Weight training can help to improve your running performance by strengthening muscles, improving endurance, and increasing your cardiovascular fitness.
If you want to maximize your running performance and start beating those personal bests, it’s a good idea to do some supplemental training apart from running. Weight training is a great option, and has benefits that far outweigh just your running performance.
Just like choosing the right running shoes is important, so is choosing the best shoes for lifting weights. Choosing the wrong ones can increase your risk of injury, which will impact your running negatively.
Our first choice is the Reebok Nano X, as it has a comfortable low-cut design that allows for a good range of motion, has a minimal-drop sole, and is created specifically for functional fitness.
We’ve found many other great shoes that might also fit your needs, style, or budget. Read on to see our top picks…
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Reebok Nano X
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Nike Metcon 6 FlyEase
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Altra Solstice XT
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1. Reebok Nano X
These cross trainers are designed for functional fitness, a type of exercise that strengthens your body for real-life movements.
One of the best things about the Reebok Nano is the low-cut ankle design. This allows for full flexibility and range of motion, which strengthens the ankles and reduces the chance of injury.
The minimal-drop outsole makes it very stable when doing exercises that require a good stance, like squats and deadlifts. It has also been reported to be a heavy shoe, so it gives extra sturdiness for heavy exercises.
The weight—around 14.4 ounces—makes it good for lifting weights, but not as useful for doing quick HIIT-type workouts. If you are going to be running more than a mile a day, these shoes may not be comfortable due to their stiffness and heaviness.
An unusual blown-up heel collar is a feature many users report getting benefits from. It helps to lock the ankle in and prevent heel slippage. It also keeps the whole foot stable during exercise, so the chance of injury is reduced.
As well as being very planted on the ground, the Metasplit decoupled forefoot improves the flexibility of the sole for bending movements. The EVA rim provides better balance.
This shoe won the 2020 Shape Award for Boot Camp Pro, so it has a good reputation. It tends to run slightly small, so it would be best to order half a size larger.
- Compression-molded midsole
- Low-cut design
- Flexweave woven textile upper
- Metasplit decoupled forefoot
- The shoes run a half size too small, so it would be best to order half a size bigger
2. Nike Metcon 6 FlyEase
Shoes are becoming more and more convenient, and one of the most useful new features of cross trainers is step-in technology. The Nike Metcon 6 FlyEase is the first Nike trainer to feature this technology.
The heel is collapsible, so all you need to do is slide your foot into the shoe, and the heel will pop up again once your foot is in. To remove the shoe, press the heel down or step on it, and lift your foot out again. This means you only need to tie your shoelaces once.
The Metcon 6 FlyEase is a special edition of the Nike Metcon 6. It features a low and flat heel for stability, but you can use the removable HyperLift insert to change the heel-to-toe drop, depending on what you need at the time.
It is made from mesh to allow for effective ventilation through the shoe. It also makes the shoe quite flexible, so it is suitable for quick HIIT workouts.
For better grip during a variety of movements, there’s rubber tread sides of the shoes in addition to the sole. So whether you’re sprinting or climbing a rope, you can get a good grip.
- Wide, flat base
- FlyEase entry
- Removable HyperLift insert
- Grip on outsole and side
- It may take some time to break in the FyEase technology – it may feel stiff at first
Best Zero Drop
3. Altra Solstice XT
Zero-drop shoes are a solid niche in the running shoe world. But the benefits aren’t just for runners, and there are many devotees of this design in the weightlifting world, too. A zero drop shoe can add an element of stability and sturdiness to a shoe, as you don’t have that slight forward-leaning that you would in shoes with a heel drop. This means that the heel and the forefoot are at exactly the same height off the ground.
The Altra Solstice XT looks like a flat-soled shoe when you look at it. The midsole and outsole are 23mm thick. That might not seem like a lot, but the High Abrasion EVA midsole provides plenty of balanced cushioning and comfort.
The midsole uses INNERFLEX technology – grooves in the midsole for better flexibility and performance, especially when doing moves that require foot flexibility, like lunges.
It also has a FootShape toe box that allows space for your toes to spread out and stay comfortable, as well as provide stability. There are different models for men and women, and the women’s shoe has Fit4Her technology. It is designed to fit a woman’s foot, which is typically narrower in the heel, longer in the arch, and has unique toe spacing.
These shoes run large, and you may have to get half a size smaller for the right fit.
- Zero drop sole
- Balanced cushioning
- INNERFLEX grid-like grooves
- FootShape toe box
- These shoes run big and you may have to get a half-size smaller
Top Shoe for HIIT And Cardio Workouts
4. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39
HIIT cardio is an amazing way to slim down and improve your cardiovascular endurance. But doing it with the wrong shoes can lead to injury that would impact your running performance. Turns out, a running shoe is also just a out ideal for HIIT sessions. And when it comes to everyday running shoes, the Pegasus 39 has been hard to beat for more than 3 decades.
