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I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: training shoes can (and will) make or break your workout. Shoes aren’t a training tool to take lightly, as choosing the wrong ones can cause pain or injuries in the long run. Not only that, but the right pair of training shoes can help you achieve new personal records. 

Finding the best weightlifting shoes, in particular, is important for making progress in squats, deadlifts, snatches, and clean-and-jerks. For that reason, and because I’m kind of a sneakerhead, my team and I put together this guide to the best weightlifting shoes. 

Why You Should Trust Us

I’ve been lifting weights for years, and I’ve tried my fair share of weightlifting shoes—and so has my team here at Garage Gym Reviews. Between us, we’ve worn all of the top-rated lifting shoes on the market and we’ve determined the good, the bad, and the ugly about all of them. 

Best Weightlifting Shoes for 2022

Best Overall Weightlifting Shoes: Nike Savaleos

Squatting in Nike Savaleos weightlifting shoes
Nike Savaleos Weightlifting Shoes
Nike Savaleos Weightlifting Shoes
Nike Savaleos Weightlifting Shoes

Nike Savaleos weightlifting shoes are a great entry-level option for people interested in Olympic weightlifting, as well as people who need extra support for reaching full depth during squats. With a wide toe box, an elevated EVA heel, and a hook-and-loop strap to keep your foot locked down, the Savaleos will make you feel more confident during your lifting sessions.

Good for: Any fitness enthusiast looking for a great weightlifting shoe at a great price.

Pros:

  • Great shoes at a great price point ($120)
  • Wide toe box adds stability to lifts
  • Good option for casual lifters and beginners

Cons:

  • Midsole might be too responsive for people who lift super heavy
  • Moderate heel height (about 15.5mm 0.6”) doesn’t provide the best assistance for squatting
  • Limited velcro surface area on straps

If you’re looking for the best combination of function, style, and price, you can stop right here. The Nike Savaleos are by far the best weightlifting shoes for most people because of their value proposition. Are they the absolute best in terms of function for Olympic weightlifting? No, I don’t think so. But when you consider the price point and all of the features you get for $120, the Savaleos outperform every other weightlifting shoe in its price range. 

The Savaleos are like the little brother to the Nike Romaleos, which I cover below as my top pick for Olympic weightlifting shoes. Nike Savaleos have all of the features you’d expect to see on a pair of lifting shoes: a wide toe box and heel cup, a rigid midsole with an elevated heel, and a velcro strap to lock your feet in place against the base of the shoe. 

To clarify, what I’m saying is that the Savaleos are the best value weightlifting shoes. Most people don’t need the quality or weight of the Romaleos, and people who aren’t competing or otherwise serious about weightlifting shouldn’t feel pressured to spend $200+ on shoes they can use only for Olympic lifting. 

With a heel height of just over a half-inch, the Savaleos are perfect for acclimating oneself to elevated lifting shoes, as well as for using as a hybrid shoe you can take from the lifting platform to a barbell WOD. That moderate heel height does mean that the Savaleos aren’t the best at providing mobility assistance with squatting—if you need more confidence and depth in your squat, take a look at lifting shoes with a heel of 18-20 millimeters, or about three-quarters of an inch. 

Athletes who lift very heavy might notice that the Savaleos have a more responsive midsole than other, more expensive weightlifting shoes, which isn’t ideal for moving super heavy barbells. Still, the wide base provides ample stability for both powerlifting and Olympic lifting for the casual athlete.  

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Beginners: Adidas Powerlift 4

Product image of Adidas Powerlift 4 weightlifting shoes in black
Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4

The Adidas Powerlift 4 is a great entry-level weightlifting shoe with a moderate heel-to-toe drop and enough flexibility for multiple uses. The EVA midsole won't be as rigid as something like TPU or wood, but it's sturdy enough for people moving moderate weights. They give great platform feedback and are a good transition shoe to acclimate to a higher heel in the future.

Good for: Beginner weightlifters who want to dip their toes in the water without spending a ton of money.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced at about $100
  • EVA midfoot and flexible forefoot make it a more versatile shoe for beginners
  • 0.6” (15.5mm) heel wedge is easier to acclimate to than a standard 0.75” (19mm) heel

Cons:

  • Narrow heel base isn’t the most stable compared to other options
  • Very limited color options
  • EVA foam midsole is more compressible than those made of TPU, wood, or leather

The Powerlift is a no-frills weightlifting shoe with a moderately elevated heel, maneuverable canvas upper construction, and an EVA foam midsole at a nice price point. 

