While we might be reaching peak streetwear sneaker, sometimes you need a bit more — technology, support, strength — in a shoe you’re going to work out in. But not all workout sneakers are created equal: Wear the wrong type when you hit the gym, and your performance may be seriously impacted. To find the best workout sneakers for any sort of exercise, we spoke to 16 fitness-minded cool women. Read on for their picks, which include workout sneakers for doing double-dips at Barry’s, traversing 18 miles of asphalt, and Nike Air Max 720 Dame practically every other way you can work up a sweat.
When it comes to outdoor running, On Cloud Trail Shoes are a favorite of yoga teacher and author Shona Vertue, who says that after trying quite a “few trail-racing Nike Air Huarache Mujer shoes in my lifetime, these are by far my favorite.” The sneakers are lightweight and breathable enough to carry you through long distances, while their “Missiongrip” outsoles provide traction to keep you from slipping on wet and uneven terrain.
For running indoors on a treadmill, Vertue prefers Nike Joyride sneakers, which combine the brand’s popular Flyknit material with new cushioning technology. “The beads in the shoe act like a beanbag and support your foot where it’s most needed, according to your gait,” she explains. This allows the Joyrides to adapt to a variety of runners and their specific support needs. Nike Roshe Run Dámské Rachel Lapidos, a beauty and fitness editor at Well + Good, agrees. “I feel like I’m bouncing when I wear them,” she says.
If you’re looking for a pair of workout sneakers that can easily transition from running at the gym to running errands, Melanie Miracolo, the head of retail at yoga studio Y7, recommends this pair of Nikes. She says they are “lightweight and supportive,” making it feel like you’re running on a cloud, and that they “keep you going for miles.”
The Strategist’s resident running expert and senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson loves the “lightweight and generously cushioned” Saucony Triumph ISO 4, which she credits for getting her back to a regular routine after a nagging hamstring strain. “My hamstring is thankfully feeling better, but I’ve been sticking with the Triumph just because it’s a well-constructed shoe Nike Air Max 95 Femme that feels great on the foot.” Adelson notes that while these sneakers will work for all types of running, they’re especially great for outdoor distance runners because the added cushioning protects your joints from a lot of impact.
Caitlin Carlson, the deputy editor at Equinox’s digital magazine Furthermore, says that while she was initially skeptical of Adidas’s UltraBoost sneakers when they first came out, they “actually do feel like clouds on your feet, and I’ve never felt faster.” She’s since run three marathons — in Boston, Berlin, and New York City — in different versions of the UltraBoost, and used the sneakers Adidas ZX Flux Femme to train for other competitive runs. Carlson adds that these are “one of the most stylish workout-shoe options out there,” saying that she tries to keep one pair “just for running and another for the gym and for Adidas ZX 750 Femme walking around.” Personal trainer Bari Lieberman is also a major fan: “They’re comfy, springy, and have been my go-to option for anything from just a few miles to half-marathons.”
“When I was training for an Ironman (after coming back from knee surgery), a friend who had done the race a year before recommended I check out Hokas,” says Jen Ator, editor-in-chief of Women’s Running magazine, who runs both on treadmills and outdoors. “After going to the gym and doing a five-mile run in them, I was hooked.” She says that while they may look big and bulky, they actually feel very light when running. The toe box is also Adidas ZX 750 Mujer slightly wider than a standard running shoe, which gives a “noticeably more comfortable and relaxed fit” without having your foot slide or shift around. “And thanks to the ample amount of cushioning packed into the outsole, Adidas ZX Flux Mens I have far less aches and pains in my knee compared to other sneakers when running long distances.”