We’re pretty sure your other half will wholeheartedly agree with this one fellas! Turns out shoes really are important, and you really do need the right ones for every occasion. What you wear to the gym, especially on your feet, is every bit as important as the equipment you use in those grueling workout programs. Whether you are a seasoned pro already in the know who has come across this guide looking to uncover a “must-have” recommendation or you are new to the sport of weight and powerlifting, any old shoes will most certainly not do. That’s especially true if you want to make some serious gains and perfect that all-important squat, lunge and press technique. You can’t do them in loafers, end of, but even a standard pair of trainers won’t give you the correct balance and positioning you require to really get to grips with weight lifting. You guessed it already. You need a proper pair of dedicated shoes to support you at the bar! Lucky for you, we’re on hand with our latest guide and will be reviewing the Best Weight Lifting Shoes around, designed to put your body into the optimum alignment so that you can power through those squats with ease. So get ready to lace up and lunge as we review our top pick of powerlifting shoes.
The Best Weightlifting Shoe
We’re kicking off this review with a shoe from one of the most popular sports brands on the planet, Adidas, and looking at their Adipower weightlifting shoe. Featuring an anti-slip rubber sole and a heel overlay, this men’s powerlifting shoe delivers outstanding lightweight firmness as well as maximum breathability. Many people rate this as being one of the most comfortable of all the Adidas weightlifting range. Made from an organic PU-coated leather with an adjustable hook-and-loop style instep strap, it has a flexible textile internal lining which adds to the overall flexibility of the Adipower. It’s ideally suited to Olympic level lifting and helps keep your perfect position correctly for low squats and heavy deadlifts.
Perfect heel height for squatting and deadlifting
Plenty of breathable ventilation
Attractive modern design
High-quality, durable construction
Excellent powerlifting shoe
- Weight3 pounds
This is a great workout shoe from Reebok if you are looking for something that is more of a hybrid and will serve you well for CrossFit activity and not just Olympic lifting. It perfectly fuses the functionality of a weightlifting shoe with the flexibility and ability to dynamically transition which comes from a lightweight fitness sneaker. It features a good ¾ inch heel raise, perfect for getting down deep into squats and providing the drive and power to support you in those extra heavy lifts. The sole isn’t dead flat like most purpose designed powerlifting shoes which makes this a great option if you need pair of shoes for running and lifting. There’s a secure synthetic leather strap for additional stability and support plus they come in a wide range of attractive colors with 10 to choose from.
Versatile design and color options
Flexible and breathable material construction
Perfect for CrossFit as well as lifting
Anatomically designed for maximum comfort
Multi-surface rubber outsole for traction, grip, and support
- ModelROS Workout TR 2.0-M
- Weight3 pounds
While Inov-8 is well known for the extensive range of fitness shoes they produce, this Fastlift 325 along with the 335 we’re reviewing further down this guide are among the few weight lifting specific shoes in their range. You get that same attention to modern, minimalist design as well as excellent performance factors. They’re incredibly lightweight and have a smaller than average heel for a powerlifting shoe at .65 inches, but this is still adequate enough to provide that power and also transition between movements needed. They’re a stable and well-constructed shoe and feature the same TPU PowerTruss found in top brands like Nike and Adidas. Plenty of mesh utilized throughout the design ensures the Fastlift 325 is also breathable and comfortable.
Midfoot strap provides enhanced stability and support
Heel height of .65 inches means these are a versatile shoe
Wide toe box delivers superb lateral stability
External heel cage features PowerTruss technology
Plenty of flexibility thanks to meta-flex technology
- ModelFastLiftTM 325-M
- Weight1 pounds
We’re taking a look at a weightlifting shoe next which is refreshingly different and will certainly have you standing out from the crowd down the gym. It’s the Otomix Stingray, and it’s an example of a high top weightlifting shoe. Otomix creates a range of bodybuilding shoes which fuse incredible good looks and fresh designs with the ultimate performance factor. Featuring their trademarked thin, flat soles, the design allows the wearer to really feel the surface beneath their feet for unbeatable balance and postural positioning. Secure lace-up closure also adds to the overall stability and security of this superb powerlifting shoe. There’s little wonder that they are so well loved in the world of grappling, not just weightlifting, and can be found on the feet of many Mixed Martial Arts enthusiasts.
