Best Gym Shoes for Men: What Do I Look For?

Man tying jogging shoes.He is running outdoors on a sunny day.

Key Points

  • Finding the best gym shoes for men is tricky because there are so many options.

  • Shoes are important for good health because they make exercise more comfortable.

  • Consider stability, padding, room, size, and fixations when shopping for the best gym shoes for men.

  • Some of the most popular shoes in 2023 include Nike, Asics, Converse, New Balance, Brooks, Salomon, and Tiem Slipstream.

There are few feelings better than the high you’re riding after finishing a good workout. You’re sweaty, pumped up, and feeling good about yourself – that is until you sit down and realize your feet feel like they’ve been dipped in cement. 

There’s a lot to choose from when shopping for the best gym shoes for men. You can find anything from barefoot shoes to thick, hard-soled sneakers. However, not all shoes are well-designed. Read on to understand what to look for when buying the best gym shoes for men. 

Runner runs on treadmill with gym shoes

What Are Qualities of Good Shoes? 

It can be hard to find the right shoe when there are so many to choose from – especially because all feet are unique! There are certain aspects of a shoe you can inspect to determine if it is a good shoe or not. When considering high-quality shoes, focus on proper stability, padding, room, size, and fixations. 


Your shoes should be stable. Your ankle houses tendons and ligaments that stretch when you walk. These tissues keep the foot and ankle sturdy when walking. Your ankle and foot have to work harder when your shoes aren’t sturdy. Overworking these areas, or not providing enough stability, leads to injury. 

To prevent harm, wear shoes with a flat base. They evenly distribute weight across your whole foot, making you more stable. Evenly distributed weight is important so there’s not too much pressure on any one part of the foot. The base should be sturdy and durable, as well. 

The back of the heel should be firm to provide stability. It’s beneficial for the heel to be slightly raised, but no more than one inch. If you can twist the shoe more than an inch, it's going to be unstable. Having adequate padding around the ankle is beneficial for stability. 

An athlete ties a pair of gym shoes


If your shoes aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to be excited to lace them up. It’s already tough to get the motivation to go to the gym. The last thing you want to do is force yourself into some uncomfortable shoes to do so. Padding provides the comfort you need during your workout. 

Padding can be found on various areas of the inside of the shoe. It’s sometimes on the top and sides depending on the shoe. It’s ideal when padding is on the insole and around the ankle. Memory foam padding is best for insoles because it forms to your foot. Padding is also meant to keep your foot from sliding around the shoe. 


You need the right amount of room for your feet in your shoe. Having too much room means they’ll bounce around on your feet. Plus, it’ll be a lot easier to trip and fall. There should be about one centimeter of space between your toes and the edge of your shoe. 

The toe area of the shoe should be wider than your foot. This leaves room for your foot to move as you do. Mobility is best when your foot can comfortably twist in the shoe. If it’s too tight, the muscles and tendons won’t have room to shift properly. 


The size of a shoe is generally the same around the world. However, shoes are made differently, so a size 11 in one brand might fit like a size 12 in another. That’s why it’s better to measure your foot from the heel to toe and shop by inches or centimeters instead of a numerical size. You can use measurements from each shoe to compare.

Not only is the length important, but the width is, too. Some shoes have wider areas around the toes to create more of a natural feel. Others adopt a more narrow shape. You can adjust the size and shape of a shoe with fixations. 

A product photo of grey gym shoes


Fixations, such as velcro straps or laces, are used to better fit the shoes to your foot. You can adjust the size of the shoe to make changes as your foot changes. Feet change throughout life, which means your foot's shape and size may differ from one year to the next. 

Fixations are also important for activating the correct muscles in your feet when you walk. Smaller muscles in the foot are engaged when the foot needs more stability, such as when you’re wearing flip-flops or sandals. 

When you spend energy on the smaller muscles, the larger muscles don’t work as hard. In turn, your smaller muscles strain and overwork while your larger muscles become weaker. This can affect your gait and your joints. That’s why it’s important to choose the right shoes. 

Matching the Shoe with the Exercise

The type of exercise you’re doing determines which shoes you buy. Shoes have different characteristics that can improve your performance. Walking shoes line the shelves beside cycling and barefoot shoes; there is a proper shoe for every activity.

