Best men’s gym shoes UK 2022: sports shoes for cardio, weight training and CrossFit from Nike, On, Reebok

Gym shoes have evolved from the basic models of yesteryear into sophisticated trainers designed to rectify pronation, provide stability, absorb shock - and even look good

<p>Best men’s gym shoes for weight training and CrossFit UK 2022</p>

Best men’s gym shoes for weight training and CrossFit UK 2022

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We’ve come a long way from what we imagine to be a traditional ‘gym shoe’.

The science behind providing support for your body when in the gym is staggering.

Some very clever tech is being introduced across a range of shoes to minimise injury, maximise performance and ensure that you have the stability and confidence to reach your potential in the gym.

In this series of reviews, we’ll be looking at a range of the best gym shoes on the market at the moment, detailing some of their specific attributes which make them suitable for wearing in the gym.

Best gym shoes at a glance:

Which gym shoes should I buy?

It very much depends on the kind of activity you specialise in when in the gym. There are some shoes out there that provide padding in certain areas to maximise performance on the treadmill and during cardio exercise.

If you’re into Crossfit or HIIT training, you’ll have to look for a shoe with good all-round stability for your foot during longitudinal and lateral movements - essentially supporting you through a range of different movements.

You’ll need a shoe that will absorb shock as well as add stability - that means cushioning. ‘Cross-training’ shoes provide support and cushioning in the mid-foot and the heel. They tend to be lighter than shoes designed simply for weight-lifting, to help you move quickly, and with explosive movements.

If you’re looking at weight training, a wide shoe with the maximum floor contact possible is worth looking for. This means a stiff upper, and support in the heel (this helps when you deadlift or squat) - and an ankle strap across the laces to ensure your feet are firmly in place.

Finding the best fit for your foot

Unlike running trainers, you don’t want gym shoes to be too cosy. Weight-lifters need to look for shoes of a reasonable width, to allow your feet to plant comfortably and offer a stable base for your compound moves.

Cross-training shoes should be a half or full size up from your regular shoe size, to allow you to move naturally as you train. Also your feet swell when you’re hot - this will accommodate that.

We’ve tried to include a good cross-section of these shoes in this article, so there should be something for everyone.

Here are nine of the best sports and gym shoes we’ve tested on the market now

KEYS SPECS

Suitable for: CrossFit, weight training, HIIT

Weight: 380 grams (men’s UK 10)

Pros: New React foam midsole; Hyperlift in heel offers great weightlifting support; Great grip and durability

Cons: Not great for running if you’re a heel striker

The Nike Metcon range is a bit of an institution, so this seventh generation of the shoe had quite a lot to live up to.

Needless to say we think the shoe performs almost faultlessly in a range of conditions - Nike have even been thoughtful enough to add lateral and medial rubber bolstering for extra climbing support, should you need it.

With thermoplastic in the upper, they allow airflow around the foot, which is great for high intensity workouts.

The ankle support is good, too, meaning you can do agility training without worrying about injury. The sole - in addition to being flat and thin - provides decent grip.

It’s marketed as the ‘gold standard for weight training’, and this extra support plus its overall stiffness makes you feel secure and comfortable during high-intensity workouts.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for: Road running, HIIT, mixed-sports training, gym sessions, workout classes, short runs

Weight: 240 g

Pros: Versatile; Lightweight and flexible; Very comfy; Durable

Cons: Not suited to heavy lifting

One of the things we really like about trendy Swedish brand On as a fitness brand is they offer a good range of lightweight kit that has a focus on comfort and agility.

Speedy and ultra-reactive, we think these shoes would be just as good a fit on the track as we found them in the gym, with a good degree of versatility and a sense of comfort and stability that was amongst the best we tested.

The ‘CloudTec’ sole provides excellent cushioning for explosive movement or foot strikes as you run, while the ‘Zero-Gravity’ foam is light-weight and keeps cool as you move.

The knit-weave upper means sweat and moisture is kept to a minimum, which we appreciate for particularly sweaty session.

Design-wise, we also think they look great, and come in a nice array of colour options.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for Daily training, hill repeats, tempo work

Weight: 238gs

Pros: Great everyday trainer; Responsive foam; Versatile (can be used for running and fitness)

Cons: Quite a tight shoe

We liked the padded nature of the Hoka Kawana shoe, which has its mind focussed on speedy recovery thanks to its nicely padded midsole.

