Brittany Matthews is a former college and international pro soccer player. Playing sports her entire life taught her the importance of strength training, wellness, and maintaining peak strength to perform at an elite level. As a certified Personal Trainer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology, Brittany has experience with all levels of fitness. She has created online training programs for people at all stages of their fitness journey. She also knows the value of having high-performing gear that’ll stand out at the gym. Here are some of her favorite products to break a sweat in.
Nike Metcon 6
One of the most advanced training shoes to date, the Metcon 6 stands up to the push and pull of high-intensity workouts, delivering stability and durability.
“The Metcons are a great shoe to train in from lifting weights to agility workouts. You can’t go wrong with them.” – Brittany Matthews
adidas Don’t Rest Alphaskin Bra
Feel secure with this sports bra’s locked-in compression fit and moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you cool during workouts.
“This sports bra is super comfortable and supportive, and it’s always good to have black basics that go with everything!” – Brittany Matthews
Nike Pro Tights
Ideal for any workout, these tights deliver a wide waistband and tight fit for support and comfort. The mesh panels at the lower legs also enhance breathability during intense workouts.
“These leggings are another versatile staple item for any trainer. I also love the 7/8th length.” – Brittany Matthews
To shop Brittany’s full gift guide, click here or head over to eastbay.com
Raise the bar this off-season with a shoe tailored to your training style. If you find yourself doing more cardio, then a lighter, hybrid training shoe may be a better fit. If your workouts are more dominated by power or Olympic lifts, then deciding between heel height and shoe stability could be the difference between you and your next PR this off-season.
Nike has a few trainers that cater to any training style, and with the unveiling of the all-new Nike Americana Pack — a collection of red, white, and blue colorways — you can get after it this summer in patriotic fashion.
Strength: Nike Romaleos 3
Struggling to hit your next PR? Many big lifters find themselves stuck at the same weight, but the right lifting shoe is often the game-changer to help you get past your wall.
A Lightweight Profile
The Nike Romaleos 3 features an improved, lightweight, honeycomb heel that reduces weight without giving up heel stability. This hollowed heel helps make the Romaleos a lightweight option that mimics the comfort of a trainer. In fact, without insoles, it weighs in at around 12 ounces — roughly the same as lighter training models without elevated heels.
Performance On The Platform
These lightweight features may have you wondering if the shoe is sacrificing some stability. Rest assured, the same lightweight material that refuses to compress under even the heaviest deadlifts — a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel — is trusted by pro athletes on the platform every day.
The shoe locks you in with a rugged, seatbelt-like midfoot strap and the trusted Flywire cables you’ve come to expect from Nike trainers. Insoles are also a critical factor when evaluating the stability of a lifting shoe, so the Romaleos gives you two — a firmer one for competition and a softer one for training. This gives you the option to leverage its lightweight characteristics with a softer training sole, and put up big weight when it counts with the firmer, competition sole.
Elevated heels help increase your ankle’s range of motion by increasing dorsiflexion at the ankle. This allows for more depth when you dig deep on the platform for your next squat. The standard height for a lifting shoe comes out to .75” and the heel height of the Nike Romaleos falls at .79” — an ideal height for most high bar and low bar squats that also helps keep the torso upright.
Agility: Nike Metcon 4
The Metcon 4 is equipped for almost anything a routine training day or practice may throw at you — sled pushes, rope climbs, burpees, box jumps, cleans, agility drills — you name it, and the Metcon 4 keeps up. Flexibility to bust out short runs between lifts makes the versatility packed into this shoe hard to rival.
Durability To Get The Job Done
The Metcon 4 boasts a drop-in midsole, a firm heel that brings you lower to the ground for lifting, and enough cushioning at the forefoot for cardio and training. Sitting low to the ground with a 4mm offset, the new Metcon provides a stable platform for adding in some weight during workouts. The TPU used in the heel, also found in Romaleos, provides the grit you look for in a strength shoe to make some progress with the barbell for next season.
Light, Yet Stable
The Metcon 4 checks off a lot of boxes by allowing you to cross-train, lift, and bust out short runs of up to 100 yards. A breathable upper and Nike Flywire work together to keep the weight off for runs, while also locking you down from laces to midsole.
When it’s time to get vertical, an upgraded, lightweight heel clip minimizes drag against the wall for exercises like handstand push-ups. The bottom of the shoe uses a high-traction, tri-star pattern for precise grip both on and off the squat rack. And if it’s time to climb, the same grippy material wraps high near the center of the outsole to help you finish strong up the rope.
Keep The Workout Moving
Some trade in comfort for stability with training shoes, but the Nike Metcon 4 keeps your feet cool and comfortable through even the most grueling practices. It accomplishes this by using a soft and breathable mesh around the heel and ankle. So when it’s time for a quick run, avoid making pit stops at the gym bag to swap shoes simply because the pace of a workout changes. If you want to keep your workout moving, grab a pair of Metcon 4’s to help you finish strong this season.
Freedom: Nike Free x Metcon
The Nike Free x Metcon is the best of both worlds, combining the comfort and breathability of the Nike Free line and the durability of the Nike Metcon line.
Tough Where It Counts
A training shoe with the comfort of a Nike Free couldn’t possibly hold up in training, right?
Don’t let the cushion and comfort fool you into thinking this shoe can’t handle lifting and agility drills — it’s stable in the areas that training demands most. Much of its durability comes from the triangle midfoot wrap: a reinforced rubber that wraps from the bottom of the ankle to the outsole for protection while racing up the rope.
