The 12 Best Cross-Training Shoes (Spring 2023 Update) – Fitnessnacks

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    Over the last decade, functional fitness and cross-training style workouts have exploded in popularity as the benefits of hybrid training have become more apparent. Cross-training can include multiple exercises all in one bout, such as squats, cleans, deadlifts, box jumps, rope climbs, and much more. These workouts can vary dramatically, so wearing shoes that can keep up with the multitude of movements is a must. 

    A variety of cross-training shoes have appeared in response to booming demand from athletes and enthusiasts alike. Every year, big brands produce new and improved cross-training and weightlifting shoes, increasing their tech to match the demands of these high-intensity workouts. It can be hard to keep track of all the new innovations on top of other gear like lifting straps, belts, and supplements — but more variety and innovation is great news for those in need of new cross-trainers. However, it can also be overwhelming to decide which cross-training shoe is the right one for you — we’ve sifted through all of the best cross-training shoes on the market to help guide you to your final selection.

    Best Cross-Training  Shoes

    Best Cross-Trainers Video Review

    Get a firsthand look at our list of the best cross-training shoes with our in-depth video review, including sizing, materials, and our favorite construction features. 

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Men

    If you’re doing regular weight training, by now you will be well aware of the value of a strong and stable foot. Though it’s difficult to create a shoe that will suit all users looking for a men’s cross-training shoe, we think NOBULL did a solid job upgrading their normal trainer line. This pick is an all-purpose cross-training shoe that offers a toe bumper and rubber outsole for stability to help you conquer a wide range of exercises with ease.

    NOBULL Trainer+

    The Trainer+ features a layer of durable SuperFabric® over a flexible and breathable mesh base layer for omnidirectional support. To enhance the lateral support offered (something that is often lacking in trainers) an upgraded reinforced lace system is also present for a lockdown fit. 

    NOBULL Trainer+

    NOBULL Trainer+

    These shoes are versatile with components like a wider outsole and EVA midfoot plate for traction and stability. They’re also lightweight and have a subtle heel rise making them just as well-suited for lifting as they are for agility or plyometric workouts.

    If you’re concerned about traction, the herringbone outsole tread is slightly oversized for extra surface area and more ground contact. The midsole has an EVA plate to enhance stability when lifting. A modest four-millimeter heel-to-toe drop may aid those who struggle with achieving proper squat positioning, too. You can snag a pair of these in over a dozen colorways and high-top options starting at around $139.

    Who Should Buy the NOBULL Trainer+

    • Athletes looking for a shoe to add stability to their lifting without restriction will like the flexible mesh base layer covered by durable SuperFabric®.
    • Trainees who want a shoe with extra grip will like the wider outsole and unique pattern designed to optimize grip.
    • Lifters who want a shoe that might help them overcome lower body mobility restrictions will appreciate the four-millimeter heel drop. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the NOBULL Trainer+

    • Anyone who is more price-conscious. These aren’t the cheapest shoes out there.
    • Folks who run often will want to look for a more lightweight and flexible shoe that’s been designed specifically for running. 
    • Athletes with very immobile ankles may want a taller heel for more help with squats and Olympic lifting.

    The versatility of these shoes gives them an edge with design aspects to help aid in both lifting and non-lifting workouts. A wide variety of colorways and improved stability make these a great choice for guys looking for cross-training shoes.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Women

    A great all-around cross-training shoe should be versatile and offer solid stability. The Reebok Nano X2 has a responsive foam insole, great traction, and even comes in two different color options for variety.

    Reebok Nano X2

    Adaptability is the name of the game when it comes to cross-training. The Reebok Nano X2s offer great support, stability, traction, and breathability to accommodate all your cross-training needs, including squats, lunges, wall balls, box jumps, burpees, and even short sprints. The lug sole pattern on the outsole provides a solid grip, which is ideal when athletes are changing direction quickly.

    Women’s Reebok Nano X2

    Women's Reebok Nano X2

    The Reebok Nano X2s offer great support, stability, traction, and breathability to accommodate all your cross training needs. The lug sole pattern on the outsole provides solid grip, and the RopePro feature in the midfoot outsole can also help with rope climbs.

    The RopePro feature in the midfoot outsole can also help with rope climbs if that’s an exercise you implement into your training regimen often. This shoe features a wide toe box, and the upper is a breathable knit fabric that can help keep your feet from overheating during intense sessions. Plus, the Floatride Energy Foam offers a responsive feel and great midsole stability for your strength training. You can buy these in black or a gray/white combo, but they are a bit pricey — though they’re still not the most expensive we’ve seen.

    Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano X2

    • Women who want a strong, versatile shoe for just about any type of training. 
    • Anyone who doesn’t want their toes feeling cramped will like the wide, anatomical toe box here. 
    • Trainees who want a responsive, stable foam insole will appreciate the Floatride Energy Foam here. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano X2

    • Women looking for a shoe dedicated to just running or squatting.
    • Athletes who want a narrower fitting shoe.
    • Anyone on a tight budget can find less expensive cross-trainers out there.

    Cross-training is for people of all genders, and the Reebok Nano X2 is a great choice for women looking for a versatile shoe that can help them take on a number of challenging workouts.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for the Money

    We know that price is the deciding factor for many when choosing shoes, and we’re sensitive to the fact that not everyone can spend up to $150 without a worry. In the Reebok Nano 9, you can still purchase a truly elite pair of cross-training shoes at a more affordable price point. At the time of writing, these shoes come in between $80 and $105 depending on the retailer.

    Reebok Nano 9

    Designed to be strong enough for heavy lifting but flexible and light enough for running, Reebok’s 9th version of their popular Nano trainer is a definite crowd-pleaser.

    Fear not though, as they are still very durable and feature Reebok’s Flexweave for support plus breathability, RopePro for grip on everything from rope climbs to box jumps and lateral movements, and additional cushioning in the forefoot for comfort. The sole is both maneuverable and supportive, making it a solid choice for a number of athletes. 

    Reebok Nano 9

    Reebok Nano 9

    Reebok’s 9th edition of their Nano training shoe incorporates popular design elements of previous models with updated features and a fit that will appeal to most athletes. Flexweave technology supports a sturdy yet breathable shoe with RopePro grip that comes in handy on everything from box jumps to rope climbs. We also appreciate the wide toe box.

    Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano 9

    • Athletes who are more budget conscious. 
    • People who prefer a shoe with a lower heel drop. 
    • Lifters who want a lighter weight shoe for more speed work. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano 9

    • Trainees looking for a heavier shoe for squats and deadlifts. 
    • Those who prefer a stiff-soled shoe with less give. 
    • Athletes who want more ankle support during training. 

    The Nano 9 is a great multifunctional shoe that is especially attractive for people who enjoy staying light on their feet. At this price, they’re very hard to pass up. 

    Read our full review of the Reebok Nano 9.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for CrossFit

    NOBULL is known for not only making shoes that are designed for CrossFit athletes, but also for sponsoring the CrossFit games in recent years. The NOBULL Trainer+ is optimized to support a variety of exercise types that you need to complete during a CrossFit workout.

    NOBULL Trainer+

    The Trainer+ took the great aspects of the NOBULL Trainer and upgraded them to make the shoe even more supportive, versatile, and comfortable. When performing exercises like toes-to-bars, HSPUs, or split jerks you can rely on the toe bumper for some extra padding and durability. A midsole EVA is also present to provide stability and cushioning. You’ll have 360-degree support and traction as well, thanks to the wider outsole and SuperFabric® upper.

    NOBULL Trainer+

    NOBULL Trainer+

    These shoes are versatile with components like a wider outsole and EVA midfoot plate for traction and stability. They’re also lightweight and have a subtle heel rise making them just as well-suited for lifting as they are for agility or plyometric workouts.

    Breathability isn’t an issue either, with a flexible mesh base layer to keep airflow circulating during tough workouts. You don’t even need to change shoes for lifting thanks to the subtle four-millimeter heel and internal lace webbing that mimics a lockdown strap on weightlifting shoes. There are various colorways with new options dropping regularly, so you can match your box’s colors or stand out. They are a bit pricey, starting at around $139, but we think the features justify the cost.

    Who Should Buy the NOBULL Trainer+

    • People for whom CrossFit is their primary form of training will like the versatility and multiple stability support features.
    • Athletes who are tired of smashing their toes against the bar or wall will like the toe bumper.
    • Trainees looking for a durable shoe that will stand up to long workouts week after week will appreciate the extremely durable SuperFabric® exterior. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the NOBULL Trainer+

    • Though this shoe can be used for quick sprints, athletes who focus on longer runs may want a lighter shoe.
    • People who are more budget conscious. This isn’t the most expensive trainer we’ve seen, but they’re not the cheapest either. 
    • Anyone who wants shoes that are specifically designed for weightlifting will want a taller heel height and stacked leather, wood, or EVA sole.

    NOBULL took a successful design and improved upon it to satisfy the needs of people who want some more oomph in their shoes. The added stability and traction make these a great option for anyone who does CrossFit.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Agility Workouts

    Agility is a skill that can be overlooked in strength training but immediately translates to both competition and real-life scenarios. The NOBULL Trainer is our favorite cross-training shoe for prioritizing the agility aspect of training. It’s lightweight, provides lateral stability, and has tough construction for a variety of terrains.

