5 best cross training shoes for lifting, running, jumping and more

A girl who can do it all needs trainers that can, too.

One of the best cross training shoes, the lululemon chargefeel
(Image credit: Future)

You're after a pair of the best cross training shoes. So - where to start? 

Typically, what to look for in the best gym trainers will depend on what sport you like. For example, if you're into Crossfit, you'll want to invest in a pair of the best weightlifting shoes - flat, supportive, and stable. If you're a runner, opt fora pair of the best running trainers, which will be designed purely with bounce and return in mind. 

The best cross training shoes, on the other hand, should be the perfect hybrid - springy yet supportive, cushioned enough for short cardio bursts mid-workout, and flat enough for deadlifts, too. 

Cross training shoes are an ideal investment if you love gym workouts that include both strength and cardio. Think high intensity interval training, or finishing off your set of weight lifting exercises with a short round of intervals on the treadmill.

Let's be real - no one is going to faff around changing shoes between sets, so you need to get a pair that can support you through all of it.

All of this is a lot to demand from one product, but our experts have been testing the best pairs to invest in. Below, Marie Claire's Health and Sustainability editor, Ally Head, writer, and fitness instructor Chloe Gray, and Crossfit athletes Aimee Cringle, and Jess Rosart share their favourites. Don't miss our favourite sustainable trainers, while you're here.

What to consider when looking for the best cross training shoes: 

  • Stability: remember, you need them to be stable enough to hold your ankles in place while lifting heavy weights and while doing high impact activity.
  • Comfort: cross training shoes may be a jack of all trades type product, but that doesn't mean you can't ask for perfection. If you're used to running shoes, cross training shoes may feel a little wide and clown like, and if you're only used to flat soled lifting shoes than they may feel very well cushioned. Over time, they should be comfortable, not rub (no one needs to be fighting blisters while they're carrying their own body weight) and look good.
  • Special features: if you, like Campbell, have any particular types of training you love, then make sure your shoe is suited. Whether it's protection on the inner edge for rope climbing, grippy soles for sled pushes or springiness for running mileage, make sure they're tailored to your needs. 

5 best cross training shoes: these are the only pairs you need, according to the experts

What are cross training shoes good for?

Good question. Lucy Campbell, a CrossFit athlete who's been crowned the Fittest Woman in the UK, reckons that they're best for mixed or hybrid training sessions.

"My sessions can be a mix of general training which includes a broad range of movements including gymnastics exercises; plyometrics, such as box jumps; weightlifting, including barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells and cardio machines," she shares. "I look for shoes that provide a good amount of stability for when I'm lifting weights, as well as having specific features that support specific parts of my training like rope guards for rope climbs." 

Chloe Gray
Contributing Health Writer

Chloe Gray is a freelance journalist who writes and talks about health, fitness, and wellbeing through a feminist lens. She was part of the launch team for Stylist magazine's fitness brand, Strong Women, and has written for i news, Women's Health, Red magazine, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and more. She's all about building mental and physical strength, eating delicious food that fuels you well, and making the fitness industry more accessible and enjoyable. She's also a qualified fitness trainer and research nerd, so you can be sure everything you read is backed by proper science.