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Are Nike Air Force Ones Good for Working Out? You Might Be Surprised!

Are Nike Air Force Ones Good for Working Out? You Might Be Surprised!

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When it comes to iconic sneakers, Nike Air Force Ones are undoubtedly at the top of the list. First introduced in 1982, these shoes quickly became a cultural phenomenon and have remained a fashion staple ever since. But while they may be known for their design and notoriety as streetwear, many people also wonder if these shoes can do more, asking questions such as whether Air Forces are good for running or weightlifting and so on. Are they suitable for more than just style?

So in this article, I’ll answer the question: Are Nike Air Force Ones good for working out? I’ll take a closer look at the shoes and examine whether they are suitable for different types of exercises such as running, weightlifting, and more.

Are Air Force Ones Good for Weightlifting? Are Air Force Ones Good for Working out?

Whether you’re a gym enthusiast or simply wondering if it’s a good idea to take your AF1s to the gym, this article will provide you with all the information you need to determine if Nike Air Force Ones are the right choice for your next workout. So, let’s dive in and find out if these classic shoes are more than just a fashion statement.

Behind Nike Air Force Ones: Its Design and Purpose

Are Nike Air Force Ones Good for Working Out? You Might Be Surprised!

The shoes’ designer, Bruce Kilgore, is the creative mind behind this ground-breaking footwear. Kilgore intended them to be Nike’s first basketball shoes to feature the company’s revolutionary Air Technology.

It was a smashing success on the court, just as expected. Nike then enlisted the help of six NBA all-stars to promote the shoe further.

The Nike Air Force 1 is set apart by innovative Air Technology that absorbs shock, so your feet won’t hurt if you tumble. The AF-1 was designed for use in high-impact scenarios in which the foot would require lots of cushioning ie on a basketball court where the player’s foot will be slamming on the ground a lot.

Continue reading below to verify whether Nike Air Force Ones are really suitable for high-intensity activities such as exercise and outdoor adventures.

Are Air Force Ones True to Size?

Are Air Force Ones Good for Weightlifting? Are Air Force Ones Good for Working out?

In short, Air Force ones do fit true to size. They also aren’t officially labelled as ‘wide-fitting’ shoes but people with wide feet do find them comfortable. People with narrow feet with also find them roomier.

Also bear in mind, that the ‘mids’ and the ‘high’ model of the shoe fit a little bit tighter than the ‘low’.

As I always recommend, try them on first.

Many make the mistake of assuming that they all fit the same when they don’t. There are slight differences.

This could be a reason for their popularity, they are a very comfortable shoe that works well for a lot of feet!

Are Air Force Ones Good for Walking and Hiking?

Are Air Force Ones Good for Weightlifting? Are Air Force Ones Good for Working out?

For walking, yes. For hiking over difficult terrain, no.

At first glance, the Air Force One has a rather heavy and bulky design. Wearing a pair of Forces for the first time can be intimidating, but contrary to first impressions, they are relatively comfortable.

The midsole shock absorption technology is a throwback to the 1980s. It has a large and bulky structure and provides overall softness and comfort when wearing shoes. This feature makes strolling a pleasant experience.

Although most people will be comfortable strolling around in AF-1s, they may prove too hefty for those who walk great distances. So, are they recommended for hiking? Not so much, but you can still try to work with them.

When Nike released the Nike Air Force 1 Hiking Pack back in 2010, Nike made an attempt to transition away from indoor courts and urban streets and towards the great outdoors. The low-top Air Force 1 was given a trekking makeover, complete with a bulkier midsole and eyelets made to be better suited for use as hiking boots. But unfortunately, as of today, Nike hasn’t revisited this idea.

Are Air Forces Good for Running?

When it comes to are air forces good for running, my answer is that since they are so comfortable and absorb shock so well with their cushioning, Air Forces are OK for running. But they are not the best for it.

Compared to a shoe specifically designed for running like a Nike Pegasus or a pair of Brooks, the Air Force 1 is heavier, stiffer, and has thicker soles. But if you have nothing else to run in and they’re comfortable on your feet, they’re an OK option.

Are Air Force Ones Good for Weightlifting? Are Air Force Ones Good for Working out?
Nike Air Force One

Nike doesn’t claim that the Air Force 1 is good as a running shoe, many say that it works better as a casual basketball shoe.


Stuart Says:

When it comes to the question of are Air Forces good for running, they’re most definitely not a running shoe, but in my opinion, if they fit you correctly, and you feel comfortable wearing them then, by all means, wear them as running shoes.

I wouldn’t recommend buying them brand new as running shoes because there are so many better and cheaper options than a Nike Air Force 1 for running.

But If you have an old pair and you feel comfortable running in them, go for it, you’re not going to do yourself any harm.

Can You Workout in Nike Air Forces?

You can, as long as it’s low-impact exercise. 

Note that the Air Force 1 was initially crafted to be worn for playing basketball. Therefore, they are designed to handle the impacts of running in short bursts and landing from jumping, hence why their sole is so comfortable. However, that doesn’t always mean that Nike Air Force 1 is the optimal choice for working out and jogging. There are a fair few other pairs might rival the performance of Nike Air Force 1s when it comes to working out.

