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Men’s Cross Training Shoes Buying Guide
Browsing men’s athletic shoes reveals a type for almost every sport, from football to running. Cross trainer shoes are one of those, and they may be right for you if your physical activity involves a wide range of activity types all in one workout. Keep reading our men’s cross training shoes buying guide to find out if cross training shoes are right for you and how to the best ones.
Uses for Cross Trainer Footwear
If you find yourself wondering, “What are cross training shoes used for?” you’re not alone. With so many types of athletic shoes available, it is often difficult to figure out which shoes work for certain activities. This men’s cross trainers buying guide helps you sort out the specifics of this type of shoe to determine if it a suitable option for your workouts.
As the name suggests, a cross training shoe works for a variety of activities. People often use them for cross training workouts in which you do several different activities in one workout. This might include a crossfit-type workout or a class at a gym that involves different types of moves.
Other people choose cross trainer shoes because they do a variety of single activities throughout the week. You might take a cardio class one day, lift weights a few days a week, hit the stair climber at the gym and round out the week with walking. If you don’t dedicate the majority of your workout hours to a specific sport, a cross training shoe is an economical pick that can fit all of your workouts.
One major advantage of buying cross training shoes is the ability to use one shoe for multiple sports. This allows you to find one quality pair that fits comfortably and provides effective support for your foot type instead of buying multiple separate pairs for individual activities. You can combine all of your athletic footwear needs into one pair of shoes for an economical way to exercise.
Cross training shoes also work well for everyday wear with casual outfits. They come in a variety of colors and styles, letting you show off your personality while giving your feet good support. This is particularly helpful if you spend most of the day on your feet, as crossing training shoes are generally more comfortable than dressier shoe styles.
Here are some reasons and practical situations in which men’s cross trainers are a good fit:
- Varied Workout: Workouts often incorporate more than one type of activity in one session. A class at the gym might incorporate pilates with cardio and weight lifting, for example. One move in the workout might require strong arch support while the next requires foot flexibility. You can’t stop and change shoes in the middle of a workout, so a quality pair of men’s cross trainers can do the trick. The design provides support and protection for a variety of activities.
- Recreational Sports: Cross trainers for men are better suited for recreational activities rather than highly competitive sports situations. These are the type of shoes that can work for a casual game of tennis one week and a pickup basketball game with the guys the next week. These situations often don’t require as much specialization in footwear.
- Noncompetitive Situations: If you plan to compete in a particular sport, skip the cross trainers in favor of a specialty shoe. If you prefer a low-pressure, noncompetitive environment, cross training shoes may be just fine for your needs.
Cross trainers work well for a variety of sports on a noncompetitive basis. Common sports compatible with this style of shoe include weight training, elliptical, stair climbing, circuit-style cardio and stationary bikes.
When Not to Wear Cross Training Shoes
Some situations call for a shoe designed for that specific activity. A cross training shoe may not provide enough specialized support for certain activities. Here are some situations that are better suited to a specialty shoe:
- Frequent Single Sport: If you engage in a dedicated workout or sports activity on a regular basis, you’ll want to buy a shoe for that activity. Consider buying a dedicated shoe if you participate in a specific activity, such as running or basketball, three or more times per week. You’ll get your investment out of the specialty shoe while getting the specialized support and performance you need to propel your workouts to the next level.
- Intense Training: Cross training shoes aren’t usually suited for intense training routines, especially if the routine focuses on a particular sport or activity.
- Running: While cross trainers may work for occasional running, especially as part of a larger workout with other elements, buying a specific pair of running shoes is often preferable. Cross training shoes can be too heavy and lack the protection needed for a running workout. If you compare a running shoe to a cross training shoe, you’ll notice the running shoe is much lighter, which helps your speed. The running shoe also has a structure based on the performance and support needs of a runner based on impact and the way the foot hits the ground.
- Activities Requiring Lightness: Cross training shoes tend to weigh more than many sport-specific shoes. If you need a lightweight shoe that won’t slow you down, consider a specialty shoe for a specific sport to lighten the load.
Construction of Cross Training Shoes
Like all athletic shoes, cross training shoes feature an upper, midsole and outsole. Each part plays a certain role in protecting and supporting your foot through a variety of physical activities. Pay attention to the features of each component, so you find a cross trainer that fits and supports your foot.
