Best Cross Training Shoes – 2021 Buyers Guide
It's difficult to find the best options on the market though, which is why we've tested and reviewed dozens of cross-trainers so you don't have to. This research and review process led to our carefully curated list of product reviews featured below.
The right cross trainers need to offer the right levels of breathability, protection, flexibility, durability and drop that you need. So, whether you are new to cross training or have years under your belt, there is definitely something on our list for you.
Take some time to review each options, decide what's important to you and find the right price available.
Our top pick is...
Wide toe box
11 Best Cross Training Shoes
1. PUMA Tazon 6
Sleek, attractive design
EVA in the heel for shock absorbency
They run small
A bit heavy for dance cardio, such as Zumba
Puma has created top cross training shoes with these. The Puma Tazon 6 WN'S FM Cross-Trainer provides good support and is ideal for a wide range of activities. Beautifully designed, they're the perfect shoe to show off while running around the gym, track, or neighborhood.Read more
The sleek design makes them a great choice for people who want to remain stylish even while working up a sweat. Who says you can't look good while you are getting your workout in?
These cross trainers provide good arch and ankle support and lots of cushioning for exceptional comfort. So if you are suffering from any related discomfort due to high arches or plantar fasciitis, for example, these would be a great option to look into.
These cross training sneakers provide all-day comfort, excellent for people who have to stay on their feet all day long. They are especially good for people with narrow feet. So, this option is absolutely versatile and can accommodate a wide variety of people. Depending on which model you choose, they can be affordable to expensive.
These quality shoes feature a durable construction that allows them to last you. While you can't take these on technical terrain, they will certainly last you the long haul thanks to their high-quality materials.
Depending on the cross training shoes you get and the type of workouts you do, you will want to make sure you get something that is lower to ground so you have a barefoot feel and a firm grip on the ground while you train.
2. Altra Solstice XT
EVA foam midsole
No arch support
Do you wish you could just kick off your bulky sneakers to really move around the gym or the track? While running barefoot will help you gain the dexterity you need, it puts your feet at risk for injury. Your best option is to lace up a pair of Altra Solstice XT trainers to your feet before hitting the gym. These are some of the best minimalist running shoes out there on the market that are crafted for top speeds.Read more
It boasts a simple mesh upper that allows your foot to really breathe and it offers just enough soft cushioning to resist rubber and chafing. It is also reinforced with a cage to help control movements for quick turns.
The full rubber outsole really grips surfaces on the track or gym floor to prevent slipping.
When we say they are minimalistic, we mean that they are free of extra cushioning and padding that could slow you down or stifle your flexibility.
We also like that the midsole is reinforced with High Abrasion EVA foam that is lightweight and highly flexible. When wearing these trainers, you will have almost the same range of motion in your feet as if you aren’t wearing anything at all.
It is composed of lightweight materials that provide you just enough cushioning to protect your feet without slowing you down in the slightest.
If you are in the market for something lightweight and minimalistic for a fast and high energy training session, you can’t really go wrong with the Altra Solstice XT.
3. Adidas Powerlift 3
Lightweight synthetic upper
Extremely powerful sole
Not ideal for running
Adidas’ powerlifters are excellent for cross-training. A decently lightweight design that provides a smooth training, supported by a synthetic upper that sits really comfortably 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.Read more
The design looks really good and comes in a variety of color combinations that add some style to the overall build. These shoes do have a wide range of pricing based on which option you choose. You could spend a budget-friendly amount all the way to a very expensive sum.
These shoes are actually a great pair of intro lifters. They hold your heel in place and are a great option for heavy squats because they won't let you lean onto your toes when you go heavy.
Flexibility is a plus on this one, as the Powerlift 3 provides you with good vertical and horizontal flex. These Adidas cross training shoes are very stable despite being so lightweight, and the rubber sole is engineered for a clean and powerful lift 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.
Because these shoes are lifters, they have a higher drop on the heel. They are also heavier in the heel to ensure you stay firmly planted on the ground.
4. Reebok Nano 9
Wide toe box
Not for shallow arches
What we liked most about the Reebok Nano 9 is that it boasts a low profile that makes it great for a myriad of exercises. The Nano 9 has some notable improvements over the 8 which make it an ideal shoe when you don’t quite know what your workout routine will look like from week to week. Plus, it comes in at a lower price point when compared to some of the other brands out there.Read more
The mesh upper sits low on the foot for excellent breathability, and also boasts a cage for a little more support.
