Full review of Reebok CrossFit Nano 9

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Any color
Light Sand/Army Green/Fiery Orange (EGQ72)
Beige Hellgrün Militaire Orange (DV6344)
Black/Grey/Fieora (DV6349)
Black/True Grey/Toxic Yellow (FU9371)
black (FU6826)
White (FV4768)
Blue (EG0599)
Gray (FU7571)
More colors

Best value

PUMA Enzo 2

What makes it the best?

PUMA Enzo 2 is a great gym shoe option with an affordable price tag. However, its elastic straps may get in the way of fast-paced workouts. It won't be a problem if you mostly do stationary exercises such as lifting, rowing, and other types of weight training. But it's better to stay away from this PUMA shoe if you jump, sprint, and lunge a lot.


  • Plush comfort
  • Solid base for heavy lifts
  • Little to no break-in time
  • Grippy
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Cheap


  • Narrow
  • Poor lockdown
  • Not for running or cycling
Full review of PUMA Enzo 2

Today's best price

Any color
White (19324908)
Red (19324905)

Comparison of the 6 best training shoes

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Users rating
Best price
# of colorways

What are training shoes?

Training shoes are used for training (duh). They are constructed differently from running shoes as they target exercises which are performed in the gym:

  • Aerobic/anaerobic conditioning: jumping, lunging, speed and agility training, HIIT, etc.
  • Strength training/weightlifting: squats, deadlifts, cleans, jerks, bench presses, etc.

Depending on a specific set of activities they accommodate, training shoes are also divided into several categories:

Short runs

(< 5km)

HIIT & Agility training Weightlifting


(using weight that you can only lift for 1-5 reps)


Everyday workout shoes


Best for: moderate gym workouts; can double as casual wear

cushioned sole

high impact protection

lightweight (~200 - 300 grams/shoe)

Weightlifting shoes


Best for: Olympic weightlifting

very durable

heavy (~400 - 500 grams/shoe)

elevated heel (15 - 25 mm)

non-compressible platform

Cross-training/CrossFit shoes


Best for: intermediate to advanced gym sessions

flat and firm sole

more durable

better side support

better ground feel

low drop (0 - 4 mm)

has protection for rope climbs

Training shoes vs. running shoes

Generally, you should NOT use a pair of running shoes for a gym session. But if your workout primarily consists of running on a treadmill and doing some light bodyweight exercises, then it’s okay to use runners.

Here are a few reasons why dedicated trainers are a better option for gym use:

Training shoes


Running shoes


support multi-directional movements

only support linear forward motion

firmer midsole provides stability for weightlifting*

cushioned sole compresses easily under heavy loads which results in wobbling

have extra protection on the sides for rope climbing

soft materials get torn and burned by the rope at the very first climb

thinner sole and lower heel-to-toe drop help to feel the floor better and allow for better control of foot movement

thicker cushioned midsole and higher drop can get in the way of foot sensitivity

generally have a wider platform, especially in the heel and forefoot, to keep the wearer sure-footed

foot has a higher chance of rolling over the edge of the platform if moves laterally

due to their versatile design, they can be used for more activities, including racquet sports, basketball, and handball.

mostly appropriate only for running, walking, and athleisure

*If you are particularly interested in how different types of shoes perform for weightlifting, check out our in-depth science-backed guide to lifting shoes.

Frequently asked questions

Can you run in a training shoe?

The same points that make gym shoes excellent for training fail them when it comes to running. However, their performance varies depending on the shoe type:

Cushioned workout shoes


Cross-training/CrossFit shoes


Weightlifting shoes


can accommodate distances of 1 to 5 miles

not the same level of comfort as in running shoes

not equipped with arch support

not appropriate for running

some workout shoes have thicker, more cushioned soles and a higher heel drop, which makes them a bit more comfortable for running

have a similar feel to minimalist running shoes

take some time and training to get used to

excessive use for running may cause injury

Here are some of the best-rated training shoes that are geared towards running:

What kind of training shoes do I need for studio workouts?

For sessions like Aerobics, Zumba, Jazzercise, and similar, choose lightweight workout trainers. In addition to feeling light on the foot, they are:

  • Breathable
  • Cushioned and shock-absorbent
  • Support multi-directional movements, twists, and turns

Some of the acclaimed collections for these activities include Nike SuperRep, New Balance NERGIZE, among other HIIT shoes

What are minimalist training shoes?

This niche of trainers is designed for people who want to go back to the essentials and shift away from external support in favor of acquiring natural strength.

While there are no strict criteria on what is considered a minimalist trainer, it is commonly agreed that such shoes:

  • Do not interfere with the natural biomechanics of the foot
  • Provide a barefoot-like experience

Compared to a standard workout shoe, minimalist footwear:

  • Is more flexible
  • Is more lightweight
  • Has little or no cushioning
  • Has low or zero heel-to-toe drop
  • Has a low stack height (a thin sole)
  • Lacks arch support

If this is something that resonates with your needs, consider Inov-8 F-Lite or New Balance Minimus.

Can I play basketball in training shoes?

Yes, you can wear training shoes for a game once in a while. But you may not feel enough support and cushion for the best performance.

Dedicated basketball shoes provide the right cushioning to absorb impact from jump shots and runs. They are also equipped with a special kind of traction that’s best for indoor courts.

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.