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We Asked the Pros: What Are Your Top Sneaker Picks?

With all the sneaker options out there, finding the right pair for you can be mind-numbing. We're here to help you narrow down the field

sneaker wallJavier Larrea/age footstock/getty images
Story Highlights
Finding the right pair of shoes will eliminate pain and prevent injury
When it comes to running, the lighter the shoe the better
A good aerobics shoe needs to support side steps and jumps
Cycling shoes actually help you move faster

Best running sneaks:

best running sneaker

Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 

"This lightweight sneaker helps me run fast but it also delivers plenty of cushioning which is great for my long runs." -- Liza Friedman, Dashing Whippets Running Team member who is training for her 3rd NYC Marathon

Christine Many Luff, running coach and expert for About.com agrees. "I've been wearing Mizuno Wave Riders for the past 11 years. I have high arches and they provide the right support, but are still a lightweight shoe. I love them and hope they never discontinue this model!" 

Shop it: Mizuno Women's Wave Rider 16, $114.99 at mizunousa.com

best sneaker

Brooks Women's Ghost 6

"I've been training in Brooks Ghost sneakers for the last year. I recently upgraded to the Brooks Ghost 6 from the Ghost 5 for the Hamptons Half Marathon and liked them better because they're lighter." -- Shari Atwood, Team In training member who just completed her 5th half marathon this year

Shop it: Brooks Women's Ghost 6, $110 at brooksrunning.com

best running sneaker

Nike Flex 2012 Run iD

"I prefer to opt for a lighter, flexible shoe that gives more of a barefoot-like feel while still providing some cushioning and support. I ran my first half marathon in these shoes and not only did they get me to the finish line, but they helped reach my goal of finishing in under two hours." -- Jessica Matthews, MS, exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise 

Shop It: Nike Flex 2012 Run iD, $110 at nike.com

Best cross-trainer: 

best running sneaker

Brooks Women's PureCadence 2

"[These are] light weight and allow me to get a nice grip on the ground, which make them perfect for jump squats and obstacle races." -- Katie White, marathon runner and triathlete

Shop it: Brooks Women's PureCadence 2, $108 at brooksrunning.com

Best aerobics sneaks:

 

 

best sneaker

Ryka Women's Enhance Aerobics Shoe

"For Zumba and Cardio Jam (any other high impact cardio studio workout), I absolutely love this shoe. It's tough to find a shoe that works for workouts where you are both jumping and also doing quick side-to-side moves like shuffling and grapevines. What you need is a 'studio' shoe and these are typically NOT sold in shoe stores. Most people incorrectly wear a cross-trainer or running shoe for these workouts and don't get the support and cushion they need to work out to their maximum ability. A cross-trainer is usually too light and running shoes don't have the lateral support needed for side steps or the cushion in the ball of the food needed for jumping." -- Martica Heaner, PhD, exercise physiologist and co-author of Cross-Training for Dummies

Shop it: Ryka Women's Enhance Aerobics Shoe, $57.29-$85 at amazon.com

Best workout sneaker

Nike Air Max 90 Premium Tape

"I die for the Nike Air Max 90 Premium Tape! They come in men's and women's they are super comfortable and I mean look at them they are dope as dope can be! As Britney Spears would say 'WERK B*TCH.'" -- Lacey Stone, celebrity trainer

Shop it: Nike Air Max 90 Premium Tape, $120 at nike.com

best sneaker

Asics Gel-Kayano 20

"Now that I am teaching 22 classes a week at various locations around the city, I need a shoe that works as hard as I do." -- Tracie Hendricks, fitness advisor and movement guru

Shop It: Asics Gel-Kayano 20, $160 at asicsamerica.com

Best spinning/indoor cycling sneak: 

best sneaker

Pearl iZUMi Women's W All-Road II Cycling Shoe

"Many people that take cycling classes are unsure as to whether they should splurge on spin shoes for a 45 minute workout that they might only do 2 or 3 times a week. If you're going on a 3- or 4-hour ride in the country you definitely need a biking shoe because your feet will fatigue and it will be noticeable. But for a short cycling class, sure, they can get by without. But using the right shoe will actually give you an edge. The shoes have a very hard sole and this helps transmit the power from your leg push into the pedal, allowing you to work harder -- move faster against more resistance. So you can actually increase your calorie burn in a class simply by wearing the cycle-appropriate shoes. I recently got the Pearl iZumi shoes. Not only are they really cute, they are super comfy and easy to strap in and off. Since they are not exposed to the elements, they don't wear out." -- MH

Shop it: Pearl iZUMi Women's W All-Road II Cycling Shoe, $74.99-$90 at amazon.com

Best dance shoe:

best running sneaker

Asics Gel Nimbus 15

"Because I'm a former ballet dancer, my feet are really sensitive to high impact and it's crucial for me to wear supportive sneakers while I'm working out and teaching. I'm obsessed with the Asics Gel Nimbus 15. They have a high profile and excellent arch support and are perfect for the sensory cardio and trampoline work we do at Bari." -- Michelle Pellizzon, head trainer at The Bari Studio

Shop It: Asics Gel Nimbus 15, $145 at asicsamerica.com

Best post-injury sneak:

best sneaker

Asics Gel-Kayano 19

"I had shin splints on and off for a year, so I switched to Asics (and went to physical therapy). They give me the support I need to run without any pain." -- Tracy Goldenberg, Avid Central Park and West Side Highway runner with three Spartan Races, a Tough Mudder and 10K under her belt. ("Working towards a half marathon next!")

Shop It: Asics Gel-Kayano 19, $150 at asicsamerica.com

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3 Other Viewpoints

What's this?

Read what other people have said about this topic – we’ve gathered the smartest perspectives from the web in one spot.

Try barefoot running if you don’t want to bother with the whole shoe thing.

The debate: is barefoot running just a fad or can it be good for you and your feet? Some say it’s more natural. Woman’s Day says that running without shoes shortens your running stride and decreased the heel strike, which can sometimes cause shin splints and other running injuries. If you do decide to do this, start slowly or even with shoes that have minimal support.

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Know how to tell when the shoe fits.

This is how you tell if your shoes fit correctly: For running shoes, it’s best to shop at the end of the day when your feet have naturally swollen -- your big toe should be thumbs-width away from the tip of your shoe; For cross-trainers they should be very true to size -- it’s god to start with a pair that feels snugger than your running shoes without being uncomfortable or overly tight.

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Choose the shoe that’s most appropriate for your workout.

Your feet move and land differently depending on the exercise or activity. Because of that, basketball shoes are engineered to be more stable, running shoes are designed to support as you glide forward and walking shoes are worked to protect the heel. Cross trainers are supposed to be the one catchall but they are not very good at any one particular activity, so if you are serious about one kind of workout, get the specialized shoe.

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