The 12 best cross training shoes in 2024

The best pair of cross training shoes are ones that deliver comfort, versatility and durability. Nothing bothers us exercisers more than being unable to transition smoothly between exercises, whether that involves weightlifting, running, or calorie machines.

If you're fed up with worrying about what's on your feet, we've tried and tested many of the best cross training shoes on the market to help you decide how to invest, testing across all budgets and types of athletes, workouts and classes. Our in-house trainer has called in many of the leading cross training shoe brands and taken them to a wide range of workout classes, noting any features worth knowing about and things we dislike.

As a general rule of thumb, aim for a durable outsole and a light and cushioned midsole to absorb shock. You'll also want to consider how much stability and flexibility you need during training, as a rigid sole will limit your foot movement, and whether you need extra perks like a rope guard or considerable heel drop for weightlifting.

Sam Hopes
Sam Hopes

Sam Hopes is Tom's Guide's Senior Fitness Writer. When she's not writing across all things fitness, she spends her time teaching and reviewing fitness gear and tech. She recently finished her last Hyrox race in 1:11:39 and plans to compete again in 2024.

If you specialize in running or cycling, the best running shoes and the best Peloton shoes are better suited to your sport. But if you like to mix it up, a solid pair of cross training shoes are a must have for switching between deadlifts, rope climbs and a 5km run. And if you want our opinion, this is the one pair of cross training shoes we'd always buy.

Factors like grip, lacing and waterproof materials also matter. For example, many brands enhance the tread patterns to improve traction and rubberize the midsoles for better grip. If this all feels like information overload, don't worry, because we've rounded up the best cross training shoes on the market and laid it out simply and easily for you to choose from.

The quick list

Here are the 12 best cross training shoes you can buy right now based on our testing. Scroll down for in-depth reviews.

The best cross training shoes we recommend in 2024

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Best cross training shoe overall

Nike Metcon 9 in white and black next to a shoe box

(Image credit: Future)

1. Nike Metcon 9

Best overall

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop: 4mm
Support: Neutral, inserts included
Fit: Small
Best for: Cross training, HIIT, resistance, short runs

Reasons to buy

+
Sturdy connection to ground during weightlifting
+
Wider toe box 
+
Extended rope guard
+
Great style
+
HyperLift plates

Reasons to avoid

-
Size comes up small
-
Some slippage on wet floors

Our in-house personal trainer tested the Metcon 9 before its official release and rated them far above the Metcon 8 during workouts. 

Both do stability and comfort well, but the ninth does it better. Expect a wider toe box and extended cross-stitch mesh upper that wraps around the shoe and provides superior flexibility. 

There are other shoes I’d prefer to run in, but the latest gen of Nike Metcon deals competently with switching up high-intensity workouts with traditional weightlifting and technical lifts.  

Upgrades include a raised groove at the medial toe box side of the upper (for better grip during rope climbs) and a more pronounced rope guard reminiscent of earlier designs. Nike also reduced the footprint to make way for the rope guard, although many Metcon lovers have slated the new look on social media, and we noticed a lack of grip at times. 

As a CrossFitter, our fitness writer loved the re-design. Also, expect enlarged HyperLift plates that add a drop to the shoe and help mimic the raised heel found in many weightlifting shoes. There's dual-density midsole foam for better cushioning, and a much comfier sole with just enough bounce to help you out during burpees.

Bottom line: Best in class. 

Best cross training shoe for women

2. Ryka Devotion XT

Best Cross Training Shoe for Women

Specifications

Width options: Yes
Drop : 8mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : True to size
Best for: Dance cardio, walking, HIIT, light resistance training

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely comfortable
+
Designed with a narrower heel and roomier toe to fit a woman’s foot shape 
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Super flexible midsole may be inappropriate for some activities 
-
Too much cushioning for heavy lifting 

Like many products, cross training shoes are, by and large, designed with a man’s foot in mind. With a few small but meaningful departures from the norm, Ryka has developed a shoe made to fit a woman’s foot to a T: the Ryka Devotion XT, to be exact. 

