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If you like to incorporate both running and lifting into your training, you’d ideally have a different pair of shoes for each activity.
That’s not always feasible due to budget or the inconvenience of carrying two pairs of shoes to the gym. Fortunately, there are shoes on the market that allow you to do both.
So what is the best shoe for running and lifting? The best shoe for both running and lifting is the Nike Metcon 6. It has enough cushioning to absorb impact while running, but it’s stable enough to provide a solid platform when lifting. They are also durable and hold up well through multiple workouts per week.
Keep reading to learn more about what to look for in a shoe for both running and lifting as well as my top 5 shoe recommendations.
The 3 Biggest Factors to Consider When Buying a Shoe for Both Running and Lifting
When looking for a shoe you can wear for both running and lifting, you should consider the following:
- How much of your training is dedicated to lifting vs. running
- Your individual weaknesses
- The durability of the shoe
1. How Much of Your Training Is Dedicated to Lifting vs. Running
If most of your training consists of lifting weights and you only run a few miles per week, you should look for a shoe that is geared more towards lifting.
Conversely, if running is your priority and you only strength train with light weights a couple days per week, you should look for a shoe that is more suitable for running.
2. Your Individual Weaknesses
If you have flat feet, weak ankles, or you overpronate when you run, you should look for a shoe that provides enough support while you run without compromising stability when you lift.
Additionally, if you have poor ankle mobility, squatting in a shoe with a lower heel (which you’ll find in most cross-training shoes) may not be the best for you. You should look for a shoe that has a slight heel raise so you can get into the proper squat position but still be able to run comfortably.
3. The Durability of the Shoe
Running and lifting place a lot of stress on your feet, especially if you do both multiple times per week.
A shoe designed for both running and lifting should be durable enough to help you get the most out of your training.
Look for materials such as thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), EVA foam, and rubber that can all withstand the demands of heavy training sessions.
Top 5 Shoes for Both Running and Lifting
The top 5 shoes for both running and lifting are:
- Nike Metcon 6 – Best Overall Shoe for Running and Lifting
- Reebok Nano X 1 – Best for Lifting Light Weights
- New Balance Minimus Tr V1 – Best for People Who Like Running and Lifting Barefoot
- Reebok Legacy Lifter – Best for Heavy Lifting
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 – Best for Running Long Distances
1. Nike Metcon 6 – Best Overall Shoe for Running and Lifting
The Nike Metcon 6 is the latest version of Nike’s popular functional training shoe.
According to Nike, the Metcon 6’s have a reinforced mesh upper that allows for more airflow and makes them almost 18% more breathable than the 5’s.
With these shoes, you can squat moderately heavy weight without issue. They aren’t overly cushioned, and the foam cushioning is stiffer under the heel than it is in the forefoot. The rubber outsole also provides good traction so you don’t have to worry about slipping.
I’ve also done plenty of CrossFit WODs with light conventional deadlifts in these shoes without any issue, so how stable you feel when lifting in them depends on how heavy you’re squatting or deadlifting.
The Metcon 6’s weigh just 13 oz and won’t slow you down when you run. Because they don’t have as much cushioning in them as a traditional running shoe, I wouldn’t recommend running more than a few miles in them.
But they are comfortable for shorter distances, like 200m or 400m runs that you’d find in a typical CrossFit WOD. I’ve even done a couple of WODs with distances of 800m in them without a lot of discomfort.
My favorite feature of the Nike Metcon 6’s is the removable Hyperlift heel insert. If you need a higher heel for squats, you can use the insert, and then remove it for other exercises. This gives you the benefit of being able to squat in a higher heeled shoe without having to carry two pairs of shoes in your gym bag.
The Metcon 6’s are also durable and built to last. I’ve been working out in them 4-5 days per week for more than six months, and they still feel like new. They have a haptic topcoat that protects the shoe from abrasions, so you can run on any surface without them ripping.
- True to size
- Breathable, lightweight mesh
- Come with a removable Hyperlift heel insert
- Hard heel can cause discomfort when running if you’re a heel striker
2. Reebok Nano X1 – Best for Lifting Light Weights
Although these shoes weren’t the overall winner, I was impressed with them from the moment I got them. They were comfortable right out of the box and didn’t require any break-in period.
The midsole cushioning is made from a foam material called Floatride Energy. According to Reebok, this material is only on the forefoot and not offered throughout the entire shoe. Still, this extra cushioning makes it less stable for very heavy weights.
The sole isn’t as stiff as what you’d find in a weightlifting shoe, but it still provides a decently stable platform.
The shoe also has a 7mm heel drop, which is higher than most of the previous Nano models. This makes it less than ideal for heavy lifting since it adds more cushioning to the shoe.
Like the Nike Metcons, the Nano X1’s are sufficient for light or moderately heavy deadlifts. For anything above 80%, the cushioning is too much and it’s hard to drive power from the floor in them. My foot also slipped a little inside the shoe when I did sumo deadlifts in them.
I didn’t notice as much foot slippage when I wore these shoes for squats, but the cushioning made me feel less stable.
It does make it a good shoe for running, though. I wouldn’t recommend running a marathon in them, but for distances up to a couple of miles, there is enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable.
At 11.4oz, the Reebok Nano X1’s are almost 23% lighter than the previous iteration. If you like to incorporate sprint work into your training, you can run fast in them without your feet being weighed down.
One thing that I don’t love about these shoes is that the heel counter comes up pretty high on the back of the foot.
It’s good for additional ankle stability, but it causes some friction at the back of the ankle. I’d recommend either wearing a higher sock or putting anti-chafing lotion on the back of your ankle to prevent blisters.
