Above all else, a training shoe has to be comfortable. And not just comfortable, but comfortable immediately—meaning there should be no need for a break-in period. Because nobody has time to sit around and wait for a shoe to loosen up, there’s work to be done.
Whether you’re looking to go pro, or just pumping iron to impress some broad, a comfortable pair of training shoes can make all the difference. If you’re comfortable, you’ll stay in the gym longer, which means you’ll pump more (in theory anyway).
So what makes a training shoe comfortable? Well for starters, it has to fit properly. You know what they say: “If the shoe don’t fit, don’t wear it” (or something like that). Along with the right fit, it has to be properly cushioned, padded in all the right places, and has to be durable and breathable enough to go the distance. So now that you know, it’s time to take a look at our options. These are the 10 Most Comfortable Training Shoes Available This Summer.
No. 10 - Asics GEL-Intensity 2
Comfort level: Like a neck pillow for your feet
Whatever type of intense training you’re into, the Asics GEL-Intensity 2 can handle it all. From court, to cardio, and everything in between, the shoe is designed for guys who just refuse to leave the gym. The shoe features a unique Clutch Collar System that cushions the foot and helps lock it in place. You get GEL cushioning units in both the forefoot and heel with this bad boy, which means twice the comfort. The GEL-Intensity 2 is reinforced and padded in all the right places to keep you protected and comfortable during your next workout.
No. 9 - Under Armour Spine Nitro TR
Comfort level: Like a home cooked meal
We’ve seen the use of UA’s Spine technology in just about every footwear category by now, and training is no exception. Exclusive to just Dick’s Sporting Goods, the UA Spine Nitro TR is designed to allow 360-degree mobility during training. Yes, it’s nicely cushioned too. The shoe’s full-length 4D foam footbed and Micro G midsole take care of cushioning underfoot. But for all-around comfort, UA has give he shoe a mesh and nubuck upper that feels as soft as a baby’s behind on the feet. This is the shoe you want if you’re looking to maximize your training.
No. 8 - Nike Free Trainer 7.0 NRG
Comfort level: Like a recliner
The least “barefoot” of the Free series, the Nike Free Trainer 7.0 NRG has outstanding cushioning and support to match its flexibility. A deep-grooved Free outsole allows the foot to comfortable transition from heel-to-toe, while a thicker Cushlon midsole takes care of under-foot cushioning. The shoe’s leather upper is soft to the touch, and is integrated with Dynamic Fit technology for support during quick cuts and movements. It’s a perfect shoe for athletes who want to go top-heavy on the cardio this summer.
No. 7 - Nike Air Max 2013
Comfort level: Like a cloud
With Max Air cushioning under the hood, the Nike Air Max 2013 follows in the footsteps of predecessors and delivers one of the most comfortable rides around. Technically, the shoe is designed for running. But Nike isn’t fooling us—the he Air Max 2013 has the soul of a trainer. For support, the shoe features Dynamic Flywire. For comfort, it has a soft foam midsole that delivers responsive cushioning and durability. Extra padding around the heel counter and collar also help enhance the comfort of the shoe.
No. 6 - New Balance MInimus 20v3 Cross-Trainer
Comfort level: Like your grandmother's walking shoes
If you’re looking for a gym shoe that is lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and doesn’t look too shabby either, then the New Balance Minimus 20v3 Cross-Trainer is the one you want. Designed with a minimal profile, the 20v3 doesn’t have the same padding as some of the other models on this list, but what it lacks in substance, it makes up for in lightweight breathability and versatility. The shoe has excellent step-in feel. Its thin-layered mesh upper features an open construction to allow air to flow in and out to keep your feet temperature regulated. It has solid cushioning in the heel, and plenty of room in the toe box for all the comfort you’ll need as you hit those drills.
No. 5 - Asics Gel-Blur33 TR Mid
Comfort level: Like milk and cookies
As if the standard GEL-Blur 33 TR wasn’t comfortable enough, Asics rolled out this Mid version of the popular training shoe for even more cushioning and support. A deadly combination of GEL cushioning in the heel and a Solyte midsole offer a highly cushioned platform that holds its retention no matter how long and hard you go during your workouts. It has a forefoot strap for a lock-down fit, and a padded tongue for all-around comfort.
No. 4 - Under Armour Cam Highlight Trainer
Comfort level: Like sweatpants for your feet
Built for Cam Newton, you know Under Armour hooked up the UA Cam Highlight Trainer with plenty of comfort and support for its star QB. The high-top trainer features UA’s CompFit sleeve technology, which is designed to offer unmatched ankle support. As for comfort, the Cam Highlight features a full-length Micro G foam midsole for a plush ride. A padded MPZ tongue protects the foot from any discomfort from rubbing, and a molded 4D Foam footbed holds the foot comfortably in place, eliminating slippage. The shoe’s ultra-premium microfiber Nubuc upper adds yet another element of comfort, so you can focus on your training without distraction.
No. 3 - Nike Zoom Revis
Comfort level: Like a memory foam mattress
Darelle Revis takes his training seriously. No wonder Nike gave the All-Pro defensive back his very own signature trainer—and a damn good one at that. The Nike Zoom Revis features a low-profile design, and is equipped with all your cushioning needs. Of course, you get the responsiveness and impact protection from the full-length Zoom Air unit, as well as mesh underlays for improved breathability when the heat turns up. The shoe is padded nicely inside the toe box so your feet won’t chafe, and has a padded collar to keep the heel nice and cushioned. You don’t just get comfort with the Zoom Revis, you get it all.
No. 2 - adidas adiPure Trainer 360
Comfort level: Like a hug from mom
With the unveiling of the CrazyQuick technology, you’d expect the all-new adiPure CrazyQuick TR to be on this list (we did too). But when it comes to comfort, it’s just no match for one of the older Three Stripes training shoes, the adiPure Trainer 360. First of all, the shoe features a decoupled midsole for flexible, more natural motion. It has a bootie construction for support and comfort, along with a textile lining that reduces abrasion. The adiPure Trainer 360 even features OrthoLite odor-resistant moisture-wicking technology. After all, you can’t be comfortable with sweaty and smelly feet, can you? No.
No. 1 - Jordan Dominate Pro
Comfort level: Off the charts
Jordan Brand has released quite a few training sneakers over recent years, but the Dominate Pro has by far gotten the most positive response from athletes. The shoe is constructed from a one-piece upper to reduce chafing, and features a full-length inner sleeve with adjustable strap to comfortably hold the foot in place. Nike Zoom units in the forefoot, paired with a responsive Flight Plate provide just the right amount of cushioning. Whether you’re running steps, or hitting the gym for some heavy lifting, the Dominate Pro is the shoe you want on your feet.
Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer and wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media. Follow him @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.