Best Cross Training Shoes Reviewed and Compared

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Everything you need to know about Cross training shoes! Find the best pair in our complete top 10 list and what to look out for before buying them in a store!

Cross training, not to be confused with cross country running, refers to combining exercises of different disciplines such as cycling, swimming, running, strength training. or a fitness class, to supplement their running. Doing so helps build flexibility and strength in muscles that are not used in running. However, if you don’t have essential support you will easily develop stress injuries in your muscles because of the  high- intense workouts.

Cross training shoes are often a hybrid of  different types of footwear. They may have the lateral stability of tennis shoes or basketball sneakers, the heel cushioning of running shoes, and the forefoot cushioning of  volleyball shoes. They can be made of flexible materials like those in running shoes or of leather type materials. The special feature of these shoes is that they don’t specialize in any specific types of activity. These shoes have to be versatile enough to be utilized for many different activities by the people who take part in those different activities.

Last Updated: February 10, 2018
By Brian Price:

This update brings you a lot of new Cross training shoe option. We have include the No Bull trainers, the Nike Metcon 4, and many more. We have also kept the Reebok Nano model, so read below to learn more about all of the awesome shoes on our list.

Reebok Crossfit Nano 6.0
  • Reebok Crossfit Nano 6.0
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Kevlar infused upper
  • Price: See Here
Asics GEL-Fit Sana
  • Asics GEL-Fit Sana
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Breathable
  • Price: See Here
Adidas Powerlift 3
  • Adidas Powerlift 3
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Weightlifting-engineered
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Cross Training Shoes

1. Reebok CrossFit Nano 6.0

The Reebok Nano never fails to disappoint when it delivers a new cross training model. The previous position on this list was held by the Reebok CrossFit Nano 6.0 and is being replaced with the most current model, the Reebok Nano 8.0. While they are infamous CrossFit athletes (hence their name) they are also a top choice for all cross-training activities and sports.
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The Nano 8.0 was released just a month ago and they are already a huge hit. Previously on the list was the 6.0--the 7.0's were not a huge success among loyal users of the Nano, so it is exciting to see the excellent improvements the Nano 8.0 has to offer.

It's difficult to find a cross training shoe that offers optimal support and stability when lifting and doing barbell work AND that also provides a comfortable run. In order to accomplish this, Reebok combines their sock-like Flexweave with a flexible forefoot and additional midsole cushioning.

While the shoes are not as rigid as previous models, this does not affect your performance during barbell work and weightlifting. In fact, this shoe is perfect for CrossFit and cross training exercises--they provide you with the perfect fit, comfort, and stability to excel in a combination of exercises without having to switch your shoes in between sets!
Pros
  • Resistent and durable  design built with Kevlar material
  • Less Rigid than the 7.0
  • Sock-like Flexweave 
  • Midsole cushioning 
  • RopePro sole for unique grip when rope climbing
Cons
  • High cost

2. Asics GEL-Fit Sana

The Women’s GEL-Fit Sana keeps ASICS’ signature gel cushioning system to diminish shock and providing a soft strike during the whole foot motion. With a super flexible and comfortable sock liner, this model is perfect to wear without socks while maintaining fresh feet. The high absorption sole makes it ideal for any intensity of crossfit training.
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The rubber sole gives a solid grip for heavy lifting and running, with guaranteed no slipping. The mid-sole is the perfect thick, thick enough to reduce impact properly and thin enough to keep you at a decent level off the ground. The upper is superiorly comfortable, accompanied by a flexible feet for an additional dose of stability in any direction. This model supports intense training and its lightweight design makes it perfect for dynamic exercises and multiple gym activities. They give decent breathability and keep your feet nice and fresh.
Pros
  • Really flexible and comfortable inner shoe
  • Much more lightweight than they appear
  • Fairly reasonable price
  • Gel Cushioning System for shock absorption
Cons
  • The rubber outsole seems to deteriorate faste than other models

6. Adidas Powerlift 3 Cross-Training

Adidas’ powerlifters are excellent for cross training. A decently lightweight design that provides a smooth training, supported by a synthetic upper that sits really comfortable on your feet giving you ankle support and extending durability. The shoes allow your feet to breathe through the mesh and the open forefoot design.
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Flexibility is a plus on this one, the Powerlift 3 provides you nice both vertical and horizontal flex. The shoes are very stable despite being so lightweight, and the rubber sole is engineered for a clean powerlift with zero slipping and grip enhancement. This model can take a gym pounding with intense exercises and heavy lifting. The heel is properly cushioned, yet solid enough to provide a comfortable stance while squatting, deadlifting or performing cleans. The design looks really good and comes in a variety of color combinations that add some style to the overall build.
Pros
  • Synthetic upper with a lightweight approach
  • Open forefoot design with air mesh collar, tongue and lining for breathability
  • Extremely powerful sole, ideal for powerlifting and heavy exercises
Cons
  • Use is limited to the gym, might not be as effective for other activities

