best overall rating
  • Memory foam insole
  • Durable construction
  • Breathable mesh upper
premium choice rating
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Ergonomic design
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  • Sandal design
  • Padded strap
  • Lightweight cushioning

If you’re interested in running, sport, or any other kind of intense physical activity, you’re going to want to buy the best athletic shoes you can find. Athletic shoes are the most important piece of kit for sport, and a good pair can make a huge difference to your comfort and performance in any sporting activity. The market for athletic shoes is very broad, offering a wide range of high-quality shoes in a range of wildly different styles; no matter what your sport of choice may be or how regularly you participate, there should be a great pair of athletic shoes out there to fit your needs.

The breadth of the athletic shoe market can be intimidating and confusing at first, so we’re here to simplify that for you a little. We’ve investigated the market and researched athletic shoes thoroughly, and narrowed down the market to 10 of the best athletic shoes out there. Below you can find our best athletic shoe reviews, exploring the major features of our favorite athletic shoes in order to help you find the right pair of athletic shoes for you and your personal athletic needs.

Related review; Trail Running shoes.

View the Best Athletic Shoes, Below.

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1. Skechers Men’s Afterburn

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Skechers sneakers have been market leaders for over two decades, and the Skechers Men’s Afterburn athletic shoes are a great example of why this is. The soles of these athletic shoes are made from durable, flexible Articu-Lyte rubber for strong support and comfort, boosted by the padding of the memory foam insoles. The uppers are made from a combination of sturdy leather and high quality, lightweight, breathable synthetic mesh, balancing between strength and breathability to keep your feet well protected and cool even during intense periods of exercise.

One of the added bonuses of Skechers sneakers over other brands of athletic shoe is their distinctive and classy style, making them a great option for casual wear as well as high performance athletic products. The Skechers Men’s Afterburn athletic shoes are a great choice no matter what your personal athletic shoe needs might be.

Why We Like It

  • Memory foam insole
  • Durable construction
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Leather and synthetic hybrid construction
  • High traction rubber sole

Our Verdict

As high quality as you might expect from Skechers shoes, the Skechers Men’s Afterburn athletic shoes are premium, high performance athletic shoes ideal for practical use or simply wearing casually for style.

Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. Brooks Women’s Ghost 11

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Lightweight and stylish, the Brooks Women’s Ghost 11 athletic shoes offer both high performance and a bright, vibrant look. The uppers of these athletic shoes are made from a lightweight, breathable mesh material, keeping your feet cool and comfortable throughout your sporting activities, no matter how intense. In addition to this, the interiors are plush and padded, lined with soft fabric to maximize your comfort while wearing the Brooks Women’s Ghost 11 running shoes.

The soles of the athletic shoes, meanwhile, are ergonomically designed, with a soft blown rubber forefoot material to allow flexibility and control without compromising on comfort or durability, keeping your foot movement natural, fluid, and as dynamic as possible.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Ergonomic design
  • High energizing cushioning
  • High support rubber sole

Our Verdict

The ergonomic design and lightweight construction of the Brooks Women’s Ghost 11 make this model of athletic shoes an exceptionally comfortable choice for any sporting activity. They’re unobtrusive and comfortable enough to feel almost as if you have no shoes on at all!

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. Nike Men’s Benassi Athletic Sandal

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The Nike Men’s Benassi Athletic Sandal is a simple athletic sandal designed for comfort and simplicity. These offer an exceptionally high build quality, with comfortable padding and durable synthetic materials used throughout. The one piece strap is firmly attached to the sole, and features jersey lining under its synthetic leather body for added comfort and sweat wicking power, helping to keep your feet even cooler than might be expected from the openness of the sandal design of these athletic shoes.

The soles of these athletic sports sandals are made from injected Phylon rubber, giving a durable surface and a high level of cushioning with minimal weight for a lightweight and well padded feel, cushioning your feet from impact shocks effectively. In addition to this, the flex grooves used in the design of the sole allow the sandals to bend along with your feet, keeping them firmly in place and maintaining the high level of comfort offered with no slippage.

Why We Like It

  • Sandal design
  • Padded strap
  • Lightweight cushioning
  • Flex grooves
  • Durable construction

Our Verdict

There's no athletic shoe style more lightweight than an athletic sandal. This type of athletic footwear may be very different from a standard sports shoe, but if you're looking for a pair of athletic sandals, the Nike Men's Benassi Athletic Sandal is one of the best athletic sandals available.

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4. ASICS Mens Gel-Venture 6

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The ASICS Men’s Gel Venture 6 athletic shoes are designed for outdoor running on rough trails. Tough and durable, they are designed for high performance and great protection no matter what the environment in which you’re running is. The sole is made from strong rubber with deep treads for strong grip on rough surfaces, and the interior features a gel cushioning system built into the heel to absorb shock and reduce the impact of your feet against the ground, protecting your feet and legs from impact related injuries as you run.

