Read our full FootJoy Flex XP review here.
Best Lifestyle Shoe: Hush Puppies The Good Low Top
Made from recycled water bottles, these tennis-style mesh stretch trainers from Hush Puppies are your new everyday staple. They’re comfortable, breathable, and neutral enough to dress up and down. Our tester wore them on all sorts of terrain – from pavement to public transport to grass and even slick marble floors – and confirmed that they held up dutifully well. City walkers, get your wallets ready – from office to happy hour, these are for you.
Best Updated Classic: K-Swiss Classic VN
K-Swiss entered the chat. In fact, they haven’t really gone anywhere – you probably recognize this sneaker from 1975 – but their beloved classic tennis style is back with a slight refresh (a new midsole, leather upper style and rings metal lace) for 2022. Our tester logged dozens of miles of commuting, running and busying around New York City, and she reported no blisters or hot spots. (Anyone who’s ever tried a leather tennis shoe knows that’s a rare feat.) “I’ve probably worn them about a billion times because they’re incredibly comfortable,” she said. “The shoes are not necessarily cushioned, but they provide such support. I wear them several times a week now.
Best Fashion Sneaker: Superga 4089 Training 9TS Slim White Multi
What do you get when you pair Emily Ratajkowski with the casual sneaker darling Superga? These trainers from the model’s debut collection with iconic trainer branding. They are both sporty, normcore and classic. Here’s the inside scoop from one tester: “They’re stylish but not heavy, and I love the white and off-white combination and the flecks on the sole. They really feel like they can go with anything. Pair it with bike shorts and a sweatshirt for a Princess Diana look.
Best Trending Shoe: Veja V-15
Want to up your fashion game? Trade in your Air Force 1s for this modern take on the sneaker from Veja. Although not cheap, these are high quality sneakers that you are sure to get plenty of wear and tear from. Although high-tops can feel uncomfortable at times, they do provide support, and our tester reported no discomfort even on first use.
Best for staying on your feet all day: Zella Lifestyle Sneaker
If you’re looking for recreational sports that look as good as they look, you’ve come to the right place. While anyone who spends all day on their feet will find a sweet respite here, busy parents, dog walkers and outdoor enthusiasts are sure to love them too. Plus, Zella is a Nordstrom-exclusive brand, making these sneakers easy to buy and return.
The best HIIT and Cross-Training sneakers
Best Cross-Training Shoe: APL TechLoom Zipline
For cross-training, you’ll need a low-profile shoe that moves with you in all directions. Although these APL trainers are suitable for running, they are also light, supportive and bouncy enough for a great cross-training session before your run, after or on days when you just want to hit the gym. We’re big fans of hard-working, practical sneakers – and whether you’re wearing them for a warm-up jog or a 14-inch box jump, we know you’ll feel great.
Best Adapted Shoe: Reebok Fit to Fit Adaptive Collection: Nanoflex Parafit TR
Reebok announced the release of its very first adaptive collection in May. The Parafit TRs, which are the line’s high-performance offering, are made with a subtle zipper and heel tab for a more accessible on-and-off experience. Our testers loved these features and said the shoe was lightweight and springy with a structured heel for added support.
Best HIIT Shoe: Ryka Daze XT Training Shoe
“Loved, loved, loved these sneakers,” wrote one tester, who is an avid kickboxer and Zumba dancer. And while she says they might not be the sexiest pair out there, they are top-notch workout shoes you won’t regret buying. “They provided soft support and a bouncy feel. I’m glad these are now on my radar. Now that I’ve tried Ryka, my standards for sneakers have increased exponentially.
Best all-around gym shoe: York Athletics the Frank Trainer
The Frank Trainer has long been loved by SELF editors, so we’re thrilled to be able to honor it at our Sneaker Awards this year. You can wear them for a wide range of workouts – dance fitness, boot camp, kickboxing, boxing, HIIT…the list goes on – and they hold up in comfort and support time after time. Here’s one tester’s take: “I stan the Frank. I would wear them and wear them all the time for style reasons. They’re cool, unique (every time I wear them in public people ask me what brand they are) and come in neutral colors which makes them look more like an everyday fashion sneaker than a training shoe. Very good, yes, I feel like an influencer when I wear them.
Best Cycling Shoe: Tiem Athletic Slipstream Cycling Shoe
Meet the bike shoe that doesn’t look like a bike shoe, a shoe you can even wear outside the studio. Tiem Slipstreams are SPD compatible (although SPD clips are sold separately) and look more like an everyday athletic shoe than your standard cycling shoe. The strap closure system makes it easy to adjust the fit of the shoe, making it suitable for both wide and narrow feet. “When I clip in, it feels like my legs are part of the bike in the most normal way possible,” said one tester, a cycling instructor who teaches up to seven classes a week. “The tread on the bottom of these shoes is also quite grippy, so if I want to lift after class, I feel pretty solid doing it. I’ve worn the same pair for five years and never had any blisters, hot spots, bruised toes or any kind of pain associated with the shoe. Some cycling shoes really squeeze the toes and feel stiff in the heel. Those don’t!