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Weightlifting shoes, also known as squat or lifting shoes, are versatile footwear that cater to weightlifters of any level. They're not solely reserved for hardcore athletes, but rather serve as a valuable tool suited to all. Similar to cross-training and barefoot shoes, weightlifting shoes impact the mechanics of an exercise, and the elevated heel is an excellent illustration of this change. Knowing why weightlifting shoes are necessary includes a better understanding of how to use them according to your personal training goals.
In my selection of the best weightlifting shoes, I categorize the preferences based on performance, community feedback, and other varying factors. If you're also in the search for the perfect cross-training shoes, check out my Cross-Training Shoe Finder that matches the shoes with your specific needs.
When it comes to the best weightlifting shoes for men, stability and fit are two main components that I consider. The Reebok Legacy Lifter II stands out as my top pick for this category, given its consistent performance and versatility across various training types. The TPU heel with an effective height of .86 inches is considerably stable and secure for heavier weight exercises. Moreover, the adjustable midfoot strap is thicker and less clunky compared to its predecessor. Although the toe box isn't ideal for wider feet, the Legacy Lifter II delivers an optimal fit for most foot anatomies.
I heavily rely on the feedback of my girlfriend and YouTube community to determine the best weightlifting shoes for women. Using a cross-check system of reviews and feedback, I select the top recommendations for women's weightlifting shoes.
Given that many weightlifting shoes are unisex, sizing can be problematic for women. Nevertheless, the following models cater to women’s anatomy while delivering impressive performance.
Top Selection: Adidas Adipower IIIFor women, the Adidas Adipower III stands out as the best weightlifting shoe. This model is well-suited to a range of training activities and boasts a robust durability thanks to its ripstop upper construction. Additionally, the shoe’s TPU heel provides stability while remaining lightweight, and the midfoot strap is expertly crafted, holding up against wear and tear. The Adipower III benefits from a neutral and narrower last construction, ensuring an “athletic” feel during use. If you require a more extensive fit, however, wider options are detailed below.
Best Budget Weightlifting ShoesWeightlifting shoes can be a costly investment, with many premium models selling for around $200 USD. Fortunately, there are budget alternatives available, and we have compiled a list of our favorite budget weightlifting shoes for less than $100 USD.
Top Selection: Reebok Lifter PR IIThe Reebok Lifter PR II is the best budget weightlifting shoe, unmatched in terms of construction and performance given its $100 USD price tag. As an added bonus, you may find that this model is often discounted in several colorways, making it even more affordable. The shoe boasts a stable high-density EVA midsole for support and durability, along with a secure midfoot strap. Unlike other budget options, the Lifter PR II is an all-in-one style shoe that allows for breathability and comfort during wear.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for CrossFitWhen selecting weightlifting shoes for CrossFit, it’s important to consider how you’ll wear them during sessions. Different demands require different features.
Are you looking for heavy-duty training shoes, or do you want a versatile pair that can handle various exercises during a WOD? Below, we recommend our favorite options, fit for various CrossFit needs.
My Top Pick: Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380
For CrossFit, the Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380 is without a doubt the weightlifting shoe to beat. This versatile model provides a consistent and stable performance, featuring a graphene-infused power heel that offers both strength and lightness - great for dynamic training sessions. The ripstop upper and graphene rubber outsole ensure excellent durability, while the midfoot strap provides a solid level of security, making this shoe an all-round strong performer. Perhaps the standout feature of this shoe is its maneuverable toe box, which offers a significant advantage over blocky or inflexible options, particularly when tackling CrossFit-style workouts.
The Best Weightlifting Shoes for Strongman
Strongman athletes need weightlifting shoes that offer both versatility and durability, so I have compiled a list of top picks based on feedback from the community.
My Top Pick: Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
Despite being somewhat underrated, the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes are a solid choice for strongman athletes who demand versatility and affordability. The stable midfoot and heel make them a great option for heavy squats and cleans, and after breaking them in, the toe box offers excellent maneuverability in different settings. The toe box is neutral in size, and slightly wider than most other weightlifting shoes. Furthermore, this model is considered a budget-friendly option at only $105 USD (often on sale for ), and boasts impressive upper durability for long-term use.
The Best Weightlifting Shoes for Powerlifting
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weightlifting shoes for powerlifting, as every athlete will have their own preferences based on their individual needs. Some individuals compete and train comfortably in flat shoes, such as barefoot shoes or Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. However, for those who prefer weightlifting shoes, my advice is to choose what works best for you and allows you to perform at your highest potential.
My Top Choice: Reebok Legacy Lifter II
As a powerlifter, I highly recommend the Reebok Legacy Lifter II as the best weightlifting shoe for powerlifting. Having used them in two competitions, I can attest to their exceptional performance in both events.
For powerlifting, the weightlifting shoes are mainly utilized for squats, and occasionally for bench press if it helps with better foot placement. The Legacy Lifter II model is an excellent option for squats due to its heavier weight, which makes you feel more grounded and locked in during training and competition.
