Best Weightlifting Shoes Reviewed & Tested for Performance

The dependability of any durable construction is literally based on the foundations on which it stands. Buildings, trees, and even mountains have supporting undersides that save them from crumbling into themselves from the crushing weight pushing down from above. The human form handling heavy loads through exercise and workout is no different, in this regard; our lower body serving as our foundation, our base on which we stand, and press upward against that otherwise crushing weight.

Best Weightlifting Shoes Bodybuilder Doing A Deadlift

Our feet, in particular, from the ankles down are among the first responders to any kinetic loads; thereby, sometimes placing heavy demands on our skeletal frame. The ever-present force of gravity – and then taking into account movement and the resulting inertia – can present a great deal of stress to the heel, arches, balls of the feet, toes, and the various array of tendons and ligaments involved.

Last Updated: March 16, 2018
By Tony Skye:

The latest update includes a revised top 10 list of the best weightlifting shoes, according to the highest rated in 2018. In addition, we have added five more shoes to the list. Further information in the update includes an in-depth content reveal on the most relevant features of each shoe, and a comparison of their price according to every other shoe on the list and/or shoe types in their respective genre.

This is why it’s vital and extremely important (and never to be underestimated) that your weightlifting shoes are up for the task of delivering a safe set, free of the threat of muscular or skeletal injury.

Featured Recommendations

Adidas Performance Powerlift 2
  • Adidas Performance Powerlift 2
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flexible Welded 3-Stripes
  • Price: See Here
Adidas Adipower
  • Adidas Adipower
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Anti-Slip Rubber Outsole
  • Price: See Here
Asics Gel-Fortius TR
  • Asics Gel-Fortius TR
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • RhynoSkin
  • Price: See Here

For any job at hand, there are tools. For any occupation there is attire. Golfers wear golf shoes. Divers wear diving fins. Climbers wear climbing shoes. And runners wear running shoes. So, it’s fair to deduce that if you’re a weightlifter, then you should wear… (All together now)… That’s right, weightlifting shoes!

This list of the top ten best weightlifting shoes will give you a comprehensive idea of which styles, makes, and brand of a shoe may work best for your needs. Whether it’s the casual lifter or the powerlifter at Olympic levels; by the end of this list, the importance of why a running sneaker doesn’t work at the squat rack will be that much clearer to you.


15 Best Weightlifting Shoes



1. Adidas Performance Powerlift 2

A reinforced, thick sole supports while you push weight to the limits. Strong enough to handle any demanding workload they’re given, this footwear brings to bear the acknowledgment of power and fortitude to its rightful place; you.
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With its beautiful fit (synthetic leather upper for lightweight support and durability) and its engineering (for heavy load-bearing), this pair of best shoes for weightlifting is of great quality and stylish, too. Furthermore, its air mesh lining provides maximum breathability.

Heavier than most sneakers and with a supportive heel, it offers noticeable flexibility in the sole and toe box; providing stability without the regimented feel to it, as sometimes found when wearing a boot.

Cost and Value
If you’re serious about your lifts and want a shoe which can support your goals, then this price is worth it. These rank low for this list, in terms of cost.
  • Engineered for feet contour.
  • A powerlifting shoe that can handle any load.
  • A reinforced, thick sole.
  • Made of synthetic leather. Good for vegans and vegetarians.
  • Breathable.
  • A bit stiff, they may limit range of foot motion.
  • Better for wider feet than narrow.

2. Adidas Performance Adipower

With its anti-slip rubber sole, its heel overlay for outstanding lightweight firmness, and with breathable openings in its outsole, this may very well be the most comfortable weightlifting shoe Adidas has brought to market. Its PU-coated (organic) leather, adjustable hook-and-loop instep strap for rearfoot integrity, and its bendable textile lining put this shoe well in the forefront of its contemporaries.
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Great for Power Lifting
Totally suited to high-demand reps and Olympic-level lifting, it is extremely stable and exceedingly durable footwear. Its high heel keeps your rearfoot planted during low squats and thick deadlifts.

Extremely Comfortable
Described as: “like lifting on a bed of marshmallows,” this is footwear so well engineered and crafted, it curves more effectively to your foot’s contours than many other training shoes.

Cost and Value
Always a concern, the price of anything above a certain mark may cause some hesitation. These rank high for this list, in terms of cost. Adipower, however, is worth its weight in the wallet. Most agree it is a bargain.
  • Heel height makes it great for squatting.
  • Durable and high quality material.
  • Excellent for powerlifting.
  • Good ventilation.
  • Sleek appearance.
  • Toe box may be too tight on wider feet.
  • Laces not easily tightened.

