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Best Sports Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Performance

last updated Jan 16, 2019

No matter what your skill level is, no matter what your background is, everyone has memories of playing an organized sport. Some resulted in epic victories, while some resulted in bitter losses. Whatever the outcome of the game or the results of the race, life lessons were learned, friends were made, and sometimes, a lifelong commitment to a particular sport was forged.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research

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Asics GEL Venture 6
95.6/100 our score
Breathability
98
Comfort
95
Fit
98
Traction
91
Advanced Features
96
Asics GEL Venture 6
Why is it better?

Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System

Removable Sockliner

Wide Range Of Sizes And Colors

Strong Traction

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Asics GEL Venture 6
Test Winner: Asics GEL Venture 6
Researched Sources
5
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
5,665
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
16
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By NicoleH:

Updated for our newest version of the best sports shoes, our list has a couple new options such as the Giro Savix and Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive, that can help increase your performance simply becuase of the high quality technology supporting your efforts. Before selecting your next pair, be sure to read through our criteria section to help you pick a pair best suited for you!

Sorting Options
Breathability Comfort Fit Traction Advanced Features 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.
95.6
Breathability
98%
Comfort
95%
Fit
98%
Traction
91%
Advanced Features
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$48.24
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Breathability
86%
Comfort
93%
Fit
90%
Traction
95%
Advanced Features
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$80.34
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Breathability
96%
Comfort
91%
Fit
96%
Traction
89%
Advanced Features
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$74.95
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Breathability
80%
Comfort
97%
Fit
94%
Traction
85%
Advanced Features
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$193.90
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Breathability
88%
Comfort
81%
Fit
88%
Traction
93%
Advanced Features
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$65.99
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Breathability
90%
Comfort
85%
Fit
82%
Traction
97%
Advanced Features
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$82.18
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.2
Breathability
94%
Comfort
89%
Fit
92%
Traction
81%
Advanced Features
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$130.00
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Breathability
92%
Comfort
83%
Fit
84%
Traction
87%
Advanced Features
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Breathability
84%
Comfort
87%
Fit
80%
Traction
79%
Advanced Features
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$150.00
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.2
Breathability
82%
Comfort
79%
Fit
86%
Traction
83%
Advanced Features
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.01.19)
$79.90
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Asics GEL Venture 6
  • Adidas Performance Mundial
  • Adidas Barricade Club
  • Adidas Adipower
  • Adidas Tech Response 4.0
  • Under Armour Highlight MC
  • Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive
  • Giro Savix
  • Five Ten Freerider
  • Asics Aggressor 2
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Asics GEL Venture 6

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
Asics GEL Venture 6
Breathability
98
Comfort
95
Fit
98
Traction
91
Advanced Features
96
best offer for today
$48.24
Pros:

Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System

Removable Sockliner

Wide Range Of Sizes And Colors

Strong Traction

Cons:

No Waterproofing

When you think about running shoes, chances are Asics comes to mind. The brand is well known for their high-quality running shoes, and they are the shoe of choice for many runners. When it comes to running shoes, features such as weight and cushioning are very important. Some races can potentially take hours, and in that sort of situation fatigue and discomfort is the last thing you need.

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Gel Cushioning System

This is a staple of Asics shoes, and one feature the brand is very well known for. During a typical run the foot must sustain impact up to five times the runner's weight, and without the proper cushioning this can become very uncomfortable very quickly, which can impact performance. Placed strategically throughout the midsole, the Gel Cushioning system works with the rest of the insole to absorb shock and promote energy return.

Removable Sockliner

Removeable sockliners are an often underrated feature. While the included sockliner is more than sufficient for most people, others will want the ability to replace it with a custom orthotic. Whether it's to assist with a medical issue, or you simply have an orthotic that you're used to and love, the Venture 8 allows you to remove the sockliner and install your own orthotic.

Cost and Value

Who says high-quality runners need to be expensive? The Venture 8 is set at a very reasonable price point, making these an ideal shoe for everyone, from runners that are just starting out to those who have a limited budget to work with. Asics shoes are also known for their long-term durability, making the Venture 6 an investment that will go a long way.

