It seems like there’s a pair of athletic shoes for every sport and activity. But do you really need to spend the money on multiple pairs of shoes just to work out? The answer: maybe. It all depends on your fitness goals. I consider shoes a tool, and, like any good tool, you need to know how to use it or have a purpose for it. I’ve put together a list of my favorite specialty shoes by sport and given a final verdict on whether they’re worth buying. If you decide to pick up one or two pairs with Rakuten, you’ll get Cash Back while shopping for all the best products.
The All-Around Workhorse: Nike Metcon 4
Whether you’re running, jumping, twisting or turning, Nike Metcon 4s will keep you stable through it all. Widely regarded as do-it-all athletic shoes, Metcon 4s are built to handle different training styles and exercises with ease. They are pricey, but they are worth the money when you factor in how much you’ll use them.
The verdict: Worth it for average gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts alike looking for a solid pair of cross-training shoes.
The Modern Minimalist: New Balance Minimus Trail 10
Minimalist athletic shoes were all the rage a few years ago, but they had their issues. People with improper running form reported injuries, and this shoe style started to develop a reputation. Like any tool, you need to know how to use it. I own a pair of classic New Balance Minimus and absolutely love them, but I took the time to learn proper form. If you’re trail running, there’s nothing better. The soles are stiff enough to protect your feet but thin enough to feel your stride all the way through.
The verdict: Most people will be fine with a trainer like the Metcon 4. If you’re thinking about (or are currently) trail running, these are a must.
The Tried-and-True Runner: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
The Brooks Running Adrenaline running shoe has been a staple among runners for more than 20 years thanks to its solid construction and overall feel on the pavement. With the latest version, Brooks sought to perfect the balance between cushion and support. The general consensus is that this version is another winner.
The verdict: If you’re a serious runner looking for running shoes that offer cushion, support and style, this is the pair.
The CrossFit King (or Queen): Reebok Nano 9 Training Shoes
Many CrossFit enthusiasts start out with simple trainers, but quickly need more specialized CrossFit shoes. If CrossFit is how you train, this is your shoe. They feature a flat, solid base with a stretchable upper to move any way you do, and they are built to withstand the rigors of repeated abuse.
The verdict: Worth it if CrossFit is your life. If not, skip these and go for something like the Metcon 4.
You could technically Olympic weightlift in the Nanos or Metcons, but serious weightlifters turn to shoes built for the sport. Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel to help with mobility and posture, and a flat base for support under the heaviest loads. The Reebok Legacy Lifters are one of the finest examples of this style of shoe, and they just look awesome.
The verdict: If you are serious about weightlifting, these are definitely worth the $200.