While we might be reaching peak house sandal season, sometimes you need a bit more — technology, support, strength — in a shoe you’re going to work out in. But not all workout sneakers are created equal: Wear the wrong type and your performance may be seriously impacted. To find the best sneakers for any sort of exercise, we spoke to 21 fitness-minded cool women. Read on for their picks, which include workout sneakers for doing spin in your living room, traversing 18 miles of asphalt, and practically every other way you can work up a sweat.
Best workout shoes for running
“I am a minimalist when it comes to running,” says Jen Romanelli, the co-founder of Trooper Fitness, who prefers less arch support in her running sneakers. “I have flat feet and people swear by ‘arch support’ — I don’t,” she says. “I’d rather have less support when doing more cardio-intensive activities because it forces ankle stability and strengthens my foot.” With a simple, lightweight shoe like this, she can engage more muscles and doesn’t feel like she’s being held back with each stride.
“I’ve been wearing Asics Gel Kayanos for years,” says Well + Good beauty and fitness editor Zoë Weiner. “I have pretty major issues with overpronation, which these help to correct.” She adds that they have “just the right amount of cushioning and help relieve some of the pounding on my knees when I’m logging a lot of miles.” Weiner told us a more recent favorite is a pair of Asics Glide Rides, which she says “might just unseat the Kayanos as my go-to shoe of choice.”
“At Box + Flow, we are barefoot for a smooth transition from boxing to yoga in class, but I run two-to-eight miles every day to warm up before I teach,” says Olivia Young, founder-owner of fitness studio Box + Flow. She relies on a pair of “durable, breathable, and lightweight” Nike Pegasus sneakers, because “they have just enough support, are balanced between soft and structured, and allow me to run like the wind.”
When it comes to outdoor running, ON Cloud Trail Shoes are a favorite of yoga teacher and author Shona Vertue, who says that after trying quite a “few trail-racing shoes in my lifetime, this is by far my favorite.” The sneakers are lightweight and breathable enough to carry you through long distances, while their “Missiongrip” outsoles provide traction to keep you from slipping on wet and uneven terrain.
Amanda Freeman, founder of SLT and Stretch*d, also loves ON for its lightweight designs. She prefers the Cloud X style because it has a molded heel to keep your foot in place, a “zero-gravity” foam midsole, and a breathable knit-mesh upper. Lieberman says ON “is a little more under-the-radar than Adidas and Nike, but they make really solid sneaks.” For running, she likes their “springy” Cloudswift sneakers, which also have “great arch support.”
For running indoors on a treadmill, Vertue prefers Nike Joyride sneakers, which combine the brand’s popular Flyknit material with new cushioning technology. “The beads in the shoe act like a beanbag and support your foot where it’s most needed, according to your gait,” she explains. This allows the Joyrides to adapt to a variety of runners and their specific support needs. Rachel Lapidos