2. Adidas Performance Mundial

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Adidas Performance Mundial
Breathability
86
Comfort
93
Fit
90
Traction
95
Advanced Features
98
best offer for today
$80.34
Pros:
  • Split-suede upper
  • EVA midsole for comfort
  • Lightweight
  • Padded collar
Cons:
  • No Arch Support

Soccer is one of the most watched and played sports around the world. While it may only enjoy a passing fancy in the United States, it’s big stuff in Europe and South America. For those looking to have a cleat that grips the turf and gives performance-enhancing features, the Adidas Performance Mundial Team Turf Soccer Cleat is the best on the market. It’s a lightweight, cushioned shoe that is both functional and streamlined looking, and made from some truly unique materials.

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Functionality
These cleats are used primarily for indoor soccer, with molded studs along the sole that grip the turf to give you stability and maneuverability. These studs aren’t narrow and they don’t come to a point, ensuring a tread pattern that gives you maximum traction. These shows are known for digging in reliably to hard surfaces, no matter the denseness of the field or environment, which is essential when playing soccer. They have a little arch to the insole and are ideal for flat-footed wearers.

Comfort
Almost more than any other sport, soccer requires you to be on your feet the entire game. Every member of the team has to be able to keep up, and flexibility, power, and maneuverability are essential to play the game well. These cleats are made from a split-suede upper that is giving, molding to your foot and adapting to your movements. The synthetic lining is padded for extra cushion, and so is the collar, which helps prevent chafing at the ankle bone. The Die-cut EVA insole is lightweight and gives padding along the midsole, but the arches are flat and so arch support is minimal.

Cost and Value
Adidas is a brand known for exceptional athletic footwear and always has been, though most often noted for its running and cross-training shoes. With their foray into the development of a great soccer cleat, they know that extra bells and whistles aren’t necessary; the shoe needs to be able to grip the turf, be comfortable enough to wear for hours on end during high impact engagement, and be lightweight enough so you can run fast. These also happen to be made from Kangaroo leather! A very good investment for the price.

3. Adidas Barricade Club

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Adidas Barricade Club
Breathability
96
Comfort
91
Fit
96
Traction
89
Advanced Features
82
best offer for today
$74.95
Pros:
  • PTORSION SYSTEM 
  • ADIPRENE at heel cup f
  • Mesh and textile
  • Thick, durable rubber sole
Cons:
  • Price

Most people call any sports shoe a “tennis shoe”. It reflects any casual piece of footwear that’s not dressy, but often runs the gamut of materials, design, and purpose. The Adidas Performance Barricade Club Tennis Shoe is most assuredly a tennis shoe, developed with the sole purpose to put a tennis shoe on the market for players that wanted support and mobility without sacrificing ease of movement and functionality. These are a great sports shoe for any tennis player regardless of skill.

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Functionality
While some tennis players play tennis in running shoes or cross trainers and see no change in their ability to volley, having the proper footwear for the sport is still going to make a lot of difference in your progress and performance. The sole is very thick and dense, allowing for maximum shock absorption on impact. They also offer great arch support, and they extend from the toe to the heel cup, allowing a nice fluid range of motion and the ability to pivot at a moment’s notice on the court.

Durability
With their thick rubber sole and a combination of textile and mesh uppers, these shoes are built to last. The textile and mesh allow for breathability and airflow on the court, which is essential since there’s very little standing around when it comes to tennis and your feet can quickly overheat. The thick rubber sole will allow for lots of high impacts and running on the court without wearing down. They have a special TORSION SYSTEM midfoot to assist in every return lunge, and ADIPRENE under the heel for extra support and cushion.

Cost and Value
While these are a slightly more expensive sports shoe, the fact that they’re specifically designed by Nike for playing tennis on a court. They have a long lasting thick rubber sole, a mesh and textile upper for flexibility and airflow, and the patented TORSION SYSTEM for midfoot cushion while the addition of ADIPRENE supports the heel. Rather than let your progress suffer from subpar sports shoes, get the shoe that’s right for the game and see your performance and points increase.

4. Adidas Adipower

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Adidas Adipower
Breathability
80
Comfort
97
Fit
94
Traction
85
Advanced Features
92
best offer for today
$193.90
Pros:
  • PU-coated leather upper 
  • Heel support 
  • Adjustable hook and loop 
  • Lightweight
  • Great fit
Cons:
  • Price

For those that weight train occasionally or pray at the temple of the steel gods, the proper weightlifting shoe is essential for getting those gains. And Adidas, as they do in all sports areas, dominates the sports shoe for weightlifting in this case. The Adidas Adipower Weightlift shoe doesn’t mess around but provides exactly the right features to make every circuit, every curl, and every pump count.