These shoes offer high outdoor trail running performance, promising to protect your feet and keep you comfortable while helping you run at your peak performance on rough, difficult terrain.

Why We Like It

  • Gel padding
  • Removable liner
  • Durable construction
  • High grip outer sole
  • Tough synthetic upper

Our Verdict

An exceptionally durable model of athletic shoes, the ASICS Men’s Gel Venture 6 shoes are one of the best athletic shoes out there for trail running, offering superior grip and foot protection on rougher and more unstable trail surfaces.

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5. Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 19

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The Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 19 athletic shoes offer a clean, stylish look and a number of excellent design features that help them to stand out from the crowd in a couple of important aspects. The breathable mesh uppers of these athletic shoes help to keep your feet cool and fresh even during extended periods of intense exercise, while the rubber soles are durable and flexible, offering a high level of cushioning to protect your feet and keep you as comfortable as possible when you run.

These athletic shoes offer excellent compatibility with most shapes of orthotic insole, allowing them to provide good support and a high level of comfort to any user’s feet, no matter their shape.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Compatible with most orthotic insoles
  • High comfort
  • Clean, stylish look

Our Verdict

Great for wearing with orthotic foot supports, the Brooks Women’s Launch 5 trainers are comfortable and flexible for most shapes of feet. These athletic shoes allow for a higher level of medical support than many other types of athletic trainers, all while looking sharp and stylish.

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6. ASICS Gel-Venture 6 MX Women’s

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Designed for outdoor trail running on rougher and more treacherous trail surfaces, the ASICS Gel Venture 6 MX Women’s athletic shoes are trail shoes that offer a high level of durable protection and foot support. The rough surface of the outer sole features reversed lugs for high trail performance, increasing the traction of your feet on both uphill and downhill travel on any terrain.

In addition to this, critical locations on the soles are made from ASICS High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR), boosting the strength and durability of a number of key parts of the sole that take the heaviest and most destructive abrasion in regular use while running.

Why We Like It

  • Gel cushioning
  • Removable liner
  • Sturdy rubber sole
  • ASICS High Abrasion Rubber in critical locations
  • High grip outer sole

Our Verdict

The ASICS Gel Venture 6 MX Women's athletic shoes offer exceptional durability and comfort when running on rougher outdoor trails. The high grip outer sole with ASICS High Abrasion Rubber detailing will stay in good condition even when running on difficult rough terrain and always maintains a high level of foot comfort.

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7. ASICS Gel-Contend 4 Women’s

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The ASICS Gel-Contend 4 Women's Running Shoe offers a high level of comfort, padding, and breathability in a versatile and colorful package. Available in 7 different designs, these athletic shoes are sure to look great on any user, helping you to exercise in style. The soles are made from durable, tough rubber with moderate texturing to add versatility to the range of practical uses for these athletic shoes, while the insole is padded with comfort gel around the heel to absorb shock and reduce the transmission of impacts against the ground to your feet and ankles, helping to protect you from injury during runs.

The durable synthetic upper promises to protect your feet in any environment, while the handy removable liner is quick drying and wicks sweat away from your feet effectively, keeping your feet cool and dry at all times.

Why We Like It

  • Gel cushioning
  • Removable liner
  • Durable rubber sole
  • ComforDry sockliner design
  • Durable upper

Our Verdict

Stylish and versatile, the ASICS Gel Contend 4 Women’s running shoes are exceptionally comfortable athletic shoes suitable for almost any sporting activity. Their exceptional breathability and padding will keep your feet comfortable no matter what.

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8. adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure

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The Adidas Women’s Cloudform Pure trainers are simple and understated trainers with a range of high comfort design features. Available in 19 different colors, these are athletic shoes designed to appeal to as wide a market as possible and offer a high enough comfort level to back up this high ambition effectively.

The upper surface is made from a high stretch, breathable mesh textile fabric to keep your feet cool and comfortable in any situation, no matter the shape of your feet, while the memory foam liner offers a high level of support and ergonomic padding for the soles of your feet.

Why We Like It

  • Textile construction
  • Memory foam liner
  • Wide range of colors available
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • High stretch design

Our Verdict

Flexible, comfortable and versatile, the Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure athletic shoes combine high performance, comfort, and style to make a pair of running shoes ideally suited to almost any user.

Editor Rating

9. Nike Men’s Revolution 4

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Designed for high running performance, the Nike Men’s Revolution 4 athletic shoes are high quality trainers with a number of design features specifically focused on support and performance when running. These running shoes feature a high performance sole design with molded spring pods to create a piston effect while you run, boosting your strides and offering responsive cushioning to protect your feet from impact shock.

The midsole is made from soft, comfortable foam, while the toe tip and vamp include sturdy underlays to boost the support these athletic shoes can offer to your feet. The body of the Nike Men’s Revolution 4 athletic shoes is lightweight and durable, constructed with seamless overlays for added strength, and promises a long lasting shoe that’s always comfortable to wear.