3. Nike Metcon 4

The Mecon 4 was recently released and this position was a toss up between one of the most popular cross training shoes, the Metcon 2, and the most recent model. We chose the Nike Metcon 4 because it delivers everything the Metcon 2's has to offer as well as some additional great features you will love.
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Durability/Shock Absorption

These Metcon 4's come equipped with a highly durable outsole, made of high quality rubber, that extends along the sides of the shoes, providing the shoe additional protection from exercises--such as rope climbs--that can quickly wear out the shoe overtime. Nike also employed the use of Haptic Technology to increase the overall durability of the entire shoe.

Aesthetic

Previous models of this shoe did not offer a wide selection of color and style. Nike's use of Haptic technology not only increases the durability of the shoe without adding to much weight, but also makes it possible to make a wide selection of colors and styles available to customers.

Flexibility

The outsole design of these shoes provide optimum flexibility for athletes engaging in cross training activities. They are easy to transition from activity to activity, which is ideal for cross training activities.

Cost Value

High cost, however if you want to spend less (and don't mind having fewer color/design options) the Metcon 3 is an excellent option.
Pros
  • Haptic Technology for optimal durability and increased color and design options
  • Flexible 
  • Comfortable 
Cons
  • High cost
  • Some users dislike the insole (same as the Metcon 3 insole)
  • Lacks breathability 

4. No Bull Trainer

No Bull is known for the excellent trainer and lifting shoes. They consistently provide athletes with optimal and excellent choices, and the No BullTrainer does not disappoint.
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No Bull does not have many option available on Amazon or common online retailers, so when we found out they had the Trainer available on Amazon we finally had the chance to include it among our top ten list.

These No Bull trainers provide the proper stability and flexibility for a combination of exercises--such as running and weightlifting/barbell work. While strict power/weight lifters will not prefer this shoe, they are a perfect option for cross training athletes who need a shoe that can make them efficient in each activity.

This trainer provides excellent shock absorption, which is necessary when combining a variety of athletic activities.

Lastly, these shoes are durable and responsive--the perfect combination for athletes who want consistent and optimal results.
Pros
  • Comfortable 
  • Flexible 
  • durable
  • responsive 
  • sleek design 
Cons
  • Not as breathable as most prefer
  • High cost
  • few color options 

5. PUMA Women's Tazon 6 WN'S FM Cross-Trainer

Puma has created a great overall product with these. They provide good support and are ideal for a wide range of activities. Beautifully designed, they're the perfect shoe to show off while running around the gym.
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These shoes provide good arch and ankle support and lots of cushion for exceptional comfort. The sleek design makes them a great choice for people who want to remain stylish even while working up a sweat. They provide all-day comfort, excellent for people who have to stay on their feet all day long. They provide an especially good fit for people with narrow feet.
Pros
  • Sleek, attractive design
  • EVA in the heel for shock absorbency
  • Long-lasting support
Cons
  • They run small
  • A bit heavy for dance cardio, such as Zumba

7. Adipure 360.3 W

A sleek aesthetic join intelligent construction for a perfect fusion of on-trend, high tech performance. The Adidas Performance Adipure 360.3 is your uber cool, go-to shoe for workouts and pleasure.
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Durability/Shock Absorption

Lightweight cushioning in the midsole means a smoother, less injurious exercise. Add an adjustable midfoot frame for durable workouts - the foot is kept more stable and well supported making it a perfect fit for all types of training or conditioning.

Breathability/Comfort-Aesthetic

A mesh upper with four way stretch translates to flexible movement without irritation and simulating a natural feel with maximum breathability. A comfort collar holds the ankle snug adding yet another layer of stability for optimum workouts. Select from seven contrasting hues - seriously check out the tangerine on black for a retro-meets-urban vibe.

Flexible Sole

A non-marking, high traction rubber sole and flex groove construction blend for grippy but natural foot motion. The trademark PUREMOTION midsole adds rapid reaction time by mimicking barefoot, more natural stability, making workouts more efficient.

Cost Value

Medium price point
Pros
  • PUREMOTION midsole for rapid reaction
  • Four way mesh upper for movement without irritation
Cons
  • Some prefer more cushion

8. Vibram Men’s KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

These cross training shoes are the perfect option for minimalist looking for a consistent shoe for all of their athletic activities.
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These cross training shoes are extraordinary breathable and flexible.

