Good cross training shoes power you through a HIIT workout just as deftly as sport-specific shoes help basketball, soccer, and tennis athletes maximize performance. The benefit to cross trainers is they’re multi-faceted, performing just as well on the elliptical, a casual run, and everyday life (hence the name cross training). But all cross training shoes don’t deliver on their promise. That’s why we burpeed and boxed our way to find the best cross training shoes of 2021.
We sought out shoes geared toward HIIT and other intense workouts to ensure the shoes offer plenty of stability for all those lateral shuffles, mountain climbers, and alternating squats. Below, our seven favorite cross training shoes to get you from side plank to sprint.
Best Cross Training Shoes of 2021 for HIIT and Bootcamp Fanatics
1. NOBULL Navy Tie-Dye Canvas Trainer
These fashion-forward sneaks get the job done in the gym. The upper is made of canvas, so they’re best suited for those who gun for minimal support and primarily lift or do CrossFit as synthetic knit uppers are more forgiving for running. The addition of high-carbon lateral and medial guards act like guard rails for lateral movements, and a medial rope grip to help you haul ass mid-WOD.
2. Saucony Freedom 4
New for spring 2021, you’ll float through your next bootcamp workout with the newest addition to the Freedom line. Responsive cushioning lends a springy feel to runs, sprints, box jumps and the like. Plus, the stable platform is better suited for lateral movements so you can smash agility drills without apprehension. A mesh upper and suede tongue boost comfort, and hidden reflectivity at the heel improves low-light visibility. This is one versatile shoe.
3. Les Mills X Reebok Nano X1 Cross Trainers
Debuting in March of this year, these co-branded Nano X1 trainers are ready to serve you well whether or not you’re doing the spicy Les Mills x Reebok Nano Series workouts (try a 30-day free trial here). Like the rest of the line, these sneakers feature a breathable upper, solid support for multidirectional movements, and a heel clip. Aside from being a handsome shoe, we love how flexible the forefoot is for better mobility during HIIT sessions.
4. Lane—Eight Men’s Trainer AD 1
If you like more plush support and cushioning, the AD 1 is a standout trainer. The midsole foam is sourced from harmful algae blooms that threaten the well-being of marine ecosystems, and the upper is upcycled plastic water bottles (11 bottles per shoe) spun into polyester yarn with vegan suede detailing. Altogether the shoe is uber-comfy and stable for intense speed work.
5. Nike Metcon 6
Nike’s Metcon has been a workhorse training shoe for years. The newest design provides support and stability for squats and deadlifts, thanks to a removable insert that allows you to adjust the height under your heel, as desired. Choose from a large range of colors or design your own.
6. Under Armour UA TriBase Reign 3 Training Shoes
The standout feature here is the Tribase design, which gives you a triangular base, so your foot can flex naturally. A foam midsole and wider midfoot lend greater comfort, and a full rubber outsole provides abrasion resistance. There’s also strategically placed rubber under the toe box for improved traction, and a heel counter to guide your foot’s pronation.
7. Lalo Bud/s Maximus Grinder
There’s a lot to love what with the breathable upper, toecap, and stability wrap around the mid-foot. There’s also a lot of work to do because these lightweight cross trainers hold up to heavy weightlifting use. The shoe gets its name from a collaboration with Bobby Maximum, a former UFC fighter. FYI: The company advises ordering a half-size larger than you normally wear.
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