What are the best shoes for the Stairmaster?
If you look for inspiration around the gym and you’ll be as confused as a cow on astroturf.
You’ll see running shoes, weight lifting shoes, walking shoes, trail shoes, sneakers and even Converse's being used regularly for the Stairmaster.
Certainly doesn’t make it any easier to come to a conclusion.
The fact is that you need to look for shoes that offer a decent amount of padding.
The Stairmaster is essentially an easier version of climbing stairs. The most notable difference is that when you reach up for the next step, it is already moving lower which reduces the height by a few tiny inches or even centimeters.
That doesn’t take away anything from the way your feet will land on the Stairmaster though.
Your feet will still require arch support and a decent amount of cushioning to keep stable and prevent over-pronating or over-supinating, both of which are recipes for injury and shift the ‘burn’ to areas that you can't do without.
Based on these features, here are the best shoes for the Stairmaster for both men and women.
Quick Overview - Our Best of The Best Picks
For those who're in a rush, and those of you who don't love to read, here are some of the top picks that we cherry-picked for their outstanding features and suitability.
Best women's shoes;
- Best for stair master; Asics Gel-Kayano 26 - Softer foam, EVA sock liner, Plusher Upper, high-end heel counter
- Best for runners & cross trainers; Asics Gel-Kayano 25 - Sturdy heel counter, Beefy medial Plate, Very Light
- Best for stair master and everyday life; Puma Women's Prowl - Lightweight, Sleek design, Stable & flexible
Best men's shoes;
- Best for runners; Brooks Men's Adrenaline GTS 19 - Lightweight & Very stable, GuardRails system, Thick padding
- Best for stair master; ASICS Men's Gel-Kayano 25 - Great arch support, Internal elastic sleeve, impact absorption
- Best trail shoe; ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 6 - Ideal for normal & high arches, enhanced arch support, sleek design, removable sock liner
The Best Women’s Shoes For Stair Master
While it may not seem like it, Women’s feet are distinctly different from men’s. The shape and the length of the arch are different. So are the size of the forefoot and toe bones.
If you are interested in the biological juicy bits, you can find it here. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19767544)
This makes it all the more important for women to find the Best Womens shoes for the stair master, and the same goes for women's treadmill running shoes, women's boxing shoes, and pretty much any other workout.
Here are 7 of them. These are picked based on research, customers reviews, and from my (girlfriend of main writer here) personal testing.
I also slightly picked them based on looks too.
1. ASICS Gel-Kayano 26 - Best Women's Shoes for Stairmaster
- Upgraded version of ASICS classic shoes
- Thicker layer of gel on the heel
- FlyteFoam Propel layer
- FlyteFoam Lyte on the midsole
- New, plusher upper
- 5mm EVA sock liner
- Extremely stable shoes
How do you improve on a pair of shoes that have undergone 25 iterations, each one better than the previous version?
That’s the ASICS Classic Kayano shoes for you. In case you haven’t noticed, we already have the Kayano-25 as the best women’s shoe for the Stairmaster.
This is the upgraded version.
For starters, ASICS has pumped up the heel with more gel and a much softer foam that gives you an almost luxurious feel upon contact.
Secondly, the upper is redone with a state-of-the-art heel counter that completely locks your foot.
Make no mistake, this is the new flagship killer from Asics. A thorough, top-of-the-line stability trainer.
You’ll love the feel of the shoes on your feet with the redone, plusher upper and the EVA sock liner that fits like a glove.
In the midsole, you have a thick layer of gel followed by a FlyteFoam Lyte layer, as well as the high-density medial post that was introduced in the Kayano-25. The result is an incredibly soft and cushioned touchdown that greatly prevents over-pronation.
When you are running for long on a treadmill, riding an elliptical bike, or on the Stairmaster, this will feel stable and quite formidable, if that’s the right word. Quite a contrast from most other shoes which feel springy and just over compensated.
