Best Cross Training Shoes of 2023
Buyer's Guide | Fleet Feet
Looking to become a better runner, improve your form and avoid injuries by incorporating cross-training into your routine? Crush your next sweat session with a pair of the best shoes for cross training.
Since running is a repetitive movement, runners and walkers can often develop muscle weakness or imbalances in certain areas of the body. That’s why focusing on strengthening under-recruited muscles can help keep you running strong at any age.
While your daily running shoes may work for the occasional gym session, they are made for forward motion and may lack features necessary for other activities that feature weights or side-to-side movement. The best cross training shoes give you better support, stability and versatility for a variety of exercises and movements for activities like CrossFit, strength training, plyometrics and HIIT classes.
When choosing the best cross training shoe for you, it's important to consider your individual needs and preferences, as well as the specific types of exercises you'll be doing.
Through our personalized Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting process with 3D foot scanning technology that measures foot length, width, arch height and more, we use data from over 5 million foot scans (and counting) to give us unique insights into how today’s best men’s and women’s cross training shoes from the top brands fit and perform on a wide variety of feet.
So if you’re looking to run, jump, squat and lift your way to becoming a better runner or athlete, our buyer’s guide to the best shoes for cross training will help you choose the perfect pair.
Check out our list below comparing the 9 best cross training shoes:
- Reebok Nano X3
- On Cloud X 3
- Altra Solstice XT 2
- Brooks Launch 9
- HOKA Solimar
- New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3
- Saucony Freedom Crossport
- Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 4
- Diadora Trofeo 2 AG Pickleball
[This is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2023. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
[Want more details? Check out our in-depth shoe reviews where our testers run in each shoe and compare them to previous models to give you the best information about buying new running shoes.]
What to Look for in a Shoe for Cross Training
The best shoes for cross training are designed to be used during a variety of strength training and cross training workouts like weightlifting, HIIT classes, CrossFit and more. When deciding what cross training shoes to buy, consider the differences between a running shoe and a cross trainer.
Compared to the best running shoes which are designed for repetitive forward motion over longer distances, cross training shoes should have a more secure and supportive fit for lateral stability, less cushioning for a better ground feel and a lower heel-to-toe drop for better balance during up and down motions like squats and lunges. While it may be ok to run in cross-training shoes, they are generally only suitable for short runs and sprints.
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Best Shoes for Cross Training
Reebok Nano X3
On Cloud X 3
The On Cloud X 3 is one of On’s best shoes for cross-training. A re-engineered three-layer mesh upper offers optimal breathability, support and durability during intense HIIT workouts and cardio sessions, while a better fit around the heel, more lateral support and new star lacing give you the perfect fit.
In our On Cloud X 3 review, Fleet Feet Reviewers loved this shoe for their gym sessions thanks to its wider platform of responsive CloudTec® cushioning and snappy Speedboard®.
Altra Solstice XT 2
If you like a zero-drop platform for better balance during squats and lifts, you’ll love this do-it-all cross training shoe from Altra. The Altra Solstice XT 2 was made to handle everything from weight training and HIIT workouts to short runs or sprints.
Though it has a minimalist feel, the Solstice XT 2 has a snug, durable upper that wraps your arches so you can make confident cuts, while the flexible rubber outsole keeps you from slipping in your own puddle of sweat. Plus, Altra’s roomy FootShape™ toe box makes this one of the best cross trainers for wide feet.
Brooks Launch 9
Looking for a shoe that can do a little bit of everything? The Brooks Launch 9 is one of the best Brooks shoes for running and cross training thanks to its lightweight feel and responsive cushioning. While its 10 mm heel-to-toe drop is higher than your typical cross trainer, those with Achilles tendonitis may prefer the extra lift in the heel.
Plus, if you need some added support, the Brooks Launch GTS 9 version comes with Brooks’ holistic support system that keeps excess foot movement in check.
Since most of the best HOKA running shoes have a tall stack height of plush cushioning, they’re generally not recommended for most cross-training workouts, where the possibility of rolling an ankle is higher. The Solimar is engineered with a lower stack height to handle everything, making it one of the best HOKA shoes for cross training.
This streamlined trainer is perfect for the fitness enthusiast who enjoys a variety of different workouts. It has HOKA’s signature smooth transitions thanks to its meta-rocker, while its stable and responsive bed of cushioning makes it more versatile to use for walks, runs, group fitness classes or even travel.
New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3
For the runner who likes to mix cross-training into their routine, this New Balance trainer can be your one-quiver shoe. The New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel v3 has plenty of soft cushioning that makes it great for long training runs, while the 6 mm heel-to-toe drop is a nice middle-ground for a well-balanced ride.
