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Whether you’re training for a marathon or walking around a new city, these are the best retailers to find a sneaker option for you.
You may think one athletic shoe can do it all, but more often than not — and especially when it comes to sneakers — they can’t. The type of sneaker you want varies depending on the different activities you plan to do, whether it’s running long-distance, weightlifting and CrossFit, or even walking. While there is no typical rule for what type of shoe is going to work for you, there are certain brands and stores that have better selections of sneakers than others.
Whether you’re looking to pick up running, need a pair of shoes to walk around Europe in, or just looking for a reliable pair for daily walks and running errands, we’ve rounded up the best places to buy sneakers, depending on what you need, below.
Amazon Prime Day Early Deal
Best Deals: Amazon
Why We Like It: It’s easy to shop and offers so many different brands.
It’s Worth Noting: Amazon doesn’t always have all the products from a brand in stock, so it’s worth going in knowing what you want.
The great thing about the site that we all know is that it has some of the best deals on products out there, offering free two-day shipping on most products to those of us who have Prime (and if you don’t, you definitely know someone who will let you use theirs). Amazon has an array of notable brands for running, like Hoka, Brooks, Nike, and more, and offers great deals on all other sneakers. Some sneakers even offer the “try before you buy” option, which allows you to try the product for seven days for free.
For even better deals, consider buying sneakers on Amazon Prime Day and checking the site for their prices, which often feature the products at their lowest point and are rarely ever marked up.
Sizes: Depends on brand | Return Policy: It depends on the seller and type of account you have, but Prime Returns are free and easy
Adidas Women's Ultraboost 22 Running Shoe
A perennial favorite of our team, the Adidas Ultraboost has a sock-like fit with the ideal blend of support and cushion. Plus, you can often find them on sale on Amazon — currently there are colors up to 58 percent off.
Best Overall: Zappos
Why We Like It: It’s free shipping on all orders and carries a large array of brands.
It’s Worth Noting: The subcategories aren’t as detailed as others so it’s best to go in with a brand in mind you want to explore.
It’s no surprise that online shopping has remained popular after the pandemic, even when it comes to shoes, which can be notoriously hard to shop for. Whatever type of shoe you’re looking for, Zappos is sure to have. They host an array of reputable brands like Hoka, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, Brooks, Nike, Converse, Keds, Merrell, New Balance, Puma, Saucony, Vans, and Veja, which offer sneakers for all different types and levels of activities.
Their customer service is very helpful and they offer free returns for a whole year on any unworn products, giving those of us who have a hard time making decisions plenty of wiggle room.
Sizes: Depends on brand, ranges from 5-12 | Return Policy: Free returns for 365 days of purchase of unworn items, unless otherwise stated
New Balance Women's 608 V5 Cross Trainer
When a sneaker is called the best shoe for nurses, you know it can also stand up to your longest workouts and days. New Balance Cross Trainers have stood the test of time because of their supportive nature, durable construction, and width options.
Best Running: Fleet Feet
Why We Like It: The expertise when it comes to different running shoes.
It’s Worth Noting: It’s best to go in knowing what type of running you plan on doing before purchasing.
Fleet Feet is a runners’ paradise. With over 250 stores around the country, the retail experience is made to hone in on exactly what type of running you plan to do and find the right shoe to keep you from getting hurt. When you shop in-store, you can get an outfitting appointment to get a 3D foot scan that allows you to understand the differences between your two feet and to understand how your foot moves while you walk or run, which allows the staff to determine the amount of support you need from your shoes for that perfect fitting shoe.
They offer running shoes in different categories like Neutral Running, Stability Running, Trail Running, Race, Track, and Cross Country, all featuring their own reviews of the products from other runners. Regardless of if you shop in person or online, you can return any item, even after wear, within 60 days for a full refund.
