Best Shoes for HIIT Reviewed & Rated
High-intensity interval training is the driving principle behind today’s popular workouts such as Tabata, Crossfit, and Beachbody’s Insanity, and is characterized by its cycling between bursts of activity at high intensity and subsequent recovery periods. It hybridizes cardiovascular and resistance training together to create a challenging workout that gets you moving in all sorts of ways.
Unlike a running workout where the motion is perpetually forward, most movements in HIIT workouts are lateral, forward, backward, up, and down. This requires a certain type of footwear that’ll be stable, breathable, offer great traction on indoor surfaces, and will provide responsive (but not too much) cushioning for jumps and landings
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
TPU Heel Counter
Breathable Mesh Upper
Sticky Rubber Outsole
Flywire Cables for Support
- Nike Metcon 4
- ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR
- Reebok CrossFit Nano 4.0
- PUMA Cell Riaze
- Ryka Tenacity
- adidas Powerlift 3.1
- PUMA Tazon 6 FM
- Ryka Influence
- Puma Prowl Alt 2
- Puma Fierce Core
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Shoes for HIIT
1. Nike Metcon 4
TPU Heel Counter
Breathable Mesh Upper
Sticky Rubber Outsole
Flywire Cables for Support
Made for cross training and weightlifting, the Nike Metcon 4 is one of the best choices for those in need of a versatile shoe that’s both supportive and flexible, and gives a good amount of traction on varied surfaces. The latest update to the model features improvements in the upper, mainly related to comfort and breathability, seeing that it now features sandwich mesh that’s more padded, but provides the same amount of durability as previous versions.Read more
The Metcon 4 actually features a removable insole that acts the same way a midsole would in traditional athletic footwear. It features a softly cushioned forefoot that works well for sprints, as well as a thicker, sturdier heel that allows a good amount of stability for lifting and squatting. The 4mm drop ensures excellent connection with the surface underfoot.
Solid Rubber Outsole
The outsole on the Metcon 4 is made with a sticky rubber featuring a tri-star tread pattern that’ll work great both indoor and outdoor. Added protection is added on the medial and lateral parts of the foot which ensures good grip even during rope climbing, preventing from degradation in this part of the shoe.
Cost and Value
With a cost that’s above average compared to other models on this list, the Nike Metcon definitely is an investment, but it’s one of the best pairs of cross training shoes you can purchase at the moment. Not only is it made by a reputable brand, with high quality, durable materials, but it’s also a comfortable style that goes a long way for varied types of exercise, perfect for HIIT sessions.
2. ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Mesh and Synthetic Leather Upper
Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning
AHAR Plus Outsole
Made for both quick sprints and weightlifting sessions, the ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR is an excellent all-rounder for anyone looking to get in shape. It features the brand’s signature GEL cushioning in the entire sole, giving you some of the best shock absorption while maintaining a great level of support as well. Lightweight and neutral in terms of support, it’s a great choice for a number of people, especially those who value a cushioned but durable pair of trainers.Read more
AHAR Plus Outsole
The outsole on the GEL-Quantum 180 TR is made with ASICS’ own AHAR compound that is placed in key areas that often see high wear with this type of training. This type of rubber will provide a more durable, but just as strong amount of traction on all types of surfaces. Inside the sole is the brand’s Trussic System that provides integrity to the midfoot area, preventing the loss of stability during quick lateral movements.
There are two key pieces of technology featured in the Quantum. One is the Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL cushioning that provides great shock absorption for all landings, while the other is the Solyte midsole material that’s incredibly lightweight yet durable, providing an added level of cushioning.
Cost and Value
Not exactly cheap, the ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR will set you back as much as a professional grade pair of running shoes would, but that’s to be expected considering that it’s a flagship cross training shoe by one of the leading athletic brands in the world. You’ll definitely benefit from wearing this type of footwear to your next training session.
