Best Shoes For Elliptical Machines in 2024

The elliptical is a highly effective form of cross-training. You can choose between low-intensity steady-state cardio or high-intensity interval training, making it a versatile form of training.

But it’s important to choose the right footwear when using an elliptical. It’s best to wear running or cross-training shoes, depending on personal preference.

Our top pick is the Nike Metcon 7. It offers a flat, wide heel for stability, a firm foam midsole, and rubber side panels to keep the heel from moving laterally.

Let’s look at the best shoes for elliptical machines!

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Nike Metcon 7

 

  • Flat and wide heel
  • Dual-density foam
  • Hyperlift heel inserts
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Brooks Launch 8

 

  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Slightly flared toe box
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NOBULL Trainers

 

  • Seamless one-piece upper
  • SuperFabric guard
  • Anatomical sock liner
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Best Overall

1. Nike Metcon 7

The Nike Metcon 7 is a cross-trainer that’s extremely stable and perfect for a variety of cross-training. It’s not, however, good for running.

It has a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, giving it a flat and stable platform that’s ideal for the elliptical. If you want to do a different exercise—like squats or deadlifts—you can use the removable Hyperlift insert to give you extra height in the heel.

The midsole consists of soft foam in the forefoot for cushioning and firmer foam in the heel for support. Rubber on the outsole offers excellent grip on the elliptical pedals, and large rubber side panels provide lateral support for the foot.

Unusually large perforations on the upper make this shoe extremely breathable. It’s still lightweight as a screen print helps to offer structure without reducing the breathability.

People with wide feet may find the Metcon 7 too narrow. In this case, trying going up half a size up to find a comfortable fit.

PROS:

  • Flat and wide heel
  • Dual-density foam
  • Hyperlift heel inserts
  • Large, rubber side panels

CONS:

  • People with wide feet may find the Metcon 7 to be too narrow and will need to go half a size up
 

Runner-Up

2. Reebok Nano X1

The Reebok Nano X1 is a close second to the Nike Metcon 6. It’s a cross-trainer that does well in a variety of different workouts, including the elliptical.

With a 7mm drop, it’s slightly higher in the heel than the Metcon but there’s no option to increase or decrease the drop as with the Metcon.

The higher heel drop does mean that there’s more cushioning in the heel, which will absorb shock and protect the joints when running, walking, or doing other exercises. This is likely to have little effect on the elliptical though as it’s a low-impact workout.

The Floatride Energy Foam offers good cushioning with an EVA midsole that can be used for running or other exercises.

An external TPU heel clip provides support to the heel to prevent the foot from moving within the shoe. Although the heel collar is well-padded, the new design has the potential to chafe one’s ankles.

The Flexweave upper features large perforations that will allow air to flow freely through the upper, keeping your feet cool while exercising.

At 12 ounces, this shoe is a tad on the heavy side.

PROS:

  • Flexweave knit upper
  • Floatride Energy midsole
  • Increased heel drop of 7 mm
  • External TPU heel clip

CONS:

  • The new heel collar design may cause some irritation around the ankle
 

Best Value

3. Brooks Launch 9

This shoe is lightweight, breathable, and a great value.

The Brooks Launch is a good choice if you want to run and use the elliptical wearing the same pair of shoes.

The BioMoGo DNA cushioning offers the best combination of comfortable cushioning and responsiveness, which will propel one along on the road and yet offer stability on the elliptical.

Blown rubber in the forefoot provides a good toe-off when running and also allows one to grip the elliptical pedals enough to stay safe and stable. A slightly flared forefoot offers a wide and stable base and the engineered mesh upper is light and comfortable.

PROS:

  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning
  • Thicker blown rubber in the forefoot
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Slightly flared toe box

CONS:

  • The non-gusseted tongue may be annoying
 

Most Versatile

4. NOBULL Trainers

NOBULL isn’t a well-known brand but this trainer is a versatile shoe that offers a lot of great features. A one-piece seamless SuperFabric upper is durable, allows for effective airflow, and is resistant to abrasion. SuperFabric guard plates add support.