They also come equipped with the XS TREK technology, which provides you with adequate durability, comfort, traction, stability, and comfort and durability.

They are the perfect minimalist shoe--Easy to wash, come with a quick lace system, and provide you with optimal support and stability.
Pros
  • Quick lace up system
  • Extremely lightweight and breathable 
  • Easy to wash 
Cons
  • Not durable in rugged terrain 
  • Some users report the toes are too tight

9. Reebok Crossfit Speed TR

The Reebok Women's Crossfit Speed TR possesses the ultimate design in all-direction stability to provide a solid grip to the ground for you to get the most out of your running power and velocity. Designed especially for those crossfitter women to have a comfortable stand and performance during every training.
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This model is ideal for runners and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Its focused support allows an incredible momentum, providing the users an outstanding running performance. Engineered to reach the highest of the running speeds while keeping a unique durability and a lightweight design that gives you a flying-like experience. You can forget about sliding thanks to its RopePro Shank and advanced ultra-flexible design that enhances shock absorption and provides a solid stand for lifting. The Crossfit Speed TR also brings you some awesome designs and color combinations to feel good while you train.
Pros
  • All-direction Stability
  • Suitable for high-speed running
  • Great Impulse
Cons
  • Not suitable for running long distances

10. Puma Women’s Cell Riaze

Puma thought of everything with the Cell Riaze Cross Training Shoe. Remarkable technology fused into awesome construction equates with the best in breathability, sole engineering and comfort. Your perfect shoe for running, weights and everything in between.
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Durability/Shock Absorption

Featuring the 10Cell heel cushion for high tech shock absorption, making impact more fluid. PUMA couples this with the ArchTec TPU Shank to further provide stability to the midfoot while also allowing excellent range and natural movement.

Breathability/Comfort-Aesthetic

A fusion of intelligent design features including an EcoOrtholite footbed and an AirMesh upper with textile lining work together to create the perfect blend of odor resistance, wicking, coolness and comfort. With its iconic PUMA graphic on a stylish design in sleek black with soft peach accents, you’ll love the way this shoe feels, and also feel great wearing it!

Flexible Sole

Patented EverRide and EverTrack combine for a rubber outsole that’s uber cushioned with increased traction which means perfection on the trail or at the gym. Take this shoe on the long haul or weight lifting for your better performance.

Cost Value

Very reasonable price point for a shoe providing outstanding technical features.
Pros
  • Fierce technology including EverRide and EverTrack cushioning and grip
  • Flattering aesthetic
Cons
  • May run tight

How to choose the right pairs of shoes for your workout?

Nowadays, there are so many different types of shoes, which can make it a bit confusing if you are trying to buy new shoes for a specific type of use. Depending on your purposes to choose the most suitable pair of shoe that will protect your feet, support them, be flexible and be breathable. And here I would like to suggest some tips to choose the right shoes for intense workout sessions.

  • Whenever trying on new shoes, try it with the socks you will wear during exercise and walk or slightly run around in them for a while to confirm how they feel on your feet. While walking shoes makes you feel firm, running shoes make you feel a bit more flexible and fluid, exercising footwear are often flexible and padded in the middle of the shoe.
  • Look at the sole and the toe of the shoe to specify the type of shoe. Running and walking footwear often have thinning soles and toes of running shoes often curl upward while cross training shoes often have thick soles.
  • Don’t pay attention too much on shoes’ appearance because the best shoes for your feet may not have the best looking. Comparing shoes based on how they fit on your feet and are constructed rather than how they look.
  • Test the fit of shoe by wiggling your toes (you should be able to fan your feet out and wiggle the toes. There should be a length about thumbnail of space. And the heels should feel supported and secure when wearing these shoes.

Supportive cross training shoes are necessary for women who always challenge themselves with new activities. With the best trainers you can add new elements to their current sport routine without worries of getting stress injuries to their muscles.

 


 

The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation of the Best Cross Training Shoes

This evaluation doesn’t consist of a bunch of randomly picked cross training shoes. We follow specific and technical parameters to ensure that only the highest quality of products are mentioned in the list. These parameters consist of the features provided by each shoe, those that you would ask for when buying your cross training shoes.

Below, we’ll explain every individual parameter that we keep in mind while we search for the most suitable options.

 

Can your feet breathe?

Cross training can get messy when it comes to sweating. We know how uncomfortable it is to have your feet suffocated because of a bad combination of sweat and heat, which is why our picks for this evaluation consisted of breathable shoes made out of materials that allow the flow of air into your feet.

breathability

The uncomfortable dampness within the shoe is an obstacle to many cross trainers, along with its side effects such as odors, internal slipping and unwanted fungi. We made sure to select the models that are properly equipped to prevent feet overheating, allowing you to perform intense activities while keeping a fresh inner shoe.