Until testing out the Devotion XT, I never realized just how much regular sneakers tend to slip up and down on my heel  (I guess I had gotten used to needing the occasional band-aid across my Achilles). The Devotion XT features a narrower heel, a broadened toe, and extra arch and heel support — all engineered to more appropriately fit a woman’s unique foot shape. These somewhat minor changes resulted in a major performance shift — the Devotion XT stayed secure for the entirety of my workouts, without putting undue pressure on my foot. 

Besides feeling secure, the Ryka Devotion XT was one of the most comfortable shoes on our list. Walking out on the gym floor felt like I was stepping on mini mattresses, and slipping them on for a walk felt like I was strolling along some fluffy cumulus clouds. This is a positive quality in some regards, but it can also be a negative (I’ll get to that momentarily). 

Unlike most cross training shoes, the Ryka Devotion XT’s midsole is incredibly flexible, almost mimicking a dance sneaker. This aspect, paired with a “pivot point” (a smooth circular point under the ball of the foot) to assist with turning, makes it an excellent footwear choice for cardio dance classes.

The Devotion XT may work well for Zumba or Jazzercise, but I’d avoid going for any strength PRs while wearing them. All that cushioning is great for comfort, but it inhibits foot stability when lifting heavy loads. You could use them for HIIT circuits or light resistance training, but they wouldn’t be my top choice — there are other shoes on our list with much stronger traction on the outsoles.   

Bottom Line: Ryka has designed the Devotion XT with a woman’s foot shape in mind, and female athletes will be able to feel the difference.

Best cross training shoe for men

3. NOBULL Trainer+

Best Cross Training Shoe for Men

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 4mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : True to size
Best for: Light to moderate resistance training; Rope climbing; outdoor training

Reasons to buy

+
Overall design accommodates a wider foot
+
Wider outsole provides more surface area and greater degrees of stability 
+
Rubberized midsole for rope climbs 
+
Herringbone outsole tread pattern allows for decent traction outdoors  

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy 
-
May feel too clunky for HIIT or running  
-
Doesn’t provide much arch support for flat 

One thing’s for sure — there aren’t a lack of options when it comes to masculine cross training shoes. But there are certain design aspects that better accommodate a man’s foot, and you’ll find several of those aspects in the NOBULL Trainer+.

The Trainer+ features a wider and less tapered outsole, which is great in a few different ways. For one, you’ll get a little more surface area to work with and, in turn, a greater degree of stability and grip. This is helpful for working with heavier loads, where you’ll need the solid base and decent grounding that the Trainer+ provides. 

This wider outsole also means a not-so-dainty foot will get some additional wiggle room. While the Trainer+’s silhouette seemed slightly big for my comfort level, a male colleague who owns his own pair reports that they fit him better than any other model of cross training shoe (and I definitely wouldn’t consider his foot dainty). 

Another big plus for the Trainer+’s outsole is a deep herringbone tread pattern that transitions well for outdoor workouts. I laced them up for some functional training in the backyard and was pleasantly surprised at how well I found my footing in the soil. That deep herringbone tread creeps up along the inner midsole, which is great news for those of you who like a little masochism (rope climbs) with your exercise routines. And with a durable one-piece upper mesh construction, you won’t have to worry about any impacts from the elements.  

There’s no doubt that the Trainer+ is a solid shoe, however “solid” often translates to “heavy,” and that’s, unfortunately, the case here. The thick outsole is stable but clunky — it felt more like I was wearing a hiking boot when attempting a run or a HIIT workout. You also won’t find too much arch support, despite a cushioned midsole. My insanely flat feet were screaming at me after about an hour with them on. 

Bottom Line: Design features like a wider outsole make the NOBULL Trainer+ a great option for male athletes. 

Best budget cross training shoe

4. Under Armour HOVR Rise 3

Best Budget Cross Training Shoe

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 8mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : True to size
Best for: Light to moderate resistance training, HIIT, walking, short runs

Reasons to buy

+
Relatively affordable
+
UA HOVR cushioning reduces impact and energizes movement 
+
Firm midsole offers enhanced stability for a cushioned shoe 
+
UA TriBase design maximizes ground contact  

Reasons to avoid

-
Excessive cushioning for heavy lifting 
-
Thicker outsole makes for a somewhat clumsy stride 

If there’s one place you don’t want to cut corners, it’s in shopping for training shoes (trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way). That being said, a good pair can cost you well over $150, sometimes inching closer to $200. If you want to add some variety into your exercise regimen but don’t want to break the bank doing it, the UA HOVR Rise 3 is your answer. 

For a relatively affordable sneaker, I was quite surprised at the HOVR Rise 3’s quality — the upper mesh was breathable, pliable, and durable, while the outsole and internal “UA HOVR” cushioning was supportive without feeling uncomfortably hard. In fact, the Rise 3’s midsole felt much firmer than a lot of shoes on our list, making them appropriate for a moderately heavy resistance circuit. 

The HOVR Rise 3’s also aren’t a bad choice for HIIT and shorter runs, thanks to its aforementioned cushioning. Since my feet come riddled with issues, it's unusual for me to find a stable and supportive shoe that’s not specifically designed to correct overpronation. The HOVR Rise 3’s performed really well during a few HIIT tabatas and a quick mile run, and I didn’t wake up the next morning with my usually inevitable foot and ankle pain. The one minor flaw I found lies in the HOVR Rise 3’s outsole — they have a pretty thick base, and I noticed my opposing foot hitting up against it frequently. 

A trademarked “UA TriBase” design comes standard on the HOVR Rise 3, although in my research I couldn’t find exactly what that design entailed. According to Under Armor, it maximizes ground contact and provides foot flexibility during lifts. I could tell the difference between the HOVR Rise 3 and other cushioned shoes on our list, like the ON Cloud X’s — I felt a much stronger connection to the floor on barbell squats and deadlifts.

However, I still wouldn’t recommend lacing up the HOVR Rise 3’s for your super heavy lifting days — there’s too much padding between your foot and the floor to maintain a stable base of support.  

Bottom Line: Quality isn’t sacrificed for price with the UA HOVR Rise 3 — a supportive and well-made cross training shoe. 

Best versatile cross training shoe

5. Hylete Circuit II

Best Versatile Cross Training Shoe

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 0mm, 4mm, 6mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : Runs a half size small
Best for: light, moderate, and heavy resistance training; HIIT; short runs; walking

Reasons to buy

+
Includes 3 insoles with varying drops for different activities 
+
Non-tapered toe box allows for a more natural foot position 
+
Vibram outsole provides good traction and stability 

Reasons to avoid

-
Insoles may be too firm for longer runs 
-
Toes felt cramped  

Selecting a cross training shoe appropriate for all of your athletic pursuits is kind of like trying to pick one outfit that’s appropriate for yard work, a casual Sunday brunch, and a black-tie wedding. Luckily, there’s the Hylete Circuit II  — a cross training shoe that can be worn for anything from weightlifting to your next 5K.

How is that possible? Three insoles with different drop lengths — 0mm, 4mm, and 6mm — provide varying levels of support, stability, and cushioning. It’s actually a pretty ingenious feature, and I’m not quite sure why more shoe manufacturers aren’t employing it. Combine these variable drops with a trademarked “Vibram” outsole for increased traction, and you’ve got a sneaker for all occasions. 

Wearing the Hylete Circuit II, I was able to lift heavy, go for a short run, and cycle through a few light resistance training sets — all while in the same shoes. The 0mm drop allowed for decent proprioception (your body’s ability to sense movement and position)  and foot awareness on a few heavy barbell squats, the 4mm drop provided the perfect blend of support and comfort for a lower-body superset, and the 6mm drop cushioned the impacts from a quick 2-mile run. Swapping out the insoles for each activity was relatively painless, and they all stayed solidly in place during use. 

The Circuit II boasts a non-tapered toe box for a more comfortable and natural foot position. It isn’t as wide as the toe box on the Altra Solstice XT 2, but the additional lateral space for my toes improved stability on my heavier lifts. However, the Circuit II’s lacked some frontal space for the toes — mine felt pretty cramped up at the end of my run. Order half a size larger than normal, and that problem should be solved. 

Another downside I noticed at the end of my run — while the 6mm insole is built for high-impact activities, it lacked some of the cushioning properties you’d find in a shoe like the On Cloud X or the Brooks Adrenaline. Some camps would claim that as a positive, but my sore feet would disagree. 

Bottom Line: The Hylete Circuit II is essentially three shoes in one, with interchangeable insoles appropriate for a variety of sports.  