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that while it is minimalist, it boasts a wide toe box. The lower profile is great at keeping your foot cool and dry as you turn up the heat.
This wider frame gives your foot room to move and spread out when engaging in things like lifting weights or for quick turns while engaging in CrossFit.
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand and boasts a more minimalist design, this option from Reebok is a great choice. Users love that it comes in a wide variety of color options that are unlike anything else out there on the market. Plus, it clocks in at an affordable price point.
This structured cage gives you added stability necessary for weightlifting, or even powerlifting. It has a minimal drop as well so you have more contact with the ground.
5. Puma Cell Riaze
Excellent cushioning and grip
May feel tight
Puma thought of everything with the Cell Riaze Cross Training Shoe. Remarkable technology fused with awesome construction equates to the best in breathability, sole engineering, and comfort. Your perfect option for running, weights, and everything in between, count on the Puma Cell Riaze. Read more details below about what makes these some of the best sneakers for cross training.Read more
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!
This is a very reasonable price point for shoes for women providing outstanding technical features. 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.
As far as flexibility goes, these cross training shoes are a little stiff at first but once you break them in they move with you with each and every step you take.
Featuring the Puma 10Cell heel cushion for high tech shock absorption, making each 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.
With a low drop, these shoes will keep you firmly planted to the ground while you train and get through your workouts.
6. Vibram KSO EVO
Quick lace-up system
Extremely lightweight and breathable
Easy to wash
Not durable in rugged terrain
Toes are tight
These cross training shoes are the perfect option for minimalist runners looking for a consistent shoe for all of their athletic activities. The Vibram KSO EVO is a high-performance sole that conforms to the natural shape of an individual's foot.Read more
These are by far the most breathable training shoes on our list. They are designed to be well0ventilated to ensure your feet stay cool and dry. This prevents any chafing and blisters from forming since your feet won't sweat.
These are a great option for cross training only--hence our list of reviews. These shoes ensure you get the stability you need without adding any weight and protect your feet from any debris that may be around you.
These shoes for men are extraordinary breathable and flexible. Conforming to the natural shape of your foot, they act like a second, protective skin. Your foot and toes have maximum movement and support.
Don't let the minimalistic design fool you. These soles pack a punch in terms of what they offer and how they are engineered. They 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. They're easy to wash, they come with a quick lace system, and provide you with optimal support and stability. They are fairly priced, so you won't blow your budget trying these.
7. Nike Metacon 5
Great for speed
Smooth heel clip
EVA foam midsole
What makes the Metacon 5 unique is that it has a super low profile and a lightweight frame that keeps your movements quick and agile when needed. If the style is something that is also super important to you, it’s hard to take your eyes off of some of these modern designs that do not look like anything else out there on the market. Be prepared to receive quite a few compliments when rocking the Metacon 5 at the gym!Read more
Another feature we wanted to discuss is the smooth heel clip. Not only will the heel design prevent rubbing and chafing on your heels, but it also helps you make quick turns while still protecting your feet.
The Metacon 5 has a wide heel that is ideal for quick movements such as HIIT training and CrossFit.
At first glance, it may seem like a minimalist shoe, but it is also packed with features that help to support and comfort your foot as you train.
We love the addition of foam in the midsole that contours to the shape of your foot and also helps to absorb the impact of each and every movement to stay kind to your knees.
If top speeds are your number one goal, this is the shoe you want. It has a low profile while still offering a lot of support in the heel as well as the ankle. If the style is important to you, it’s hard to resist the siren call of all of the bright and unique style options, some of which are modern interpretations of 80’s and 90’s styles.
8. No Bull Trainer
Few color options
No Bull is known for their excellent trainers and lifting shoes. They consistently provide athletes with optimal and excellent choices, and No BullTrainer does not disappoint.Read more
No Bull is a top dog in the CrossFit world and their trainers are some of the best selections currently available. They are tightly weaved for durability but they are also really breathable and well-ventilated so you don't have to worry about your feet getting overheated,
This trainer provides excellent shock absorption, which is necessary when combining a variety of athletic activities. The stress that occurs with some exercises on the joints can wear and cause pain over time. The best pro-active step to help ease future pain and discomfort is to wear gear that can best protect against it.
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.
Lastly, these shoes are durable and responsive--the perfect combination for athletes who want consistent and optimal results.