    NOBULL Trainer

    These shoes can take the stress of agility training with quick direction changes, powerful jumps, and speedy footwork without wearing out. The upper’s construction is made of ultra-durable SuperFabric®, which is made to withstand nearly any conditions — even barbed wire, but we don’t suggest testing that. On top of being tough, the NOBULL Trainers are lightweight and breathable, with a flexible mesh base layer for freedom of movement in all directions. 

    NOBULL Trainers

    NOBULL Trainers

    A cross-training shoe that utilizes SuperFabric material to provide a supportive and comfortable fit, the minimal heel-to-toe differential makes these shoes ideal for feeling and gripping the floor during movements like deadlifts. 

    The outsole features a herringbone lug pattern for extra traction and is optimized for usage in any environment. This feature helps you transition easily from the gym to the turf or pavement. For medial and lateral support, a high carbon guard is located on the sidewalls for extra stability and durability during hard cuts and changes in direction. These shoes come in tons of unique and simple designs and start at around $129. This is a little more expensive than some other options, but a fair price for the features.

    Who Should Buy the NOBULL Trainer

    • Athletes looking for a responsive, lightweight shoe. These don’t sacrifice durability for weight reduction.
    • Anyone interested in a shoe that offers extra support in the medial and lateral directions will like the ultra-durable upper. 
    • Trainees who are looking for a wide variety of colorways to select from will appreciate the options here.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the NOBULL Trainer

    • Lifters looking for a shoe with more support for weight training may want to check out other options. 
    • People who are on a budget can find other shoes at lower prices, but they may not have the same features.
    • If you’re primarily training on turf or in a field, then cleats may be the more optimal choice.

    The NOBULL Trainers are lightweight, durable, and supportive in all directions. If you need fast and agile feet without losing traction, then these are a solid choice. It helps that they have options to fit nearly anyone’s color preference, too.

    Read our full review of the NOBULL Trainer.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Squats

    When in doubt, squat. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a weight training program that doesn’t include some kind of squatting, and that includes cross-training workouts. If you’re going to be doing something frequently, it pays to try and optimize, and shoes should certainly be part of the equation.

    Nike Metcon 6

    Here’s the thing about squats: You need a shoe that can keep you stable and won’t give during your lift. These shoes offer versatile cushioning throughout the sole, which means the cushioning is firmer under the heel for security during squats — this can help create a stable base for any type of squats (even 20-rep squat sessions). The wide heel and removable Hyperlift insert can also help with this.

    Nike Metcon 6

    Nike Metcon 6

    The Nike Metcon 6 gets an upgrade and some new color styles. With a super solid heel and outsole that won’t compress too much, these shoes are perfect for heavy lifting days. 

    In addition, the Metcon 6 has a dual-density drop-in midsole, abrasion-resistant haptic topcoat, and rubber tread on the outsole and along the side of the shoe for directional traction on the ground during lifts. This shoe only comes in black though, so if you want multiple color options (or even just a white option), this pick may not be for you. 

    Who Should Buy the Nike Metcon 6

    • Athletes looking to push up their squat numbers will like the support here from the firm heel cushioning. 
    • Lifters who are looking for rubber tread on the outsole to help with traction. 
    • If you’re looking for a wider heel to help with stability during squats, look no further. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike Metcon 6

    • People who prefer a dedicated, traditional weightlifting shoe (this is a cross-trainer, after all). 
    • Trainees with very narrow feet may not feel secure in this design. 
    • Anyone who’s looking for a more versatile cross-trainer can find an option on this list that isn’t as focused on heavily weighted workouts. 

    We’re going to sound like a broken record, but a supportive, stable heel is just what you want when you’re trying to up your squat game — these shoes should give you the extra confidence you need coming out the bottom of a heavy squat.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Stability

    Cross-training means you’ll undergo a variety of movements, often quickly changing from one movement or exercise pattern to a completely different one at the drop of a hat. A strong, stable, dependable base is the last thing you want to be concerned about when trying to shave seconds off a WOD time or lift a PR.

    Nike Metcon 7

    The Metcon 7 has a host of features that you want in a stable cross-training shoe. Flywire Cables combine with the laces to secure your midfoot. You’ll also find a wide flat heel with an inner plate, which can help distribute your weight evenly, allowing for greater stability.

    Nike Metcon 7

    Nike Metcon 7

    This light design is ideal for speed work. The soles maintain a nice level of stability, thanks to their firmer outer layer, which balances out the softer foam inner core. There’s also a rubber wrap along the arch that can provide great rope climb grip.

