The Simple Guide to Finding the Right Training Shoe

Buying Guide

Find out how to select a style that's built for the way you like to train. Here's what you need to know before picking out a training shoe.

Last updated: March 25, 2022
4 min read
How to Choose the Right Training Shoe for You

The right training shoes are one of the key foundations for a successful workout. Whether you're doing a cross training workout of the day, building strength with weight training or crushing burpees in a high-intensity class, the right footwear will help provide support and stability for a range of movements and exercises. Here are Nike's top training shoe recommendations for different types of workouts, plus pointers on what to look for in any high-quality training shoe.

The Best Nike Training Shoes for Different Workouts

1. Best for Weight and Circuit Training: Nike Metcon

Ideal for weightlifting, Nike Metcon shoes have wide, flat and stable soles that keep your feet secure. Some Nike Metcon styles include a removable Hyperlift insert to add height in the heel, which can improve ankle mobility and allow for deeper squatting. The rubber tread on the Nike Metcon wraps up the side of the shoe, providing grippy traction for ambitious challenges, such as rope climbing. There's also firm cushioning under the heel and softer cushioning in the forefoot to support high-impact moves. And with high-quality fabrics used in the uppers, the Metcon provides breathability and durability at the same time.

2. Best for HIIT Classes: Nike SuperRep

Nike SuperRep shoes are designed for circuit training, high-intensity interval training, sprints and other fast-paced, high-intensity workouts. With a bouncy feel underfoot, the SuperRep has two Zoom Air units in the forefoot that provide noticeable power and energy return with each step, lunge or jump, and a full-length plate in the sole helps provide stability and balance. The mesh lining of the shoe feels airy and breathable, while also keeping the foot snug. For those who like incorporating indoor cycling into a workout routine or warm-up, there's a specific SuperRep style that includes cleats to lock into a stationary bike.

3. Best for Sport Agility Training: Nike Air Max

For sport agility drills—such as box jumps, plyometric hurdles or speed ladders—it's important to have a shoe with a wide, flat base for stability, plus plenty of lateral support for side-to-side movements. The combination of foam and the Air unit in Nike Air Max training shoes provides both stability and cushioning, while the raised edging keeps the foot in place for multi-directional movement. The flat outsole has rubber tread to support traction and grip to help avoid slipping during quick movements. Built for the toughest agility routines, Nike Air Max training shoes offer well-rounded support for doing it all at the gym.

How to Pick the Best Training Shoe for Your Workout

  • Snug Fit: Fit is a critical factor in choosing a training shoe. Feet should not slide around in training shoes. However, there should be sufficient space in the toe box for wiggling and stretching toes. The ankle collar shouldn't rub or slip, and the shoe should feel snug around the midfoot without pulling. Don't rely on a break-in period, since training shoes should feel comfortable from the start.

  • Wide, Stable Outsole: You'll want an outsole that stabilises the foot during lateral movements and provides enough traction.

  • Low Heel Drop: One of the key differences between running shoes and training shoes is the heel-to-toe drop, or the distance in height between the forefoot and the heel of the shoe. A low heel drop offers more stability when landing from plyometric moves.

  • Cushioned Forefoot: Cushioning in the forefoot allows athletes to push off into plyometric moves with ease.

  • Flexible Midsole: Look for a shoe that you can bend and twist in the middle. This will give you more freedom for a variety of types of movement.

  • Heel Support: Look for a shoe with firm cushioning and reinforced heels that lock down your foot for more stability during weightlifting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between a Running Shoe and a Training Shoe?

Running shoes are designed to support forward, linear movement and provide plenty of cushioning in the midsole. Training shoes, on the other hand, have a wide, flat outsole with plenty of traction, firm cushioning in the heel and a lower heel-toe drop than running shoes.

How Often Should Training Shoes Be Replaced?

This will depend on how often training shoes are worn and the intensity of workouts. However, generally speaking, training shoes that are worn often should be replaced every six months or so, especially if they're worn for high-impact exercises. If only worn for weightlifting, training shoes may last up to a year. If the cushioning begins to wear down noticeably, it's time to purchase a new pair of sneakers.

Should Training Shoes Be Tight or Loose?

Training shoes should fit snugly. However, make sure they aren't so tight that the midfoot stretches the laces. It's also important to have plenty of room in the toe box.

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