At That Fit Friend, I take it upon myself to put every product to the test using a rigorous set of training tests that I've developed over years of trying out gear. I purchase all of the gear that I test, and any commissions earned from sales made through links on my site go towards supporting my efforts.
Weightlifting shoes, otherwise known as squat or lifting shoes, are a piece of footwear that can benefit lifters from all backgrounds. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be a professional athlete to see the advantages of using them.
In the same way that cross-training shoes and barefoot shoes can be helpful for lifting, I consider weightlifting shoes as tools. For instance, an elevated heel on a weightlifting shoe can impact exercise mechanics compared to flat shoes.
It's helpful to understand why weightlifting shoes exist in order to utilize them to the fullest during your training. Just like lifting belts, you won't need them every session, but having them available when needed can make a significant difference.
In this round-up of the best weightlifting shoes, I'll divide my favorite picks into different categories based on their performance and feedback from the community.
Are you also searching for new cross-training shoes? Check out my Cross-Training Shoe Finder calculator to help you find the best fit for your needs.
Top Weightlifting Shoes for MenWhen evaluating the best weightlifting shoes for men, two performance areas stand out. Firstly, I assess a shoe's stability and security for heavy squats and cleans. Secondly, I evaluate the shoe's fit, including whether it's wide enough in the toe box and properly aligns with men's foot anatomy.
My Number One Pick: Reebok Legacy Lifter IIThe top pick for the best weightlifting shoe for men is the Reebok Legacy Lifter II. I have consistently used and tested this model in various training environments, and it has delivered reliable performance.
This model features a TPU heel that provides a stable and effective height of 22mm or .86 inches. It performs exceptionally well when moving heavy loads in squats, cleans, and snatches, and I've even used them to compete in competitions.
The adjustable, thicker midfoot strap on this model promotes overall foot security while feeling sturdy and more lightweight than the original Reebok Legacy Lifter.
The toe box on the Legacy Lifter II provides a decent level of maneuverability and a neutral fit. It may not be the most suitable option for wide feet, but it delivers a good fit in most cases.
Top Weightlifting Shoes for WomenWhen selecting the best weightlifting shoes for women, I rely on feedback from my girlfriend and the YouTube community to pinpoint certain models. I then cross-reference their responses with my reviews to determine my top picks.
Given that a significant portion of weightlifting shoes cater to both genders, it's not unusual for women to experience sizing issues. However, here are some models that are tailored to suit women's anatomical needs while satisfying training expectations.
Our Top Choice: Adidas Adipower III
We believe that the Adidas Adipower III stands out as the finest weightlifting shoe for women. This shoe is ideal for a wide range of training contexts and provides consistent performance in the gym.
The Adidas Adipower III is built with ripstop upper construction, ensuring durability, while also delivering an attractive appearance amongst the weightlifting shoe selection. The TPU heel in this model is stable and relatively lightweight, making exercising much easier.
The midfoot strap is well-designed and built to last, delivering similar construction to the original Adidas Adipower. It does great for squats, recreational lifting, and weightlifting exercises.
One of the main reasons why the Adipower III made it to the top of our list is the neutral and narrower last construction. It provides an athletic fit, making it an excellent choice for training. However, we've also included wider options below for those who require additional width.
Best Inexpensive Weightlifting Shoes
It's no secret that weightlifting shoes tend to cost a fortune. Most high-end models come with a hefty price tag of around $200 USD. This isn't practical or achievable for everyone, which is why we've chosen some of our favorite budget weightlifting shoes that are all less than $100 USD.
Whether you're looking to buy your first pair of weightlifting shoes or you don't want to break the bank purchasing them, we've got you covered. Check out our budget recommendations below:
Our Top Choice: Reebok Lifter PR II
For the best budget weightlifting shoe, we chose the Reebok Lifter PR II. You really can't go wrong with this shoe, given its remarkable construction and performance, especially at the $100 USD price point.
