Best Shoes for HIIT Reviewed & Rated
Traditional workouts are no longer either “strictly cardio” or “strictly resistance workouts”; in fact, today’s workouts are now involving a combination of the two to help further maximize results and in turn, helps keep you motivated longer. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, 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.
Think of bootcamp-style workouts where you’re sustaining one type of exercise for a good minute or so, working towards your next break. And just when you feel like you’ve only got a good few breaths in, the class instructor is barking out orders to commence the next round, and on it goes, until the class is done. Thus, HIIT workouts hybridize cardiovascular and resistance training together to create a challenging workout that gets you moving in all sorts of ways.
- ASICS Gel Fit Sana
- MONO-SOCK fit system
- High-abrasion outsole
- PUMA Cell Riaze
- Cushioned midsole
- EcoOrthoLite sockliner
- PUMA Tazon 6 FM
- EcoOrthoLite sockliner
- EVA heel pod
Unlike a running workout where the motion is perpetually forward, most movements in HIIT workouts are lateral, forwards, backwards, up, and down. Just from the difference in movement between the two, it’s obvious that a running shoe will not fit the bill for blasting through your favorite HIIT class. Where running shoes are engineered with extra cushioning in the soles for endurance runs and for arch support, that extra padding can actually hinder your responsive movement during quick changes in direction during a HIIT workout.
Looking for a pair of cross-trainers ideally suited for HIIT workouts should have the following factors considered:
- The right fit
With the above in mind, you’re equipped with the essentials needed in your HIIT workout shoes.
From burpees and sprints to box jumps and quick turns, your cross-trainers should measure up against the beating you put them through during a HIIT workout. Reading on, you will find our top ten shoes meant to withstand the rigors of HIIT training in this list. Just as you would wear a work outfit specific to the job you are performing, so would you wear workout shoes that are exercise specific and that help you perform well with minimal risk and injury.
10 Best Shoes for HIIT
1. ASICS Gel Fit Sana
The feel of this shoe is as light as air when worn; almost as if you were jumping/running-in-place barefoot. Its flexible upper design lends to close-to-perfection support all around the foot for multi-directional movement. Its stretchable MONO-SOCK fit system lends to the upper’s flexibility so that you get the comfortable hug and feel of a sock rather than the feeling of being encased in a shoe.
The shoe’s outsole has strategic placing of the company’s patented AHAR Plus technology, arranged in a herringbone tread pattern for extra traction when sprinting across a gym floor. Uneven surfaces will be a surmountable challenge in these shoes so that your ability to switch directions on the fly will not be hampered.
Cost and Value
These shoes are one of the cheaper options on this list, if not the cheapest. You cannot go wrong in choosing this shoe for a wide range of HIIT activities, as you will rave about its all-over cushioning that helps support your feet.
- Snug, lightweight fit
- Comfortable without being too tight
- Easy to slip on and off, like slippers
- Great stability and support
- Some reports claim they are not supportive enough
- Not meant for wide feet
2. PUMA Cell Riaze
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 pillow-y softness. Instead, the cushioning is meant to garner support for where you need it most during your most gruelling HIIT 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.
- Snug, comfortable fit
- All-over cushioning without the bulk
- Great for a variety of workout activities
- Tight fit reported for some
- For wider feet, size up by two sizes
3. PUMA Tazon 6 FM
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.
- Incomparable stability
- Stylishly sharp
- Its raised heel is beneficial to those with Achilles tendon issues
- Rigid material reported by some
- Runs narrow
4. Adidas Pureboost
This shoe is unique in that Adidas crafted a “floating arch” in its design. The idea here is for an unfixed shoe arch to mold to the shape of your foot for a tailored-to-you feel so that each step you take is comfortably snug and fully supported. The flexible, textile upper allows for such customized “tailoring” so that it makes you, the wearer, feel as though it was custom built with your foot in mind.
Almost Defies the First Law of Thermodynamics
Flashback to high school science, and you may recall the principle that energy cannot be created or destroyed, otherwise known as the Law of Conservation of Energy. Now, imagine that Adidas has created a way for you to overcome such a universal law during your most craziest HIIT workout yet. Thus, Adidas’ Boost technology in cushioning was born, where the more energy you give out, the more energy you get back. As far as a prime example of innovative performance footwear goes, the Pure Boost Xs have swayed the discerning consumer towards its technologically advanced system for powering through your toughest workouts.