Sizes: Depends on brand, ranges from 5-13 | Return Policy: You can return your shoes if you don't like how they look, fit or feel within 60 days. Returning an online order is free but there are no exchanges
Asics Women's Gel-Nimbus 25
A running favorite of the entire Shape team, Asics Gel Nimbus have superior comfort for soft landings and quick transitions. They even come in a hot pink colorway for all your Barbiecore activewear daydreams.
Best for Weightlifting: Rogue Fitness
Why We Like It: They offer specialized shoes that are harder to find elsewhere.
It’s Worth Noting: The shoes offer less cushion than other athletic shoes.
Rogue Fitness is an online site (with one brick-and-mortar store in Ohio) that carries the best weightlifting and cross-training shoes on the market. They have shoes categorized by activity, ranging from weightlifting to CrossFit to more durable training shoes. When it comes to their specialized weightlifting shoes, they carry Reebok Women's Nano X2, which has earned it a reputation as the best weightlifting shoe for CrossFit. Global Nike Trainer Lauren Schramm also suggests the Nike Metcons, which she says are “great for power/olympic lifting and give a wide base of support. If you find yourself taking your shoes off in the gym to feel more stable, these are a great option so you no longer have to do that.” If you’re looking for a pair of shoes to take to the gym on your heavy-lifting days, you’re sure to find a pair at Rogue.
Sizes: Depends on brand, ranges from 5-12 | Return Policy: You may return or exchange an unused item in new condition within 30 days of delivery and the customer has to pay for return shipping
Nike Metcon 8 Training Shoes
The stability and flexibility of this shoe makes it a great pick for a range of activities, but especially for strength training. The ability to spread out your foot provides a solid base for heavy lifts.
Best for Walking: Allbirds
Why We Like It: The shoes design are sleek and easy to style.
It’s Worth Noting: They’re on the higher price side.
Launched in 2016, Allbirds is the sneaker brand behind the “world’s most comfortable shoe.” Made from Merino Wool, their Wool Runners were the first shoe to gain attention, and for good reason: the wool offers extreme comfort, there is a cushioned midsole designed to support lots of walking, and they’re machine-washable. The same sleek design is offered in more lightweight materials, like eucalyptus tree fiber, and they even offer sandals and sneakers for more active wear. When it comes to everyday walking though, nothing beats their everyday sneakers. The company also offers intricate sustainability details and works to offset its carbon, even offering a recycling program when you wear a pair of shoes and a site where you can shop for pre-owned products. You can shop at one of their many retail stores or online (they offer free shipping on orders over $75).
Sizes: 5-11 | Return Policy: You can try out any shoe for up to 30 days, and if you’re not satisfied, can return, no questions asked. Tags must be present and return shipping fees aren’t refunded on the original order
Allbirds The Riser
Picked as the best everyday shoe in our 2023 Sneaker Awards, The Riser is the cooler cousin to their suite of comfortable sneakers, featuring a platform, exaggerated edges, and color blocking details.
Best Basics: Nike
Why We Like It: Nike is reliable and offers so many different types of shoes.
It’s Worth Noting: Popular styles and collabs can sell out quickly.
Nike has some of the best shoes out there and features options in every single category, making it a great place to get some of the best basic sneakers out there. Schramm suggests the Free Metcon as a “general best bet.” She says, “If you only go with having one gym shoe, this one will allow you to comfortably and safely do most things. There’s a ton of flexibility in the front of the shoe, yet the ankle is stable. You’ll be safe doing lateral movements and will feel great doing lunges and step-ups.” She also notes that the SuperRep is a great shoe for HIIT and “if group fitness classes are your thing, these shoes will make jumping feel extra fun.”
Sizes: 5-12 | Return Policy: All purchases made online or at a Nike store have a 60-day return period. After 60 days, you can still return items if they’re unworn and unwashed and returns are free for Nike Members
Nike Structure 24
While it’s not the most well known of the Nike universe, the Structure offers tons of arch support and a wider toe box, which is great for standing all day, walking, or short, easy runs.
Best Splurge: Nordstrom
Why We Like It: The store has amazing inventory and carries the top brands.