It is best for those with a neutral foot, and you can use these shoes both for running and for other cardio workouts. Those with flat feet might find this shoe to be uncomfortable and unsupportive.
It has a midfoot band that hugs your foot and keeps it stable. Another thing that makes these shoes good for high-intensity workouts is their grip. A varied textured outsole keeps your feet steady no matter how quickly you need to be moving from one to the other.
An Air Zoom Unit in the forefoot allows for quick and responsive toe-offs when you’re doing high-intensity exercises that need quick turns and push-offs. It’s interesting to know that the men’s shoes have an Air Zoom Unit of 20psi, while the women’s is 15psi, so it specifically caters to a women’s foot.
The engineered mesh upper also gives you a good airflow through the shoe while you’re working out, preventing hot spots and keeping your feet cool and dry.
Some users have reported heel slippage and the inability to tighten the laces enough to solve it.
- Midfoot band
- Zoom React and Zoom Airbags for cushioning
- Engineered mesh upper
- Textured outsole
- The shoes run narrow. Even so, some runners may experience some heel slippage
Best for Lifting
5. Inov-8 F-Lite G300
If you like to lift weights as part of your supplemental exercise, this is the shoe we recommend for you.
It is a very stable shoe – an asset in the weightlifting world, as it prevents injuries and allows you to lift more weight with a stable base.
The durability and stability of this cross trainer come from the rubbery G-GRIP outsole and the graphene-infused Internal Lifting Stabilizer in the EVA midsole. It keeps you planted firmly on the gym floor while lifting heavy weights, so you don’t need to worry about slipping or missing a step.
Their unique 360º ROPE-TEC system runs around the whole shoe, providing you with impressive grip if you want to climb ropes as well as lift weights.
The knitted upper is light and breathable to keep you cool while getting a hard workout in. An extra feature on the shoe is the TPU cage wrapped around the foot, providing extra stability.
- Graphene-infused Internal Lifting Stabilizer
- 360º ROPE-TEC system
- G-GRIP outsole
- Cushioned footbed and heel
- These shoes tend to run small and narrow in the toe box
6. Under Armour UA TriBase Reign 2.0
Under Armour consistently brings out good quality shoes, and these ones provide a lot of value. UA have made a lot of changes to the TriBase Reign, which has improved its performance. The shoe is reborn as the Tribase Reign 2.0.
The shoe is a bootie-style, with a sewn-in tongue for a more close-fitting feel. The upper is made from stretchy mesh with a sock-like collar that is easy to stretch over your foot to get on and off.
You can remove the insole if you want to add your own. Making this removable means you have the choice of a more cushioned ride or a flatter, firmer one.
The soft, responsive Micro G foam midsole runs the full length of the shoe. There are also handy rubber panels on the side that offer extra grip for rope climbs. The Reign 2.0 is just at home on a short run as it is in cross-training.
Speaking of grip, the outsole on this shoe has been upgraded. It is now in three distinct sections. The middle section has been increased in size to increase ground contact, and the forefoot section has a more aggressive tread pattern for enhanced grip.
They are also low to the ground, so they feel solid and stable and give a great push-off, whether you’re doing squats or running.
- Full-length Micro G foam midsole
- UA TriBase directional tread
- Medial rope grip
- Form-fitting upper
- Shoes are long and narrow in the toe box
Best Stability Shoe
7. Mizuno TC-02
If you are an overpronator and need a stability shoe, you should try this one. It has a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, so it’s low to the ground and sturdy.
Mizuno’s C.O.B. (Center of Balance) midsole has a textured surface, which is unique and uses sensor pod clusters to challenge the foot and improve balance. The idea is to promote body awareness, which helps to increase the sensitivity of the foot and make it feel more like it’s in direct contact with the ground.
The upper is a double layer of mesh with Hotmelt panels to let warmth out and air in. Internal support straps in the midfoot keep it as stable as possible, no matter what type of exercise you’re doing.
If you don’t overpronate, you might not find these comfortable.
- Mizuno COB midsole
- 4 mm drop for stability
- Two-layered mesh upper
- Internal Support Straps
- Those who have a neutral foot may find these shoe to be uncomfortable
Best Grip Shoes
8. Merrell Mag-9
Whether you’re doing CrossFit, HIIT workouts, or light exercise from home, you need to have good grip.
The Merrell Mag-9 offers a Vibram TC5+ outsole with impressive grip, keeping you safe and sturdy on almost any surface. Unlike some of the more grippy shoes, the lugs are not too large.
The Mag-9’s sole is designed around FLEXconnect dual-directional flex-grooves to provide a better interaction with surfaces. The EVA midsole offers springy energy return and a light comfort on your feet.
The stretchy collar hugs the ankle. A one-piece knitted textile upper features a lacing system to get the perfect fit once you’ve slipped your foot into it. For some runners, the opening to slip your foot into may feel too small.
Some may also find that the tongue tends to ripple when they lace the shoes up. This is because of the one-piece construction.
