The Ultimate Sneaker Guide for Working Out

Which shoes to wear during different workouts, from running to Zumba to Kangaroo Kung Fu.


man repeller-sneaker collage

So you’re a runner…

According to Sheila Monaghan, executive editor of Q by Equinox, “sneakers are more personal than underwear.” But for the treadmill, “a lightweight trainer will do the trick.” She recommends Asics’ 33-DFA.

Meanwhile, Natalia Petrzela, a wellness guru/intenSati leader, says that cushioning is key for protecting feet and knees. She vets in favor of Asics GT-2000.

If you’re looking to run a half or whole marathon…

Nike suggests their Air Zoom Vomero 10, Puma suggests their Ignite sneaker (although note that Puma’s FAAS — a new, lightweight style —  is not only great for running but is easy on the bunions.) New Balance sings the praises of their Fresh Foam Zante, and Adidas is all about the Ultra Boost or adizero Adios Boost 2.

However, if you’re more of a power-walker / light jogger…

Try Nike Flyknit Lunar 3 (which I have to tell you guys, I would/do LIVE IN), Puma’s Pulse XT, New Balance’s 1745, Adidas’ Supernova Glide Boost  or their Climachill Cosmic Boost.

If your main form of fitness is biking to work

I personally love the New Balance C600 even though urban biking scares the crap out of me.

Lifting weights?

When it comes to weight lifting, Natalie Uhlingelite trainer for Radius (a multi-platform fitness and wellness program) says, “Our feet are the link to our muscles to the ground, so it’s very important to have a shoe that fits. Trying out shoes with maximum grip to the ground can also help with balance and stability.” Since she lives in sneakers, she prefers a cross-trainer, like these by Under Armour. (Hi Coach Taylor!)

But these also work: Puma suggests their PULSE XT, New Balance suggests a pair of 20v4 and Adidas suggests their Powerlift 2.0 for “anchored support.”

If you do Zumba with your mom, or prefer cardio classes in general (kickboxing, anyone?)…

“The key here is to find a good turning sole [that allows] lateral movement,” says Petrzela. “Basically the opposite of a running shoe. “The old-school RYKA Endurance is amazing for comfort and support, and lasts a long time. The New Balance 811 is awesome as well.”

Also great: the Puma PULSE XT and Adidas Adipure 360.2.

Finally, if you’re a hip hop dancing queen

Uhling says to find a shoe that is super light and flexible. “The last thing a dancer wants is to be bolted to the floor with a heavy shoe.” This Under Armour pair would probably look cool with whatever outfit you wear and feel like clouds.

Meanwhile, Nike suggests their Dunk Ultra Modern, Puma endorses their Suede Classic (originally a b-boy shoe in the 1980s), and from Adidas: Vibe Energy Boost (the adjustable ankle strap offers personalized support).

Kangaroo Ku Fu

Barefoot, duh! Now tell us which sneakers make sweet love with your feet.


Sick of the same ol’ workout? Try our version of Kanye’s Workout Plan.

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