Best WeightLifting Shoes - Top 10 Picks and Reviews 2017
Expert Weightlifting Shoe Reviews and Ratings by Certified Personal Trainers and Weightlifting Dudes
Why use weightlifting shoes
Weight lifting is an inexpensive sport because once you have your power racks, the weights and the weight benches in place, there aren’t a lot of accessories required to get going. However, one key element that is often overlooked is having the right pair of weightlifting shoes and while most people think that it is okay to lift weights in your running shoes, it is not. The air and gel cushion that running shoe offer is great to prevent your feet from shock while running but it is not good for weight lifting and you’ll end up compromising on the amount of weight you can lift and ruin your technique.
Best WeightLifting Shoes for PowerLifters
Adidas Adipowers – A great pair of shoes if you’ve been struggling with getting your snatches, squats and clean/jerks right. It’s a good pair if you do a wide range of lifts, however, if you’re looking for a pair exclusively for squats then I’d recommend you to get a Pendlay Do-Win.
Best WeightLifting Shoes for CrossTrainers
CrossFit Lifter Plus 2.0 – Hands down the best weightlifting shoes for cross-trainers. It offers you the right amount of flexibility, traction and comfort you need for long-duration dynamic workout routines.
Inov-8 FastLift 335
Reebok Cross Fit LIte Tr
The Winners: Best Weightlifting Shoes 2017
#1 Recommendation : Adidas Adipowers
Adidas Adipower is the go-to weightlifting shoe for serious powerlifters and olympic competitors. Not surprisingly, it is one of the best selling weightlifting shoes for 2015 and for all the right reasons.
The shoe offers a three-quarter inch heel-drop which allows you to go deep and improve your lifts. Adipowers is designed keeping weight in mind and the premium-grade lightweight material does justice to its build.
If you’re a power-squatter, then the meshes on the upper will ensure breathability and offers adequate flexibility (something which most weightlifting shoes fail to achieve).
The sole of the Adipower is completely flat and sufficiently wide. The weight is evenly distributed on your feet and the flat design helps you stable while lifting. The pair will pleasantly surprise if you’ve ever had knee pain/injuries after a heavy lifting session.
Apart from the performance specs, we just love how Adipower is designed. The design is functional, aesthetically pleasing and the colour combinations are sporty.
You can’t really find anything faulty with the shoe, except that you can only use it while lifting. Many customers find walking hard in this thing. It serves great utility and performance, but other than that it is restrictive.
All in all, this is the best pair of shoes if you’re serious about improving your lifts and form. However, if you’re on a budget and need something more low-key, then VS Athletics is a better option for you.
#2 Recommendation: VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe
An affordable shoe, this shoe from VS Athletics has been described as the perfect entry level weightlifting shoe by CrossFitALiquid.
The shoe has a heel height of about 1 inch which should be enough for novice power lifters. The material is not of the highest standard but the power transfer while lifting heavy weights is pretty neat. The shoe, however, doesn’t do a good job at breathability with small meshes near the top only.
The rubber sole is flat and the reinforced heel should help you maintain balance. However, the width of the sole should have been a little more. You get two straps which should snug your feet lightly.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
While the shoes rank well on performance factors, these aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing pair of weightlifting shoes. You can find a better-looking pair of shoes but it’s a rare find if you’re looking for the same performance and price range.
Apart from the standard design, this shoe isn’t too durable and if you lift 3-4 times a week then you can only expect it to use for the around 6-8 months; after that, it starts losing stability.
VS Athletics is our top recommendation if you’re looking for a pair of entry-level weightlifting shoes. Most beginners are prone to injury and these will make sure that you stay safe and your posture remains intact.
#3 Recommendation : Nike Romaleos
These are one of the most premium weightlifting shoes in the market, and the only reason it fairs third in our list is that of its price.
This shoe is designed to handle any amount of weight. If you lift competitively (i.e. really, really, really) heavy, the Romaleos is one of the best pairs you can go with. They are also quite flexible, and it flexes along the tendons while lifting. The heel is made from premium contoured TPU, and it doesn’t add any weight. It has been engineered to provide superb force transfer.
Most customers were satisfied with the cushioning and it comes with two insoles, the stiff one for competitions while the softer one for training.
You get relatively wide heels which will transfer the weight. Most experts were more than satisfied with the grip, and you should get zero feet movement.