3. Reebok CrossFit Nano 5.0

Specifically designed for heavy CrossFit weightlifting via its upper reinforcement with Kevlar (bullet-proofing) material, the Nano 5.0 is durable, visually appealing, and skillfully fashioned to match the dynamic shape and movement of the human foot. Not just handling the heavy hefts of poundage, its engineering affords it such comfort you may appreciate wearing it during your other workouts, throughout the day.
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Whereas others may tear and rip with continual use, this shoe is going to last. With its Kevlar-reinforced upper, you’ll get no holes in this footwear under recommended use.

With its anatomical design, the Nano is a spacious shoe remarked as being an excellent fit for flat feet. With added ankle support, it provides a flexible; yet, stable base.

Cost and Value
For its quality and comfort, this is almost a giveaway. An affordable shoe that is not going to tear over time; light and breathable, too. It is, definitely, a bargain. These rank low for this list, in terms of cost.
  • Designed to match the contour of the foot.
  • Perfect for executing squats.
  • Spacious toe box.
  • Contoured heel as opposed to flat.
  • Upper won’t wear out. It’s Kevlar!
  • May be uncomfortable fit for narrow feet.
  • Better for people with flat feet than those with high arches

4. Adidas Performance Powerlift 3

4. Adidas Performance Powerlift 3
Versatile, these shoes meet CrossFit demands and still give adequate support during Olympic-level weightlifting. True to the brand’s uncomplicated design, it’s also good-looking footwear. So, with its appealing form and ideal function, you can forego on any orthopedic appearance, be confident with a reliable shoe, and still manage heavy-type weight and the challenging load stresses of deep barbell squats and deadlifts.
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Flexibility with luxury! They aren’t tight like rock-climbing shoes and some running brands. With tiny vents, allowing air flow while you move about, your feet can breathe in these babies.

The performance shoe is engineered precisely for weightlifting with its flat-profile outsole and single instep, strap-reinforcing rearfoot integrity. Its high-density, die-cut midsole wedge is perfect for lightweight stability.

Cost and Value
You really get your bang for the buck with this product. Inexpensive, when compared to newer weightlifting shoe models, but they are sturdy and consistent with rigorous daily workout agendas. These rank average for this list, in terms of cost.
  • Perfectly priced for a beginner shoe.
  • Durable, holding firm during heavy lifts.
  • Provide added support for the knees.
  • Very appealing design.
  • Synthetic leather.
  • Not good for everyday use.
  • May not be a good fit for wide feet.

5. Nike Metcon 2

5. Nike Metcon 2
As usability goes, the Metcon 2 might just steal this show. As an all-in-one kind of shoe, every penny on them is a cent well-spent, because few others offer so broad a playing field. Heave some iron. Sweat to some cardio. Stretch in them after that display of stamina to cool down. One shoe to contest them all.
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True CrossFit footwear features are boasted often by many, but proven rarely by few. With this design for focused training involving heavyweight sets, stretching, mad dashes and scrambling footwork, Nike delivers.

Its carefully-crafted sole tech; Fly-ware tech secures the arches while affording soft and enduring support for the entire foot. Those with wider feet, higher arches, and higher insteps speak well of this shoe.

Cost and Value
With elegance and fit, an enjoyable color selection, a rock-solid sneaker for all of your workout needs – second to none in versatility – it’s a first-rate bargain on so many levels. These rank average for this list, in terms of cost.
  • Its versatility.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive.
  • A wide selection of styles and colors.
  • Aerated and breathable.
  • Comfortable.
  • May not have the same traction as a pavement or track running shoe.
  • A bit small in the toe box.

6. Adidas Powerlift.3.1

6. Adidas Powerlift.3.1
Need weightlifting shoes with a wider fit? If you do, then these shoes are for you. Moreover, this pair of best weightlifting shoes is made with high-quality materials and designed to give you the most out of your workouts. Furthermore, these shoes provide stability, security, and comfort. As such, these shoes are an ideal tool for any serious weightlifter.
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ADIWEAR™ Outsole
This outsole provides an anti-slip environment. This is important when considering lifting heavier weights. The last thing you want to do under immense weight is to slip. With this outsole, you will not have to worry about that.

Synthetic Leather Upper
The synthetic leather upper is designed for the weightlifter. It is durable; yet, provides a lightweight experience. Furthermore, this design gives you a bit more ankle support; great for anyone who needs extra reinforcement.