For this, we took in consideration the breathability of the materials used in the overall shoe build, such as mesh, and the distribution they are placed with in order to keep the whole foot fresh instead of just a segment of it.

 

Are they protective enough?

When cross training, we experience all kind of intense activities that involve performing rope climbs, box jumps, rope jumping, and similar exercises. One must be prepared to train on any terrain, whether it’s mud, grass or uneven surfaces, which is why we took in consideration proper shoe protection that engages in almost any surface and terrain.

We selected those shoes that provide superior protection based on their shock absorption qualities and similar features; these might come in more expensive, but safety has no price. However, too much of anything is bad for you, so we’re not looking for bulletproof shoes that are as armored as a tank.

 

Do they provide full flexbility?

When looking for the top cross training shoes, we definitely thought of flexibility as a critical factor. If we’re talking about intense exercising that involves jumping, running, climbing and bouncing, flexibility is something you’ll want to have in your shoes.

flexibility

But it’s not all about just flexing, we’ve taken into consideration the multi-direction flexible designs of cross training shoes in order to come up with the best of them.  We also took in consideration the placement of the flexible zones, as we don’t want the shoe flexing when it’s not supposed to. When used for running or similar activities, we looked for models that ensured a natural gait that provides enough support for cross training exercises.

 

Are they too lifted off the ground?

high-shoesFor cross training shoes, we focused on those designs that have a low profile. We took in consideration an appropriate midsole height that allows decent shock absorption and that works as a steady, yet not too thick platform. When it comes to heavy lifting, you won’t want to be standing on a huge midsole that makes you uncomfortable and perhaps even affects your balance. We targeted low profile models that provide the sensation of being closer to the ground instead of floating around the gym.

 

 

Sole thickness & Support

The sole is another important factor to consider when looking for the best cross training shoes. A very thick sole will be uncomforting for the heel and the rest of the foot when performing aerodynamic exercises, heavy lifting or running.sole-thickness

We looked for soles that are thick enough to provide decent support while still being thin enough to provide a comfortable feeling when gripping to the floor. Another very important aspect of the sole thickness is taking in consideration the cushioning.

Proper cushioning is needed for intense cross training, especially when we’re talking about jumping, running and performing activities that require lots of movement. However, you don’t want your feet to lose space because of cushioning, so we selected the latest technology that offers just the right amount of it.

 

Toe box

You can’t have your toes strangled by the toe box. Not only does it disrupt your training, but it’s also quite annoying to have your toes pressed against each other in an uncomfortable manner. Additionally, your toes need enough space to spread in order to maintain a natural gait and offer proper resistance.

We selected shoes that maintain a solid proportion between the toe box and the overall shoe size. The bigger the shoe, the more space the toes will need. But just like too little room is annoying, too much room will cause inner slipping.

 

Are they durable enough?

Crossfit is a pretty intense activity that puts a lot of stress on shoes. We made sure to bring you shoes that can take a pounding repeatedly at the gym or other training places. In order to do this, we paid attention to the quality of the materials used for the overall build; from a solid sole to a resistant mesh that won’t start tearing apart within the first few months.

The material of the sole is also very important; you don’t want the rubber grip on the outsole to deteriorate after just a few weeks of using, leaving you with a helpless traction that will do as good as butter to keep a solid stance while practicing cross training.

Durable materials can come in considerably more expensive. We can’t blame you for feeling tempted by those low-price shoes, but keep in mind that their low price is proportional to their low quality. You’ll be far better off buying an expensive pair of quality shoes than having to buy 3 pairs of low-quality shoes that rip wide open every month.

 

Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Cross Training Shoes

Apart from the standard parameters you would normally follow to find the best cross training shoes, there are many other little details people fail to take in consideration in order to determine the pair that suits them the most. When it comes to cross training, activities are very varied in all forms; from intensity to proper performance and endurance.

Some details that attract you the most, such as a nice design, can blind you from paying attention to what really matters. Sometimes, you’ll be able to find the perfect pair of shoes that contains proper specifications and meets high standards while still having a great design, but if not, it’d be wise to consider all factors when shopping for cross training shoes.

We took the time to research these important qualities for you, offering additional information in further factors that might have an important impact on the pair of shoes that are more suitable for you. Here are some additional parameters you should take in consideration when conducting research for this list:

 

Suitable activities

You’ll want to keep in mind what kind of activities you’re thinking in using the shoes for. Certain models might enhance your performance on certain cross training activities, while reducing your potential on other ones. Being cross training such a varied sport, this  is an important factor to keep in consideration.

powerlifting-e1356474144648For example, if you’re going for powerlifting you’ll be better off using powerlifting shoes specifically. However, powerlifting shoes might not come in too handy when going for a long run. On the other hand, cross training shoes that are excellent for running might not provide the most optimal performance for other activities, such as rope climbing.

