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The Best Shoes for Running, Hiking and Sports

The Best Shoes for Every Sport and Activity
Turns out it’s OK to own a closet full of kicks. As sport-specific technologies continue to advance, investing in a specialized shoe can make all the difference. From running and hiking to Crossfit and cycling, we put the newest men’s and women’s fall kicks to the test so you don’t have to. Here are our picks for best performance in each category.

New Balance

RUNNING

Log Miles
Best for:
Long Runs
Find your stride quicker thanks to the ample support and stability in these New Balance 870v3s. Wear them on long runs, or for distance races and you could end up with a new PR. ($110; newbalance.com)

 

Mizuno

Tried and True
Best for:
Training Runs
The neutral Mizuno Wave Creation 15 running shoe features the company’s new technology in the midsole, making it 30 percent lighter than the previous model. Plus, it delivers great shock absorption and durability so you can log many miles. ($160; mizuno.com)

 

Light StrideBrooks
Best for: Minimalist Running
Talk about a perfect match! The BioMoGo DNA technology in the midsole of the Brooks PureFlow II molds to personally fit your foot with each step you take. And the shoe’s lightweight, durable construction allows you to log up to 300 miles before you need a new pair ($100; brooksrunning.com).

 

SKORA

 

Safety First
Best for: Night Runs
Be seen in the minimalist Skora Phase X featuring 360-degree reflectivity. These zero drop shoes have a soft inner mesh with a breathable open-weave top mesh, making them super lightweight. ($125; skorarunning.com)

 

All Terrain
North-FaceBest for:
 Rainy Runs
Brave the elements! The Tenacious Grip outer sole lugs on these Single Track Hayasa II sneakers gain traction on even the wettest of surfaces. And their perforated foot bed is a good fit for narrow feet. ($110; northface.com)

 

 

Newton-RunningAhead of the Pack
Best for:
Race Day
Weighing a mere 7.2 ounces for men and 6.2 for women, the Newton Distance Elite is a highly responsive racing flat with minimal upper stitching. The welded support strap hugs your midsole as the shoe forces you to forefoot strike thanks to the lugs on the bottom of the sole. ($155; newtonrunning.com)

 

SalomonRocky Road
Best for:
Trail Running
Adjust these Salomon FellRaiser Quicklaces and channel your inner kid, running through every puddle on the trail. The shoe’s Ortholite sock liner and EVA molded foot bed provide much-needed cushion to absorb impact from rocks and roots. And the breathable open mesh design helps the shoe dry quickly. ($110; salomon.com)

 

Under-Armour-Mud-RunDown and Dirty
Best for:
Mud Runs
Ready for your first (or fifth) mud run? The Under Armour FTHR Shield TRC Storm Running Shoes were made for these events. Though they won’t keep all the mud and water out, the added support from the ankle sleeve is key for traversing over uneven terrain, and the micro-lugs help grip steep, slick hills. ($119; underarmour.com)

 

 

HIKING AND WALKING

MerrellHigh and Dry
Best for:
Hiking in Bad Weather
The name says it all — the Merrell Proterra Mid GORE-TEX hiking boots have a waterproof mesh upper that breathes well, which is perfect for lengthier trails. Its bellows tongue is connected to the upper of the shoe on both sides, keeping small pebbles and debris from sneaking in. ($160; merrell.com)

 

Keen-MarshallMoving Mountains
Best for:
Good Weather Hiking
Light for a hiking shoe, the Keen Marshall features a breathable 3D mesh upper, a PU midsole, and a rubber sole with multidirectional lugs for good traction. Its moisture-wicking lining will keep your feet dry, with or without the removable EVA foot bed. ($110; keenfootwear.com)

 

Columbia-Peakfron-EnduroChase the Thrill
Best for:
Outdoor Adventures
Pound all types of pavement in the Columbia Peakfreak Enduro. The shoe’s Omni-Grip traction rubber holds tight to all types of outdoor (and indoor) surfaces so you never have to worry about slipping on your run. ($100; columbia.com)