The upper portion of the shoe is the part that goes over the top of your foot. This is where you find the laces or other closure methods and all of the design elements of the shoe. Here are details on the upper portion of cross training shoes for men:
- Supportive: Because you use your foot in a variety of ways while cross training, a supportive upper is necessary. Leather provides the greatest amount of support. Choose a leather upper if you want extra support while exercising. Synthetic materials also provide support, but may be more flexible than leather.
- Breathable: Another important element of a cross trainer upper is how breathable the material is. This is particularly important if your feet tend to get sweaty and hot easily. Synthetic materials tend to offer more breathability than leather. Look for a mesh-style upper for ultimate breathability.
- Ankle Support: If your ankles tend to need more support, choose a shoe with leather at the ankles. Some shoes offer a combination of materials, so you can still get the leather ankle section with a breathable mesh upper. Keep in mind that a stiffer ankle limits your flexibility. If your exercise routines require quick, flexible ankle movements, a lower top without as much support may be a better fit.
- Closure System: A lacing system is common on cross trainers, but you may find other closure options. Test out the closure system to ensure it fits your foot well and is easy to use. Laces offer the most flexibility because you can adjust the tightness.
The midsole is the inner part of the shoe that supports your foot. This is one of the most important factors in choosing your cross trainer shoes, because it needs to support your arch to prevent foot problems and to keep you comfortable.
Consider these features of the cross trainer midsole when choosing your shoes:
- Cushioning: If your foot’s arches are normal or on the high end, choose a midsole with cushioning. These types of cross trainers give your arches the protection they need while helping to give your foot proper positioning.
- Stability: For people with flatter feet, look for a cross training shoe designed for stability. This helps ease your foot into a natural position for proper posture while you are active. Stability shoes prevent your foot from rolling inward.
If you’re not sure what type of arches you have, do a quick wet test to find out. Wet your feet lightly, and step on a piece of brown paper. If most of your foot shows with almost no inner curve, you have low arches. If the print shows only a tiny strip connecting your heel to your forefoot, you have high arches. A print that falls in the middle indicates a normal or neutral foot arch.
Another option is to look at a pair of well-worn shoes to identify the location of wear. Even wear indicates a neutral arch, wear along the outer sole edge indicates high arches, and wear on the inner edge of the sole indicates low arches.
The outsole is the outer sole portion that is visible when you look at the shoe. This portion of the shoe protects the bottom of your feet and gives you traction. Cross trainer shoes tend to have more traction than other shoes, including walking and running shoes. This provides you the control to avoid slipping on a variety of surfaces. It keeps your foot from slipping on the elliptical machine or on the smooth floor during a cardio class, which can prevent injuries and embarrassing gym fails.
You can test the traction of the shoe when you try it on by sliding your foot on a smooth, bare floor. Try front to back, side-to-side and twisting motions to test the grip under different circumstances.
If your activity of choice requires a lot of side-to-side movement, look for a wide, thick sole. This provides the stability you need for that type of motion.
Choosing the Best Fit
A proper fit for sports training shoes is a must, especially since the shoe needs to support your foot through a variety of different sports and activities. A properly fitting shoe prevents injury, improves your performance and lets you work out comfortably.
Use these tips as a guide for assessing fit when you buy cross training shoes:
- Immediate Comfort: Cross training shoes should feel comfortable from the first time you try them on. Don’t assume they will become more comfortable as you break them in. Try different brands and styles until you find something that fits your foot right out of the box. Even if a particular brand or model felt ok in the past, it’s important to try it on each time you replace your shoes to ensure they still fit comfortably.
- Compatibility With Exercise Moves: Think about the typical exercises you do and the types of movements you perform during those exercises. Test out those movements when you try on the cross trainer shoes. If you want to play basketball in the shoes, pretend you’re on the court making your moves. If your workouts involve explosive movements or jumps, do a few in the store. You may find the shoe feels fine while standing still, but it doesn’t work with specific movements you do frequently.
- Pressure Points: While standing in the shoes, pay attention to your whole foot. Do you feel pinching or rubbing? Even if the shoe is the correct size, you may need a different brand that fits differently.
- Flexibility: While this style of shoe offers solid stability, cross training shoes should also allow for flexibility under the ball of the foot. Test this by bending your foot or flexing the shoe while it is off your foot.
Sizing Your Cross Training Shoes
Buy cross training shoes that are too big for your foot, and you’ll constantly deal with slipping feet. You may also end up with some nasty blisters. Go too small, and your feet will feel the pain during and after your workouts. Plus, your workout just won’t be comfortable.