The Free x Metcon also uses Nike Flywire — long fibers that support the shoe in key points of pressure. The mesh on the shoe’s upper works in a similar way by reinforcing key areas where training demands the most impact, and staying light and breathable where it doesn’t. This mesh combats these stress points with a durable TPU lining: the same material used to withstand the massive weight put on the heels of the Romaleos.
The sole of the shoe adopts some of the Nike Free’s forefoot flex grooves, but keeps things rugged at high-impact areas like the toe and heel. The toe of the shoe is made up of a stiffer material that provides great stability when driving up the toe during burpees, or quickly changing direction laterally. The same material is applied to the heel of the shoe to make it durable enough for some lifting — even the WOD.
Break Free This Off-Season
From a comfort-fit bootie down to a flex-grooved outsole, the Nike Free x Metcon raises the bar for comfort in a training shoe. With the ability to take these on a run of up to 1 mile or 20 minutes on a treadmill, you get more freedom than any training shoe we’ve ever seen. If you need heavy cardio in your workouts, then gear up with the Nike Free x Metcon and hit the ground running.
Whatever your training needs, picking up a training shoe tailored to your workouts will give you a solid finish to any season. Check out the entire Americana Pack at eastbay.com.
UA Propulsion Trainer – A shoe that becomes part of you
There is nothing more frustrating or dangerous while exercising than feeling unstable. If you’ve ever done squats, lunges, or t-bar rows at the gym, you can easily understand the importance of having stable footing. Being that your choice of footwear is the last thing between you and the possibility of having 45 pounds or more come crashing down on your foot, back or other body part, it’s safe to say that having a shoe that is stable is one of the most important things for training. Of course, none of us choose the exact same weightlifting or exercise routines, so the importance of the shoe you choose being able to work across a variety of activities is also extremely important.
With that in mind, there isn’t a sneaker that I can recall that felt as much a part of me as the Under Armour Propulsion Trainer. Thinking about how a shoe feels, the design of many shoes forgoes one of two things for the betterment of its appearance, either fitment or function. The right cuts, flex points and choice of materials can make or break a shoe. The UA Propulsion Trainer feels like it becomes a part of you with only one ever so slight hiccup.
The Propulsion Trainer does this by utilizing Under Armour’s Foot Sleeve technology. You will first notice this when slipping on the Propulsion Trainer for the first time. It fits snugly and comfortably against the top of your foot, and the tongue even wraps the the top of your foot. This combined with the soft and textured synthetic insole makes sure that neither the tongue, or your foot, slip or slide once you’ve laced these UA’s up. This fitment also supports the way that the ArmourGuide and DCE systems work together to offer great stability.
As I mentioned before, when it comes to choice of activities in your workout, it’s near impossible to find a shoe that will be optimal for every person or every type of exercise. The Propulsion Trainer is better suited for someone that wants to take there exercise routine to a more natural surface than the gym floor. Meaning, there is sufficient traction for running outdoors and other on-field exercises thanks to the semi-aggressive outsole. While it might not be as light as other running shoes or weather resistant or aggressive enough to go blazing new trails, it can hang with the best for a decent amount of time, and that’s what a training shoe needs to do. Heads up, though, if court sports like basketball or racquetball make up a big portion of your workout; that same tread pattern (specifically in the forefoot area) that helps on the field may not have the stickiness desired indoors.
Now, as for that slight hiccup. The most noticeable downside to the Under Armour Propulsion Trainer is how stiff the synthetic patent material is around the forefoot of the shoe. Yes, it gives the shoe a little bit of style points I suppose. In reality, though, this is a training shoe. You’re using it at the gym or on the field; if you’re there to be fashionable, maybe the shininess is easier to overlook.
The shoe’s cushioning is sufficient. It is breathable. It is stable. It doesn’t allow your foot to slide around like some of the other “training” shoes on the market. Overall, if an option for a non-patent finish was available, I think the Under Armour Propulsion Trainer, especially with some minor improvements, would sit at an easy A grade rather than the B that I would give it as it stands now.
Some very minor improvements, that may just be more personal preference than anything, could greatly improve the Propulsion Trainer. First would obviously be the material in the forefoot changed to something with a little more flexibility. The second thing that might help make the Propulsion Trainer even more competitive as far as an indoors training shoe without losing much of its outdoor abilities would be to make the outrigger on the forefoot a little more pronounced. This would give a little more support when it comes to sports like basketball or racquetball, where quick changes of direction are required.
Over all, the Under Armour Propulsion Trainer is an excellent shoe for the do-it-all type of athlete, but would work best for those that choose to make their cardio regimen take place under the watchful eye of mother nature.
Available Now: Under Armour Propulsion Trainer
A big part of the reason Nike Training made a strong comeback in 2010 was because of shoes like the Zoom Huarache Trainer. Making modern upgrades to the vintage silhouette, the shoe dropped in several popular colorways throughout the year, and will continue to do so in 2011.
Available now is a pair draped in familiar colors from Nike’s Training heritage. The shoe features a black leather exoskeleton with hits of volt on the cross-strap, tongue branding, inner bootie and outsole. Dark grey takes care of the outer bootie, tongue and a portion of the midsole.
Available: Nike Zoom Huarache Trainer – Black/Black-Volt-Dark Grey