Our editors' picks of the 12 best sneakers of the season

Our editors' picks of the 12 best sneakers of the season

Photography by Daniel Harrison


Our editors' picks of the 12 best sneakers of the season

Our staff put some of the latest cross-trainers and running and walking shoes to the test to help you find your next perfect pair.


Designed to support lateral movements, such as side lunges and shuffles, the same pair of cross-trainers can take you from a strength-training session to your cardio-heavy Zumba class. The sole is quite different from a running shoe's, and they vary in flexibility and weight from ultra-minimal to heavier. "Built-in support is imperative to ensure that your ankle doesn't roll during a pivot, and the cushioning is more streamlined and targeted to anticipate where you'll land or strike during high-intensity and strength-training exercises," says Jim Willett, running coach at Mountain Equipment Co-op. Trainers also allow you to do some light running.

Get your foot measured, if you haven't done so in a while, and be sure to shop at the end of the day, when your foot is at its full size. If you're using the same shoes daily for all your activities, they can wear down faster, so you may want to rotate through more than one pair.


Photography by Daniel Harrison | Prop styling by Chad Burton

1. Toe the line
Crush your CrossFit classes and strength-training circuits with this updated trainer. A shock-absorbing heel and a refined foundation keep you surefooted, and the flexible weave is comfortable and breathable. CrossFit Nano 7 shoes, $145,

2. Start hustling
From lifting weights to smashing your HIIT class, this stabilizing trainer responds well to quick agile moves. The firm rubber heel, nonslip outsole and reinforced toe and upper combine to aid balance. Metcon 3 shoes, $175,

3. Step up
Comfortable and lightweight, the moulded-foam footbed adapts to your foot's shape, keeping it snug and secure during an intense dance class or through circuit drills. Strategically placed rubber pads in high-wear areas help boost traction and make sure you feel stable. Under Armour Street Precision Low shoes, $100,

4. Spring forward
These shoes are engineered with responsive cushioning, so you'll blast through boot camp and heel-toe your way across step class with plenty of support and stability. Pure Boost X Trainer shoes, $160,


Running can put significant strain on your body. "Every time your foot hits the pavement, it can cause an impact of up to three times your body weight," says Willett. The right pair of shoes can act as a shock absorber. "If you're running more than a couple of times a week, invest in a pair of running-specific shoes to help reduce the risk of injury and cut down on the stress to your body."

There are tons of options, so narrow the search by sticking to the category that suits your feet: stability or neutral. To figure out which one you need, get to know your gait, or running style; is it neutral or do you under- or overpronate? A neutral shoe will provide less support, while someone who heavily pronates will require a stability shoe that can help correct the foot's motion.

Within each category, there are factors to consider for your running style, including mileage, support and cushioning, and, of course, comfort. Try on models from various brands, and don't hesitate to jog around the store or jump on the treadmill, if there's one available. The fit should be comfortable and snug through the heel and midfoot, with more wiggle room in the toe box. 


Photography by Daniel Harrison | Prop styling by Chad Burton

1. Take flight
This featherlight shoe by Asics, which has been producing high-performance runners for more than 50 years, has a responsive platform, which means there's a greater energy return between strides, instead of feeling like dead weight. With the lightest cushioning Asics makes, this ride is perfect for tempo runs, hill repeats, speed work or progression runs, minus the bulk. DynaFlyte running shoes, $180,

2. Fresh take
You'll soon outpace your running mates with this shoe, which features an updated take on New Balance's 3D-printed cushioning. Its generous padding provides a supportive landing, and a breathable upper and flexible outsole help you fly to the finish line. Fresh Foam 1080v7 running shoes, $190,

3. Runner's high
Crushing kilometres is a breeze with this conditioned road shoe. It has a neutral platform, rounded heels keep your joints aligned and extra pods in the forefoot provide a layer of cushioning for a better landing. The microfibre upper makes them light, and the structured outsole ensures that they'll hold up to outdoor runs. Brooks Glycerin 14 Road Run running shoes, $175,

4. Cushioned comfort
This cult fave is Saucony's first performance running shoe engineered with an extra layer of midsole cushioning that's closer to the foot and runs all the way from heel to toe to provide a springy base. Weighing in at just 226 grams, it maintains its cushioning properties three times longer—great for long-distance races—and provides a cozy fit if you're prone to blisters. Saucony Freedom Iso running shoes, $200,


Walking is the most popular and most frequent leisure activity for Canadian women. Be sure you're lacing up with the right pair, "designed specifically for the strike path of this forward motion, with more flexibility at the ball of the foot and a bit stiffer in the heel," says Willett. The heel should be snug and not slip, and your toes should have wiggle room—don't choose a pair that squeezes them together. Typically, you'll find that these models have more arch support than a running shoe, but less cushioning. The upper tends to have less mesh for ventilation because you don't generate as much heat. The shoes should feel comfortable right away—there shouldn't be a break-in period. Depending on the volume of walking you do, you might need to go up half a size, especially if you're wearing thicker socks in cooler weather. 


Photography by Daniel Harrison | Prop styling by Chad Burton

1. Surefooted
The multidirectional lug pattern provides reliable traction for more rough walking adventures, while the flexible outsole makes blazing through trails a snap. Caldorado II OutDry Extreme trail running shoes, $200,

2. Get in line
These kicks are lined with Goga Max, a super-responsive insole, to give you the most comfortable walking platform. The formfitting upper envelops your foot for a secure fit. GoWalk Sport shoes, $90,

3. Rough rider
For more rugged outdoor trekking, this outsole provides durable traction for additional grip and absorbs shock in the heels. Merrell Siren Sport Q2 shoes, $150,

4. Happy feet
Flexible and lightweight, this model makes long days on your feet a cakewalk. The foam inlay gives this shoe its comfort factor, and the exterior layer of Gore-Tex keeps toes dry and warm. The perforated-leather upper provides ventilation for longer walks, and it's all wrapped in iconic Danish design. Cool 2.0 shoes, $250,

3 ways to know when it's time to trade in your runners

1. Run it's course
The rule of thumb for retiring a pair of runners is between 400 and 500 kilometres, but Jim Willett, running coach at Mountain Equipment Co-op, says he has owned pairs with triple that mileage that still did their job. Keep a log to track the number of kilometres you put on your legs and your shoes.

2. Sole search 
If the outsoles (the outer bottom layer) are showing signs of wear and tear, it can lead to loss of traction, like balding on car tires.

3. The middle ground
When the midsole stops feeling springy, easily collapses or feels hard underfoot, it's time to go shopping.



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Our editors' picks of the 12 best sneakers of the season