The best Nike gym trainers, starting from £45

Get sole savvy with Nike's game-changing gym trainers.

A pair of the best Nike gym trainers as worn by an athlete

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

For decades, Nike has revolutionised the gym footwear industry with its commitment to innovation, design, and flair. Now, the best Nike gym trainers have cutting-edge elements like Nike Air, Zoom and Flyknit. If all of these sound like superhero traits to you, it's time to get to grips with the terminology, as well as the trainers.

From Nike's beginnings all the way back in the 1960s, Nike has created quite the legacy by focusing not just on its apparel (like jogging bottoms and hoodies) but also on its social message. The iconic Nike slogan 'Just do it' was first introduced in 1988 as part of a campaign to inspire athletes to push their limits and overcome any mental challenges they may face. The slogan, combined with the Swoosh, is there to encourage individuals to face challenges head-on, push beyond their limits and strive for greatness - not just in sports, but in real life too.

Ready to shop? The best Nike gym trainers, at a glance

• Best overall Nike gym trainers: Nike Free Metcon 5 - View now on Nike
• Best Nike gym trainers for running: Nike Pegasus 40 - View now on Nike
• Best budget Nike gym trainers: Nike Legend 3 Next Nature - View now on Nike

We're listing the best Nike gym trainers to help you tackle a variety of exercises, from HIIT to 12-3-30, and weight training to yoga practice. These trainers are top-notch at elevating your game and helping you reach your fitness goals oozing in style and confidence.

The best Nike gym trainers to buy right now

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall Nike gym trainers

Nike Free Metcon 5Nike
Price: £119.99

www.nike.com

There's so much going on inside these gym trainers, which is why we've ranked them as the best Nike gym trainers. These cutting-edge trainers seamlessly integrate the flexibility of Nike Free technology with the stability and support of Metcon, creating the ultimate footwear solution for a whole host of workouts. With a breathable, lightweight upper, these shoes offer comfort and breathability to ensure optimal performance. Other great features to note include the moulded heel clip, webbing eyelets and rubber tread in high-wear areas.

Pros

  • Lightweight upper has a comfortable, sock-like feel for easy on-and-off
  • Plush foam around the collar for added support around your ankle
  • Soft foam core for cushioning works with a firmer outer layer for stability

Cons

  • Better for narrow feet

Best Nike gym trainers for running

Nike Pegasus 40 Nike
Price: £119.99

www.nike.com

The Pegasus 40 definitely maintains Nike's standard of excellence. The latest iteration builds upon its predecessors' achievements, seamlessly blending comfort, responsiveness, and adaptability. Equipped with Zoom Air units in the heel and forefoot, the Pegasus 40 offers unparalleled cushioning and dynamic energy return, catering to both short sprints and long-distance runs with ease. For individuals seeking a reliable and versatile shoe that excels in both functionality and style, the Nike Pegasus 40 remains the ultimate choice.

Pros

  • Zoom Air units in the shoe make for an energetic ride
  • Heel area improves landing space and durability
  • Backed by Olympic gold medallist Athing Mu, who took the Pegasus trainers to the Olympic games

Cons

  • Some individuals found they were easily dirtied and hard to clean afterwards

Best budget Nike gym trainers

Nike Legend Essential 3 Next NatureNike
Price: $44.99 (was £59.95)
Alternative retailers
Walmart$111.00View offer

These shoes are not just about performance, they're about making a positive impact on the planet too. Crafted with at least 8% Nike Grind material, the Next Nature approach emphasises eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes. Meaning that these shoes are as kind to the environment as they are to your feet. But it doesn't stop there. With a sleek design, flat heel and flexible sole, the Nike Legend Essential trainers are made for upping your performance at the gym.

Pros

  • Stacked midsole foam adds sturdiness
  • Grooves under the toes make the shoes flexible enough for agility drills
  • High-abrasion honeycomb mesh with durable overlays

Cons

  • Only available in black

Best Nike gym trainers for responsiveness

Nike Air Zoom TR 1Nike
Price: $76.99 (was £109.95)

Designed to have you zooming along, these trainers are the best for responsiveness due to their full-length Zoom Air unit on the bottom layer. The low-to-the-ground design offers great stability for strength training, while the upper sits low to the ground, too, for stable comfort. But the Nike Air Zoom trainers are not just great for cardio and strength training, and they also come in handy for added stability on rocky terrains. Plus, for a snug fit, the midfoot Dynamic Fit band gives a secure, laced feel so your shoes don't move around while exercising.

Pros

  • Features full-length Zoom Air unit on the bottom layer of the upper delivers an active response during cardio
  • Low-to-the ground design
  • A midfoot Dynamic Fit band offers engaged lacing, so you can feel secure

Cons

  • Not great for summer running as the materials can make your feet hot

Best Nike gym trainers for weightlifting

Nike Romaleos 4Nike
Price: £184.99

www.nike.com

For dedicated weightlifters, the Nike Romaleos 4 are an excellent choice. These shoes boast a sturdy midsole, which enhances both stability and support while keeping weight minimal. The design facilitates optimal power transmission, ensuring an impressive lift-off during workouts. With its broad, flat outsole, the Romaleos 4 provides a solid foundation for lifting, while the adjustable strap ensures a snug and secure fit. It's evident that the Nike Romaleos 4's strike a perfect balance between flexibility and rigidity, catering to a wide range of lifts, from squats to snatches.