Inside the shoe, high carbon guards on both the lateral and medial sides keep the foot locked down. The tongue is perforated to allow for extra airflow. An anatomical sock liner keeps your feet comfortable no matter what activity you’re doing.

With a heel-to-toe drop of 4mm and a patterned, rubber outsole, these shoes are perfect for the elliptical. You’ll also be able to transition between the elliptical and other exercises, although these shoes may not be suitable to run in.

PROS:

  • Seamless one-piece upper
  • SuperFabric guard
  • High carbon lateral and medial guards
  • Anatomical sock liner

CONS:

  • There’s no way to add an orthotic to these shoes if the arch support is inadequate
 

Best For Running And Elliptical

5. Under Armour UA HOVR Infinite 3

If you want a pair of shoes to run in and use on the elliptical as well, then the Under Armour UA HOVR Infinite 3 is highly recommended.

It has an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, which is high enough for propulsion while running but not so high that it feels uncomfortable on the elliptical.

The engineered mesh upper is breathable and light on the foot. A padded collar also helps to create a locked-in fit. The internal heel counter also helps with this and locks the foot in comfortably and safely.

UA HOVR foam in the midsole with UA HOVR technology gives you a “zero gravity” feeling and helps to maintain a good energy return. A compression mesh Energy Web in the midsole helps to harness the energy collected on your foot strike and use it to propel you on the push-off.

A rubber sole with deep flex grooves allows for flexibility on the road and good grip on all surfaces including elliptical pedals. There are also carbon rubber pods strategically placed in the heel, which help with traction, durability, and shock absorption.

These shoes are smart shoes, and can also connect to apps like UA MapMyRun. They run slightly small and some people may find that they need to order half a size up.

PROS:

  • Connects to apps like UA MapMyRun
  • UA HOVR foam
  • Internal heel counter
  • Deep flex grooves

CONS:

  • These shoes can run a half size smaller and some people may find that they run narrow in the toe box
 

Top Minimal Design

6. inov-8 F-Lite G 230N

The upper of this shoe is busy, with a breathable Cordura mesh upper and Met-Cradle technology to keep the midfoot locked down securely. A 360º ROPE-TEC system can be seen on the upper and wraps around for external grip.

A 3mm drop is ideal for flat activities like the elliptical. The Exteroflow midsole offers thin but adequate cushioning and shock absorption.

It also has a graphene-infused internal stabilizer inside it. The G-grip rubber outsole is unusually durable and also enhanced with graphene for extra durability.

PROS:

  • 3mm drop
  • Cordura mesh upper
  • Exteroflow midsole
  • Graphene-enhanced rubber outsole

CONS:

  • Some people may feel that the arch support is lacking
 

Best Wide Toe Box

7. Altra Solstice XT 2

The Altra Solstice XT 2 is Altra’s cross-trainer. People with wide feet should consider Altra shoes as they’re known for their wide, stable platform and spacious toe boxes.

They are also zero-drop shoes, which offer a low-profile and solid platform that would be ideal for the elliptical.

A FootShape toe box gives the toes enough space to spread out comfortably and reduces the chance of chafing.

The 23mm stack height offers decent cushioning for the elliptical but may not be enough to protect the foot when running. It’s made from high-abrasion EVA and includes INNERFLEX grooves for flexibility.

A quick-drying and well-ventilated mesh with a rubber overlay cage for support, and a grippy rubber outsole both help to make this an excellent workout shoe. Fit4Her technology also means that the women’s shoe is slightly differently designed to the men’s to cater for a women’s foot shape and provide extra comfort.

There may be some heel slippage in this shoe, although that shouldn’t affect your performance on the elliptical.

PROS:

  • Fit4Her technology
  • Mesh upper features a rubber cage
  • FootShape toe box
  • Full rubber outsole

CONS:

  • There’s no additional padding in the heel and some people may find that their heel slips in this shoe
 

Most Breathable

8. New Balance Minimus Prevail

The engineered knit upper on the New Balance Minimus Prevail has large, strategic perforations in it which offers impressive breathability. It fits comfortably and snugly on the foot while allowing air to flow freely.