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Performance
These shoes have been specifically designed to carry weight under heavy loads, ensuring that you get as much bounce back and energy return as you need to complete each repetition properly. They offer a PU-coated leather upper for comfort and support, as well as an adjustable hook and loop instep strap to keep the fit nice and snug as you continue to increase your weight and reps. These are Olympic level weightlifting shoes, and the fit is everything when you’re trying to harness all the power you have. The uppers are forgiving and flex with your movements while remaining tight against your foot, meaning no irritability but all the maneuverability.

Durability
Weightlifting shoes need to be durable. They have the potential of getting ground into the floor with the repeated use of heavier and heavier weights, and therefore need to be resilient to abuse. The heel overlay in the Adidas Adipower’s give stability that is lightweight but strong, and the rubber outsole has anti-slip traction, so no matter what surface you find yourself weightlifting on, from the gym floor to the concrete of your garage, your feet won’t be going anywhere.

Cost and Value
The price tag on these sports shoes may be daunting, but they will be the only pair of weightlifting shoes you need. They will increase your performance as you increase your repetitions, and their construction is secure and durable enough to last through every training session. No matter your level of prowess in the gym, invest in the right pair of weightlifting shoes so that you start off your weightlifting routine on the right foot. They give you deep flexibility, long-lasting comfort, great traction, and thought they first appear narrow, they break in with hardly any wear and fit like a glove forever after.

5. Adidas Tech Response 4.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Adidas Tech Response 4.0
Breathability
88
Comfort
81
Fit
88
Traction
93
Advanced Features
94
best offer for today
$65.99
Pros:
  • Golf Shoe
  • Six-Spike Cleat
  • Affordable
  • Styling
  • Traction
Cons:
  • Toe Fits Narrow
  • Sole Durability

Golf combines strategy and skill in an outdoor sport, and your swing technique can make all the difference, and you won’t want to slip on freshly watered grass, damp sand, or rainstorm mud. The Adidas Tech Response 4.0WD gives you a six-spike cleat for traction without tearing up the green, throughout all your swing phases from start to follow through. And with their EVA sockliner for comfort you can rest assure walking the green could absolutely be an option.

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Golf Specific
Keeping in mind the weather can change in the blink of an eye for golf games, Adidas’s Adiwear Outsole helps make the Tech Response 4.0 durable, abrasion resistant, and traction control in all kinds of weather. Add to the outsole their patented thintech EXP Cleats and Traxion Lugs, this shoe will long endure the elements, only stopping when you do. Lightweight with a low-profile, the shoe is designed to help improve your balance, stability, and transfer of power for optimal performance.

Styling
In addition to the technical aspects and comfort you’ll find in this cleat, it also comes in several color options, with contrasting Adidas logo on the sides. Uppers are made of a 25% super lightweight mesh and 75% from a microfiber leather, keeping your feet ventilated and steps springy. With a 91-day comfort guarantee, you can’t go wrong!

Cost and Value
On the cheaper end of our spectrum, the Adidas Tech Response 4 is a bargain for the tech trade. Superior traction control to help your swing and performance, combined with lightweight yet durable construction at an affordable price makes this one of the best values on our list. Step out on the green in confidence, and if you aren’t satisfied with their comfort, return within 90 days without a hassle.

6. Under Armour Highlight MC

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Under Armour Highlight MC
Breathability
90
Comfort
85
Fit
82
Traction
97
Advanced Features
88
best offer for today
$82.18
Pros:
  • ClutchFit Technology
  • Molded 4D Foam
  • Performance
  • Traction
  • Support
Cons:
  • Price
  • Run Small

Football as a sport demands high-quality protection in a shoe or cleat that can maintain flexibility and support quick decisive movements. Under Armour nailed the perfect combination of support and function in their UA Highlight MC. Great for ankle support, the lace-up boot style cleat combines the lightweight innovation of cleat components with contouring support, and breathability to keep you cool during overtime. The UA ClutchFit upper is what wraps around your foot and ankle to provide superior support that feels like a second skin.

