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Gear and Technology

How to choose the best shoes for the gym

How to choose the best shoes for the gym
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Every fitness journey is unique, with varying goals, challenges, and milestones. But one aspect remains the same: the indispensable role of the right footwear for your comfort, safety, and performance.

Whether you're a runner looking to cross-train, an avid weightlifter, or a HIIT aficionado, your shoes are more than a style statement—they're the foundation of your fitness. Join us as we delve into the Brooks gym shoe lineup and explore how to elevate your indoor workouts.

Wait…. Can’t I just wear running shoes at the gym?

Wait…. Can’t I just wear running shoes at the gym?

When we talk about footwear for exercise, it’s essential to understand the fundamental differences between outdoor running shoes and gym shoes. Outdoor running often subjects feet to changing terrains, weather conditions, and varied surfaces. That’s why running shoes are specifically designed to provide comfort, durability, and traction over long distances and on uneven grounds.

On the flip side, gyms typically offer controlled environments, but a huge variety of activities and physical movements. From the torque and pivot of a HIIT session, to the concentrated weight distribution of a heavy deadlift, each activity has its own unique foot mechanics.

But don’t just take our word for it—get the inside scoop from Vinny Carrano, Studio Manager at F45 Center City: “If you are performing an exercise such as deadlifts, you want your feet to be as flat as possible. A shoe like Adrenaline would be good for this, while shoes with raised toes and heels for speedy transitions may interfere with balance and stability in static exercises.”

The Brooks gym shoe lineup

Ghost: Brooks Running Smooth Transitions


Best for: Treadmill sessions, circuit training, and cardio-heavy routines.
Ghost is renowned for its soft, balanced cushioning as well as its versatility. Ghost’s Segmented Crash Pad ensures smooth heel-to-toe transitions, which is perfect for exercises that require swift movements. Its breathable mesh upper provides flexibility while ensuring your feet stay cool and comfortable, irrespective of the intensity of your workout—and when it comes to traction, Ghost offers consistent grip to keep you stable throughout your session.

Glycerin: Brooks Running Supreme Softness


Best for: High-impact activities, aerobic classes, and plyometric workouts.
Glycerin promises plush comfort, especially when workouts demand more from your feet. Its DNA LOFT cushioning isn't just about smooth transitions, but also ensuring your feet remain protected from repeated impacts. The stretchy mesh upper adapts to your foot’s movement, making it perfect for dynamic exercises. Traction-wise, Glycerin’s outsole provides a steady grip on gym floors, ensuring safety during those high-energy workouts.

Adrenaline: Brooks Running Updated Cushioning


Best for: Weightlifting, stability exercises, and strength training routines.
Adrenaline isn’t just a shoe; it’s a support system. With GuideRails support built in, you’re not only protected from side-to-side movements but also supported to maintain your body’s natural motion path. This is crucial during strength training sessions where posture is paramount, while Adrenaline’s structured cushioning ensures that your feet are well-supported, reducing fatigue. Adrenaline also features an outsole designed for optimal grip, ensuring you stay grounded whether you’re squatting, lunging, or lifting.

Hyperion: Brooks Running Fast Ride


Best for: High-intensity interval training (HIIT), agility drills, and boxing.
Hyperion is all about speed and responsiveness. Its DNA FLASH midsole not only provides a quick rebound but also ensures energy return, making those HIIT sessions even more dynamic. In Vinny’s words: “You want cushion, but not too much. Look for a neutral, lightweight cushioned shoe with a wide toe box for gaining stability and strength in the feet. Shoes with quick transitions are great for your HIIT style classes.“ Even if you're primarily a runner, there’s undeniable value in integrating cross-training into your routine, and Hyperion serves this purpose exceptionally.

Choosing the right gym shoes

Making an informed choice about your gym footwear can have a profound impact on your fitness journey, both in terms of performance and injury prevention. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to guide you in this important decision:

Choosing the right gym shoes

1. Is the wear and tear of the gym likely to negatively impact running shoes?

Vinny explains: “The wear on the shoe will all depend on the type of workout you’re doing! If your workout is strictly strength training, then the wear on your shoes would be normal, so to speak. If you are doing HIIT-style classes with explosive lateral movements, it could cause the shoe to wear differently than it would from just running in them. My advice would be to not use your long-distance running shoes to work out in.”

2. How do I know if my shoes are not well suited to specific gym activities?

There are several signs. You might notice reduced grip, especially during high-impact activities, or feel that your feet shift inside the shoe during lateral movements. Over time, using inappropriate shoes can lead to foot discomfort or even injuries.

3. Should I choose a shoe specialized for a particular activity versus a more versatile gym shoe?

“This can all be determined by what your fitness regime is at the time,” says Vinny. “If you are primarily boxing, then I suggest you go with a low-profile shoe that offers good traction for quick transitions. I have recently been working out in my Hyperion shoes, and I would say this shoe would be a good choice for this type of activity. As for strength training, shoes that I rotate and have worked well for me in the past are the Launch and Levitate StealthFit 6. If you like to do a short run to the gym as a warm-up, these shoes support hybrid-style workouts.” 

Choosing the right footwear can seem daunting, but with information at your fingertips and a clear understanding of your fitness needs, you can make a choice that elevates your gym experience. Always prioritize comfort, support, and suitability to ensure the best results. And remember that your feet are the foundation of your fitness journey—give them the care they deserve.

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Brooks Running gym shoe lineup

Our writer's advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition, or fitness routines.


Vinny Carrano 

Studio Manager 

Vinny grew up in Pennsylvania and after high school served four years in the Marine Corps Infantry, where his love for running began. Later graduating from Penn State University, Vinny entered the non-profit sector and became a certified personal trainer. Now Studio Manager at Philadelphia’s F45 Center City gym, Vinny likes to work out, rock climb, mountain bike, and spend as much time as he can outdoors.