Generally, I don’t recommend weightlifting shoes with EVA midsoles because EVA foam is much more compressible than rigid TPU, wood, or stacked leather. However, I do think that the EVA heel on the Powerlifts is a great option for beginner lifters. Combined with the 15-millimeter (0.59-in) heel height, this shoe is made perfectly for people who want to slowly acclimate to weightlifting shoes. 

It can feel like a big change going from flat cross-training shoes or running shoes to Olympic lifting shoes with a 0.75-inch (19mm) heel made of hard plastic. The Adidas Powerlift shoes are a middle ground to get started on. 

As you become more advanced and start lifting heavier weights, you may want to upgrade to something like the Nike Savaleos or, if you’re getting really serious, the Nike Romaleos. At very heavyweights, the EVA foam heel might become too responsive and compressible, leading to a decrease in stability. But for those just starting out, it’s unlikely the shoes will reach that point—and honestly, a bit of platform feedback isn’t a bad thing for beginners.  

Best Budget Weightlifting Shoes: Reebok Lifter PR 2

Reebok Lifter PR 2 weightlifting shoes in army green
Reebok Lifter PR 2
Reebok Lifter PR 2
Reebok Lifter PR 2

The Reebok Lifter PR 2 weightlifting shoes are a favorite among athletes who love hybrid shoes they can take from the lifting platform to the metcon floor. With a moderate heel height and solid EVA foam heel construction,  the Lifter PR 2s are rigid enough to support your heavy Olympic lifts and squats, but flexible enough to move with you through high-volume barbell cycling.

Good for: Exercisers who want a solid, stable shoe they can use for weightlifting, powerlifting, and some CrossFit workouts for a reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Phenomenal price point ($100)
  • Moderate heel height makes for a great hybrid shoe
  • Rubber outsole provides excellent traction

Cons:

  • EVA midsole will prove too responsive for heavy lifts
  • Heel cup isn’t the most durable and may deform over time
  • 15.5mm (about 0.6”) heel height doesn’t provide optimal ankle flexion support

These lifting shoes are very similar to the Adidas Powerlift shoes described above. From price to performance, they have a lot in common. 

One of our Garage Gym Reviews writers and product testers Amanda Capritto has used the original Lifter PRs and now wears the Lifter PRs 2, and her favorite feature is the fact that she can wear these shoes throughout an entire CrossFit class without needing to change.

The moderate heel height is great for getting warmed up and sinking into deep squats even with tight hips; they’re supportive and stable enough for strength sessions, and they’re responsive enough for most metcons (as long as they don’t have running). 

That’s part of the reason these are so budget-friendly. Sure, there are other shoes on this list that cost around $100, but you can quite literally use the Lifter PRs for almost every type of workout—meaning if you’re not running or doing ballistic movements like box jumps, you may not need to have a second pair of shoes. 

Of course, having a dedicated pair of shoes for all types of workouts would be ideal, but that’s not realistic for everyone. Based on Amanda’s experience, if you want to prioritize lifting but sprinkle in some other activities now and again, the Lifter PRs are probably the best budget-friendly choice for you. 

Best CrossFit Weightlifting Shoes: Nike Metcon 8

Man wearing Nike Metcon 7 cross-training shoes during deadlifts
Nike Metcon 8
Nike Metcon 8
Nike Metcon 8

The Nike Metcon 8 is the latest iteration of the popular cross-training shoes, and from the look of things, not much is changing from the Nike Metcon 7s. That's not necessarily bad, as the Metcon 7s were the best pair of Metcons yet. They performed well during heavy lifts and quick cardio bursts, had features such as a mid-foot rope guard and heel clip that made them perfect for CrossFit workouts, and were durable enough that you got your money's worth out of them, and then some.According to Nike's website, the Metcon 8s will have all those features. The most significant change is that Nike members, who as of this writing are the only ones who can pre-order the shoes, can customize their kicks with an updated color palette and finish options. This includes being able to add chrome to every part of the shoe, down to the laces, and the option for a marble finish on the outsole.We're excited to try out the Metcon 8s, and will update this page when we get our hands, err, feet on them.

Good for: People who want a versatile shoe they can do just about anything in.