Cost and Value
The cost-range associated with this pair of best weightlifting shoes is a bit high on the upper end. With that being said, however, the lower end of the range is extremely low; that is, these shoes have a very, wide range in cost association. At the end of the day, these shoes are worth the investment; no matter which of the ends you may find yourself in.
  • Synthetic Leather Upper
  • Open Forefoot Structure; Flexible Toe
  • High-density, Die-cut Midsole Wedge
  • ADIWEAR™ Outsole
  • Variety of Colors
  • A wide range of cost association
  • Extra-wide fit; may not be suitable to narrow feet

7. Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA

7. Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA
If power interests you as a weightlifter; then, this pair of best weightlifting shoes will be perfect for you. Standard Fit technology provides your feet with stability, security, and a customized fit. Moreover, with precision fit leading the way, these shoes are designed for power. Furthermore, the Boa closure system helps to alleviate pressure points sometimes associated with other weightlifting shoes. In this, you will gain more power while, also, remaining comfortable.
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Boa Closure System
This technology is designed to give you a custom fit while, simultaneously, delivering a fit which is precise. With no pressure points, your feet will gain comfortability and ease within your workout. Moreover, this pair of best weightlifting shoes is great for heavier weights.

Wide Toe Box
These weightlifting shoes are created for those with wide feet. Moreover, the wider toe box allows your toes to splay under heavy weight. In return, you will feel better control, as you thrust your weight upward.

Cost and Value
These shoes are a bit pricey; ranging from upper-mid to middle-upper in cost association. As such, these shoes are not high on the list, in terms of economically-friendly. They are, however, built extremely well and are perfect for those who wish to take their lifting to the next level. In this case, they would, definitely, be worth the purchase price.
  • Boa Closure System
  • 16.5 Millimeter Heel
  • Wide Toe Box
  • Removable 3 mm Foam Footbed
  • Standard Fit Technology
  • May not fit narrow feet
  • A bit pricey

8. Reebok Lifter PR

8. Reebok Lifter PR
First, with dual hook-and-loop closures, these shoes are ready for lifting weights. Secondly, anti-friction lining will help you to do so with maximum comfort levels. Next, the Flex-groove outsole is a design made with traction in mind; that is, the grooves work in conjunction with the rubber material to provide you an anti-slip environment. Lastly, a heat-activated footwrap ensures a better, more comfortable fit.
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Heat-activated U-form Technology
This technology involves a footwrap which is both heat-activated and needs no break-in time. Moreover, the U-form technology molds to your foot; providing a custom fit. As such, your feet will remain comfortable while you lift.

Flex-grooved Outsole
The Flex-groove outsole provides better traction. Additionally, since it is made of rubber, the technology offers an anti-slip approach. In other words, you will be safer while lifting the heavier weight without the concern over losing your balance, due to slippage.

Cost and Value
This pair of best weightlifting shoes ranges from low to upper-mid in cost. The quality-standard of these shoes, however, makes them worth every penny. As such, this pair of weightlifting shoes is an ideal choice for those planning on lifting weight under a routine regimen.
  • Dual Hook-and-Loop Closures
  • Heat-activated U-form Technology
  • Flex-grooved Outsole
  • Anti-friction Lining
  • Variety of Colors Available
  • Size-dependent in cost-range
  • Designed more for squats than deadlifts

9. Inov-8 Fastlift 325

9. Inov-8 Fastlift 325
These shoes are full of technology. First, there is a removable footbed liner. Second, there is a breathable mesh liner, as well. Additionally, Standard Fit technology provides improved stability and forefoot flexibility. Designed for the powerlifter, the FastLift outsole is created with sticky rubber; ensuring an environment suitable to anti-slipping. Lastly, the Power-Truss heel provides both support and a better fit.
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Meta-Flex System
This system works to give you better comfort, as you perform those lifts. Specifically, the Meta-Flex system concentrates on the forefoot area; providing a more flexible environment in conjunction with comfortability. Created to work as part of a whole unit, there is not too much flexibility which could prevent heavier weights from being lifted.

Power-Truss Heel
The Power-Truss heel works in tandem with the Meta-Flex system; that is, this part of the unit stabilizes. This, in turn, gives you better support and structure within the realm of your feet being both secure and stable.

