Best gym trainers UK 2021: the best shoes for weight-lifting, HIIT training, CrossFit, or all-round fitness
Be it weight-lifting, CrossFit, boot camp or all-round gym work, these shoes will help you train harder and safer
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Gyms are opening in April, and you may well be tossing kettlebells and dumbbells around your backyard to fill the gap, or (guilty as charged) doing endless burpees on the living room floor. Regardless of your ad hoc exercise regime, odds are it is time to invest in a new pair of trainers to help you perform at your best.
We spend time and money selecting shoes fit for purpose when running, but people often conclude weights or HIIT training don’t require the same investment.
But a great pair of gym trainers can help you be more stable when lifting, or provide tread to assist you with your agility and speed. Whether you’re an affirmed weights lifter (complete with zero cardio t-shirt), a cross-fit aficionado or dedicated to HIIT, there’s a gym trainer to lift your game.
What kind of work-outs do you do?
If all you do is weights, your primary concern is support for your feet in the appropriate places. This means a stiff upper, and support in the heel (this helps when you deadlift or squat) - if you can, an ankle strap across the laces will ensure your feet are firmly in place.
Many of us cross-train, though, with CrossFit, HIIT, or a cardio blast to help keep us lean as well as muscular. If this is you, you’ll need a shoe that will absorb shock as well as add stability - that means cushioning. ‘Cross-training’ shoes provide support and cushioning in the mid-foot and the heel. They tend to be lighter than shoes designed simply for weight-lifting, to help you move quickly and explosively.
Finding the best fit for your foot
Unlike running trainers, you don’t want gym shoes to be too cosy. Weight-lifting shoes need to look for shoes of a reasonable width, to allow your feet to plant comfortably and offer that stable base for your compound moves.
Cross-training shoes should be a half or full size up from your regular shoe size, to allow you to move naturally as you train.
There are - as with everything - some barefoot training zealots. We’re not keen, as this invites injury - either through stress fractures, or from weights dropping on your feet. You’ll also find many gyms don’t allow barefoot training.
Here are our favourite gym shoes on the UK market for 2021.
Shoes featured here are all men’s, but each company produces a women’s shoe in the same model.