 

SketchersVictory Lap
Best for:
Long Walks
Skechers Flex Appeal give comfy a whole new meaning. The foot bed is made of memory foam and molds to your foot for a perfect fit. You’ll be able to walk around for hours. ($70; sketchers.com)

 

 

FITNESS CLASSES

AsicsDouble Trouble
Best for:
Hybrid Classes
Two shoes for the price of one! Asics Gel Synthesis functions as a full training sneaker when worn as a whole. Remove the neoprene and air mesh inner booty and wear just this soft shell for at-home workouts or Pilates. ($110; asics.com)

 

ReebokGround Control
Best for:
CrossFit
The steel toe boot-like design of the Reebok CrossFit Nano 3.0 proves its purpose when toes-to-bar is part of the WOD. With a Dual Density platform and flat soles, they also provide much-needed stability for exercises like box jumps and thrusters. ($120; reebok.com)

 

RykaMoves for Days
Best for:
Dance Class
Bust a move! Twist and turn with ease during Zumba or other dance classes thanks to the pivot point on these Ryka Exertion. The breathable mesh upper keep the shoes airy on the inside so they don’t become too sweaty while you tear up the floor. ($75; ryka.com)

 

 

SPORTS

Adidas-CleatsGo for Goal
Best for:
Soccer
Sprint down the field in these Women’s Adidas F10 TRX FG Cleats. The synthetic upper removes unnecessary weight, keeping you light on your feet. A women’s specific pre-molded insole and TRAXION 2.0 studs make them a comfortable and reliable shoe. ($210; adidas.com)

 

Under-Armour-BasketballAll Net
Best for:
Basketball
Though lightweight, the Men’s Under Armour Micro G Anatomix Spawn Basketball Shoes don’t lack in ankle stability. Their flexibility is key for players quick on their feet who are continuously making drives to the basket. ($120; underarmour.com)

 

ECCOStraight Shot
Best for:
Driving Range
Sporty meets chic in these ECCO Womens Tour Hybrid golf shoes. Their supportive side structure won’t give in as your transfer weight through your swing on the driving range, and the stylish color-block design is perfect for a post-green lunch. ($150; eccousa.com)

 

KSwissLove at First Sight
Best for:
Tennis
The K-Swiss Big Shot II’s textured heel grip lining paired with a supportive sole provide much needed stability on any type of tennis court. You’ll be able to quickly change direction without the fear of rolling an ankle. ($120; kswiss.com)

 

OakleyPutt Them On
Best for:
Golfing
Lightweight and comfortable kicks are important for a round on the links. At 260 grams, the Oakley Cipher 2 is one of the lightest golf shoes available. The sole has thousands of tiny Nanospikes that dig into the grass, providing traction even for an early tee time when there’s still dew on the ground. ($150; oakley.com)

 

Pedal PusherShimano XC61
Best for: Mountain Biking
The durable synthetic leather on the upper of this Shimano SH-XC61 protects your foot from stray branches and rocks. Use the micro-adjustable buckle to create a truly personalized fit for a reliable ride. ($160; bike.shimano.com)

 

Helly-HansenDip in
Best for:
Water Activities
Helly Hansen Aquapace is the name if water sports are your game. This easy-to-slip-on shoe has a flexible EVA midsole and a Storm Grip rubber sole, perfect for slippery surfaces. Plus, the breathable, quick-dry mesh upper keeps your feet from feeling pruney all day. ($85; hellyhansen.com)

 

AltraTriple Threat
Best for:
Triathlons
Triathletes can shorten their transition time in these Altra 3-Sum. The shoes have a large hole on the top of both the heel and front of the shoe to make slipping into it simple. Set the yanks elastic laces to fit before the race, then once the shoe is on, simply lock the laces in place and you’re off. ($130; altrazerodrop.com)

 

Which kicks are getting you through the fall? Tell us your favorites in the comments below! 

 

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.

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