Cost and Value
The price for this pair of best weightlifting shoes is size-dependent. Furthermore, the cost begins low and rises upward to the upper-midrange. With all of the technologies in place, however, this weightlifting shoe is worth the investment.
  • Meta-Flex System
  • Lace-up Closure with Hook-and-Loop Strap
  • FastLift Outsole with Sticky Rubber
  • Power-Truss Heel
  • Padded Tongue and Collar
  • Limited Color Choice
  • Cost-range varies, according to size

10. Otomix Stingray Escape

10. Otomix Stingray Escape
These shoes are ideal for those who lift the weights but not to the extreme. They are not rigid enough to handle heavier weights but would do great in situations such as weightlifting for toning. Not all of us lift maximum weight and these shoes are perfect for that. They are both lightweight and flexible. Additionally, they provide a little more ankle support.
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High top; Low to ground Heel
For certain weightlifting situations, a lower heel is better than a raised heel. These shoes can be a great choice for deadlifts. Furthermore, they provide additional ankle support while still allowing a decent range of motion. As such, these shoes are ideal for the gym and weightlifting.

Traction Outsole
These shoes have decent traction; thereby, allowing you to lift in confidence. No more worrying about whether or not your shoes are going to hold up when you make that next lift. These shoes will. With traction technology in place, this pair of best weightlifting shoes can make a great addition to your footwear.

Cost and Value
These shoes are both reasonably priced and made with quality materials. Furthermore, they have a wider range of motion than some weightlifting shoe counterparts. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to buying weightlifting shoes. For those who need a flexible, light shoe; then, this may be what you are searching for.
  • Heel low to the ground
  • Lightweight
  • High top; additional ankle support
  • Traction Sole
  • Not ideal for every type of heavy weightlifting; too flexible
  • Minimal color variety

11. Inov-8 Fastlift 335

11. Inov-8 Fastlift 335
Grip; that’s the first thing you recognize. Supported by an array of columns which perform as suction cups, this footwear will hold you comfortably (firmly) in place while you accomplish that rep. Not just supreme for lifting - the flexibility of its sole allowing you to plant your stance with confidence - these can remain on your feet for the entire workout.
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Its Powertruss system; FastLift outsole with Sticky rubber offers both security and firmness. This is a superior gripping shoe which is awesome for powerlifting, and there are much greater balance and control on the catch.

Flexibility and Comfort
Flexibility not being the most central feature of a weightlifting shoe, the comfort factor and added support it gives, however, allows its wearer to sport these characteristics easily for other workout requirements.

Cost and Value
Worth the weight you can now confidently chuck, with the Inov-8 supporting you during your impressive squats and massive deadlifts, and through your WOD, this is not a dollar wasted. These rank high for this list, in terms of cost.
  • Grip.
  • Versatility.
  • Its Power-Truss heel tech that affords you stability in your stance.
  • An adjustable hook-and-loop instep strap that works well for wide feet.
  • A padded tongue and collar for added comfort at the top of the foot.
  • May not be the optimal choice for those with narrow feet.
  • Not the belle of the ball. It’s effective, but not a pretty shoe.

12. Reebok R Crossfit Lifter 2.0

12. Reebok R Crossfit Lifter 2.0
Searching for a little more flexibility? Not, particularly, designed for a single exercise such as deadlifts, they are a bit more flexible than other shoes of this same type. The idea behind these shoes is to balance both sides of the scale involving agility and power. In other words, this pair of best weightlifting shoes is created for an all-around CrossFit experience.
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These shoes are created for the athlete looking to have a well-rounded CrossFit experience. Not as rigid as some other weightlifting shoes, they work to hand you more flexibility. In return, you can find yourself feeling a little more comfortable.

Dual Lace-up and Hook-and-Loop Closures
These shoes are not short on the need for securing your laces. In doing so, you are provided with a safer environment than shoes which do not offer the same fortitude. Furthermore, a snugger fit will result from this technology.

Cost and Value
These best weightlifting shoes are priced from mid-to-upper in range. The high-quality makeup in design, however, makes them worth the investment for individuals seeking a well-rounded CrossFit experience. Moreover, they can be used for powerlifting.
  • POWERBAX Midsole
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Dual Lace-up and Hook-and-Loop Closures
  • Flexible
  • Not rigid enough for some types of powerlifting

13. Adidas HVC 2

13. Adidas HVC 2
These shoes are created for the heavy powerlifter. Additionally, they are lightweight and made with a breathable, upper mesh. Lace straps help to keep your shoes tied and out of the way. Next, there is a full-length outsole which is made of rubber. This, in essence, will help to prevent slippage while you concentrate on your lifts.
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Full-length Rubber Outsole
The rubber outsole helps to prevent slipping while progressing through your workout. Created for the powerlifter, this pair of best weightlifting shoes is made with anti-slip technology. As such, you can feel more secure and safe while you continually lift.

