11 highly rated sneakers for common types of workouts - from running to weightlifting

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It's easy to set fitness goals for yourself at the beginning of the year, but the hard part is working to actually achieve them. In addition to needing the personal drive, attention span, and dedication, you're also going to need the right gear for your workouts - and, unless you're a kickboxer, what's on your feet is the most important consideration.

Instead of telling yourself you can work out or train in the same athletic sneakers you love to wear casually, you'll need to invest in footwear designed for your specific fitness needs. You'll be more likely to reach your goal without injury or discomfort as a result of wearing improper shoes or badly beaten sneakers you refuse to replace. In the long run, it'll pay off.

Whether you're into running, cross training, weight lifting, or cycling, you should be able to find the perfect pair of shoes to help you reach your fitness goals in the list below. We researched, tested, and read reviews far and wide on the best sneakers for different types of workouts and put that information all in one place. Of course, everyone's needs are different, and the pair that's right for you won't always be the same as what's right for your neighbor. But this list should at least guide you in the right direction.

Learn more about each pair below:

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Brooks Ghost 11 for all types of running

Brooks Ghost 11 for all types of running
Brooks Ghost 11, available in nine colors on Amazon, $120

In 2018, Runner's World awarded the Brooks Ghost 11 its seventh Editor's Choice award as the best running sneaker for all types of runners. According to their review, the shoe is loved by amateur runners for its cushioning, by marathon runners for its ability to handle extended use, and by road runners for its smooth ride on any terrain.

Under Armour Project Rock 1 for strength and agility training

Under Armour Project Rock 1 for strength and agility training
Under Armour Project Rock 1, available in four colors, $120

As a WWE and big-screen movie superstar, it only takes one look at Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to know that he takes his training sessions seriously. Rather than putting his branding and likeness on it, the Under Armour Project Rock 1 was thoroughly designed in collaboration with Johnson to meet his and other athletes' training demands. The high-top trainer features a fully knit upper, synthetic overlays for support and durability, and a bootie construction for ankle support. The outsole uses a wrap-around textured pattern for traction and durability.

According to WearTesters' in-depth review, the Project Rock 1 is an evolution of a classic wrestling shoe, making it especially good for strength and agility training. It excels in traction, cushion, and support with sizing being the only concern. You'll want to go a full size down for an accurate fit.

Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit for running track and speed training

Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit for running track and speed training
Nike VaporFly 4% Flyknit, available in two colors, $250

Debuted in 2017, the VaporFly 4% Flyknit was designed specifically for running speed. The shoes feature Flyknit upper, an ultra-light ZoomX foam midsole, and a carbon fiber plate built into the tooling designed to propel you forward.

To prove just how innovative the design was, it was worn by Nike-sponsored runner Eluid Kipchoge, as he attempted to break the sub-two-hour marathon mark. Despite falling short by seconds, running 26.2 miles in two hours and 25 seconds, Kipchoge crushed the existing world record by more than two minutes. The Nike Vapor Fly 4% effectively claimed its stake as the fastest, most efficient shoe ever made.

Giro Treble II for cycling

Giro Treble II for cycling
Giro Treble II, available in three colors on Amazon, $69.96-$99.95

Your feet are the most important contact point between your body and your bike while cycling, but most people overlook their footwear. If you plan to take biking a bit more seriously than casual rides through the park this year, you should invest in cycling shoes. Considering that you'll only wear them while riding and not any other sport, the price and overall value are important. The Giro Treble II was named by The Geeky Cyclist as the best cycling shoe for beginners — and it's under $100 on Amazon.

The shoe features a breathable synthetic upper, three Velcro straps for easy and secure lockdown, and universal cleat mount system. Available in black, white, and fluorescent yellow, you can go choose between stealthy and subdued or highly visible.

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 21 for road running

ASICS Gel-Nimbus 21 for road running
ASICS Gel-Nimbus 21, available in five colors, $150

ASICS consistently produces cutting-edge products for performance and fitness needs. The newly released Gel-Nimbus 21 is just the latest example of the brand's innovation in footwear.

As the 21st iteration of the Gel-Nimbus silhouette, the shoe builds on all of its previous successes as a dependable road runner, improving the slightly narrow fit of previous versions. The sneakers feature an updated mesh upper for a roomy, yet secure fit, a FlyteFoam Propel midsole for a bouncy ride, gel cushioning on the forefoot for comfort, and SpEVA 45 lasting foam for shock absorption and energy return.

One five-star review said, "[After] a month using ASICS Gel-Nimbus 21, the fit and feel [are] just unbelievable. The new cushioning system FlyteFoam and FlyteFoam Propel make the shoes lighter and more responsive than the previous models. The toe box is wider and upper mesh is so breathable as well. I am loving and enjoying my running because of Asics Gel Nimbus 21. It's like running on clouds as the name says."