3. Reebok CrossFit Nano 4.0
Reebok is no stranger to HIIT, especially with their CrossFit line of footwear, optimally designed for those pulling Olympic lifts and performing high impact movements, such as box jumps. The Nano 4.0 combines a minimal drop differential with all the support and shock absorbance needed for HIIT. With forefoot and heel pods to give extra cushion to impact, it’s an ideal option for going hard.Read more
Along the sleek upper lines of the CrossFit Nano 4.0 is lightweight open weave mesh, keeping ventilation high for hot sweaty sessions at the gym. Duracage synthetic overlays help provide lateral support, as well as help to maintain the structure of the shoe over time. And, should you find yourself doing laps of rope climbs, a RopePro wrap helps protect the shoe from wear, as well as help you get wrapped up quicker to climb.
With a minimalist style sole, measuring only a 4mm drop differential, the stability of the Nano 4.0 is beyond supreme for landings, pistol squats, and also helps you to better utilize muscles of the foot and Achilles by keeping the heel lower. Forefoot and heel pods add cushioning and shock absorption, all keeping you comfortable to the last second of effort.
Cost and Value
The CrossFit Nano 4.0 is one of the older versions of the Nano, but still packs a punch, and costs less than newer models. Great for stability with its minimalist drop, and maintaining sneaker integrity over time due to the Duracage, as well as providing lateral support, it’s truly well designed. Great for CrossFitters, but also for those who enjoy high impact workouts!
4. PUMA Cell Riaze
Snug, Comfortable Fit
Padded Tongue and Collar
Runs Small and Narrow
Puma appeals to the folks who enjoy the athleisure look with this shoe but without sacrificing functionality with its form. You will enjoy the benefits of wearing this shoe during your workouts, knowing that stability and support are behind this shoe’s look and reputation.Read more
Cushioning to the Extreme
With this shoe, you will experience all-around cushioning that can be found in its midsole and heel, as well as in its padded tongue and collar. Comfort is clearly the goal here, but you will not feel as though your foot is being swallowed by pillowy softness. Instead, the cushioning is meant to garner support for where you need it most during your most grueling activity, be it squat jumps or jump knee tucks.
If you’re going hard during your HIIT workout and you’ve passed the thirty-minute mark, chances are your feet are sweating as hard as the rest of you. The Cell Riaze’s have a breathable textile upper meant to manage moisture, as is evidenced by its use of the Eco Ortholite sock liner. These shoes work hard to keep your feet cooler, drier, and healthier so that you can work hard at making a higher box jump than last week.
Cost and Value
While being close to one of the more expensive shoes on this list, your money will be well spent with this shoe. This is a pair of cross-trainers that maintains its reputation as a worthy contender for most supportive and stable shoe for HIIT workouts.
5. Ryka Tenacity
Tie and Velcro Closure
Direct Fuse Tech
Lack Arch Support
Need a bit of ankle stability in your new pair of HIIT sneakers? The Ryka Tenacity brings a high-top style to help support the ankle, but still maintains flexibly for high jumping movements. Combining a lace up and Velcro closure, you can adjust the fit so it’s just right for you. Aggressive styling and color variety keep these looking powerful and translates to your efforts during that extra round.Read more
The Tenacity incorporates a high-top design to better support the ankle, and the lace-up closure wraps high to give you the snug fit and support you need. It pulls together reinforced synthetic layers atop breathable mesh, so you can push through lateral moves without harm. Add to this the Pivot design on the sole, for quick toe turns, and you’ll be killing your next workout!
As with many of Ryka’s footwear, Flex-Foil and Direct-Fuse technology gives incredible support for high impact absorbance. The Precise-Return footbed helps provide energy response back to you, and the responsiveness back to shape helps maintain the sneaker’s integrity. Rubber outsole gives grippy traction for quick darting moves without slippage.
Cost and Value
Similar to other Ryka sneakers, it’s quite reasonably priced and gives an extra bit of support to the ankle. If you’re in search of something high impact related, but really require ample ankle support, it’s the perfect option to consider. Aggressive look and color options add to the attractive nature of this go-getter!