The laces are integrated with the two straps and they should keep your feet locked and secure. Romaleos will surely keep you safe and injury free.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
Romaleous give the appearance of a tough, well-built shoe and a lot of thought have been put into it’s design. The pair offers a lot of variations in colour. However, being in the higher price range, it doesn’t look as good as Adipower, so if you’re in for the looks, you’re better off with a pair of Adipower.
Nike Romaleous is a pair that’s as good as they come. It has received a 5-star rating from experts throughout, the only thing which could be a deal breaker for some people is the price.
#4 Recommendation : Inov-8 FastLift 335
The FastLift combines solid stability needed for lifting with best in class flexibility, that makes it a great choice for CrossFit trainers. Even though they are is modestly priced, Inov-8 hasn’t made any compromises on the build and the pair is designed to last.
The FastLift 335 comes with a heel drop of 0.75 inches, this increases the ankle range and helps you in maintaining an upright torso while lifting. The wide-TPU sole is reinforced with grippy rubber which aid in our other bodyweight movements including box jumps.
The nylon upper should withstand dynamic activities like rope climbing pretty well. Overall, this shoe handles heavy lifting with relative ease and you wouldn’t be disappointed even during more active exercises to the likes of an intense CrossFit session.
The wedge in the 335 is made up of cylindrical tubes and thus offers excellent stability while easing the pressure when lifting heavier weights. The straps and the laces are adjustable which will help you get the snug fit during your workouts.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
The Facelift 335 is designed keeping a keen eye for aesthetics. The shoe looks great and offers a lot of variety when it comes to colours and style combinations.
It’s hard to find major flaws with this one. It is reasonably priced so that it won’t cause a significant dent in your pocket.
Overall, you would be quite pleased with this Inov-8 shoe. A blend of powerful lifting capabilities, reliable durability and suitable provision for various cross training activities, this should be the ideal choice if you are looking for a CrossFit shoe.
#5 Recommendation : Reebok Crossfit Lite TR
This shoe is regarded by many as the ideal replacement of the classic Chuck Taylors. This has also been a crowd favourite for some time, with close to 150 (5 stars) reviews from customers on Amazon.
At first glance, you won’t think that this shoe would work well for lifting as the heel height is average and because of that, the ankle range isn’t that much. Although, many Crossfitters were surprised with the ease with which they were able to lift. This shoe will perform well while lifting moderate weights, but if you are going to lift seriously heavy weights, we would recommend you to get a pair of Adipower.
The padded sock liners and the added arch support make this shoe comfortable and there is no need of using an extra insole.
The Stability of the Reebok Crossfit is what swayed many including Chris Duffin, a professional powerlifter and world record holder, towards it. The reason for this level of stability is the well-designed rubber sole which grips the floor nicely. The small teeth on the sole should provide for excellent traction even on court surfaces.
The shoes run fairly wide so you’ll be pretty comfortable, even if you’ve got wide feet.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
The RBK Crossfit Lite TR have a strong resemblance to sneakers and we say that in a good way. With the traditional colours like black and grey, you get a minimalistic design. However, they do have some funky, colourful options for the wild one’s out there.
These shoes run a little wide so some users have complained about sizing issues. The obvious fix would be to buy half a size less. Some users may still, however, face few problems with the perfect fit of the shoe.
Overall, the Reebok Crossfit provides great utility at lifting and other cross training activities and steals the show with it’s performance when it comes to stability and balance. Carrying a small price tag, it is one of the best value for money CrossFit/weightlifting shoes out.
#6 Recommendation : Pendlay Do-Win Crossfit Weightlifting Shoe
A brainchild of Olympic Weightlifting guru Glenn Pendlay, this shoe is designed for powerlifting. So how does it perform? Find it all out in our review.
The heel comes at a standard height of ¾ inch. The shoe, however, is now comparatively stronger than its earlier version, thanks to the single sole design. This directly results in better squats with proper form.
The durable synthetic material and nylon mesh will give you enough breathability through those heavy lifts. This is also perhaps one of the most durable shoes in our list.
The heels are flat and more users found this shoe to be highly stable. Since the material used for the raised heel is plastic, it is quite lightweight and should add to the grip.
