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How I Found The Perfect Insanity Workout Shoes

My shoe search began when I decided to start the INSANITY program. Understanding that this was an intense cardio, and plyometric program, I set out to find a great pair of shoes. I was willing to pay for quality, and didn’t let price become a barrier in my search. In all, I tried at least 20 pairs of shoes until I found a pair that would suit the program.

I began my search with the pre-conceived notion that I would need a cross training shoe for Insanity. I assumed that a cross trainer would give me better lateral stability and the cushioning necessary to handle plyometrics as well. As my search progressed, I found that many cross trainers do not have good cushioning and I expanded my search to include all types of shoes. Also if you shop online for shoes like I do, check out they have free shipping and free returns and every transaction has been completely hassle free.

#1 New Balance MX1011 Trainer: This shoe sounded great in the description, and even looked ok in the online pictures. When I opened the box they looked far different than the online pictures, they looked like they should have Velcro! Putting looks aside, I gave them a try (after all I work out at home so it’s about function not fashion ). Once laced up, the shoes felt very bulky and heavy, but did have good cushioning and the lateral stability was excellent. The reason these shoes were sent back was they were uncomfortable due to the lock down lacing system. It provided great stability but it felt like there were 2 ropes under the tongue, running up either side of my arch.

#2 Adidas Endurobounce II. This must be a fashion shoe that somehow got classified as a crosstrainer. These shoes look great, but fit at least 1 size too small and the Endurobounce system was rock hard. Zero cushioning so I sent them back.

#3 Reebok Zigs: Hands down the lightest and most comfortable shoe I have ever put on. I was really excited to get these but I immediately realized that these shoes were not meant for any type of lateral movement. Zero stability if you are not moving straight ahead. I am sure they are great running shoes but not meant for plyo type training.

#4 Asics GEL Intensity Cross Trainer: This was another good looking shoe that had very good cushioning. The fit was great, but the lateral stability was not very good. Also the support in the heel cup was so rigid that during lateral moves or stretches the heel cup actually began to dig into my skin below my ankle. Sent back.

#5 Ascis Gel Kayano: These shoes I tried because my wife was using these for Insanity and was very happy with them. I am sure this is a great running shoe but another shoe that was not built for lateral stability and in my opinion didn’t have as nice of cushioning as the Intensity cross trainer.

#6 Nike Free: These shoes fit ok, but before even taking one step I could tell the quality of this shoe was sub- par. The cushioning was terrible and after only a few steps in the store could tell that this was not the type of shoe that was going to get me through some intense workouts.

#7 New Balance 920: After getting discouraged I went to a Famous Footwear and just started trying on shoes, lots and lots of shoes. Eventually, I came across the NB 920. It is a running shoe that had a surprising amount of lateral stability, fit wonderfully, lightweight, and had above average cushioning. It’s a good looking shoe and the people at the store said that I could return them within 30 days if I was not satisfied. I have used these shoes now for a few months of Insanity workouts and they have performed very well. They have maintained their support and have not stretched out as many shoes with mesh uppers do. The cushioning has shown no signs of breaking down. Best of all, this pair was priced at a very affordable $69.00.

I hope this helps some of you who may be searching for that perfect shoe. I don’t believe the NB 920 is the “perfect” shoe, but it was a lot better than everything else I had tried. I’d love to hear about the shoes you love and if you have a shoe search story please share it! After all, shoes don’t last forever and I will be shopping again in the near future.

On a side note, after a live INSANITY workout my wife told Shaun T (the creator of INSANITY ) about my shoe search and he said the Nike Livestrong work really well for his Insanity workouts.

  • Comments
Hi Greg, nice job on this post---my wife and I have also tried barefoot (which she loves but I can't stand---carpet burns...) I'll have to look into those---especially the Nike Livestrong and New Balance 920.

Posted on 3/27/12 4:24 PM.

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Glad you found it helpful, let me know what shoes decide on and how they work for you.

Posted on 3/27/12 5:06 PM in reply to BAkers.

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Very well researched and informative post. I'm looking for a new pair of shoes to use with Insanity now that my Reebok Zigtechs have tore on the mesh part.

Posted on 7/23/12 8:27 AM in reply to gregsiesz.

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Greg, it seems this shoe has been discontinued - do you know if NB replaced them with something else?

Posted on 6/26/13 7:42 AM in reply to gregsiesz.

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I don't know if they updated that style, I haven't been able to find them either. I have been very happy with the North Face Single Track ii. I just got a pair on today for 76$. Good luck and let me know how things work out for you.

Posted on 6/26/13 10:34 AM in reply to mbe3204m.

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You should look into barefoot minimalist shoes as these are designed to have less impact on your knees and teach you proper posture and foot placement on drops. One of the biggest complaints about Insanity is injuries to knees. I use barefoot trail gloves by Merrell as well as their barefoot hammer gloves. Once you transition to barefoot running / cross training you'll most likely never go back. Helped me a ton. Hope this helps.

Posted on 8/7/13 12:10 AM.

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Thanks for the great information!

Posted on 4/15/14 5:58 PM.

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