- Flexweave knit upper material is breathable
- Won’t weigh your feet down when running
- Fits true to size
- Available in a variety of colorways
- High heel counter can get uncomfortable
- Not stable enough for very heavy lifts
3. New Balance Minimus Tr V1 – Best for People Who Like Running and Lifting Barefoot
The New Balance Minimus Tr V1’s are a minimalist shoe with a 4mm heel drop. At just 6oz, they are lightweight, flexible and as close to being barefoot as you can get.
These shoes run on the small side. I have average-width feet, but based on other people’s reviews, I got them in a wide. They were still just a bit too narrow for me. However, they do stretch and conform to your feet the longer you wear them.
The Minimus’s have a sock liner so you can wear them without socks. I personally still wear socks with them, but it’s nice to have the option not to. Wearing them without socks could also help them fit better if they are too tight on you.
Because there is only a small amount of cushioning in these shoes, they are great for deadlifting. They’re also good for squatting if you like to squat in shoes with flat heels. The rubber outsole provides good traction, and the thin soles allow you to push against the ground as you’re lifting.
Since these are considered a minimalist shoe, I wouldn’t recommend running long distances on pavement in them unless you’re already used to running barefoot. But they would be sufficient for running on a treadmill or track, where the ground is softer and more responsive.
- Provide a stable base for squats and deadlifts
- Can get a good grip on the floor
- Can be worn without socks
- Very narrow fit
- Not enough support for people who overpronate when they run
- Can take a while to get used to if you usually run in cushioned shoes
4. Reebok Legacy Lifter II – Best for Heavy Lifting
If you’re looking for a strict weightlifting shoe, I recommend the Reebok Legacy Lifter II.
The Reebok Legacy Lifter first came onto the scene in 2019 in collaboration with weightlifter CJ Cummings.
They are made from a combination of perforated synthetic leather and mesh that makes them breathable and keeps your feet dry and comfortable. They also have an Exoframe heel that locks the foot into place and keeps it stable during heavy lifts.
Because these shoes have a rigid heel and limited flexibility, they aren’t suitable for running. But if your training consists of more lifting than running, the Legacy Lifters are one of the best lifting shoes you can get.
- High heel height
- Sturdy construction
- Can only be worn for lifting
5. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 – Best for Running Long Distances
Brooks is one of the most popular running shoe brands on the market, and the Adrenaline GTS has been the go-to-shoe for many runners for over 20 years (hence the initials “GTS” in the name).
I’ve never been a serious runner, but years ago when running consumed most of my training, Brooks Adrenaline GTS were the first shoes I was professionally fitted for. I’ve tried other brands over the years, but I keep coming back to these.
These shoes offer a great amount of support and lateral stability, which is important if you overpronate when you run. They have GuideRails on either side that keep the foot and knee aligned and help prevent lower body injuries.
The midsole is made with DNA LOFT material that provides heel-to-toe support as you run. It offers a plush surface for running, but it’s not suitable for heavy lifting.
However, the shoes perform well during HIIT or circuit training workouts. I’ve even worn them for workouts like Murph that have a lot of bodyweight squats combined with running.
While I personally have only ever run up to 5 miles at a time in these shoes, other runners praise them for long distances.
These shoes are also built to last. It is recommended to switch out running shoes every 300-500 miles. Since I don’t run very often anymore, it takes me a while to get there.
But once I do, I use my old running shoes for walking and other non-lifting activities. Every Adrenaline GTS model I’ve had has lasted long after I’ve retired them from running.
- Good for running long distances
- Last for a long time
- GuideRail system keeps your feet balanced as you run
- Not ideal for heavy lifting
Wondering why you shouldn’t squat or deadlift in running shoes? Check out the articles Squatting In Running Shoes: Should You Do It? (No, Here’s Why) and Deadlifting In Running Shoes: Should You Do It? (No, Here’s Why).
What to Look for When Buying a Shoe for Both Running and Lifting
When looking for shoes that you can wear for both running and lifting, you should look for the following:
- 1. Minimal cushioning
- 2. Hard outsoles
- 3. Low heel-to-toe drop
1. Minimal Cushioning
If you’re training for a marathon, you want a cushioned shoe that can support your feet for 26.2 miles.
But when you’re lifting weights, you want a shoe with minimal cushioning. Too much cushioning can throw off your balance and stability. It can also hinder your ability to strengthen the muscles of your feet.
Shoes that can be worn for both running and lifting will have some amount of cushioning, but it shouldn’t be excessive. There should be a good balance of cushioning and stiffness that allow you to do both activities efficiently.
2. Outsoles That Are Both Rigid and Flexible
Weightlifting shoes have rigid, non-compressible soles. Running shoes are more flexible so they can support the foot during front-to-back movement.
Shoes that are designed for both should have some kind of balance between stiff and flexible. They should be rigid enough to provide stability during heavy lifts but mobile enough so as not to alter your gait too much when you run.
3. Low Heel-to-Toe Drop
For shoes that can be worn for both running and lifting, I recommend looking for a heel drop of about 4mm.
This heel drop is enough to absorb impact when you run, but you won’t feel like you’re standing on pillows when you squat or deadlift in them.
When looking for a shoe that you can wear for both running and lifting, you should look for shoes that have minimal cushioning, flat soles, and a low heel-to-toe drop.
The Nike Metcon 6 is the best shoe for running and lifting because it’s not too soft for heavy lifting or too hard for running.
If you plan on doing more running than lifting or if you don’t plan on lifting very heavy weights, the Reebok Nano X1 is a good alternative.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.