- Classic shoes with a proven track record
- Sturdy heel counter
- Reinforced medial plate that extends to the heel
- Flytefoam Lyte on the heel
- Flytefoam propel on the forefront
- 3mm of Midsole height
- Jacquard Mesh upper
- Available in 23-color options
The Gel-Kayano 25 is the 25th iteration that these classic boots from Asics has undergone since its inception.
The upgrade looks more streamlined on the aesthetic part. But it’s the technical aspects that will impress serious runners, especially those running to build muscles, stamina or endurance, and cross trainers.
Both, runners with neutral feet as well as overpronators will recognize the heel counter from the previous version that provides excellent stability. To add to this, Asics throws in a beefy medial plate, that extends from the new midsole to the heel.
Talking about the midsole, there are two new materials making their debut with the Cayano-25. There’s Flytefoam propel cushioning in the forefront and Flytefoam Lyte on the heel which offers great cushioning.
The shoe is lighter than the competition and the women’s version features an extra 3 mm of midsole height to help prevent strain on the Achilles.
On the upper, there’s a new woven mesh fabric that’s extremely stretchy and is called ‘Jacquard’. Along with some newly added underlays, it gives you a snug fit with ample wiggle room in the toe box.
For those interested in glamming their workouts, the Kayano is available in 23 color options that range from subdued to outrageous and everything in between.
Overall, the ASICS Gel-Kayano 25 is just perfect for the stairmaster as well as for general athletic training, be it running on your small apartment treadmill, out on the tracks or doing squats and deadlifts among others.
- New, revamped design
- Great color options
- Soft foam heel tab
- New bootie configuration on the inside and on the upper
- Snug fit with great energy return
- Segmented rubber outsole for traction
The Brooks Levitate was one of the most successful everyday training shoes in 2017
Like most brands that follow a 2-year lifespan for its shoes, Brooks is back with an update right around the 2-year mark with the Levitate 2.
On offer are some stunning colors, a more dynamic fit and a swanky soft foam heel tab that’s covered in faux-suede to help prevent an inflamed Achilles tendon.
A new bootie configuration on the inside and on the upper gives you an extremely snug fit, both at the midsole and the heel. The shoes just wrap around your feet.
Like the original version, the Levitate 2 is designed for the springy, bouncy stride that gives you great energy return. The DNA AMP midsole absorbs the force upon contact with the ground and redirects the energy towards the toe-off part of your stride.
Under the shoes, there’s the segmented rubber outsole that gives you excellent traction on all kinds of surfaces.
We are mighty impressed with the Brooks Women’s Levitate 2. It is a very versatile shoe that can be perfect for use with the Stairmaster. But it can also double up as a fashion statement, for your recovery runs and even for longish track and field events.
- The original New Balance FuelCore Nergize that spurred an entire range
- Feels comfortable and fits snugly on the feet
- 23 colors and designs to choose from
- Perfect even if you have wide feet or bunions
- NB Memory sole insert
- REVlite Foam provides ample cushioning
- Mesh fabric upper
The New Balance FuelCore Nergize has been a runaway success as a versatile cross trainer. There have been 4 versions of these shoes so far, but it is the original V1 that has been the most popular of them all.
These are one of the best shoes for the Stairmaster.
You can slip them on easily, they are very lightweight and have a great energy response and they also look incredibly cool. There are 23 colors and designs to choose from. Perfect to pep your workout time with.
One of the first things that people notice is how comfortable it feels on the feet. Even if you have slightly wide feet or bunions, these will fit perfectly.
The NB Memory Sole insert and the REVlite foam provide ample cushioning without cutting out on the stability.
The upper in particular, is a mesh fabric material that’s breathable and offers great flex. Despite being slip-ons, the shoes stay snugly on the feet even if you don’t lace up.
If you are looking for a super lightweight, cross training shoes that also looks stylish, you’ve just found them.
- Lightweight cross training shoes designed for the outdoors
- EVA Foam midsole
- Synthetic mesh upper
- ASICS High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) outsole
- Gel layer on the heel for protection from heel strikes
- 247 grams only
The Venture range of shoes from ASICS has always been known for its great arch support.
That tops our list of priorities for the best shoes for the Stairmaster.
Here’s the Venture 5, a lightweight shoe that’s designed for running outdoors. The cushioning under the feet is plush, the EVA Foam midsole is light and the synthetic mesh upper just hugs your feet keeping it locked in place.
To add to this, ASICS throws in a trail-ready Asics high Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) outsole that keeps you protected from overpronation and supination on the Stairmaster.
Keeping your heel in prime condition is a heavy layer of gel that protects the force during heel strikes. If you are a heel striker, these are the shoes you always wanted.
At 247 grams, the Venture-5 is amongst the lightest cross trainer shoes that you can get.
With a proven track record, it’s hard to go wrong with these. Oh, by the way, these are available in 10 stunning color options. It's a great choice for running outside or using the Stairmaster or even running on a n incline treadmill like the Nautilus T616 or T618.
- Lightweight sneaker with a sleek design
- Stylish color options with contrasting PUMA emblem
- Offers stability, cushioning and flexibility
- Fabric upper with Softfoam+
- EVA Midsole
- Cutout Outsole
The Puma Prowl, probably based on Puma’s mascot, the panther that prowls on nimble feet, is a very lightweight cross trainer that envelopes your feet.
It’s sleek, stylish and will keep you great company in the gym and outside of it. The styling is almost mellow with a solid color shoes ending in an almond-shaped toe, with just a contrasting PUMA emblem on the outer heel.
Puma has worked to make the Prowl an easy shoe to wear. You can slip your feet in, almost like you slip it into a sock thanks to the tabs on the heel as well as the tongue.
It feels stable but offers great flexibility.
Adding to this, is the mesh upper which is blended with Softfoam+. Irrespective of whether you are lifting or performing an HIIT drill, you’ll love the feel of the Prowl.
It has an EVA midsole and a cutout outsole that gives you great traction as well.
If you are looking for sneakers that you can wear on the stairmaster as well as to work, to college, to walks, runs, the Prowl is one of your best options.
7. Orthofeet Best Stairmaster Shoes For Plantar Fasciitis
- Dedicated stairmaster training shoes for people with Plantar
- Additional cushioning with an extra layer of foam
- Seam-free fabric lining inside
- Orthotic Insole
- Ergonomic sole
- Available in Extended widths as well
- Perfect for hammer toes and Bunions
Working out on the Stairmaster or even walking for that matter can turn into a nightmare if your Plantar Fasciitis is highly inflamed.
Orthofeet’s Plantar Fasciitis shoes feature orthotic insoles and ergonomic soles that make the process a lot easier.
The cushioning is denser than normal shoes and the design provides you great anatomical support right from the heel to the toe.
One of the best parts is the styling. No one would ever be able to make out from the design that the shoes have additional padding.
It looks like any other cross training shoes. But once you wear them (surprisingly easy to wear), you’ll instantly notice the extra foam layer as well as the seam-free fabric lining on the inside. Everything feels smooth and soft with no chaffing or discomfort.
As if it weren’t enough already, Orthofeet also provides these shoes in extended widths.
Even if you have hammer toes, or bunions or just wider-than-normal feet, these Plantar Fasciitis shoes can be a lifesaver.
Best Mens’ Shoes For The Stair Master
What are the best mens shoes for the Stairmaster?
Let’s find out.
- Most popular shoes from ASICS
- Lightweight for running
- Great stability and cushioning
- Great arch support
- FLUIDRIDE cushion in the midsole
- Gel layer on the heel
- Available in 23 colors
Well, what did you expect?
The Asics Gel-Kayano 25 is hands down the best shoes for the Stairmaster for men.
It provides great stability, tons of cushioning and a fit as snug as a bug in a rug, thanks to the internal elastic sleeve that works like a sock.
The shoe is made of synthetics from head to toe, which makes it one of the lightest options in this list.