It’s a comfortable, cushioning and forgiving shoe at the gym, and we also liked its recycled upper mesh that feels snug enough to support your feet across a range of disciplines like running, making it a viable all-rounder.

Like many Hoka shoes, we also liked the fact that it has a heel pull which makes life easier getting them on and off.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for: Weight training, CrossFit, HIIT Weight: 307 grams

Pros: Tri-Base is ideal for steady lifting; Breathable; Durable; Cheap

Cons: Not much to look at

These on-sale Under Armour Regin 4’s are a bit of a steal at the moment, and rank among the best training shoes for gym and CrossFit out there.

They’re created with a low, stable base, for maximum ground contact and ability to grip during lifts.

The rubber toe box at the end also allows for a greater floor grip and power transfer when working on weights. For us, this is a great lifting shoe and feels most at home during floor workouts.

KEY SPECS

Suitable for:Heavy lifts, CrossFit, Running

Weight: 210g

Pros: Very light; Looks great; Very Grippy

Cons: Not great if you’re not used the barefoot shoes; Not suitable for HIIT

Not only are they attractive in their minimalism, but Inov-8’s most stripped down shoe is super lightweight, flexible and designed to be close to the ground with zero drop, meaning it’s well-suited to natural foot movement.

With graphene in the outsole and midsole, these shoes are ultra flexible, very, very light, and have a wonderfully grippy exterior. They are ideal for resistance training, bolstering your grip and helping ensure a great base of support as you lift.

That said, they’re not good for HIIT - they wouldn’t provide much cushioning if you do high-impact, kinetic workouts regularly

With the new 3D air mesh, we liked the shoe’s breathability.

Barefoot workouts in the gym might take some getting used to, but if you’d like to combine your session with some floor work or yoga, this is a great option.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for: CrossFit, Cardio, Weight lifting

Weight: 297 gram

Pros: Great across multiple activities; Reliable; Cheap

Cons: A bit boring to look at

We got on well with the Quest TR’s, which market themselves as a great all round gym shoe, delivering what’s required in a reliable way on a consistent basis.

From a design perspective, we thought they were quite understated - we would have liked a couple of extra colourway options - but overall they’re comfortable, well-designed and offer leading stability, with a sticky rubber sole and stable base.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for: CrossFit, Cardio, HIIT

Weight: 340g

Pros: Sturdy; Comfortable; Breathable;

Cons: Not brilliant for road running

‘Versatile shoes made for functional fitness’ is how Reebok explains the latest version of the Nano X1, and we think that’s a pretty good descriptor.

They feel sturdy and confidence-inspiring, ensuring that they’re well-suited to a range of different workouts rather than one sport in particular.

The support for multi-directional movement is excellent, and for this reason we think these shoes would be the best option if you’re looking to complete intense workouts or get into Crossfit.

It’s a versatile shoe that will serve you well if you’re jumping on boxes, climbing ropes, or heaving a kettlebell around.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for: General gym use; Cardio

Pros: Eco-credentials; Good design; Multi-functional

Cons: Low heel if you enjoy squats

We liked the fact that the Adidas Dropset trainers are made in part with recycled materials - a commitment from a large brand that’s always good to see in a sector that traditionally uses a lot of synthetic materials.

The upper mesh is constructed with at least 50% reused fabrics, and it’s a comfortable shoe, with a soft forefoot and a stiff heel providing good support and stability during cardio-training and general gym workouts.

KEY SPECS:

Suitable for: HIIT, CrossFit, Cardio

Weight: 292 g

Pros: Great grip; Cushioning; Good lookin

Cons: Not ideal for weight training

Though theoretically a running shoe, the Dasher is a great option for all-round training. These shoes are vegetarian, not vegan, thought the brand prides itself on using sustainable materials.

The rubber outsole is great for withstanding a punishing workout, so you can jump, climb, and skip and they won’t wear. A cushioning midsole will bear the brunt of any impact as you move, while a knitted upper (combination merino and eucalyptus) is snug but flexible.

If you’re driven by aesthetics, this is one of the better looking gym shoes around, while if you’re eco-conscious, be advised it’s made entirely from renewable materials, such as sugarcane and caster bean.