Pros:

  • Versatile shoe you can take from the platform to the pull-up rig
  • Toe box shape is great for wide feet
  • Stable and aesthetically pleasing

Cons:

  • Don’t have the most durable lacing system
  • Not great squat shoes for people who need mobility help
  • $160 is somewhat expensive for a pair of cross-trainers

Okay, so, we’re stretching the term “weightlifting shoes” here, because the Nike Metcon 8s are technically cross-training shoes. They’re CrossFit shoes designed specifically to withstand the variety of movements you’ll encounter during CrossFit WODs. 

But in our experience, lots of people who are looking for lifting shoes are actually just looking for shoes with a wide, flat outsole; enough stability to crush a three-rep max squat; and enough flexibility to take on box jumps and barbell cycling, too. And that shoe, friends, is the Nike Metcon 8.

To be fully transparent, I haven’t been able to get my feet on the Metcon 8s just yet, but early reviews indicate they’re basically the 7s with an updated color palette.

I love the Metcons for their ability to take on every type of grueling workout without sustaining much damage to the structure or aesthetics. They were built with durability and stability top-of-mind. They do take a while to break in because of that, but you’ll find the break-in period well worth it when you’re transitioning from the strength portion of your workout to the conditioning portions without stopping to change shoes.

RELATED: Best Cross-Training Shoes

The $160 price tag may seem steep, but when you look at your other options for cross-trainers, the Nike Metcons aren’t outrageously priced. Nike also has an awesome return policy that allows you to return the shoes within 60 days even if they’re worn. The two-year warranty on top of that makes for a great customer experience. 

Read my full Nike Metcon 8 review.

Best for Olympic Lifting: Nike Romaleos 4

Man holding Nike Romaleos 4 weightlifting shoes to show side profile against a gray background
Nike Romaleos 4
Nike Romaleos 4
Nike Romaleos 4

The Nike Romaleos 4 weightlifting shoe is the latest iteration in this line. It blends the breathability of the Romaleos 3 with the sturdy outsole of the Romaleos 2. The Rom 4s feature a 20mm heel to toe drop as well as dual velcro straps.

Good for: Athletes serious about maximizing Olympic lifting performance. 

Pros:

  • Reminiscent of the Romaleos 2, which were some of the best weightlifting shoes to ever grace the earth
  • Wide, flared heel provides ample support
  • Wide toe box gives toes room to wiggle and grip the ground

Cons:

  • $200 price point is expensive
  • Upper material is super breathable, but that makes me wonder how long-lasting it is
  • Laces and straps are somewhat flimsy

I was absolutely stunned at the Nike Romaleos 4. Do I think they surpass the utter awesomeness that was the Nike Romaleos 2? No. But I think they come really close. (The Romaleos 2 were honestly the epitome of the best weightlifting shoe ever designed, and it remains a mystery to lifters all around the world why Nike won’t just bring them back.) 

Anyway, the Romaleos 4 combines function and style in a way I don’t think any other weightlifting shoe has before. They look fantastic and they feel phenomenal on the platform. 

They’re heavy, so they make you feel like you can really dig your heels into the ground. The wide base and flared heel increase that element of stability. With a 20-millimeter (0.75-inch) heel height, the Roms provide optimal support for squatting to full depth and receiving the barbell in an upright position. This ultimately increases your chances of a successful lift every time. 

Unfortunately, these fourth-gen Roms are expensive. At $200, it’s unlikely that these are in an acceptable price range for novice weightlifters or even experienced but casual weightlifters. For people who don’t take Olympic lifting that seriously or aren’t sure if they’ll stick with it, $200 for a pair of shoes—no matter how aesthetic or functional—probably doesn’t seem like a justifiable expense. However, for athletes who hit the platform multiple times per week or have intentions of competing at any level, the Nike Romaleos 4 are a worthwhile investment. 

Read my full Nike Romaleos 4 review.

Best for Powerlifting: Chuck Taylor All Stars

Product image of black Converse All Star high top shoes
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars

Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars are the original minimalist shoe. With a near-zero heel-to-toe drop, a sturdy rubber outsole, and lace closure, they provide stability for heavy lifts. The minimal drop also allows you to feel grounded during deadlifts and squats.

Good for: Powerlifters who want an inexpensive shoe with a flat, stable base.