Attractive canvas, leather and suede construction
Feature high top ankle support
Secure lace-up closure
Ultra-lightweight with a trademarked flat sole
Perfect for MMA sports, wrestling, grappling and weight lifting
- Weight2.02 pounds
Back with Inov-8 for our next Best Weight Lifting Shoe and we’re taking a look at their Fastlift 335 this time. The perfect show for powerlifting but which are also great for a CrossFit session too. With a small ¼ inch heel, they deliver power but also excellent ankle mobility which is why they are good for CrossFit too where a wider range of movement and transitions are required. The design has been engineered to help keep your torso in the optimum position and minimize any risk of injury. They come with a standard fit, so you have the best of both worlds. Stability in the back and flexibility in the forefoot. They also feature a secure lace-up closure combined with an adjustable and stable hook-and-loop instep strap for maximum support and comfort.
Midfoot strap and lace-up closes system provide enhanced stability and support
Heel height of ¼ inch delivers flexibility during transitions
Standard fit with balance at rear and flexibility in the forefoot
Durable construction with nylon ripstop upper
Plenty of flexibility thanks to meta-flex technology
- ModelFastlift 335-M
- Weight1 pounds
We’re back with global favorite Reebok next looking at their men’s lifter shoe which provides plenty of stability and support. With a secure lace-up closure combined with a heat activated foot strap, three is plenty of onboard comfort and security. The shoe perfectly molds to the wearer’s foot for a truly customizable fit while the heel clips hold the foot perfectly in place, especially when you are attempting heavy lifts. If comfort is the name of the game, then this Reebok Cross Trainer is both an affordable and stylish choice that you will be able to wear straight out of the box. Get ready to smash those PB’s wearing these Reebok Men’s Lifters.
Range of attractive and stylish colors
Reebok’s proprietary heat-activated technology for a customized fit
Secure dual hook and loop closure system
Stable flex groove outsole
Internal anti-friction lining for added comfort
- ModelLIFTER RB
- Weight2 pounds
This is the second recommendation from Adidas in today’s review of the Best Weight Lifting shoes, and it belongs to their Leistung 16 model which quite literally fits like a glove. For the ultimate in both comfort and support, you will find it hard to beat this weight lifting specific sports shoe. Featuring an impressive grip and that easy to use micro-adjusting Adidas Boa closure system they provide a stable and flexible experience. If you are looking to take your powerlifting to the next level, these Leistung 16 shoes will certainly give you the confidence to take things up a notch.
Striking orange triaxial design
Rubberized supportive soles
Unique Boa closure system for flexible and adjustable hold
Explicitly designed to support weight lifting activities
Flat outsole with rear foot cradle for superb stability
- Weight2.7 pounds
These Nordic men’s weightlifting shoes certainly don’t disappoint on the design stakes and are reassuringly constructed for the serious athletes among you who are really looking to up their squatting performance. They look kind of old-school Olympic weightlifter and we’re fairly sure with these on your feet you will instantly feel and perform like a Pro! With a raised 1.4” heel there’s plenty of support and power for those that like to lift heavy while they simultaneously support correct lower body posture and alignment too. With top-quality stitching, these Nordic lifting shoes have been built to last, and with the addition of anti-slip outsoles, you will feel confident and safe when you attempt that new deadlift goal.
Snug and tight, supportive fit
Anti-slip outsole provides stable support
Durable construction and long-lasting quality
Improve lifting posture thanks to heel height
Provide Olympic stability
- BrandNordic Lifting
The Nobull brand has been popularised thanks for the emergence of CrossFit and offers a refreshing and somewhat irreverent take on fitness footwear, definitely disrupting the industry’s status quo with its no BS attitude to design. Ok, so they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you like something that’s more in your face, but they are certainly comfortable and supportive thanks for being constructed from their SuperFabric material. There are plenty of design option and color combos to suit your personality although overall they’ve gone for a more casual and laid back look that transitions well to being worn away from the gym too. They’re a great option if you want a CrossFit shoe that is going to give you lightweight and flexible support.