6. adidas Powerlift 3.1
Snugly Fitting Upper
Mesh Tongue and Collar
Hook and Loop Strap
Die Cut EVA Midsole Wedge
Unsuitable for Running
Unsuitable for Wide Feet
As one of the highest rated pairs of footwear when it comes to lifting, the adidas Powerlift 3.1 can definitely be expected to deliver. Made to fit snugly over the foot to ensure the best possible support all over, these are perfect for daily training, especially as it’s a breathable model that allows a good amount of airflow to prevent bacteria build-up and comfort issues.Read more
The closure on the Powerlift 3.1 features both a traditional lacing system that’s highly adjustable, as well as a midfoot strap that secures the fit over the instep for zero chance of lace failure. The tongue is lightly padded and made with mesh, increasing the breathability of the shoe, allowing hot air to escape even during your most intense workouts.
12mm Heel to Toe Drop
The difference between the heel and toe height on the Powerlift 3.1 is 12mm, which puts the body in an optimal position for all squatting movements, allowing the heel to be well-supported even when under a heavy load. The Adiwear outsole is durable and provides a good amount of traction on indoor surfaces, while a die-cut EVA midsole wedge provides strong neutral support suitable for most foot types.
Cost and Value
With an average price that’s affordable to most, the adidas Powerlift 3.1 is perfect for those just getting into HIIT, as well as those more experienced, who are looking for a supportive pair of shoes to wear daily. Overall, this is a durable pair of footwear that’ll definitely pay off in the long run, so we can easily say that it’s one of the best investments you can make in terms of workout gear.
7. PUMA Tazon 6 FM
TPU Stability Shank
Although categorized as a running shoe, Puma’s Tazon 6s are built to withstand the harsh demands of activities such as weightlifting and plyometrics. As the second Puma installment on this list, there is much to recommend it as a shoe meant for your hardest HIIT workout.Read more
Heavier than a Running Shoe
At a shipping weight of about three pounds, this shoe weighs in heavier than the ASICS Gel-Fit Sanas. Despite its heft and its construction to look like a running shoe, it maintains a stable fit during your repetitions of clean and snatch. Cushioning is placed where your foot requires maximum shock absorption: through the heel and in the midfoot by way of EVA foam cushioning and use of a midfoot saddle.
Better Load Bearing = Stable Ride
The outsole of the Tazon 6s contains a thermoplastic polyurethane shank, strategically placed between the insole and outsole for stability during load-bearing exercises. Think of how running up an incline increases the load borne upon the feet and calves. This TPU shank helps prevent any overturning of the joints while your feet are working hard at keeping you upright on uneven surfaces. The more stability you have, the stronger and more efficient your muscles become at keeping you upright and balanced.
Cost and Value
As the cheapest shoe on this list, you will find the Puma name upholding its reputation as a leader in global athletic wear. In other words, you get a bigger bang for your buck with the Tazon 6s in terms of value.
8. Ryka Influence
Flex Foil Tech
N-Gage EVA Midsole
The Ryka Influence has all the components a quality HIIT workout requires from your footwear, including flex-foil and direct-fuse support layers, a cushioned insole, and grippy traction for those lateral movements. It’s got incredible styling as well, with an aggressive design and colorful combinations. Want to slay that next 8 minute cycle? Step into a pair of Influences, and you’ll certainly notice a difference in your performance!Read more
With high impact exercise, you’ll need footwear that helps absorb impacts from jumping, while keeping you stabilized for the next rep or movement. The Influence accomplishes this with Ryka’s Flex-Foil and Direct-Fuse technology, providing ample support while you pound away jumping or lunging. The footprint designed sole helps give ample traction and mimics what barefoot training would accomplish in terms of stability.
Inside the Influence lies a dual density foam to cushion each foot strike or landing. N-Gage EVA help absorbs higher impact movements, and help return energy to you for your next step. It also helps keep the shape of the shoe during wear and tear expected with high impact sports, so you won’t need to buy new shoes in just a couple months!
Cost and Value
Moderately priced for a quality pair of sneakers, the Ryka Influence brings aggressive styling to a quality constructed pair of shoes for high impact sports. With its support technology and cushioned shock absorbance, you may find yourself going the extra round during your next HIIT workout!
