You are here

Topics View

The Best Workout Shoes for Acing Every Kind of Exercise

The Best Workout Sneakers for 2017

1 of 13

All photos

Find the right pair of sneakers and magic happens. You run faster. Lift heavier. Feel more con dent in every move you make. Meet the 12 newest styles, sweat-tested to elevate any workout. (See how these stack up against last year's best workout shoes.)

Photo: Jonathan Kambouris

OCR, Mud Run, & Spartan Race Shoes

2 of 13

All photos

Lacking confidence is no longer a reason to skip any obstacles as you race through a course. A mix of hexagonal and squiggly lugs on the outsole of this trail runner help you power up ropes and over walls. A reinforced arch gives you stability as you walk across logs or run on sand or wet trails, and generous cushioning dampens impact. Tabs on the back let you hook on gaiters if you want to keep your socks dry, but the breathable mesh upper makes for quick draining if they get dunked in muck. ($140, brooksrunning.com) (P.S. Here's why you should sign up for an obstacle race, stat.)

Photo: Brooks

Distance Running Shoes

3 of 13

All photos

The arch of this sneaker is detached, and though the seam-free knit is stretchy, it's durable, so it wraps all the way around your midfoot to provide customized support for your arch. One tester said she felt her shoe was hugging her foot during a six-mile run. The midsole is made of tiny pellets fused together that store the energy your foot creates as it hits the ground and then rebound it into your step
to propel you forward (and give you a seriously cushy ride), making long miles feel easier. ($180, adidas.com) (Who knows, maybe they'll help you snag the fastest possible marathon time.)

Photo: Adidas

Trail Running Shoes

4 of 13

All photos

This rugged runner gives you incredible traction on everything from slick, wet trails to loose, dusty routes but also moves naturally with your foot so you feel nimble and in control. Flexible rubber wraps around the Achilles tendon like a seatbelt, locking your ankle in place so your foot doesn't wiggle while you power down descents or around sharp turns. You won't really notice tough terrain, thanks to a rock plate in the heel and forefoot. ($130, merrell.com) (These trail running tips will help you crush your trail runs.)

Photo: Merrell

Crossfit Shoes

5 of 13

All photos

It's PR time: A reinforced heel cup helps you feel rooted during heavy lifts and wall balls, and a rubber strip over the toes acts like a buffer between your feet and the floor during burpees and the wall during handstand push-ups. Tiny grippy rubber bumps around the arches make rope climbs less of a challenge. The shoes are light and flexible, so you'll be fleet-footed during 400-meter sprints, and they're minimal enough to slip in and out of the rower without any hassle. ($130, nike.com) (Try this HIIT rowing workout to put them to the test.)

Photo: Nike

Cross-Training Shoes

6 of 13

All photos

You need this sneaker for the days when you know you're going to the gym but you're not exactly sure what you want to do there. (BTW that doesn't give you the OK to waste time at the gym.) It has enough flex and cushion to get you through a few treadmill miles, is minimal enough to keep you grounded during a strength circuit, and offers sturdy lateral support so you can feel locked down for a class packed with plyometrics. Special rubber under the forefoot and heel eases impact. (FYI: Most testers said they'd have preferred a half size bigger, so consider sizing up.) ($110, inov-8.com)

Photo: Inov8

Stylish Sneakers

7 of 13

All photos

We know style is a priority, especially when it comes to a sneaker you plan to wear beyond the gym. And that's a big reason testers loved this model so much. The pattern has personality but isn't too loud, one tester said, and the minimal upper gives the shoes a cool edge. Plus, they're easy to slip in and out of with sockless feet. A tie-less bungee lacing system is as no-fuss as it gets, making them ideal for transitioning from yoga to grabbing a meal with friends. Oh, and blisters? No chance, thanks to the memory-foam cushioning that gives feet constant TLC during long or fast walks. ($65, skechers.com) (Pair with some trendy mesh workout wear that's totally brunch-approved.)

Photo: Skechers

Running Trainers

8 of 13

All photos

If you've got a 5K or 10K on your calendar, here's your sneaker. Its cushioning is 50 percent lighter than the standard EVA foam used in many running shoes, so it's no surprise our testers said they truly felt speedier in these. The molded heel cup adjusts to your heel as you move, giving just the right amount of support and wiggle room. ($180, reebok.com)

Photo: Reebok

Cycling Shoes

9 of 13

All photos

Surprise: You don't need a clip-in to crush your Spin. One tester said she didn't think it was possible to find a sneaker that delivers the same strong, smooth ride as a cycling shoe until she slipped this one into her Spin bike's cage. The square toe box lets your toes splay comfortably, there's no drop from the heel to forefoot (just as in a cycling shoe), and the firm outsole keeps your foot from bending around the pedal, while its rubber tread won't let you slip out—which means faster sprints and heavier climbs. Plus, these are designed to be versatile running shoes, so it's like getting two great sneakers for the price of one. ($120, altrarunning.com) (Rather clip in? Here are all the best bike shoes for all your cycling needs.)

