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You’re not just imagining it: Sneakers are everywhere right now. Shoes that once only saw the light of day at your local gym are now an accessory to be sported at the office and nice dinners out. There are many—perhaps too many—options to choose from when shopping. And it’s likely that number will only continue to multiply: In 2020, the global sneaker market was valued at $79 billion, and it’s expected to hit $120 billion by 2026, according to Fast Company. So when decision paralysis strikes, how do you know what’s good?

Enter SELF’s annual Sneaker Awards, where a group of 45 testers—a mix of SELF editors, fitness experts, and exercise and movement enthusiasts—spend months rigorously trying and reviewing shoes to determine the year’s top performers. Our testers run the gamut when it comes to how they stay active: They are community organizers, D1 track athletes, engineers, National Park Service rangers, and new moms. One owns a bed-and-breakfast and takes care of chickens, while another is a manufacturing manager who spends weekends outdoors with his three sons. They hike, dance, walk, race, and trek—some in the mountains, others in the city. They wore these sneakers across three different continents and dozens of states. Together, their insight determined which new pairs are the best of the best.

You’ll see that our 2023 winners span four overarching categories: running, hiking and adventuring, walking, and training. Within each, you’ll find recommendations for everyone, from healthcare professionals on their feet all day to beachgoers, marathoners, dog walkers, and comfy-shoe enthusiasts. Below, learn more about how we picked the 25 winners of the 2023 SELF Sneaker Awards, read our reviews, and find your next great kicks.

Ryan Segedi. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.

Ryan Segedi. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.

The Winners

How We Picked the Winners

Earlier this year, we opened up the 2023 SELF Sneaker Awards submissions to any brand who wanted to submit. (You can read those submission guidelines here.) We received 160 submissions from 44 brands—the most we’ve ever gotten. SELF editors went through the list, narrowing down our prospects based on specs and considering everything from cost and style to how they’re meant to be worn. Ultimately, we called in 139 pairs of shoes to test.

As part of the review process, 45 testers scored shoes on a scale of 1 to 10, evaluating each pair based on the below criteria:


  • All shoes should have about half an inch of space between your toe and the top of the shoe. Do you feel any pressure points?
  • Does the size of the shoe fit as expected?
  • For running or walking shoes: Do your toes have plenty of space to wiggle? Is your heel secure, or does your heel slip out when you run?


  • How well did the shoe map to the shape of your foot?
  • Does the shoe have a narrow or wide toe box?


  • Is the shoe cushioned or more firm?
  • Does the arch of the shoe feel supportive or obtrusive?
  • Do you feel like you’re fighting the shoe to find a comfortable rhythm, or does it feel like an extension of your foot?
  • Do you feel in touch with the ground when you perform weight-lifting or other cross-training exercise moves?
  • Did you develop any blisters, hot spots, or bruised toes during or after wear? Did you experience any other pains, like shin splints or knee pain?


  • Would you wear this shoe after your activity? Is it stylish? Does it come in several colors, or are your options limited?

For Trail and Hiking Shoes

  • What surface is the shoe made for? What surfaces would you recommend this shoe for?
  • Does the sole provide adequate traction and gripping ability?
  • What level of ankle support does the shoe provide? Did you feel the ankle support was adequate and comfortable?

After combing through tester reviews and scores, we selected 25 winners. No matter your level of experience or preferred method of doing things, there’s a pick for you here.

Ryan Segedi. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.

Ryan Segedi. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.


Most Comfortable Runner: Under Armour HOVR Phantom 3 Running Shoes

What it does: Whether you’re running on sidewalks, grassy trails, or on a treadmill at the gym, the Under Armour Phantom 3 provides a super comfy ride each and every time. It has a flexible upper with a sock-like feel that moves and stretches with you—our testers reported no blisters, hot spots, or irritation. Meanwhile, the high-cushion sole supports your feet, makes impact feel easier on your joints, and helps propel you forward.