9. Puma Prowl Alt 2
Breathable Mesh Upper
Fully Customizable Lace Closure
Lightweight Rubber Outsole
Lacks Arch Support
Lightweight, breathable and highly adjustable, the Puma Prowl Alt 2 is the latest edition of the brand’s great training shoe made for those who need functionality, but appreciate a stylish look as well. Available in monochrome grey or black, it’s definitely the best looking model on this list, but that’s not why it’s featured. Cushioned both in the midsole and insole, it’ll provide excellent shock absorption, regardless of the type of movement you’re performing.Read more
The midsole material of the Prowl Alt 2 is made with IMEVA, a lightweight version of standard EVA foam that absorbs and disperses shock upon impact, without weighing too much. Aided by a Softfoam sockliner, you’ll love the feeling of this shoe on your feet, and will likely be tempted to wear it for more than just a couple of hours at the gym.
The upper of the Prowl Alt 2 is made with mesh, featuring three supportive straps in the toe area that ensure maximum support and prevent slipping and sliding inside the shoe. The lacing system is completely unique in that it’s made with loops that go from the midfoot all the way to the heel, so that you can decide where you need the most lock down for a great session.
Cost and Value
With a low cost, the Puma Prowl Alt 2 is perfect for anyone just getting started with HIIT, but will work just as well for seasoned athletes. It’s beautifully designed, features a great midsole, a high-traction durable outsole, and a comfortable upper that allows plenty of customizability for a fit that’ll feel great for almost anyone.
10. Puma Fierce Core
Pull Loop Tab at Heel
Featuring an elasticized bootie construction, the Puma Fierce Core delivers a surprisingly well balanced approach to flexibility and support, making it one of the highest rated pairs of training shoes available on the market. It’s made without any laces, featuring instead an elastic over the instep, ensuring a fit that’ll fit almost anyone, providing the perfect amount of give and lockdown. The black color gives it a futuristic look that’ll definitely set you apart at your gym, but may even work for casual wear.Read more
The outsole on the Fierce Core is made with solid rubber which will do exceptionally well on indoor and outdoor surfaces. Its flexibility is ensured by a flex groove in the middle, while the pivot point at the toe ensures easy movement in all directions. The thick heel adds protection from impact in this area, as well as some elevation that’ll come in handy during squatting movements.
The main material of the upper is mesh, which is not only lightweight and flexible, but is the go-to material for anyone who is looking for a breathable pair of footwear that won’t get hot when the workout becomes strenuous. Synthetic overlays provide stability, a padded tongue ensures comfort, while pull loop tabs at the heel provide an easy on and off.
Cost and Value
Highly affordable, the Puma Fierce Core is a stylish pair of footwear that works both as an everyday sneaker, as well as a training shoe for varied forms of exercise. It provides great comfort and breathability in the upper, while also ensuring a fair amount of protection underfoot.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Stability and support features are the most important aspect to consider because the intense movements and shifts in direction can result in a rolled, sprained, or even broken ankle or any number of other injuries to your legs, hips, and back. If you roll an ankle or otherwise lose your balance and fall, you may instinctively throw your hands out to catch yourself, which could result in broken wrists! As such, it’s best to avoid falls altogether by investing in a good pair of supportive shoes for your workout.
The second most important feature to look at in a shoe is traction. As you will be participating in those sharp, quick movements, you need a shoe that won’t slip under you when you lunge or jump. Slipping and falling during such intense activity could result in injury, so you need to find a shoe with good traction and grip. Shoe manufacturers provide this in a handful of creative ways, but we will discuss the one most commonly found in shoes that are best for HIIT, which is the tread and groove pattern.
Tread and Groove Pattern
Outsoles which provide the best traction for HIIT do so because they have an efficient tread pattern which allows the shoes to grip the ground well to prevent injury from a fall. The depth and frequency of the grooves in the tread pattern vary from model to model and from manufacturer to manufacturer, but as a rule of thumb, the more grooves, the better the grip, as long as the grooves aren’t too thin and close together. Too many shallow and thin grooves can reduce the traction the shoe offers. As a whole, manufacturers all use different patterns, but they all have sufficiently deep and wide grooves and treads to promote the best grip.
Cushioning is low on this list of features to look for because too much of it will hinder the shoe’s ability to flex and bend with your foot as you go through those intense movements. Cushioning is important, though, for shock-absorption and to prevent painful rubbing, so you will still need to consider it when you are shopping for your new pair of shoes.