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Protection
UA ClutchFit technology makes the upper, and consists of a unique hour-glass patterning called auxetic formations. This allows the shoe to bend and flex with movement while keeping the ability to handle force or load. The construction of ClutchFit is scientifically designed, creating a level of flexible protection and support. Those prone to ankle injuries may find this shoe extremely helpful to act as a gentle brace, without the movement restriction that regular athletic ankle braces can have.

Molded 4D Foam
Another great innovation applied to this shoe, a Molded 4D Foam footbed which mold exactly to the shape of your foot. This helps prevent shoe slippage and allows better power transfer onto the field for traction and propulsion in scrambles and sprints. It also helps reduce cleat pressure, giving you the endurance to last the game and beyond without that pressure giving you sore feet.

Cost and Value
Technology like this has a premium price and can be more expensive. This quality crafted, and scientifically backed performance shoe will have you outlasting, out-sprinting, and out-performing the competition. With a higher lace up and auxetic structure to help support ankles during periods of load or force, it’s a great investment for a performance football cleat.

7. Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.2
Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive
Breathability
94
Comfort
89
Fit
92
Traction
81
Advanced Features
80
best offer for today
$130.00
Pros:

High-Top Court Sneaker

Reduced Lace Pressure

Xeno Uppers

Excellent Cushion

Non-Marking Sole

Cons:

Lace Durability

Eyelet Durability

Basketball has come a long way from its start in sports, and the footwear has evolved to reflect it. The Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive is a high-top basketball sneaker, built to support while providing ultimate in cushion and performance. Lightweight and breathable uppers in several color options make it a stylish choice, while Boost cushion pads each footfall and change of direction.

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High-Top Performance
The Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive is a sneaker made to support your movements, especially when that involves lateral, quick pivots and changes of direction, and the possibility of foot injuries from quick steps or shots. High top lace up vamp has been updated to reduce lace pressure, so you can strap in tight without worrying about any pain points. Xeno uppers are lightweight and breathable, so you can be sure you won’t tire from heavy footwear on the court.

Cushion
Made with a responsive, energy returning cushion system that lines the length of the sneaker, the Adidas Performance Crazy Explosive gives back energy similar to what you put out. Jump shots will feel padded an airy on landing, and the tinted TPU wrap that covers the midsole not only gives some added lateral support, but grip and durability to the sneaker as well. Sticky grip can be found on the sole, with non-marking characteristics to keep the court clean for the next game.

Cost and Value
For a basketball sneaker, it’s quite averagely priced when compared to some performance running sneakers, and well worth the investment if you’re a basketball player. Tacky sole gives great grip and traction, while lightweight uppers make it breathable and reduce foot fatigue. Energy returning midsole wrapped in protective TPU make it cushioned and great for quick moves on the court.

8. Giro Savix

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86
Giro Savix
Breathability
92
Comfort
83
Fit
84
Traction
87
Advanced Features
84
best offer for today
Pros:

Boa L6 Adjustable Fit

Durable Uppers

Nylon Base

Power Transfer

Universal Cleat

Cons:

Heel Cup Non-Replaceable

BOA Will Not Adjust Mid-Foot

Are you a cycling enthusiast and in search of a sleek, performance upgrade in your cycling cleats? The Giro Savix has an adjustable Boa L6 dial, giving incremental adjustments for the perfect fit, and quick fixes while in the saddle. Nylon outsole with a universal cleat mount lets you take these on the road, or on the mountain, and synthetic uppers keep it clean, durable, and light.

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Adjustable Fit
The Giro Savix has a quick adjustment feature for fit, found in the Boa L6 dial. Incremental adjustments can be made as small as 1mm, so you can find the perfect balance of snug security or adjust on the fly in hotter weather when feet tend to swell. A single adjustable strap at the base adds to the customized fit, and macro release on the Boa L6 provides a quick and easy out from the shoe.

Durability
Uppers are made from synthetic materials, allowing the cleat to be durable yet have some fit flexibility. The nylon base helps to provide a stiff platform for power transfer to the pedals on each rotation, and universal 3/2 cleat design makes them great for both road and mountain bike riding. Die cut insoles give ample support and stability, so you can hit the road longer.

