Different Types of Training Shoes

Picking the correct footwear for your desired training program is critical for success and maximum results.  While a robust cross-training shoe is suitable for all forms of exercise, those may not be as effective as specific shoes designed for explicit types of training.  Some examples of specific types of shoes for specific applications are listed below.

Strength Training Shoes: Olympic, Power, Weight Lifting

Optimal shoes for this type of training is flat sole with little tread and solid heel.  The old school wood bottom platform shoes were designed for this purpose.  You will also find many pros going barefoot or wearing flat bottom shoes such as, Converse All-Stars Chuck Taylors, Vans or Skate shoes.  While these options are better than cushion bottom tread shoes, they are not specifically designed for heavy lifting.  OLY and power lifting shoes have specifically designed soles and often utilize molded technology to provide a tight fit.  A very stiff heel allows for balance and maximum transfer of power into the floor.  Read More… (opens in new window)

Hiking & Trail Running

Ankle support is a critical factor with hiking, as the terrain is typically more jagged and ankle rollover is more common.  Along with ankle support the main features of hiking shoes or boots are a rugged sole with strong tread and durable uppers.  Many hiking shoes or boots also feature water proof or additional weather resistance technology.  Trail Running is a subset of hiking that is a mix between rough terrain hiking and running.  The goal with shoes in this category is to balance durability while still keeping weight down to allow for faster traversing.  Read More… (opens in new window)

Long Distance Running, Marathons & Track

The general consensus with long distance running, marathons and track is a minimalist style shoe.  The idea with this specific type of training is for a shoe that keep weight low and the foot as close to the ground as possible.  The idea is to minimize drag and friction and help improve runner endurance.  A good example of a more modern example of this is the Vibram Five Fingers Shoe.

CrossFit, Ninja Warrior & Other Functional Training

These are the areas of training where a true cross-training shoe will be the most effective.  The combination of running, jumping, lifting and sometimes climbing requires a versatile shoe that can handle various situations.  It is not uncommon to see other specific shoes used for certain parts of the training regimen.  An example would be to include a minimalist and OLY shoe for use during a CrossFit competition.


Starting out your training journey with a quality pair of cross training shoes is a great place to begin.  They will provide function for various types of exercise and can be worn for other purposes as well.  As you get more serious about training and focus on a particular niche as outlined above or another one not covered, you may want to consider getting a specific shoe designed to give you the best results.