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Best Shoes for HIIT Reviewed & Rated

last updated Dec 10, 2018

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

icon
Nike Metcon 4
97.2/100 our score
Support
98
Traction
99
Shock Absorption
96
Breathability
97
Weight
96
Nike Metcon 4
Why is it better?

Cushioned Tongue

TPU Heel Counter

Breathable Mesh Upper

Sticky Rubber Outsole

Flywire Cables for Support

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Nike Metcon 4
Test Winner: Nike Metcon 4
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1870
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
19
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Ana Rockov:

The latest update to this article replaces 5 items with either updated versions or HIIT footwear with higher customer satisfaction scores. Furthermore, the entire page was updated in terms of appearance for easier access to the most important inf you'll need when shopping for your next athletic sneaker.

Sorting Options
Support Traction Shock Absorption Breathability Weight By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Support
98%
Traction
99%
Shock Absorption
96%
Breathability
97%
Weight
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$97.46
See Deal
$103.95
$129.95
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2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Support
92%
Traction
94%
Shock Absorption
97%
Breathability
95%
Weight
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$99.98
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Support
95%
Traction
96%
Shock Absorption
96%
Breathability
92%
Weight
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$129.95
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Support
90%
Traction
92%
Shock Absorption
87%
Breathability
91%
Weight
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$53.65
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Support
93%
Traction
92%
Shock Absorption
90%
Breathability
87%
Weight
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$63.71
$84.95
See Deal
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Support
99%
Traction
97%
Shock Absorption
79%
Breathability
79%
Weight
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$89.95
See Deal
$159.79
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Support
88%
Traction
89%
Shock Absorption
91%
Breathability
87%
Weight
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$54.95
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Support
85%
Traction
89%
Shock Absorption
85%
Breathability
87%
Weight
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$63.96
$79.95
See Deal
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.6
Support
82%
Traction
84%
Shock Absorption
84%
Breathability
87%
Weight
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$59.00
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Support
88%
Traction
88%
Shock Absorption
75%
Breathability
82%
Weight
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.01.19)
$52.68
In Depth Review Top 10
  • 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
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Shoes for HIIT

1. Nike Metcon 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Nike Metcon 4
Support
98
Traction
99
Shock Absorption
96
Breathability
97
Weight
96
best offer for today
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$103.95
$97.46
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$129.95
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Pros:

Cushioned Tongue

TPU Heel Counter

Breathable Mesh Upper

Sticky Rubber Outsole

Flywire Cables for Support

Cons:

Expensive

Low Heel

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.

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Drop-in Midsole
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Support
92
Traction
94
Shock Absorption
97
Breathability
95
Weight
95
best offer for today
$99.98
Pros:

Mesh and Synthetic Leather Upper

Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning

Solyte Midsole

AHAR Plus Outsole

Reinforced Vamp

Cons:

Runs Narrow

Mesh Durability

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.

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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.

Cushioned Midsole
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Reebok CrossFit Nano 4.0
Support
95
Traction
96
Shock Absorption
96
Breathability
92
Weight
93
best offer for today
$129.95
Pros:

Duracage Support

Lightweight

Lateral Support

Minimalist Drop

Shock Absorption

Cons:

Durability

Width Varies

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.

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Duracage Support
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.

Minimalist Design
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
PUMA Cell Riaze
Support
90
Traction
92
Shock Absorption
87
Breathability
91
Weight
92
best offer for today
$53.65
Pros:

Snug, Comfortable Fit

Breathable

Padded Tongue and Collar

Stable Cushioning

Supportive Overlays

Cons:

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.

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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.

Breathable Upper
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Ryka Tenacity
Support
93
Traction
92
Shock Absorption
90
Breathability
87
Weight
86
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$63.71
$84.95
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Pros:

Ankle Support

Tie and Velcro Closure

Flex-Foil Tech

Direct Fuse Tech

Responsiveness

Cons:

Lack Arch Support

Run Small

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.

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Ankle Support
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!

Cushion
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
adidas Powerlift 3.1
Support
99
Traction
97
Shock Absorption
79
Breathability
79
Weight
89
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$159.79
$89.95
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Pros:

Snugly Fitting Upper

Mesh Tongue and Collar

Hook and Loop Strap

Hardwearing Outsole

Die Cut EVA Midsole Wedge

Cons:

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.

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Secure Closure
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
PUMA Tazon 6 FM
Support
88
Traction
89
Shock Absorption
91
Breathability
87
Weight
84
best offer for today
$54.95
Pros:

TPU Stability Shank

Raised Heel

Lightweight Upper

EVA Cushioning

Versatile Use

Cons:

Rigid

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.

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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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Ryka Influence
Support
85
Traction
89
Shock Absorption
85
Breathability
87
Weight
86
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$79.95
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Pros:

Flex Foil Tech

Direct-Fuse Tech

Footprint Sole

N-Gage EVA Midsole

Cons:

Runs Wide

Durability

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!

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Stable Support
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.

Comfort Midsole
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.6
Puma Prowl Alt 2
Support
82
Traction
84
Shock Absorption
84
Breathability
87
Weight
86
best offer for today
$59.00
Pros:

Breathable Mesh Upper

Fully Customizable Lace Closure

IMEVA Midsole

Softfoam Sockliner

Lightweight Rubber Outsole

Cons:

Runs Narrow

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.

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Comfort
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.

