Weightlifting shoes are a great asset in the weight room and are designed explicitly for compound and Olympic lifts such as barbell snatches or different variations of deadlifts. They come with an array of benefits such as added safety, durability, and improved form that you will not get from the average training shoe.
When a weightlifting shoe is designed, the makers consider the support and injury prevention most lifters will need. The best weightlifting shoes are also provided by several reputable shoe brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc.
Why Should I Buy Weightlifting Shoes?
Weightlifting shoes may be useful but do tend to fall behind when it comes to aesthetics. They are designed purely from a practical perspective and tend to look a bit stiffer and more aggressive than other shoes you may see.
If you are serious about your lift goals, then this should be a negligible concern. However, these are some reasons why you should consider whether weightlifting shoes fit your personal preferences. So, here are some standard features of proper weightlifting shoes you want to watch out for.
Most lifting shoes have an elevated heel that is roughly ¾ of an inch above the ground. This is useful for powerlifting since it allows you to power yourself while remaining both stable and mobile at the same time.
Most modern lifting shoes are also made with an EVA or TPU midsole, making them both light and durable. However, if you purchase an older model, you may have one made of wood or stacked leather.
The fasteners on weightlifting shoes also have an important function and may come down to personal preference. Weightlifting shoes may have Velcro straps, multi-strap fastening, or even stainless-steel BOA lacing. While the strap preferences differ from lifter to lifter, most lifters generally choose single strap options.
While lifting shoes may be an integral cog for your training, they may not be the best bet for all lifters. These shoes are typically designed for high-intensity Olympic lifting but are sometimes great for gym squats. While they function well as squat shoes, they do not provide more benefits than standard flat-soled shoes.
It would also prove prudent to clarify that these shoes are not designed to help you squat 200 kg in the weight room but are like a tool to use as you advance your weight training goals.
They can help keep your feet in better positions during your gym sessions which can help your overall technique. Here is a list of some of the best weightlifting shoes on the market to help you with your lifting goals.
1. New Balance Prevail
- REVlite midsole
- Vibram outsole
- Knit upper infused with TPU fibers
- Asymmetrical, anatomical collar offers support and comfort for ankles
As with other New Balance models, the Prevail is one of the best weightlifting shoes available for serious lifters. These shoes have a stylish design and a great practical, lightweight structure with a grippy Vibram sole.
Unlike other lifting shoes, these shoes resemble other shoes you may buy and even look like running shoes from afar. As such, they are incredibly comfortable due to their lightweight and cushioned insole, which makes them highly versatile both in and outside the weight room.
These shoes are also very well ventilated and allow more airflow than most other lifting shoes, ensuring you do not overheat during a particularly strenuous lifting session.
These shoes will be ideal for CrossFit, power lifts, and snatches since they also come with a roomy toe box, so there is no irritation or discomfort during difficult lifts.
2. Nike Metcon 6
These shoes are made with an all-mesh upper that provides you with optimal ventilation, so your shoes do not overheat during any lifts, jumps, or lateral movements. They are also a bit more flexible, making them great for fast-paced workouts and stationary lifting exercises.
In terms of stability, the Metcon 6 also has you covered with a midfoot that keeps your foot nice and snug and an outsole that provides you with excellent heel support. It also has a broader feel and a slight arch at the rear, which can benefit deeper squats.
3. Reebok Nano X Women’s Training Shoes
- Outsole with minimal heel drop for a secure stand
- Premium technology: breathable, stabilising and durable Flexweave upper material
- Shaft entry made from high density foam
- Lightweight EVA foam cushioning
- Dynamic feel and durable cushioning
Reebok’s new Flexweave model is a CrossFit shoe that is incredibly versatile and great for the weight room. Their Flexweave upper offers excellent ventilation and stretchability, which is a massive asset for some more mobile strength training exercises. The Nano X also comes with added comfortability with its foam collar, making them incredibly comfortable for fast-paced workouts.