It’s Worth Noting: Their return policy makes shopping very accessible.
We love Nordstrom because they carry all different types of sneakers in a wide array of price ranges. They carry sneakers for athletic wear alongside more stylish options from brands like Converse, Veja, and more. And when it comes to luxury, they have all the top brands to choose from: Golden Goose, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Off-White, Isabel Marant, you name it. Luxury sneaker shopping has never been more fun.
Sizes: Depends on brand | Return Policy: There is no time limit for returns at Nordstrom and both in-store and online returns are free
On Women's Cloudrunner
Named the best overall shoe for bad knees, the Cloudrunner has a honeycomb design that absorbs impact and provides stability.
Best for the Outdoors: REI
Why We Like It: REI carries the best brands for outdoor activities like hiking and climbing.
It’s Worth Noting: REI Co-op membership offers some great deals if you’re an avid outdoor-er.
REI carries some of the best outdoor brands like Teva, Merell, Keen, Solomon, and more. When it comes to long days on a trail, sometimes sneakers are a better option than boots, and REI has a wide array of hiking shoes and other outdoor shoes to choose from. Plus offering some specialty cycling and climbing shoes. They offer expert advice and have many stores to shop in person at.
Sizes: Depends on brand | Return Policy: They offer free returns within 90 days of your purchase, both in-store and online, though 5.99 will be deducted from your refund to cover return shipping
SCARPA Rush GTX Women's Hiking Shoe
Chosen as our pick for the best shoe for day hikes, the Scarpa fits like a running shoe with the traction and tread for scrambling on rocks and uneven terrain.
Best for Sneakerheads: StockX
Why We Like It: They have some of the most unique sneakers out there and carry collabs that sold out quickly when they originally dropped.
It’s Worth Noting: The price is dependent on bidders, so some shoes can be very high in price if they are high in demand.
This is the site for the sneaker-lover in your life, especially someone who wants a unique pair for everyday wear. Since it’s a live marketplace, this isn’t the place to test out shoes but to get your hands on a unique pair or a recent collab between designers that quickly sold out when it originally launched (like the Sandy Liang x Soloman pair we have our eyes on). StockX carries brands from Adidas and Nike to Dior and Gucci. Most shoes come in men's sizes, so it's best to know what size you are in European standard sizing for easy conversion.
Sizes: Depends on brand, runs mostly in European sizing | Return Policy: Since StockX is a marketplace, they don't offer returns, exchanges, or swaps. You can always resell the item on the platform if you decide you don’t want it
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you measure shoe size?
The best time to measure your feet is at the end of the day since feet tend to swell a bit during the day. There are many different ways to measure the length; some suggest outlining your foot on a piece of paper or just using a tape measure, but the most important part is to make sure you measure from the back of the heel to the tip of your longest toe to get your correct size. You can then look up the corresponding length to a matching shoe size. If your feet are two different sizes, go with the bigger size. It’s important to check how the brand runs and see if it runs true to size or if it's recommended to size up or down. While most people recommend sizing up in running sneakers, most other sneakers can be the true size since feet will not swell as much as they do to run in. To measure the width of your foot, make sure you measure the ball of your foot or the widest part.
Where can you find the best prices on sneakers?
LA-based Fitness editorial consultant and former fitness editor Bari Goldberg suggests department stores. “I've been able to find the exact style and fit I'm looking for and have seen the sneakers on sale, or have been able to apply a gift card that I have lying around the house,” she says. If you prefer to shop online, we suggest looking at all the different sites where the shoes are available to get the best price available.
Why Trust Shape
Brooke LaMantia is a journalist and writer based in New York City, writing primarily about culture and fashion. She has written for Shape, InStyle, and many more publications. Before this, she was a reporter for her hometown newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, where she covered education and worked on the metro desk. She's also performed research for the investigative podcast for Market Road Films called Unfinished: Deep South. She graduated from New York University in 2021, with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and English Literature.
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