Running shoes are best when they’re light and airy. When feet get hot, the body has to work to cool them off. If the body is focused on cooling the feet, there is less energy for exercise.

Shoes for lifting weights should be firm and flat. A thick sole is important for protecting your feet from the ground. Lifting lots of extra weight puts more pressure on your shoes. You have to keep this in mind when shopping because lifting weights can wear shoes out faster than normal wear and tear. 

Cycling shoes are best when they can fit into the pedal, can be strapped in, and don’t have laces. The shoe laces, as you can imagine, can get caught up in the bike and cause injury.

Choosing the correct shoe for your activity allows you to avoid injury and helps your shoes to last longer.

Gym member tying gym shoe laces

Best Gym Shoes for Men

Picking the right shoe can be exciting (to some). Now that you know what to look for in a good shoe, take a look at some of the most popular shoes in 2023. 

  1. Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors: These sneakers may not seem like gym shoes, but they’re ideal for lifting weights. The thick, firm, flat sole acts as a strong base for your feet when lifting. 

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    12/10/2023 12:27 am GMT

  2. Nike Men’s Metcon 8: These tennis shoes are stylish and beneficial for cardio and sprinting. They’re light and made with material that keeps your feet cool. 

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    12/10/2023 12:43 am GMT

  3. Asics Gel-Kayano: The Gel-Kayano shoes sold out quickly due to their coveted features. They have gel structures at the bottom of the shoe to improve shock absorption and cushion.


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  4. Brooks: Brooks are great running or walking shoes. They are priced about the same as similar shoes but stand out from the rest. They provide lots of cushion and support and come in many variations to fit almost anyone. 

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    12/10/2023 12:46 am GMT

  5. New Balance 990 v5: The 990s have a reinforced heel for extra stability and support. The slightly raised heel provides support for the calves and ankles. They are great for running because of their curved front.

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    12/10/2023 12:50 am GMT

  6. Nike ZoomX Vapor Fly Next% 2: The Vapor Flies are great for a 10K race. They provide a cushion and a curved outsole perfect for rolling the foot from heel to toe while running.  

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    12/10/2023 01:07 am GMT

  7. New Balance 2002r: The heel makes this shoe special. It’s manufactured to put a spring in your step for any activity. They also have a strong heel and reinforced toe area. 

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  8. Salomon ACS Pro Advanced: Fixations on the ACS Pros are next level. The long rubber notches on the sides provide a sturdy but flexible hold on the shoe laces. There are also mesh windows to vent your sweaty feet. 

  9. Tiem Slipstream: Slipstreams elevate cycling to the next level. The straps replace the shoe laces for safety. They provide support for the ankle while on the pedals. 

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    12/08/2023 07:17 pm GMT

  10.  Adidas Powerlift 5: Powerlifting involves lifting huge amounts of weight, 200 pounds or more, so it’s especially important to find effective shoes. If your shoes don’t provide stability, your ankle could roll under you while squatting 300 pounds. Ouch.

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    12/10/2023 01:11 am GMT

Simply knowing which shoes to buy isn’t enough. You also have to know when it’s time to replace them. After a while, your shoes break down and lose the benefits they once had. Regularly buying new shoes improves your performance. 

Shopper comparing gym shoes

Why Do I Need New Shoes? 

Shoes have a huge impact on your health. If you choose the wrong ones, it could cause issues both short-term and long-term. Old, worn shoes contribute to pain, stiffness, decreased strength, an altered gait, and fatigue. They make exercise more difficult and less effective. 

How Often Should I Buy New Shoes? 

Replace your shoes after a certain amount of time or miles, depending on how you want to measure it. You should buy new shoes every 8 – 12 months or before they've covered 500 miles. If you carry more weight, replace them every 6 – 10 months or after 300 miles. 

Man prepares to lift barbell wearing gym shoes

Time to Shop!

Now comes the fun part: Go shopping! Since you know more about finding the best gym shoes for men, it'll be easier to find a pair of shoes that will elevate your workout.

Buying new shoes before your old ones wear out and wearing them properly will improve your exercise, health, and well-being. This may be the best excuse to go shoe shopping you'll ever get.

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