Best cross training shoe for flat feet

6. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

Best Cross Training Shoe for Flat Feet

Specifications

Width options: Yes
Drop : 12mm
Support: Motion control
Fit : True to size
Best for: Light resistance training, HIIT, walking, short and long runs

Reasons to buy

+
Lots of cushioned support for overpronators  
+
Seal of acceptance from American Podiatry Medical Association 
+
Wide range of sizes 

Reasons to avoid

-
High drop, toe spring, and heavy cushioning make it an inappropriate heavy lifting shoe 
-
Somewhat heavy for a running/HIIT shoe 

Having a foot that’s as flat as a pancake comes with (many) drawbacks: you’ll face greater risks of musculoskeletal issues, deal with inherent balance difficulties, and be forced to realize that a ballet career just isn’t in the cards. While your foot may not feel so nice in a pointe shoe, it will feel great in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22s. 

A chronic overpronator for the vast majority of my life, finding a shoe that provides enough arch support and stability feels like a never-ending hunt. But I’ve long been a fan of the Brooks Adrenaline, and with each model upgrade, they get just a little bit better. Brooks’ trademarked “GuideRails” technology, paired with a more-than-decent amount of comfortable yet supportive cushioning, limits excessive motion through the foot and ankle while still allowing for a natural stride.

Obviously, this stability is a great quality to have in a running shoe, but it’s also useful for a number of other athletic pursuits — namely HIIT, some forms of light resistance training, and good old-fashioned walking. The Adrenalines were one of the only shoes on our list that felt supportive for the quick impact exercises that HIIT entails, the longer stretches of impact that running brings, and the slower and steadier movements of resistance circuits. It’s also the only shoe on our list to be endorsed by the American Podiatry Medical Association, so your doc will be pleased.

The downside to a shoe built for stability is weight — all that cushioning and support isn’t exactly insubstantial. That being said, the Adrenalines don’t feel super heavy, especially when compared to the Nano X2 or the Trainer+.

There’s no doubt that the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is one of your best options for running and HIIT — especially if you lack a good arch. But if you’re looking to pack a lot of plates on the barbell, the Adrenalines won’t work too well. The heavy cushioning, high drop, and significant toe spring will all affect your stability under a heavy load.  

Bottom Line: The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 provides ample support, stability, and comfort for athletes with flat feet. 

Best cross training shoe for HIIT workouts

7. On Cloud X

Best Cross Training Shoe for HIIT Workouts

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 6 mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : True to size
Best for: HIIT, light resistance training, walking, short runs

Reasons to buy

+
Helion superfoam outsoles offer protective shock absorption 
+
Low drop and high sidewalls for increased stability during lateral movements 
+
Appropriate level of cushioning for a comfortable but stable workout 
+
Lightweight 

Reasons to avoid

-
No width options available 
-
Too much cushioning for heavy lifting  

The On Cloud Xs is as good of a HIIT partner as your stopwatch — an incredibly lightweight and supportive shoe, they’re made to stabilize your foot and ankle complex with every burpee or squat jump that comes your way. 

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, has become a fairly popular method for improving cardiovascular endurance and overall health. But because of the quick and explosive nature of most HIIT-based exercises, outfitting yourself with the correct footwear is paramount. The On Cloud X’s trademarked Helion superfoam outsole provides the perfect amount of shock absorption, with an adequate amount of cushioning throughout the midsole and heel. Wearing the Cloud Xs for a tabata full of jumps and butt kicks left my normally-cranky ankles and knees feeling pain-free. 

Cushioning is important in a shoe designed for HIIT, but so is its weight — you don’t want to feel like you’re wearing concrete blocks when you’ve got 20 seconds of high knees on the horizon. Fortunately, the On Cloud X is constructed with lightweight and flexible materials, including a breathable, no-sew upper mesh that conforms to the shape of your foot. It usually takes me a few wears to really break in a new pair of shoes, but the On Cloud Xs felt as comfortable as they did weightless, almost immediately.

Due to several unfortunately-timed ankle rolls, I have some fear around HIIT circuits that include lateral motions. Thanks to the On Cloud X’s high sidewalls and relatively low drop, I felt a lot more stable while performing side-to-side movement. In fact, I was able to increase my speed and agility on a round of skaters while feeling confident that my ankles were fully supported. 

