The Best Weightlifting Shoes: The Support You Need for Better Lifts

best-weightlifting-shoes


If you're putting up heavy weights, a good pair of weightlifting shoes is a necessity. The right shoes provide a solid foundation, ample ankle support, and an elevated heel to ensure you maintain proper posture. Weightlifting shoes have a higher heel than other types of workout shoes—typically in the 15- to 20-millimeter range—that forces you to lean forward throughout your movements. This not only translates to better lifts, it also helps reduce your risk of injury.

But just like there are many foot types out there, there are also different types of weightlifting shoes. Some are higher than others, some are narrower than others, and some are made for flatter feet. The right pair for you depends on what your individual needs are and what types of lifts you plan to do (deadlifting shoes are different from general weightlifting shoes, for example).

To help narrow the field, the ACTIVE Reviews Team put together a list of the best weightlifting shoes in several categories.

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The Best Weightlifting Shoes - Our Top Picks

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What to Look for When Shopping for Weightlifting Shoes

Weightlifting shoes are specially designed to improve your stability and help you maintain the proper posture when lifting heavy weights. Outside of finding a shoe that goes with your personal style, there are some other things you should consider when shopping for a weightlifting shoe:

  • Heel height: A standard weightlifting shoe has a heel height around 15 to 20 millimeters. This added height not only provides a more stable base, it also supports your knees and torso. This can translate to better lifts and helps reduce your risk of injury over time.
  • Fit: Fit is another important consideration. When looking for a weightlifting shoe, you want to make sure it's designed for your foot type. If you have wide feet, trying to fit into a narrower shoe will limit how well you're able to spread your toes when trying to anchor. On the flip side, if you have narrow feet and you get a shoe that's too wide, it can decrease stability. For the best, most secure fit, make sure you're picking a shoe that works for your individual needs.
  • Straps: Straps can't make up for an ill-fitting shoe, but they can improve stability when combined with a shoe that works for your foot. Adjustable straps give you a little more control over the tightness and security of your foot, allowing you to make the shoe a little tighter or looser as needed.

Best Overall Weightlifting Shoes - Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

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SPECS

  • Key feature: Wide toe box
  • Weight: 17 oz.
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 0.75"
  • Sizes: 4.5-14

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The Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes are a favorite among heavy lifters. These shoes have a 0.75-inch hard plastic heel, which is ideal for Olympic-style lifting, plus a wider-than-average toe box that offers more stability (and comfort) for those with wider feet. The single sole construction and double metatarsal straps keep your feet stable, while providing enough support for your ankles without limiting your range of motion.

The biggest gripe with these shoes is their weight. They weigh just 17 ounces, which isn't the heaviest weightlifting shoe on the market, but it's not the lightest either. The upside is that the extra weight can guide your feet, helping you firmly plant them with each lift. Shoe weight is also a personal preference, so they're ideal if you're not a fan of lightweight shoes.

PROS

  • Hard plastic heel
  • 0.75" heel height
  • Double straps
  • Wide toe box

CONS

  • On the heavier side
  • Users report some sizing issues

BUY: Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Cross-Training - GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

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SPECS

  • Key feature: 3-tier arch support
  • Weight: 10.8 oz.
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 8 mm
  • Sizes: 6-14

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The GORUCK Ballistic Trainers are designed for those who like to do it all. Thanks to the three-tier arch support system, they can seamlessly transition from static lifts to dynamic weight-bearing training like rucking. The shoe adapts with you as you move, providing the proper support in your arches to minimize the risk of injury and joint stress.

The heel-to-toe drop measures 8mm, which is smaller than Olympic-style lifting shoes, but the design is meant for versatility, which this shoe nails. The 10.6-ounce weight makes them ideal for cross-training since they won't bog you down when you're on the move. These Ballistic Trainers also have a wide toe box for added comfort and an extra pair of eyelets so you can lace your shoes up a little tighter if you want a better heel lock.

PROS

  • 3-tier arch support
  • Lightweight
  • 8mm toe drop
  • Designed for versatility

CONS

  • Minimal lateral support
  • Not well-suited for longer distances

BUY: GORUCK Ballistic Trainers

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women - Legacy Lifter II Women's

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SPECS

  • Key feature: Extra high heel
  • Weight: N/A
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 22 mm
  • Sizes: 6-10

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The women's version of the Legacy Lifter II has an identical design to the men's model. The higher heel height, slimmer design, and adjustable velcro strap over the midfoot ensure a snug fit that keeps your feet stable without restricting movement. The heel is designed with a TPU plastic that provides a solid foundation during heavy lifts and can withstand a lot of wear and tear on the platform. There's also a flexible upper and a grippy outsole that helps you plant firmly in place.

Like the men's version of this shoe, the Legacy Lifter II does run narrow, so you'll likely want to order a half size up.

PROS

  • Higher heel height
  • TPU heel for added stability
  • Adjustable strap

CONS

  • Run small
  • Expensive

BUY: Legacy Lifter II Women's

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Men - Legacy Lifter II Men's

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SPECS

  • Key feature: Extra high heel
  • Weight: N/A
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 22 mm
  • Sizes: 7.5-14

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Thanks to its long sponsorship of CrossFit, Reebok has almost perfected weightlifting shoes. The highly rated Legacy Lifter IIs have a 22-millimeter plastic heel with a grippy rubber outsole and heavier construction that, together, provide the ultimate stability when you're on the weightlifting platform. The added heel height also helps with posture and ankle and hip angle to help you maintain the proper form during all kinds of lifts.