Cost and Value
This pair sits at the middle mark on this list due to its likable price tag. With such enterprising technology infused into this shoe, you can go everywhere right wearing them on your feet for any HIIT workout.
- Great support for flat feet in nonexistent arches
- Supportive in general
- Plenty of room in toe box
- Not meant for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis
- Some have reported the shoe’s heel to be too high
5. Reebok Crossfit Nano 6.0
If you’re looking to build a stronger, tougher you during your workouts, look no further than the fearless Nano 6.0s. Nothing says fearless and confident like a Kevlar-infused shoe, built with Reebok’s RopePro Plus Technology. So, when you’re speedily climbing up that heavy hemp rope to get to the top, it’s absolutely crucial for your shoe to stay strong and steadfast against those heavy, scratchy rope fibers.
When you’re giving ‘er all you got pushing a rack full of weight plates, you better hope your shoes can measure up to the amount of work you’re putting into them. The Nano 6.0s are more than capable of shouldering the load with its compression-molded midsole, allowing you better cushioning and shock absorption. If there is a slight incline somewhere in your workout, the raised-lug-patterned outsole creates better traction for you so you’re not expending more energy than is necessary.
Cost and Value
This shoe hits the most expensive pair on our list, but every penny spent on this shoe is rewarded back to you by how hard it works for you during your toughest of HIIT workouts.
- Roomy toe box
- Comfortable and very stable
- Long-lasting wear tested against regular use
- Great support for intense activities
- Some have reported that toe box is “too roomy” for sprinting
- May run small for those with wide feet
6. Reebok Crossfit Speed TR
With the word “speed” in its name, this shoe was built lightweight so that you get that extra boost in speed during your short sprints. Its breathable synthetic upper provides a snug fit without choking your feet. Its outsole’s ultra-soft foam absorbs shock so that your feet can continue pounding through a lifting routine just as well as through your speed runs. For improving stability, Reebok implemented METASPLIT flex grooves into the shoe’s outsole which allows for better traction without the feel of flattening to the ground during heavy lifting.
Built Specific for Other Crossfit Activities
Reebok continues to innovate by keeping Crossfitters happy with this shoe. For those who enjoy handstand pushups, a TPU piece is incorporated into the shell to support sliding up against that wall. In addition, for those who have to make it to the top of that rope, ROPEPRO technology prevents your shoe from shredding against those tough rope fibers.
The Reebok Crossfit Speed TRs are near the top of this list in terms of the most expensive pair, but are beat out of the top spot by the Reebok Crossfit Nano 6.0s. What you get out of this pair is a technologically advanced shoe meant to withstand rigorous training amongst a wide range of activities.
- Great lateral support
- Snug, comfortable fit even for wide-set feet
- Built well for both running and lifting
- For those with average foot-width, a half-size down may be necessary
- Some have reported premature wear and tear with light use
7. ASICS Gel Craze TR 3
Inspired by ASICS’ running collection, the Gel-Craze TR 3s have the look of its running shoe brothers and sisters but is ideally built for cross-training activities. Most running shoes, which help stabilize your feet during a forward motion, are not capable of proper cushioning and support during your Insanity or Tabata workouts. What ASICS has done with this shoe includes a laundry list of technological features that support your feet during your most gruelling of HIIT workouts.
Technologically Advanced Cross-Trainer
The Gel-Craze TR 3s have numerous ASICS-created features that speak volumes of ASICS’ commitment to improving athletes’ performance. Its AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber) outsole is meant to resist the toughest of terrains. The shoe’s midsole implements four of the company’s own patented technology: its ASICS FLUIDRIDE midsole is comprised of SOLYTE and SPEVAFOAM material for proper cushioning of the foot and joints where needed. The shoe’s FLUIDAXIS midsole technology is capable of recognizing, adapting, and responding to changes in load and position so that the wearer is fully supported and comfortable during any activity.
Cost and Value
As the average-priced pair of cross-trainers on this list, this pair provides all the best that ASICS has to offer for a desirable price.
- Highly recommended by podiatrists
- Great cushioning and flexibility
- Lightweight, less bulk than other cross-trainers
- Fits true to size
- Great for activities such as Crossfit, jumping, running, and lifting
- Not meant for those with high instep
- Some have reported too narrow a fit for average-sized feet
8. New Balance Minimus 20v6
Keeping feet as close to its natural, barefoot state is the motivation behind this shoe’s construction. With a more natural stance while wearing these shoes, you will be able to train more efficiently during activities such as strength training and running.
