I just stumbled across a brief article in the May issue of Mens Journal. In it they recommended a pair of shoes for five different types of workouts. I’ve recommended four of the five pairs they identify in prior articles but one, the 361 Degrees Impulse, was new to me. So, what are the best gym shoes? Here are their five recommendations:
BEST FOR ALL-AROUND TRAINING
I’ve written about this shoe several times before. It’s a great “do-everything”, “Jack of All Trades” option. Inov-8 is a British brand that focuses heavily on designing and manufacturing minimalist shoes that encourage your foot’s natural biomechanics.
Per Men’s Journal,
Wearing this is about as close to barefoot as you can get in a gym shoe. An extremely thin midsole and a dense heel made testers feel sturdier during dead lifts, while the flexible, grippy outsole guided them smoothly through lunges, pivots, and sled pushes. The upper fits like a slipper, but a durable toe bumper means pain-free burpees and mountain climbers.
BEST FOR WEIGHTLIFTING
I’ve also mentioned the Powerlift 2.0 several times on this site. Adidas makes some great weightlifting shoes and the Powerlift 2.0 is no exception. This model is also fairly affordable, so you can save a couple bones or spend it on a new jump rope.
Despite its old-school look, the Powerlift 2.0 brings new features to the weight room. We like the roomy toe box, which gives the forefoot adequate space for a solid base to disperse heavy loads. For even more stability, the outsole makes full ground contact, and the midsole is very firm. A Velcro strap over the laces secures your foot to prevent unwanted movement as you clean and press, too.
BEST FOR CARDIO MACHINES
361 Degrees Impulse
So, this is a shoe I’ve never heard of. Men’s Journal brought it to my attention so I checked out their website. Not much information available there, so I googled them and found an article that revealed this company is a subsidiary of the 2nd largest Chinese footwear brand. They’ve received some decent accolades but they aren’t widely available yet.
With the heel-toe support of a running shoe and the pliability of a cross-trainer, the Impulse proved ideal for those of us who like to mix it up at the gym — it deftly transitions from the treadmill to a stationary bike and rowing machine. It’s lightweight and has a solid rubber outsole that’s perfect for pedals, while its cushioned midsole absorbs the shock of cardio sessions.
BEST FOR HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVALS
I’ve written about this shoe here. It’s part of a line of new releases from Asics and reviews are fairly positive. Asics has always made quality running shoes and it’s good to see that they’re starting to get serious about their cross training shoes as well.
A grippy outsole and a snug upper help this low-profile trainer deliver quicker turns during performance drills such as side lunges and shuffles. We found it particularly smooth on plyometric workouts, thanks to a snug toe box, a responsive, cushioned midsole, and the durable carbon rubber outsole in high-impact areas like under the heel.
BEST FOR CROSSFIT
This is another shoes that has slipped under my radar. I’ve used the Free 5.0 in CrossFit workouts and they do pretty well. But, this new offering from Nike would likely be even better. This could probably be compared to the Reebok Nano 4.0.
Per Men’s Journal…
Designed to help you confidently tackle intense strength sessions, the MetCon 1 has a dual-density midsole that delivers equal amounts of stability (to aid knee alignment during squats) and cushioning (for extra bounce in your jumps). A flat, sticky outsole and a firm heel help you nail box jumps and lifts. Our favorite feature: The green rubber sides are textured for awesome grip on rope climbs.