Finding the best workout trainers for men brings needles and haystacks to mind, mainly because the gym experience is so varied: one man’s go-to workout consists of treadmills and rowing machines, another camps out by the squat racks, and others still enjoy a bit of everything.
If you tend to stick to just weights, the treadmill, HIIT or spinning, you will probably want a trainer designed specifically for that discipline. However the best gym trainers combine stability, flexibility and cushioning to give you performance benefits whatever your workout regime.
Choosing the right shoe not only helps you get the most from your workout, it also reduces the risk of injury.
We’ve covered lifting-specific shoes here, but if you need something to cover all bases – from burpees to barbells – the following trainers combine cardio comfort with a decent amount of weights-ready stability.
Complete your kit with the best gym shorts for men
What to look for when buying gym trainers:
Stability – Raised sidewalls are ideal for weights and for the fast lateral movements of HIIT.
Cushioning – A shock-absorbing midsole is great for weight-bearing activities including squats and lunges and explosive multidirectional movements.
Comfort – Seamless, breathable uppers made from lightweight knitted or mesh fabrics ensure maximum comfort.
Flexibility – A lightweight, flexible shoe is ideal for high-intensity training.
Grip – Lugs on the outsole give plenty of traction (but make sure the outsoles are non-marking).
Men’s Fitness Best Buy
Allbirds Tree Dasher
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RRP £120, allbirds.co.uk
Materials: TENCEL™ Lyocell (eucalyptus tree fibres) upper, SweetFoam® midsole made with sugarcane-based green EVA, natural rubber outsole, castor bean oil-based insole foam | Features: Seamless one-piece upper for maximum comfort; lightly padded heel collar to lock ankle in place; breathable and flexible | Closure type: Slip-on | Heel drop: 7mm | Weight: 302.5g | Colour: Various | Sizes: 7-13 UK
Allbirds is the brand marrying performance with sustainability. Every shoe it produces uses as much natural material like wool, tree and sugar as possible, and the brand prides itself on being 100 per cent carbon neutral.
Thankfully those eco credentials are backed up by impressive design, too, with the Tree Dasher boasting a dual-density SweetFoam® midsole for cushioning, stability and ample energy return, earning them top spot on our round-up of the best gym trainers for men.
Elsewhere, the seamless one-piece upper – made from FSC® Certified eucalyptus trees – provides sock-like comfort whatever the workout.
Men’s Fitness Recommended
NOBULL Granite Trainer
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RRP £130, nobullproject.com
Materials: Durable, breathable & abrasion-resistant SuperFabric®, perforated microsuede tongue | Features: Suitable for multi-environment usage; high carbon lateral and medial guards for added protection; breathable & lightweight | Closure type: Lace-up | Heel drop: 4mm | Colour: Dark grey | Sizes: 7-17 UK
A premium-quality shoe for every type of training, NOBULL’s Granite Trainer combines next-level comfort with a level of lightweight stability that’s hard to come by, earning them second place on our round-up of the best gym trainers for men.
Durability and breathability are provided by the seamless one-piece upper – made from abrasion-resistant SuperFabric® – and underfoot grip is ensured with criss-crossed lugs on the outsole.
New Balance Minimus TR
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RRP £95, newbalance.co.uk
Materials: Synthetic materials and rubber | Features: Midsole with full rubber coverage for added cushioning; breathable and lightweight mesh upper; durable TPU-infused design; premium liners for sock-free training; no sew overlays and lace closure for secure fit; midfoot rubber rope wrap adds durability and grip | Closure type: Lace | Colour: Green and yellow | Sizes: 6.5-12.5 UK (including wide options)
From weights work to HIIT circuits, the Minimus TR has got you covered.
No-sew overlays on the upper combine with ‘premium liners’ inside the shoe for silky-soft comfort (New Balance even designed the shoe to be worn without socks), while full rubber coverage across the midsole delivers added cushioning and support
On Cloud X
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Materials: EVA, polypropylene and polyester (including 30% recycled polyester) | Features: Engineered mesh upper with function-focused weave pattern for durability, breathability and agility; no-sew design for perfect fit; CloudTec® outsole in Helion™ superfoam aids explosive movements; molded cushion pads in the heel for security; raised sidewalls add stability and agility. | Closure type: Lace | Colour: Various | Sizes: 6.5-13.5 UK
Swiss brand On has successfully shaken up the world of running shoes, and if the Cloud X is anything to go by there’s every sign it can do the same in gym wear.
The lightweight frame means you won’t be weighed down when working out, while Helion™ Superfoam cushioning does a fine job of absorbing impact. Breathability is ensured by the mesh upper and integrated tongue and sock layer lining.
Puma Pure XT
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Even if you struggle to stomach the average price of trainers, Puma’s Pure XT is more than just a budget-friendly option when it comes to finding the best gym trainers for men.
All-surface traction is provided by a PUMAGRIP rubber compound on the outsole, while the ProFoam ion midsole ensures lightweight shock absorption. The shoe fits a dream, too, thanks to the wraparound TPU cage.
Asics Gel-Kayano 28
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Materials: Synthetic | Features: Breathable engineered mesh upper; external heel counter to keep foot stable; DYNAMIC DUOMAX™ technology to reduce pronation; 3D SPACE CONSTRUCTION™ feature improves compression at foot strike; rearfoot and forefoot GEL™ technology, FF BLAST™ technology and OrthoLite™ X-55 sock liner provide cushioning and shock absorption | Closure type: Lace | Colour: Various | Sizes: 5-14 UK (including wide options)
Primarily a running shoe, but one more than capable of transitioning to the gym floor, Asics’ Gel-Kayano has been around since the mid-90s and has plenty of high-spec features to show for it.
A redesigned external heel counter helps lock the foot in place, and the rearfoot and forefoot GEL™ cushioning soaks up impact with ease.
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Materials: Synthetic materials & rubber | Features: C.O.B. midsole features textured upper surface that is linked with the outsole for increased sensitivity under foot; knit upper offers a natural fit for all foot types; booty construction inside the shoe provides a soft and secure fit; soft PU midsole allows for natural flexibility | Closure type: Lace | Heel drop: 4mm | Colour: Black or Red | Sizes: 6-13 UK
With a low profile and flat base, Mizuno’s TC-11 bears all the hallmarks of a weightlifting shoe. However, the knitted upper and soft, flexible midsole make it just as at home pounding out burpees as picking up heavy stuff from the floor.
The jack-of-all-trades approach means it doesn’t quite excel in either area, but this is a perfectly good shoe for anyone who enjoys an all-action approach to fitness.
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