The best gym shoes for men that boost workout performance
The gym shoes you wear will have a surprisingly big impact on your performance and your results. New Body Plan creator Jon Lipsey tests the latest workout trainers for men to help you accelerate your physique and performance progress!
Are you wearing running shoes for your gym workouts? If the answer is yes then you may be undermining your potential results. That’s because the gym shoes you wear will have a huge impact on how you train.
And one of the easiest ways to speed up your results is to select the right pair for your goals. Read on to get our quick expert guide to selecting the right gym shoes. Then get our tried and tested round up of the newest and best workout trainers for men.
Do I need a special pair of gym shoes?
If you want to maximise your results then you should invest in a pair of gym shoes designed for lifting weights. The big difference between gym shoes and running shoes is the mid-sole. And, more specifically, the thickness of the mid-sole and the level of cushioning. Typically, running shoes tend to have thicker, more cushioned soles than gym shoes.
Why does having the right training shoe matter?
Cushioned soles are good for high mileage running because they reduce the impact on your joints. That’s less of an issue when you’re lifting weights. When you’re doing a barbell shoulder press, for example, what natters is stability and ‘feel’. And that’s why you need a pair of gym shoes. They are designed to give you a stable base, which allows you to lift heavier weights. And the heavier the weight you lift, the more you’ll progress. Think of it this way. If you tried to do a shoulder press on an unstable surface, you’d lift a lighter weight than if you did it on a stable surface. The design of your gym shoes essentially determines how stable you are.
What’s the difference between gym trainers and weightlifting shoes?
Weightlifting shoes are designed for the sports of Olympic Weightlifting or Powerlifting. They’re incredibly rigid and they are excellent for providing stability in lifts such as the squat, snatch, and clean. But because they are so rigid, they’re not good for dynamic movements or exercises that involve directional change. That’s where gym trainers come in to their own. They give you the stability you need to lift heavy weights. But they also give you the flexibility needed for dynamic exercises, such as lunges and burpees.
How much should I spend on a pair of gym trainers?
How much you spend on your gym shoes depends on your budget. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. It is tough to find a really cheap pair of gym shoes that are also really good. But there are some cost-effective options. And we’ve covered the all budget bases in our test, from great value choices to the top-of-the-range performance pair.
What difference will gym shoes make to my results?
One of the keys to making great training progress is to rack up the easy wins. Doing that will move you towards your goal. And it will leave you with plenty of energy to tackle the tough stuff. Adding a few kilos to your Zercher squat because you wore the right gym shoes is such an easy win. And that’s not an exaggeration. Switching from a cushioned running shoe to a proper gym shoe can easily add 5-10kg to your one-rep max barbell back squat. It will have a positive impact on pretty much every move where your feet are in contact with the ground. And over time that will add up to a big difference.
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The best gym shoes for men: tested and rated
Nike Metcon 7
Best gym shoes for all-round performance
The Nike Metcon 7 uses the latest technology to create genuinely stable and comfortable gym shoes.
These are the perfect gym shoes for you if… you want to get maximum advantage from your training gear.
• The shoe has a wide, flat heel that provides excellent stability for heavy barbell lifts.
• The midsole contains Nike React foam, to maximise comfort without compromising on stability.
• The rubber on the outsole gives great traction during dynamic, direction change exercises.
• Grooves on the sole allow the shoe to flex when required, such as when you’re doing lunges.
• A special tab allows you to lock away the laces so they won’t come undone or get in the way.
Buy Nike Metcon 7 from Sports Direct today.
Under Armour TriBase Reign 3
Best gym shoes for heavy barbell lifts
The Under Armour Tri Base maximises ground contact to offer gym shoes that set you up for new barbell personal bests.
These are the perfect gym shoes for you if: you enjoy barbell lifts and you want to get bigger, leaner and stronger.
• Emphasises stability with three points of contact at the heel, ball of the foot and the outside of the foot. That maximises ground contact and allows you to lift heavy in key barbell moves such as the squat.
• Uses Micro G foam to provide cushioning and comfort.
• Thin soles allows you to really ‘feel’ the way your foot is moving and is in contact with the floor.
• Carefully positioned forefoot flexion keeps you mobile during dynamic exercises.
• The rubber outsole wraps up the side of the shoe to make it more durable.
Buy Under Armour TriBase Reign 3 from Under Armour today.
Nike MC trainer
Best gym shoes for comfort
If you’re new to wearing gym shoes, you may notice that some pairs are much less comfortable than well-cushioned running shoes. With the MCs, you won’t notice the difference.
These are the perfect gym shoes for you if… you want comfortable, great value gym shoes that allow you to do lots of dynamic fat loss work.
• The heel is relatively wide, to give you stability while lifting
• The rubber tread on the outsole is thicker at the heel for stability and thinner at the forefoot for speed when running.
• The foam cushioning gives it a really comfortable feel, so it is great for metabolic conditioning or cardio fat loss finishers.
Buy Nike MC from ASOS today.
Under Armour Charged Focus
Best gym shoes for lifting and running
Was £65, now £48.75
If you’re into a mix of cardio and fat loss circuits and HIIT workouts, these are the ideal gym shoes for you. If you’re super-serious about setting a new deadlift personal best, it’s probably not the best pair. But for those who are more fat loss than strength focused, it’s a great option.
These are the perfect gym shoes for you if… you’re going to work up a sweat and get your heart rate up in a drive to burn body fat.
• The Charged Cushioning midsole makes it comfortable to wear when in the gym or out for a run.
• Strategically placed forefoot flexion grooves offer great levels of mobility.
• The outsole has been designed to be durable, so they will last well.
• The lightweight breathable mesh upper is comfortable and helps to keep your feet cool.
Buy Under Armour Charged Focus from Under Armour today.
Reebok Nano X1 Grit
Best gym shoes for cross training
When you’ve got a heavy barbell session one day and a HIIT workout the next, these all-rounders are an excellent choice of workout shoes.
These are the perfect gym shoes for you if… you’re going to push yourself in training and you want a bit of comfort to offset your efforts.
• The heel design gives a good balance between stability and mobility.
• The Floatride Energy Foam makes them comfortable to wear and good for explosive jumping exercises.
• The Flexweave woven upper is stretchable, which means they’ll withstand lots of movement and direction change.
Buy Reebok Nano X1 Grit from Sports Direct today.
Reebok Flexagon Energy TR 3.0
Best gym shoes for value
Was £38, now £33
If you’re looking for a solid, no-nonsense pair of gym shoes then it is hard to beat the Flexagon Energy for value.
These are the perfect gym shoes for you if… you’re looking for a dependable option at a great price.
• The flexible outsole will keep you moving during HIIT and fat loss workouts.
• A FuelFoam midsole offers a surprising amount of comfort for a gym training shoe.
• The overall design gives good ground contact so you can be confident going into heavy barbell lifts.
Buy Reebok Flexagon Energy TR 3.0 from Sports Direct today.