If you’ve got a wider than average foot, however, you’re out of luck — the On Cloud X’s only come in a standard width. And as is the case with most shoes designed for high-impact activity, the excessive cushioning prevents proper grounding of your foot during heavy lifts. Slip-on other shoes for your powerlifting days. 

Bottom Line: A lightweight construction paired with a supportive and shock-absorbing design make the On Cloud X a fantastic shoe for HIIT workouts. 

Best cross training shoe for weightlifters

8. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

Best Cross Training Shoe for Weightlifting

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 0 mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : True to size
Best for: light, moderate, and heavy resistance training; walking

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight 
+
Thin, flexible outsole for proper foot-to-ground connection 
+
Wide toe box and zero drop for more natural foot position 
+
Made from sustainable materials and can be recycled at end of life 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 
-
Not appropriate for high-impact activities 

Some powerlifters swear by Converse Chuck Taylors (or “chucks”) as their lifting footwear of choice, while others prefer to skip the shoes altogether. The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is a happy medium between the two, providing protection for your feet without blocking a proper connection to the floor — a necessity for effective (and safe) resistance training. 

Slipping on the Primus Lite III’s felt kind of like slipping on a pair of old school water shoes — the incredibly light, flexible rubber outsole and the thin mesh upper molded to my feet almost instantly. This combined with the Primus Lite III’s wide toe box and zero drop made me realize why the word “barefoot” is built into the brand name.

That “barefoot” feel is what makes the Primus Lite III so perfect for heavy lifting. The lack of abundant cushioning you’d find in most cross training shoes means you can drive every part of your foot — from the tips of your toes all the way to your heels — into the ground. High levels of stability and proprioception are crucial when pursuing maximal strength, and wearing the Primus Lite IIIs I could completely ground myself when attempting any high weight-low rep program. Plus — I never had to worry about my socked feet touching a gross gym floor.

Vivobarefoot often manufactures their footwear from sustainable and recycled materials, and the Primus Lite III is no exception. With Vivobarefoot’s “Revivo” program, you can return your worn out shoes to be refurbished and resold (or recycled, if they’re really dead). So you can work towards your next strength goal and help the planet at the same time. Win-win. 

For a minimalist shoe, the Primus Lite IIIs are pretty pricey — one of the most expensive on our list, actually. And while barefoot devotees will say that the Primus Lite IIIs can be worn for any activity, I wouldn’t lace them up for a run or any high impact exercises (not before enrolling in Vivobarefoot’s “fundamentals” course, anyway). 

Bottom Line: The barely-there Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III allows for maximum stability and ground contact while lifting. 

Best cross training shoe for stripped back design

Reebok Nano x4 training shoe in white, pink and black

(Image credit: Future)

9. Reebok Nano X4 training shoe

Best Cross Training Shoe for stripped back design

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 7 mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : Runs tight
Best for: Light to moderate resistance training, HIIT, walking, rope climbs

Reasons to buy

+
TPU heel clip for stability
+
FLEXWEAVE knit upper for a lightweight feel
+
Lift and Run midsole for cushioning and support
+
Versatile style  

Reasons to avoid

-
Tight fit

The latest iteration of the Reebok Nano range is the Nano X4 training shoe. The cross training shoe made it into our line-up for being lightweight with brilliant support underfoot, and we appreciate that Reebok has stripped it back with the design. Unnecessary material has been removed from the upper and the technology has seen a facelift, making this shoe the most breathable yet. 

The redesigned upper introduces FLEXWEAVE material and a midfoot ventilation panel for better breathability and versatility during performance. The focus is solely on lightweight breathability, which means anything that doesn't need to be there, isn't. The Lift and Run (L.A.R) Chassis system provides midsole stability and cushioning so that you can move from deadlifts and squats to runs with ease. I've tested these out during many CrossFit workouts, and find switching up activities effortless. If lifting is your thing, we love the 7mm drop, and the shoe only weighs 12.10z. 

That said, the shoe comes up tight, so I recommend opting for at least a half size up. 

Bottom Line: The Reebok Nano X4 hits the brief for a lightweight and versatile design, but the shoe comes up tight.