Who it’s for: Any frequent runner who often deals with shin splints, achy soles, or cranky knees.

How we tested: On runs up to six miles on grass, dirt trails, and sidewalks; for long, hot hikes on Greek islands; and even for cross-training, completing exercises like jumping rope and box jumps.

One tester said: “I can’t say enough about how good these shoes feel. I have shin splints and I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of sneakers I can run in without pain. These are the ones! They have plenty of cushion, the arch is supportive, the heel is locked in place, the shoe is really light and flexible. No pain at all!”

Best Everyday Runner: Nike Invincible 3 Women’s Road Running Shoes

What it does: Nike’s most-cushioned road-running sneaker prioritizes comfort and ease. A true Goldilocks shoe, these are pleasantly cushioned but still offer generous energy return, perfect for logging your everyday miles.

Who it’s for: Pretty much anyone who’s a recreational runner. These are beginner-friendly and can take you through short jogs, harder paces, and longer shakeouts.

How we tested: For one-to-four-mile runs on both roads and treadmills, through easy and hard paces, and for speed intervals.

One tester said: “These feel just plush enough to give my cranky knees a break, but still have a decent amount of response so that I’m energized into each next step. I would absolutely recommend them to the casual runner, but also for someone who is training for a race and intending to put a lot of miles on their shoes.”

Good to know: These, like many Nike styles, run a bit narrow.

Read our full review of the Nike Invincible 3 Women’s Road Running Shoes here. 

Smoothest Ride: Brooks Running Ghost 15

What it does: The newest version of Brooks’s beloved Ghost style is light and breezy, comfortable from the first wear. The 15 has a less dense midsole than its previous iteration, which means more cushioning. According to our testers, they feel so good on your feet that you won’t even realize you’re wearing them.

Who it’s for: Experienced runners who will appreciate how smooth and easy this shoe makes miles feel. That said, the plush cushioning makes it well suited for beginners as well.

How we tested: For runs across the Williamsburg Bridge and on hard New York City sidewalks—about four miles in distance on average.

One tester said: “These genuinely may be the best running shoes I have ever worn. I’ve been running for six years now, have completed many races—including a half marathon—and have never loved a shoe so instantly or easily. I would recommend these to any runner, from the casual jogger to the marathon trainer.”

Best for Training: Puma Deviate Nitro 2

What it does: Responsive and comfortably cushioned; packed with a carbon plate and light as a feather: The Puma Deviate Nitro 2 offers a much sought-after breeziness that puts a better running experience right at your fingertips.

Who it’s for: Beginner and experienced runners alike who are looking to improve their speed and skill.

How we tested: On several road runs that ranged from two to three miles in distance.

One tester said: “When these shoes arrived, I didn’t believe that a full pair of sneakers could possibly be in the box—that’s how light they are. And yet, they have a ton of springy cushion that helped me feel nimble, energized, and comfortable. I never believed that the activity could feel effortless in the way that avid runners sometimes describe it—but these sneakers are turning me into a believer.”

Read our full review of the Puma Deviate Nitro 2 here.

Best Race Day Shoe: Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite Running Shoes

What it does: The Velociti Elite’s sleek design enables quick, agile turns, while carbon fiber plates—a key feature in race-day super shoes—help increase speed and energy return. We also love its futuristic, fashion-forward design.

Who it’s for: Anyone hoping to hit a PR on race day.

How we tested: On road runs with varying elevations and tempos, lasting 35 to 60 minutes.

One tester said: “This was my favorite shoe I tested, because of how fast and fun the ride was. It feels like the perfect 10K shoe. In fact, if I can make it to my July 10K uninjured, I will be so stoked to wear these to the starting line.”

Good to know: One tester recommends saving these for important training runs and big race days. (This isn’t unheard of with super shoes, which tend to be less durable than everyday trainers.) While this pair nails speed and comfort, they aren’t necessarily well suited for withstanding months of training.