Pros:

  • Flat heel is perfect for deadlifts
  • Can get them in low-tops and high-tops 
  • Minimal midfoot cushioning won’t flex under heavy lifts

Cons:

  • Minimal heel-to-toe drop won’t help with back squats
  • Narrow through the midfoot
  • Canvas construction isn’t highly durable

Ah, I just love a good classic. Converse All Stars are some of the greatest shoes in existence for general wear, but they’re also straight up awesome for powerlifting—particularly deadlifts.

RELATED: Best Deadlift Shoes

Lots of powerlifters love to train barefoot, and with All Stars, you can get a barefoot feel thanks to the minimal drop. But, you’ll also still enjoy the stability of a rigid outsole. It’s truly the best of both worlds in my opinion. Also helpful is the ankle support you get if you choose the high-top version. 

Additionally, many powerlifters like to feel grounded when lifting, and All Stars provide that feeling thanks to the thin and flat midsole. The upper of the shoe is constructed from a simple canvas fabric, which is super breathable and somewhat flexible, giving you some room to wiggle and spread out your toes. 

Not to mention, Chucks are cheap! For $60, you can get a pair of solid powerlifting shoes that will last you several training cycles and competitions. 

These shoes won’t be the best squat shoes for everyone, especially those who need an elevated heel to help reach the full depth. Some powerlifters may wish to utilize Converse for deadlifts and bench presses, but wear other shoes for their squat. 

RELATED: Xero 360 Training Shoes Review

Best Minimalist Lifting Shoes: NOBULL Trainers

Woman wearing NOBULL training shoes in the gym
NOBULL Trainers
NOBULL Trainer
NOBULL Trainer

NOBULL is a footwear, apparel and accessory brand for people who train hard and don't believe in excuses. If you think gimmicks in your shoes make you a better athlete, NOBULL is not for you. NOBULL products perform with you when and where you need them. That's it.

Good for: People who want a versatile but minimalist shoe in function and appearance. 

Pros:

  • Super durable upper material will last a long time
  • Can be used for strength training and cardio 
  • Many designs and colors to choose from

Cons:

  • Expensive for what they are (about $130)
  • Minimal heel-to-toe drop isn’t the best for receiving a heavy barbell
  • Has a longer break-in period than other training shoes

NOBULL is one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em brands. I discuss this at length in my NOBULL Trainers review, where our writer Amanda and editor Kate share their very different opinions on these controversial training shoes. 

If you’re after a minimalist pair of shoes in both function and aesthetics, you might be one of those people that turns into a die-hard NOBULL fanatic who wears their utilitarian-style trainers for everything from maxing out to running a mile. If not, move along and keep reading about our other top picks for weightlifting shoes. 

Like the Nike Metcons, the NOBULL Trainers aren’t technically weightlifting shoes. They don’t feature a raised heel (the heel-to-toe drop is only 4 millimeters); they don’t have straps for added security, and they aren’t designed with the wide heel cup or toe box that most lifting shoes have. 

Instead, the NOBULL Trainers feature a slimmer profile and prioritize durability over everything else. Thanks to that focus on durability, I find the NOBULL Trainers to be a tad heavier than other cross-training shoes, a characteristic that lends itself well to lifting weights. The flat midsole and outsole create a stable base, and the shape of the toe box, though not super wide, gives your toes enough space to spread out and aid with balance. 

Keep in mind, NOBULL does make legit weightlifting shoes. I just don’t recommend them because I find them to be overrated, and I don’t actually know anyone who likes them.


Read my full NOBULL Training Shoes Review

Most Versatile Weightlifting Shoes: Adidas Adipower 3

The Adidas Adipower III in black, side view
Adidas AdiPower 3
Adidas Adipower III
Adidas Adipower III

The Adidas Adipower III is the latest iteration of weightlifting shoe from the brand, and it doesn't look to disappoint. With a 22-millimeter heel, a breathable upper, and TPU midsole, this is an improved design on an already great product.While we weren't huge fans of the Adipower IIs for serious weightlifters, we think the IIIs will be a hit among those who are serious about doing snatches and clean-and-jerks. Adidas took the OG Adipower and simply made a few changes - including an increased heel height - to give us perhaps the best version of this shoe yet.Serious shoes come with a serious price, and the Adipower III clocks in around $220. However, we love that it's available in both men's and women's sizes, and that the lace-and-strap closure system allows athletes to make the shoe as tight or wide as they need.