In terms of stability and security, the Legacy Lifter II shines with its rubber outsole that provides a great grip on gym floors and carpets, which are commonly used in powerlifting competitions.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Wide Feet
Weightlifting shoes for athletes and lifters with wide feet have always been a neglected area. It's astonishing that there is not a good true "wide" option in the market. Companies either don't recognize the value in this type of footwear or designers underestimate the benefits of a wider toe box for training purposes.
That being said, my top pick for the best weightlifting shoe for wide feet is the TYR L-1 Lifter. This model stands out because of its impressive width, which is unmatched by any other weightlifting shoe on the market. The toe box shape and construction can be compared to a popular barefoot shoe, the Xero Shoes Prio.
In addition to its width, the TYR L-1 Lifter delivers excellent performance in the gym. It provides stability for heavy squats and has no issues with loads up to 440 lbs. The dual straps provide midfoot security, making it suitable for recreational lifting, weightlifting, and even functional fitness workouts.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet
For lifters with flat feet, finding comfortable and supportive weightlifting shoes can be a challenge. Here are some decent options that will align with the anatomy of your flatter foot.
My recommendations for the best weightlifting shoes for flat feet are models that can accommodate your feet and deliver strong performances.
Top Choice: Reebok Lifter PR IIMy first pick for the best weightlifting shoe for flat feet is the Reebok Lifter PR II. I prefer this model over others for flat feet due to the construction of its midsole and heel.
The EVA midsole of this shoe provides excellent stability throughout the forefoot, midfoot, and heel. Unlike other weightlifting shoes, the midfoot of this model doesn't taper significantly.
Moreover, the wedge in the heel and midfoot of this shoe is less aggressive compared to other weightlifting shoes on this list. The lower heel height and less aggressive wedge offer flat feet more comfort.
Besides these features, the performance of this shoe is also impressive. It's suitable for people who are new to weightlifting and prefer dynamic training.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for BeginnersIf you are new to weightlifting shoes, it can be overwhelming to choose the right model. You do not need to invest in the most expensive pair right away. Instead, a budget-friendly pair of weightlifting shoes will suffice (be sure to check out the budget section above).
Top Choice: Adidas Powerlift 5For beginners, I recommend the Adidas Powerlift 5 as the best weightlifting shoe. It performs well in the gym and is reasonably priced at around $120 USD.
This model has a high-density EVA foam heel and midsole that provide excellent stability for most beginners. The midfoot strap also supports foot security while training.
The upper of this shoe features flexible mesh and canvas that supports its breathability. The rubber outsole and level of tread provide sufficient grip on rubber gym floors, wooden platforms, and machines.
The Adidas Powerlift 5 is versatile and works well for various training contexts, making it an excellent pick for beginners trying to figure out when to wear weightlifting shoes.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Narrow FeetWhen testing the best weightlifting shoes for narrow feet, two criteria guide my decision-making process. First, do the shoes work for narrow feet and provide adequate support? Second, how well do the shoes perform in a variety of contexts, and is it worth investing in them?
Top Choice: Nike Romaleos 4The Nike Romaleos 4 is my top pick for the best weightlifting shoe for narrow feet. Compared to other weightlifting shoes, this model performs exceptionally well for narrow feet for two reasons.
To start off, the fit of this shoe model is moderately neutral but has a tendency to be more narrow than wide. Additionally, the upper volume of this shoe is on the lower side, ensuring a snug fit around the midfoot and toe area.
If you're someone who frequently experiences sliding or difficulty getting weightlifting shoes tight enough, the Nike Romaleos 4 could be the solution you need. The TPU heel of this shoe provides a solid foundation to lift on, while the dual strap system offers midfoot security, making it a great option for squats, weightlifting, and casual lifting.
When shopping for weightlifting shoes, it's crucial to make sure that they fit correctly. A general rule of thumb is to have around half an inch of space at the end of the toe box. This measurement provides sufficient room in the toe box while still allowing you to tighten the shoes to prevent slipping.
Before choosing a shoe, always ensure that it aligns with your foot anatomy. Shoes with different upper volumes and widths can make them more suitable or less so to your individual needs. Look at product reviews and cross-reference with other long-form reviews to make an informed decision. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out.
To keep your weightlifting shoes clean, use a spot-cleaning technique. Use a soft soap and some lukewarm water to wipe down dirty areas. Remove the insoles and place them in a dry area. By doing this every few months, your shoes will last longer, and you can get more out of your investment. For gym bag users, consider airing out your bag post-training or removing your shoes entirely.
Weightlifting shoes can be used for several different activities based on how you train and your anatomical needs. These activities include weightlifting, strength sports like powerlifting and crossfit, squats, and similar accessory exercises that require an elevated heel. There's no inherent benefit to only using flat shoes or only using weightlifting shoes. Select the footwear that suits your needs best.
In conclusion, weightlifting shoes are useful tools in the gym, and each model has its own list of pros and cons. When choosing a new pair of shoes, research the differences between the shoes in the market to ensure you find a pair that fits your needs. If you have any additional questions, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram.