Sportswear giant Nike has unveiled its new generation of cross-trainer shoes as it prepares to do battle with smaller rival Under Armour for market share.

The new generation of footwear is designed to cope with a wide range of training activities associated with specific sports, and is part of Nike's broader training initiative in association with specialist company Sparq.

Five new shoes, ranging in price from US$70-90, include the Nike Air Zoom Sparq TR Elite, claimed as the company's lightest and most responsive training shoe ever.

It incorporates a thinner Nike Zoom Air bag, allowing closer contact between the athlete's foot and the ground.

The company has also unveiled Nike Pro Core, a new base layer claimed to feature superior technical fabric and engineered construction for increased comfort.

Under Armour is also poised to unveil its own range of new generation cross-trainers, with three "Prototype" styles set to retail at $80-100.

The launch represents a major investment for the company, and a determined shift into the footwear sector only two years after it started selling training shoes. Under Armour's footwear sales grew by about 35% last year.