Under Armour HOVR Phantom Connected for race training and fitness tracking

Under Armour HOVR Phantom Connected for race training and fitness tracking
Under Armour HOVR Phantom Connected, available in nine colors, $140

Unique from every other shoe on this list, the Under Armour HOVR Phantom Connected uses smart technology to help runners track their fitness performance. The sneakers have a chip embedded in the sole, which syncs to the MapMyRun app. There, you can access data such as distance, duration, pace, and calories burned.

The shoe itself features a sock-like mid-top upper set on top of a HOVR foam midsole, which is designed to have a zero gravity feel. On feet, I found them to be extremely plush and comfortable — comparable to more expensive runners.

Unless you already have a sophisticated smartwatch or fitness tracker that you're married to for tracking your workouts, I'd recommend buying the Connected version. They're only $10 more than the non-Connected version, and at $140 you won't be able to find a better running sneaker with built-in tracking technology and a complementing app.

Check out our full review here.

Nike Air VaporMax for all-around gym training and well-cushioned runs

Nike Air VaporMax for all-around gym training and well-cushioned runs
Shop all Nike Air VaporMaxes here, starting at $190

After seven years of ideation and design, the Nike Air VaporMax running shoe debuted in 2017 featuring the most Air cushioning in any Nike sneaker ever — and the silhouette just got a big update for 2019. Doing away with the Flyknit upper, the Air VaporMax 2019 uses a stretch textile and synthetic upper for an even lighter weight.

The shoe also features an updated lacing system and an external heel reinforcement to keep the back of your foot securely in place while running. Although the VaporMax is a running sneaker, I've found it to be a solid all-around workout sneaker and wear it regularly to the gym.

Check out my review on the original Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit here.

Nike Metcon 4 for weightlifting and HIIT

Nike Metcon 4 for weightlifting and HIIT
Shop all Nike Metcon 4s at Nike, starting at $130

No matter what your sport of choice is, you're going to have to spend some time training in a gym in order to perform at the best of your ability. The Nike Metcon series has been a top choice professional trainers as well as athletes like NBA star Kyrie Irving, WNBA star Skylar Diggins, and others who balance strength and cardio drills. According to Nike athlete and functional fitness professional Josh Bridges, the latest version, the Nike Metcon 4, is the first training shoe he hasn't blown through.

The shoes feature a flat and sturdy base, which is essential for staying connected to the ground during lifting sessions and high-intensity training. You won't want to run long distances in these, but a soft insole makes it comfortable to do lunges, shuttle drills, and other activities.

Adidas Ultra Boost for outdoor running and working out on hard floors

Adidas Ultra Boost for outdoor running and working out on hard floors
Shop all Adidas Ultra Boosts at Adidas, starting at $180

While Adidas has utilized its Boost technology on everything from runners to lifestyle and basketball shoes, the Ultra Boost has remained the most popular shoe to feature the cushioning system. It's been almost four years since the shoe originally released and its continued status as one of the best sneakers you can buy (running or working out aside) says a lot. The full-length Boost sole returns energy to the runner's foot, which promotes comfort and softer impacts. That makes it a great shoe for outdoor running; hard pavement should feel slightly less so.

Adidas has kept the silhouette relevant with updated iterations such as laceless sneakers, uncaged sneakers, and all-terrain mids. For 2019, the shoe got its biggest revamp to date with the introduction of the Ultra Boost 19. The updated design strips down the already-minimal shoe even more, now featuring a Primeknit 360 upper, a 3D printed heel frame, and a larger Boost midsole. They're currently sold out, but look out for a new colorway to release on February 13.

Check out my review of the Adidas Ultra Boost here.

New Balance Minimus 40 Trainer for cross training

New Balance Minimus 40 Trainer for cross training
New Balance Minimus 40 Trainer, available in four colors, $119.99

New Balance is a running brand at its core, and that's exactly what makes the Minimus 40 a wonderful cross trainer. While no cross trainer is designed specifically for running, many options on the market fall short in terms of running comfort. With Rapid Rebound cushioning technology, REVlite heel inserts, and grippy Vibram midsoles, New Balance calls the Minimus 40 it's most run-friendly cross-trainer to date.

The shoes have a 4.1 out of 5-star rating with many reviewers backing New Balance's claims. One reviewer wrote, "I mainly do Crossfit, HIIT, and major lifting cycles. I run, jump, and lift in these. I only break out a true lifting shoe when going for maxes otherwise I'm in this shoe 100% of the time."

Adidas AlphaBounce for cross training on a budget

Adidas AlphaBounce for cross training on a budget
Shop all Adidas AlphaBounces at Adidas, starting at $80

The shape of each of these sneakers is designed based off of data collected from Aramis motion capture technology, which measures foot mechanics as an athlete moves. With that level of technology and innovation, you might expect this to be an expensive shoe, but it's actually not. Starting at $80, the Adidas AlphaBounce is a great choice for an affordable all-around running and cross training sneaker.

The sneaker is made of a seamless mesh upper with strategically placed zones of reinforcement and Adidas' Bounce cushioning system. In addition to the spring-like cushioning needed for running, the midsole flares at the forefoot and heel, making for a stable platform to stand on during strength training.

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