Pros

  • Wide straps over the laces to deliver secure support
  • Rigid midsole with a heel lift for optimal power transfer from the ground
  • Wide heel creates a stable base for lifting

Cons

  • The fit runs small so it's recommended to size up

Best Nike gym trainers for women

Nike Versair Nike
Price: £129.99

www.nike.com

Made to elevate your training sessions, the Nike Versair trainers are built with female athletes in mind. The flexibility within these shoes is unmatched, with a Zoom Air horseshoe unit for extra stretch and an outsole traction pattern that increases your freedom of movement. Also unmatched is the stability the Nike Versair offers. With a tough, moulded wrap around the shoe that helps keep your heel supported and intentionally placed cushioning - there's no chance of you feeling unsupported while exercising.

Pros

  • Horseshoe-shaped Zoom Air unit for added flexibility
  • Chenille fabric in the upper is soft to touch
  • Moulded wrap around the shoe to keep your heel secure

Cons

  • Designed with female athletes in mind so more tailored to women only

Best Nike gym trainers for low-intensity exercise

Nike MotivaNike

The Nike Motiva trainers have features like a patterned outsole and exaggerated rocker to assist you during low-impact exercise. Although these trainers might not be great for HIIT or CrossFit, they're great for stretching and walking. Featuring responsive cushioning and a flexible outsole, the Motiva ensures a smooth and comfortable ride. Moreover, its breathable upper material guarantees optimal ventilation, keeping you feeling cool while looking chic.

Pros

  • Exaggerated rocker on the outsole to move you forward with fluidity
  • Comfortgroove innovation to absorb bumps and uneven trails
  • Soft foam waterfall collar hugs the back of your foot

Cons

  • Small colour selection

Best Nike gym shoes for aesthetic design

Nike Zoom Bella 6Nike

The Nike Zoom Bella 6s are the perfect shoes for individuals that prioritise fashion AND function. With its sleek design, these shoes embody confidence and agility, ensuring you look and feel your best every gym session. The Zoom Bella features an updated frame in the forefoot for added volume, so you can maintain a sturdy stance during cardio. Plus, unlike some trainers that feel slightly too constricting, the midfoot laces enhance support without giving you a tight, locked-in feel.

Pros

  • To increase comfort, a Zoom Air unit is in place, stretching from the heel to the midfoot
  • More inclusive fit
  • Inner sleeves make getting the shoes on and off easy

Cons

  • Come up slightly large, so it's advised to size up by half a shoe size

Best Nike gym trainers with lightweight design

The Nike Downshifter trainers have some dynamic features, like the padded heel that adapts to the foot, and the rubber sole with robust traction. Featuring mesh inserts for breathability and flexibility, these shoes ensure your feet stay cool and comfortable mile after mile, gym session after gym session. Whether you're a seasoned marathoner or just starting your fitness journey, the Nike Men's Downshifter 10's are your perfect companion, propelling you towards your goals with every step.

Pros

  • Padding on the heel adapts to the foot and offers soft comfort
  • Rubber sole for robust traction
  • Mesh inserts in the forefoot area

Cons

  • Not much grip in icy conditions

A guide to investing in Nike gym trainers

How do I choose gym trainers?

Selecting the right trainers to accompany your workouts can make more of a difference than you might think. The best gym trainers can maximise your comfort, speed and, most importantly, your performance. Here are some things you should keep in mind before pressing 'checkout' on that pair of Nike trainers you've had in your bag.

What activity are you using them for?

Different gym trainers will be better for different types of exercise. Think about your preferred workouts, and your normal gym routine. As an example, if you prefer CrossFit, there are specific trainers for that, or if you prefer weight lifting, there are trainers for that, too. The great thing about Nike is that its trainers can often be used for a whole host of workouts, so you don't have to keep swapping shoes.

Cushioning

Not every trainer will have the same amount of cushioning. Some people prefer a chunky cushioned sole, while others don't. Look at the levels of cushioning and decide what works best for you. If you tend to do a lot of high-impact activities like running or jumping, you want a thick, cushioned sole.

Breathability

You don't want your feet to overheat while exercising, and the best way to prevent that is to ensure your trainers are properly ventilated. Look for trainers made from breathable materials or with little ventilation holes in to keep your feet cool during intense sessions. You'll notice a whole world of difference once your trainers are properly ventilated, as this also minimises discomfort or foot odour issues.

Personal style

Another great tip is to not go out of your comfort zone with your gym trainers. Yes, buying a luminous pair might seem like a good idea, but how much wear are you going to get out of them? Some people make the mistake of ignoring their usual trainer style and picking something more unique, then they struggle to style them or don't love the way they look. Stick to what you know. If you know you're a sucker for a black trainer, opt for a black trainer.

Do gym trainers make a difference?

As we've just mentioned, choosing the right pair of gym trainers does make a difference. Firstly, gym trainers often incorporate advanced cushioning technologies, such as Nike's Zoom Air or React Foam. Features like these will help absorb impact and provide responsive support during cardio. Plus, some Nike trainers have stable and supportive soles, which helps with balance and injury prevention during weightlifting and agility exercises. So, in short, yes, gym trainers typically do make a difference to your performance.

Should I size up in gym trainers?

Whether you should take your normal size or size up in gym trainers depends on individual preferences and the brand of the shoe. Typically, Nike trainers run slightly small. Some people find it better to size up half a shoe size, or even a whole shoe size in Nike shoes. This is because they are known for their narrower designs. If you prefer a closer fit, you can always try your normal size out to see if it fits well. In gym trainers, your feet should feel comfortable, not overly constricted or loose.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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