The ASYM heel counter is a solid TPU reinforcement that wraps around the heel, effectively preventing lateral movement that could contribute to injury. It’s thicker on either side and thin around the back, providing support where needed without getting in the way.

The REVlite midsole is more firm than plush, offering a solid base with some rebound rather than soft cushion. It’s also 30 percent lighter than New Balance’s other foams, but is still durable and flexible enough to allow for freedom of foot movement.

A 4mm heel drop gives these shoes a low profile so they feel very natural. The one-piece Vibram outsole is a wide, flat outsole that gives a comfortable and stable platform. It’s known to be wear-resistant, so if you’re only using this on the elliptical you can expect them to last for ages.

PROS:

  • Engineered knit upper
  • Full-length Vibram outsole
  • REVlite midsole cushioning
  • ASYM heel counter

CONS:

  • Some may find that the shoe doesn’t offer as much arch support as they need
 

Best Cushioning

9. On Cloud

The ON Cloud is highly breathable and well-cushioned, with a heel-to-toe drop of 6mm which is the middle of the road.

It can be used for cross-training and running. The bungee lacing system allows the wearer to get a tight fit quickly and easily.

A dual-density insole on top of the midsole, which is made from Zero-Gravity foam offers effective cushioning without adding too much weight. There’s a slight meta-rocker effect in the sole thanks to the added Speedboard, which pushes one forward and promotes movement when running.

Underneath the midsole, 16 Cloud pods offer exceptional shock absorption. A central channel in the outsole guides the foot in a natural pathway. Even if you are only on the elliptical, your feet will appreciate the cushion provided by the hollow pods.

PROS:

  • CloudTec technology in the outsole
  • Dual-density insole
  • Antimicrobial mesh upper
  • Padded tongue and collar

CONS:

  • These shoes seem to be less durable than others
 

Top Lightweight

10. New Balance FuelCell Trainer

If you want lightweight shoes that you can hardly feel while you’re on the elliptical, these ones would be a good option.

The New Balance FuelCell Trainers weigh just 9.2 ounces and have a FitWeave engineered mesh upper for a good mix of support and lightness.

The bootie-type construction and Ariaprene tongue create a supportive fit without pressure points. FuelCell foam in the midsole is springy and lightly supportive. The outsole is made from light but solid rubber, providing a good grip on elliptical pedals and most other surfaces.

No-sew overlays and a forefoot outrigger offer support for the heel and prevent lateral movement, making this shoe more stable.

PROS:

  • Fit Weave upper
  • Ariaprene tongue
  • FuelCell foam midsole cushioning
  • Added lateral stability

CONS:

  • Some may find these shoes difficult to get on due to the one-piece tongue
 

FAQs

What are good gym shoes that can also be used for elliptical machines?

Choose either a neutral or a supportive shoe, depending on your gait. There should be enough cushioning to be comfortable, without diminishing the ground feel.

The shoe you choose should be lightweight and have a rubber outsole with good grip to create effective and safe traction on the elliptical pedals.

Elliptical workouts can be high-intensity, so breathable shoes are also a good idea.

What are the differences between a running shoe and a cross-trainer?

A running shoe is designed specifically with running in mind. They’re made in such a way that they propel you forward and offer effective arch support and cushioning at the same time.

A cross-trainer is designed to be used during a variety of different exercise activities. They often feature wider outsoles for stability, and extra structural and stability features to the ankles and heels, and especially to prevent lateral movement. They usually have less cushioning than running shoes.

Both of these shoes would be suitable for training on the elliptical. The only exception would be trail running shoes, which are designed for rough terrain and wouldn’t be suitable for the flat pedals of an elliptical.

What are the benefits of an elliptical machine?

An elliptical machine is a low-impact form of exercise that engages both the upper and lower body. It’s easy to use and offers an effective full-body workout.

One of the best things about the elliptical as a form of cardio is the ability to do both steady-state and high-intensity interval training—HIIT—on it. This makes it a very versatile piece of exercise equipment.