In an intense workout or athletic activity, you need a shoe that provides the right amount of temperature management to keep your feet cool and dry, but this is especially true of high-intensity interval workouts. Wearing shoes which lack breathability features is a surefire way to turn your shoes into a sweat-drenched swamp of a sauna, which could result in foul odors and painful blisters.
When doing HIIT activities, you need a lightweight shoe which provides the support, stability, and traction that you need in the amounts that you need. Minimalist shoes are not usually best for this type of workout, so you need to be sure and pick a good shoe that isn’t too heavy but also offers the above-mentioned features. A neutrally cushioned shoe works best, as well, as a shoe with a lot of cushioning can limit your flexibility and be a hindrance to your workout. The lighter your shoe is, the less foot fatigue you will feel at the end of your workout, but be sure not to sacrifice important safety and comfort features to get a lighter shoe; your feet are too important to risk injuring, as they are generally our primary mode of transportation.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the most efficient ways you can burn calories in a short amount of time.
During these intervals, the 'work' phase is a short period of maximal effort, and the 'recovery' phase is shorter time to give some rest. For example, you can do 20 seconds of effort, 10 seconds rest, and repeat the interval for 4 minutes for a total of 8 rounds.
Plyometrics is what some call 'jump training'. It consists of moves such as jump squats, where the movement required takes you off the ground in a dynamic method, which helps your to expend the maximal amount of energy to burn off calories.
Not only do plyometrics act as a great exercise for HIIT, you may just get a better vertical in the process, as well as some shapely calves!
Other Factors to Consider
Even though it’s not in the top three characteristics of importance, flexibility is of paramount importance. If the support the shoe offers results in a firm, unyielding prison for your foot, then you’ll increase your likelihood of getting hurt due to poor shock-absorption and could be more likely to break a bone. You need to temper that firm support with the flexibility to allow natural foot movement and there are a few ways that manufacturers do this.
Another aspect of paramount importance is less to do with the shoe design and more to do with your foot size and shape. Wearing shoes which are too tight or too loose will result in injuries. Too-tight shoes can lead to serious deformities and other medical conditions in your toes while shoes that are too loose will result in blisters from your foot slipping and sliding in your shoe.
The too-loose shoes are actually more hazardous because there are a lot of sudden changes in speed and direction. Too-loose shoes allow your feet to slide around in them, which results in blisters at best, but can also result in a loss of balance from the shoe slipping or even flying off!
You want a shoe that allows plenty of space in the toe box for your toes to spread out naturally, but one which is narrow enough to limit free space so you don’t have your feet slipping and sliding all the time. Your shoe should not slip off the back of your heel, but your toes should not be pressed against the front of the shoe.
You want to get the most value out of your dollar, so you want your shoes to be durable, convenient, easy to use, and easy to maintain. If your shoes fall apart after wearing them for a month or two, then you’ll probably feel like you lost money on your investment into the shoes you just purchased. So to make sure that you find a good shoe that you’ll be satisfied with, check the reviews of the shoe in question and do some research into the model of the shoe you’re looking into. If the brand is using some of their patented shoe technologies in the shoe, learn exactly what those technologies do and how they are helpful. Then, decide which features are the most valuable to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
No! Nike, ASICS, PUMA, Adidas, New Balance, Ryka, and Reebok offer the top ten best shoes, but there are plenty of other shoes from other brands which provide everything you need for high-intensity interval training.
Technically, you can. However, it is not recommended for two important reasons. First of all, HIIT shoes are specifically designed for intense lateral movements and sudden changes in direction. There are some athletic activities and workouts that these shoes would be good for, but for running and using exercise equipment, you would be better off investing in a good running shoe.
You can, but HIIT shoes were not designed for sustained forward motion, so the supportive features may become painful if you wear them to walk or run for prolonged periods of time. They are also not recommended to wear to the office or a job that requires you to be on your feet all day, as these are purely athletic shoes with a specific purpose in mind.
You can, but it’s definitely not recommended. Running shoes are designed to be lightweight and minimalistic to make it easier to propel yourself forward. Running shoes are not designed for the intense lateral movements and sudden changes in direction which characterize these workouts. Choosing to wear running shoes could result in injury.
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