These shoes also give you great support from your heel to your midfoot for increased stability for your power lifts. Additionally, if you regularly do any squat jumps or skaters, the Nano X’s blend of durability, stability, and flexibility makes them ideal for those workouts.
4. Reebok Legacy Lifter
- Textile upper for a breathable feel
- Raised heel keeps you stable on the platform so you can set your new PR
- TPU heel clip for stability
- Rubber outsole
Continuing with Reebok’s great line of lifting shoes, we have the Reebok Legacy Lifter. These shoes may have a strange design and are not congruent with other lifting shoe designs on the market but come with some added benefits unique to the Legacy model.
The Legacy Lifter is equipped with a unique heel supporting both Olympic and powerlifters that other shoes just do not. These shoes are mainly designed for powerlifting purposes and are incredibly stable and durable. They have a high abrasion rubber coating at the outsole and provide lateral support for your back to prevent injury.
One drawback with these shoes is that they may not be the best option for more fast-paced mobile strength training; these shoes are best for helping you just lift as much as you can.
5. Inov-8 FastLift 400
Inov-8 has been well-reputed for making high-quality shoes, and their new Fastlift model has some of the best specs on the market. They are an excellent choice for those looking for support for wide and flat feet, particularly those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. These shoes provide a superb melange of stability and flexibility that makes them incredibly versatile for weight room power lifts and even mobile CrossFit exercises.
These shoes have a rubber toe bumper at the front that helps with functional movements and contributes to the overall durability. They also are equipped with a flexible forefoot which increases mobility while maintaining its solid, secure base. They also have a BOA strap that makes sure you can customize the shoe to your individual foot to keep them nice and snug.
6. Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4
- adidas male cross trainer
- The adidas brand has a long history and deep-rooted Connection with sport. Everything we do is rooted in sport
- Driven by a relentless pursuit of innovation as well as decades of accumulating sports science expertise, we cater for all, from elite professional...
Adidas is another well-reputed brand both in and outside the weightlifting market. The Powerlift 4 is an incredibly versatile model that can be used for both weightlifting and cross-training exercises. They can be used for squats, snatches, cleans, jerks, and cardio sprints.
The Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4 is also composed of synthetic materials rather than leather, making them more flexible than some of the other common lifting shoes available. As such, they are incredibly breathable and protect against heat absorption. The Adidas Powerlift shoe is also equipped with a thin heel wedge, increasing your range of motion while performing other exercises.
7. Inov-8 F-Lite 290
These shoes may be technically designed for CrossFit but are also well regarded as excellent for lifting as well. The F-Lite 290 model is now equipped with Graphene, an incredibly thin but durable semi-metal that ensures these shoes will be long-lasting. The graphene is also relatively light despite being reliably durable. Inov-8 is the first company to use Graphene, which gives these shoes a unique edge.
These shoes are also reliable, thin, and flexible, which makes you feel like the shoe aligns with your foot’s movement. It also has exceptional grippy soles that have limited slippage, even on a slippery wooden floor. The material is also durable across the shoe, and its sole is both flexible but sturdy.
8. Adidas AdiPower Lifting 2
- adidas quality
- Imported by adidas
These Adidas shoes have a light but sturdy leather-based upper that is still well-ventilated. They are incredibly durable and long-lasting and do not degrade for a long time. These shoes are unmatched when it comes to Olympic-style weightlifting and are perfect for snatches, clean and jerks, and heavy bar squats. They come with injected polymers in their heels, so they have excellent stability and help your feet return the weight.
9. Adidas Leistung 16
The Adidas Leistung 16 is the 2nd edition in the Leistung set and is one of the more popular models despite having a strange design. They have some great shoe tech that gives them added comfort in their soles. They also come with a BOA lace closure system that attaches to the shoe’s tongue rather than the strap. They also feature a slightly raised and elevated and raised heel.