Seamless SuperFabric trademarked construction
Multi-sport and multi-environment design to transition from indoor to outdoor
Fully flexible, lightweight and breathable
Perfect for CrossFit enthusiasts
Our final recommendation in today’s Best Weight Lifting shoes review comes from Adidas and is their lightweight but durable Cross Training show, perfect for anyone who loves to snatch and lift but also jump and climb too! It’s a great multifunctional sports shoe which has the locked down fit you require to support you while lifting and a wide fit that gives your feet plenty of room to plant securely on the ground to propel that power through your heels and drive that heavy bar up overhead. With the addition of a high density wedged mid-sole too, there is even more stability on-board making this Adidas Powerlift 3.1 an excellent choice. It comes in a wide range of attractive colors and modern design combinations, so it very much looks as good as it performs. With an air mesh collar, tongue and lining there’s also plenty of breathability so when the going gets tough, and you are pushing yourself to the max, attempting to smash your personal best on the snatch, you may be feeling the heat, but your feet certainly won’t be!
Synthetic upper and sole
Wide range of contemporary colors and design combinations
Lightweight and durable construction
Flexible wide toe structure for added stability when lifting
Maximum breathability with air mesh collar, tongue, and lining
- Weight12 ounces
Weightlifting Shoes Buying Guide & FAQs
With so many options of kicks on the marketplace it can be confusing, and to a large extent, the best lifting shoes for you will depend upon the discipline that you are trying to master. There are however a couple of basic elements that all the best weightlifting shoes will have in common, and these are what you need to be on the lookout for. Let’s take a look at some of the features you need to consider in a pair of weightlifting shoes, how we created our list of recommendations and quickly run you through the various types of men's weightlifting shoes that are out there.
How We Chose Our Selection of Weightlifting Shoes
You’ve heard the old adage “all the gear no idea,” and we absolutely exist to dispel that myth. If you have the right gear, you will very much have the right idea and not only that, be well on track to excelling in your chosen field of sport. Our comprehensive guide to the Best Weight Lifting Shoes is made up of meticulous hours of research, scouring reviews from consumers and the professional fitness industry alike, so that we can bring you our top recommendations. Of course, all of the shoes that have made it onto our coveted review, have done so because of their quality, but we also like to provide a representative range of popular brands as well as attractive pricing that is inclusive for everyone, no matter what your budget. The other five key contributing factors we considered when compiling our shoe selections was Stability, Outsole, Heel, Durability as well as Flexibility. Any new purchase is an expense, but we want you to view it instead as an investment, That’s why we would like to assure you that our selection genuinely has something for you all, no matter what your favorite brand, your own available budget or your personal style and taste. If it doesn’t, we’d love to know what favorites you have that we’ve missed from today’s review.
Features To Look For In Weightlifting Shoes
You need a reliable and dependable shoe, especially if you are going to regularly squatting or working out with an Olympic barbell. Your body is in an entirely different position to when you are running, cycling or doing a more dynamic, cardio based activity and in the case of Olympic weightlifting, you will be raising a bar above your head which means you need total and complete stability through your base. The optimum features to look for then in a weightlifting shoe are a hard sole, an amount of lateral support and some elevation at the heel. While your big air-cushioned sneakers might help you feel like you are bouncing on clouds when we sprint around the basketball court when it comes to weight lifting it’s all about grounding and have firm contact with the floor so that you can power through your legs to drive the load upwards. All of that cushioning and padding in a running or cross training shoe will dissipate that forceful action and just act like a sponge. Whereas for some sports you need to have shock absorption to control and minimize impact to your joints, in your weightlifting shoes, the flatter the better so that you can feel your way. So hard and flat soles are your number one priority features-wise when selecting a pair of weightlifting shoes.
Besides that, the heel is also important. A slightly elevated heel will help your torso stay more upright when you are practicing clean and snatches. This also allows you to get into a nice deep starting position and not lean too far forward. That said, if you are going to be lifting really heavy, especially doing deadlifts and bench pressing to the max, heels are a no-go. The general rule is, if you are going to be adopting a wide-legged stance then keep the shoe, sole and feel, as flat as possible. It’s minimalist all the way. Check out our FAQ section further down this review for a more comprehensive explanation of what makes up a weightlifting shoe.
Types of Weightlifting Shoes
The rise in popularity of CrossFit has called for a different kind of weightlifting shoe to be required. We already discussed above the appropriate shoes for Olympic weightlifting, versus Sumo squatting for example but with a multi-disciplined sport like CrossFit you might be lifting one minute then box jumping the next, so you need agility combined with balance and support. You might, therefore, find that a bespoke CrossFit shoe, as opposed to a pair of squat shoes or deadlift shoes, will have a greater degree of flexibility in the toe and the sole to accommodate for all that extra movement required, while still retaining the typical flat sole of your lifting shoes. If you are looking for a pair of shoes for running and lifting, or need extra traction for climbing ropes, then the CrossFit style will be more suitable.
