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 trying to find the best workout shoes however, you need stability and this usually means a flat shoe. There are variants, but this is usually the case for weights in particular.
This also all depends on the type of workout that you are doing, in this case we’re considering the typical types of shoes you would need at the gym (All rounders, weightlifting shoes, and CrossFit shoes).
What I’ve reviewed here are what I believe are the best mens workout shoes for when you’re heading to the gym to pump some weights and to do some form of cross-training.
Best Workout Shoes For Men Compared and Reviewed
|Top||Adidas Men's Adipower Weightlift Shoes||Adidas||Check Price on Amazon|
|Reebok Men's Crossfit||Reebok||Check Price on Amazon|
|Reebok Men's Nano 9 Cross Trainer||Reebok||Check Price on Amazon|
|Under Armour Men's Speedform Feel Cross Trainer Shoes||Under Armour||Check Price on Amazon|
|Inov-8 Men's Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoe||Inov-8||Check Price on Amazon|
|Nike Men's Metcon 5 Training Shoe||Nike||Check Price on Amazon|
|Reebok Men's ROS Workout||Reebok||Check Price on Amazon|
|Inov-8 Men's F-LITE 235 V2||Inov-8||Check Price on Amazon|
|New Balance Men's 517 V1 Cross Trainer||New Balance||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mizuno Men's TC-01||Mizuno||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Adidas Men's Adipower - Best Weightlifting Shoes
Check Prices, Images and Reviews on Amazon by Clicking Here – Great for weightlifting, due to it’s flat stable surface
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). These are one of the best gym shoes that I’ve seen people review.
#2 - Reebok Men's Crossfit - Best CrossFit Shoes
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.
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.
#3 - Reebok Men's Nano 9 Cross Trainers - Best Gym Shoes
Check Prices, Images and Reviews on Amazon by Clicking Here – Best “All-rounder” mens workout shoes for the gym
The Nano 9 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. 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.
#4 - Under Armour Men's Speedform Feel Cross Trainers
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.
#5 - Inov-8 Men's Fastlift 325 Cross Trainers
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.
#6 - Nike Men's Metcon 5 Training Shoe
Check Prices, Images and Reviews on Amazon by Clicking Here – Stability workout shoes that can be used for cross exercise
Nike is definitely one of the names that you hear, and find that they’re always up to something to revolutionize the sporting world. So it’s no surprise that one of the top workout shoes belongs to Nike. The Metcon 5 Training Shoe from Nike hip, cool-looking shoe that is suitable for workouts.
It boasts a rubber sole, and has foam in the midsole which adds cushioning under your foot. One of the benefits of this shoe is that it contains a smooth heel clip. This means that whenever you’re doing any wall routines during your workout, it reduces the drag time on the wall.
The shoe is known to be quite durable due to its rubber outsole and has a flat, wide-heel for stability or grip when climbing, doing floor exercises, or rope.
This shoe is known to be quite popular for people that are training CrossFit. This is partly due to the fact that they’re known for having stability. These shoes however, aren’t that great for running as they aren’t comfortable, nor suitable for any long runs. They’re particuarly designed as workout shoes for the gym.
In saying that though, they’re known to be quite suitable for casual use for commuting and heading out. Some people have noted that the shoes can be quite narrow, so if you have a wide foot you might want to consider trying it in a store first before online. Others have said that the shoe does not fair favorably in the rain and the front gets quite wet.
#7 - Reebok Men's ROS Workout
Another Reebok hits the list, as they’ve gotten quite the reputation recently with workout shoes. These shoes in particular are made of both durable and lightweight material, containing an open mesh upper for breathability purposes.
These shoes have been known to be especially useful, and catered for: lifts, plyos, and rope climbs, and workouts as stated by Reebok. The shoes however, may be a bit slippery when wet from the experience of other consumers. However, they were intended to be used for workouts which usually occur in the gym.
These shoes are quite stylish and can be used comfortably for casual purposes. The plus on these shoes, over the Metcon’s previously rated, is that these are more suitable for wide feet.
#8 - Inov-8 Men's F-LITE 235 V2
And, another Inov-8 has made it’s way through the list. The cool thing about Inov-8 is that they’re always playing around with new options are not afraid to take risks. These shoes are specifically designed for high intensity strength and conditioning workouts.
So you can imagine that they’d be quite useful for HIIT (high intensity interval training) and CrossFit. Inov-8 is actually making some of the best workout shoes available today and it is being adapted by a lot more fitness enthusiasts.
