Best Cross Training Shoes of 2018: Complete Reviews With Comparison
Whichever sport or fitness activity you love the most, if there are others which you participate in, then it can be costly and impractical to have separate footwear for each one. The sensible thing to do is have a pair of cross training shoes which can be worm when playing several sports or taking part in multiple physical activities.
The dilemma then is which pair to buy, so our reviews of the best cross training shoes will help you decide. We'll highlight the benefits of each, and answer some of the questions which can arise when choosing a pair.
Best Cross Training Shoe Reviews
1. New Balance Men's Mx608v4 Cross Training Shoes
These are one of the best-selling cross training shoes in the market, and they also have one of the biggest ranges of color choices too, although there is a caveat with that.
Let’s start with those color choices which, unlike many sports shoes, is not one where you'll end up wearing luminous and lurid footwear. The choices are more sober with a lot of browns, greys and blacks, and just the occasional trim which can be described as showy.
The uppers are made from suede leather, so you should find these cross training shoes provide a good balance of flexibility and durability.
Comfort appears to have been a major objective when New Balance designed these cross training shoes as the padding above, around and beneath your foot is comprehensive.
The midsole underneath is injection-molded foam to provide comfort and stability. You also have a padded tongue to protect the front of your foot, just in case kicking a ball becomes an occasional part of your sports activities.
Around your foot, the collar has a combination of two foam types where the stronger density provides support, while the soft density form ensures these cross training shoes are comfortable all around.
A simple, but very welcome feature is the loop which is sewed into the heel section at the back of the shoe, to help you pull them on.
What's to like about the New Balance Men's Mx608v4 Cross Training Shoes
The amount of foam cushioning used in these cross training shoes should mean that all sides of your foot are comfortable, regardless of the type of activity you are participating in.
What's not to like about the New Balance Men's Mx608v4 Cross Training Shoes
New Balance has had a reputation for their training shoes having good arch support but for some reason, it feels lacking in these cross training shoes.
2. Nike Men's Air Monarch IV Cross Training Shoes
These have become one of Nike's most popular sports shoes, which is quite an achievement considering the huge range that Nike produces.
We'll start with the sole because it hits both ends of the scale in terms of good and bad. The negative is the annoying noise that it sometimes makes which is akin to a squeaky bicycle wheel. On the plus side, the sole’s multiple patterns give you excellent grip and their traction when pushing off for a sprint is exceptional.
The leather upper provides the correct balance of strength and flexibility. It has three perforations on each side to allow your feet to breathe, and the overlays enhance the level of support that the upper provides. There's also padding around the collar and in the tongue for additional cushioning.
Underfoot each stride you take will be well-cushioned thanks to Nike using their patented Air Sole technology which runs from your toes all the way back to your heel.
You don't have the biggest choice in terms of colors with the only three options being white/black, black and white with metallic silver trims.
What's to like about the Nike Men's Air Monarch IV Cross Training Shoes
The traction provided by these Nike cross training shoes is outstanding. No matter which direction you are moving off in, your foot always feels firmly planted.
What's not to like about the Nike Men's Air Monarch IV Cross Training Shoes
While it doesn't happen all the time, these shoes make a very annoying squeak at times. There's no pattern to it in terms of the surface.
3. Champion Women's Gusto Cross Training Shoes
This is a lightweight cross training shoe which is primarily designed to be worn by women. Their styling and comprehensive range of colors range mean they are suitable for casual wear as well as for sports.
These are cross training shoes which are primarily designed for comfort, and part of that equation is how lightweight they are. The price paid for that is the upper is thinner than that of many other sports shoes, but there's no denying that they allow you to be nimble on your feet.
Whilst the upper isn't the strongest, under and around foot you certainly have plenty of features to keep your feet comfortable. Prime among these is the memory foam insole which ensures that the impact when you land each stride is minimized.
The soft uppers have cushioning around the collar, and the tongue is also well-padded to protect the front of your foot. Should your feet be prone to swelling when you exercise, the softer material these shoes have will be more accommodating than some of the thick leather uppers that exist.
You will find that the grip the sole provides is decent, and it will not mark surfaces which can be a problem with some sports shoes.
What's to like about the Champion Women's Gusto Cross Training Shoes
There is an absolute kaleidoscope of color choices that you can pick from for this sports shoe, with some also having subtle patterns on the upper as well.
What's not to like about the Champion Women's Gusto Cross Training Shoes
When looking for traction underfoot, some wearers of these cross training shoes say it isn't there so your foot slips or your standing foot doesn't feel as planted as it should.