Cost and Value
On the more expensive side for a cycling cleat, it backs up the investment with adjustable fit, quality construction and durability. Versatile for both mountain and road riding, and with a few color options, it’s a great upgrade from entry level cleats to something that will perform on the road along with you. A great option for cycling enthusiasts looking for a versatile cleat, but one that will last the wear and tear from daily cycling.

9. Five Ten Freerider

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Five Ten Freerider
Breathability
84
Comfort
87
Fit
80
Traction
79
Advanced Features
90
best offer for today
$150.00
Pros:
  • Sticky Rubber Sole
  • BMX Style
  • MTB Shoe
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Price
  • Run Wide

Within our brave new world, commuter cycling may not seem to be a sport to many, but try braving the NYC Manhattan rush hour traffic on a roadie or fixed gear bike, and you may change your mind. The Five Ten Freerider tops our list due to its extreme versatility as opposed to specified functionality and technical requirements. It’s best suited for MTB riding or trick freeriders, but great for skateboarders or hikes with scrambles.

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Technical Features
Five Ten is a well-known brand of shoe manufacturer known best for their technical climbing shoes and sticky gripped soles. They’ve applied that same grippy texture and technology to the Freerider shoe, allowing riders to stick to MTB pedals, or BMX tricksters to land a 360 without slippage. For those on hikes outside, consider it a great scrambling shoe, sure to stick to steep pitches or steeps, even on damp surfaces. Five Ten’s unique dotty treaded pattern adds to the sticky rubber Stealth S1 sole, giving superior traction for wherever your foot finds itself.

Comfort
Designed with a mix of soft suede leather and lightweight mesh uppers, the shoe keeps your foot ventilated and cool, and with a BMX bike shoe inspired style, breathability and room in the toe box keep you comfortable for all-day wear. Although inspired by bike sports, it’s perfect for hiking, skateboarding, BMX, MTB, walking the streets or casual events. Basically, a great all-around shoe!

Cost and Value
More expensive than your average looking sneaker or casual walker shoe, there’s reason and tech to back up the price inflation. With the grippy Stealth S1 climbing sole rubber, mesh lightweight design, and BMX styling, this shoe is an all-around winner wherever a sport is requiring you to stay stuck to your gear or foot surface. The Freerider is stylish enough to kick back at casual events and wear as an everyday street shoe too—a great all-around buy!

10. Asics Aggressor 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.2
Asics Aggressor 2
Breathability
82
Comfort
79
Fit
86
Traction
83
Advanced Features
86
best offer for today
$79.90
Pros:

Ecsaine Uppers

High-Top Design

Lateral Support

Grippy Traction

Hook and Loop Closure

Cons:

Stitching Can Irritate

Require Break-In

The Asics Aggressor 2 was designed for wrestlers, but could also be used for weightlifting activities where traction and zero drop is needed for good form. It boasts of a grippy rubber sole and Duosole outsole. Lace up closure is held in place by an overlaying hook and loop closure on this high top, minimizing any catching of laces during tight encounters. High top design helps to add some support to the ankle, while uppers maintain a superior flexibility for pushing and grappling.

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Flexible Uppers
Uppers are made with a Ecsaine, a form-fitting, yet durable and soft material. This allows for proper foot flexibility for grappling and pushing opponents down on the mat, but also helps maintain the shoe’s integrity over wear and tear. Breathable and lightweight, it keeps a high-top design element, and gives some much needed ankle support with lace closure to help keep you secure.

Grippy Traction
The base of the Aggressor 2 consists of a sticky rubber sole and Duosole Outsole, technology which keeps flexibility, durability, and traction, all while cutting down overall weight of the shoe. You’ll be able to push and pull to take the win, without slipping out of your footwear as well, with the hook and loop closure that covers the lace up vamp of this high top.

Cost and Value
With a number of color options available, it’s not just a stylish sport shoe, but a high quality and technical one at that. Sticky outsole and base help you perform to take down the competition, while high top and secure closures keep you from slipping and give support. Flexible and light, the Asics Aggressor 2 is a well worth the investment for a new pair of wrestling shoes, and can also be used for weightlifting!

