The Best Workout Shoes for Getting Swole in 2022

Whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, or you’re a seasoned gym rat, there's a workout shoe for everyone.

Feb 10 2022, 8:40pm

Let’s be real: Half the fun of hitting the gym and getting swole is amassing a stockpile of sick workout gear, gym accessories, and smart fitness gadgets. [Laughs in Gymshark.] However, there’s a little more to it when it comes to shoes. Regardless if you’re a novice who’s been embarking on some sort of health-and-fitness New Year’s resolution that you’re “really gonna stick to this year,” or you’re an OG gym rat with callouses the size of dimes, wearing the wrong shoes while working out isn’t just a dusty look—it can lead to all sorts of joint pain and injuries. (You wouldn’t run a 5K in a pair of sandals or dress shoes, right? Blister City.)


Finding the right pair of workout shoes for your specific needs is a must—and a solid pair doesn’t have to break the bank, either. These days, workout shoes can be affordable, comfortable, and cool enough to go out in. Whether you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, or you’re a seasoned member of your local 24/7 athletic club, here are a few of our favorite workout shoes, from runners that are cool enough to wear to the club and platform lifting shoes to everyday trainers and more. 

Our favorite runners

I’ve long lauded how much I love the Cloudstratus running shoes from On. The extra cushion helps with my joint pain, and makes running a breeze. Plus, they’re cool enough to wear out and about without feeling like a doofus. (Side note: These also make a great gift—I bought these for my dad and he hasn’t stopped talking about them since.)

On Running

$169.99 at On Running

Dope design, even better function

Besides basically being streetwear, these all-gender Clifton Edge sneakers are “designed to help you feel like you can run forever.” They’re made with a combination of responsive cushion and HOKA’s softest, lightest foam to date, and feature a unique heel geometry to help cushion your impact and increase that gliding sensation you’ve been yearning for. Plus, if you’re not a runner, you can swap these for those crusty FILAs you’ve been meaning to throw out.

All Gender Clifton Edge

$180 at Hoka

A pair of timeless classics

Generally, having a flat bottom isn’t something people strive for—unless it’s in a lifting shoe, of course. A flat-bottomed lifting shoe allows for more stability during heavy lifting, which is key if you’re trying to LIFT THINGS UP AND PUT THEM DOWN. Plus, these classic Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars go with any outfit, so they can moonlight as everyday kicks when you’re not showing the iron who’s boss.

Chuck Taylor All Star

$60 at Converse

Earn your (three) stripes

If you’re a casual lifter or gym-goer looking for some good shoes for general exercise and activity, these NMD_R1 Adidas are where it’s at. They’re made with a soft, stretchy, knit upper and offer proprietary Boost cushioning for all-day comfort. Plus, Adidas created this line using Primeblue, a high-performance recycled material made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic.

NMD_R1 Primeblue Shoes

$150 at Adidas

On the other hand, for more serious Olympic-hopeful lifters and aspiring powerlifting pros, you can’t go wrong with a sturdy pair of weightlifting shoes. And, as it just so happens, the Powerlift 4s from Adidas are lightweight, feature both a high-density wedge midsole and a lace closure with hook-and-loop top strap, and are ultimately sick-looking.

Powerlift Weightlifting Shoes

$100 at Adidas

Fly like a… bird

Allbirds aren’t just for dudes that work in start-ups—they’re actually sweet athletic shoes that are produced responsibly. “These days people are also looking for shoes that are good for the environment, that are made ethically,” Craig Doty, a NASM certified trainer, explains. “I really like Allbirds in this category; they’re known for being comfortable and durable.”

Men's Wool Runners

$110 at Allbirds
Women's Tree Dashers

$135 at Allbirds

Tried-and-true staples

These Unisex Workout Plus sneaks by Reebok aren’t just cool kicks that go with everything; they’re actually solid workout shoes that come in a litany of different colors, can be worn in the gym or on the street, and give off that “I’m retro, but not trying too hard” look. I mean, c’mon—look at that little flag. So cute.

Reebok Unisex Workout Plus Sneaker

$74 at Amazon

When streetwear and athleisure collide

Look, not everyone has enough time to hit the gym, go back to their apartment, change, and go out. That’s where these Limited Edition Speedcross 3 ADV Sneakers by Salomon come in—when you’ve got a HIIT class at noon and a night of squinting at a DJ through rose-colored indoor sunglasses at 11, there’s no better option.

Black Limited Edition Speedcross 3 ADV Sneakers

$130 at SSENSE

See you by the squat rack. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.



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