- Hyperlock TPU film heel counter
- FLEXconnect dual-directional flex-grooves
- Vibram TC5+
- Knit and synthetic upper
- The tongue is integrated into the knit upper and some may find that the tongue “ripples” up when you tighten the laces
Top Color Options
9. New Balance Minimus 20v7
Lifting shoes tend not to be so garish as running shoes. Although many denizens of the gym may prefer black or white shoes, not everyone will. If you want something with a bit of color, then the New Balance Minimus is a good choice. There are many bright colors available, so there should be something to suit everyone.
One of the reasons this shoe is great for lifting weights is that it’s very light. The women’s is just 5.8 ounces, and the men’s is 6.8 ounces. The design is quite minimalist as well, so if you’re a fan of minimalist running shoes, these would surprise and delight you.
One of the reasons it’s so light is because the midsole is created from REVlite, which is 30% lighter than traditional foams while maintaining an equivalent amount of padding and comfort. It is light and responsive, but still steady enough to press down firmly when lifting weights.
There are three zones in the Vibram outsole. The Lifting Zone at the heel is flat and stable to provide a solid base for pushing off. The forefoot has the Power Zone and the Toe-Off Zone. They feature small shaped lugs to enhance grip, and the outsole is also non-marking.
These shoes run small, so you will need to order a size up.
- Choose from a variety of colors
- REVlite midsole cushioning
- Low-to-the-ground 4 mm drop
- Nylon-infused yarn upper
- Runs small and narrow, so you will have to order a size up
Best Minimal Shoe
10. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II
This barefoot-style shoe is as thin and minimalistic as they come. It might look like it doesn’t have much to it, but it is a high-performance option. In addition, it is vegan and partly made from renewable plant-based materials, which is good for the environment as well as for your feet.
The shape of the shoe encourages the natural movement of the foot. It is very lightweight, so you won’t feel it on your foot. The upper is quite breathable so you won’t feel your feet sweat during your workout.
A thin tongue and collar keep the weight on the light side. It would be alright to run in if you have a neutral foot and you’re a fan of barefoot shoes. It’s also good for weight lifting, as it’s fairly flat and has an outsole grippy enough to be safe on gym floors.
The 3mm insole consists of 10% BLOOM, an algae-based alternative to EVA foam. Between that and the plant fibers in the upper, this shoe is very environmentally friendly.
- Plant-based Bio upper
- Ultrathin flexible outsole
- Lightly padded collar
- No-sew Susterra Propanedial TPU
- These shoes can run on the small side and it would be best to get a size bigger
What features should running and lifting shoes have?
When you’re looking at getting a pair of shoes that you can use for running, box jumps, and lifting weights, you can’t just buy a normal running shoe. You need to look for shoes where the outsole provides superior grip in the forefoot, and that can support multi-directional movements.
The upper needs to be flexible and able to support your foot through a series of explosive movements and heavy lifting sessions. The midsole should have some cushioning, but it must be firm and not cushy like that of a running shoe.
The shoe needs to provide stability but remains flexible enough to allow for the various movements in cross-training exercises. Look for a shoe that provides adequate arch support for your foot, as this will help to prevent foot fatigue and reduce the risk of injury.
Look for shoes that have either a zero drop or a low drop, as this helps to keep your foot aligned and will protect your ankle’s mobility when your heels are raised above your toes. If the shoe has a sturdy and firm heel, then this will help with ankle stability and overall stability. In this case, you won’t need a shoe with a zero drop.
The shoe needs to provide an adequate amount of cushioning to absorb the shock of impact when you’re doing short bursts of running or circuit training.
What is the difference compared to regular running shoes?
Running shoes are designed for heel-to-toe movement and have added cushioning to provide comfort, as well as absorb the impact of foot strikes.
Cross-training shoes are designed for side-to-side movement—multi-directional movement—and you’ll notice that the sole of the shoes is flatter than running shoes. This helps the shoe to remain flexible while you make a wide variety of movements, like burpees, squats, and push-ups.
Cross-training shoes will also have a much firmer and stiffer sole that will provide stability when pushing heavy weights.
Why should runners also lift/do CrossFit? How often should runners lift?
Running is great for the cardiovascular system, but what do you do when you hit a performance plateau? You can’t just run to improve your run; you need to supplement your running with strength training, or even going to CrossFit.
Strength training can help you gain lean muscle mass, as well as strengthen the joints. This can help reduce the risk of injury and help to improve your race times. If we look at CrossFit, they use a variety of exercises including gymnastics, strength training, and powerlifting.
The muscles used in a variety of these exercises target both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles. By training and strengthening both of these muscle types, you can increase your speed, endurance, and power, and it can help you maintain proper running form.
Runners should get at least two strength-training sessions during a week, with each session lasting between 30 and 60 minutes. By incorporating strength training into your training routine, you’ll improve your overall running performance and reduce the risk of injury.