Read our full review of the Under Armour Flow Velociti Elite Running Shoes here. 

Most Comfortable Trail Sneaker: Salomon Ultra Glide 2

What it does: The dreamy, super-thick cushion on Salomon’s Ultra Glide 2 sets the shoe apart from many of the brand’s other viral styles. And thanks to Salomon’s patented Quicklace system—basically a tiny string and buckle you press and slide to adjust lace tightness—they’ll stay secure on your feet across tricky terrain.

Who it’s for: Anyone who loves two things: high-cushion sneakers and going long distances in the great outdoors.

How we tested: On several runs in the foothills of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, including a four-mile run on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a six-mile “easy run” on the Pipeline Trail, and a hike/run on the Little Cottonwood Creek Trail—all of which are moderate trails with technical terrain.

One tester said: “Oh my gosh, the comfort in these shoes—they may be the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. I’m not usually a cushion fan, but these have converted me. It’s super plush and springy but also feels supportive and stable. I couldn’t wait to wear them again.”

Read our full review of the Salomon Ultra Glide 2 here. 

Best All-Terrain Trail Runner: New Balance FreshFoam More Trail v3

What it does: This chunky New Balance trail sneaker keeps you feeling afloat on all sorts of outdoor terrain (rocks, dirt, grass, and even wet areas) because of its max cushioning. But testers really loved the shoe for its versatility: Super-grippy soles and a rubber outsole provide added traction and protection, so you can continue on wherever the trail leads.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants one functional, comfortable, and dependable shoe for every outdoor adventure.

How we tested: During multiple three-mile dirt-trail hikes, hour-long trail runs, and while setting up camp.

One tester said: “I love the feel of these. I can easily change activities or surfaces while still feeling in tune with the ground.”

Best Road-to-Trail Sneaker: Lululemon Blissfeel Trail Women’s Running Shoe

What it does: Lululemon creates all of their shoes for women’s feet specifically—and according to our testers, the smart design pays off. They raved about the fit of the Blissfeel Trail, which hugs each curve of the foot. You can see this in its streamlined design, but testers said they felt it too. On top of all that, our testers said it’s a really nice-looking shoe.

Who it’s for: General runners who like to occasionally hit the trail or mixed terrain.

How we tested: For runs on both technical trails with steep elevation changes, and easy, flat, dirt trails. Runs went from 20 minutes to one hour, all at a comfortable pace. Testers also wore these on long city walks.

One tester said: “I felt a nice energy return here, which made these a LOT more fun than normal trail shoes. The shoe was comfortable and substantial enough that I didn’t feel any discomfort from going over rocks or roots. It’s svelte, so it felt like it moved with me; and I felt agile in it, especially going over or down elevation.”

Read our full review of the Lululemon Blissfeel Trail Women’s Running Shoe here. 

Hiking and Adventuring

Best Hiking Sneaker: Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX Women’s Waterproof Trail Running Shoes

Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX Women’s Waterproof Trail Running Shoes

What it does: The Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX sneakers kept testers’ feet comfortable and dry no matter how long they were wearing them or what terrain they were on. GORE-TEX—a technical waterproof coating—can get a bad rap when it comes to its breathability, but testers said they barely noticed any added weight or heat with these. Plus, these shoes passed the waterproof test with flying colors. They don’t skimp on comfort either. One tester raved about how they supported her flat feet.

Who it’s for: Any outdoor enthusiast who spends lots of time on their feet, values style, and isn’t afraid of a little rain.

How we tested: On trail runs in California, for wet hikes in Yosemite National Park, on day-long hikes carrying a 15-pound baby and a 15-pound pack, and on an hour-and-a-half-long rainy East Coast hike.

One tester said: “These sneakers are great for people who love ankle support; while walking on slippery grounds, I never felt like I would accidentally trip and hurt myself. The soles also assisted in that by providing a nice grip. They were effortless to clean off after a muddy walk, which I loved, and I got so many compliments on them. I would buy more pairs to add to my everyday sneaker collection—I’m obsessed with these.”