    The rubber wrap on the arch can provide great grip during rope climbs, and the soles have a firm outer layer with a soft foam inner core. Though lightweight, these shoes were made to support strength and agility workouts alike by providing the proper base, grip, and security. Plus, these come in eight different colors for variety.

    Who Should Buy the Nike Metcon 7

    • Athletes looking for a shoe that can tackle just about any cross-training workout with a stable base.
    • Athletes who want to feel grounded will appreciate the wide flat heel and even weight distribution here. 
    • People looking for a lightweight mesh shoe with a soft foam inner core. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike Metcon 7

    • Lifters who squat very, very heavy. You’ll want a shoe with firmer heel support. 
    • Shoppers with a tight budget. Though this shoe isn’t the most expensive on this list, it still has a pretty hefty price tag.

    The latest iteration of Reebok’s Metcon line is incredibly solid all around. Though fairly lightweight, the Metcon 7’s offer a wide heel for stability and help distribute your weight evenly, providing the solid base you need for your training. 

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Deadlifts

    The deadlift is a humbling exercise at the best of times, and having the right shoe as you pull weight from the floor is a must. This pick has a flat outsole for ground contact, as well as a wide toe box. 

    Reebok Nano X2

    When deadlifting, you want to be close to the ground and stable for the best pulling position. The Reebok Nano X2 fits the bill perfectly here. It features a flat outsole and split outsole construction. Though this split design is meant to allow for versatility, it provides great stability for heavy deadlifts. And the flat outsole throughout the whole foot is great for grounding. These shoes also feature a wide toe box, which provides plenty of room for toe splay during your lifts.

    Reebok Nano X2

    Reebok Nano X2

    The Reebok Nano X2s are a great, all-around cross-training shoe, designed for multiple forms of exercise (including burpees, weight training, and even sprints). The cushion provides a responsive feel in the midsole that’s ideal for stability.

    The Reebok Nano X2’s come in both men’s and women’s fits, and two colors: black and white/gray. However, there is something to be said for having a dedicated deadlifting shoe, or even just a good pair of Chucks for your deadlifts, and these cross-trainers may be a bit too versatile for some athletes. 

    Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano X2

    • Anyone searching for a solid shoe that’s great on and off the deadlift platform.
    • Athletes looking for a shoe with a flat outsole to help with grounding. 
    • Trainees who want a shoe with a wide toe box will appreciate how much room you have for toe splay in these. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano X2

    • Athletes who want a more dedicated deadlift shoe. This is a pretty versatile cross-trainer. 
    • Buyers on a budget. This cross-trainer may be a little out of your price range — especially if you are totally okay with deadlifting in Chucks. 

    As far as cross-training shoes go, these are about as good as you can get for deadlifts. They have a flat outsole and a wide toe box, both of which can help root you for those heavy lifts. 

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Jumping

    Let’s face it, jumping can be intimidating because there is a much more obvious risk of injury involved. However, if you work your way up gently, there is a lot to be gained, and the Under Armour HOVR Apex 3s are our favorite shoes to do it in.

    Under Armour HOVR Apex 3

    Compared to many of the other shoes on this list, the Under Armour HOVR Apex 3s are less stiff, with just a bit more give, all while being lightweight. The grippy rubber sole is great for landing those jumps, and UA’s HOVR foam cushioning is a great feature to help ensure comfort on ballistic/explosive movements. The strap construction allows for both forefoot movement and stabilization in the heel.

    Under Armour HOVR Apex 3

    Under Armour HOVR Apex 3

    The grippy rubber sole on this shoe is great for landing jumps, and UA’s HOVR foam cushioning can ensure comfort on explosive movements. The strap construction is ideal for heel stabilization, as well. 

    And while they aren’t going to be as stable as some heavier shoes on this list, they are going to absorb shock really well and shouldn’t weigh you down, which is why they’re ideal for jumping. You can pick up a pair in your favorite of three different colorways — Summit White/Illusion Green, Mod Gray/White, and Black/Halo Gray. 

    Who Should Buy the Under Armour HOVR Apex 3

    • Athletes who want a shoe with optimal cushioning for jumping movements will like the HOVR foam here. 
    • Trainees looking to include plyometrics in their program will like this lightweight design. 
    • If you’re looking for a lot of different color options, you can buy these shoes in five different colors. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Under Armour HOVR Apex 3

    • People who consistently train with heavy weight will want something with less cushion.
    • Those on a budget may find this pick to be a bit pricey.

    Under Armour’s HOVR cushioning is a game changer in terms of comfort and spring for jumping of any description — if you find yourself often implementing jumping exercises into your workout routine, these are a great pair of cross-training shoes to consider. 