Further, you can frequently come across this model on sale with multiple color options, ensuring you always find a pair within your budget. It has a high-density EVA midsole, delivering outstanding stability, and the midfoot strap provides a secure level of protection. Additionally, both the high-density EVA midsole and the midfoot strap are well constructed and durable.
This shoe's textile upper ensures excellent breathability, making it an ideal all-in-one style weightlifting shoe for anyone who wants to spend less. If you're new to weightlifting shoes or want to save money, this is the perfect, consistent model to consider.
Best CrossFit Shoes for Weightlifting
When it comes to selecting weightlifting shoes for CrossFit, it's crucial to think about how they'll be used in that context. Would you like a pair primarily for intensive CrossFit training sessions, or do you need a pair with more versatility that you can wear throughout multiple exercises within a specific WOD? Here are our top picks that cover a wide range of requirements:
Check out our Guide on CrossFit Shoes.
Top Choice: Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380
For CrossFit enthusiasts, the Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380 is my top pick for the best weightlifting shoe. Its versatility, stability, and consistent performance make it stand out.
The graphene-infused power heel ensures the shoes are light, making them an ideal option for dynamic training sessions. Furthermore, the ripstop upper and graphene rubber outsole provide excellent durability. The midfoot strap adds to the security of the shoe, making it a reliable choice for longer usage.
Another crucial feature of the Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380 for CrossFit is the enhanced maneuverability of its toe box. Unlike other weightlifting shoes that can get blocky, this shoe's maneuverability ensures you’re not sacrificing mobility during CrossFit workouts.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Strongman
Strongman athletes need a shoe that’s versatile and durable for the ever-changing needs of their sport. Below are my top picks based on my experience, and feedback from the strongmen athletes I train.
Top Choice: Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
This shoe is the perfect fit for strongmen with its versatile toe box, stable construction, and budget-friendly price. The Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes deliver both stability and durability, featuring a midfoot and heel structure that’s ideal for handling heavy squats and cleans.
The toe box is made to be slightly wider than other weightlifting shoes, giving your feet more space to move around. Despite this, the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes still maintain their stability and reliability. They are both comfortable and easy to move around in, with a construction that's built to last.
Another advantage of these shoes is their affordable price point. Relatively cheap compared to other weightlifting shoes, these shoes are a no-brainer for athletes who are looking for high performance without breaking the bank.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Powerlifting
When it comes to powerlifting, every athlete has their own preferences. Some prefer wearing flat shoes, such as barefoot shoes or Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
However, for those looking for weightlifting shoes, the Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380 and Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes are both great options. Keep in mind, the shoe you choose to wear during your competition will depend solely on what allows you to perform your best.
Best Choice: Reebok Legacy Lifter II
If you're looking for the top-notch weightlifting shoe for powerlifting, the Reebok Legacy Lifter II is the way to go. I tested this model in two of my powerlifting competitions and they performed exceptionally well on both occasions.
When it comes to powerlifting, weightlifting shoes are primarily used for squats, and sometimes bench presses, as the heel helps to stabilize your feet while lifting. The Legacy Lifter II is an outstanding model for squats, and its heavier weight gives it the added advantage of making you feel completely secure and anchored while training and competing.
The rubber outsole provides excellent grip on all surfaces including rubber gym floors and carpets, making it a stable and secure option for powerlifters.
Top Choices for Weightlifting Shoes with Wide Toe Boxes
Companies have consistently failed to cater to athletes and lifters with wide feet, providing only limited options in weightlifting shoes, which is surprising, given the demand for this feature. The TYR L-1 Lifter is one of the few models that successfully addresses the need for a wider toe box.
I highly recommend this model, which excels in the width department, allowing lifters to spread their toes comfortably. The toe box construction of the TYR L-1 Lifter is similar to that of popular barefoot shoe, the Xero Shoes Prio.
The TYR L-1 Lifter is not only wider than other weightlifting shoes in the market; it also provides excellent stability, making it a reliable option for heavy squats. The dual straps of this shoe provide additional midfoot support, making it ideal for recreational lifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness workouts.