Good for: Functional fitness enthusiasts looking for a versatile lifting shoe with an elevated heel.

Pros:

  • 22 mm heel height helps a ton with squats and receiving the bar on Oly lifts
  • Despite the high heel, they’re flexible enough to wear during CrossFit workouts
  • Durable textile woven upper

Cons:

  • Forefoot flexibility detracts from stability
  • Expensive at $200
  • Decent at many things, but not amazing at any one thing

Adidas Adipowers has been a favorite among functional fitness enthusiasts for years. This is because Adidas somehow managed to create a shoe that embodies the essentials of a good weightlifting shoe (elevated heel, hook-and-loop strap, rigid base) and the essentials of a cross-training shoe (durability, flexibility) at the same time. 

The Adipowers have the highest heel I’ve seen among weightlifting shoes, clocking in at 22 millimeters. This height provides supreme support for squatting and receiving the bar, regardless of the weight you’re working with. Despite the high heel, though, you can still wear these shoes during certain conditioning workouts—they’re especially great for cycling barbell snatches and high-volume overhead squats. 

RELATED: Barbell Exercises

There’s a ton of forefoot flexibility in the Adipowers, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what exactly you want. The flexibility makes them great for spreading your toes out and gripping the ground, but that may not be ideal depending on your intended use of weightlifting shoes. For functional fitness athletes, it’s a positive attribute. 

At a price point of $200, the Adipowers aren’t cheap. And because of their unique application—not perfect for weightlifting, not perfect for conditioning, but decent at both—the price tag might turn a lot of buyers off.  

The bottom line is if you’re looking for a shoe that provides fantastic depth yet is flexible enough to wear during some functional fitness workouts, the Adipowers are a great choice.   

For more on these shoes, check out my full Adidas Adipower 3 review.

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women 

Sike! We don’t recommend any specific pair of weightlifting shoes for women, because for one, very few options actually come in women-specific sizes and colorways. Second, all of the above shoes would be exactly the same whether they’re labeled as men’s or women’s, other than the sizing. So ladies, just remember to order a size and a half or two sizes down from your normal size when you buy any of the weightlifting shoes we recommend. 

How We Tested

Someone on the Garage Gym Reviews team has actually worn each of these shoes on their feet during lifting workouts. I’ve worn most of them myself. And some of them—like the Reebok Lifter PRs and Nike Romaleos—have been in use by myself or teammates through several years and iterations of the shoes. 

In addition to our hands-on experience with all these shoes, I’ve done the research to understand the value proposition of each shoe and really tease out who, exactly, would benefit from a specific pair of weightlifting shoes.    

We look at several key points when testing weightlifting shoes:

  • Materials and construction
  • Heel support and heel-to-toe drop
  • Performance in squats, Olympic lifts and other weighted movements
  • Durability and rigidity
  • Customer reviews

What are Weightlifting Shoes Used For?

Man holding Reebok Legacy Lifter weightlifting shoes

True weightlifting shoes are used to assist weightlifters during the Olympic lifts: the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. The term “weightlifting shoes” has become sort of convoluted and now encompasses a wider variety of types of training shoes, with and without a raised heel. 

Technically, Olympic weightlifting shoes have a raised heel and typically use a double-closure system of laces and straps. The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) recommends that Olympic weightlifters should wear shoes with an elevated heel of 18-20 millimeters, or about three-quarters of an inch high. 

But, if you take a look at all of the lifting shoes available to you, you’ll see that they come in all different heel heights, from zero-drop to an inch. Lifting shoes with different heel heights have different purposes, and they can be worn for assistance during different types of workouts. 

Take the Nike Metcons for example—our pick for the best CrossFit weightlifting shoes. These aren’t technically weightlifting shoes, but tons of people wear them to lift weights. They’re phenomenal for lightweight, high-volume workouts, as well as workouts that contain conditioning exercises in addition to resistance exercises. They’re versatile and they do a lot of things pretty well.

Now look at the Nike Romaleos 4. These are our favorite shoes for Olympic weightlifting. We wouldn’t recommend you wear them during CrossFit WODs, and certainly not for a run. In contrast to the Nike Metcons, which do many things decently, the Romaleos do one thing spectacularly well: assist with weightlifting. 

So to answer the question—what do weightlifting shoes do?—it depends on what type of lifting shoes you buy.   

Do You Need Weightlifting Shoes? 