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Day-to-Day Wear

    GORUCK has certainly built a training shoe with features that hold up after repeated training. But with an extraordinary focus on arch support and adaptability, the Ballistic Trainers also stand out to us for everyday use — they’re truly multifunctional.

    GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

    GORUCK has built their trainer based around the idea that the foot actually contains three arches: medial longitudinal, lateral longitudinal, and anterior transverse arch. So they’ve built three different arch supports into the base of their shoe. They’ve also included an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, which they call a “happy medium”. The moderate heel height is as solid for lifting as it is for traversing long distances. Each pair also contains two sets of inserts so wearers can customize their feel.

    GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

    GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

    GORUCK’s entry into the training shoe market contains a 3-tiered support system, 8mm heel-to-toe drop, and an extra-wide toe box. They’re built to be supportive with regular, repeated wear, making them adaptable for long-term use both in and outside the gym. Each pair comes with two inserts — a high density and thinner insert — so wearers can customize their feel or switch between everyday wear and training sessions.

    And when it comes to a shoe for everyday wear, many people want something that can fit in with a number of different outfits (and not just gym clothes). We think the GORUCK Ballistic Trainer is on the more subtle, understated side, with simple color patterns that fit well with a variety of clothes.

    Who Should Buy the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

    • Trainees who want a super comfortable shoe that performs well across all training modalities. 
    • People who prefer significant arch support for walking or running long distances. 
    • Lifters who prefer some heel elevation (8mm in this model).

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

    • Shoppers who are more price-conscious. These are more expensive than some other options on this list.
    • Athletes looking for minimal heel drop on their shoes.
    • Anyone looking for a more minimalist style of shoe. These can double as everyday shoes as well as cross-training shoes.

    Fairly lightweight with a lot of support, these shoes are a great all-day choice. It doesn’t hurt that they are still killer in the gym, too.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Light Runs

    Running is a divisive subject. Many people find it tedious and only grudgingly add it into workouts when it’s absolutely necessary. Others love it and find themselves supplementing weight training to benefit their running. If you’re cross-training, then light runs are likely a standard part of your workout. 

    NOBULL Ripstop Runner

    Humans weren’t supposed to run on concrete. But when you have to, the durable phylon midsole offers high rebound cushioning that can help soften the blow to your legs. In concert with the internal collar padding and removable sock liner, these shoes can keep your foot comfortably in place and help absorb impacts.

    NOBULL Ripstop Runner

    NOBULL Ripstop Runner

    These shoes have a durable phylon midsole with high rebound cushioning that can help soften your landings. The internal collar padding and removable sockliner also help keep your foot in place. And the lug pattern is ideal for both outdoor and indoor training.

    Outside of that, this shoe has a lug pattern that’s ideal for outdoor and indoor training, and reflective laces in case that training does take you outside at night or early in the morning. It’s worth noting that if you’re looking for a very versatile cross-training shoe, this probably isn’t your best bet — these shoes are definitely meant for those who implement light runs into their workouts often. 

    Who Should Buy the NOBULL Ripstop Runner

    • Athletes who plan on including more running in their training will like that these shoes were designed for light running. 
    • Shoppers looking for a solid amount of rebound cushioning will appreciate the phylon midsole here.
    • People looking for a training shoe that is also comfortable for day-to-day use. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the NOBULL Ripstop Runner

    • Athletes for whom weightlifting is more of a priority in training should opt for a more versatile cross-trainer or a weightlifting shoe.
    • Anyone who wants a heavier shoe for greater stability. 
    • If you’re on a budget, these shoes are a bit pricey. You can definitely find cheaper options out there. 

    Light and breezy, and with great cushioning thanks to the phylon midsole, you’ll find these shoes aren’t going to weigh you down on your runs. There is a small trade-off with regard to stability, but unless the bar is bending for your squats, you shouldn’t have a problem.

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Wide Feet

    Finding shoes to accommodate wide feet can be a pain. Thankfully within the cross-training niche, you have several good options available as a wider foot can mean a more stable foot, which can ultimately benefit your workouts. Our current favorite for wide feet is the Reebok Nano X2.

    Reebok Nano X2

    Some of our testers have very wide feet, and some run closer to normal range. The Reebok Nano X2 is among the most popular cross-training shoes for both crowds. This iteration of Reebok’s popular Nano training line features an extra-wide toe box that allows athletes to grip the floor with their toes during running, lifting, and ballistic movements.

    Reebok Nano X2

    Reebok Nano X2

    The Reebok Nano X2s are a great, all-around cross-training shoe, designed for multiple forms of exercise (including burpees, weight training, and even sprints). The cushion provides a responsive feel in the midsole that’s ideal for stability.

