Weightlifting is a demanding activity that imparts a tremendous strain on your body. In particular, your knees and feet have to be well-protected and supported to help you take on progressively challenging weights.
The best weightlifting shoes are well-known to offer this support. They offer a firm foundation to allow you to focus on the weights without worrying about losing balance or compromising on mobility.
Hence, we’ve compiled a list of the best weightlifting shoes in 2020 to help you find the ideal pair for your workout:
- Reebok Men’s Lifter Pr Cross-Trainer Shoe
- Reebok Women’s Ros Workout Tr 2-0 Cross-Trainer Shoe
- Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4 Weightlifting Shoe
- Otomix Men’s Stingray Escape Bodybuilding Weightlifting MMA & Wrestling Shoes
- Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes for Heavy Weightlifting
- NOBULL Men’s Training Shoes
- Adidas Women’s Powerlift 3.1W
- Inov-8 Women’s Fastlift 335 Powerlifting Weightlifting Training Shoes
- Nike Women’s Metcon 5 Training Shoe
- Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter Sneaker
How to Pick the Best Weightlifting Shoes
There are quite a few factors to consider when you’re picking out the best weightlifting shoes.
The ones below will ensure that you get the ideal fit and support.
There are four major elements within a weightlifting shoe that you absolutely must consider:
It’s vital that the weighting lifting shoes have a heel wedge to decrease the ankle’s dorsiflexion—moving your foot towards your shin—during lifts.
Having shoes that reduce this can be useful in improving your posture. Make sure to look for a raised heel that measures between a third-of-an-inch to an inch.
In terms of material, go for plastic or wood heels since these offer the best stability.
While the best running shoes for flat feet require the soles to take the pressure off your feet by absorbing shock, weightlifting shoes have a completely different requirement.
They often have extremely stiff and flat soles to offer a stable platform for lifting.
Ensure that you find a good balance between firm and comfortable cushioning when you’re seeking weightlifting shoes.
However, the focus should remain towards the sole’s functionality rather than comfort.
It’s fairly common for weightlifting shoes to feature ankle straps alongside laces to firmly secure your foot and prevent it from moving as you lift.
A stiff upper part of the shoe also provides lateral support and increases your stability.
Pores and Panels
Weightlifting shoes’ breathability is crucial to help reduce foot moisture and prevent your feet from sliding around in the shoes.
To maximize breathability, brands utilize perforation holes or mesh panels, so keep an eye out for these.
Finding the Ideal Heel Height
Of the four factors mentioned above, your heel height is the most important.
A lot of science goes into finding the right heel height, as a raised heel is vital in helping the lifter maximize their force. This is especially true for upright squatting positions.
Although weightlifting shoes’ heels must be at least 0.3 inches high, trying on multiple lifting shoes with varying heel sizes will elevate for your squats.
It always comes down to your personal preference, but follow our guidance below:
These are heels less than 0.75 inches in height and are the preference of lifters with short legs and a short torso.
They’re also popular with those with high flexibility, high ankle mobility, a wide stance or those engaging in low bar squats.
Standard heels are 0.75 inches in height and are perfect for individuals with an average-sized torso and legs. They also work for those with a decent level of flexibility and ankle mobility.
As this is the standard size of weightlifting shoes’ heels, manufacturers have designed the size to be versatile enough for people with varying stances and for a wide range of activities.
We refer to heels that measure over 0.75 inches as higher heel shoes in weightlifting. These are ideal for athletes with long legs, a long torso and those whose legs are longer than their torso.
They’re the preferred choice for the inflexible and individuals with low ankle mobility. On top of this, they work well with a narrow stance and if you’re tackling high-bar squats.
Apart from elevated-heel lifting shoes being ideal for squats and Olympic weightlifting, a few other variations of weightlifting shoes are worth considering.
Although only the cross-trainer models are present on our list, you can check out the rest of the variations if you’re looking for some variety in your footwear.
These are an extremely popular version of weightlifting shoes. Chuck Taylors are flat, rubber-soled shoes that don’t offer any compression in the soles. This feature makes them well-suited for deadlifts.
Apart from the practical features, these lifting shoes are also comfortable, durable and reasonably priced compared to other variations. You can wear these when you’re not working out as well, making them one of the best round-the-clock purchases.
Cross-trainers are well-suited for those who do varied exercises as well as lifting. They usually have a lower heel and are extremely flexible near the forefoot.
Indoor Soccer Shoes
If you’re looking for lifting shoes with a thin, flat sole to take on deadlifts, indoor soccer shoes would be up to the task.
These provide excellent traction and ground-feel, offering plenty of support to help you execute lifts.