Whether or not you need weightlifting shoes fall into the same vein as the question of whether or not you need a weightlifting belt. Do you truly need them? Probably not. Will they help? Totally, as long as you use them appropriately. 

For the average home gym owner, weightlifting shoes are far from a necessity. I’d really only consider them a necessity for people who compete in Olympic weightlifting events. That said, weightlifting shoes can tremendously improve your chances of a successful lift, whether you’re squatting or snatching. 

By providing a wider, more stable base than training shoe offer—as well as increasing ankle flexion due to the high heel—weightlifting shoes allow you to receive the barbell in a more anatomically beneficial position.   

How to Choose the Best Weightlifting Shoes

Closeup of the underside of Nike Savaleos weightlifting shoes showing the yellow Nike check mark.

Weightlifting shoes aren’t something you want to just buy willy-nilly. A haphazard choice could result in haphazard performance. Choosing the best weightlifting shoes for you is going to involve some analysis of your weak points and trouble areas during lifts. 

For example, someone who struggles with ankle dorsiflexion, and thus struggles to squat to full depth and receive the barbell in the correct position during a clean or snatch, would benefit from weightlifting shoes with a higher heel. 

Here’s a full list of every factor you should consider when you’re looking to buy new weightlifting shoes. 

Heel Height 

Heel-to-toe drop is probably the most important factor that should go into your search for lifters. The heel height is what really determines the shoes’ effect on your range of motion: The higher the heel, the easier it is to drop into an ass-to-grass squat. The lower the heel, the less assistance with that specific aspect of lifting. 

Nike Romaleos 4, Reebok Legacy Lifters 2, and NOBULL Lifters have heel-to-toe drops on the higher end of the spectrum. On the low end, you have Chuck Taylors, Nike Metcons, Reebok Nanos, NOBULL trainers, and other cross-training shoes. The Reebok Lifter PR IIs, Adidas Adipowers, Nike Savaleos, and Adidas Powerlift fall somewhere in the middle. 

Closure Mechanism 

You’ll see a combination of three types of closure systems on weightlifting shoes. Almost all of them have laces and midfoot velcro straps, but some have an additional closure mechanism called BOA. BOA is a third-party supplier of shoe technology, specifically a dial closure system that allows you to achieve a superbly snug fit compared to just laces and/or velcro. 

None of our top picks have a BOA system because we honestly don’t think it’s necessary for the average fitness enthusiast. Inov-8 used to make a BOA version of the Inov-8 Fastlift weightlifting shoe, but they may have discontinued it, because it seems to only be available on Amazon in limited quantities and sizes. 

Toe Box 

The best toe box shape and size depends largely on preference and the shape of your foot, but in general, a wider toe box is better for lifting. The more room your toes have to spread out, the better you’ll be able to grip and drive into the ground and balance. 

Midsole Material 

If heel-to-toe drop is the most important factor in lifting shoes, the midsole is the second most important. In weightlifting shoes, the midsole is primarily the wedge—AKA the platform of the shoe that helps with your lifts.

In general, we recommend a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) midsole and platform for weightlifting shoes. TPU is durable and stable; it doesn’t compress greatly under heavy loads; and it won’t deform for a very long time. 

Other common shoe heel materials include ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), stacked leather, and wood. I don’t recommend getting weightlifting shoes made with an EVA, unless it’s restricted to the insole for comfort. Stacked leather and wood both offer a classic old-school look, but aren’t as abrasion-resistant as TPU. 

Heel Shape 

A wide, flared heel will give you the most stable base. The Nike Romaleos 4 and Reebok Legacy Lifter II are good examples of a stable heel. A narrower but still elevated heel does not offer quite as much stability but does bring in an element of versatility—take the Adipowers, Powerlifts, and Lifter PRs for an example of a more hybrid shoe.   

Upper Material 

While you may not need the upper of your weightlifting shoes to be as durable as the upper of your CrossFit shoes or running shoes, it’s still a good idea to look for materials that allow for both durability and breathability.  A perforated leather upper or a thick mesh upper encompasses both of those qualities. 

Durability

Let’s face it: Weightlifting shoes can be expensive. So to make sure you’re not dropping hundreds of dollars every other month, make sure your shoes can withstand the grueling workouts you put them through. A more durable shoe is also more likely to protect your foot while lifting.

FAQs

Why do people wear weightlifting shoes?

