When you work out, you want to make it count. If you’re wearing the wrong type of footwear, you might not see the maximum benefits or results from your exercise regimen.
With so many different styles and brands on the market, how can you make sure you’re getting the best pair for your needs?
Today, we’re breaking down the difference between running and training shoes and sharing a few of our top picks to help you narrow down the selection.
What Are Training Shoes?
Before we dive into some of the best models around, let’s briefly discuss the difference between training vs running shoes. They sound similar, so you might be wondering: can I use running shoes for training?
The answer is a little multi-faceted. If your typical gym routine includes mostly walking on the treadmill or running on the track, then running shoes are fine. However, if you’re engaging in any other activities, we recommend wearing shoes specifically designed for cross-training purposes.
Put simply, training shoes are designed to accommodate a wide range of movements, including jumping, stopping, breaking, cutting, and changing directions. This is what makes them ideal for the gym, where you typically engage in a variety of different, multi-directional motions, including lateral (side-to-side) ones.
Running shoes tend to have a thick sole and substantial cushioning, as well as a higher heel drop, or difference between the heel height and toe height. They’re made primarily for forward movement, with built-in shock absorption to cradle your feet as you pound the pavement again and again.
On the other hand, the soles on your training shoes will be flatter and more flexible. This allows them to shift into place easily as you move your feet at various angles. The heel drop on these shoes is lower, though there’s plenty of support in the heel and room in the toes. From weightlifting and strength training to agility training and high-intensity workouts, training shoes are your go-to gym shoe.
Why the Right Pair of Training Shoes Makes All the Difference
The right shoes will allow you to move freely at the gym, while also providing an ample amount of support and comfort. If you’re wondering, “How do I choose the best training shoes?”, start by thinking about your preferred type of workout.
Look for a pair that allows you to perform your full routine accurately. This way, you can complete the full range of motion whether you’re squatting, lifting weights, or jogging a short distance on the treadmill.
For instance, if you prefer to break a sweat by shooting hoops, find flat-sole training shoes designed specifically for jumping and lateral motion. If you need extra ankle support for lifting, squats, or lunges, opt for a pair of high-top training shoes that offer more stability.
Next, seek out special features designed to keep you safe and comfortable at the gym. For instance, the heel support, flexible midsole, and wider forefoot you’ll find in a training shoe allow you to move easily in multiple directions. The lower heel drop and toe bend help you push off the ground and pivot with ease, and the traction ensures your safety as you move around, especially during lateral motions.
When you’re able to perform all of your workouts at peak capacity, you’ll notice the health benefits sooner. You’ll also find that you’re performing each movement more precisely, which helps you see real results. For instance, you need training shoes (not running shoes) during plyometrics, due to the frequent pivots. Only training shoes have the grip, traction, and flexibility required to change directions lightly and easily.
Improper footwear also makes you more prone to injury, so take the time to find a pair of training shoes that fits well, supports your foot, and keeps you comfortable throughout your entire routine. No one can work out for long with blisters, sprains, or soreness holding them back!
Top Picks: Best Training Shoes for Men
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a training shoe, let’s talk about some of our favourites! Below are some of our best-selling men’s training shoes, all available online at Walking on a Cloud.
New Balance MX857WN3 White Leather Cross-Training Shoe
New Balance has long been synonymous with casual, comfortable training shoes, and the New Balance MX857WN3 White Leather Cross-Training Shoe is no exception. This all-star shoe is bound to become a staple in your everyday gym rotation thanks to its rugged leather upper, comfortable polyurethane (PU) inserts, and innovative ROLLBAR stability post system.
The PU inserts provide all-day comfort underfoot, while the ROLLBAR technology helps control your rear foot movement for extra stability. Other special features include:
- Non-marking outsole
- Adjustable lace closure
- Lightweight feel
The white and navy colorway is on-trend and goes with everything. These are the perfect sneakers to keep in your bag year-round.
R Evolution Sportec13 Orange Grey Lace-Up Walking Shoe
R Evolution offers a range of different sneakers designed for active, sporty lifestyles. The brand’s Sportec 13 Orange Grey Lace-Up Walking Shoe is excellent for everyday wear, as well as hitting the gym.
These training shoes feature a breathable, textile upper designed for all-day comfort. The lightweight EVA sole provides flexibility while the durable rubber outsole provides all-day stability and shock absorption.
Other features we love include:
- Breathable Drysport lining
- Adjustable lace closure
- Pull heel tab for easy on/off
The orange, grey, and white colorway features contrasting hues that complement one another stylishly. These shoes will look great with any form of athleisure, as well as a pair of your favourite jeans.
New Balance M880GX10 Gore-Tex Running Shoe
GORE-TEX® Invisible Fit technology helps protect your sneakers from all kinds of wear and tear. The fabric membrane is breathable and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about wearing the New Balance M880GX10 Gore-Tex Running Shoe out in the rain!
These shoes also feature the brand’s precision-engineered Fresh Foam midsole, as well as a Hypoknit upper for enhanced support, comfort, and durability. These training shoes are well-cushioned, lightweight, and perfect for a range of workouts.
Other great features include:
- Great stretch and support
- Light, comfortable textiles
- Rugged outsole
- Low, 10mm heel drop
The gray and black colorway adds a pop of style and blends effortlessly with an array of different looks. These sneakers look great at the gym, but their classic shade helps them blend in anywhere.
Ecco MX Vetiver Green Leather Mesh Slip-On Sneaker
Looking for a training shoe that will take you from the gym to the trail? The Ecco MX Vetiver Green Leather Mesh Slip-On Sneaker is a great place to start.
This shoe combines everything you love about a workout shoe, then overlays it with a stylish, motocross-inspired outsole. Fashioned from state-of-the-art Ecco NIT leather, this pair features a soft, light mesh upper with micro-perforations for the ultimate in breathability and flexibility.
You’ll also discover that these shoes are profoundly comfortable, due to Ecco’s trademarked FLUIDFORM™ Direct Comfort Technology, which offers the perfect balance of cushioning and rebound response. Other standout features include:
- Premium, 3-D raised leather grain structure
- Sock-like construction that fits snugly and comfortably
- Wide elastic band for perfect positioning
- Excellent grip, stability, and support
These sneakers don’t look like your typical trainers. The Vetiver Green is a light olive/tan shade that can easily pass as a neutral, making these the most versatile shoes in your closet.
New Balance MXCTRLB1 Black Fresh Foam Cross-Training Shoe
The third sneaker from this brand to make our list, you can’t go wrong with the New Balance MXCTRLB1 Black Fresh Foam Cross-Training Shoe. Specially engineered to provide day-long comfort and stability, these sneakers feature multi-directional traction to keep you safe and supported at the gym.
This specific pair uses some of New Balance’s softest and most flexible midsole cushioning, keeping you comfortable no matter what you’re doing. The breathable, lightweight materials include an engineered knit/synthetic upper, so you can stay cool even while breaking a sweat.
Other features to know include:
- Lightweight rubber outsole
- Thermoplastic Urethane (TPU) external heel stabilizer
- Engineered mesh
The colorway includes such cool shades as black, natural indigo, and “moon dust” (a light silver/grey). You’ll be the star of the show no matter where these sneakers take you.
In addition to the pairs listed above, we offer lots of other men’s shoes in a variety of different styles from boots and sandals to running shoes and slides. Feel free to shop all of our collections online and contact us if you have any questions!