Best Workout Shoes For Men in 2020 With Complete Guide

Last Updated: April 4, 2020

If you’ve been following this website for a while you probably have come to realize that I’m the most interested in triathlete sports. This means running, swimming and cycling. However, I also do a lot of cross-training at the gym as I like to keep my strength up in all areas of fitness which I think encompasses the ultimate primate values.

One thing that I was doing wrong when I started with cross-training was that I was using my running shoes (Since I’ve got a ton of them!). This actually, is a pretty bad idea. Running shoes have a high drop which means that the heel is higher than the toe. This is done to help our feet and knees from getting injured by constantly slamming the pavement. With workout shoes for the gym however, you need stability and this usually means a flat shoe.

When I talk about workout shoes for men what I mean is shoes that you’ll use when you go to the gym. Cross-training in the gym basically means that I’m complimenting my running and triathlon activities with further regimes at the gym to boost my overall strength. Workout shoes for the gym, therefore, shouldn’t be used for running or cycling either. You need to ensure that you have the right shoe for whichever sport or workout you’re doing!

What I’ve reviewed here are what I believe are the best workout shoes for men when heading to the gym to pump some weights. If you have any of your own suggestions and any you think are better, why not let me know in the comments box at the bottom.

Anyway without further rambling from me, here are the picks and why I think that they’re the best. My choice, in particular, was the Adidas shoes because I like the leather material and the Adidas brand. The others are also the shoes I’ve shortlisted whilst doing my research so I hope you’ll be able to find something that suits your needs from the choices!

Best Workout Shoes For Men Compared and Reviewed

#1 - Adidas Men's Adipower Weightlift Shoes

These 100% leather shoes from reputable brand Adidas have a rubber sole and adjustable hook-and-loop instep strap for rearfoot stability and integrity. What I love about these shoes is that the strap is really good for locking down your foot and getting that tight fit. The last thing that I want is my foot to fall out of my shoe whilst doing heavy calf raises, that can easily cause nasty injuries.

One of the impressive features of the Adipowers is the amount of stability you can feel when you’re grounded to the floor. If you’re wearing running shoes and doing squats you’re going to feel like you’re stepping on marshmallows. These shoes really plant your feet to the ground giving you that edge of strength when pulling up from a squat.

There have been reports that the toe box is too tight however I didn’t seem to have this problem, and I’ve got a very narrow foot so you would expect my toe to protrude towards the center. The one thing that was holding me back initially was the price point, they’re a bit on the expensive side. However, as I’ve mentioned in my buyer’s guide at the bottom of the article I think the price is the last thing you need to worry about when you’re going to be wearing something more than 150 days in a year (I go to the gym 3 days a week).

I’ll be honest with you, the selling point for me was the style. I love the iconic Adidas style and have casual Adidas shoes as well that I wear to work every day. I think the shoes that have made the list are all great and have their own unique selling points but for me – I loved the style of the Adipower workout shoes.

What have other lifters said about the Adipower Weightlifting Shoes?

“I wish I had these shoes from day 1 at the gym. Honestly, they provide so much stability and make me feel like I can lift heavier because I can feel that my legs are now actually helping with lifting the weight versus wobbling around everywhere with the casual shoes I used to wear.” Richard J

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#2 - Reebok Men's Crossfit

Reebok has been a big player in the sports industry for decades. Something that surprised me is how much time they’ve invested in creating the best workout shoes for men. This is actually the first of two Reebok’s that I’ve reviewed in this list because I think they’re equally as awesome as the Adidas (I just prefer the Adidas style more).

These might be a great option for you if they’re worried about the Adidas toe box being uncomfortable as some others have reported (Although I didn’t have that problem). The Reebok’s boast a strong foundation, containing a wide toe box for fit and powerful movements. They contain a minimal drop on the outsole (4mm) to provide secure footing. That’s the problem with running shoes, they have a high drop and is why it’s not recommended for lifting.

The company states they have a Flexweave material that provides breathability, security and durability for the shoes. The difference between this one and the Adidas which also got me to lean towards the latter was that the Adidas has the instep strap to securely hold your foot in place when working out. Reebok’s contain a lace system which for me is not ideal in the gym. I’m used to my cycling cleats (Which also don’t have laces) so having something similar for working out was a great bonus for me.

A great feature of the Reebok’s is that they’re soft on the inside for your foot, but are tough and sturdy at the bottom still planting your foot on the ground like the Adidas. Overall they’re a great shoe and my next best pick. If you prefer laces and the style of the Reebok’s then they’re definitely a great choice that you could consider.

