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7 Best Cross-Training Shoes to Crush Your Next Workout
You head to the Spin studio, and you grab a Spin shoe. Going to yoga? Ditch the footwear altogether. But when it comes to tackling cross-training, or an exercise program that typically incorporates multiple modes of training at once (think spending some time on the rowing machine, and then going into a circuit that includes burpees, lifting weights, and plyometrics), the sneaker choice isn’t crystal clear. That’s because the options for cross-training shoes for women are just as abundant as the different ways to cross train.
"Cross-training sneakers are like hybrids and are designed to play multiple roles like for lifting and on the elliptical," saysJackie Sutera, DPM, a podiatric physician and health expert for the Vionic Innovation Lab. "They have features of many traditional sneakers incorporated in for general use, and are considered multipurpose."
Because they lack excessive cushioning, cross-training sneakers aren’t meant for long-distance running or other repetitive exercises like power walking or jumping rope. Typically, they’ll also be a tad on the heavier side with a flexible midsole, ideal for side-to-side movements like side shuffles, lateral burpees, and skaters that we generally see in popular types of cross-training like CrossFit or kickboxing.
"When you participate in cross-training activities, your weight is more concentrated on your heels," says Miguel Cunha, DPM, a podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. "That means they need to be able to absorb two to three times your total body weight."
Just like with running, indoor and outdoor cycling, or rock climbing, it’s important to get a sneaker specific for this type of activity. Here, are best cross-training shoes for women, including options for those with various foot conditions like plantar fasciitis or nerve pain.
If you’re an intense, I-like-to-kick-things-up-a-notch type of lady, these shoes are for you. That’s because Nike has implemented certain elements, like a textured rubber that wraps up the midfoot for durability during activities like rope climbing, for the woman who’s really willing to push her comfort zone.
This cross-training pick is the closest we’ll get you to a sneaker you can also log considerable mileage in. With just the right balance between rigid (perfect for lifting) and comfort (ideal for jogging), you can easily run a few miles in this Reebok favorite without needing to swap out your sneakers. This makes it perfect for the days you’re feeling mega-indecisive at the gym.
The last thing you want to worry about when you’re working out is comfort, especially since cross-training sneakers are already less cushioned than your go-to runners. These have a seamless construction, which reduces the annoying irritation that can happen right at the seam (blisters, be gone). Plus, a perforated sockliner means your feet can breathe easier, even on the days where you’re grinding through reps.
Grip is important for everything from side shuffles to weight lifting. Made with a Vibram outsole, you can rely on these New Balance sneakers for reliable traction. They’ve also got a unique look, thanks to the asymmetrical collar and molded foam which hugs the foot from ankle to toe.
If you’re looking for style, look no further than this pick from Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL). The mid-cut silhouette provides essential ankle stability, and the external heel counter (that’s the band across the back of the shoe) adds to that—keeping you locked and loaded when you need it most from lunges to squats. It helps that they’re available in every color under the sun, too.
Whereas a lot of cross-training options are a tad hefty, these shoes are a lightweight pick that allow for more natural motion while cushioning and providing shock absorptions. Sutera says this style is great for anyone with nerve issues, as heavier shoes can amplify the pain. They also have a unique outsole that provides a perfect foundation for both indoor and outdoor training.
When you’ve got a condition like plantar fasciitis, you’re looking for equal parts comfort, arch support, and stability in your cross-training shoe, says Sutera. This option, which uses Adidas’ signature boost technology, offers up essential cushioning while still being breathable thanks to the shoe’s engineered mesh, which helps with air circulation.
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