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Incredible New Sneakers That Will Change the Way You Work Out

The Game-Changers

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Sneakers are designed to do specific jobs, so why wear a running shoe when your workout calls for lifting barbells and doing box jumps? It pays to have a few pairs, especially if you like to play the field with your routine, as we do. To cover your every move, we asked dozens of sporty women to put 85 of the latest styles to the test for a month of racing, lifting, dancing, jumping, hiking, and everything in between-ing. You know your get-fit goals; now flip the page to find the top performers that will make achieving them feel easier and more fun. (Before you buy any, check this site for the best sneaker deals.)

Photo: Claire Benoist

Love Strength Training: Adidas Pure Boost X Trainer

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The stretchy upper is completely detached from the outsole at the arch, allowing these cross-trainers to really mold to your foot. Six panels of sturdy mesh wrap around the forefoot and midfoot for extra support, so it feels as if your foot is hanging in a taut hammock. The pivot point under the ball of your foot lets you stay in control during lateral lunges and rotational moves such as wood-choppers. A dense midsole provides support during heavy squats and shoulder presses. ($120; adidas.com

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Get Your Groove On: Ryka Studio D XT

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The circular bull's-eye groove in the tread of these dance-specific sneakers eliminates stickiness when you rise onto your forefoot before going for that full turn in cardio-dance class. The insole-midsole combo provides cushioning and shock absorption. The flat sole lets you feel connected with the floor so you can glide smoothly through shimmies, kicks, and shuffles in any studio. ($60; zappos.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Hit the Track: New Balance 1500v2

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Thanks to a post that goes through the center of the shoe to keep you stable, this racing flat prevents you from overpronating (when your foot collapses inward, which can throw off your form and eventually lead to injury). The result is you stay aligned and therefore primed to run faster during every 800-meter repeat or mile tempo run you tackle. And at only 6.7 ounces per shoe, they'll make you feel both light on your feet and strong. ($110; newbalance.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Squeeze More Steps In: Skechers Go Flex Walk-Ability

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Get ready to blow past 10,000. This sneaker's memory foam padding around the heel and plush perforated insole will have you feeling as if you're walking around on tiny yoga mats. The outsole is segmented 14 times to let the shoe flex seamlessly with your foot. At 5.5 ounces per shoe and almost completely squishable, they're easy to pack for a trip or those moments when you just can't wear your heels anymore. ($75; goskechers.com) (Here are even more Sneaky Ways to Add Steps to Your Day.)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Go the Distance: Hoka One One Vanquish 2

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These runners offer everything you need for big mileage: The top half of the double-layer midsole is made of supercushioned foam that creates a running-on-clouds feeling. The bottom is a less-plush responsive foam that's great for shock absorption. The curved shape helps propel you forward. And it's fitting that they look a little like a moon shoe, because they'll make you feel as if you're floating through your run. ($170; hokaoneone.com )

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Get Better at Plyometrics: New Balance Vazee Agility Trainer

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You'll feel strong and stable doing explosive jumping moves—squat jumps, burpees, speed skaters—in these cross-trainers. An extra layer of cushion in the midsole keeps your heels happy with every landing. The flexible outsole has star-shaped grooves under the balls of your feet that help you change direction quickly. The upper is made of a stretchy material that feels like spandex, which lets your toes move more, giving you a better base of support and grip during fast, powerful movements. ($90; newbalance.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Run in the Rain: ASICS Gel-FijuEndurance

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A rainy day no longer means that you need to trade your usual loop for the treadmill, thanks to these water-resistant trail-running sneakers that are designed to help you blaze through wet miles. They're not completely waterproof—actually a good thing, because you want sweat to be able to escape when you heat up. The outsole is built for grit and ground, but the lugs aren't so aggressive that you couldn't run on the road in them. ($180; asicsamerica.com) (Wear these with the rest of this waterproof workout gear to stay toasty and dry.)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

