September 30, 2022

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A trainer shares how to find the best shoes for your workout

5 min read

From your sports bra to your leggings, what you wear during your workout can impact your performance — including your shoes.

Whether you prefer to walk around the neighborhood or lift weights at the gym, the right sneakers can make all of the difference in how you feel both during and after you exercise. If you’ve been using the same pair of sneakers for all of your workouts, celebrity trainer Bob Harper has a few tips to help you step in the right direction. He stopped by TODAY to share how to find the best shoes for every kind of workout, plus some of his favorite picks for walking, running and more.

From sneakers you can take on the trails to supportive shoes for recovery, Harper has picks for every fitness level.

Best workout shoes for women and men, according to a trainer

All around trainer

Adidas Women’s Edge Lux 4 Running Shoe

Just starting out on your fitness journey? Harper says these shoes are great for anyone who is hitting the treadmill or the stair master. They provide comfort, stability and lateral support. If a 5K feels like a distant goal, this shoe can help kick off your training, Harper said.

For light running

On Women’s Cloud X Training Shoe

On’s Cloud X shoe is a style that Harper recommends for those just starting to run — not those who are clocking in 20 miles each week. The Cloud X checks several of the boxes Harper called out, including heel support and cushioning, as well as space for your toes to spread out and breathe in the front. Plus, it sticks true to its moniker with an “ultra light” feel.

On Men’s Cloud X Training Shoe

The men’s styles come in four different color options that provide the same cushioning and lightweight feel.

For serious runners

Nike Women’s Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Running Shoes

For those serious about running, Harper recommends this sturdy shoe from Nike. It has great shock absorption, is lightweight and provides a good amount of heel support. Though they’re a bit of an investment, Harper says it is worth spending the money on a good pair of shoes now, rather than rehabilitating your knees later. If you’re training for that 5K or 10K goal, this is the shoe you want to start your journey with, Harper added.

Nike Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 38 Running Shoes

With 10 different color options to choose from in sizes 6-12.5, there are plenty of options for the guys to choose from.

For the trails

Salomon Women’s Sense Ride 4 Sneaker

Running on trails means you need support not only when moving forward, but as you move side to side. These running shoes from Salomon provide good traction and lateral support, according to Harper. They also have a mesh upper that makes them breathable and a bungee lace system that helps prevent them from untying while you’re on the move, the brand shares.

Salomon Men’s Sense Ride 4 Sneaker

Salomon Women’s X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

To avoid slips and falls when you’re outdoors, Harper says you want a shoe that “looks like it has teeth” for good traction. If you are walking on gravel or through a stream, Harper says it can help prevent you from twisting your ankle, since it has good ankle support.

Salomon Men’s X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex Hiking Shoes

For weight lifting

Nike Women’s Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage Sneaker

If you don’t want to compromise when it comes to style, you can wear these sneakers both in and out of the gym. Since they’re flat, they don’t provide as much arch or heel support and your feet are planted firmly on the ground, which is what you want if you are lifting weights, Harper says. The high top also provides a bit of support for your ankles if you are squatting, but still looks cool.

Nike Men’s Blazer Mid ’77 Vintage Sneaker

For recovery

Kane Revive Active Recovery Sneaker

To avoid wearing down your training shoes, Harper says you’ll want to slip your feet into recovery shoes after a workout. A good recovery shoe is like a “little spa for your feet” — it should give your feet room to breathe and have ventilation. Made from Brazilian sugar cane that provides cushioned support, Harper says these shoes are doing good for the planet as well. They machine washable shoes are a sustainable option that will last you a while, according to the brand.

Other top-rated shoes for workouts

We rounded up more bestselling and top-rated shoes by reviewers and podiatrists.

New Balance Women’s 608 V5 Casual Comfort Cross Trainer

A cushioned midsole and padded heel helps these sneakers provide support for your feet, Dr. Miguel Cunha, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City, previously told Shop TODAY. The brand also claims that the flexible sole also helps for a “more natural range of movement.”

Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe

These Amazon bestsellers have a stretchy upper and a Cloudfoam memory outsole, midsole and sock liner, which help provide a comfortable step, according to the brand. They come in several different colors and designs.

Asics Women’s Gel-Contend 6 Running Shoes

These running shoes have a moisture-wicking sock liner, gel cushioning system and a foam midsole that the brand says help to support your feet. The mesh upper also makes them more breathable. They were also a favorite of Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, a New York City sports medicine doctor and author of “Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running.”

Adidas Adissage Men’s Slide Sandals

Treat your feet to these sandals, which the brand says have nubs in the footbed to help your feet recover post-workout. They’re also made with Cloudfoam cushioning, which helps absorb impact, according to the brand.

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