Minimalist shoes, also known as five-finger shoes, are the most bare-bone version of weightlifting shoes.
They’re the closest you’ll get to going barefoot while still having some protection and keeping your feet clean.
Since they’re so minimal, you won’t get much of a heel lift with these lifting shoes, though.
Finding the Perfect Fit
You’ll know that you’ve nailed your weightlifting shoes’ fit if you meet the following criteria:
- Your heel fits snugly, and there’s no lift when you pick up your feet.
- There’s no more than an 1/8th-of-an-inch gap between your biggest toe and the end of the toe box.
- There’s enough volume and width to comfortably accommodate your feet.
- You don’t feel restricted or uncomfortable.
- Your feet don’t slide inside the weightlifting shoes.
- There are no pressure points within the closure system.
Some handy tips to help you attain the ideal fit include:
- Make sure to shop for lifting shoes in the evening, as your feet tend to swell up during the day.
- Expect leather shoes to stretch when you break them in, but don’t expect the same results from synthetic materials. Learn more about the best hacks for stretching shoes.
- Remember that most shoes’ toe boxes mold to the shape of your feet over time, regardless of the material.
- Try simulating lifting movements and performing squats while wearing the shoes to check out your comfort levels.
- Wearing socks while you try on lifting shoes will help get a better fit.
REVIEWS OF THE TOP 9 BEST WEIGHTLIFTING SHOES
The Reebok Men’s Lifter Pr Cross-Trainer is our top pick for best weightlifting shoes as it’s one of those rare beauties that offers plenty of style, substance and versatility.
These shoes are highly durable and breathable, featuring a full-grain leather toe and an air-mesh tongue on the upper layer.
It’s also extremely easy to keep your feet cool and dry, thanks to the anti-friction lining to help reduce heat and moisture build-up.
Note that the Powerbax TPU plate and a dual-rubber outsole brings stability and offers excellent responsiveness. Also, the heel is 0.5 inches high and is ideal for individuals with high flexibility and shorter legs/torso.
Despite being a high-grade weightlifting shoe, some mention a lack of stability in the heel.
- Features a full-grain leather toe.
- Air mesh tongue on the upper offers excellent support.
- Powerbax TPU plate and dual rubber outsole boost stability.
- Anti-friction lining helps your feet stay cool and dry.
- Heel cup could be stronger.
These are Reebok’s top cross-trainer shoes for weightlifting.
In particular, they feature an open mesh design in the upper layer for greater durability and staying lightweight. They also have textile overlays that help offer abrasion resistance, preventing you from developing any irritation or rashes while using these lifting shoes.
On top of this, the EVA injection molding provides plenty of support and cushioning for your feet. This goes well with the RopePro carbon rubber tech and molded toe cap to help increase their durability and protection.
Reebok seems to focus on comfort with its shoes weightlifting, and this model has a low-profile, asymmetrical lacing and an anatomical shape for this exact purpose. This also helps boost the fitting and natural stride, while the use of a low-cut design helps improve ankle mobility.
These are among the best high-performance lifting shoes that include a FINN-patterned outsole made out of rubber to increase total coverage area and, thereby, increase traction, making them well-suited to lifting.
Despite the use of high tech and excellent stability, it seems that the sacrifice is breathability. This may not be an issue for short lifting sessions, though.
- Open-mesh upper to make them lightweight and breathable.
- Textile overlays to provide abrasion resistance.
- Injection-molded EVA midsole cradles the foot and increases stability.
- RopePro carbon rubber tech and molded toe cap heighten protection.
- Low-cut design boosts ankle mobility.
- Full-foot rubber FINN-patterned outsole increases traction.
- Some reviews mention that the breathability could be better.
Adidas’ Powerlift 4 weightlifting shoe is one of its latest and best offerings to weightlifting and is a continuation of its long-running Powerlift series.
This male cross-trainer model comes with a rubber sole, helping improve the shoes’ lifespan and longevity. Also, the heel’s height is 1 inch, making this a higher heel model that’s ideal for tall individuals with low flexibility.
The fit is narrow, combining well with the midsole wedge and a wide instep strap to fully lock down your feet when lifting. This offers unprecedented levels of support and stability to your feet while you take on the weights.
Also, a rubber outsole provides high-quality traction to prevent even the slightest of slippage as you lift.
The shoes’ exterior features a durable canvas lightweight upper. This helps keep the weight off the lifting shoes and, therefore, off your feet as well, while the canvas makes the shoes highly breathable.
Perhaps one of the most notable downsides to this pair is the rigidity. Some users prefer this for extra support; however, this pair is probably a bit too rigid.
- Narrow fit, midsole wedge and wide instep strap help increase stability.