Breathable, Mesh Upper
These shoes allow your feet to breathe. Foot comfort plays an important role when pursuing any exercise; especially, an exercise which involves heavy-related strenuous activity. Powerlifting falls into this category. As such, a breathable environment is not a bad idea.

Cost and Value
The cost-range for these shoes is size-dependent. Ranging from low-to-mid, this pair of best weightlifting shoes would be a great addition to any powerlifter's footwear collection. They are lightweight, made to breathe, and are equipped with anti-slip technology.
  • Full-length Rubber Outsole
  • Elasticized Lace Straps
  • Mesh upper
  • Breathable
  • Not sturdy-built, as other weightlifting shoes
  • Minimal color variety

14. Asics Gel-Fortius TR

14. Asics Gel-Fortius TR
Not made for Olympic-level powerlifting but designed specifically for most of your CrossFit needs; these shoes, absolutely, foot the bill with your power cleans, squats, and deadlifts. Tremendously versatile, with its AirMesh upper which allows much-needed aeration to the foot during exercise, the Gel-Fortius has been hailed as the best of both worlds; for both CrossFit and weightlifting load demands.
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Made for CrossFit and unsurpassed by most shoes of its type, its fine engineering manages the stress of weightlifting. This one shoe may be all the footgear you will need.

Comfortable and satisfying to wear, this pair of best weightlifting shoes is perfect for interacting with the natural shaping of your feet. Furthermore, this comfortability factor welcomes the heavy lifter to the stage. As such, you can concentrate on those lifts without worrying over uncomfortable shoes.

Cost and Value
With its GEL cushioning, its reinforced RhynoSkin toe cap, and with an AirMesh upper, you’ve reaped a bargain of smooth and efficient stability; as well as, a sturdy and ventilated stride. These rank low for this list, in terms of cost.
  • Thin and light sole.
  • Good interaction in shaping with the foot.
  • Comfortable for the heavy weightlifter.
  • Saves the need to buy two pairs of shoes.
  • Strongly grips the floor.
  • Not a shoe for walking long distances.
  • Not an “almost barefoot” shoe.

15. Nordic Powerlifting Megin

15. Nordic Powerlifting Megin
Nordic does not disappoint with this design. These shoes are built well and made for the serious athlete looking to improve squat performance. Additionally, the 1.4" raised heel, also, provides an environment conducive to heavier weightlifting while, simultaneously, giving you the chance for posture improvement. Furthermore, these shoes are built to last with top-quality stitching; created to not fall apart under pressure.
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Improved Lifting Posture
With a 1.4" raised heel, this pair of best weightlifting shoes is ideal for squats utilizing weight which leans on the heavier side. Furthermore, posture improvement is the driving force behind these particular shoes. As such, your body will notice a difference.

Anti-slip Outsole
Anti-slip matters when you are handling the weight. Nothing could be more damaging than slipping. As such, an anti-slip outsole can be the difference between a safe environment and an unsafe one. This is why we recommend this pair of shoes designed for heavy weightlifting.

Cost and Value
These heavy weightlifting shoes are priced low and come with an added 1-year manufacturer's warranty. Although minimal in your color choices, the quality of this pair of best weightlifting shoes makes this a purchase worthwhile of your time.
  • Improve Lifting Posture
  • Anti-slip Outsole
  • Snug-fit
  • 1-year Manufacturer Warranty
  • Designed for squats; not shoes created for deadlifts
  • Minimal color variety

And here we have it. The complete list of the top fifteen best weightlifting shoes. Not only now do you have a clearer and better understanding as to what shoes may work best, taking into account comfort, quality, and comparable cost factors – perhaps prohibitively expensive in at least one case – but you should now have in your arsenal a comprehensive grasp. In essence, you are better equipped in making a more-informed decision, as to why choosing the best shoe for the job is as equally important a difference as a ballet dancer choosing Doc Martins to dance the Sugarplum fairy. It would be a counterproductive move. And certainly, those of us not in the know may still enjoy the show of watching her or him plop and clunk about on that stage in some footwear that isn’t at all applicable to that discipline. The real deal, however, is there could be some damage done to the dancer, the stage floor, and to the integrity of that piece.


Best Weightlifting Shoes-how to choose

Choose the correct footwear for the job; this is one of the most important characteristics of purchasing shoes. Buying a pair of shock-absorbing running shoes is not ideal when you are planning your day around deadlifts. In this case scenario, a flat-sole shoe would be the better choice, from both comfort and safety points-of-view. After all, we care and desire for you to keep your health well, above all else.

