With every sport or workout comes a different objective and set of principles. With climbing, it’s all about getting to the top of the wall as fluidly as you can manage, for cyclists it’s about conquering hills and keeping a high average speed, and for weightlifters? It’s about putting in that work month after month and seeing the results.
The shoes you are wearing for any of those activities should be as unique as the goals you’ve set. Whether on a morning run or at an evening session at a crossfit box, the kicks you have on your feet should be working with you to achieve your goals and enjoy the journey while you are at it. We’ve assembled some of our top picks for the best workout shoes for men below, take a scroll through and check it out.
Whether you are hitting the stationary bike, running through a tough WOD, or doing some crazy combo of cardio and strength training – you need shoes as versatile as your workouts. When you are looking for a pair to wear while cross training, you want to look for something that is lightweight enough not to encumber your movements (whatever they may be), and sturdy enough to provide support while lifting, climbing, or sprinting. While support and weight are paramount, good ventilation on this style of shoe never hurts – though it isn’t a make or break for the specific style of shoe. What you need to be most concerned about is a solid midsole that won’t interfere with your form while still providing enough cushioning to keep you going through muscle burning workouts.
One of the key aspects of cycling is making sure you are being as efficient with the energy you are putting out as possible. That’s why big cycling nerds worry so much about weight, drag, and of course – their footwear. Instead of just pushing on your pedals, clip-in shoes make it so they can both push and pull – allowing you the ability to maintain speed and make the most of your efforts. Each different type of cycling calls for different shoes – some with deeper lugs for when you have to hop off your bike and run up a hill during competition, others have laces and rubberized outsoles for a more casual commuter, and still others come with straps and buckles for the guys who are looking to go at least 60 miles every single time they head out for a ride. The type of cycling shoe you pick up should be determined by the type of riding you do the most.
When you go looking for shoes, you are likely going to be looking for something comfortable enough that you’ll be able to wear them all day. Good climbing shoes have none of those qualities. Built to bring your foot to a painful point so you can achieve better footholds while sending a wall, they are far from comfortable. That may not sound very appealing to a lot of folks, but for climbers – it doesn’t matter as long as they don’t shift around while on the foot and help grab on to holds using any part of the shoe from the toe to the heel. With a tough rubber sole, velcro or laces for keeping tight – these are about as sport-specific as a shoe can get.
Support support support. Whether you are going out on a 100 mile long hike over a week long period or just jamming around the backwoods for a day, you gotta make sure you have sturdy shoes that’ll support your ankles and keep you comfortable. Just as important for when you are trying to choose a good hiking boot is its outsole. Without a grippy, well constructed bottom, you are apt to slip and slide all over the place. You can’t understate the importance of good grip on loose gravel. Now none of this will make a bit of difference if you don’t have a boot that is fit for the type of climate you are likely to end up hiking in. Waterproofing on boots can be the difference between a gross slushy hike, and a fun one – just in the same way that well ventilated boots can help keep you cool on hot hikes through dry terrain.
There is no objective ‘best shoe’ when it comes to running. We all have different shaped feet, we all bear weight in our own unique ways, and our strides all have their own quirks. Sure – you need to buy a shoe that will both fit the type of running you’ll be doing (cross country, track, casual running) and your own foot, but that isn’t as important as knowing the fit you need as determined by your own personal foot type. What you should look for in a running shoe is something for either stability, cushioning, or motion control. Those options are determined by whether you are an over pronator, a neutral pronator, or a supinator. One way to check this is with the ‘wet foot test’ – dip your feet in some water and if they leave a flat imprint, you are neutral, thin?, supinator, and traditional – an over pronator.
For the most part, all you need to really start lifting is a gym membership and a whole lot of discipline. Let us be clear from the get go, shoes will not make or break your gains. However, once you get to the point where you are doing serious compound movements (power lifting type stuff), it is important that you have a pair of shoes that’ll provide both cushion and support. Shoes that aren’t designed for lifting can redistribute your weight in ways that are counterintuitive and will damage your technique, potentially causing injury. Lifting shoes give you that much needed support without throwing off your technique, helping you power through those longer duration workouts with ease. Finding the best one for you is a question of personal preference and goals – some are designed for a broader set of exercises while others focus in on a specific few.