These trainers are low and close to the ground but with just enough height to put the weight you need in the heel to ensure you stay stable in securely in place while you train.
9. Adipure 360.3
PUREMOTION midsole for rapid reaction
Four-way mesh upper for movement without irritation
Excellent heel-to-toe drop
Some prefer more cushioning
What makes these one of the best cross trainer shoes is that they have a sleek aesthetic that combines with intelligent construction for a perfect fusion of on-trend, high tech performance. The Adidas Performance Adipure 360.3 are your uber cool go-to cross trainers shoes for workouts and pleasure.Read more
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.
Lightweight cushioning in the midsole means a smoother, less injurious exercise.
The soles have good flexibility. A non-marking, high traction rubber sole and flex groove construction blend for grippy but natural foot motion.
Add an adjustable midfoot frame for durable workouts and the foot is kept more stable and well supported making it a perfect fit for all types of training or conditioning.
The trademark PUREMOTION midsole adds rapid reaction time by mimicking barefoot movement patterns and providing more natural stability, making workouts more efficient. They come to you at a medium price point.
10. Reebok Cross Fit Speed TR
Suitable for high-speed running
Not suitable for running long distances
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 who engage in CrossFit to have a comfortable experience and high performance during every WOD.Read more
These cross training shoes are pretty breathable, although they are not the most well-ventilated selection on our list of reviews.
You can forget about slipping and sliding thanks to its RopePro Shank and advanced ultra-flexible design that enhances shock absorption and provides a solid stand for lifting. This design also assists in providing a secure balance.
The Crossfit Speed TR also brings you some awesome designs and color combinations to feel good while you train. Moderately priced, you'll drop some dough but it's not the most expensive option on the market.
Engineered to reach the highest of running speeds while keeping unique durability and a lightweight design that gives you a flying-like experience.
This model is ideal for running and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Its focused support allows the carriage of incredible momentum, providing the users an outstanding running performance.
11. New Balance Minimus 40
Great for cross training
Good energy return
These New Balance cross trainers are designed for the purpose of improving cross-training performance. The New Balance Minimus 40 offers all the required features and performance expected from a good shoe for cross training.Read more
Yes, the price is a bit more but in return for your dough, you get multi-functional reliable footwear. This model has everything a cross-trainer shoe should offer and tops it off with a very nice style. You get the opportunity to choose from a nice selection of unique and trendy colors.
With versions for both ladies and men, these New Balance cross trainers one is multi-purpose and performs very well for cross-training purposes outdoors or indoors. It's good for short to medium distance running but not challenging trail runs. This versatile shoe offers reliable performance, comfort, stability, and protection mixed with style.
You get good structural stability, nice flexibility, strategic cushioning, and good energy return. Additionally, its breathability level is impressive and the surface grip is really good. Whether training indoors or outdoors, these New Balance cross trainers will perform.
These cross-training shoes for women and men are really durable and built to last.t hey are made of high-quality materials that are built to handle the training you want to put them through.
Enjoy the rapid rebound midsole, the performance feels impressive and helpful while giving a similar response to the response and cushion in a purpose-designed running shoe. The heel has built-in RevLite which means performance and lightness combined. The Vibram outsole gives a grip and traction which runs as similar to a sturdy hiking shoe for reliable surface grip.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Your cross trainer shoes should never cause any hot spot, chafing, or blisters--which is why breathability is incredibly important.
When it comes to finding good workout shoes, one thing many people overlook is the importance of breathable material and design. With good airflow, your feet will stay cool and dry and you will not have to deal with smelly foot odor and you will be at a reduced risk for blisters and bruising as well. Breathability is a key factor that far too many runners ignore or overlook in their search.
Being such an intense activity, cross-training can get messy when it comes to sweating. We can’t help you stop sweating, and that would be unhealthy anyway, but we know how uncomfortable it is to have your feet suffocated because of a combination of sweat and heat, which is why our picks for this buying guide consisted of breathable shoes made out of materials that allow the flow of air to your feet.
Keeping feet light and dry will not only feel comfortable so you can train longer, but it also reduces the risk of rubbing blisters on your feet of chafing along the heel.
Cross-training is completely different from running, so they deliver a different level of protection so you can cross-train in them.
Shoes are meant to protect your feet, and a good pair of running shoes will protect your feet from the terrain and environment you are running in. A solid supportive sole, durable material on the upper side, and a comfortable overall fit will ensure your shoes are doing their job and keeping your feet protected.
