Planning to compete in a race this summer? Want to take up bike riding? Or maybe you plan to spend more time on the water? You’ll need a shoe for that. But with thousands of sneakers on the market (and summer nearly here!), there’s no time to get stuck with the wrong pair. After weeks of testing on trails, treadmills and training floors, we narrowed our picks down to these 25 shoes that crushed the competition in each of their categories. Here are the best of the best — for every workout or activity that lies ahead this season.
Best for: Running
Hit the streets or log miles on the treadmill with these trainers. Click through to see our top picks for runners.
1. Saucony Virrata 2
Training runs never felt better than in the Saucony Virrata 2. Despite being a zero-drop shoe weighing in at only 6.5 ounces, athletes can still comfortably log four- to six-mile distances. ($90; men’s, women’s, saucony.com)
2. Brooks Transcend
Pronator or just have bad knees? Brooks Transcend is made for runners who need a lot of extra padding. These shoes have 25 percent more foam than the company’s previous supportive shoe. And, the shoe adapts to your every stride. ($160; men’s, women’s, brooksrunning.com)
3.Under Armour Speedform Apollo
Run like the wind in the Under Armour Speedform Apollo. The seamless heel and ultrasonic seams make it so you won’t feel any rough edges (goodbye blisters!). Plus the wide toebox gives all 10 piggies room to spread and feel each stride. ($100; men’s, women’s, underarmour.com)
4. Mizuno Wave Hitogami
Sprinters take note: The Mizuno Wave Hitogami’s lightweight midsole and flat construction are perfect for picking up the pace. But only run in them if you’re an intermediate to advanced runner who wants speed — beginners may need a more weighted shoe. ($100; men’s, women’s, mizunousa.com)
5. Asics Gel-Cumulus 16
You may be a neutral runner, but it’s still nice to have a little support on race day. A lightweight upper mesh with more rear and forefront cushioning, the Asics Gel-Cumulus 16 delivers just what the doctor ordered. ($115; men’s, women’s, asicsamerica.com)
Best for: Trails
Nature is calling your name. Kick up your heels in some dirt and rubble with these trail-ready kicks.
6. Columbia Conspiracy Vapor
While the Columbia Conspiracy Vapor may have a breathable lightweight upper, don’t be nervous to take it to the trails. Its traction rubber outsole will hold up to everything from lose rocks to wet roots. ($80; men’s, women’s, columbia.com)
7. The North Face Ultra Trail
Long dirt roads, beware! The North Face Ultra Trail is built to tackle tough terrain. The Vibram sole keep a good grip on wet and uneven surfaces, and the shoe’s colorful outer shell stands out against miles of greenery. ($110; men’s, women’s, thenorthface.com)
Don’t head out for a long hike without putting on these Keen Marshall shoes. The contoured heel lock will hold your foot in place despite any incline. A moisture wicking lining keeps feet cool and dry. ($110; men’s, women’s, keenfootwear.com)
9. Ahnu Sugarpine Air Mesh
Slip into the higher profile Ahnu Sugarpine Air Mesh and head up the mountain. They’ll hold up against the elements with a waterproof upper and the rubber toe cap serves as protection in case of a misstep. ($110; women’s, ahnu.com)
Best for: Cross Training
When it’s all about variety, these multi-tasking trainers have you covered.
10. New Balance 711 Heathered
Whether you plan to run and lift or aren’t sure what type of workout you’ll be getting into after leaving the office, the New Balance 711 Heathered kicks are your best bet. The cushioned midsole is responsive enough for jumping, sprinting and single-leg squats. ($80; women’s, newbalance.com)
11. Reebok CrossFit Sprint TR
Perfect for any WOD, especially ones that include big lifts and running, the Reebok CrossFit Sprint TR’s tongue is connected to the sole on the right and left side for a secure fit. The MonoMesh outer shell can hold up to box jumps, toes to bar and the rope climb. ($115; women’s, reebok.com
12. Topo ST
If minimal is your thing, let the Topo ST mold to your feet — wide or narrow. This five-ounce trainer features a zero drop and a roomy toebox so there isn’t any cramming. Plus the durable outsole will hold up for more than just one season. ($90; men’s, women’s, topoathletic.com)
13. Skechers Equalizer Oasis
Want a personalized fit? The Skechers Equalizer Oasis training shoe has an insert made entirely of memory foam. They’re good for performing squats, push-ups and jumping rope thanks to the stretch knit mesh fabric. (And Meb wore Skechers to win Boston…just saying!) ($75; women’s, skechers.com)
Best for: Group Fitness Classes
Shoe your peers which sneakers belong in the front of the class.
14. Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2
Looking to put more pep in your step? The foam layer of the Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 2 does just that. Plus, they’re durable to withstand even the toughest group fitness workout — indoor or out. ($160; men’s, women’s, adidas.com)
15. ECCO Biom EVO Trainer Pro
The ECCO Biom EVO Trainer Pro has ample cushioning for those who need it most. Wear them to bootcamp sessions that include bodyweight exercises mixed with running. The shoe is cut low near your anklebone to prevent rubbing and blisters. ($149; men’s women’s, eccoUSA.com)
16. Puma Bubble XT
Need a good cardio sculpt or HIIT training companion? The Puma Bubble XT has pods on the sole that are sure to turn heads while serving up a bouncier ride. While they’re not meant for all-day wear, they’re a perfect fit for an hour of your hardest work. ($70; women’s, puma.com)
Best For: Walking
A long day on your feet requires comfort and support. These sneakers offer both.
17. Helly Hansen Nimble R2
The eight-ounce Helly Hansen Nimble R2 are easily packable for any active getaway — or to and from the gym. Wear this versatile shoe to walk, run or even bike. ($110; men’s, women’s, hellyhansen.com)
18. C9 by Champion Edge
Busy day ahead? If you’re not sure what it will entail but you know there will be walking, jogging and possibly some friendly competition, lace up the C9 by Champion Edge sneakers. Their flexible construction makes them all-activity friendly. ($35; men’s, women’s, target.com)
19. Merrell All Out Rush
Watch out world, here you come! Running or walking all day outside in the Merrell All Out Rush is safe thanks to the reflective details on the shoe. The midsole is designed to disperse impact so if you step on loose rubble, don’t worry about it. Just keep going! ($120; men’s, women’s, merrell.com)
20. Salomon X-Scream
Going on an adventure? Be sure to bring along the Salomon X-Scream. Not only do the elastic laces speed up prep time, the sole can also grip anything from cement, to a rock wall, to sand. ($110; men’s, women’s, salomon.com)
Best for: Specialty
What’s your favorite workout? These shoes won't disappoint when it's time to blaze your own trail.
21. Pearl Izumi Race RD III
You’ll love the ventilation in these Pearl Izumi Race RD III when you’re tackling intervals and hills mid-spin class. High arches? No problem. The built-in support will keep your foot in its natural position eliminating any extra strain. ($150; men’s, women’s, pearlizumi.com)
22. Ryka Tenacity
Dance the night away! The Ryka Tenacity is breathable enough to let you cut a rug, while still providing stability in the places where you need it (read: ankles!). Take them to Zumba or any fitness dance class. ($85; women’s, ryka.com)
23. Adidas Outdoors Climacool Boat Shoe
Spending lots of time near or around the ocean? The Adidas Outdoors Climacool Boat Shoe has drainage ports in the sole to easily let out any water that may sneak in. The stretch in the heel makes for an effortless on and off even when wet. ($60; women’s, adidas.com)
24. Shimano WR83
Clip into the Shimano WR83 cycling shoe that features a “Dynalast” outsole. This technology was created to keep your foot locked in the optimized ergonomic position for pedaling effectively and with the highest amount of power. You’ll feel the difference from hip to toe. ($200; women’s, bike.shimano.com)
25. Eddie Bauer Full Circuit
Taking a trip? Be sure to pack the Eddie Bauer Full Circuit in your suitcase. The polyurethane footbed makes each step feel like your walking on clouds, while the carbon rubber outsole will hold up against all terrain. ($100; women’s, available mid-July at eddiebauer.com)
Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. In some cases, you might come across an affiliate link on our site, which means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase.