Are Nike Cortez Shoes Good For Working Out and Lifting?

Most of the time, it’s convenient to go straight to the gym while wearing your daily trainers, like the Nike Cortez. After all, the shoe is considered athletic sneakers made for sports.

However, is the Nike Cortez good for working out and lifting?

The Nike Cortez shoes aren’t the best footwear for intense workouts and gym training unless you’re going to the gym for upper body training and a few mat exercises only.

The rubber midsole and elevated heel are great for walking but may hinder your ability to grip the floor and use your toes for balance during strength and conditioning moves.

Of course, specific shoe choice varies based on your workout, so consider the type of exercise you’re going to be doing. Let’s explore whether Nike Cortez is good for working out or not.

Nike Cortez shoes for lifting explored

Contrary to popular belief, the Nike Cortez is an athletic sneaker inspired by running shoes, but they are not designed for sports. Below, we explain where Nike Cortez is most suitable.

1. Nike Cortez is okay for light workouts and activities

There are many different kinds of Nike sneakers, but most of them are known for having well-cushioned midsoles for responsiveness and curved outsoles for springiness.

The Nike Cortez is no exception. It has a thick rubber midsole designed for comfort. The elevated heel also helps to decrease the chance of injuries, especially Achilles tendon strains.

While this trait is great for walking, it can inhibit your movement during strength training. In fact, it can even be dangerous due to their instability when lifting heavy weights.

Ideally, you would want a breathable shoe that provides light support with a minimal curve in the sole for general gym training, HIIT workouts, and cross-training. It gives you the ability to grip the floor and use your toes for balance in strength and conditioning moves. 

A cross-training shoe, like the Nike Flex Control TR4, is versatile and checks the boxes for many exercises. It has a low arch or minimalist profile that provides you with the right support.

Additionally, the shoe offers a great balance of being stable enough for lifting, responsive enough for bodyweight movements, and breathability for the ultimate comfort.

So, unless you’re going to the gym for a 30-minute light treadmill session and a few mat exercises, Nike Cortez shoes aren’t the best footwear for intense gym training.

They’re okay if you’re in a pinch, but they should not be your go-to kicks if you like to do exercises that require stability from your lower body. Wear cross-trainers instead.

2. Nike Cortez is not suitable for heavy weightlifting

Two characteristics that define the Nike Cortez are the thick midsole and elevated heel. While many would think that these are actually good for weightlifting, they are far from the truth. 

During powerful lifts (like squats and deadlifts), you need a shoe with firm cushioning in the sole, which will help absorb the shock from powerful, high-impact movements.

Additionally, the elevated heel and narrow shape of Nike Cortez make it unstable for lifting weights. For stability, opt for a shoe with a wide heel, which creates a secure base for heavy lifts.

Every time you are trying to lift heavy weights on an unstable surface, which the Nike Cortez shoes emulate, you are increasing the risk of injury and reducing your power output.

You would be better off lifting weight barefoot instead.

To sum it up, you should not lift weights while wearing Nike Cortez. Instead, go for a pair of weightlifting shoes like the Nike Metcon 6 to maximize your workout performance.

3. Nike Cortez is excellent for walking and upper body workouts

While you should not wear Nike Cortez for heavy weight lifting, you can certainly wear them for walking on a daily basis or upper body workouts that do not require leg muscles.

In fact, the Nike Cortez is considered one of the most comfortable daily trainers. The midsole is cushioned, yet firm enough to support your foot during long hours of walking.

You can certainly wear the shoe for work (as long as your workplace allows it) and then go straight to the gym for upper body workouts. It’s the ideal shoe for someone with an active lifestyle.

The combination of nylon, suede, and leather at the top means that the shoe is not only stylish for everyday, casual outfits, but it is also durable enough for simple activities.

As a fashion sneaker, the Nike Cortez goes well with many outfits. It is also very popular because it has been worn by the main character of the award-winning film Forrest Gump.


Now you can decide whether Nike Cortez is good for lifting and working out, or not.

If you’re looking for a gym training shoe, look elsewhere. The Nike Cortez will always outperform in comfort, but not in performance. It’s okay as a basic gym shoe for stationary exercises, with some treadmill work to follow, but not for intense heavier weight lifting.

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