People wear weightlifting shoes to assist with stability and mobility during Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, during both training and competition. 

Do weightlifting shoes really help?

Yes, weightlifting shoes can certainly help improve your lifts, thanks to the subtle changes they make to your body positioning. By allowing you to access deeper ranges of motion while still keeping your torso tall and upright, weightlifting shoes put you in a better position to successfully lift heavyweight.

Why do weightlifting shoes make squats easier?

Weightlifting shoes make squatting easier because of the high heel. The elevated heel position acts as faux ankle dorsiflexion, which is a key element in proper squat positioning. Many people lack ankle mobility to achieve deep squats with an upright torso, and weightlifting shoes can assist with that.

When should I wear weightlifting shoes?

Most fitness experts generally recommend wearing weightlifting shoes during Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting workouts. While you can wear some types of lifting shoes during conditioning workouts (such as CrossFit), most aren’t appropriate for movements like burpees, box jumps or running.  

Are weightlifting shoes cheating?

No, weightlifting shoes are not cheating. They’re just an assist, like a weightlifting belt, lifting straps, or gymnastics grips. Some people think that everyone should be able to execute all lifts perfectly without lifting shoes, but we don’t listen to them.

Can you wear lifting shoes for running?

We recommend that you don’t wear weightlifting shoes for running unless your definition of weightlifting shoes is actually training shoes (like Nike Metcons or NOBULL Trainers). Even still, if you’re running more than 800 meters, we recommend just getting some running shoes. 

RELATED: How to Choose Running Shoes

The Competition

Rogue Fitness Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes: The Do-Win Classic Lifter, formerly a product of Pendlay (and still beloved by the weightlifting community), gives off old-school lifting vibes thanks to the stacked leather heel that looks like wood. The price point of $125 is also great, but I don’t have confidence that these will hold up over time. 

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2: The Legacy Lifters are great weightlifting shoes. They’re probably most similar to the Nike Romaleos, as they feature the same wide base and flared heel. They’re also the same price as the Romaleos. For that price point, we like the Romaleos better because they have two velcro straps versus one, plus the rubber outsole feels more grippy and less selective than it does on the Legacy Lifters. 

NOBULL Lifter: The NOBULL Lifters are certainly a cool-looking shoe, however, for the price, they leave a lot to be desired. The leather feels cheap and the stacked leather heel, although aesthetically pleasing, isn’t the most modern construction that you’d expect for what you pay. Similar to their Trainers, I like the look, but the performance doesn’t stack up to the price or the competition.

Reebok Nano X1: We love the Nano X1s for CrossFit workouts and basically any other type of workout you can think of. However, when it comes to CrossFit lifting shoes, the Nike Metcon 7s usurp the Nanos thanks to their flat sole and wider toe box. Comparatively, the Nanos has more cushioning and a narrower forefoot.

Further reading

How Much Does a Treadmill Weigh? Cover Image
How Much Does a Treadmill Weigh?

If you find yourself asking, “How much does a treadmill weigh?” then we have the answer! Read more

Schwinn 170 Upright Bike Review (2022): A Feature-Rich Budget Option Cover Image
Schwinn 170 Upright Bike Review (2022): A Feature-Rich Budget Option

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: training shoes can (and will) make or break your workout. Shoes aren’t a training tool to take lightly, as choosing the wrong ones can cause pain or injuries in the long run. Not only that, but the right pair of training shoes can help you achieve new personal records. Finding the best weightlifting shoes, in particular, is important for making progress in squats,  » Read more about: Best Weightlifting Shoes in 2022: Top Picks from Nike, Adidas, and Reebok  » Read more

Used Vs New Treadmill: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Need To Know Cover Image
Used Vs New Treadmill: Pros, Cons, and Everything Else You Need To Know

Wondering whether you should get a used vs new treadmill? Our guide to pros, cons, and costs has you covered. Read more

Sole F80 vs F85: Small Differences Favor Different Users Cover Image
Sole F80 vs F85: Small Differences Favor Different Users

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: training shoes can (and will) make or break your workout. Shoes aren’t a training tool to take lightly, as choosing the wrong ones can cause pain or injuries in the long run. Not only that, but the right pair of training shoes can help you achieve new personal records. Finding the best weightlifting shoes, in particular, is important for making progress in squats,  » Read more about: Best Weightlifting Shoes in 2022: Top Picks from Nike, Adidas, and Reebok  » Read more