The downside of the higher heel is that it limits the function of these shoes. If you're looking for a strict weightlifting shoe, this isn't an issue, but these shoes won't safely carry you through WODs or other functional activities. They also run a bit on the narrow side, so if you have a wider fit you might want to consider the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes instead.

PROS

  • Higher heel for added stability
  • Grippy rubber outsole
  • Heavier construction

CONS

  • Not very versatile
  • Runs a bit narrow
  • Expensive

BUY: Legacy Lifter II Men's

Best Nike Weightlifting Shoes - Nike Savaleos

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SPECS

  • Key feature: Extra comfort features, like a padded heel and tongue
  • Weight: N/A
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 15 mm
  • Sizes: 5-15

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The Nike Savaleos are all about stability. They have a flat, wide sole, a hook-and-loop strap along the midfoot, and 15-millimeter heel that come together to help secure and plant your feet, even during your heaviest lifts. They also have a rigid midsole that allows for some extra power transfer from the ground and gives you more momentum.

When designing this shoe, Nike also paid particular attention to comfort. They have a padded mesh inset at the heel and a padded tongue. However, they do run a little small and have a somewhat narrow toe box, so many wearers recommend ordering a half size up.

PROS

  • Padded heel and tongue
  • Hook-and-loop strap for extra support
  • Rigid midsole

CONS

  • Run small
  • Narrow toe box

BUY: Nike Savaleos

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet - Adidas Powerlift 4

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SPECS

  • Key feature: Open forefoot with flexible toe
  • Weight: N/A
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 15 mm
  • Sizes: 4-20

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If you have flat feet, weightlifting can put extra stress on your body, especially if you're not maintaining the proper posture. The right shoes can help alleviate some of this stress. The Adidas Powerlift 4s have an open forefoot and a flexible toe that can accommodate flat feet without sacrificing comfort.

The heel height is 15 millimeters, like many weightlifting shoes, but the heel-to-toe drop is less dramatic to account for the lack of arches on your foot. These shoes do have a narrower fit and because of this, Adidas recommends ordering at least a half size up to give yourself enough room to spread your toes to anchor your feet.

PROS

  • Flexible toe
  • Open forefoot
  • Less dramatic heel-to-toe drop

CONS

  • Run small
  • Narrow toe box

BUY: Adidas Powerlift 4

Best Weightlifting Shoes Design - Nike Romaleos 4

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SPECS

  • Key feature: Dramatic heel-to-toe drop
  • Weight: N/A
  • Heel height/heel-to-toe drop: 20 mm
  • Sizes: 8-12

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A great pair of weightlifting shoes really comes down to design and the Nike Romaleos 4, a favorite among CrossFitters, delivers. This updated design combines a flat outsole with adjustable straps that fall directly over the midfoot and a wide heel that provides a solid foundation for all types of lifts.

At 20 millimeters, they have a pretty significant heel-to-toe drop, which helps stabilize the ankle and minimize flexion. Combined with the rigid midsole, this heel-to-toe drop also allows for more power when pushing off the ground. To increase the stability, Nike added rubber treads to the outsole. Like many other Nike shoes, these do run a bit narrow.

PROS

  • 20mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Rigid midsole
  • Adjustable mid-foot straps

CONS

  • Run narrow
  • Expensive

BUY: Nike Romaleos 4

FAQs About Weightlifting Shoes


Do weightlifting shoes really help?

Yes, weightlifting shoes can force you to maintain the proper posture during squats and Olympic lifts, and help provide stability and support. You don't need weightlifting shoes to get some great lifts in, but they certainly help.

Are flat shoes better for weightlifting?

It depends on your needs. If you're doing deadlifts or other powerlifting moves, you may prefer a flat shoe, which puts your body in the proper position while still providing enough support.

Should I deadlift in weightlifting shoes?

It depends on the shoes. Weightlifting shoes with a high heel are not typically the best choice for deadlifting. A large heel-to-toe drop can force your body to lean forward when deadlifting, which not only negatively affects your performance, but can also lead to stress and injury over time.

Flatter shoes also help minimize bounce during a deadlift and reduce range of motion—the goal when deadlifting.

About the Author

Lindsay Boyers

Lindsay Boyers is a functional nutritionist, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in online media and product testing. She’s personally tested a wide variety of items in the fitness space, from treadmills to sneakers to water bottles. She’s also written 15 books and hundreds of articles on fitness, wellness, nutrition, and lifestyle. Her bylines appear on Forbes, CNET, Healthline, Garage Gym Reviews, CNN, mindbodygreen, and LIVESTRONG, among others. Lindsay holds certifications in holistic nutrition, functional nutrition, and professional food safety, as well as a B.S. in food in nutrition.

Lindsay Boyers is a functional nutritionist, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in online media and product testing. She’s personally tested a wide variety of items in the fitness space, from treadmills to sneakers to water bottles. She’s also written 15 books and hundreds of articles on fitness, wellness, nutrition, and lifestyle. Her bylines appear on Forbes, CNET, Healthline, Garage Gym Reviews, CNN, mindbodygreen, and LIVESTRONG, among others. Lindsay holds certifications in holistic nutrition, functional nutrition, and professional food safety, as well as a B.S. in food in nutrition.

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