A well-made pair of training shoes are worth their weight in the cold if they protect your feet! With cross-training, we do all kinds of intense activities such as performing rope climbs, box jumps, rope jumping, and other similar exercises.
What you do want to make sure of when selecting a pair of cross-training shoes is that they give your toes adequate protection from weights or other exercise implements that might fall on them, as well as protecting your ankles from sprains and rolls that might occur.
You should have a full range of motion while you train, which is why we rook a close look at the overall flexibility offered by each of our top picks.
Another key factor that can help you find the best pair of shoes for your wants and needs is to look at what level of flexibility you need. Flexible shoes allow your foot to bend and move more freely, which can allow you to get a better grip on rocky or uneven terrain. Having good flexibility in your shoes can also make you more efficient and can reduce foot pain and fatigue as well.
When looking for the top training shoes, we thought of flexibility. With cross-training, we’re talking about intense exercises that involve jumping, running, climbing and bouncing, so flexibility is something you’ll want to have in your shoes. But it’s not all about just flex with cross-training, so we’ve taken into consideration the multi-direction flexible designs of cross-training shoes to come up with the best of them.
When used for running or similar activities, we looked for models that ensured a natural gait that still provides plenty of support for cross-training exercises.
We all want something that is built to last, and training shoes are no different--which is why we made sure to take a close look at the durability of each of our shoes.
No runner wants to invest good money into a pair of shoes just to have the soles start to peel apart or the material begins to shred a few months into use. When you invest in shoes you want to make sure you are getting a durable pair that will last. During our search for the best sneakers, we made sure to look at how each pair was rated for durability and how well they hold up to wear and tear.
Cross-training is a pretty intense activity that puts a lot of stress on your shoes. With this list, we made sure to bring you shoes that can take a pounding repeatedly at the gym, track, park, city streets, or wherever else you might train. To do this, we paid close attention to the quality of the materials used for the overall build of the shoe.
From a solid sole to a tough and wear-resistant mesh that won’t start falling apart within the first few months of use. The material of the sole is also important since you don’t want the rubber grip on the outsole to deteriorate after just a few weeks of use, leaving you with a slippery shoe that is about as effective as a stick of butter of helping you stay solid and upright on your feet while you’re training.
The drop of the these shoes is dependent on your preferences, but for the most part they range between 4mm and 6mm.
The final factor we considered as we search for shoes to add to our list was the drop in the shoes. When you are doing a lot of walking or running, the impact from your steps can affect your feet, legs, back, and the rest of your body as well. Keeping the drop rate to a minimum and finding a pair of shoes that help reduce these problems rather than contributing to them is our ultimate goal with this guide.
For these shoes, we focused on those designs that have a low profile to help you stay in control of your movements as you quickly move from exercise to exercise. We took into consideration an appropriate midsole height that allows decent shock absorption and that works as a steady, yet not the too thick platform.
The sole is another important factor to consider when looking for the best cross-training shoes. A very thick sole will be uncomfortable for the heel and the rest of the foot when performing balance, heavy lifting, or running. We looked for soles that are thick enough to provide good support and cushioning while still being able to provide a comfortable and secure feeling of grip to the floor.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When cross-training, you run the risk of overtraining. If you fail to give your body the proper amount of resting time, your performance can suffer and you can actually lose muscle strength and mass.
The best way to avoid this while keeping your level of activity as high as possible is to develop a split routine where you work different parts of the body on different days of the week.
However, you should still work in a rest day every so once in a while for the best results.
This is extremely important and cannot be stressed enough: you need to be properly hydrated when cross-training! The risks of injury are significantly higher if your body lacks essential fluids and you are going to sweat a lot more during your training sessions.
Remember to drink at least 8 ounces of water for every 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity.
If you want your feet to stay dry and comfortable, a good pair of socks is a must. Socks such as Rockay Accelerate are made from merino wool that helps to wick sweat away from your feet, and extra cushioning in the heel keeps feet happy.
Other Factors to Consider
When looking for the best cross trainer, versatility is key. You’ll want to keep in mind what kind of activities you’re thinking of using the shoes for. Certain models might enhance your performance on certain cross-training activities while reducing your potential on other ones. With cross training being such a varied sport, this is an important factor to keep in mind.