The main reason Nike Air Force Ones might not be the ideal choice for sprinting and exercising is their extra weight compared to regular running shoes. The Nike Air Force 1 weighs around 16.5 pounds, while a pair of men’s mid-tier running shoes typically clocks in at approximately 9.5 ounces.

That much weight can be a hindrance if you plan on running any major distance and doing high-intensity cardio. You, the runner, know that the faster you can go, the lighter your shoes need to be.

A Nike-funded research revealed that every 3.5 ounces added to the footwear could slow down runners by one percent. Moreover, more shoe weight makes the wearer more prone to injury when doing physical activities such as running and exercising.

Nike Air Force 1 may be a viable choice for exercise but not an ideal one. Shoes should have the right weight and enough cushioning that will allow you to exercise with the correct form and reduce the risk of injury over time.

Are Air Force Ones Good for Weightlifting?

Are Air Force Ones Good for Weightlifting? Are Air Force Ones Good for Working out?

Yes, but there are other pairs more suited for weightlifting.

When Nike introduced Air Trainer 1 in 1987, it also created a cross-training shoe category. Instead of using a sport-specific approach, the idea was to create a versatile exercise shoe that could be used for various activities.

The Nike Air Trainer 1 performed decently on the track. The heel of the shoes made them somewhat suitable for weightlifting. Although many gym-goers choose more conventional running or cross-training shoes, a good pair of Air Force 1s may deliver comfort and support during strenuous lifting.

However, with so many alternative options for athletic footwear in the gym, Air Force 1s may not be the best choice in this instance. 

3 Good Alternatives to an Air Force One for Weightlifting?

When it comes to a weightlifting shoe, it’s good to go for a shoe that has a flat sole and is non-compressible. A shoe like the Air Force One does have a flat sole, but it’s compressible. It absorbs too much energy.

Below I have 3 alternatives to an Air Force One as a lifting shoe that you might want to consider.

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What You Should Look For in a Workout Shoe

Now when it comes to a good shoe for working out and not just lifting in, the things you should look out for are a little different.

Durable Shoe Cushioning

You can maintain your feet’s comfort, stability, and support with targeted padding underfoot. The best shoes for high-impact activities feature foam cushioning stiffer at the heel and more flexible at the forefoot. Nike Air Force 1s can tick this feature.

Strong, Wide Heel

Choose a pair of shoes with a wide heel if you want a solid foundation for lifting large objects. If you want more force to exert powerful movements while lifting, you might want to consider adding extra height to the heel of your Air Force 1s.

Support and Breathability

A lightweight mesh upper is ideal for weightlifting shoes since it allows more air to reach the foot during intense workouts. If you couple a shoe that lets air in with socks that wick away moisture, you might be able to avoid stinky feet after a workout.

Floor Traction

If you’re carrying large loads, the last thing you need is to trip and hurt yourself because you let your foot slip. Lifters’ confidence in their footing can be increased by using weightlifting shoes with enough traction. The Air Force 1s might not have sufficient rubber treads and clearly defined traction patterns on the bottom to ensure a secure grip on gym floors.

Flexibility and Versatility

Movements in every workout may vary. Hence, your workout shoes must have enough versatility to support a wide range of movements and lifting different weights. The Nike Air Force 1s might be inconsistent with this department. It has limited features to meet the demands of ideal weightlifting shoes.

There are other good options Nike offers that can address the gaps of Air Force 1s regarding workouts and weightlifting.

What Would a Good Alternative Complete Workout Shoe Be?

The features mentioned above characterize a perfect workout shoe from ordinary types of sneakers. While Air Force 1s can be good choices for these activities, there are other shoes that can be a better option for cross training. I say cros training because cross training encompasses more activities and are more versatile.

Reebok Nano X3

Recently reviewed on the channel and probably one of the best options of cross training shoe currently (in my opinion), the Reebok Nano X3 has a unique ‘Lift and Run chassis’ which basically gives you a soft landing when you’re running in them but also gives you a harder more firm feeling in the sole when you do lifting moves. They’re quite innovative.


The Nike Metcon has established itself as one of the benchmarks in weight training shoes with improved durability and stability in the Metcon 8 over its predecessors. React foam is included in the sole which gives you more comfort during prolonged cardio and lifting sessions.


The Nike Saveleos keep your feet grounded and feeling safe thanks to its flat, wide sole and secure shoe straps. These are half lifter so they have a slightly raised heel which is ideal for lifting heavier weights that can challenge your balance and posture.



Those are the distinguishing features that Nike Air Force 1s offer. Invented initially to serve as basketball shoes, they perform decently on basketball courts and running tracks. They also provide enough comfort for the wearer to carry on short to medium distances walks.

Still, there are better options from Nike when it comes to doing workouts and weightlifting. Nevertheless, you still get your money’s worth with the Nike Air Force 1s, as they are versatile enough to be worn in courts and casual attires.


Avatar of Stuart Patrick
Stuart Patrick
Stuart Patrick is a health and fitness lifestyle journalist who writes for ListedFit.com.

“I've spent a lot of time trying to get in shape and change my body and I realised there are so many untruths in the health and fitness industry that can slow down or stop your progress, so I share my knowledge and experience to help others to cut through the BS.”

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