Some users, however, complained that the straps didn’t feel that secure and appeared cheap. If you do serious Olympic lifting, the shoe design ensures that you do not experience any feet movement, and it lags behind slightly in that area.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
The shoe features the stock weightlifting shoe design, but it does have a trendy vibe to it. The material used gives this shoe a premium feel.The grey version scores high on our confidence factor ratings.
These shoes have caused problems for people with narrow feet. The manufacturers recommend you to buy half a size down, but still many customers weren’t satisfied with it.
However, if you have wider feet, this would be our top recommendation for weightlifting shoe. This shoe takes care of all the precision and safety needed in weightlifting shoe and drives home in style.
#7 Recommendation: Adidas Performance Powerlift 2
This is an entry level Adidas weightlifting shoe. Many argue that this is toned down version of the premium Adidas Adipower. So what are the sacrifices made by Adidas to bring the price down? Find out in our review below.
With the regular heel height, Powerlift 2 has apparently made compromises on the material of the heel. This might decrease the durability by a little bit but shouldn’t hamper performance. You can still hit the desired depth while squatting.
With meshes and holes spread throughout the shoe, it offers a lot of breathability for your feet.
Another feature that Adidas claims to have added in this shoe is the lightweight support. They seem to do that with the three stripes, the added support on the heel and the sole. Most customers termed this as more gimmicky and it doesn’t serve any obvious purpose.
The shoe uses a rubber sole with tiny circles near the toe and the heel. Experts feel that it adds up to the stability and more importantly the grip of the shoe.
The heel isn’t that wide, and that’s another area where a compromise has been made. The shoe has a single strap but it was secure for most customers.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
Adidas surely knows how to make their shoes look cool and the Powerlift 2 is no different. Many colour choices are available and all of them look good. The three stripes might be a gimmicky feature but they do make the shoe stylish. All in all, you will feel cool wearing these.
Even though this serves decent utility, it isn’t that comfortable. The manufactures provide very little cushioning, and that might cause some discomfort after you have lifted in these for a few months.
We will recommend this shoe to those who are looking for an affordable entry-level weightlifting shoe but trust only big brands like Adidas. A lot of people feel that when they are trying something new, It’s better to go with the branded shoe. If you are one of them, then you won’t be disappointed.
#8 Recommendation: Reebok Nano 4.0
The Nano Series by Reebok has been trying to make the perfect CrossFit shoes, and they seem to have to do a pretty good job with the nano 4.0. According to OutdoorGearLab, it combines the stability of a good lifting shoe with a lightweight built which is essential for a running shoe. Here is our review of the Reebok Nano 4.0.
The heel drop on this is average, but most experts were happy with the ankle range while squatting. You will be able to lift the standard weights in a CrossFit gym with ease after wearing these. The noticeable thing about this shoe is the webbing across the shoe, which serves two purposes, makes the shoe super breathable and super light.
This is one of the most lightweight CrossFit out there and if your cross training routine involves more of running and jumping ropes, then this lightweight will make your movements easier.
The sole is quite stable near the heel, but few customers weren’t that happy with the balance near the toe end of the shoe. The shoe, however, makes up for this with the added flexibility. The rubber webbing makes the shoe well-supportive and secure.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
This shoe is in line with the modern trends and Reebok has done a great job with the Nano 4.0. Again the webbing steals the show and it looks stunning in the red colour. We weren’t that impressed with mint green version, though.
The biggest drawback you get with the nano 4.0 is that it offers little arch support and this lets it down. For most cross-training activities you need good arch support and this shoe does an average job in that regard.
You can make some insole adjustments to solve this issue. However, we don’t expect to make changes to shoes from Reebok.
#9 Recommendation: Asics Gel-Fortius TR
You can’t have a top 10 athletic shoe list without an Asics shoe, right?
In a nutshell, the Gel-Fortius TR is a combination of good design and good support.
It’s not the greatest lifting shoe and we’d recommend it more like a shoe for more dynamic workouts than powerlifting. If your training involves lifting light weights and more movement based activities, then the Gel-Fortius will serve great utility.
The breathable meshes and the light weight serve is a good fit for dynamic workouts.
Again speaking regarding lifting, experts have rated the stability as average. But abrasion resistance medial offers great stability and even durability for other activities. The biggest complaint users had with the Reebok Nano 4.0 was the lack of arch support. Well, this Asics shoe takes care of that thanks to the Gel Technology.