Best overall fit cross training shoe

10. Altra Solstice XT 2

Best Wide Toe Box/Zero Drop Cross Training Shoe

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop : 0 mm
Support: Neutral
Fit : Runs half a size large (for narrow to average feet); True to size
Best for: Light, moderate, and slightly heavy resistance training; walking

Reasons to buy

+
Wide toe box and sole for a more foot-friendly fit
+
Lightweight 
+
Zero drop keeps foot in a more natural position 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of lateral support

Hang around on fitness Instagram enough, and you’re sure to catch an influencer touting the benefits of wide toe box/zero drop shoes. The Altra Solstice XT 2 is a worthy entry into this newly-popular category, giving your toes ample space to breathe and a more natural position for your feet. 

I’m one of those poor souls (or soles?) whose feet have suffered in pointy heels and narrow-toe box sneakers — and I have the bunions to show for it. In fact, they’re so bad that I’m usually forced to slip off most shoes by the mid-afternoon in order to relieve pain and pressure on the toe joint. So I was eager to try the Solstice XT 2 to see if a wider toe box really made all that much of a difference.  

Boy, did it ever. The Solstice XT 2s proved incredibly comfortable when walking around and completing a moderately heavy resistance training circuit. Because I was able to spread my toes out more than I was used to, I could better ground them to support heavier squats, presses, and deadlifts. The zero drop also allowed me to drive my heels into the floor with better awareness and efficiency. But most importantly — I never had to take the Solstice XT 2’s off to appease a throbbing bunion. 

Wide toe box/zero drop shoes like the Altra Solstice XT 2 are usually considered the best choice for lifting, and I agree with that to a certain extent. You can definitely pop them on for light, moderate, and even slightly heavy resistance training. But if you’re headed under a barbell to attempt a one rep max, I might swap them for an alternative — the Solstice XT 2’s have just a little too much cushioning for proper foot awareness and stability on super heavy lifts. 

And while the Solstice XT 2’s are relatively lightweight, you may want to look elsewhere for a HIIT shoe — despite a firmer cage in the upper cage, they still felt pretty flimsy and unsupportive when completing rounds of skaters and side shuffles. 

Bottom Line: The more natural fit of the Altra Solstice XT 2’s will make everyone’s feet happy.  

Best cross training shoe for stability

Image of Puma Fuse 2.0 cross training shoes next to a pair of dumbbells in the gym

(Image credit: Future owns/ Sam Hopes)

11. Puma Fuse 2.0 x WIT Training shoes

Best cross training shoes for floor-foot stability

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop: 4.0mm
Support: Neutral
Fit: True to size
Best for: Resistance training, HIIT, walking, rope climbs

Reasons to buy

+
PROFOAM midsole lightweight EVA
+
Durable all surface traction
+
Wide toe box
+
Great foot-to-floor connection

Reasons to avoid

-
Better for wide fit
-
Heel slippage

We reckon the new Puma Fuse 2.0 x WIT Training shoe are worth a shout out on this line-up.  The Fuse 2.0 offers plenty of stability, a great fit, and traction to provide even better performance.

As put by Puma, these shoes are engineered for strength and a no-sew design that increases durability. The FUSEFLex metatarsalflex grooves improve foot splay for a solid connection between foot and floor during weight training. Alongside a TPU heel clip, the WIT collab version also houses a slick WIT logo and reflective formstrip and eyestay. 

During testing, I found the PROFOAM midsole cushioning offered a soft bounce and supportive feel without elevating my foot too far, which gave me a solid footing during strength training workouts. The durable rubber outsole has proved worthy in all conditions from CrossFit classes to outdoor training and gym workouts, and the toe box offers plenty of room for my feet to breathe and for my toes to spread during lifts like deadlifts or squats. 

The 4.0mm drop still allowed me to keep enough awareness between the floor and body to feel what my lower body was doing and the encompassing textile upper gave a secure fit. However, I experienced some slippage around the heels during rowing which I couldn't escape even with a tight pull on the laces. Although I could get through rope climbs, other models in this line-up can definitely do the job better. 

Bottom Line: Not bad, WIT. Not bad, at all. 