Photo: Altra

Interval & Racing Shoes

10 of 13

All photos

This racing shoe is lightweight and speedy without sacrificing the cushioning you need for interval workouts. A flexible beam through the center of the outsole gives extra arch support and keeps feet from collapsing inward or rotating outward when you're pounding the pavement or treadmill. ($110, newbalance.com) (The perfect tester: this running interval workout that strengthens your whole body.)

Photo: New Balance

Hiking Boots

11 of 13

All photos

Unlike some hiking boots that take a few go-arounds to break in, one tester told us she found these immediately comfortable. The outsole is covered in two types of lugs: A larger center strip works to help you maintain your footing on loose ground, while a less-aggressive outer ring makes you feel solid on slick surfaces. Don't let the leather and suede fool you—they're totally waterproof (and easy to clean). And the sealed-seam inner keeps the elements out, so even if you underestimate a puddle or get caught in the rain, your feet will stay dry. ($140, forsake.com) (Just make sure you grab these other hiking essentials before you head out.)

Photo: Forsake Duck

Aerobics Shoes

12 of 13

All photos

This cross-trainer was made for class-hopping, according to our testers. One tester also said she almost forgot she was wearing shoes at all, but still felt totally protected attacking a heavy bag during a kickboxing class. The snug arch keeps you steady for workouts that involve quick cuts and side stepping, such as dance cardio. These are narrow, so there isn't much room for your foot to move around, which should eliminate any worry of slipping out. ($100, asics.com)

Photo: Asics

Lifting Shoes

13 of 13

All photos

The slight, 4 mm heel helps you keep your weight back so you can squat low and deadlift heavy while feeling connected to the floor. Stiff plastic wraps around the back of the sneaker, and a rigid sole cuts down on wobbling when you go heavier or do single-leg exercises. Testers said they're minimal enough for other workouts too, especially HIIT sessions. ($130, reebok.com) (ICYMI, lifting heavy is crazy good for you.)

Photo: Reebok

How to Use Your Vacation to *Actually* Relax

How to Relax on Vacation

1 of 8

All photos

The secret to a truly restorative vacation starts with the journey. Here's just what you need every step of the getaway. (First step is booking time off with zero guilt: How Taking Vacation Actually Improves Your Health.)

Photo: Lauren Bullen/@gypsea_lust

Dismantle Travel Stress

2 of 8

All photos

Long lines, surly TSA agents, traffic jams when you're on a road trip—frustrations lurk everywhere when you travel. The worst thing you can do is try to ignore your exasperation in the hopes of maintaining peace, says Alex Lickerman, M.D., the author of The Undefeated Mind. It'll backfire. Instead, acknowledge that you're angry and that being angry on vacation is making you even more angry. Own it, let it out for a few minutes, then drop it. This way, your thoughts won't fester, and you can move into vacation mode.

Photo: Shutterstock

Don't Let Germs Take You Down

3 of 8

All photos

That neck pillow you fly with? It's a hot spot for bacteria. While you snooze, it's picking up all kinds of germs and dust mites left on the headrest by previous passengers, says Philip M. Tierno, Ph.D., a clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at the New York University School of Medicine. Now, every time you use it, you expose yourself to bugs and allergens from past flights. Lesson: Decontaminate. Throw the pillow cover into the wash after each trip without fail. If it doesn't have a cover, vacuum the cushion or spritz it with a germicide that contains alcohol, such as Lysol Disinfectant Spray ($5). (Psst...7 Things You're Not Washing But Should Be.)

Photo: Lysol

Let Your Body Loose.

4 of 8

All photos

As soon as you get off the plane or out of your car, do this move: Grab your left thigh with both hands and gently twist it inward, as if you're trying to move the muscle around your thigh bone. Hold for two to three seconds, then release, twist outward, and hold again. Repeat three or four times, then do the entire sequence on your right thigh. "When you sit for prolonged periods, the connective tissue in the back of your thighs becomes compressed and dehydrated," says Sue Hitzmann, an exercise physiologist and the creator of the MELT Method, a pain-reduction program. "The constriction can make your lower back ache and decrease blood flow to your core, causing whole-body stiffness and fatigue," she explains. "The twisting stretch quickly decompresses the tissue and restores blood flow to ease the aches and pain and boost your energy."

Photo: Shutterstock

Switch On Your Vacation Mind

5 of 8

All photos

When you finally reach your destination, it can take a full 24 hours to relax enough to enjoy yourself. That's wasted time. Since every minute of your trip is precious, use this speedy meditation trick from Beverly Fox-Crismond, the spa director at One Ocean Resort & Spa in Florida, to immediately find your Zen. (Try this 20-Minute Guided Meditation for Beginners that will melt your stress away.)

Look. Find a peaceful spot, and settle in for a few seconds. Then gaze out into the distance, taking in the sights around you, but don't zero in on any one thing. This will begin to quiet the part of your brain that's still hung up on the tension from the day.