    It’s actually not the widest-set training shoe Reebok has ever made — that would likely be an older iteration of the Nano, which might be hard to find — but it’s added some great additional features while still being accessible to athletes with wide feet. It’s got a roomy feel without fitting too loose, which is a must for shoes that will accompany you on hard training sessions.

    Who Should Buy the Reebok Nano X2

    • Trainees with a wider foot who need extra space in the midfoot and toe box. 
    • Lifters and athletes who prefer a clean, minimalist design will like these cross-trainers. 
    • Anyone looking for a very comfortable training shoe that can be used day to day. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Nano X2

    • Athletes who prefer a tighter fit for their shoes will want to look elsewhere.
    • Shoppers who are more price-conscious and are shopping on a dime. 
    • Weightlifters who want a higher heel or a dedicated weightlifting shoe can find better options. 

    Incredibly comfortable and with more room in the mid-foot and toe box, Reebok’s Nano X2 trainer is a solid option if you have wider feet or prefer to have more toe splay generally. 

    Benefits of Cross-Training Shoes

    Cross-training shoes can be a great addition to your gym gear — providing a stable base to lift from. They’re also generally lightweight, allowing you to move around better and more freely.


    Cross-trainers have the specific advantage of being more lightweight than traditional weightlifting shoes. Their lighter nature allows you to move around more easily and may prevent unnecessary fatigue from slogging around heavy shoes when performing movement-based workouts. Toes-to-bars, for example, are easier to perform with the proper footwear, like lightweight cross-training shoes.

    Likewise, cross-trainers won’t hold you back nearly as much when performing jumping or bodyweight movements, like box jumps. When you’re on your final round of exercises and dead tired, every ounce of weight matters to be able to complete the task, so having the optimal footwear is of paramount importance.

    Improved Stability

    Just because the shoes are lightweight doesn’t mean that they’re lacking in stability and support. Cross-training shoes provide a balance of support, rigidity for heavy lifts, and ease of movement. Cross-training shoes frequently feature reinforced sides and hard heels to help improve how stable you feel when lifting weights.

    Many feature a slight heel elevation, which can help you gain better and more biomechanically advantageous positions when squatting or hitting Olympic lifts. These types of shoes are meant to take daily use, and will often feature double or reinforced stitching in order to elongate their lifespan and provide an even more stable shoe.

    How We Chose the Best Cross-Training Shoes

    Cross-training shoes may all seem to be similar at first glance, and they certainly all share a similar look, but there are actually many different varieties on the market. Some cross-training shoes may offer more support while others are more flexible. We take their function into consideration, as well as how they’re designed. The design of the shoe includes innovative tech in the shoe’s construction and support features. Last but certainly not least, the price of the shoes has to match their quality. Keep reading for more on how we decide our picks. 


    You can have the best-looking and most innovative technology in the world, but if your shoes aren’t good for cross-training, it’s pointless. A cross-training shoe has to do what it’s advertised to do, and that’s why functionality ranks so highly for us. It also factors into our more specialized selections. Take the best cross-training shoes for deadlifting for example. They should be solid with a nice base of support and not too much give, whereas that’s not exactly what you’d want for a running-focused cross-training shoe. At the end of the day, the shoe has to function as it’s intended to for it to rank highly for us.


    We’ll admit there are some really good-looking cross-trainers out there, but the design doesn’t just refer to appearance. When we say design, we’re talking about the specific parts of the shoe and how they’re constructed. We also take into consideration any innovative technology that the company uses in developing the shoes to make them more durable or supportive. An example of this would be, say, Flywire technology in the construction of the Nike Metcons, which provides more support without adding weight.


    A company can make the best cross-training shoe the world has ever seen, but if it’s priced too out of reach, there won’t be many takers. That’s not to say we won’t rank expensive shoes highly if the price is justified, but the price has to match the quality overall. We try to give a variety of options with picks in different price ranges, so everyone has a solid option to lift in. 

    Man Running On Back Road at DuskImage via Shutterstock/ sutadimages

    We tried to stay within a price range of $85 to $150 because that’s right around where most cross-training shoes will land. Some more expensive shoes were ranked highly despite their higher price point because of their overall quality and technology. Even the most cost-effective shoes are still solid cross-trainers despite lacking some of the features of the more expensive options.

    How Much Do Cross-Training Shoes Cost?

    Cross-training shoes are, thankfully, generally less costly than shoes designed specifically for weightlifting, which can cost over $200. That said, these shoes can be quite expensive if you opt for special colorways or patterns. There are many options that will cost you under $100 if you’re okay with settling for a less popular color or pattern — you’re going to work out after all, not to a fashion show. Some of us prefer to match our gear and color coordinate our equipment though, and the more limited edition or popular colorways will cost more. 

