Sneakers used to just be sneakers. There were really only one or two basic kinds, and you picked a pair based on how cool they looked rather than on performance. Nowadays, with the mix of running shoes, cross-trainers, and minimalistic styles out there, shoe shopping can be downright daunting. Unfortunately, there is no “try before you buy” process when it comes to buying a sneaker, and the prices can run pretty high. So before you shell out for shoes you’re not sure are right for you, check out a few of our tested and approved picks for runners and cross trainers in both men’s and women’s categories.
Trail Runners- Brooks Cascadia 4 ($100): With a snug fit due to an asymmetrical lacing system and a silica-coated outsole for grip, this shoe is perfect for hills and rocky terrain.
Treadmill Runners- New Balance Women W750 Athletic Running Shoe ($49.99): Light and comfortable with a rubber sole perfect for gripping onto slick surfaces, this shoe is ideal for the indoor runner.
Minimalist- Merrell Women Barefoot Pace Glove Shoe ($100): This shoe is super lightweight and gives the feel without the look of the Vibram 5 Fingers shoe, yet its also surprisingly durable.
Cross-Trainers- Under Armour Micro G Toxic Six ($100): The best features on this shoe are its good traction and snug fit perfect for explosive movements. It also offers a slightly cushioned insole, making it comfortable and supportive for any type of arch. This is the ideal shoe for a Firefighter Fitness workout!
Trail Runners- La Sportiva Raptor GTX ($155): If you’re a serious outdoor runner, this is the shoe for you. It features a waterproof Gore-Tex liner for all-weather running, a wrap-around toe bumper for rocky roads, and strong lacing for support and stability with any movement.
Treadmill Runners- Asics Gel Nimbus ($140): Pretty much all of the shoes in the Asics line prove to be great for neutral running, but we picked this one for its light weight, shock absorption qualities, and ComforDry insole which helps keep feet dry during your longest runs.
Minimalist- Vibram Spyridon ($110): An upgrade on the original Vibram 5 Finger Shoe, the Spyridon is still features its signature feather-light weight and breathable upper section to keep feel cool, but also features a heftier rubber outsole great for running on any terrain.
Cross-Trainers- Merrell Flux Glove Sport: This shoe offers the perfect combination of performance and protection, and is our top pick for any Firefighter Fitness workout. Men’s Health thought so too, as it won “Shoe of the Month” back in January for its sturdy yet flexible design, and ideal amount of cushioning.