Read our full review of the Nike Pegasus Trail 4 GORE-TEX here.

Best Hiking Sneaker: Adidas TERREX Free Hiker 2

What it does: If an uber-comfortable hiking boot and a moderately-cushioned everyday sneaker had a baby, it would look a lot like the Adidas TERREX Free Hiker 2. You might recognize the midsole on these—it’s the same technology Adidas uses for its popular and comfy Ultraboost running styles. Meanwhile, the rubber outsole provides dependable traction. Also notable: The sock-like mesh upper offers protection from the elements and gentle stabilization.

Who it’s for: The recreational day hiker who wants to treat themself to some excellent gear will love these, as will the backpacker who wants a sneaker-like shoe that fares well on the trails.

How we tested: During hours-long hikes through rocky, uneven forest trails with significant inclines and water crossings, as well as on easier trails.

One tester said: “I could for sure backpack in this boot. It’s cushioned very well, supports your foot in the arch and ankle, and feels pretty light in weight but very solid. I had no blisters or hot spots—my feet felt great. On the first wear, it had a nice, broken-in feel, like it had been worn a few times already.”

Best Hiking Boot for Wide Feet: La Sportiva TX Hike Mid Leather GTX

What it does: Hiking boots can be notoriously tough to break in—even if you have small or narrow feet. And those with wider feet are often met with even more of a challenge. This style from La Sportiva was a favorite of our testers who have wide feet: They reported that they fit true to size, had plenty of room in the toe box, and felt comfortable when worn with a padded hiking sock as well.

Who it’s for: Active hikers with wide or fussy feet in search of a boot that actually feels good.

How we tested: On two-to-seven-mile hikes in the Appalachian Mountains and the west coast of Ireland.

One tester said: “Sometimes hiking shoes can be clunky and clumsy; these are not. They feel so light, the arch support is perfect, and I did not develop any blisters or hot spots. I felt very connected to the terrain and very much in control of every step. I found they worked well on most outdoor surfaces: gravel, mud, sand, and rocky terrain. I never slipped—and I was walking on some very slippery and mossy rocks in Ireland.”

Best Waterproof Hiking Boot: KEEN Targhee III Waterproof Mid

What it does: These Keen boots are the real deal: A classic hiking boot in every sense of the term, they’re a little clunky, but they fit well and are extremely durable. Buy them once and they’ll last a long time—no matter what terrain or how many puddles you take them through.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking to purchase a versatile option for their first hiking boot—one that’s suitable for wet conditions too. These cover all the bases.

How we tested: During treks on hilly forest trails and flat, sandy desert hikes.

One tester said: “This is a solid boot—I will continue to hike in them and can see myself wearing them through all seasons. Though they’re heavy, they’re really comfortable: It took me a few moments to get my rhythm down, but once I did, I was in a great, sturdy stride that felt supported and confident.”

Good to know: These boots clock in at 17.11 ounces, making them the heaviest pair of shoes on this list. If you know you’re sensitive to added weight, or are simply looking for something lighter, consider trying one of the hiking sneakers above instead.

Best Water Shoes: Merrell Women’s Hydro Moc

What it does: The Merrell Hydro Moc withstands ocean waves and summer city heat with a nice sense of style. Though they aren’t adjustable, testers still said they always felt secure—and enjoyed the ease with which they could slip them on and off.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a low-tech, versatile water shoe without sacrificing style.

How we tested: At a number of East Coast beaches, walking on sand and swimming in the ocean; while walking in grassy parks and on paved roads; and for gardening.

One tester said: “I expected a pair of rubber shoes to be a bit uncomfortable and was prepared for a breaking-in period. This wasn’t the case at all, and from the moment I put them on for the very first time, they were a dream. I’m blown away by how soft and cushioned they are. When I wore them with socks for walks around the city, I found the cushiony effect is only amplified. I think these outpace Crocs in terms of color (and style)—the arch is far more supportive and they feel like walking on cushioned foam.”