There is also a toe cap, which is something you don’t usually see in CrossFit shoes. Also, many were impressed with the durability this shoe has, especially considering the price. If you are going to buy this, it Will last long.
Design (Aesthetic Appeal)
We have mixed feelings about the appearance of the shoe. The shoe isn’t much of an eye candy and while there are some interesting colour combinations, the design isn’t something that would make you “feel” good.
There is no direct flaw which you can point out in the Gel-Fortius. It does a reasonable good job on every front. If you go by our recommendation and keep it for your CrossFit workouts, you’ll get the best out of them.
The Asics Gel-Fortius is competitively priced, and if you are just getting into CrossFit style training, this isn’t a bad choice. Also, since it’s quite durable, you can double this as everyday wear.
#10 Recommendation: Reebok Men’s Crossfit Lifter 2.0
A shoe which was intended to handle some heavy lifting is mostly used by customers as a CrossFit shoe. Rated as one of the better CrossFit shoes regarding stability by TheRXReview, the lifter 2.0 is a good choice if you lift more in your CrossFit gym.
Crossfit Lifter 2.0 comes with a ¾ inch heel which is sufficient for you to go deep with your squats. The heel clip also grips the foot securely and this will help the users to eliminate excess weight.
On the other hand, while doing other activities, most customers are of the opinion that it delivers average utility. It’s rigid which results in negative performance issues during dynamic workouts.
Again while lifting most users had little to complain. The grooved sole grips the ground nicely even while lifting and the rigid upper packs your feet quite well. The hook and strap should ensure that there is no movement within the shoe while lifting.
The one obvious downside about this shoe is it straps. The unanimous verdict is that “It just doesn’t look right.” If you, however, like straps then the upper appears excellent and the several colour options allow you to choose the shoe which goes with your style.
The strapping works well while lifting but it locks your feet up while doing other activities.
Ultimate Buyer's Guide to Weightlifting Shoes
Before getting into the various intricacies of weightlifting shoes, we would first like to address the question that most people ask, why should we get separate weightlifting shoes? Most people think that it is okay to lift with normal running shoes, and this is where almost everyone gets it wrong.
Running shoes, by design, are meant to absorb force. When you run, you need a shoe which has enough cushioning so the force is absorbed by the shoe. On the contrary, in a weightlifting shoe, power is generated through the ground with the help of the shoe, and this helps you to lift the bar. Rather than absorbing energy, a weightlifting shoe helps you to transfer force.
What to look for in a weightlifting shoe?
Now that we have established, why your running shoes won’t do the trick, let us now move on to the distinct features that you should look for in a weightlifting shoe.
Heels – Weightlifting shoes have a raised heel. For better results it is advised to go for shoes with a quarter to an inch to an inch of heel height. The raised heel increases the ankle range by allowing you to go deeper while squatting. This results in a more upright position, and you can lift better. The results after wearing a raised heel shoe will be evident after the first lift itself.
Stability – The next thing you need to worry about while choosing a weightlifting shoe is the stability. You require a stable shoe while squatting and since lifting involves a lot of that, a proper shoe can give you great results. You should look for shoes with a wider base. This helps in distributing the force nicely, and most importantly, it keeps you safe.
Strapping – In a weightlifting shoe, it is important that your feet are secure from all ends. You don’t want little spaces that you allow your feet to move. That ever-so-slight movement can lead to a significant injury. Also, the importance of getting the right size is apparently increased in a weightlifting shoe. You should feel snug while wearing this shoe.
Many customers’ often say that even though a weightlifting shoe serves its purpose, but is it worth to buy a separate shoe? Well, that depends on your purpose, and that is why we divide people into two categories, the serious lifters, and the cross trainers.
Serious WeightLifters – If you are doing a lot of powerlifting or Olympic style lifting, you should go for a proper weightlifting shoe. You should get the gear that is designed for the task. With this, your performance will improve, you will be injury free and more importantly, you will be able to lift better. Also, if you do a lot of squats, a weightlifting shoe, isn’t a bad option for that.
The Cross Trainers (CrossFit Junkies) – If you go to the gym and do other activities like jumping ropes or running along with lifting, you are better off with the CrossFit. These shoes serve suitable utility while lifting and don’t do a bad job while performing other exercises.
We have categorically made the top recommendations for each of the categories so that you can make a better choice according to your purpose. Now let’s get to the top weightlifting shoes.