The 8 Best Gym Shoes for Men of 2022

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 is a good pick for all your workouts

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

man tying his sneaker

 Getty Images

While you may be tempted to use workout shoes interchangeably, remember that shoes tailored for your activity help you perform at your best while reducing the risk of injury. Tennis shoes and running shoes are designed with specific movements and terrain in mind—gym shoes are no different.

Reviewed & Approved

Our best overall pick is the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 because its a great all-around shoe with good arch support and traction. The Fila Men's Disruptor II shoe is a wallet-friendly option designed to keep you steady on your feet.

When choosing the right pair for you, keep in mind the gym workouts that you consistently do. If you gravitate towards the treadmill, opt for running shoes. If stationary biking or rowing is more your speed, go for footwear with generous traction. We evaluated gym shoes for men based on the activity they're designed for, the type of cushioning and shock absorption they have, overall comfort like breathability and light weight, and grip and traction.

Here are the best gym shoes for men. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Running Shoes

4.7
Nike Zoom 36

 Courtesy of Zappos

Our best overall selection are the Nike Men’s Air Zoom Pegasus 36s which are a great all-around shoe for the gym. They're sleek with a seamless design and offer ample arch support for running and jumping, with plenty of ventilation throughout for breathability and longevity. 

They have fantastic multi-surface traction (with waffle pistons and lugs) for every gym surface, which is ideal for CrossFit workouts. The Air design and beveled heel make for easier transitions between activities, while the sock liner shape and partial bootie design create a comfortable and snug fit.

Best Budget: Fila Men's Disruptor II

Fila disruptor

 Courtesy of Foot Locker

You don’t need to spend a ton to get a reliable shoe. The Fila Disruptor II is a great option for the gym. These shoes are supportive and specifically designed to keep you steady on your feet. The rubber outsole will protect your footing on sweaty gym mats and slippery equipment, and the traction is tested for professional-grade ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) requirements. 

With a leather and synthetic exterior and a rubber sole, this Fila sneaker is particularly tough for the rigors of gym wear. The memory foam liner gives men more comfort throughout the midsole.

Best for HIIT: Nike Free Run 5 Shoes

Nike Free RN

 Courtesy of Zappos

High-intensity interval training requires a diversity of movement and a lot of stamina. Nike Men’s Free Running Shoes can definitely help with the movement. These wildly lightweight sneakers are made to let your feet move in every direction without any issues.

They're built with “foot flex” that allows you complete movement and flexibility, expanding and contracting with every step. With a rubber sole, a breathable fabric body and innovative laces, these sneakers let you move from a jog to a series of rapid high-intensity workouts without any discomfort.

Best for CrossFit: Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0

Reebok Nano

Courtesy of Zappos 

Reebok makes a pair of shoes specifically for CrossFit. They're designed to be versatile and stable. The Nano 8 sneakers use a minimal drop outsole for solid footing. The wide toe box creates a comfortable fit and the secure rubber sole is paired with an upper made of “Flexweave.” They breathe well, feel light, and will last for countless workouts.

Best for Stationary Biking: Under Armour Men's Commit Tr Ex Cross Trainer Sneaker

Under Armour Men's Commit Tr Ex Cross Trainer Sneaker

Courtesy of Amazon

The UA Men’s Commit Shoes are tough with plenty of traction. They're made with a breathable, lightweight upper that is flexible—perfect for pushing yourself in a spinning class. You get a snug fit in these sneakers because of the “die-cut 4D foam sockliner,” as well as the full-length Charged Cushioning. These shoes also feature extra rubber on the sole for the “high impact” area and have grooves at the hinge points for added longevity.

Best for Rowing Machine: NOBULL Men's Training Shoes

NOBULL Men's Training Shoes

Courtesy of NOBULL

NoBull Men’s Training Shoes are a great option for the rowing machine and just about anything else at your gym. They have great traction with the lug pattern on the outsole and a flexible design for indoor/outdoor use. The upper is made with a durable, breathable, and damage-resistant material that works well in this one-piece design. You also get the protection of the SuperFabric guard plates to avoid scuffs and abrasions. 

Best for Treadmill: Brooks Men's PureCadence 7 Running Shoe

Brooks Men's PureCadence 7 Running Shoe

Courtesy of Amazon

Brooks Men’s PureCadence 7s are a solid option for treadmill training. They have a sleek and low-profile design that provides reliable arch support and plenty of bounce with each step. Light and stable, the design is perfect for people with some overpronation.

The shoe is made with a mesh upper, 3D-printed overlays, and standard lace-up closures. They'll help stabilize your foot every time it pounds on the treadmill with a protective heel cup, a comfortable tongue, and padded collar. The insole is foam and removable with a BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioned design. They’re a perfect addition to the gym bag for anyone who runs regularly at the gym. 

Best for Lifting: Adidas Powerlift 4 Sneakers

Adidas Powerlift

Courtesy of Amazon 

Adidas Performance Men’s Powerlift 4 Cross-Trainers are specifically designed for weightlifting. They have excellent traction with an anti-slip rubber outsole and a honeycomb traction pattern. You won’t have to worry about any sliding or unsure footing when you’re prepping for a squat or a clean.

They also have a breathable mesh collar, tongue, and cushioned upper with an open forefoot. You also get a cushioned heel and a two-tone design, with a colorful mesh back half and a secure, stable front half.

Final Verdict

If you enjoy hopping from machine to machine, Nike’s Air Zoom Pegasus 36 Running Shoes (view at Amazon) fit the bill for an all-around gym shoe. Its traction makes it compatible with almost any gym surface, while its heel simplifies transitioning between activities. 

What to Look for in Gym Shoes for Men

Grip

For the proper soles, you should consider your workout preference. For racquetball or basketball players who need to move around quickly, especially on slick courts, you want some grip on the bottom of your shoes. Look for rubber outsoles that are lined with textured patterns, which will provide a strong stickiness and not leave you sliding around the floor.

Cushioning

For men who participate in intense workouts, such as running at fast speeds on the treadmill and explosive movements (for example, burpees), you might want a pair of gym shoes that offer what's called “responsive cushioning.” This cushioning type is shock-absorbing for jumps, quick strides, and agility work.

Comfort

The most important element of a gym shoe is that it fits well and feels comfortable. Any discomfort can lead to blisters, chafing, and plantar fasciitis. You might even forego workouts if you don't have the right pair of shoes that feel good.

For those who perform marathon workouts, such as two-hour gym sessions, you should look for "mesh uppers" in the shoes. This is a breathable, lightweight fabric for those who will be wearing gym shoes for long periods of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should you replace gym shoes?

    Gym shoes should be replaced every six to eight months, depending on the intensity of your workouts. If you use the treadmill or other cardio equipment, you can use mileage as a replacement gauge. “Most running shoes are designed to last 300 to 400 miles,” says Brent Pease, head coach of endurance athletes for Dynamo Multisport. “There are some that will be a little less and some that can last up to 500 miles.”

  • How do you clean gym shoes?

    Gym shoes can be easily cleaned using water and a few drops of laundry detergent. Dip a toothbrush into the water/detergent mixture and gently run it in circles around the outside and inside of the shoes.

    You can also put them in the washing machine and air dry if they are made with a mesh fabric.

  • Are running shoes good for gym workouts?

    You can find running shoes to wear to the gym, but you might prefer shoes that are made specific for your sport. You'll find different shoes created for running, boxing, basketball, and weightlifting, made to amplify performance of each individual sport.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Sam Hayes has written for Verywell, TripSavvy, and The Spruce since March 2018. He graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst with bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science.

Was this page helpful?