Why We Like It

  • High traction design
  • Sole mounted spring pods
  • Lightweight
  • Durable construction
  • Excellent support

Our Verdict

The foot support offered by the Nike Men’s Revolution 4 trainers is exceptional, keeping your feet well cushioned and balanced during any sporting activity for maximum protection and foot care.

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10. Under Armour Men’s Micro G Assert 7

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Built from a range of textile, synthetic and leather materials, the Under Armour Men’s Micro G Assert 7 athletic shoes are designed for support and protection in a durable, long lasting package that promises to boost your running performance in style for as long as possible. The upper part of the shoe is made from a durable, breathable synthetic mesh to keep your feet cool, dry and comfortable even during intense exercise, and features a durable leather overlay to increase the stability and protection offered by these athletic shoes and compressing your mid foot region, holding it securely in place.

Why We Like It

  • Lightweight
  • Durable construction
  • Breathable upper
  • EVA foam insole
  • Sturdy leather overlays

Our Verdict

The Under Armour Men’s Micro G Assert 7 athletic shoes are durable and comfortable, supporting your feet well and being tough enough to survive for a long time, reducing the need to buy further pairs of shoes any more often than necessary.

Editor Rating

Athletic Shoes Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the Right Running Shoes for you

Different people run in different ways during sporting activities, and the precise manner in which you run will affect which types of athletic shoes will offer you the most comfort and the largest performance boost. Lighter runners may want a lightweight, stripped down shoe, as might those who focus on shorter and more intense sprints.

Heavier runners and those who run longer distances, however, may want more padding and bounce to keep things more comfortable. Similarly, different gaits require different shapes of shoe or insole and getting that professionally checked can help you to find the right shoes for your personal unique movement patterns.

What are Athletic Shoes?

Athletic shoes cover a wide range of different types of shoe designed for different types of sporting activity, from running to basketball. Athletic shoes include everything from running shoes to court shoes, and there are a number of major classes of athletic shoe that it’s worth being aware of.

The majority of easily available commercial athletic shoes are classed as running shoes, the most popular type of athletic shoes. These are lightweight shoes that provide a high level of cushioning to protect your feet from impact while running, as well as good support for your feet.

Court shoes are also common and popular. This type of athletic shoe are designed for sports such as tennis, basketball, and volleyball, and are usually made from soft leather or synthetic equivalent materials. These athletic shoes are focused on providing stability for all sides of your feet and can be found in low cut designs for tennis and other sports, or high, ankle length cuts for basketball, to support the ankle during jumping.

Many other types of athletic shoes are also available, but these are the two most popular and readily available classes of athletic shoe. If you’re looking to get heavily into sports such as cycling, it’s worth buying specialist shoes for that, but running or court shoes should cover the majority of your athletic needs.

You might also like; Adidas running shoes.

How to Clean Athletic Shoes?

After heavy use, athletic shoes can get grimy and sweaty and in need of a thorough cleaning. Unfortunately, running your athletic shoes through the washing machine can dramatically reduce their lifespan, damaging the materials substantially. If you want to protect your investment in your athletic shoes, you’re going to need to hand wash them. This isn’t the easiest process, but there are a few steps you can follow to simplify it a little.

The first step of cleaning your athletic shoes is to scrub off any large chunks of grime and dirt. Scrub any problem spots on the outside of your shoes with a stiff, dry brush to remove any major soiling. Then it’s time to deconstruct your shoes for cleaning. Remove the laces and insoles, and put them aside for now.

Then, fill a sink with warm (but not hot) soapy water, and you’re ready to start cleaning properly. Scrub the entirety of your athletic shoes with a sponge or soft brush, using something small such as a toothbrush to reach smaller, more complicated spots that are harder to reach. Rinse in cold water, and leave your shoes to air dry.

How to Stretch Athletic Shoes?

Leather shoes can be difficult to stretch if they’re too tight, but fortunately, athletic shoes are usually made from synthetic materials, making them much easier to stretch to fit your feet. You won’t be able to stretch them more than a quarter to a half size larger than their original size, but even that small amount can make a huge difference to the comfort level of your feet.

The easiest way to stretch out a pair of shoes is simply to wear them around the house a lot. Unfortunately, that can be uncomfortable and cause blisters if you’re not careful. The other option takes more effort but can be more comfortable and effective, as well as somewhat faster. Simply put on a pair of thick athletic socks, slip your athletic shoes on, and heat them up with a hairdryer on medium heat.

Wiggle your toes around and bend your foot as much as possible, flexing the heated shoe as far as possible. This stretches synthetic material effectively, although you need to ensure that you keep wearing the shoes as they cool down.

Expert Tip

For relatively casual or infrequent use, running shoes will be a great choice. If you’re planning on participating in a specific sport such as basketball more than twice a week, though, it’s worth investing in some specific shoes designed for that activity.

Did you know?

Only 25% of athletic shoes sold in the USA are used for sporting purposes. The other 75% of athletic shoes sold are used primarily for casual wear and aesthetic purposes!

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