Stable and Responsive
In the innovation game, New Balance has created an outsole with Vibram technology, which means you acquire better traction for keeping upright and balanced during multidirectional movement. By keeping the shoe minimal and lightweight, the use of New Balance’s RevLite midsole lets you transition from one movement to another quickly and comfortably. With all of the different ways you move your body by way of changing direction with your feet, you are kept comfortable with a molded foam collar and burrito tongue surrounding you at the ankle.
Cost and Value
As the third cheapest option on this list, the 20v6s provide you with a stable ride that feels as natural as going barefoot.
- Extremely lightweight due to its minimal design
- Lower to the ground for responsiveness
- Great for weight training
- Fits true to size
- Great traction for stability
- Some have reported the slight arch support is uncomfortable
- Not recommended for long-distance runs
9. Under Armour Charged One
When performing exercises like jumping split lunges, the Charged Ones have UnderArmour’s ClutchFit 2.0 technology to ensure your feet get that locked-in but lightweight, breathable feel. The footbed is outfitted with Molded 4D foam to conform to your foot and thereby preventing slippage. Then there’s another layer of Charged Foam which provides cushioning and a better responsive feel. With yet another layer of foam, UnderArmour’s Micro G foam layer, you will experience quick, bounce-back cushioning to help make your takeoffs be that much more explosive.
Outsole Designed for Those Explosive Takeoffs
Take a glance at the bottom of these shoes, and you will see its strategic placing of different sized treads necessary for starting off in your sprint or jump. The Charged Ones’ aggressive traction outsole is a result of studying at what point you, the athlete, require the most grip when you need it. You will feel at your most stable while wearing these shoes.
Cost and Value
UnderArmour offers a shoe in the Charged Ones that delivers the most features needed in a cross-trainer for an affordable price. While definitely being cheaper than the Reeboks and Adidas cross-trainers on this list, the Charged Ones uphold a reputation in being performance-ready in any activity.
- Great for weight training and high-impact cardiovascular training
- Great support and protection
- Runs large: for some wearers may need to go down a half-size
- Some have noted the shoe suctions to smooth flooring
10. ASICS Conviction X
ASICS’ innovative RHYNOSKIN technology allows the Conviction Xs to stand tough against a slew of your roughest workouts. This technology consists of a synthetic leather meant to withstand abrasion and tearing, making this shoe one of the most durable on this list.
Comfortable and Breathable
A perforated sockliner in this shoe improves breathability and optimizes moisture drainage when your feet are at their sweatiest. Creating this shoe with seamless construction reduces that irritating rubbing against your foot that would normally occur with traditional seams and stitching.
Cost and Value
In comparison to the other ASICS contenders on this list, the Conviction Xs hold the middle ground in terms of cost. Overall, it remains one of the more affordable options on this list, giving you the best value for your money.
- Great traction for stability during lifting
- Perfect for overpronation
- Comfortable, breathable fit
- Supportive where you most need it
- Runs small: may need one full size up
- Toebox may be large for some
While trying on a multitude of cross-trainers is time-consuming and not an ideal way to find your perfect pair, this list was created to help narrow your list of choices down to a select few. You just need to look for a HIIT shoe that:
- Allows you to move in all directions while keeping your foot stable.
- Is somewhat flatter to the ground; in other words, arch support is not crucial to a HIIT shoe as it would be in a running shoe.
- Has support at the rear and sides of the shoe for backwards and lateral movements.
- Is only moderately cushioned to support jumping.
- Fits true to size. A slightly bigger shoe can only promote risk for injury in situations where you are participating in multi-directional activities.
The above recommendations come highly regarded by people like you, looking to get the most out of their workouts with the best shoe possible. As intense as some HIIT workouts can be, you will want a shoe that delivers the right fit, the right amount of cushioning, and the most stability. Choosing a pair of cross-trainers that don’t perform well will only increase your risk of injury and prolong recovery before your next workout. Having a workout shoe that’s activity-appropriate can only maximize the results you want for your body while maintaining safety and protection for you and your overall health. HIIT workouts should be fun and motivating, so why not do them with shoes that keep you going hard until the end, ready for the next workout?