Good to know: Because these shoes have ventilation holes, they fill quite easily with dry sand at the beach. But our testers said they were easy to clean out: A quick shake removes sand, and they rinse nicely in the water should you step in mud or anything else gloppy.


Best Travel Shoe: On Cloud 5 Coast

What it does: Minimal in every way, On’s Cloud 5 Coast shoes set our standard for a travel shoe. The heel kicks down so you can slide them on and off like mules, and the whole upper collapses in toward the sole so that they lie flat in your backpack, tote, or luggage. Wear these for long travel days, while perusing ancient cities, or when you want to slide on something more supportive than flip-flops as you head to the gym.

Who it’s for: Anyone who needs a comfortable, lightweight shoe (that also looks nice). We recommend them for anyone going on an active trip or vacation.

How we tested: On neighborhood walks and during multiple hours-long air-travel days, both domestic and international.

One tester said: “They’re the perfect shoe to toss in your backpack or suitcase, to wear on hot days, and to kick on and off easily. Because they’re so light, they sort of do whatever your foot wants them to with little to no resistance. It’s the closest to a no-shoe shoe I’d ever (comfortably) get. And the toe box is nice and wide—a common denominator among On sneakers that I appreciate.”

Best Platform Sneaker: Converse Construct

What it does: Platform sneakers can be an excellent balance of style and comfort, and these high-tops from Converse are no exception. As a lifestyle sneaker, it performs exceptionally well: The shoe looks on trend, makes just enough of a statement, and is still subtle enough to go with just about anything. Our testers had a unanimous admiration for these—they found themselves reaching for them again and again.

Who it’s for: Sneaker lovers who want an elevated (no pun intended) but still ultra-comfortable shoe they can sport 24/7.

How we tested: Nearly…everywhere: out to dinner, to parties, when running errands, to work, and on travel days. Frequently, testers wore these all day long or for several hours at a time.

One tester said: “I’m obsessed with a platform sneaker, and I love, love, love the look of this shoe. I’ve gotten compliments on them every time I’ve worn them. The forefoot overlay may not be for everyone, but I think it makes the shoe more unique than Converse’s classic platform high-tops. If you want to be a little different and stand out, go for these.”

Good to know: Converse shoes are sometimes known for running long and narrow, but both testers said these fit comfortably and true to size.

Best Gym-to-Street Sneaker: York Athletics The Henry Runner

What it does: Gloriously lightweight and breathable, the Henry Runner finds the divine medium between a workout shoe and a leisure shoe. They feel simple in construction, but sometimes, less really is more. Testers noted the breathable mesh upper, neutral support, and ease of use: You can throw ‘em on and get going, no matter what you’re doing next.

Who it’s for: Gym beginners, busy parents, and athleisure lovers.

How we tested: To and from group fitness classes, out and about for everyday activities, on long city walks, and for easy road runs.

One tester said: “These look great, and I was able to easily transition them from wearing for a run to going out with friends. Several times I wore them just to go with my outfit and not to work out—that’s how solid they are.”

Best High-Cushion Walking Sneaker: HOKA Bondi 8

What it does: Ah, the sneaker that launched a thousand TikToks. Thanks to the very seriously thick cushion, your joints will get a welcome reprieve when you’re wearing the Bondi 8. That said, the shoe comes with some added chunk (though notably, not weight). These feel high off the ground and are not the most responsive style the brand has to offer, so we recommend them for long, pleasant strolls and less, uh, nimble activities.

Who it’s for: Anyone who loves a good walk or deals with knee or foot pain. (Our executive editor, who has plantar fasciitis, swears by these too.)

How we tested: On beach walks, dog walks, city walks, 40-minute treadmill walking workouts, and to a four-hour Dead and Co. show.