Best cross training shoes for lightweight feel

R.A.D One cross training shoe

(Image credit: Future)

12. R.A.D One cross training shoe

Best for lightweight comfort

Specifications

Width options: No
Drop: 6mm
Support: Neutral
Fit: To size
Best for: Cross training, lifting, plyometrics

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Super comfortable
+
Support for lifting, plyometrics and gymnastics

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as grippy as other cross training shoes
-
May not suit wide feet

The R.A.D One cross training shoe supports CrossFit and all-around training. In fact, we've seen the model making waves as the shoe of choice amongst the CrossFit communities by instructors and clients alike. 

The brand uses Swell Foam, which is a light and springy EVA midsole technology partly made from sugar cane, in an attempt to be more carbon-friendly, which gets a big tick from us. So let's talk about fit. The shoe wears like the Under Armour Flow Dynamic training shoe (which will be added to this guide very soon), in that it has ample cushioning and a lightweight feel, without the bootie fit of the UA Flow. 

It has also been stabilized for weightlifting, and upon slipping the R.A.D One on, you get a sense of grounding. You won't get as much toe splay as, say, the Metcon 9, but there's a definite sense of connectedness that allows for technical lifting. There's also ample cushioning in the forefoot, which we enjoy for plyometrics, and the rubber outsole gives the shoe a durable feel suitable for rope climbs and gymnastics.

We're in the earlier stages of testing the R.A.D One, but the model has already proved a firm favorite, and we can transition from the office to the gym easily without swapping out footwear, which is a bonus. 

How to choose the best cross training shoes

Buying the best cross training shoes takes some thought. First, consider your foot shape and size, and the type of exercise you plan to engage in. 

Cross training shoes offer wide sizes with more space throughout the midsole and toe box to fit a wider foot more comfortably. Some cross training shoes even specify a wide toe box. If you have flat feet or a small arch, a shoe with motion control is better for you. 

The best cross training shoes should suit various sports and activities For example, if you enjoy sports like CrossFit that involve high-intensity training, running, and lifting heavy weights, then we recommend selecting a cross training shoe with midsole and lateral support paired with a higher heel-to-toe drop. 

If you prefer Olympic lifting, you'll want to buy specific weightlifting shoes with a higher heel drop and rigid stability, helping to position your foot optimally for barbell lifts. We cover everything you need to know in our cross training vs weightlifting shoes round-up if you're still unsure how best to invest. 

How we test the best cross training shoes

Each pair of cross training shoes was worn for the following activities, for a duration of 30 minutes: light, moderate, and heavy resistance training, walking, running, and high-intensity interval training. Additionally, the Ryka Devotion XT was worn for a 20 minute dance fitness class. Each shoe was tested on a rubberized gym floor, concrete, and soil. We've also worn the Nike Metcons during WIT HQ testing at the launch of the latest model, the 9, and taken various pairs to CrossFit classes for every day wear. 

All cross training shoes were evaluated for comfort, performance, versatility, durability, and other usability factors. 

What shoes are better for CrossFit?

Cross training shoes are designed with CrossFit workouts in mind, but some are better built for it.  Workouts tap into functional training, meaning you'll pull, push, lift, jump, squat and climb, so your shoe will typically be designed to support these types of movement. We rated the Nike Metcon 9 as our go-to for CrossFit, partly because we love the rope guard that wraps the shoe to support rope climbs, a huge part of CrossFit.

What is the difference between cross training shoes and training shoes?

Cross training shoes are built for versatility, meaning there's no specific sport or activity you can do in them, and they're typically built for agility and multidirectional movement. That said, you wouldn't wear them for longer runs. Walking and running shoes are tailored to support the heel strike associated with that movement pattern, and the midsole, upper, outer sole and features like cushioning or ventilation will reflect that.

Are cross training shoes worth it?

100%. Cross training shoes could save you hundreds of dollars if you enjoy a variety of sports and activities, as most models cross over seamlessly. However, if you enjoy walking or running, you'll want to invest in a pair of the best running shoes and walking shoes because they'll offer specific support for the activity, especially longer efforts, hikes, or trail running. If you have poor ankle stability, for example, you might choose a pair that supports your gait. 

For shorter runs and walks, cross training shoes work well. For example, you can wear them during Murph CrossFit workouts, which include a 1 km run on either side of the workout. We wouldn't recommend them for much further distances as the shoes are built for stability and grounding during weightlifting exercises, which means you get less cushioning.