- Rubber outsole greatly improves traction.
- Lightweight upper and durable canvas keep the lifting shoes light and breathable.
- Flexible toe box for increased mobility.
- Some users find this model to be quite stiff.
Otomix comes up with some interesting weightlifting shoes with unique designs and styles, and the Stingray pair is one of its most popular and effective options for weightlifting. Of particular note is that these rubber-soled lifting shoes are lightweight and extremely durable.
The exterior consists of a leather and synthetic blend, providing shoe strength while retaining a fair amount of flexibility.
Additionally, the rubber soles are extremely thin to keep the feet light, but while still providing excellent grip through the high-quality tread.
Also, a padded liner offers extra ankle support and enables the wearer to take on a wider set of activities.
All the above features make these weightlifting shoes ideal for activities other than weightlifting, too:
- General training.
- Martial arts.
- Mixed martial arts.
This versatility is excellent, but be aware that the insoles might get a bit too damp if your feet sweat, especially if you use them for more active exercise.
- Thin rubber sole keeps the shoe lightweight while adding traction.
- Exterior made using a blend of leather and synthetic materials.
- Padded liner offers excellent ankle support.
- Ideal for a wide range of activities apart from weightlifting.
- Users mention that the insoles can be slightly slippery when moist.
These Nordic Lifting weightlifting shoes are popular among the powerlifting and weightlifting community for a wide range of reasons.
Firstly, you can use these for Olympic lifting, and they offer plenty of support to help you achieve your lifting gains.
Also, this pair’s quality ensures they’ll last a long time. This comes from the use of a synthetic upper and reinforced stitching. It’s also designed to help you improve your lifting posture thanks to the raised heel and is ideal for those working with heavy weights.
These weightlifting shoes’ stability comes from a smooth anti-slip sole and a snug fit, ensuring there’s no unnecessary movement within the shoes when you’re working out.
Besides, the raised heel of 1.3 inches helps you maintain a more upright stance, thereby allowing you to create a greater lifting force.
Finally, a velcro strap enhances the snug fit but also makes removing them a breeze after you’re done lifting.
It’s hard to pick faults in this pair, although customers mention the strap could be of a higher quality.
- Smooth anti-slip sole helps maintain stability across various activities.
- Offers a snug fit to minimize unnecessary movement inside the weightlifting shoe.
- Velcro strap allows for easy removal.
- Heightened heels help you improve posture and increase your lifting force.
- Some customers mention how the strap’s quality could be higher.
This NOBULL pair is versatile since you can use these for various activities, such as running and climbing, long after you’re done hitting the gym. This versatility comes from its lightweight, breathable and flexible design, as it helps you move your feet with purpose and precision.
A seamless one-piece upper construction made out of a SuperFabric helps these weightlifting shoes remain durable and breathable. The fabric is also made out of an abrasion-resistant material to help maximize your comfort levels.
The SuperFabric guard plates are also applied on a set of highly flexible mesh base layers. This helps create a 360-degree shield to protect your shoes from any damages.
Even the outsole lug pattern is purposeful, as the pattern can be useful in a multi-environment setting, thereby allowing you to switch between indoor and outdoor exercise. When doing this, watch out for the insole compression since some say it’s too much.
- One-piece SuperFabric upper keeps the shoes breathable and durable.
- Shoes are lightweight, durable and breathable.
- Includes abrasion-resistant materials.
- Outsole lug pattern design is ideal for multi-environment use.
- There are reports that the insole compression could do with a reduction.
This is adidas’ third-generation Powerlift weightlifting shoes, and although we’ve already reviewed the fourth-generation pair, this pair of shoes still has its place for weightlifters.
One of the reasons behind this series’ popularity is the use of a lightweight synthetic leather upper material to greatly boost ankle support and overall durability. The outsole is extremely durable and made out of rubber, ensuring the shoe’s durability over time.
This is ably backed up by air mesh collar, tongue and lining to increase breathability. Also, an open forefoot structure and a flexible toe box help increase comfort levels. Having said this, the flexible toe box isn’t the same for everyone, which indicates this pair might not suit everyone.
Most importantly, the design of these weightlifting shoes relies on weightlifting-engineering principles and features a high-density die-cut midsole wedge that increases weightlifters’ foot stability.
Finally, a lace closure system with a wider strap also helps offer a tight fit and prevent unnecessary movements.
- Synthetic outsoles are highly durable.
- Lightweight synthetic leather upper offers ankle support.
- Air mesh collar, tongue and lining increase breathability.
- Open forefoot structure and a flexible toe box are best for comfort levels.
- Toe box doesn’t stretch, so it’s important to pick up the right fit.