One tester said: “I loved how these felt! This was my first time wearing Hokas, and I was very impressed. I can see why they’re so popular.”

Most Supportive Walking Sneaker: ASICS GT-1000 12

What it does: The Asics GT-1000 12 is secure and supportive, with a firm, springy sole and a neutral level of support that keeps feet where they need to be to feel their best. Both of our testers—one with plantar fasciitis and the other with wide feet—said these were comfortable from the get-go, with no rubbing or blistering, and actually ease the pain that often comes with being on your feet all day.

Who it’s for: Anyone who prioritizes a sensible walking shoe above all else.

How we tested: For hours at a time: running errands, taking walks, and doing stair workouts.

One tester said: “I really liked the feel of these shoes, and next to Hoka, Asics makes some of the most comfortable sneakers in my opinion—at least for people with plantar fasciitis. These are very light, breathable, and springy, and mold to your foot effortlessly. My finicky arches loved them.”

Best Athleisure Sneaker: Saysh One Ballerina

What it does: Decorated track-and-field Olympian Allyson Felix launched Saysh in 2021 as an activewear brand and community “by and for women”—meaning that, like Lululemon, Saysh designs sneakers specifically for the female foot. The One is a clean and simple lifestyle sneaker with a mesh upper that’s soft, flexible, and not constricting.

Who it’s for: The person who wears workout clothes all day, every day—regardless of whether they have plans to actually make it to the gym.

How we tested: Out running errands; for long walks in the city, suburbs, and on trails; and when going out to meet with friends and clients.

One tester said: “This sneaker almost feels more like a really lightweight slipper: The cushion creates a soft-step feel, the arch is supportive, and yet the shoe still feels so natural on the foot. The Saysh One is light, comfy, and easy to walk in. It truly feels like walking on a cloud…light and easy!”

Good to know: The brand recommends going up a half size from what you usually wear.

Best Sneakers for People on Their Feet All Day: Skechers Max Cushioning Elite 2.0

What it does: With a wide toe box, secure heel, and plush cushioning, this Skechers shoe won the hearts of our testers, who were in awe at how comfortable they were after a full day on the move. One tester, whose ankles tend to roll easily, was nervous about the high sole—but found that she felt more supported in these than she does in any other pair.

Who it’s for: Healthcare workers, teachers, post office and food service workers… pretty much anyone who spends their days upright will feel soothed in these.

How we tested: While standing for several hours, in addition to going on long walks, commuting, running errands, and exercising.

One tester said: “They have outstanding arch support that keeps my arthritic knees cushioned and feeling amazing all day. I had started to wear special insoles in all my shoes to help with my arthritis, but because of how cushioned these shoes are, the insoles aren’t necessary. I don’t know if I will ever be able to find a better shoe for me.”

Best Skate Sneaker: Converse: AS-1 Pro

What it does: Taking inspiration from Converse styles from the ’80s and ’90s, the AS-1 Pro was made to please skaters and sneakerheads alike. The shoe was designed by Alexis Sablone, a multi-hyphenate pro who holds seven X-Games titles, earned a spot on the first USA Skateboarding National Team, and is the women’s head coach for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games. Sablone is one of the first women skaters with a signature shoe, according to GQ—and simply put, she nailed it.

Who it’s for: The casual skater—or simply anyone who likes the look and enjoys a comfortable lifestyle sneaker.

How we tested: On walks, during days out and about, and for 30-minute skates.

One tester said: “You really don’t want to worry about skating sneakers after you put them on: You want to be able to forget about them, and this is an instance where your shoes REALLY need to suit your feet and purposes. These did that. They’re cushioned, but not like a Hoka where you can’t feel super-connected to your board. I also started styling them with wide pants and tiny tops, or with summer dresses. No blisters or other discomfort either.”