4. Adidas Men's Freak X Carbon Mid Cross Training Shoe
No review of sports shoes would be complete without at least one offer from Adidas. These are primarily designed for playing baseball, but such is their versatility they can be used for a broad range of sports.
These cross training shoes have a synthetic upper so there is bound to be a good degree of flexibility as you move, run, or change direction whenever you are playing sports. They have a mesh-like design which is going to allow your feet to breathe and hopefully stay cool.
The sole is rubber and is very flexible, although the traction it provides is somewhat disappointing. It's not completely poor, but neither is it rock solid.
Staying with matters underfoot, the insole is cushioned and more importantly, the midsole is made from EVA which provides an excellent foam shock absorber for the base of your foot.
There's reasonable cushioning in the tongue and around the shoe collar, and it is especially noticeable either side of the laces.
The range of colors doesn't apply to the main upper but rather to the trimming and laces, which makes the difference between them being subtle rather than noticeable.
What's to like about the Adidas Men's Freak X Carbon Mid Cross Training Shoe
The rubber sole and soft synthetic uppers mean these cross training shoes are extremely flexible, which aids your maneuverability and promotes comfort.
What's not to like about the Adidas Men's Freak X Carbon Mid Cross Training Shoe
There are lots of training shoes whose sizes are smaller than the number stated but these are particularly small. Add this to the narrow fit, and those with wide, big feet could struggle with them.
5. Asics Men's Gel-Craze TR 4 Cross Training Shoes
hese cross training shoes from Asics provide wearers with footwear which can be worn to play and participate in a broad range of sports.
The soles on these cross training shoes have been cleverly designed with high-abrasion rubber located in those areas which normally show the most wear. This gives them greater durability and enhanced grip in those critical spots.
Underfoot, the midsole is designed to be lightweight but at the same time provides a level of impact cushioning that gives the base of your feet a comfortable landing every time.
As part of the features that ensure your comfort, Asics use their branded 'Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System' in the rear section of these sports shoes. This provides enhanced impact protection, especially when the activities or sports you are playing involve hard landings.
A synthetic material forms the upper sections so there is going to be a good degree of flexibility. You can also count on your feet being cool, thanks to the breathable mesh within the upper's material.
Cushioning in the tongue is somewhat thin, however, around the rim of the collar, it is more than ample.
There are color choices, although they are all based around blue, grey and black, so if pink or red are your favorites, you are out of luck.
What's to like about the Asics Men's Gel-Craze TR 4 Cross Training Shoes
The high abrasion rubber used in specific areas of the sole provides excellent grip and durability, especially where it is needed the most.
What's not to like about the Asics Men's Gel-Craze TR 4 Cross Training Shoes
Asics have produced training shoe products with thick heels sections but, unfortunately, this isn't one of them. It means the balance of the shoe isn't as good as some previous shoes.
Knowing which features are the most important allow you to make a proper comparison between any two pairs of cross training shoes. Often those who know no better merely choose a color they like and a price they think is good value, but then wonder why the sports shoes they have purchased are uncomfortable, offer little support or traction, and don't last very long.
Below we will explain five features which you should focus on as they can go a long way to ensuring that you are going to be happy with the cross training shoes you buy.
Whether you are simply exercising or taking part in a fast-moving sport, the traction you have underfoot is important for several reasons.
The first is your personal safety, as the risks of twisting an ankle or straining a muscle are greater when your foot is slipping from under you. Your enjoyment of the activity is enhanced if you can focus on what you are doing rather than trying to keep your feet. We must not forget that in a competitive sport your performance can be affected by how assured your footing is.
Cross training shoes come with a variety of grips underneath, and some are more effective than others. If the sports you participate in rely on you having good traction, you should choose a pair where the soles have an enhanced tread and grip.
Just as grip underfoot is important, the stability that your cross training shoes provide when you are wearing them during sports is imperative too. The stability of a sports shoe is contributed to by all parts of it including the sole, the midsole, and the upper.
Soles which are flat, may not always offer the best grip, but they are more stable than chunky soles which have a very pronounced arch. This means you may have to compromise a little on the grip to find a balance with a stability which suits you.
Leather uppers are going to be more stable due to their strength as opposed to thinner synthetic uppers, which may be more flexible. Again, finding a balance that suits the sports you participate will be necessary.
The midsoles vary greatly between different brands as many of them use their own proprietary materials and technology. They provide a level of support and act almost like a shock absorber so the better they are, the more stable you are going to feel with each step.
Arch Support and Cushioning
With your arch being one of the most susceptible parts of your foot for injuries, this area of any cross training shoe must offer good support and protection. The way this is achieved will vary, but for the sports shoes that offer the best arch support there will be a cushioned insole, and a noticeable reinforcement around the arch area.
The cushioning acts as a shock absorber as your foot lands to reduce the pressure that is produced in your foot's arch area. It will often be the case that the thickness of the cushioning in that specific area is thicker than it is for other parts of your foot.
Other cushioning that you can expect to find in a pair of cross training shoes, will be around the collar area, on each side and in the heel area. The tongue which protects the front of your foot may be cushioned too. Not every sports shoe has cushioning in the tongue, mainly to reduce the weight of the shoe which is often desirable for sports such as running.
Weight and Breathability
Let's start with breathability first, and why it is important. When you are running and moving quickly your feet start to heat up and sweat. The sweat is what helps to cool your feet but only if the heat can escape.
This is where the ventilation provided by certain materials can help to cool feet better than others. For example, leather is not regarded to be as breathable as some synthetic materials which can be made to be mesh-like and allow lots of air to circulate around your feet.
The weight of cross training shoes can vary from just a few ounces to a several pounds depending on the materials used. While some materials may mean heavier shoes, they are the ones that offer the most stability and durability. Your choice or preference will again depend on the sports you play, with running requiring lighter shoes than many ball sports for example.
This can often come down to your individual loyalty to a brand and your experience of their products in the past. If this is the case then stick with your favorite, albeit you need to understand that does not mean they are the most suitable for you.
As for the brands we have reviewed, they are New Balance, Nike, Champion, Adidas, and Asics, which should be regarded by anyone as a stellar lineup when it comes to the world of sports shoe manufacturers.
Having said that, just because something has a big brand name on it, does not always guarantee itis the best, or the most suitable product for your needs, and that is why you should be considering the other features we have discussed in this buyer's guide first.
Best Cross Training Shoes F.A.Q.
What are cross training shoes?
Cross training shoes are sports shoes which have not been designed for any specific sport but are instead suitable for a range of sports and physical activities.
They are effectively a hybrid design which incorporates several features you would find in other sports shoes. They are light and flexible which suits running, and they provide support underfoot, which is required for court games such as basketball.
Other features include stability across their width, which is what tennis shoes tend to be, and they also have the traction underfoot, which baseball shoes have.
Are cross training shoes good for walking?
For normal and short distance walking, cross training shoes are footwear that can be worn for this. However, if you participate in long-distance walking then it is advisable that you wear proper walking shoes rather than cross training shoes.
The reason is that when you are walking you need the heel of your shoes to be low and round, which many cross training shoes are not. Flexible and breathable uppers are also essential for walking, and while some cross training shoes may provide some of this, it will not be as much as proper walking shoes will give you.
What are cross training shoes used for?
In theory, cross training shoes could be used for just about any sport or activity, although they may not be the most suitable or most effective for it. While their versatility is welcome, where cross training shoes are particularly beneficial is in sports such as basketball, volleyball, netball, tennis, gym training, and keep-fit classes.
Part of their appeal for those who participate in more than one of these activities is they can do so with one pair of sports shoes, rather than having to own several pairs.
Can cross training shoes be used for running?
If you do light running or running plays a part in any of the sports you play (e.g. tennis) then they can be worn for these activities.
Where you need to start thinking about wearing a pair of proper running shoes is if you do medium to long distance runs, or if running is an activity which you participate in every day.
Running shoes will be a lot lighter than cross training shoes, and they will also have greater support and cushioning in the heel area.
How do I choose cross training shoes?
The explanation of the main features in the buyer's guide will give you plenty of details as to what main features you should be looking for.
The pair of cross training shoes that are most suitable for you will be strongly influenced by the sports you play. For those that involve a lot of movement you will want to have good support, and excellent traction underfoot.
For activities with fewer quick movements such as keep-fit classes, the cushioning will help keep your feet comfortable, and where you have a lot of running involved a well-cushioned midsole will be desirable.
Your choice of cross training shoes will be influenced by several factors such as what sports you play, what balance between traction and flexibility you want, the degree of cushioning you'd like, and possibly the brand loyalty you have to any of the ones we have reviewed.
Although they are all great sports shoes, for our money the top pair is the Nike Men's Air Monarch IV Cross Training Shoes.
Apart from the squeak on certain surfaces, they offer outstanding traction and grip which are essential for most sports. They have a strong upper which provides stability, and the 'Air Sole' cushioning underfoot ensures they are comfortable.