    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Men NOBULL Trainer+ Starting at $139
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Women Reebok Nano X2 $89.97-$135 depending on the colorway
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for the Money Reebok Nano 9 $79.97-$129.99 depending on the colorway
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for CrossFit NOBULL Trainer+ Starting at $139
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Agility Workouts NOBULL Trainer Starting at $129
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Squats Nike Metcon 6 $130
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Stability Nike Metcon 7 $130
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Deadlifts Reebok Nano X2 $89.97-$135 depending on the colorway
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Jumping Under Armour HOVR Apex 3 $84.97-$140 depending on the colorway
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Day-to-Day Wear GORUCK Ballistic Trainers $125
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Light Runs NOBULL Ripstop Runner $149
    Best Cross-Training Shoes for Wide Feet Reebok Nano X2 $89.97-$135 depending on the colorway

    Generally, you can expect to spend between $80 and $150 on a high-quality pair of cross-trainers with the sweet spot sitting right around $130. If you wear a very large or very small size shoe then you may be able to score a deal since the extreme sizes don’t often sell out as quickly.

    What to Consider Before Buying Cross-Training Shoes

    Cross-training shoes really cover a wide range of the market these days. You can find models that cater to nearly every niche type of training you can imagine. This can be overwhelming, but we think there are a few main factors to think about before purchasing your next pair of cross-training shoes. 

    Working Out Or Day-to-Day?

    Besides construction, another important consideration to think about is how you’ll primarily be wearing the shoes. Cross-training shoes are different from weightlifting shoes because they can be worn for both working out and on a day-to-day basis. Most of the shoes in this list can be worn on a daily basis and pushed to the limit in the gym, but some are better than others. Ultimately, you should consider things like your commute, how often you plan on training and what kind of training you’re doing. 


    Durability is a massive consideration for cross-training shoes. From toe drags to rope climbs to box jumps, your shoes are going to take a beating. The question isn’t if they need to be durable, it’s how durable and for what purpose. Rope climbs are notorious for shredding uppers and midsoles, but box jumps and other dynamic lateral movements can wear down the toe. Consider your workouts and choose accordingly.


    Cross Training Shoe Construction and Materials DiagramCross-training shoe construction and materials diagram. Image via Barbend

    As we just noted, uppers regularly take a beating in cross-training, so a durable material is vital here, but the choice of materials doesn’t end there. Heels, midsoles, and laces are also key points to consider. More TPU in the heel vs rubber or EVA foam will tend to be more stable and thus better for weightlifting.

    Each company also has their own proprietary materials that may be more or less to your liking. Examples here include the Under Armour HOVR foam or Reebok’s Floatride foam. You’ll have to try on shoes or chat to friends who have a pair to get their views on these different materials. 

    Your Body

    There is a giant rabbit hole we could dive into here, but some basics to consider include: your flexibility, the width of your feet, your foot arches, and your general proprioception. Wide feet obviously aren’t going to work well with a narrow shoe, but the other issues we’ve raised are more complex.

    There are pros and cons to having a larger heel on a shoe. It may help with your overhead position but could come at the expense of proprioception. Likewise, greater arch support can be useful if needed, but isn’t something that everyone wants. Consider the pros and cons, plus shoes you’ve enjoyed in the past, and you should be able to pick the right cross-training shoes for you and your goals.

    Your Budget

    Looking at the shoes in this list, there isn’t a massive variation in price like with some other shoe categories. At the low end, you can get down to around $80-$90 but the high end really peaks at around $130 for a new pair. Our recommendation is to try to choose based on comfort, features, and durability rather than price, as cross-training shoes do need to be able to withstand more wear and tear than a running shoe. That being said, if price really is an issue, older models of many of these shoes can be found on sale and offer many of the benefits we talk about. 

    Heel Height and Elevation

    Heel height is something that can dramatically influence your training, especially if you’re more into weightlifting. An elevated heel can help support mobility and give a stable base to rely on during training. A planted stable foot is a must for athletes — especially when moving heavy weight — so a more elevated heel can (at times) help a lifter with their training. 

    Nike Metcon 4 Lifting TestJake Boly tests some top cross-training shoes for Barbend

    Heel elevation can range from 0 up to 10mm. It may not sound like much, but it can make a serious difference to the way movements feel. Extra heel height can help support a lifter moving weight through positions like squats and snatches, but little to no elevation is typically better for performing deadlifts. It all comes down to optimal posture angles (easier to keep chest tall, knees track properly, etc) and what you feel is most important in your training. 


    There are some truly great looking shoes out there these days, and your choice can be influenced by many factors. Some people prefer minimalist design. Others prefer extra flare and features, like the heel clips that minimize friction during handstand push-ups. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to style points, and we’re confident there is plenty of variety in our picks above to help you find your favorite look. 

    Cross-Training Shoe Construction Features

    Like weightlifting shoes, cross-training shoes are designed with purpose and functionality. If you’re thinking, “cross training shoes are just regular sneakers, but dressed up” hold that thought for one second while we cover some of the construction differences. From there it should be pretty clear why they’re different from your standard sneaker.

    Outer Construction

    When it comes to outer construction on cross-training shoes, there’s not a one-size-fits-all formula. Each shoe offers its own take on versatility and durability. For example, some shoes from Reebok offer their signature Flexweave™ material, while shoes from Nike have a cloth, nylon, and TPU mix.

    The takeaway: Every cross-training shoe’s outer construction is designed to withstand things like rope climbs, jumps, and heavy lifts, so every company will provide their own take on this feature.

    Outsole and Midsole

    The outsole and midsole of cross-training shoes are different in design because they’re made firmer. The midsole is the layer of material that’s in between the bottom of the shoe and the outer construction. Most cross-trainers will combine a slightly firmer rubber with some TPU-esque material. In addition, some cross-trainers provide a medial divot that extends upwards to support movements like rope climbs.

    person deadlifting with cross-training shoes onImage via Shutterstock / Pressmaster

    The combination of these two construction traits provide these shoes with harder feeling than normal tennis shoes/sneakers, and an outsole that’s pretty resilient to compression under weight, but also somewhat reactive for jumping movements. Basically, these shoes try to capture a firm, yet somewhat forgiving feeling to provide stability and versatility.

    Shoe Tech

    Another cool cross-training shoe construction perk worth noting is the tech that comes in certain models. For this list, we consider any unique construction characteristic as tech for the shoe itself. Tech could be considered the signature features in shoe’s like the Flyknit and Flywire offered in Nike shoes or the Flexweave in Reebok’s models. Also, things like TPU inserts and extended midsoles could also be considered tech.

    Final Word

    You could describe cross-training shoes as the decathletes of the shoe world. They’re pretty good at everything and work across many modalities. These shoes can save you from buying two — or maybe three — different pairs of specialty shoes, especially if you’re just somebody who wants to stay fit and healthy. If you’re training three to five times per week and mixing it up with cardio and weights, then look no further than the cross-trainers in this list. 

    Before impulse buying your next pair of cross-training shoes, it’s probably a good idea to spend some time doing research. These shoes continually get upgraded every year, so their construction is constantly improved for the workouts they’re designed for. Our advice, create a hierarchy checklist for your top cross-training shoe attributes. What do you value most and why? Also, be sure to keep an eye out for sales on old models if you’re looking to snag a great deal on your next pair of training shoes. 


    What are cross-training shoes?

    Cross-training shoes are a style of sneaker that are designed to tackle multiple types of workouts, hence the name cross-trainer. Generally, cross-training shoes will tie a blend of running, lifting, and other styles of training shoes all into one model.

    What is the best cross-training shoe?

    That depends on what your budget and main purpose for purchasing a pair of cross-training shoes are. Overall, we’re big fans of the NOBULL Trainer+ for both men and women. They’re breathable, durable, and have been thoughtfully well-designed for both weightlifting and everyday workouts, making them all-purpose and great for however you decide to exercise that day.

    What type of shoe is best for CrossFit?

    The best cross-trainers for CrossFit will have a firmer midsole and outsole to support weight. In addition, these shoes will also have a durable outer construction to resist abrasions and wear and tear from things like rope climbs and friction from the ground.

    What are the most important construction features to look for in cross-trainers?

    Like every dedicated training shoe, the most important construction characteristics are dictated by the demands of the activity. For Cross-training shoes, we’d advise considering these five main construction characteristics:

    1. Outsole Material
    2. Midsole Stability
    3. Outer Construction
    4. Heel Cup and Support
    5. Mid-Foot Durability

    How much do cross-training shoes cost?

    Cross-training shoe prices can vary pretty greatly. Generally, a newer pair of cross-trainers will cost between $100 and $150. The best price for cross-trainers should be dictated by how often you plan to wear and use them.

    If you wear them for all of your training, then investing in a nicer pair is often worth it. For those on a budget, check out older models, as these will generally have better price tags.

    What’s a good heel-to-toe offset for cross-trainers?

    The heel-to-toe offset in cross-trainers can vary pretty greatly, but generally, 2mm-8mm is the norm for these shoes.

    • 0mm — New Balance Minimus
    • 2mm — Under Armour TriBase Reign
    • 4mm — Nike Metcon, NOBULL, Reebok Nano
    • 6mm — Inov-8 F-Lite G 300
    • 8mm — Under Armour HOVR Rise

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