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Breathability

All sports shoes, regardless of the sport they’re worn for, need a certain amount of breathability. This ensures proper airflow and air circulation, essential to prevent the overheating of your feet during strenuous physical activity. Some sporting events may last only a few hours, some all day. But most require lots of extensive practice sessions, and that means lots of time on your feet. The best sports shoes will have perforations in the uppers because brands know that without that sort of ventilation, your progress and performance will suffer. Mesh combined with synthetic materials are best because they give you the air circulation you need, combined with stability and support. Whether or not the sport requires lots of impact or sudden changes of movement, breathability, and proper ventilation will make you more comfortable, your feet free from bacteria, and your focus more in the game.

Comfort

Few features for a sports shoe are actually as important as the level of comfort. This is because an uncomfortable sports shoe is a shoe that quickly becomes unworn and thus, unbeneficial for the sporting event. While some sports shoes will naturally be flatter in the midsole, such as tennis shoes or golf shoes, they still should have a fair degree of padding. Arch support is more important in sports like football, soccer, and running marathons, but less so in cycling. Cushioned EVA midsoles are great for a plush footfall, while a padded tongue and collar will ensure comfort around where your skin is thinnest and most sensitive to abrasion (especially around the ankle bone). Also, a customizable lacing system, such as those with a hook and loop design, can help streamline your comfort since you can make them as tight or as loose as you want.

Overall Fit

The fit of your sports shoe is essential to your performance since a loose-fitting shoe can mean distraction, irritation, or at worst, injury. Your form and concentration will suffer if you’re constantly dealing with an improperly fitting shoe. Those athletes with wider feet, feet that are narrower, or other factors that make them think going up or down a size will improve the fit of the shoe need to pay attention to the materials the shoe is made with. Often times shoes just need to be broken in, because the materials they use, such as leather, or a pliable amalgamation of synthetic, textile, or mesh will expand and contract based on your movements. Some shoes incorporate memory foam midsoles that will help the fit of a shoe as well as make it more comfortable. Some shoes have lacing systems that allow the wearer to customize the fit of the shoe with a few adjustments to a strap.

Traction

For sports that are played on fields, involve uneven terrain, or take place in precarious environments, traction and tread are vital for stability and durability. Football and soccer, whether played in or out of doors, require cleats with a lot of traction, the tread for which can vary in depth and enumeration. Tred for tennis and running should be sufficient for traction but enable movement more freely than cleated shoes.

Advanced Features

  • Football
  • Football cleats can get quite specific based on playing field composition, player role or position, even the type of weather encountered. When looking for a quality cleat for outdoor fields, consider those with cleats designed to penetrate the ground for traction. Cleat studs can be molded to the shoe, or removable to suit the player’s preference configuration. The cleat should have sufficient insole cushion to prevent harder cleats from aggravating the foot during wear and pressure pushing off the foot. A cleat with a longer lace up or ankle ‘boot’ will help to prevent injuries common in football due to contact, quick lateral movements, or pile-ups.

  • Soccer
  • Similar to football, it can have a variety of specific position nuances. Goalies will require something slightly different than a Midfielder may. Cleats for soccer should allow freedom for ankle movement but have solid construction on the uppers to kick the ball. Cleats should be able to penetrate the ground but also designed to handle the ball when the foot is placed on top of it.

  • Weightlifting
  • General weightlifting shoes can simply be regular sneakers, but for performance in powerlifting, a more specialized shoe is needed. Shoes designed for squatting may have a higher heel than those designed for deadlifting, but both should have a sole with more rigidity than a regular sneaker. Less padding and flat soles give maximum contact with the ground and provide stability. A shoe that has the structure to keep slippage minimal is critical so that power translates to successful reps.

  • Cycling
  • Cycling requirements can vary depending on road cycling or BMX/MTB. BMX riders require something with a sticky sole that will allow the foot to stay on the pedals but also are removable from the pedal when executing tricks. For road or competitive MTB riders, the cleat which clips into the pedals should have a rigid base. This rigid sole helps maximize the transfer of power from the legs to the pedals by minimizing shoe flexion.

  • Running
  • Running shoes for performance again vary based on the surface you’re running on. Competitive track shoes will most likely be extremely lightweight and minimal with spikes for traction on the track. Marathon or road shoes should give plush cushioning, and be constructed to maximize natural running gait and transfer weight efficiently forward. As most runners won’t need lateral support, the uppers are usually a mesh or synthetic material, not designed to support side to side movements, but allow the foot to flatten or swell which occurs during extended periods of running.