ASICS claims that the knit upper (great flexibility) is inspired from the belt of a Kimono. We have no reasons to doubt that. It looks stunning and wraps around the foot, while keeping things airy.
In the midsole, there’s a layer of FLUIDRIDE cushions which do a terrific job of absorbing impact. Under this, there’s ASICS signature GEL layer that makes it feel like you are running on a soft, velvety surface.
The Gel-Kayano is a masterpiece that you cannot go wrong with irrespective of whether you are running on the trail or on the Stairmaster.
- Engineered mesh upper
- Great arch support
- Brooks’ GuideRails System that prevents heel eversion
- Premium sockliner for the interior
- Thick padding on the collar and tongue
- DNA loft foam on the midsole
The Adrenaline GTS 19 is a quintessential runners boot.
It is light on your feet, soft under it and designed to keep it stable during high impact activity.
Brooks introduced the GuideRails system with these shoes that helps lock the heel into place and prevents eversion-related injuries.
The upper is an engineered one and provides great breathability and flexibility. Keeping your feet comfortable inside the shoes are a premium sockliner along with thick padding on the collar and tongue.
On the midsole, you have Brook’s new DNA loft foam, which is like a lightweight rubber with tons of air in it. The energy response is amazing.
If you tend to overpronate a lot and are seeking boots that guide you as well as control your range of motion, the Adrenaline GTS 19 won’t disappoint you.
- Finger trap inspired design
- Great traction
- Lunarlon High density foam midsole
- Multidirectional triangular nodes on the outsole
- Multiple colors, sleek design
- Stability and cushioning for the Stairmaster
The Lunar Fingertrap is considered by many to be the most advanced cross training shoes that Nike has ever produced.
It features a mesh upper coated by a layer of flex grooves that cradles and goes around your feet. The result is that you get great flexibility and traction in all directions.
On the inside, you have a Lunarlon midsole, which is a high-density Phylon foam cover with a lighter foam in the core.
This gives you great cushioning without compromising on the stability. It has a bouncy, lightweight feel on the feet.
The outsole uses the multidirectional triangular nodes that spread outwards from the core. These are quite common in Nike’s premium range and are designed for all kinds of training.
All the tech talk and we almost forgot about how easy the Lunar Fingertraps are to wear. The design allows you to wear these as slip-ons if need be. Just use the lacing to secure the fit.
- One of the most popular options from Brooks
- Reasonable amount of cushioning
- Light and flexible
- Great traction
- DNA Loft foam on the heel
- Runs true to size and fits snugly
The Brooks Ghost 11 is one of the most popular shoes with runners due to its lightweight design, reasonable cushioning and stylish color options.
It features Brooks’s new engineered mesh upper that keeps things airy inside the shoes, but very efficiently keeps dirt out. The toe box is a little narrow though. If you need tons of wiggle room in the toe, these are not the shoes for you.
Once you slip it on, you’ll instantly recognize the feel of that DNA foam layer in the midsole. The cushioning is just perfect. On the heels, Brooks has added an additional layer of DNA Loft foam. So if you are a heel striker, you’ll get the extra bit of padding you seek.
Under the feet, you have Brook’s Segmented Crash Pad that Brooks claims adapts to each runner’s unique foot fall. Well, it’s one hell of a comfortable ride, we’ll give them that.
The shoes fit snugly and run true to size. The cushioning and stability is perfect for Stairmaster use and you can always up the ante without getting fatigued or limited.
- High quality trail shoes
- Designed for Neutral and Under-pronation
- Sleek and stylish design
- Removable sockliner allows to use an orthotic one
- Rearfoot Gel technology for added cushioning
The Venture-6 is an upgraded version of the Venture-5, which is one of the best shoes for the Stairmaster due to the enhanced arch support it provides.
These are high quality trail shoes that are designed for neutral and under-pronation, which means that it’s for men with normal as well as high arches.
If you are familiar with the Venture-5, you’ll recognize the sleek design immediately. ASICS has redone the upper slightly giving it more flex. There are more color options as well and they all look stylish and contemporary.