This Inov-8 pair of shoes is specifically designed to be one of the best weightlifting models for women.
One of the reasons for this is its excellent grip from the rubber outsole, which helps secure the lifter to the floor. Added stability comes from an external heel cage and the use of Power-Truss technology.
Also, two velcro straps are available to help increase midfoot stability and offer extra fastening apart from the laces.
The application of Meta-flex technology in the shoes’ forefoot helps to improve forefoot movements, allowing you to establish a firm base for your squats. To assist with this, there’s a raised lower heel of 0.6 inches at the base of the weightlifting shoe.
Additionally, a wide toe box helps increase your comfort levels and allow your toes to naturally spread out as you lift.
We need to point out that some wearers wished the durability was better, especially compared to similar models.
- Rubber outsole offers stability.
- External heel cage and Power-Truss technology increase lateral stability.
- Midfoot stability increases thanks to dual velcro straps.
- Meta-flex technology allows greater forefoot movement.
- Wide tox boxes increase comfort and stance stability.
- Wearers describe the durability as mediocre when compared to other pairs.
The Nike Women’s Metcon 5 is one of the best pairs of training shoes that are often used for amateur weightlifting.
This is thanks to its enhanced grip and strategic stability, but they also feature a low, flat and wide raised heel.
Note that you can add Nike’s Hyperlift inserts to this model to maintain your stability during squats, wall balls and thrusters. This gives the heel a boost of 0.3 inches and is useful to improve your stability.
Also, a textured print on the top layer comes with zoned durability technology to maximize durability at the most vulnerable sections of the weightlifting shoe.
Finally, an enhanced grip ensures the direction traction on the outsole’s wrapping, making it ideal for complementary exercises, such as rope climbing.
Perhaps the most frustration from users comes with training in these in the wet. If you’re looking to train outside, consider another option.
- A low, flat and wide heel increases stability.
- Removable Hyperlift inserts offer extra stability.
- Durability is at its maximum in the weakest sections of the shoe.
- Enhanced grip thanks to the direction traction on the outsole’s wrapping.
- Frustration comes from poor performance in wet conditions.
The Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter features a textile and perforated synthetic exterior, making them lightweight and durable. A highly synthetic sole complements this.
A lace-up closure design uses two adjustable straps with a hook-and-loop system to help secure your feet firmly within the shoes.
Exoframe heel technology is a specialty by Reebok, which helps add greater support to your foot structure. With this, a plush tongue and collar ensure that your feet are as comfortable as they are secure. Also, a breathable fabric lining helps to further heighten your comfort levels.
The molded foam insole, along with a TPU heel piece, improves the footwear’s control and stability. On top of this, with the help of a grippy rubber outsole, Reebok ensures that you receive maximum traction as you lift.
In terms of fit, the shoe nails this element thanks to the use of an anatomically accurate shape.
Note that it has a heel height of 0.86 inches, making it ideal for individuals with low flexibility or ankle mobility, or for those who have long legs and torsos.
The biggest downside to this pair is that it should only be used for weightlifting.
- Lace-up closure system firmly secures your feet to the shoes.
- Breathable fabric lining presents excellent in-shoe feel.
- Rubber outsole has excellent grip for improved traction.
- Exoframe heel technology improves support.
- A plush tongue and collar heighten comfort levels.
- Not ideal for activities other than weightlifting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Shoe for Weightlifting?
The best shoe for weightlifting, in our opinion, is the Reebok Men’s Lifter Pr Cross-Trainer Shoe. It offers excellent foot support and sports a highly durable and breathable material on its exterior.
Are Weightlifting Shoes Worth It?
Yes, weightlifting shoes are worth it as they offer a stable foundation and ample support to help you focus on weightlifting and increasing your gains.
What Shoes Do Olympic Weightlifters Wear?
Olympic weightlifters wear Olympic weightlifting shoes, such as the adidas Powerlift 3.1. These models aren’t good for other activities, such as CrossFit.
What Are the Best Shoes to Squat In?
The best shoes to perform low squats in are those with a heel that’s over 0.3 inches and less than 0.75 inches in height. Heels that are more than 0.75 inches are ideal for high-bar squats. A great model for low squats would be the Adidas Women’s Powerlift 3.1W.
Houston, We Have Lift-Off!
Lifting weights demands tremendous amounts of focus, intensity, dedication and awareness.
When you’re tackling an exercise with plenty of potential for mistakes and injuries, it’s best to be well-equipped with the right footwear to minimize these while maximizing results.
Each of the selections above is up to the challenge, but it comes down to you to find the ideal pick for your feet and allow yourself to take things to the next level.
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