Best Recovery Shoes: Merrell Women’s Hut Ultra Wrap

What it does: The Hut Ultra Wrap feels like a deep breath for your feet after a workout, providing soothing comfort and support. It has a thick foam sole, breathable mesh upper, and traction for extra stability in wet or slippery areas. We’d be remiss not to mention the adjustable buckle strap, which gives the sandal a trendy, utilitarian look while keeping them functional too.

Who it’s for: Anyone who likes to let loose and give their feet some room to breathe. They’re also good for anyone who needs extra support around the clock—they have a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

How we tested: While walking around the neighborhood, gardening, running errands, and after hiking. One tester estimates she clocked over 100 hours in them—they were that good.

One tester said: “These sandals are beyond comfortable. I’ve never owned a pair that feel this good. My mom tried them on when I was visiting her and took a walk with her dog. She immediately came home and ordered a pair for herself and her partner.”

Read our full review of the Merrell Women’s Hut Ultra Wrap here. 

Ryan Segedi. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.

Ryan Segedi. Prop styling by Andrea Bonin.


Best Weightlifting Sneakers: Xero Shoes Forza Trainer

What it does: The most minimal shoe on this list, the Xero Forza Trainer focuses on one thing and one thing alone: keeping you stable and comfortable. As it should: Weightlifting shoes are usually best without any added fluff, to keep you close to the ground and provide more power and control through the foot. This shoe ticks all those boxes. It also has a midfoot strap for a more custom fit, ensuring you stay secure and stable.

Who it’s for: Anyone who strength trains regularly, in or out of the gym. If lifting weights is your thing, your feet (and body) will be happiest in these.

How we tested: Over the course of several gym sessions—lifting barbells and kettlebells, doing TRX, and while using machines.

One tester said: “I love that these shoes can snug down to my personal preference: They can fit like a glove or loosen up depending on the activity. They’re extremely light and easy to throw in my gym bag or bring along on a trip. Perfect for all of my weightlifting workouts.”

Best Cross-Trainers: Nike Free Metcon 5

What it does: The Nike Free Metcon 5 offers comfort and stability that can pretty much get you through any workout. A rock-solid outsole and generous width keep all corners of your feet firmly planted on the floor, with more flexibility in the toe for quick and agile movements.

Who it’s for: Anyone who likes a little bit of everything—walking, strength training, HIIT, or group fitness classes—or who is looking for a daily gym sneaker.

How we tested: For several hour-long indoor boxing circuit classes, as well as for low-impact HIIT and strength training workouts at the gym.

One tester said: “I’ve seen a lot of people refer to this as their go-to training sneaker, and I get why. They’re really easy and do the job well. They fit nicely and are true to size, with a good amount of room at the toe—but not too much, or as much as you’d want in a running shoe—which kept my feet feeling secure during workouts. These mapped really well and had me feeling very rooted and grounded—like when I’d bear down to rack a kettlebell, all corners of my feet were connected with the floor beneath me, and I had a nice base from which I could lift and be stable.”

Best Cross-Trainers: Reebok Nano X3

What it does: Supportive arches and flat soles make the Reebok Nano X3 suitable for practically any section of the gym. Testers say they work great for everything from Crossfit to high-impact HIIT moves. It’s a reliable workhorse shoe for anyone looking for something lower-cushion.

Who it’s for: Gym-goers who like to feel light on their feet and ready to move.

How we tested: During HIIT workouts at home and at the gym, as well as for strength training sessions.

One tester said: “I really liked these for bursts of movement. They weren’t heavy, and I felt like I could spring into an exercise very easily. They’re not super cushioned, which is fine for HIIT workouts—and they work great for strength training too.”


Photographer: Ryan Segedi

Prop stylist: Andrea Bonin

Creative director: Amber Venerable

Associate art director: Amanda K Bailey

Producer: Melissa Kramer


Editor in chief: Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Associate director, special projects: Hannah Pasternak

Fitness and food director: Christa Sgobba 

Senior commerce editor: Jen Calle

Web producer: Caroline Acosta 

Editorial assistant: Grace McCarty