PR Your WOD: Nike Metcon 2

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This ready-for- anything cross- trainer is fully loaded: Tiny rubber bumps at the mid- sole give you a better grip during rope climbs; high- density rubber in the heel acts as a secure platform during heavy bar- bell exercises; flex grooves in the forefoot make for quick to-offs on those 400-meter sprints; and the tough toe box and abrasion-resistant upper protect you from the wear and tear of countless burpees and box jumps. No, there isn't a CrossFit workout these can't handle. ($120; nike.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Crush A Triathlon: Altra Impulse

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After you swim and cycle, your feet need to feel fleet enough to carry you to finish-line victory. This cushiony running sneaker's zero drop (the height from the heel to the toe is the same) encourages a midfoot strike for fewer jolts. The square-shape toe box gives your feet room to swell (that's normal when you're doing multiple sports or going at it for a long time). Eight holes in the midsole drain whatever water you're sure to encounter in transition or on your route. ($120; altrarunning.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Go from Studio to Street: Ahnu Yoga Flex

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The memory foam foot bed in this versatile cross-trainer conforms to the shape of your foot, cradling it as you sail through your morning. Flex grooves in the forefoot and a supportive heel cup work together to take you naturally through your heel-to-toe stride. The entire upper is perforated, so there's no chance for your feet to overheat in the studio or on the street. ($110; ahnu.com) (If you're looking for more kicks that will get you snapped for a street style blog, follow these #sneakerporn Instagram accounts for inspiration.)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Train for an Obstacle-Course Race: Saucony Peregrine 6

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Hexagonal lugs, made of a rubber compound that has three times more traction than the stuff lugs are typically composed of, cover the entire outsole of these rugged trail runners to help you dig in and stay balanced on unpredictable terrain. A rock plate in the forefoot protects feet from the toughest obstacles. A cushioned heel insert dampens impact when you land after wall climbs. Deep-channel grooves in the forefoot let water flow out whenever you're forced to get wet. ($120; saucony.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Try Trail Running: Brooks Cascadia 11

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Go ahead, run on wet rocks and over thick roots. A plastic shield in the forefoot and a layer of foam in the midsole of this trail runner protect your foot from hard objects, while an army of small lugs on the outsole help you dig into any terrain. Four extra-bendy triangular foam posts in the midsole under the ball and heel of your foot make you more reactive and agile, so you can handle the changes in the ground beneath you. ($120; brooksrunning.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Start a Running Routine: Mizuno Wave Catalyst

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If you're a midfoot or heel striker, your hips, knees, and ankles will love this built- for-most-foot-types running shoe: Its shock-absorbing wave-shaped plastic plate divides the midsole at the heel to soak up impact with each foot strike. Smartly placed small air pockets offer extra absorption where you need it most. All of this ensures a stable ride throughout your entire stride. Add in the dense foam insole and you can count on your feet being ache-proof, even if you're new to this running thing. ($110; mizuno.com) (Then consult our #RunIntoShape Running Challenge for a 30-day guide to getting started.)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Take a Hike: Keen Versatrail

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A soft, gusseted tongue prevents debris from slipping in through the top of these lightweight hikers. The bungee cord lets you adjust the tightness of the shoe with one tug, so you can fine-tune your support level depending on how difficult the trail is. The mesh upper makes this shoe ideal for warm summer treks because it won't trap heat and sweat the way many heavier styles do. ($120; keenfootwear.com)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

Rock Your HIIT Workouts: Reebok CrossFit Speed TR

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With this cross-training shoe's barely there three- millimeter drop, you'll be close to the floor and able to easily transition through a variety of rapid-fire moves. The outsole is divided into five vertical sections that allow your foot to splay, giving you greater balance and control, and a forefoot cradle provides security during quick changes in direction. A stiff plate under the arch in the outsole propels you forward during sprints and upward when you jump. ($100; reebok.com) (Put them to the test with this 8-minute HIIT workout.)

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Photo: Claire Benoist

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