Sizing varies from one shoe to the next, so it’s important to measure both feet before buying new shoes. Many people have one foot that is slightly longer than the other, so measuring both allows you to choose a size that fits your larger foot. Measure your feet each time you buy a new pair of shoes, even if you think you know your size. Your feet can change over time. Measuring helps you get the best fit right now. If you buy cross training shoes online, measure your feet at home.
Don’t forget to measure the width in addition to the length. Look for men’s cross trainers that come in various widths to match your foot.
When trying on cross training shoes, men should aim for an afternoon fitting. As the day wears on, your feet tend to expand. By waiting until later in the day, you ensure your new cross trainer shoes fit your feet at their widest. Bring a pair of socks you would typically wear for workouts to see how the shoes fit with them.
When checking the fit, look for these qualities:
- Space in Toe Box: The end of the shoe should have a little extra room to allow for a proper fit. Aim for about ¼-inch past the tip of your longest toe. That’s roughly the width of a fingernail. Test the toe room by wiggling and fanning your toes while standing the shoes. They should feel constricted, but they also shouldn’t be swimming in extra space.
- Snug Heel: You don’t want the heel of the shoe to squeeze your foot, and some slight movement is okay. You don’t want your entire heel to come up out of the shoe each time you lift your foot. Walk around with the cross trainers on to make sure your heel doesn’t slip out. Standing on your toes is another way to ensure the heel is snug enough to stay on your foot.
- Comfortable Width: The width of the shoe is an important element of sizing. The cross trainer you select should accommodate your foot’s width without being stretched or feeling tight. Likewise, your foot shouldn’t slide significantly side-to-side, as this is a sign the shoe is too wide. If you have narrow or wide feet, look for cross training shoe styles that offer a narrow or wide version instead of trying to cram your foot into the regular medium width.
If you buy training shoes online, look for a vendor that lets you return the shoes if they don’t fit. Review the return policy of the vendor before ordering. You often cannot return shoes once they show any sign of use. Try the shoes on in your home to get a sense for the fit and sizing.
Brands and Styles of Cross Training Shoes
Almost every major athletic shoe brand makes cross training shoes, giving you flexibility in your look on the court, at the gym or while running errands. Explore your favorite footwear brands, but don’t lock yourself into a particular brand. Exploring a new shoe style or brand may reveal an even better fit for your needs.
Color and style is often a deciding factor when you buy cross trainers. You can find the shoes in a variety of colors. White cross trainers offer a classic look. Black cross trainers give the shoes a modern look without showing dirt. Cross training Nike men’s shoes include a variety of black styles, either all black or with some splashes of color added. Bright colors add a fun punch to your workout.
When considering brands, think about the shoe brands that work well for you in other athletic shoe types. If you love Nike running shoes, a pair of cross training shoes Nike makes might be a good fit, for example. Don’t discount other brands, though. You may find a brand you’ve never tried works well for your foot.
Brands that produce some of the best cross trainers for men include:
- Nike Training Shoes for Men: Cross training Nike shoes bear the classic swoosh symbol. When you choose Nike men’s training shoes, you get the quality behind the name along with multiple style options. Nike offers a wide selection of cross trainer models, each with different features and technology to support your individual footwear needs.
- Under Armour Cross Trainer Shoes: When you choose cross training shoes for men by Under Armour, you get a stable shoe with efficient traction without sacrificing flexibility. Leather and synthetic options let you find an Under Armour shoe that matches your preferences.
- Adidas Cross Training Shoes: Another leader in men’s cross training shoes, Adidas offers footwear with breathable designs and top-notch traction on many different surfaces. Synthetic options keep your feet cool.
Replacing Cross Training Shoes
Length of workout time or distance isn’t the only factor. The wear of the shoe is a more important indicator of when it is time to buy a new pair of cross training shoes. Look for highly worn soles or holes wearing in the upper of the shoe. You can also assess the shoe by how it feels on your foot. If your cross trainers start to feel uncomfortable or no longer offer as much support, consider replacing them with a new high-quality pair of men’s cross trainers.
Buying cross trainer shoes online lets you browse a variety of styles and brands from the comfort of your own home. Schuylkill Valley Sports offers a wide range of Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Reebok and New Balance cross training shoes. Shop our selection online, or visit one of our store locations if cross training shoes fit your athletic footwear needs.