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The best workout shoes for 2021

No matter what kind of exercise you do, wearing the right kind of shoes can make a big difference.

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Everyone needs the proper shoes to support them in their workouts.

Getty Images

Shopping for shoes can be difficult, but the right type of athletic shoe -- along with the proper fit -- can make or break your workout. Whether you're into running, cardio workouts, cross training, weight lifting, cycling or even just walking, wearing the right shoe for your workout is essential. You probably don't want to buy just any gym shoe, especially if you're going to be investing a lot of time (and potentially money) into your training routine. 

So do you need a running shoe, a weightlifting shoe or a cross trainer? Do you need breathable mesh, anti-slip rubber or a rubber outsole for your workout shoe? Do you go for the big brands like Nike, Reebok and Adidas? Ultimately finding the best workout shoes often comes down to personal preference. 

But if you're looking for some suggestions on which exercise shoes are optimal for certain workouts, let the fitness instructors below help guide you in the right direction. They know which sneakers to skip, which to invest in, and their recommendations can even save you from a headache (or foot ache) when you've just bought four different pairs but you're not sure which is right.

Let these fitness training experts save you some precious time (as well as hopefully money and pain in your feet, including the dreaded plantar fasciitis) by checking out their recommendations for the best workout shoes for different exercises. No matter your workout preference, this guide has you (and your feet) covered.

Amazon

"For trails, I prefer Salomon XA Pro 3D GTX.  These are Gore-tex to keep your feet dry and have firm soles for added stability on the trails. The toe box is also reinforced to keep you from stubbing your toe. As these shoes are sturdier, they are good for indoor cycling and some indoor exercise classes.  With a firm sole, some activities (such as calf raises) might be difficult in these shoes."

-- Mollie Millington, runner and certified personal trainer.

Amazon

"I love the Asics Kayano as they provide additional ankle stability for people with muscle imbalances, which we all have. Once the ankle and knees are supported correctly, the proper shoe can relieve pain in the knees and ankles and help correct over-pronation which is when your foot rolls inward, causing shin splints and can cause knee pain and swelling.

"A good stability shoe will help minimize the rolling inward and help the heel-to-toe transition slowly, correcting your running form over time.

"I personally love how light this model has become over the years. The shoe has transformed into a fashionable and light shoe while helping correct the form of our feet while we run while improving the pressure on our joints while we run with added cushioning. Every client I put in these shoes loves them, as they can be worn while strength training or running."

-- Holly Roser, certified personal trainer. 

NoBull

"There are two main things you look for in a CrossFit shoe: durability and versatility. A good CrossFit shoe takes you from squats to rope climbs to burpee box jumps all in one workout. A good pair of CrossFit shoes feels just as comfortable during an 800-meter run as it does during a couplet of deadlifts and push-ups -- and NoBull surpasses standards for all of the above.

"NoBull shoes have a reputation for being heavy-duty yet comfortable, supportive yet flexible. Plus, they're sleek and simple, and you can choose from high-top, mid-rise and regular to find your perfect fit," 

-- Amanda Capritto, CrossFit Coach, certified personal trainer and CNET writer.

Asics

"My fave sneaker model is the Asics Gel Nimbus. They were the first pair of shoes I bought when I started training with DanceBody in 2016, and I'm seriously committed to them. I've tried a bunch of different sneaker brands and models, but I always come back to the Gel Nimbus. 

"They have amazing shock absorption for high-impact movements, but are light enough that they don't feel like clunky moon shoes; the perfect balance for dance cardio." 

-- Sam Ostwald, trainer and instructor at DanceBody

Amazon

"For boxing workouts, these are super-comfortable and feel like you're walking on clouds! I also like that they can be slip-on and not tied with laces. I do a lot of strength training and high-impact moves and have loved these shoes for the past four years. I still wear them whenever I do boxing workouts, drills and high-impact training," 

-- Amanda Alappat, former pro boxer and personal trainer. 

More fitness recommendations

Originally published earlier.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.