Pick your shoe as carefully as you would, hopefully, pick your battles: after careful observation, research, peer review, and study. Assess what your needs are, what your involvement will be, and how much time you’re going to actually spend in the gym. There is no point in buying a shoe like the Adidas Performance Powerlift.3 if you’re in there every day; whereas, the Adidas Performance Adipower may be just what the trainer ordered.


Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Weightlifting Shoes


Lifting Stability

Weightlifting involves very complex exercises which, at advanced levels, usually involve carrying, pulling, pushing, and lifting excessive amounts of weight. Additionally, some weight lifting practices require complex motions while remaining in control of a loaded barbell. As you can probably guess, this is not a scenario where you want shoes with poor stability, but rather the complete opposite.

Though multiple factors have an impact on the stability of a shoe, it ultimately comes down to the outsole height. The higher you are off the ground, the less stability you’ll have. When dealing with big weights, it’s important to remain as close to the ground as possible. However, a totally flat outsole might not be convenient for some weightlifting exercises. The higher you are off the ground, the more likely you are to lose lateral balance.

Best Weightlifting Shoes-Stability

Regardless, of the exercise you’re performing, if it involves no support, you want as much stability as you can get. Unstable shoes are extremely hazardous in the lifting room and become more dangerous as you hit heavier. Losing control of the barbell not only creates the possibility of being hit directly by the loaded bar but it, also, exposes you to injuries. If your knees or ankles start tilting inwards or outwards because of an unstable shoe, you’re guaranteed to have a bad time when lifting heavy.

But it doesn’t stop there. Stability is not just a matter of safety but, also, a matter of optimal performance. Poor balance can actually reduce your capacity to lift more weight. The lack of stability can affect your form, range of motion, and endurance.

On the opposite case, a solid and steady shoe allows you to perform at your best. This is due to your positioning and impulse when performing an exercise. While deadlifting, for example, shoes should act as a firm platform to push your feet against the ground, helping you to lift the barbell. Stability is of utter importance during dynamic exercises as well, such as the clean and jerk, the barbell snatch, and barbell lunges.

The main elements that contribute to the stability of a weightlifting shoe are the sole grip, the ankle support, and the shoe height.


Outsole Specialty

When it comes to performance shoes, weightlifting performer shoes are very alike to running ones. While there’s the traditional multi-purpose running sneaker, more specific activities like trail running require additional features. This is the cause of weightlifting. While it might all look like the same at first hand, there’s a wide variety of differences amongst lifting performances.

This doesn’t mean that it’s forbidden to train with other shoes. You might, eventually, get away with weight training in sneakers in some cases. Although the shoe variations aren’t too different physically, there are certain key aspects that do matter. Keep in mind this is by no means necessary to train, but it’s something to consider; especially, if you’re after the most optimal performance.

For instance, steady and heavy compound movements such as the deadlift are best performed with flat soles. The midsole shouldn’t be too thick or too high, and the outsole should provide an adequate grip to the training surface.

Best Weightlifting Shoes-Outsole

The better grasp you have of the surface, the better you’ll perform. In fact, old school lifters often preferred going barefoot on deadlifts. This is because they believed every inch between you and the ground affects your form. This distance can, also, cut off some pounds you could be potentially lifting.

Squats, on the other hand, are best performed with a raised heel. Now, there’s a lot of controversies whether this is actually good or not. It all comes down to each person’s preference (and anatomy in some cases); what’s comfortable for you might be utterly annoying for others. Some heavy hitters will tell you their $200 raised-heel squatting shoes is the key to breaking personal records. On the other hand, you’ll also see gym veterans (and even Olympic lifters) rocking a good ole’ pair of Chuck Taylors.

So, what’s behind each shoe?

Raised heel shoes are what’s commonly known as a weightlifting shoe. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) defines it as “a shoe to protect lifters feet from falling weights while, also, providing a stable, firm surface.” This is why you might have seen some shoes with a type of protective cap around the toe box.

As for the raised heel, it helps some users to drop the hip as much as possible while maintaining an upright back. Because of this, there’s a considerable decrease in shear stress to the lumbar spine, also activating more the quadriceps. They’re a really good way to hit those ass-to-grass squats. The heel is, usually, 3cm tall and should be no higher than that. Additionally, the raised heel helps prevent bad form; as well as, the valgus knee collapse.

Lastly, Chuck Taylors are the old-school favorites. If you want an unbendable rubber outsole that acts as a solid platform, Converse is where you go. They deliver a good squatting performance for beginners, and you don’t have to break the bank. Though, they suck for running; no debate on that. These won’t support your depth or your spine, but you can place two small plates below your heels to simulate a raised heel.


Heel Height

Just like the outsole cases we just mentioned, there’s a moment when you could use heel height and moments when you must not. Regardless of the exercise, you’re performing and the type of shoe you’re wearing, you can’t have 7cm of a heel. That’s just asking for an accident.

Heel height is a key point in the realm of stability and form; get those two things wrong and your performance will suck; not to mention, you’re waiting for an injury.

A heel raise, if any, should be no higher than 3cm. This is, of course, depending on the exercise you’ll perform. During deadlifts and similar practices, a raised heel is the last thing you want in your shoe. Once again, we’re not telling you to get the most expensive pair of Olympic shoes available; just don’t wear the wrong ones.

Best Weightlifting Shoes-heel height

A raised heel during a deadlift, such as the one in running shoes, decreases your vertical balance. By having your heels higher than your toes, you’re likely to lean forward when pulling the weight off the ground. If by any chance you start inclining forward when the bar is on the way up, we can guarantee you a painful result.

But heel height is not always a negative thing. Like we previously explained, it can be beneficial for your posture and performance in exercises such as the squat. Additionally, in Olympic lifting shoes, heel height often comes from raised heels.

Raised heels are not just a bulk of rubber that goes on the back of your outsole. In fact, what people often don’t know is that raised heels are, usually, made of wood or plastic. They are, also, equipped with a rubber outsole to prevent slipping.

Heel height can be a very useful tool for users with ankle mobility and flexibility issues. This heel platform, also, relieves some of the pressure involving the muscles in the lower body (peroneal, soleus, and lateral gastrocnemius). These muscles often get the stiffest during heavy squatting. Lastly, the raised heel can help to preserve a neutral arch on the foot.


Durability and Performance

Weightlifting shoes need to be able to endure heavy exercising. This involves both static and dynamic weight training. As soon as the elements of a weightlifting shoe start deteriorating, performance becomes heavily affected. As you can imagine, durability and performance are parameters that go hand-in-hand.

The durability of all kinds of shoes is mostly related to the material they’re built with; as well as, the manufacturing quality.  Weightlifting shoes are pretty much the same. Believe or not, deterioration in your weightlifting shoes can determine how much you can lift. It, also, determines your performance and potential risk of injury.

Best Weightlifting Shoes-performance

Each element degrades individually, but it’s equally important to understand the shoe degrades as a whole. This means every element should be in a similar state as the rest of them. If one element degrades much faster than the rest of the shoe, it will lose its quality and the potential usage the rest of the elements may still have. For instance, if the upper build rips apart while the outsole rubber is in good shape, the shoe is unusable now and a healthy outsole goes to the trash.

Generally, the piece that degrades the fastest in a weightlifting shoe is the sole. This is no surprise, as it’s the part of the shoe that handles the most tension. The heavier you lift, the more your sole will suffer. This doesn’t mean you should go light to avoid killing your shoes; they’re made for weightlifting, after all. If, however, you’re using the wrong shoe for a heavy deadlift, you can considerably reduce its lifetime by squashing the sole.

One of the most important concepts of durability is proper usage and care. The case we just mentioned, for example, is a common result of what happens when people do weight training while wearing running sneakers. These sneakers are designed to provide comfort and protection to the foot during aerobic activities, such as running. Put them under hundreds of pounds, however, and they’re not so good, anymore.

It’s, also, important to know when your shoe has reached its time. Weightlifting shoes are, definitely, not the kind of footwear you want to push over its durability. We’re no longer talking about comfort or efficiency but rather safety. Worn-out shoes can put you in many of the unfortunate situations we’ve mentioned here, such as losing balance under a loaded barbell.



You must be wondering, “Didn’t you just tell us we need rigid, solid platforms for lifting?” We did. And we reaffirm that claim when it comes to certain exercises. However, weightlifting is much more extensive than you might think. At a simple glance, it all looks like the same; barbells, dumbbells, lifting, pulling and pushing. There are, however, more differences than you can probably notice.

For instance, a lunge is considerably easier to perform in a flexible shoe rather than a stiff one. And yes, a lunge is a weightlifting exercise, just as much as any other. Like we mentioned in the outsole specialty section, weightlifting shoes vary according to the practice. Yet again, this doesn’t mean you need one pair of each kind of shoe.