Top Choices for Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet
Finding comfortable weightlifting shoes that cater to the anatomy of flat feet can be challenging. However, there are options available that can accommodate your feet while still performing exceptionally in the gym.
Here are some of my top picks for weightlifting shoes for lifters with flat feet:
- Nike Romaleo 4 XD: Provides exceptional support and comfort for flat feet but may have a narrow toe box.
- Adidas Adipower: A reliable option that provides a good fit for those with flat feet, but may be too rigid for some.
- NOBULL Trainer: A versatile option that accommodates flat feet while delivering adequate support for weightlifting and functional fitness workouts.
My Top Pick for Flat Feet: Reebok Lifter PR IIOut of all the weightlifting shoes out there, my pick for those with flat feet is the Reebok Lifter PR II. This model stands out among its competitors due to its amazing midsole and heel design.
The shoe features an EVA midsole that provides excellent stability throughout the foot, from the forefoot to the midfoot and heel, without the midfoot tapering too much like other weightlifting shoes.
Moreover, compared to other models on this list, the wedge at the heel and midfoot of the Reebok Lifter PR II is less aggressive. The lower heel height and less aggressive wedge provide more comfort to individuals with flat feet.
Aside from these qualities, I also admire the shoe's outstanding performance. It's an excellent introductory weightlifting shoe that is perfect for dynamic training.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for BeginnersFor those new to weightlifting shoes, it can be daunting to select the perfect model. It's not necessary to purchase the most expensive pair on the market, as there are budget-friendly options that work perfectly well.
My top pick for beginners is the Adidas Powerlift 5, which is priced around $120 USD. It delivers an exceptional performance and provides enough stability with its high-density EVA foam heel and midsole.
The midfoot strap does an excellent job of supporting the feet while training, and the flexible mesh and canvas upper make the shoe breathable. The shoe's rubber outsole and tread provide excellent grip on rubber gym floors, wooden platforms, and machines.
The Adidas Powerlift 5 is also remarkably versatile and can be worn during various training contexts.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Narrow FeetWhen looking for weightlifting shoes for narrow feet, I consider two things: do they work for narrow feet, and are they worth investing in?
My top pick for weightlifting shoes for narrow feet is the Nike Romaleos 4. This model is ideal for narrow feet for two reasons.
To start, the model's fit is neutral, with a leaning towards being narrower. Additionally, the shoe's upper volume is low, allowing for a snug fit through the midfoot and toe box. If sliding around or not being able to tighten your weightlifting shoes is a concern for you, the Nike Romaleos 4 is a great choice.
The Romaleos 4's TPU heel provides a solid foundation for lifting, while the dual strap system ensures midfoot security. This shoe is ideal for squats, weightlifting, and casual lifting.
When sizing weightlifting shoes, it's recommended to have around .5 inches of space at the end of your toe box. This is generally a good rule of thumb for most weightlifting shoes. Providing enough room in the toe box helps prevent cramping but still allows for the shoe to be tightened enough to avoid sliding forward during training.
Before buying new weightlifting shoes, make sure to take into account variations in shoe upper volumes and widths to find the best fit for you. Reading reviews on product pages and seeking out more in-depth reviews can also help in making a decision.
To clean weightlifting shoes, it's suggested to spot clean with lukewarm water and a mild soap. This will help prolong the lifespan of the shoe and keep it clean.
Weightlifting shoes are useful for a variety of training needs, including the sport of weightlifting, strength sports such as powerlifting and crossfit, and for squats and accessory exercises where an elevated heel is desired.
When deciding between flat shoes and weightlifting shoes, it's important to consider the demands of the activity. Flat shoes like Vans and Converse have zero-drop construction, while weightlifting shoes have varying degrees of heel elevation.
An individual's anatomy and lifting mechanics can influence the type of shoe that works best for them. Experimenting with different shoes can help find the best fit for certain workouts.
Overall, weightlifting shoes can be a useful tool for lifters of all levels. When searching for new shoes, it's important to consider individual needs and check out various models on the market.