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The Best Sneakers to Crush Your Workout Routines

2015 Shape Sneaker Awards

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Update your sneaker wardrobe with our 2016 picks for the best sneakers for any workout.

What you wear on your feet can make you faster, stronger, and more coordinated. And when you have more than one fitness goal (which we encourage) you need more than one pair of shoes. Meaning, you shouldn’t wear your dance-cardio kicks during a heavy-lifting session. Another reason to expand your collection: Exercisers who used multiple pairs of sneakers were 39 percent less likely to be sidelined by an injury than those who wore just one, finds a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. So we tested 40 of the latest sneaker models, doing everything from a mud run to kickboxing class, and picked the top 15 performers. Now, pinpoint your next fitness pursuit, and nab the footwear that’ll get you there.

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Run on the Beach: BROOKS PureConnect 4

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The sole is lined with 24 oval pods of cushion that reposition independently with each strike. This allows muscles in your feet to move more naturally over the shifting sand (unlike with stiffer, rigid soles), which strengthens your entire foot. There’s a band that runs up your instep and wraps around your midfoot to keep you locked in place so you can maneuver confidently. $100; brooksrunning.com

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Walk Farther: Saucony Kineta Relay

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Three words: memory-foam footbed. You’ll sink in (as your body does to a memory-foam mattress) and feel total comfort, so feet won’t get sore on long strolls. The tongue seamlessly attaches to the upper, making it easy to slip in and go. $70; saucony.com

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Crush CrossFit: Inov8 F-Lite 235

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A 0-millimeter drop from the dense heel to forefoot keeps you low to the ground, providing a stable base for exercises from Olympic lifts to box jumps to 400-meter sprints. Protective rubber extending across the front buffers toes during drop-down moves like burpees and push-ups, while grippy rubber strands spread around the entire upper like a web to shield from rope burn. $130; inov-8.com

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Do Faster Intervals: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

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The toe curves upward, helping launch you forward. Plus, it’s seriously lightweight (at 6.4 ounces it’s the lightest shoe in our bunch). All of this makes it easier to take frequent and quicker steps, which, according to research, makes you more efficient. That means you’ll feel super-strong during those Tabata intervals or speed drills. $100; newbalance.com

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Run More Often: Hoka One One Clifton

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Clearly, this is the opposite of a minimalist sneaker. But don’t let the big platform fool you: At 6.6 ounces, it’s just as light (and sometimes lighter) than its pared-down counterparts. And with 50 percent more cushioning than a standard sneaker, joint-damaging shock is practically eliminated.That means your feet won’t feel achy after back-to-back sessions, so you’ll look forward to an extra run or two each week. $130; hokaoneone.com

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Try Kickboxing: PUMA Pulse XT

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A deep groove runs along the length of the bottom of the sneaker to help you move laterally more easily. A flat rubber outsole grips the floor so you feel grounded during repetitive kicks, but nimble for side-to-side moves. The midsole compresses and expands on impact, allowing you to react quickly and powerfully. $70; puma.com

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Feel Confident in Dance Cardio: Ryka Vida RZX

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Tricky choreography like twists and turns is easier thanks to a pivot point (a smooth rubber circle right under the big-toe joint). Flexible grooves on the outsole let you change direction quickly and deliberately so you can make every movement precise. $75; ryka.com

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PR a 5K: Nike FlyKnit Lunar 3

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Every time your foot strikes the ground, large waffle-like lugs on the outsole of the forefoot recess into the plush midsole, softening impact. In fact, astronauts developed this sole with the goal of giving you an antigravity effect so you can feel light and fast. The upper is one piece of seamless knit yarn, which fits like a super-snug sock, providing just-right support for your big sprint to the finish. $150; nike.com

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Do a Mud Run: Salomon Fellraiser

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Spaced-out toothy lugs (deep indentations that stick out from the bottom of the shoe) made of sticky rubber grab and get rid of mud, giving you traction on a slippery course. The narrow heel locks your foot in so you won’t leave a sneaker behind in a mud pool. Plus, a mesh upper repels water to keep your feet dry. The rubber bumper protects your toes while you scale walls or climb ropes. $110; salomonsports.com

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Look Good in Transit: SpeedForm StudioLux Mid

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Just because you don’t need shoes in yoga or barre class doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a great pair to inspire you to get there. Double the laces around the heel for extra support on longer commutes. Throw them on with skinny jeans after class and head straight to happy hour. $85; underarmour.com

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Train for a Triathlon: Asics DS Trainer 20

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Slip into this seamless sneaker for a quick transition. (The smooth upper won’t give sockless feet blisters.) Dense foam on the inner side of the midsole keeps your just-swam, just-cycled tired feet from rolling inward, helping power you through the rest of the distance. $120; asicsamerica.com

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Run Off-Road: The North Face Ultra Cardiac

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Dirt, gravel, twigs, grass...you won’t feel tough terrain under your feet, thanks to a super-stiff rubber outsole stacked with protective knobby lugs. A wide platform with an extra-high arch keeps your foot in place as you zigzag around trails. The interior is lined with sweat-wicking fabric that will keep you dry on the hottest runs. $110; thenorthface.com

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Love Bootcamp: Adidas Adipure 360.2

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Extra stability from the midfoot to the heel gives you a solid foundation to jump high and lunge low. Deep grooves in the forefoot make the sneaker super-!exible, which translates to quick, uninhibited movement during agility work like ladder drills and out-and-back sprints with quick turnarounds. The open-mesh upper vents during extra-sweaty sessions. $90; adidas.com

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Lift Heavier Weights: Reebok Crossfit Lifter Plus

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The heel is made up of a plastic platform that helps you keep your weight back so you can sink lower into squats then stand back up without wasting energy or feeling off-balance. A heat-activated wrap inside the shoe molds to your foot for a custom fit on the first wear. Adjustable hook-and-loop straps across the midfoot and a heel clip allow you to decide how much extra support you need so there’s no chance of slipping. $150; reebok.com

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Run Longer: Mizuno Wave Rider 18

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A plastic wave-shaped plate divides the midsole at the heel, which acts like a barrier to stop impact from reaching your feet. This provides a stable and structured base of support that keeps you reactive mile after mile. $120; mizunorunning.com

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