Best Weightlifting Shoes-flexibility-flexible

Ask yourself: is my training dynamic, or is it steady and heavy? In other words, what kind of mobility do you expect during your training?

If you’re going to be moving around in dynamic motions with a barbell on your shoulders, you’ll want a flexible shoe. Total stiffness will do you no good during mixed training that requires a lot of mobility.

That being said, there are heavy training shoes which are flexible. You don’t have to limit yourself to the benefits and appliances of just one type of shoe. There are special shoes for specific activities, but those are meant for people who dedicate precisely to those specific practices. Keep in mind we always target our advice towards the most optimal performance; as well as, your personal health. This is why we may recommend such a large variety of shoe styles.

We’re not saying there’s no other possible approach to deadlifting than deadlifting shoes. If you want a shoe that is flexible when moving around but stable when lifting, that’s just fine. As long as they don’t bend around when you’re lifting heavy, they do the trick. Of course, specific shoes for each activity would deliver better results, but at the cost of convenience and expenses. On the other hand, knowing your safety is in a good place is always worth the extra penny.


The Human Body in Weightlifting

According to Dimon Theodore, there are 19 muscles, 26 bones, and 33 joints within the foot (2008). This means there is a lot going on inside of your feet. Additionally, your foot bones are arranged in such a way (longitudinal), your body can support all of its weight while standing on both feet. When we add additional weight via the weight room, however, we are asking our feet to handle more weight which is not originally expected. In essence, our feet are not prepared for the onslaught we are about to impose when we lift heavier than normal. So, the question remains, ‘Is it better to wear shoes when weightlifting?’

In general, wearing shoes all of the time has been shown to decrease the spread of the forefoot (2015). Deadlifts; especially, require a splay (spreading of your toes) to gain better hold within the foot area. This is why a lot of weightlifting shoes designed for deadlifts have a wider toe box. If wearing shoes on the regular can cause feet to reduce the natural spread of the forefoot, then it only makes sense there is an added risk associated to lifting heavy weights; at least, in the realm of wearing regular shoes, such as those deemed appropriate for running.

Technically, you can go barefoot to lift weights; nothing is stopping you from doing so and many people do it. Certain exercises, as previously mentioned, may work a little better with a raised heel (squats). On the other hand, deadlifts work better in relation to your heel closer to the ground. In this case, barefoot could be fine, but is it?

Traction is an important aspect when considering a deadlift. This is why your toes splay when you lift. The splay gives you more traction and balance. If, however, your feet tend to become moist under pressure; then, weightlifting shoes are the obvious solution. Furthermore, you will provide yourself with security in knowing that you won’t be slipping under all of that weight. That is both piece of mind to you and your very, thankful feet.



Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Do weightlifting shoes really help or make a difference?
A: If you’re wearing a pair of weightlifters that are suitable for your exercise, you’ll find yourself lifting more weight; more comfortably and more efficiently.

Q: What do weightlifting shoes do to assist in lifting?
A: Their effects go from lumbar spine stability to enhanced range of motion, and considerably better balance. This all adds up to a better performance, in general; not to mention, reduced heel/foot pain.

Q: Can I wear these shoes outside of weightlifting?
A: Weightlifter shoes can get to be very specific. The more lifting-oriented they are, the more efficiently they perform in the weight room. This does mean, however, they have little usage outside of the weight room.

Q: How should weightlifting shoes fit?
A: They should always keep a tight fit; yet, still remain comfortable to wear. A lifting shoe is not something you want loose and sliding back-and-forth during strength training.

Q: What kind of exercises can I perform with them?
A: Well, it all comes down to the type of shoe you choose. But, unless, they’re for a specific exercise, they should endure about any exercise you can come up with when working out in a gym; except running, that is.

Q: Where can I buy proper weightlifting shoes?
A: Retail stores have the advantage of trying on the shoes before purchasing. Amazon, however, offers a much greater variety and their return policies make online shopping much more comfortable.

Q: How long do these shoes typically last?
A: Unless you use them for something you’re not supposed to, these shoes should comfortably endure over a year.

Q: Can raised heels lead to damage to your knees?
A: No. We can guarantee you any sort of knee comfortability factors (which are negative) is unrelated to a 3cm maximum raised heel. If there’s one present, you might want to check for previous injuries or conditions.

Q: What kind of weightlifting shoes should I buy or look for?
A: Depending on the exercises you’ll perform, buy a shoe that fits your routine. You can rely on our recommended criteria, and consult the store’s shoe expert for further advice.


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