One thing that I didn’t like about them was that they weren’t made from leather-like material like the Adidas. Leather is a huge selling point for me because they’re safer and stronger for the gym, providing extra durability. However, the Flexweave material is something new with Reebok and they’re claiming that it provides security and durability. I don’t know, maybe I’m just old fashioned. There have been countless reviews that have vouched for the Flexweave and that’s why it has made second on my list.

What have others said about the Reebok Men’s Crossfit?

“As someone who can’t stand leather shoes or straps, I found these to be perfect. I’m a heavy foot sweater and the flex weave has really helped with keeping my shoes dry. The price is affordable as well compared to the leather shoes out there so I’m happy with my purchase” Mark T

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#3 - Reebok Men's Nano 9 Cross Trainer

The Nano 9 Cross Trainer is made from 100% imported fabric. It’s another shoe that contains a lace-up material and it has a low-cut design which helps for added mobility. The Nano 9 has a strong foundation with its wide toe box for comfortable foot fitting. It’s another Reebok shoe that contains Flexweave for breathability, security, and durability.

One thing that I love about this shoe is its history. Nano 9 is basically the ninth installment in the series for these workout shoes. They’re a favorite for a reason and have been trialed and tested by many athletes who Reebok has worked with before hitting the shelves for us consumers.

If you’re looking for a flexible shoe, then these are a great choice as they’re made entirely from fabric. A problem that you might see with leather shoes is the mobility you get from them. If you’re doing heaps calisthenics training with your weights such as box jumps and burpees then you’ll constantly be bending, moving and jumping. Because of the mobility these 100% fabric shoes provide you’ll be able to do these activities without much of a problem.

Another great feature for those of you that love aesthetics is that Reebok has over 40 different color styles you can choose from for the Nano 9 Cross Trainer. Definitely a plus in my opinion. One thing that a lot of users have mentioned however is that the sole isn’t very strong. A few people have noticed the sole come off after strenuous exercises such as rope climbs. Although I haven’t seen too many of these so I wouldn’t be worried about it. As with any product, there will always be a few defects that come from certain batches.

How have others reviewed the Reebok Men’s Nano 9 Cross Trainer?

“These are great shoes for CrossFit and I’m using them after an upgrade from the 8. To be honest I liked the 8’s more and am still using mine today but I can tell that these shoes are good as well I think I just need to get used to using them and wear them more.” Adam O

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#4 - Under Armour Men's Speedform Feel Cross Trainer Shoes

Under Armour is another popular brand for sports gear and equipment and their workout shoes are no different. These rubber sole shoes have a full-length Micro G foam midsole for help with burst responsiveness (Great for powerlifters). The low to ground construction of the shoe provides great feel and power transfer to the weights. This is one of the most important features of any training shoe and why running shoes will never be better for gym purposes.

Many others that have purchased this shoe have raved on about the improved stability they have experienced when doing squats and deadlifts. This is because of the flat-footing the shoes promote which helps ground you to the floor.

The shoe also boasts a ripstop material upper that is both flexible and highly durable which is important to get many uses out of your shoes in the tough gym environment.

How have others reviewed these shoes?

“I was surprised the moment these arrived at my doorstep and I took them to their first gym session. I instantly felt a power increase in my squats and deadlifts because my foot felt firm on the floor. One thing though, on the website this shoe is lifted as a running shoe however I can tell that I would get blisters the moment I did more than 3 miles in it. Definitely a shoe that’s only suitable for the gym and I do love it.” Mike B

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#5 - Inov-8 Men's Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoe

Inov-8 a brand that I’ve predominantly seen in the runner’s world however they’ve also developed an amazing cross-trainer shoe. I guess this is because every article you read on the internet that talks about becoming a good runner involves a lot of cross-training, and this is why I’ve also started cross-training (I’m mainly a runner).

These shoes are made from 100% synthetic material and are extremely lightweight whilst providing an amazing foot-to-ground feel with only an inch rise off from the heel. The material is also very flexible meaning that you won’t have much trouble with walking around in them whilst still providing an amazing grip.

The shoes also come with an added strap to help secure your foot even further and prevent possible slippage whilst training. The shoes also come a bit wide on the toe so they’re great for individuals with wider feet (Although not too wide!). If you have narrow feet it might not be the best choice.

What do other people say about the Inov-8’s?

“I was previously training in chucks which I thought were heavily flat-footed shoes. After wearing the Inov-8 I could tell that this wasn’t really the case because these felt even flatter. I then found out that the chucks have a slightly rounded bottom. This has really helped me get even lower on my squats towards the ground. The shoes are also fairly flexible so I didn’t have any problems in walking around with them either” Thomas B

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My Number One Pick

Key Considerations When Looking for The Best Workout Shoes for Men

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, no matter what sport you’re doing you’re going to need the right equipment. Shoes are no different, having the correct workout shoes for the gym or for other sports such as running is crucially important.