  • Tennis
  • Unlike running shoes, tennis requires sufficient lateral support for quick side to side movements, and should be constructed with a firm upper or side to do so. The sole should allow for responsive impact adjustments when suddenly stopping and changing directions. Tennis shoes need to absorb the shock from constant running and feet planting.

  • Basketball
  • This can vary again based on the individual’s needs. Those who need ankle support should look for a higher top shoe, while those who prefer the freedom of movement can go with a low top shoe. Similar to tennis, lateral support is needed in the upper or side construction to help with side to side or evasive maneuvering. Basketball shoes require denser rubber soles to account for time players spend leaping from the ground and running across the court.

  • Golf
  • Well constructed golf shoes are designed with physics in mind, to create the best environment during the swing. Shoes with minimal heel slip or a heel cup help to stabilize, while cleats help provide traction without impairing movement by digging into the ground. Cushioning in the insole and midsole should provide comfort enough for all-day wear.

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    Which Sport Is Right For You?

    This is a matter sometimes of trial and error! Signing up for intramural sports is an easy way to participate, without a long term commitment to the sport should you not fancy it.
    Those who enjoy a lot of movement and cardio will like sports with some aspect of running in it, while those who enjoy puzzles and strategy may enjoy sports like golf or football.

    Performance Footwear

    While each sport is different in how you move your body, and the surface you may play on, the same goes for your footwear, and how well they help you perform.
    Pick out a shoe that is functional for the critical aspects of your sport, like having stability for weightlifting, or cleats for traction for soccer and football.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: Can certain shoes be used for multiple sports?
    a:

    Some sports shoes, such as cross trainers, are also used in a number of recreational sports, such as weightlifting, touch football, soccer, field hockey, etc. But professional athletes only ever use the specific sports shoe that’s unique to their sport because it’s made precisely for the events therein. While a soccer cleat and football cleat are similar, they’re not used for baseball just because they all require cleats. Weightlifting shoes can’t be used to play tennis, but a tennis shoe can be used as a weightlifting shoe within reason (though it’s not recommended competitively). Your level of skill prowess in the particular sport of your preference will determine what shoe you need for your sport, but it can’t be used for any other sport unless regulations aren’t strictly enforced.

    q: How should sports shoes fit?
    a:

    Well! You want your sports shoe to fit you as close to a second skin as possible so that you don’t lose any momentum. A track shoe, for instance, needs to be lightweight, snug and unencumbered by a lot of extra features. A weightlifting shoe will be heavier, but it should still fit securely so your heels don’t slide out. If your cycling shoe doesn’t fit well, you’ll find your feet irritated and can risk injury, plus the loss of speed. A well-fitting sports shoe means you run faster, jump higher, and excel overall.

    q: Are more expensive shoes better?
    a:

    his is debatable. Some sports shoes will be more expensive by design because their construction requires certain types of materials, fabrication methods, and regulating. Some sports shoes are associated with certain marketing and branding techniques, however, and aren’t any better than a less expensive option. Sometimes sports shoes are universally less expensive in a more popular sport, such as football, where to charge a lot would be unwise, unlike in a niche market sport where supply and demand allow the supplier or manufacturer to charge as much as they want.

    q: Are sports shoes made for different foot widths?
    a:

    While not specifically designed for different foot widths, some sports shoes are naturally more wide at the toe box, while some taper. Some widths differ from brand to brand. Soccer and football cleats naturally taper, whereas weightlifting shoes can be a bit roomier. Cycling shoes tend to narrow, but cross country racing shoes tend to accommodate a variety of foot dimensions. Your best bet is to go to a sports footwear store and try on all the different pairs of shoes featured for the specific sport you’re interested in and make sure you find out that fits the width of your feet properly.

    q: How long do sports shoes typically last?
    a:

    Depending on the materials used to make them, and how often you use them, sports shoes should last at least a year. Now, if you’re on the track five days a week tearing it up, your shoes may have to be replaced more often (or at least your cleats!). Likewise, you may blow through a pair football or soccer shoes in a season depending on the aggression of the practices and games. However, some sports shoes, like cycling shoes, don’t get as much wear because they aren’t constantly scraping or grinding against a surface.