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The best gym shoes

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(Image credit: Unknown)

1. DC Unilites
£75
The problem with a lot of gym shoes is that while they might give you all the cushioning and comfort you need, they look like they've been thought up by a designer who's been sectioned – probably more than once. Not so these bad boys. As well as featuring a supportive Ortholite sock liner, they've got a deep rubber outsole that offers enough impact protection to keep your feet safe during the highest box jumps, a breathable upper so you don't stink out the gym while you're double undering up a storm with your skipping rope and, crucially, they look like sleek, understated skate shoes (which makes sense since they're from skate brand DC), so your feet look fresh while you're doing renegade rows.
uk.dcshoes-store.com (opens in new tab)
 
2. Converse All Star high-tops
£45
The problem with using trainers for big lifts is their padded heels - as soon as you drive through the floor in a squat or deadlift, the force you'regenerating will be absorbed by squashy gels or air cells. The solution? Converse high-tops. As well as providing a flat, stable surface to push off, the canvas at the sides provides ankle stability, making them a great and inexpensive alternative to normal weightlifting shoes. Also, they make you look like The Fonz. He was a badass.
asos.com (opens in new tab)

3. Reebok CrossFit Flex Nanos
£90
These pared-down Reebok shoes look and feel like lightweight plimsoles but the soles are thick enough to provide cushioning while running on hard, uneven surfaces and they offer enough grip to stop you slipping over when you're on sweaty gym mats. But what makes these shoes really stand out is their space-age U-form tech, which allows you to custom-fit the shoe by heating it up with a hairdryer then moulding the inside to your feet. The resulting fit puts paid to the nasty chaffing you often encounter when performing high volumes sessions in trainers.
reebok.com (opens in new tab)
 

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Nick Hutchings

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.