What shoes are the best for indoor workouts?

What are the most important features to consider when buying indoor workout shoes and how to choose the best one for you?

What shoes are the best for indoor workouts
(Image credit: Nike/Inov-8)

Indoor workouts come in many shapes and sizes and so do workout shoes. And don't believe gym bros who'll give you unsolicited advice on shoes; just because you're a seasoned lifter, that doesn't mean you know anything about shoes. Let us, workout shoe experts, explain what shoes are best for indoor workouts!

Here at T3, we pride ourselves on being very knowledgeable about workout shoes. After all, our best workout shoes and best cross-training shoes guides rank well on Google, meaning many people trust our opinion on these types of footwear. We thoroughly test each and every pair of workout shoes to ensure our reviews are as unbiased and well-informed as humanely possible.

We came across a number of excellent indoor workout shoes over the years, and below is a selection of the ones we think are ideal for specific types of workouts, from stable CrossFit favourites to jumpy HIIT pumps.

But before we go on to recommending shoes, we must talk about what to look out for when buying shoes for indoor workouts.

Indoor workout shoes – Features to consider

There are four key areas to consider when buying indoor workout shoes: ventilation, grip, comfort and cushioning.

Ventilation is super important when working out indoors as there is generally less air movement, meaning your feet can get warm and stuffy. Swollen, warm feet can be a major source of discomfort during long workouts, so you must make sure the shoes you wear for indoor workouts are well-ventilated and have a thin upper that lets air in and out as you exercise.

Shoes with a lightweight upper also tend to be more comfortable, and indeed, comfort is an important factor to consider in workout shoes for indoor use. Comfort can mean extra padding in critical areas such as the heel, a supportive fit, and a toe box that follows the contour of your foot.

Grip is of paramount importance for indoor workout shoes. People sweating and getting hot can cause the air to be more humid and the floor wetter, so you need shoes that grip the surface properly and keep you stable even during the jumpiest HIIT workout sessions.

Speaking of jumping: let's not forget about cushioning. A well-cushioned shoe can help preserve your legs on the treadmill and workouts where you jump around a lot. Cushioned shoes are also better for walking and people with joint problems, although barefoot-style shoes might also help some people strengthen the ankles and less-used muscles in the foot.

Under Armour releases its latest running and workout shoes, pictured here the UA TriBase Reign 4 Pro (left) and UA FLOW Velociti Wind 2 (right)

(Image credit: Under Armour)

What shoes are the best for indoor workouts?

Best indoor workout shoes overall - Nike Metcon 7

We weren't the biggest fans of the Nike Metcon 6 but the new Nike Metcon 7 shoes are brilliant. They are designed for CrossFit, but we found them equally as good for strength training and HIIT due to the stable midsole construction, the React foam and the mesh upper.

Best shoes for CrossFit – Reebok Nano X2

Reebok's Nano workout shoe series (opens in new tab) (retailer link) is a firm CrossFit favourite. These shoes are especially well-suited for short bursts of cardio workouts and all sorts of CrossFit exercises. Double unders and box jumps have never been easier to perform!

Best shoes for HIIT – Nike SuperRep Go

Nike toned down the weird looks of the OG Nike SuperRep, and the SuperRep Go shoes (opens in new tab) (retailer link) now look like something you can wear outside the gym, too. that said, the SuperRep Go are still very much HIIT shoes, and the thick foam will help cushion the impact on the joints as you jump, squat or run.

Best shoes for strength training – Adidas Dropset

Adidas' Dropset trainers feature a stiff heel that adds stability as you lift and a dual-density midsole to help you move forward in case you step on a treadmill (which won't happen often, we agree). These wide-fit trainers run a bit short; please be mindful of that before placing your order. 

Best shoes for bodyweight workouts - Inov-8 BARE-XF 210 V3 

The Inov-8 BARE-XF 210 V3 shoes are perfect for bodyweight workouts: they are super flexible, lightweight and provide excellent grip for pistol squats. Even if you don't care much about barefoot shoes, the BARE-XF 210 V3 is worth a look. 

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other fitness content creators such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab).