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The Best Shoes for Every Workout Style

Wondering what sort of shoes you need to match your workouts? You might not realize it, but not all shoes are made equal. A pair of running shoes may prevent you from performing Squats correctly, or your crosstrainers won't offer the support you need for your long-distance runs. Below, you'll find a list of the best shoes to fit your workout style:


If you're a CrossFitter, you're going to be looking at a cross-trainer style of shoe. Regular weightlifting shoes don't have enough cushioning for your high-impact jumps, and running shoes will throw off your balance when performing resistance training moves. Cross-trainers are designed to accommodate both heavy resistance training and high-impact cardiovascular exercise.

Sprint Training

For Sprint Training, you need a pair of shoes that has good cushioning on both the toe and heel of the shoe. The heel absorbs most of the impact for your slow runs, but your forefoot takes a beating when you sprint. Thicker cushioning is good—you don't need stability as much as support!

Resistance Training

For your traditional weightlifting, you need a pair of lifting shoes with the higher heel and lower forefoot design. The toe drop encourages proper form when doing Squats and Lunges, and can help to improve your posture. But be warned: these are not the shoes to use for your post-training cardio session.

HIIT Training

For High-Intensity Interval Training, you can use either cross-trainers or a more flexible running shoe. HIIT training can involve a lot of jumping and rapid movement, which requires both support/impact-reduction and stability. A low profile running shoe can make a great HIIT trainer!


For low-intensity, steady-state exercise, cushioning and support are the most important elements in a shoe. The cushioning will help to reduce the impact on your joints (and believe me, running and jogging both place a lot of impact on your spine, hips, knees, ankles, and feet). The support will give you a stable platform to push off of and encourage better posture for your run.

Marathon Running

Marathon running shoes should be a cross between incredibly comfortable and cushioned. You don't want a shoe that rubs your feet raw when you run, but you do need enough padding to keep your feet comfortable for your 4 plus hour run. You also want enough cushioning to reduce the impact on your joints.

Dance/Cardio/Plyo/Martial Arts/Aerobic Workouts

For these workouts, you need something that is both flexible and supportive. You want thick enough cushioning that the impact on your joints is reduced, but not so much cushioning that you lose your stability. You also want flexibility in the shoes for those quick lateral movements.

These shoes will pretty much cover any sort of workout you do. Remember, not all shoes in each category are created equal. You need to find a pair that suits your unique musculoskeletal structure, and which offers the right balance of comfort, cushioning, stability, support, and versatility. In the end, your shoes can make or break the workout!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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