Analyze your training routine to decide whether you prefer shoes that adapt to a specific activity, or a pair of shoes that allows you to perform a greater variety of exercises if your routine is mixed.

 

All feet are different

Overpronation and underpronation can become a really annoying obstacle when it comes to selecting the adequate pair of cross training shoes. If you suffer from a specific condition, you definitely want to pay attention to the ability of the shoes to adjust to your condition.

pronationIf you have arch issues, you should be looking for shoes that offer adequate arch support that match your anatomy. For other similar conditions, you should check that the pair of shoes you’re selecting allows you to modify them to suit your symptom and comfort you. For example, if you suffer from flatfoot you should be looking for a pair of shoes with a removable inner sole, so you can insert a custom device that adapts the shoe to your necessities.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to reconstruct a whole pair of shoes. Don’t be afraid of taking your own device (if you need any) and try it at the store with the pair of shoes that you’d like to take with you. Wear them and see if they can adapt to your condition.

 

Style matters too

Some people consider styling as a critical factor when selecting shoes. We can’t blame them, as we can’t help it but feel great when we’re rocking a pair of awesome-looking shoes. But there’s much, much more to a shoe than just a fancy design– especially when we’re talking about cross training shoes that must provide specific and demanding qualities to support heavy exercise.

fashion

There’s no problem with including fashion as a parameter; it feels good to look good, and believe it or not a good look is an extra spice of motivation. No one wants an ugly pair of shoes combined in senseless colors, but always keep in mind that you’re going to train; functionality goes over styling.

 


FAQ

Q: What’s the difference between cross training shoes and running sneakers?

A: There is a very, very large list of differences between these two. While there are cross training shoes that might suit you for medium runs, each style of shoe is equipped differently to provide other kind of support, impulse, and functionality to their respective activity. From the sole thickness, to cushioning and traction.

Q: Does an expensive shoe guarantee me high quality?

A: While we made sure to select only the highest quality of shoes, you should never let a pricetag decide for you. Like we’ve previously mentioned, each pair of shoes might fit specific areas of cross training. This means some of the shoes are equipped with technology and materials that are different from the rest, hence the price might fluctuate between models.

Q: How often should I replace my cross training shoes?

A: Degrading is something that can be noticed by both plain sight and feeling. While your shoes might seem like they’re perfectly fine on the outside, the midsole inner cushioning might have completed its lifecycle and it’s time for a replacement. As soon as the shoes start bothering you, or providing an inferior sensation, you should consider getting new shoes.

Q: My conditions (overpronation, flatfloot, etc) don’t allow me to wear normal shoes, what should I do?

A: Like we mentioned, you shouldn’t be afraid of taking your personalized equipment with you when shopping for training shoes. Make sure the shoes you’ll select can be adapted to your conditions; as symptoms vary, this can go from placing a custom inner sole to perhaps replacing a bigger part of the shoes.

Q: Are cross training shoes limited to crossfit?

A: This really depends on the model of your selection. It’s not impossible to find cross training shoes that possesse qualities similar to the ones of a specific sport’s requirements. For instance, some cross training models might serve you for sports such as dodgeball, thanks to their specific traction style. It all comes down to the shoe build, and you can always ask a store expert if a certain pair of cross training shoes would fit a specific sport.

 

This concludes the explanation of our research parameters to list the top cross training shoes up to the present. We hope this will improve your shopping experience and assist you in choosing the pair of shoes that will suit you the most. If you have any questions, please refer to the FAQ. If your question doesn’t appear, feel free to use the comments below to place any of your concerns and we’ll try to assist you as soon as possible.


Here are some sources we used while conducting our research:

In sharing as much information as possible, to help you make a much more informed decision, we have used many different sources throughout the internet for our research. Here are some of those sources for you to look at yourself.

Sources

  1. WebMD, 5 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing Workout Shoes, Online Clinical Information,
  2. Livestrong, What Is the Difference Between Cross-Trainer And Running Sneakers? , Fitness & Nutrition Information, Jan 22, 2014
  3. NY Times - Style, Cross-Training Shoes Fit the Needs of More Than One Sport, Online Newspaper, Mar 17, 1990
  4. American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, Training Shoes, Health & Sports Information,
  5. Runner's World, Pronation, Explained, Running enthusiast website, Feb 23, 2005

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