On the inside, it comes with a removable sockliner which allows you to use an orthotic sockliner if needed. If you have plantar or bunions, this is a great option.
Shock during high impact phase of the exercise is minimized due to ASICS’ Rearfoot Gel Technology which amplifies cushioning and allows a seamless transition to the midstance.
Overall, the Venture-6 with the Gel cushioning and the snug fit are a great buy if your pronation is neutral or under.
- Brand used by Olympic runners
- Leather and synthetic mesh construction
- Cush+ foam cushioning
- NB Ultra soft internal lining
- EVA Midsole
- AT tread outsole
The New Balance 481 are versatile, all-terrain shoes that feature the brand’s signature Foam+ cushioning.
Despite being one of the only shoes that continues to use genuine leather, these shoes are Springy, responsive and ultra-light.
In short, these are shoes that you’ll love to wear on the Stairmaster for its stability and responsiveness.
The upper is a Perforated mesh and there’s an internal mesh lining (NB Ultra Soft) that keeps your feet cushy and comfortable. Also, this helps wick away sweat keeping things dry and preventing odor from building up.
The midsole is an EVA one while it features an AT tread outsole for all-direction traction in different types of terrain.
These are the third iteration of the 481 and are available in three color options.
- Synthetic leather construction
- EVA heel panel
- Eva midsole
- Wide design, perfect for wide feet
- Heavily padded
- Stylish and sleek
- Perfect for everyday use
The Tazon 6 is one of Puma’s most versatile all-training shoes with a synthetic leather construction.
Normally, we steer clear of synthetic leather shoes because they tend to be heavier than the rest and their flexibility is poor.
But we’ll put that rule aside for a while with the Tazon 6, mainly due to how comfortable your feet feel in these and secondly, due to the thick padding it features.
If you feel that most normal running shoes feel hard, these are the shoes you need. The EVA heel panel and midsole will absorb most of the force upon touch down, keeping your feet comfortable all along.
Also, the stability on these shoes is way better than what you’d get with synthetic mesh based shoes.
The tradeoff is that these aren’t as flexible. They feel a little stiff and will take some time to break in.
That may or may not work for your Stairmaster use depending on the type of shoes you prefer. So bear that in mind if you decide to select these.
How To Pick The Best Shoes For The Stairmaster
There’s a lot of information out there if you are looking for guidance on buying running shoes or shoes for crossfit.
Surprisingly, there’s very little information about the best shoes for the Stairmaster.
Here’s some help.
Running shoes vs. Stability shoes
Running shoes are lightweight and designed to provide you with a springy response when your feet touch down on the surface. While they do provide reasonable cushioning, they aren’t what you call heavily padded.
The average weight for a men’s running shoe is around 8-9 oz. For women its 7-8 oz.
Stability shoes on the other hand can weigh almost 10-12 oz. However, they provide your feet with more padding and control. If you over pronate, then go for stability shoes as compared to running shoes. Else, running shoes might be the better option.
Most of the best rated Stairmaster shoes will feature a foam midsole that absorbs the force of impact on your feet. However, some athletes are heel kickers which means that they tend to land on their heels.
If you are one of them, pick shoes that offer additional cushioning under the heels, like the ASICS Kayano shoes.
Pronation is a natural movement that defines how your feet land on the ground and how the impact is distributed over the feet, the knees and all the way upwards.
Many brands design shoes based on Pronation types.
If you are aware of your pronation type, pick one that’s best suited for you. Else, speak to a chiropractor or an orthopedic physician who can help you find your pronation type.
This will help minimize the risk of injury.
My Concluding Thoughts
That sums up our list of the best shoes for the Stairmaster.
A quick recap, the ASICS Gel Kayano-25 is the best option for women, while it’s the Kayano-26 for men.
All the other ones are equally good choices mind you. Take your time, do your research and make an informed decision.
Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
You can learn more about Fitlifefanatics on our About Page