Weightlifting Shoes FAQs
Q: What is a weightlifting shoe?
A: While unfortunately, the act of just wearing a weightlifting shoe won’t automatically turn you into a seasoned pro over-night, a weightlifting shoe, especially one with an elevated heel, will increase the ankle’s range of motion and stretch out your Achilles. This, in turn, will help you get into a deeper squat and a better starting position in which to drive up more powerfully. Weightlifting shoes are also designed to provide greater extension and hip flexion which are a critical part of successfully performing a power lift. They’re a shoe that has been purposefully designed to provide the wearer with a more solid and stable base which in turn allows for the generation of far more dynamic power. They may not be the most attractive or the most comfortable shoe in your wardrobe, but they are quite possibly going to be one of the most effective. They are practical and reliable and certainly will be one pair you won’t want to leave behind next time you have a powerlifting session planned in at the gym or on your home squat rack.
Q: What makes up a weightlifting shoe?
A: Essentially five key component parts go into making up a men’s weightlifting shoe. We’re talking an elevated heel, a heel that is also stiff, a high top boot (not in all instances but can certainly be an added advantage), a shoe tightening system and again, not essential but certainly preferable, a wider than average toe box to help you keep those feet thoroughly grounded. Let’s take a quick look at the importance of some of these features.
Elevated Heels - The purpose of the elevation in the high is to support mobility while at the same time providing a stable base, vital if you are lifting heavy weight not only from a confidence perspective but to give you the power to drive through your heels and be more effective. We’re not talking stacked heels so don’t worry that we’re suggesting you invest in a pair of wedges! The heel may be as low as .3” through to 1” and will be dependent upon your sport and individual anthropometrics. So whether you have long or short legs, are squatting narrow or wide, will ultimately determine the recommended heel height you go with.
Strapping and lacing system - Believe it or not, but how your shoe fastens can also play a vital part in your success. You will find a combination of single strap, double strap and also for maximum foot security, lacing and strapping used together in the one shoe. A single strap should provide adequate support but again, for the pro’s among you who are lifting heavy, more security is advisable.
Heel Type - Whereas regular sneakers are generally made up of a compressed rubber heel, you will find that lifting shoes are loosely available in four different types: EVA, TPU, stacked leather or good old-fashioned wood. While these all deliver a different design aesthetic and appeal, there are also differences to the level of stability and performance too that you can expect from your new weight training shoes. When it comes down to making a decision on which to go for, it’s more likely to be a case of personal preference but here’s the significant benefits of each:
EVA Heel – lightweight, maneuverable, durable
TPU Heel – lightweight, long-lasting, abrasion resistant
Stacked leather Heel – lightweight, old school, platform feedback
Wood Heel – stability, old school, platform feedback
Q: What are the advantages to using weightlifting shoes?
A: Do not underestimate the power of a pair of specially designed weightlifting shoes when it comes to supporting you with your goals and gains. An excellent pair of powerlifting shoes will not only assist you in lifting heavier weights but will also be more comfortable and efficient too. That’s because they are uniquely designed to support your lumbar spine and to keep it in a stable position throughout a range of motion, ensuring that you remain balanced and secure throughout. Not only will that enhance your performance and provide you with that all-important confidence to challenge yourself further, but the correct pair of weightlifting shoes can also reduce heel and foot pain too.
Q: What is the best fit for weightlifting shoes?
A: Secure and snug should be your go-to fit when it comes to your powerlifting shoes. When you are lifting weights, especially heavy one, keeping yourself grounded and working from a stable and solid base is going to be your number one technique. You might prefer a wider toe box for an extra bit of wriggle room, but ideally, your weightlifting shoes do need to be a cozy fit. It’s not about the flexibility of movement when you weight lifts, it’s about power and drive, and you won’t get that if your feet are splaying too much in a pair of shoes that are ill-fitting and unsupportive. Think of your lower body like the foundations to a building, the base on which we stand, it needs to be firm, solid and well connected to the ground to provide support.