Mesh Upper
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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.4
Puma Fierce Core
Support
88
Traction
88
Shock Absorption
75
Breathability
82
Weight
79
best offer for today
$52.68
Pros:

Mesh Upper

Elastic Closure

Pull Loop Tab at Heel

Rubber Outsole

Flex Groove

Cons:

Lacks Cushioning

Bulky

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.

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Rubber Outsole
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.

Mesh Upper
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

Support

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.

  • Supportive Outsoles - Look for shoes that offer supportive outsoles which are designed to flex with your foot’s movements. There are a number of such supportive outsole technologies from shoe manufacturers that are designed specifically for HIIT and CrossFit activities to allow for your foot to move as necessary in a workout without making you fall.
  • Arch and Heel Support - You need arch and heel support because these supportive features will reduce your risk of a fall or injury from the intense activity. You especially need these support features if you do not have normal pronation, as your over or underpronation makes your feet roll more than they are supposed to. The extra lateral movements and sudden direction changes will intensify any pronation problems you may already have, so you need a shoe that will compensate as needed to give you as close to normal pronation as possible. This can reduce your risk of developing plantar fasciitis and a number of debilitating injuries originating from pronation problems.
  • Supportive Uppers - Flexibility is of great importance, but a plain mesh upper would not provide enough support for high-intensity interval training activities, because meshes are light, flexible, and aren’t designed to offer support. The best shoes have supportive overlays of some form to overlay mesh uppers if they have mesh uppers at all. This provides you with the extra support that you need to prevent an injurious fall. Supportive uppers made with overlays are also more durable than plain mesh uppers, as the breathable mesh is usually thinner and could tear.
  • Traction

    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.

    Shock Absorption

    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.

  • Padding - Effective, lightweight padding can make an otherwise firm and supportive shoe comfortable to wear when it would otherwise be an uncomfortable environment for your feet. Look for shoes which offer light padding on the interior of the shoe, as well as on the tongue and collar. Be careful to find a shoe which promotes breathability through the padding, though, or you’ll have a new problem on your hands.
  • Insoles - The insoles of your shoe need to be cushioned enough to absorb the shock from the hard impacts that result from intense activities, but thin and lightweight enough to not hinder the shoe’s ability to flex with your foot.
  • Midsoles - Midsole units can compensate for extra thin insoles by providing an extra interior layer of cushioning and support at the same time. Shoes which don’t have a midsole or have a midsole which does not meet your support and cushioning needs are not good.
  • Outsoles - The outsole cushions your feet more than you may think. The outsole is your foot’s first line of defense against painful bumps and environmental hazards. The shoes which are best have rubber or synthetic outsoles and do not have crepe or leather outsoles. The outsole should be flexible and supportive, but it should also be cushioned enough to provide shock absorption to counter the hard impacts characterized by HIIT workouts.
  • Breathability

    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.

  • Mesh Upper - The most common way that shoe manufacturers provide temperature management and breathability is by using a mesh upper in the shoe’s design. Mesh uppers allow more airflow in and out of the shoe, which in turn cools and dries your feet. Mesh uppers have the added benefit of being flexible and stretchy, as well, which are also features needed in a good shoe.
  • Weight

    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.

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    Support
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    Shock Absorption
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    Scorch Calories

    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.

    HIIT and Plyometrics

    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

    Flexibility

    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.

  • Flex Grooves - One of the most important ways that shoe manufacturers promote flexibility in their shoes is through flex grooves. The flex grooves which are best are neither too deep or too narrow. If the grooves aren’t deep enough, they won’t make a difference in the flexibility of the shoe, but if they are too deep, you risk losing all of the supportive benefits that the outsole offered before the grooves were cut.
  • Flexible Uppers - The most common kind of flexible upper that is found in shoes is a mesh upper. Mesh uppers offer a plethora of benefits, but when you are doing HIIT, you must have supportive overlays of some kind to provide your foot with the extra support it needs. A mesh upper with no supportive overlay is a recipe for disaster.
  • Fit

    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.

    Value

    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.

  • Durable - You want a shoe that will last you awhile, so look for shoes with durable rubber outsoles and synthetic or leather overlays which protect the more fragile parts of the upper in your shoe, such as a mesh upper. Shoes which have crepe outsoles are the least durable, so it’s for the best that you avoid them. Rubber and synthetic outsoles are generally water resistant and the most durable outsole materials. Leather or synthetic overlays on your shoes upper can increase both the durability and the supportiveness of your shoe.
  • Convenience & Ease of Use - Shoes which are easy and convenient to use are worth more just the same way that fast food and food at a restaurant are worth paying more than cooking food at home. So, look for shoes which offer removable inserts for your convenience to increase the longevity of your shoes. If you can replace the insoles, then you can get twice the life out of your HIIT shoes, but that doesn’t mean that shoes without removable inserts are not good. It’s just a bonus to be able to remove a worn-out insole.
  • Maintenance - Shoes which are hard to clean and require a lot of timely maintenance are a pain. You buy a shoe so you can workout and be healthier, not so you can spend more of your free time cleaning, treating, and otherwise maintaining your shoes. To get the most value out of your shoes with maintenance in mind, it’s best to avoid shoes with leather overlays unless the overlays are pretreated and water resistant, as water can damage leather.
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    q: Are Nike, ASICS, PUMA, Adidas, New Balance, Ryka, and Reebok the only shoe manufacturers that make good shoes for HIIT?
    a:

    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.

    q: Can I use these shoes for running and other athletic endeavors?
    a:

    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.

    q: Can I wear my HIIT shoes on a walk?
    a:

    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.

    q: Can I use running shoes for my workout?
    a:

    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.