For the purpose of this article, we’re covering what the best workout shoes for men are. Below is taking into consideration that your purposes for this shoe are to train in the gym. These are the key nuances you’ll need to look out for before making a purchase decision. Ultimately everyone’s needs are different so the below is designed to help you make the right decision with that in mind.

Durability

You’re going to be using these shoes with every workout in the gym, you’re going to want them to withstand that pressure. If you’re like me and you go to the gym 3 days a week (Which isn’t actually that much, as I do a lot of other sports on the side) then you’re going to be going at least 152 times in a year. That’s a lot of wear and tear, especially when you consider how many times you bend your feet (For example when you’re doing calf raises). There’s also going to be a lot of pressure on the shoes when you do exercises such as that.

Most weightlifting shoes are created from leather which is very durable, the problem with the leather is that it can be very uncomfortable. Most reputable brands know how to get around this though and provide the best workout shoes for men by using leather and not skimping on comfort.

Purpose

I’ve touched on this already but I think it’s a very important feature to talk about. You really need to consider the purpose of your workout shoe. When you’re going out to purchase a workout shoe for the gym make sure that you’re not going to buy a running shoe because it’s been advertised as “The best fitness shoe on the market”. These shops usually have inexperienced marketing staff and will make you believe that things such as an all-purpose shoe exist.

If you’re looking for the best workout shoes for men then you’re going to be looking for the right shoes for the gym that can withstand the gym environment. Keep that in mind, and use this guide as an information source to help you find the right shoes.

Brand

Don’t skimp out on quality and get a no-brand shoe. Brands are very important. Not just because they have the money to market themselves to seem that they’re the best. They usually ARE the best. They have tried their shoes with many athletes to develop a consumer version of the shoes. Going to brands such as Reebok, Adidas, Nike, and New Balance is very important. There are more brands as well however these are a good baseline to start with and they’re constantly improving trying to stay ahead of the market curve.

Price

This complements the previous point. I know that going with a no-brand pair of shoes is going to help your wallet but you’ll be skimping on quality and safety. Comfort, durability, and brand will all come into consideration when the price is in question. Just remember that leather usually costs more especially if its quality, as it will need to withstand a lot of bending. The only thing I want to mention here is if you like the style, the comfort and the quality of the shoe then don’t be afraid to pay its retail price.

Sizing

Usually, when considering the best workout shoes you want to make sure that they’re a tight fit. If you’re a runner you’ve probably been told that you should go half a size up or sometimes even a full size. This isn’t the same for workout shoes. Your toes aren’t going to be numb (Which is the problem with tight shoes for runners) so look for a tight fit to ensure that your shoes don’t slip off when doing exercises such as the calf raises mentioned before. Not having a correctly fitted shoe can lead to injury, so if you get your shoes and they end up not being the right fit then don’t be afraid to return them.

Style

Style is always important, as long as you consider the above nuances when choosing the best workout shoe for yourself then the next factor you should consider is styling. Finding a shoe that suits your style or your activewear will boost confidence and help with the mental aspect of working out. We’re only human right?

Frequently Asked Questions On Workout Shoes For Men

Q: What’s the difference between workout shoes and gym shoes?

A: Usually none, cross-training shoes and gym shoes are identical. Gym shoes sometimes have a velcro strap that helps you tighten the shoes even more. In the end, it’s all about style and personal preference.

Q: Can I use my running shoes for gym workouts?

A: It’s not recommended, running shoes have a high heel and gym workout shoes should be flat to maintain balance. Running shoes are usually short by a size or two to account for toe numbness. You should not be doing the same for workout shoes, they should be a tight fit (Although not too tight) to ensure they don’t slip off whilst doing workouts such as calf raises.

Q: Why are most workout shoe leather?

A: Leather is strong and leather is safe, if by chance you drop some weights on your shoes you will be minimizing the impact. They’re an overall safer option for working out with.

Conclusion

My personal choice is the Adidas Men’s Adipower Weightlift Shoes because I love the style of them, although I believe that most of the shoes that made the cut are great. Reebok really has an amazing arsenal of shoes you can choose from and it’s good to see players like Inov-8 who are prominently in the running space making workout shoes as well.

Whatever your choice might be, look for shoes that are durable and safe for working out in the gym. Do you own one of these pairs or are you a fan of another pair of shoes? Why not let me know in the comments box below I’m always looking to further my knowledge and keen for feedback on my choices. Best of luck with your workouts and keep strong!

Sources: 
https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/how-choose-athletic-shoes#1
https://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/shoes-accessories/shoes/athletic-shoes

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