The 2020 Shape Sneaker Awards Have a Pair to Help You Crush Any Workout
Studio Class Hero: Ryka Dedication XT
This cross-trainer has all the right moves, say our testers, who put it through jumping jacks and other group-fitness go-tos. Slip into the sock-like bootie, and lace up. With extra built-in arch and heel support, you’ll have solid grounding and shock absorption. (No matter your sport, there's an ideal cross-training workout for you.)
Ready, Set, Go: Nike React Infinity Run
If you usually opt for a motion-control shoe, this may be your paradigm shift: These running sneaks use a cushy, strategically widened midsole (rather than the typical stiffer foam below the arch) to guide the foot. And they were a crowd-pleaser with our testers, even those who overpronate. One happily used a pair out of the box for a half-marathon.
An Airy Ride: Athletic Propulsion Labs TechLoom Wave
Thanks to a new high-elastic knit upper, these barely there running sneakers have a more glove-like fit than ever. In fact, they’re snug enough to remove the laces and run. Lightweight and versatile, one tester raved.
Hit New Speed: Brooks Levitate 3
Go to your flow state in these springy runners, which are built to deliver maximum energy and return to juice your forward momentum. Our testers immediately put them on repeat for their workouts by pavement and treadmill. (To increase your speed without training more, follow these tips.)
Fly Through Training Miles: Adidas Ultraboost 20
Cushiony is the word that runners used to describe the spring they get from this neutral sneaker. And the upper is the best of both worlds: a foot-hugging knit with a lock-down overlay across the top of the midfoot as you lace them.
Day-to-Night Style: Sam Edelman Ethyl
How to nail casual cool? This sleek, high-wattage leather lace-up is the way to do metallics: It’s an unexpected neutral that will instantly update any outfit, from tailored pieces to denim. However you choose to wear them (like with these metallic workout clothes), be prepared to make an entrance.
Gym Staple: Altra Solstice XT
Get Teched Up: Under Armour Hovr Machina
These connected sneakers will clue you in when you’re overstriding and keep tabs on your pace, distance, and more. Just sync the cushiony neutral runners with the MapMyRun app on your smartphone, and you can choose which updates you hear in your earbuds and then see all your stats after your run. Pretty slick—and in a nicely springy and responsive ride. (Related: These Sneakers Are a Running Coach and Tracker Inside Your Foot)
Go-To for Getting Around: Skechers Ultra Flex Wild Expedition
From the brand known for its effortless slip-ons and memory foam comfort, this style wins the season’s leopard-print trend. Walk init nonstop, whether for errands or a long day of travel, and your feet will thank you with every flexible, cushiony step.
Meet the Sniker: Merrell Bravada Waterproof
Seeking trail-to-tavern versatility? Here’s your sweet spot. It’s a women-specific, waterproof light hiker in sneaker clothing: In fact, our testers walked from trail to all-day errands without a second thought. The grippy outsole means business on bumpy terrain, while the easy wearability gives it street cred. (Not sure if you want to hit the trails? These health benefits of hiking will convince you.)
Max Cushion Runner: Hoka One One Mach 3
Super cushioned but light on your feet, this road shoe earned raves from our runners for its amazing boing. A new upper combines extra breathability for going the distance with a strategic weave that helps lock down your midfoot for added stability. You’ll run out of pavement before your joints ever cry uncle in a pair of these shock absorbers. (BTW, road running *is* different than trail running.)
Boot Camp Pro: Reebok Nano X
Gift to Lifters: Nobull Gum Trainer
These durable, hug-the-floor cross-trainers are sturdily built and shine in the support department. Details like a breathable mesh upper and rubber side guard for climbing ropes help feet get through the toughest of sessions. CrossFit fans and strength trainers alike appreciated the stability as they did their reps.
Go Long: Salomon Vaya Mid GTX
Made with a women-specific narrower heel and more-flexible material on the top of the foot for higher insteps, this waterproof hiking boot will take you the distance. The lightweight feel and hard-core traction won over our testers: “A great example of how far hiking shoes have come,” one says.
Make It a Day Hike: Forsake Cascade
“Very comfortable and good looking,” one tester says of these low hikers. You can add grippy, made with a breathable upper and anti-microbial lining, so feet and sneaks stay fresh.
Train on Trails: New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v5
Great traction from the Vibram outsole won the hearts of our trail runners, who took them through the muck. (“Felt like I was running on a little cloud,” one says.) A cushiony feel and a breathable upper constructed to keep the grit out means you can go for miles. (Related: How to Score the Seriously Awesome Benefits of Trail Running)
Runs Plush in the Rough: The North Face Ultra Endurance XF
The max cushioning and light feel of this trail runner was a crowd-pleaser. Added touches like a toe-protecting rubber cap and double-reinforced fabric over the midfoot for stability make gnarly terrain a walk in the park.