The BOA lace adjustor also has a lacing brunt that makes them incredibly snug and secure without a strap. These shoes also have injected polymer fillers and a unique rubber sole shape and heel raise, providing you with increased arch support and assistance with your posture for power lifts and squats.
10. Nike Romaleo 3.5
The Nike Romaleo shoes are some of the best shoes for lifting in the world and are used by Olympic athletes for both training and competition. Unlike other shoes made specifically for lifters, these shoes use advanced synthetic material for their durable and incredibly breathable uppers.
These shoes are also very comfortable and fit very well for those with both narrow and wide feet. They also have reliable rubber sole grip and strong heel support, which are both key during strenuous power lifts. They also come with dense rubber at the bottom, which makes them sturdy.
11. NoBull Lifter
Nobull has an excellent reputation for high-quality workout shoes that are designed specifically for lifting. They provide great stability and comfort for wearers and come with a sleep aesthetic. Nobull shoes are incredibly breathable and come with ‘Super Fabric’ uppers and flexible soles, which will provide you with increased mobility and comfort for running exercises. They also come with flat, stable bases, which are great for power lifts and deadlifts.
12. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops
Although Converse may not be the first shoe that comes to mind when you think of weightlifting, Chuck Taylors are incredibly versatile and have many of the specs necessary for a quality lifting shoe.
They have a wide toe box that gives your feet (especially wider feet) room to stop splay, and they also come with extra ankle mobility support for increased stability during heavier lifts. They also have a nice lightly cushioned flat sole that keeps your feet sturdy and balanced and comes with laces that you can customize for your preferences.
The things you look for in your powerlifting shoe come down to personal preferences and workout patterns. Still, there are generally three primary factors you should consider when buying a lifting shoe.
Height of the Heel:
The Olympics generally advises its lifters to use a squat shoe or Olympic lifting shoe with a 0.75-1-inch height for their heels. The added elevation and heel raise helps you take your squats deeper and keep your back position straight. They also help you improve your lifting form as you train with them.
When you look for a lifting shoe, you should probably look for one with limited cushioning so it cannot be easily compressed while you support heavy weights. Cushioned shoes often absorb the force of the weight rather than allow you to push it back out, and too much cushioning may ruin your stability. As such, you would want a flatter, stiffer sole that is sturdy instead of soft.
Number of Straps:
Straps are crucial to customizing your lifting shoes for your foot size and width. Most lifting shoes come with two straps so that you can adjust for both these factors. Additionally, two good straps will be essential for better security and grip. You can purchase a shoe with one strap that has a secure lock-in structure but is a bit less standard on reputed lifting shoe models.
The best weightlifting shoes can play a key role in your success in training and competitions in the gym. These shoes provide your feet with the support and balance you need and can even help support your technique. However, whichever shoes you choose comes down to your personal preferences and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Still have questions about the best weightlifting shoes money can buy in 2021? Read through our brief FAQ below for answers to some of the more commonly asked questions.
Do Weightlifting Shoes Make a Difference?
Yes, they do make a massive difference while lifting heavy weights. One of the main features of the best weightlifting shoes is often its arched heel, and depending on your ankle flexibility, it can make a huge difference for your squats or deadlift performance. These are also incredibly helpful at keeping your technique as proper as possible as you train.
How often Should You replace lifting shoes?
This depends on the brand and how often you train, but if you are an Olympic trainer who drains regularly, even the most durable shoes may need to be replaced every 6-8 months.
Can you run in lifting shoes?
It does sort of depend on the lifting shoes in question. By design, most lifting shoes are made to be somewhat heavy, which means that they may not be the best for running. However, if your lifting shoes were also made for CrossFit, they may be versatile enough for cardio training as well.
Are weightlifting shoes uncomfortable?
At first, lifting shoes may feel a little awkward due to their arched heels, making you feel a bit out of balance and too forward on your feet. However, this tends to correct itself over time as you get used to them.