In our review of the New Balance Fuel Cell Rebel v3, one Fleet Feet tester said, “it’s incredibly versatile and a great road shoe that you can use for speedwork, long runs, recovery runs or even some cross-training.”
Saucony Freedom Crossport
The Saucony Freedom Crossport is great for everything from running and cross training to everyday life. It’s low to the ground and has a 4 mm heel-to-drop for agility and speed, while the durable outsole can easily handle both forward and lateral movement.
Whether you are going for a run or taking a HIIT class, Saucony’s lightweight, cushioned and responsive PWRRUN PB foam makes this shoe great for anyone who wants one shoe that can do it all. The secure and supportive upper is perfect for cross training—the collar and heel counter sit higher than a typical running shoe, and the mesh has more structure, all of which help lock your foot down while making cutting moves or lifting weights.
Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 4
The Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 4 is lightweight, versatile and comes with a roomy toe box making it another great option for those with wide or flat feet looking for a cross trainer.
The widened platform lets your toes splay naturally for more power and better balance when you’re exploding out of your squat, and the sleek upper gives you a secure, breathable and comfortable fit for running or HIIT workouts.
Diadora Trofeo 2 AG Pickleball Shoe
You don’t always have to go to the gym to get a good workout in. Mix up your cross-training with some pickleball or tennis. Playing other sports is a great way to take a break from running. The Diadora Trofeo 2 brings Diadora’s signature comfort to the court and features a lightweight and flexible EVA midsole that lets you make hard cuts and quickly change direction with ease.
Its lightweight feel, grippy rubber outsole and responsive cushioning make it one of the best pickleball/tennis shoes for cross-training as well.
How We Tested the Best Cross Training Shoes
With over 250 stores in communities across the country, Fleet Feet is the largest running store in the U.S. with over four decades of experience outfitting runners with the best running shoes, apparel and gear. We focus on running and walking gear, so we can be the experts and bring you the best running and walking advice possible.
Through our personalized Fleet Feet fit id® Outfitting process with 3D foot scanning technology, we use data from over 5 million foot scans (and counting) to give us unique insights into how today’s top running shoes and cross trainers fit and perform on a wide variety of feet whether you have flat feet, wide feet, high arches and more. Additionally, thanks to 100,000+ runners participating in our local running clubs and cross training programs each year, we can see firsthand how the newest shoes and gear perform for all different types of runners, each with different goals in mind.
Collectively, our experienced team of Fleet Feet editors has tried, tested and fallen in love with hundreds of different shoes from dozens of the world’s most popular brands like Nike, New Balance, Reebok, On, Brooks, HOKA and more. With this knowledge, we meticulously pour over the smallest details like fit, comfort, materials, durability and weight, to decide which running shoes, gym shoes and cross trainers are the best.
From running shoe and gear reviews to workout tips and inspiration, we are your go-to source for running knowledge and motivation.
With this knowledge and expertise, we’ve tested the best cross trainer shoes based on:
- Purpose. Comparing apples to apples
- Performance. How well does it do its job?
- Real-world testing. We put them to the test on real runs
- Price. Is it affordable? Does its performance justify its cost?
- Sales. Best-selling models are best-sellers for a reason
- fit id® data. Our 5 million+ foot scans show how shoes fit for different feet
- Availability. It won’t be good for you if it’s not in stock
- Designer interviews. We ask the people who made it
Standing Behind Our Picks
Fleet Feet knows running.
We picked the best shoes for cross training based on over four decades of experience outfitting runners, athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all abilities, ages and sizes. If you buy gear from us and you don’t like the way it looks, fits or performs, bring it back within 60 days for a full refund.
Plus, we offer free shipping & returns on all orders over $99 on fleetfeet.com, and we’ll match a lower price from a qualifying retailer. That’s our Happy Fit Guarantee.
fit id® & Dynamic Pressure Mapping
Buying online isn’t for everyone. To try on your gear before you buy it, visit a local Fleet Feet store for an in-person fitting experience.
We fit you for running shoes and cross trainers through our own fit id® outfitting process. The one-on-one process uses a 3D scanner to take precise measurements of your feet. This in combination with our *Dynamic Pressure Mapping system helps our highly trained Outfitters assess your foot’s path of motion and stride as you walk so they can find the perfect shoes for you. Then, using data points for each foot and decades of experience in the industry, we help you find the right gear for your unique feet and specific needs.
Want to try it for yourself? Find a Fleet Feet location near you.
*Pressure plates are available at select Fleet Feet stores
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