With so many options out there, we tapped top trainers with different sweat styles for their go-to picks, below.
To see more of the best workout clothes and gear hand-picked by GQ editors, check out the GQ Fitness Awards.
The Best Running Shoes for the Treadmill: On Running Cloudswift 3
For those who clock their miles on the treadmill rather than the pavement, personal trainer Dan Castillo, the chief of talent and content strategy at Sole Treadmills, recommends On’s Cloudswift running shoes. Those specific shoes have since been replaced by the Cloudswift 3 runners, which carry over a lot of the same traits that Castillo appreciated about the OGs, like a flexible sole and bottom. “This sneaker is extremely lightweight, which is what I look for in a traditional running pick,” he says. He notes that it’s not the type of shoe that he’d recommend for heavy lifting, but adds that they’re “amazing for everything from sprints to longer runs, as well as moving around the city.”
The Best Daily Trainer: Hoka Clifton 9
Running coach Matthew Luke Meyer is a fan of Hoka’s Clifton line, which is currently on its ninth iteration. His original pick, the Clifton 6, is no longer in production, but the latest Clifton 9 is lighter and even more cushioned than ever before. “This has been my go-to daily trainer for the last two years. I’m on my twelfth pair, and I don’t plan on switching any time soon,” Meyer says. “It’s great because it’s the trifecta of light, supportive, and comfortable.”
The Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet: Saucony Guide 13
For F45 Training‘s head trainer Michael Horning, the Saucony Guide 13s were the “supportive but not corrective” shoes he needed to help support his flat feet. These Sauconys boast a frame which offers Horning a more natural gait cycle, encouraging a smoother run overall. “The Sauconys alleviated my knee pain and enabled me to run longer and more consistently,” he says.
The Best Running Shoes for Training Outdoors: Nike Pegasus Turbo 2
“If you’re looking for a good workhorse for workouts that include outdoor running or more than 30 minutes of running on the tread, these are it,” says Oliver Lee, a fitness instructor and running coach.” Lee finds them to be “really stable, supportive, and sleek,” and they come in a range of colors to suit whatever vibe you’re going for out on the trails or the streets.
The Best Shoes for Spinning: Fizik Tempo Powerstrap
The co-founder of Pedal House, Joseph Foley, knows a thing or two about cycling shoes and these Tempo Powerstrap shoes are his top pick for anyone clipping into a spin bike because of their look, value, and performance. “I personally tested them out for a year teaching four to five classes a day,” he says. “They last, and I still have them.”
The brand’s been around since the ‘90s, originally starting with saddles before expanding into products like shoes. “Its shoes are Italian-made and normally in a higher price bracket, and the quality of the shoes can be seen all over professional cycling events,” Foley explains.
The Best-Looking Cycling Shoes: Nike SuperRep Cycle 2
The most stylish workout clothing applies to your footwear, too. As Shaun Patrick Tubbs, the former director of training for Harlem Cycle, says, “The [Nike SuperRep Cycle 2] are comfortable and super stylish, and they accept both SPD and LOOK systems for clipping into your bike. I’d recommend sizing a full size up.”
The Best Adjustable Shoes for Cycling: Scott Road Comp Boa
Don’t slip and slide out of your spin shoes when clipping into your bike. “This Scott shoe has a Boa system, which is like a dial that really customizes the fit to the foot, giving you a locked-in feel,” fitness and cycling instructor Jason Tran says. “There’s also a lower velcro strap, which keeps the foot secure and offers a tight, comfortable fit.”
The Best Workout Shoes for HIIT: Reebok Nano X1
“For any type of high-intensity workouts or plyometrics training, I always turn to the Reebok Nano line,” Kenny Santucci, trainer and owner of The Strength Club NYC, says. Santucci explains that these shoes are versatile and lightweight for any type of high-impact training, featuring “a stable sole with some cushioning that is good for plyometrics, multi-directional movements, or strength training depending on the demands of the workouts.” The shock-absorbing EVA foam midsole is also particularly agile able to take a beating so your feet don’t feel a thing.
The Best Cross-Training Shoes: Nike Metcon 8
Denver-based trainer Mike Aidala, NFPT, originally recommended the Metcon 5 which have since been replaced by the Metcon 8 model. As he explains, “The Metcon is the most comfortable training shoe I have found that’s built for both stability and speed.” Aidala is a fan of the shoe’s low profile and outer rubber material that holds the shoe together when he’s running or doing agility work. “It also looks really lean and sleek, which is important when training because if you look good, you feel good.”
The Best Weightlifting Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Converse went from being the best shoes for basketball to becoming the best shoes for weightlifting. At least, that’s according to Santucci, who has been wearing them for the past 20 years since before there were any specialized training shoes. “For strength training and weightlifting, you want a flat, hard sole that will provide a stable base,” he says, and “both the high top and low top version of the Chuck Taylor All Stars fit the bill a flat, stable bottom that enables you to ground your whole foot into the floor and generate power through your whole foot.”