Not all shoes are created equal.  Beyond flashing the latest Air Jordans, most athletes have no problem purchasing specialized shoes for their favorite sports. While many sports like soccer, football, basketball and tennis obviously require specialized shoes, this drive to find the perfect sport shoe often gets lost in the gym.  While athletes would rarely try running in shoes made for tennis, it’s not uncommon for people to wear running shoes to workout at the gym.  According to GQ Magazine, “Regardless of what they’re doing at the gym, most guys just work out in running shoes. Which…if you’re really serious about getting fit and staying injury-free, you probably want something a little more specific.”

But while wearing the wrong shoes can cause athletes to miss out on maximizing their workouts, many people go one step further and save their new running shoes for actual running and then slap on post-season kicks or worn-out running shoes when they go to weight train or do stationary cardio, which beyond just looking tired can actually hurt your fitness. According to Women’s Health Magazine, “Deteriorated soles and arch supports can keep you from establishing a solid base when standing on a slick studio floor and may even damage joints.” goes even further to warn against wearing worn-out shoes at the gym. “Improper workout footwear can cause a number of injuries. Besides the more obvious injuries, including ankle strains and fractures, bunions and corns, some other lesser known injuries are common. Metatarsalgia, a condition which presents as pain in the ball of the foot, can be worsened by poorly fitting footwear, according to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.”

But even if they aren’t worn out, wearing the wrong type of shoe for a workout can almost be as damaging as wearing old shoes.  According to, “Choosing a proper shoe can help to protect you against common injuries associated with your type of workout. Good shoes can lessen the impact of your step and cushion the foot from heavy landings. In addition, sport or exercise specific shoes can improve your performance, enabling, for example, quick direction changes.”

So what kind of shoes are best for working out at the gym?  According to Men’s Fitness Magazine, its a cross training shoe.  “You need a sneaker that has the technical aspects of a running shoe plus some of a training shoe in order to avoid injury and maximize your performance. Whether you’re firing out agility drills, sprints, lifting weights, or performing fat-burning bodyweight moves (or doing them all!), [proper] sneakers will enhance your every step.”

Men’s Fitness culled all of the latest, greatest shoes and here is a list of their top picks:

Women’s Health advises that, “If you’re picking out a new pair of sneakers, [seek] professional analysis of your strides, so your shoes can correct for your foot’s natural tendency to roll inward or outward. Choosing function over fashion is key for a safe, effective sweat session.”