If there’s one part of your fitness wardrobe you shouldn’t be snoep about, it’s your shoes. Budget tights might get you far, but shoes that don’t fit well and aren’t properly designed for your chosen activity can hamper your performance, give you blisters and even set you up for injury.
Noted… buuut it’s also getting to the end of the year and you don’t want to be spending your whole bonus on a pair of workout shoes that can only do one thing. Well, good news: Our fitness editor tested three shoes that you can wear for running and the gym. And they’re great.
Salomon RA Pro 2
Narrow feet will enjoy the snug fit of this shoe.
Made for: Road Running
Get ’em here for: R2 299
I’ve always associated Salomon with trail running, so I was excited to try out this pair of road running shoes. They were comfortable from the first run, no need to “run them in”. They have quite a snug fit, but they’re not cramped at all – there’s plenty of wiggle room for the toes and the mesh upper allows your foot to flex, unrestricted. That said, though, if you have very broad feet, you might find the shoe a little restrictive.
I was worried they might be hard (I like cushioning in my running and workout shoes), but the midsole actually has good cushioning that absorbs impact, particularly around the midfoot. They’re great for a mid-foot strike, but I wouldn’t rate these for sprinting when you’re up on your toes. The outsole (that’s the bottom of the shoe) is nice and grippy on the road and the treadmill. The heel isn’t massively built up like with some running shoes, so I decided to try them out in a functional workout (mainly because they matched my outfit!). To my delight, the durable reinforcement around the sides promotes stability so I never felt like I was in danger of rolling an ankle, even in lateral movements. A special touch: the laces are long and spongy, so they don’t cut into the top of your foot.
Puma Hybrid Astro
Great for broader feet and good for running up to 21km.
Made for: Running and training
Get ’em in-store at Puma for: R2 299
These are a great all-in-one option if you’re looking for something to wear in the gym, with jeans and on a run – up to a half marathon distance. Even though these hybrids are quite built up, the broad base, heel counter and cage over your midfoot make them stable enough to work well as functional workout shoes. And cushioning in the midsole absorbs landing impact when you run and when you jump. The tongue is more padded than usual so the laces don’t cut into your foot. The mesh upper also allows enough wiggle room for your toes. They’re suitable for broader feet, but not so roomy that narrow feet like mine will slide around. They’re also customisable – that netting on the side is Puma’s innovative Netfit technology, which allows you to customise how you lace your workout shoes to suit your foot.
adidas Pulseboost HD
These were comfy from the moment I put them on.
Made for: Urban running
Get ’em here for: R2 299
These shoes were designed for urban running, but I’ve been using them for everything. When I first put them on, what struck me was how soft they were. They fit like a glove, with nothing digging in, squashing or scratching anywhere, not even in the heel. That’s because the whole upper is made from a sock-like mesh that moulds itself to the shape of your foot – and it makes them comfortable even for broad feet. I was worried the mesh wouldn’t provide enough support in a workout, but it’s structured enough to keep your foot in place. The shoe’s low profile also promotes stability.
As for sole – the midsole (that’s the white, spongy strip in the pic) is made from adidas’s signature boost foam, designed for maximum energy return. In other words, it puts an extra spring in your step when your foot hits the ground, both running and jumping. The outsole is made from durable Continental rubber (yes, like the tyres) and has great grip on any surface. If you’re doing a lot of heavy lateral work, you’ll want to get a proper pair of workout shoes, but if you’re a runner who does a bit of cross-training in the gym, these can do both.