woman tying runnign sneaker on bench

The Best Supportive Sneakers to Wear When You Exercise

Plus, pairs for specific workouts, including weight training and running.
By Jenn Sinrich
March 18, 2021
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When shopping for the right pair of exercise sneakers, there are a lot of things to consider. Perhaps the most important is whether the shoes you're looking at will provide the correct amount of support for your needs. "Proper support can lessen the impact of each step you take and improve your performance by enabling you to make better changes in direction—especially if your exercise has lateral or side-to-side movements," explains Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., a doctor of nutrition, personal trainer, and the owner of eatrightfitness. "A shoe that fits well and gives you support will also lessen the risk for foot—and possibly, knee, hip, and even low-back—pain or injury."

Another critical detail to think about? You need to factor in the type of workout you are doing in order to make the right selection when it comes to footwear. "If you are doing aerobics, for example, you want a shoe that is lightweight, but has plenty of shock absorbency in the toe area, where you spend most of your time," notes Dr. Adams. "But if you are indoors doing weight training, you want a stiff-soled shoe that can withstand lots of extra weight placed on it. You need something that isn't too cushioned and isn't going to lead to a rolled ankle or make you bounce out of your squats."

Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for in a supportive exercise sneaker, allow us to introduce several options. Whether you're a daily walker or boundary-pushing weight lifter (or some combination of both!), check out these expert-recommended shoes—they're simply the best on the market.

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adidas adipower weightlifter sneakers
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Adidas

If you're planning on purchasing supportive sneakers that are going to be used solely for lifting weights, Dr. Adams recommends the Adidas Adipower weightlifting series. "They have a flat bottom, a really stiff sole, a strap that allows for easy on-and-offs (so you can easily put on more flexible shoes to do cardio or other workouts in), and can really handle heavy weightlifting sessions," he says. "They are also really comfortable, which isn't common in a weightlifting shoe."

Shop Now: Adidas Adipower Weightlifting Ii Cross Trainer, $178, amazon.com.

brooks ghost 13 running sneakers in grey
Credit: Courtesy of Zappos

Brooks

Avid runners swear by the supportive security provided by Brooks running shoes, which have a great reputation for quality and comfort. Stephanie Mansour, a Chicago-based weight loss coach and corporate wellness trainer, likes that the arch in these shoes gives you a boost while you jog. "They're full of shock absorbers that will cushion your steps and allow you to run with ease," she says.

Shop Now: Brooks Women's Ghost 13, $130, zappos.com.

black nobull training shoe
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

NOBULL

Should you need a hybrid pair, Jason Kart, a Chicago-based physical therapist and owner of Core Physical Therapy The Loop, recommends this training shoe. "These shoes tend to grip the floor better than a standard running shoe and their slightly raised heel will help you keep your back straight while lifting," he says. "In addition to their seamless, one-piece design, I have found their 4mm heel-to-toe drop to suit most while weightlifting in the gym."

Shop Now: NOBULL Training Shoes, $130, amazon.com.

new balance 68- v6 running shoe
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

New Balance

These lightweight, cushioned sneakers are formulated for running, but they lend themselves to all sorts of cardio and aerobic exercises. "They have arch support, so you don't have to worry about your feet aching while exercising and they're made of breathable material, which makes them extra comfortable," says Mansour.

Shop Now: New Balance Women's 680 V6 Running Shoe, $72, amazon.com.

asics gel quantum 9 running shoe
Credit: Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

ASICS

If you're trying to overcome a few aches and pains, be it from an injury or just the day-to-day wear and tear, Michele Olson, PhD, the Senior Clinical Professor of Sport Science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, recommends this pair from ASICS. "They are designed to handle rough terrain, provide nice foot and joint control, and can be worn for long periods of time," she says.

Shop Now: ASICS Women's Gel-Quantum 90 Running Shoes, $44.97, dickssportinggoods.com.

ryka focus xt training sneaker
Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

Ryka

Spend the majority of your time in the gym lifting weights? This pair of sneakers will give you the support you need. Thanks to heavy rubber soles, your feet will be able to better maintain their position—which is very important when working with heavier weights, notes Dr. Olson.

Shop Now: Ryka Women's Focus Xt Sneaker, $128, walmart.com.

adidas fitboost trainer shoe
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Adidas

These cross training shoes work well across virtually every workout type, which makes them the definition of versatile. "They have a firmer midsole on the inside and give you great lateral support," says Dr. Adams. "These shoes are light enough for shorter runs and have enough support for medium weight lifting sessions and also your typical exercise class."

Shop Now: Adidas FitBoost Trainers, from $99.95, amazon.com.

under armour hovr guadrian 2 running shoe
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Under Armour

If you're looking for extra support and stability for running distances both near and far, this is the pair for you, notes Mansour. "They're cushioned to support your foot while running and provide extra comfort. Plus, they're lightweight and breathable," she says.

Shop Now: Under Armour HOVR Guardian 2 Running Shoe, from $57.82, amazon.com.

allbirds grey wool running sneaker
Credit: Courtesy of Allbirds

All Birds

Searching for a sneaker that will give you the comfort you crave both in and out of the gym? Give these Allbirds a try. "As a physical therapist, I am on my feet all day and have found that this pair of shoes gives me that all-around comfort and support I need," says Kart. "The ride on this shoe is a bit more cloud-like and accepting, so prolonged standing and short bouts of walking are well tolerated."

Shop Now: AllBirds Wool Runners, $95, allbirds.com.