Breathe. Take a few deep, slow breaths. As you exhale, feel the lingering anxiety drain from your body.

Listen. Focus on nearby sounds. If you're on the beach, tune in to the crashing waves; in the woods, listen to the chirping birds. This will bring you fully into the present moment and make you feel calm and happy.

Photo: Shutterstock

Pack a Body-Friendly Bag

6 of 8

All photos

A suitcase with four spinner wheels and a straight, uncontoured handle is one of the smartest travel purchases you can make, says Alan Hedge, Ph.D., a professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell University. The wheels rotate 360 degrees, so you can push the bag through terminals instead of pulling it, preventing shoulder and back strain. And with noncontoured handles, you can use a lighter grip to maneuver the suitcase, so you don't end up with wrist and arm pain, Hedge says.

Our top pick: Raden A22 Carry ($295). In addition to these features, it also comes equipped with convenient USB ports to charge your phone and a scale built into the carry handle for easy weighing.

Photo: Raden

Cure Travel Insomnia

7 of 8

All photos

The first night of vacation, we tend to sleep 20 to 25 percent less than usual, according to Brown University researchers, who have dubbed this phenomenon "first-night effect." "Part of your brain refuses to drift off, acting as a night watchman to protect you from harm," says Yuka Sasaki, Ph.D., an associate professor at Brown. To trick your mind into letting down its defenses, bring pillowcases from home and put on your usual night cream before bed. The familiar textures and smells may reduce the feeling of unfamiliarity, so you might snooze easier. (Or you can try these Incredibly Weird and Wacky Insomnia Cures.)

Photo: Shutterstock

Do the Jet Lag Workout

8 of 8

All photos

Exercising the morning after your arrival can help you adjust to the new time zone faster, says Karyn Esser, Ph.D., a professor of physiology and functional genomics at the University of Florida. That's because your muscles have their own internal clocks, and they respond to movement rather than light, she says. Working out tells them that it's daytime, which lets you sync physiologically to your new time zone. Esser suggests doing some cardio for at least 30 minutes. (Up Next: The Brilliant Way to Cure Jet Lag with Food.)

Need a vacay? Check out some of these gorgeous vacation destinations that make relaxation first priority.

Photo: Shutterstock

Creamy Soups That Are Actually Healthy

Mexican Street Corn Soup

1 of 8

All photos

This recipe is inspired by a street food favorite. Stripping corn off the cob might take a little more effort, but using fresh corn (along with lime juice, and cilantro) will definitely pay off. Trust.

Get the recipe: Mexican Street Corn Soup

Photo: Striped Spatula

Creamy Asparagus Pea Soup

2 of 8

All photos

This soup is perfect for someone who wants the health benefits of green juice, but needs something with a little more oomph. It's packed with two cups of peas and one bunch of asparagus so you'll get a good dose of nutrients in each bite. The light soup is topped with fresh-baked, garlicky croutons. (Discover more delicious springtime asparagus recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.)

Get the recipe: Asparagus Pea Soup

Photo: Minimalist Baker

Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

3 of 8

All photos

This healthy version of chicken and dumplings is thick and chunky. Unlike traditional cream-based soups, it calls for evaporated milk, which has less fat and more protein than heavy cream. Spinach, carrots, and celery round out this recipe, which is way more nutritious than it looks.

Get the recipe: Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

Photo: Smart Nutrition

Creamy Vegan Potato Soup with Pesto Swirl

4 of 8

All photos

If you've ever wanted to eat pesto with a spoon, now's your chance. It's generously swirled through this thick potato soup. Instead of cream, this soup gets its texture from soaked cashews (which, along with other tree nuts, have been linked to lowered risk of diabetes).

Get the recipe: Creamy Vegan Potato Soup with Pesto Swirl

Photo: Pumpkin & Peanut Butter

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

5 of 8

All photos

Cauliflower can morph into just about anything these days—rice, pizza crust, hummus.... For this recipe, it's blended into a velvety soup that's vegetarian, gluten-free, and Paleo.

Get the recipe: Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Photo: Yummy Healthy Easy

Simple Tomato Bisque

6 of 8

All photos

Homemade tomato bisque never gets old and it knows no seasons. You probably have most of the ingredients for this recipe in your kitchen right now, and it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish (which gives you plenty of time to make grilled cheese too).

Get the recipe: Simple Tomato Bisque

Photo: Prepgreen

Creamy Tortellini Soup Recipe

7 of 8

All photos

If you're in the mood for Italian but want something on the lighter side, this recipe is perfect (and these meals also fit the bill). This soup is filled with cheesy tortellini but every bowl still comes in at under 300 calories.

Get the recipe: Creamy Tortellini Soup Recipe

Photo: Diethood

Leek Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup

8 of 8

All photos

Take comfort in this warming bowl that's chock-full of nourishing ingredients. Leeks and sweet potatoes are both high in vitamins A and C and give the soup a slightly sweet flavor.

Get the recipe: Leek Sweet Potato and Rosemary Soup

Photo: Neil's Healthy Meals