These shoes are lightweight, with a wider toe box that helps your toes position themselves more efficiently when you’re doing some heavy sets. This shoe can also be used for rope climbs as they contain an rubber outstole that provides grip.
#9 - New Balance Men's 517 V1 Cross Training Shoes
Check Prices, Images and Reviews on Amazon by Clicking Here – Multi-purpose, not the best for weightlifting/durability
New Balance provides a great bang-for-buck shoe which are great for cross training, and even look amazing for casual daily use. They’re 50% leather and 50% synthetic, containing a rubber sole and removable insert incase you wish to use your own or an orthotic.
The shoe contains a foam, as part of it’s ABZORB technology which provides cushioning, however some consumers have noted that it may feel strange at first. Others however, have noted that the shoes may not be that durable and that they haven’t lasted longer than their previous workout shoes.
This however, is coming from people that have trained 5 days a week with these shoes. Certainly if you’re after bang-for-buck and don’t train as intense, or often, then these could be an interesting pair of shoes to own. If you’re going to be doing vigorous high-intensity exercise then you may want to consider one of the others from this list.
However for light-to-medium exercise these seem like a “go to workout shoes” suitable choice.
#10 - Mizuno Men's TC-01
Check Prices, Images and Reviews on Amazon by Clicking Here – Multi purpose shoes that you can also run in short distance
Mizuno are usually known for their running shoes. As you all know, I am a runner so I promise I’m not being bias when I added Mizuno to the list. The Mizuno Men’s TC-01 however seems like a great addition to the list for those that are looking for a more stylish option, that still performs well.
I know I cheated a bit, but just in-case someone was after a more “runner-oriented” workout shoe!
The TC-01 have been reported to have a snug and secure fit, and are known to be quite agile. For this purpose they’re good for agility workouts and short runs such as a 5K. For me personally, I tend to run more than I hit the weights at the gym. So I usually go to the gym in running shoes, however some tend to be heavy.
These in particular are more lightweight than your average running shoe, but for that purpose as well, they’re not suitable for long runs. This makes them an interesting selection for those that like to go gym for a bit of running, together with some other workouts.
These shoes in particular however, aren’t that focused on stability for heavier lifts. So if your purpose is strength and lifting, it may not be the best option for you as it’s for people that are more focused on agility.
My Number One Pick
- 100% Leather
- Adjustable hook-and-loop instep strap for rearfoot integrity
- Comfortable textile lining
- Rubber sole
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 these are to be your typical gym shoe. This is a very broad term though, but usually it involves either weightlifting or cross training so those are the main details we’ll be looking at.
These are the key nuances you’ll need to look out for before making buying any weightlifting shoes or mens cross training shoes. Ultimately everyone’s needs are different so the below is designed to help you make the right decision with that in mind.
Workout shoes can be used for CrossFit (Such as cross training shoes), or gym workouts and generally are well suited for multiple purposes when training. Because running shoes are quite clunky, and not as stable, they don’t fit the purpose of this article.
You’re going to be using these shoes with your gym workouts, so 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 when lifting weights. This is what you would typically expect from a gym shoe however.
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.
If you’re weightlifting quite regularly, and especially if you’re a powerlifter you should get durable shoes, if you do more multi-activities at the gym such as cross training then this isn’t as important, and you probably wouldn’t want leather shoes if you’re doing cross exercises at the gym such as cycling as you might blister. Yikes.
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.
If you’re lifting weights, or doing CrossFit, then you may need shoes which are more sturdy and flat to the ground, versus something that provides a lot of cushioning like running shoes. This is more suitable for people doing heavy weights at the gym.
At the same time, if you’re focused on more agile workouts, then you may need shoes that provide some sort of cushioning. This of course, for people like me, that like to run on the treadmill, before doing some light to medium weights.
One of the main things to keep in mind and that I need to re-iterate is that if you’re planning on lifting weights make sure that you look into a flat shoe for those purposes. Without a proper weightlifting shoe you could do damage to your knees and surrounding muscles.
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 tested 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.
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.
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 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. When looking for the best workout shoes for you, keep in mind if you’ll be lifting weights, or doing a mixture of cross training exercises as this will determine your ultimate choice.
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.
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 some of the best 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!
If you’re looking for more gym essentials then check out the reviews we did on the best workout gloves for the gym. Also, if you’re interested in the womens version of this page, we also did that. Check out our reviews on workout shoes for women.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is through constantly challenging yourself.