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 in all, make sure you consider the cross-training shoes that offer you the versatility you need to get through your dynamic workout DVDs.
Overpronation and underpronation can become an annoying obstacle when it comes to selecting the best pair of training shoes. If you suffer from a specific condition, you want to pay attention to the ability of the shoes to adjust to your condition. If you have arch issues, you should be looking for shoes that offer adequate support against Plantar Fasciitis which matches your anatomy.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to reconstruct a whole pair of shoes. Don’t be afraid of taking your device (if you need any) and trying 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. Having the right support can make or break your performance, so don't ignore this factor.
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 shoes that must provide specific and demanding qualities to support the heavy exercise.
So, although style should not be at the top of your list, we understand that you still want to look great. Lucky for you, most of the selections on our list are available in lots of colors and patterns to choose from--so you can look and feel great when you train in the cross-training shoes you decide to buy.
Regardless of how much you pay for a pair of training shoes, if they are not comfortable then they are not worth much at all! You want to make sure you have shoes that give you the comfort and support you need. Your feet take a great deal of abuse during your runs and workout sessions.
At the end of the day, only you can decide what works for you and what fits your comfort needs. If you know you have arch or foot issues, make sure to get a pair of shoes that work for your comfort needs and help you prevent any foot pain. Keep your own needs at the forefront and you will get just what you need.
We also made sure to look at the shoes we selected for our list from a financial viewpoint. While a good pair of running shoes will cost more than a standard pair of sneakers. They do not have to cost you an arm and a leg to be good. We made sure to find shoes that spanned a range of price points and made sure that everyone has features and benefits that would make it a smart choice for any runner.
That is how we determined what shoes are the most valuable and which ones would be the best choice for beginners and experienced runners alike. When you look at what brings the most value to you, make sure to do the same. Establish your budget or how much you are willing to spend and then decide what you need from your shoes.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are cross training shoes?
These shoes are like the SUV of footwear. If you aren’t quite dedicated to a specific section of the gym, these are the shoes you want to keep in your gym bag. They are great for running on the treadmill, lifting weights, powerlifting, CrossFit, HIIT training, or even hitting the racquetball court. If you love switching up your workouts every week or month, a good pair of cross-trainers adapt easily to various exercises and workouts.
q: What’s the difference between cross trainers and running sneakers?
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 kinds of support, impulse, and functionality to their respective activity. From the sole thickness to cushioning and traction.
q: How often should I replace my cross training shoes?
Shoe wear and tear 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, flat feet, etc) don’t allow me to wear normal shoes, what should I do?
Like we mentioned, you shouldn’t be afraid of taking your personalized equipment with you when shopping for training shoes. Make sure that the shoes you select can be adapted to your conditions. Every body is different and symptoms vary so this can go from placing a custom inner sole in the shoe to perhaps replacing a bigger part of the shoes.
q: Are these shoes limited to CrossFit?
This really depends on the model of your selection. It’s not impossible to find shoes that possess 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.
q: How should I wash my training shoes?
It is always advised to follow any and all instructions on care labels that come with your shoes. If you are unable to follow those instructions or you do not have access to the care label then follow these steps:
1. wipe down your shoe with a damp cloth
2. remove any mud, sticks, stones, or other debris from the tread
3. remove any leave of sticks or dirt from inside your shoe
4. spot clean really dirty areas with a soft cloth and mild soapy water
5. set shoes to air dry inside in the sun.
To get the most of any of the best cross training shoes on our list, make sure to follow the care instructions properly.
q: How should cross training shoes fit?
It is super important that you don’t get a size that is too small or too big. Be sure that your toes don’t touch the tip when standing. If your toes touch the tip of the shoe when standing, it means that they will constantly jam with each and every painful stride. Breaking them in may help a bit, but it won’t make them any longer!
If they are too big, it means that your foot doesn’t have the support it needs, and you may even run the risk of rolling an ankle. If you have the right size but still feel they are a little loose, it may be a matter of lacing, Different lacing techniques can help your shoe fit like a glove.
q: Can you run in cross training shoes?
Absolutely! These shoes are designed to be used for a myriad of different exercises, and running just happens to be one of them! It is important to note, however, that these styles generally don’t give you the same level of support and function as a traditional running shoe.
These trainers often do not have the same level of support in the midsole as a stability shoe. If you have low arches or want to wear them on long rides, you may want to invest in something that offers just a little bit more support.