Ready to hit the gym in a sweet pair of Nike shoes? We thought so! But there are so many Nike shoes out there, it is hard to pick which are the very best for the gym. If you just plan on hitting the treadmill, you’ll probably do well with a pair of the best Nike shoes for running, for instance, but what for your weight lifting grind or climbing exercise? Will you find the stability you need there? Here, we take a hard look at and find the best for whatever gym activity you’re planning to conquer.
- Buy the for the best overall workout shoes from Nike.
- Buy the for a lightweight shoe that’s great for movement and cardio.
- Buy the and their for your indoor bicycle.
- Buy the if you want a great, stylish wrestling shoe.
- Buy the if you want a sturdy shoe to pump iron in.
- Buy the for affordable, high-quality workout shoes.
Best overall Nike shoes for the gym
|Breathable upper layer
|Over $100 MSRP
|Highly flexible in front
One of the most popular new arrivals in the Nike fitness lineup is the Free Metcon 5. This shoe is prepared to provide support for just about every type of workout, so if you’re the gym-goer that makes your way around the building, plays pick-up basketball in the rec room, and attends yoga all in the same outing, these are certainly for you. They start out by providing a solid foundation under the heel and a breathable top to keep your footing solid and your feet feeling fresh. Then, as the bottom of the shoe reaches the toes, a more and more segmented design that gives your toes and forefoot more curl room. In terms of workout shoes, there isn’t much to say negatively about the Free Metcon 5. They’re unfortunately not free, despite the name, but paying over $100 for quality gym shoes is just the expected norm and shouldn’t be seen as a dealbreaker if you’re committed to a solid workout routine.
Best for cardio
|Too weak for more intense activities
|Pared down design
Cardio and movement-based exercises are all about getting your feet moving and your heart pumping. Heavy fitness shoes with thick bottoms can throw your center of gravity for a loop when kicking high in the air or promote lazy foot lifting technique while jogging. The Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 use considerably less material than the average Nike shoe, giving you more ability to move freely, supporting your foot with an underfoot wrap. Then, when you jump and hop about, your joints will thank you as you’ll land on a thick (but lightweight) cushioning. One area where we feel; this shoe will fail you, however, is heavy duty exercises that require pushing and bracing as they aren’t really designed to hold up to added pressure. Suggested activities from Nike include circuit training, intense treadmill intervals, and midday cardio workouts.
Best for exercise bikes
|Comfortable for your indoor bike
|Cleat sold separately
|Includes area for cleat
|Not for everybody
|Easy strap on design
If you’ve just started a new Peloton class or are your local gym’s spin cycle pro, you might find that the pedals are grating or the slip-in straps are frustrating. If so, you can bring your own shoe, via the SuperRep Cycle 2, which attach via a cleat (Nike recommends the ) that is attachable to the bottom of the shoe. After a not so super launch of the original SuperRep Cycle, the SuperRep Cycle 2 (officially called the SuperRep Cycle 2 Next Nature to show that they are part of Nike’s sustainable material initiative) fixed problems with the shoe. The new version has added stability, better breathability, and fit snugger. Not everyone will like or need the shoe, but if you’re a dedicated indoor bicycle user that dislikes the way your current shoes interact with the peddles, it is worth a try.
Best for wrestling
|Out of the way laces
|No color variations
The Nike Tawa SE are one of the store’s latest wrestling shoes. Their design is intended to give you great leverage from the heel. The top is lightweight, breathable, and covered by a stylish design, with Nike’s infamous swoosh made from a serpentine line that looks almost pixelated — watch out, Punch-Out!! fans — from a distance. You’ll also appreciate their lace-free design that will keep you focused on the moves of your opponent and not dangling, droopy laces and untied shoes.
Best for weightlifting
|Under shoe support strap
|Lace-covering strap included
If you’re getting ready to start weightlifting you may have wondered how you’re supposed to keep from slipping while training with heavy weights. Shoes like Nike’s Romaleos 4 SE are your friend. They have wide, flat bottoms designed to maximize friction and contact with the ground. Then, they have the nice dual-strap design that you might be used to from other premium wrestling shoe makers. One strap wraps around the bottom of the shoe, allowing for adjustable midfoot support, while the other straps at the top, providing additional support at the upper part of your foot and keeping your laces out of the way.
Most affordable Nike gym shoes
|Under $75 MSRP
Outside of running shoe deals, it becomes harder and harder to get the budget $30 to $60 budget workout shoes you may have found several years ago. But we’re still able to find decently constructed Nike shoes for under $75 with the Nike Flex Control 4. They’re pretty standard trainers with a lightweight, yet standard construction. The no-tie laces may feel convenient for some, but if you’d like a more customized fit, you’ll want to look for tie-able laces on the shoes above. But if you regularly use no-tie laced shoes, you’ll know they’re pretty easy to adapt to for standard exercises. Lastly, and it is a minor point, the four coloration options for the Nike Flex Control 4 are of the classic white, black, blue, and highlighter that we’ve always gotten. Not every workout shoe needs to look as colorfully cool as the but we’d at least like a small amount of choice here and there.
In general, the reasoning for choosing each pair of Nike shoes above has been included in the text above. There’s something specific about each pair of shoes that hits the right buttons for a buy according to a certain need or aesthetic, of which many are included. At the same time, there is a general technical level of product picking that goes into articles for The Manual, with careful attention placed on manufacturer statements, real customer reviews, and the ebb and flow of deals and new releases. To quote a colleague, when writing a similar statement about picking the best Nike shoes for walking, “And while walking shoes may not seem like something that requires much technical aptitude, our expertise across all kinds of shoes is applicable.”
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