3 Best Powerlifting Shoes in 2023
Many workout programs include a form of weightlifting in their exercise lineups. In effect, many training shoes, especially those from big brands like Reebok and Adidas, have features that support weightlifting.
However, when mere weightlifting escalates into much more intensified powerlifting, the shoe to be used also has to level up. Powerlifting is an entirely different discipline with unique requirements. Weightlifting shoes feature many help, but they may not always be enough. It's better to get training shoes that are specially made for powerlifting. With that being said, we have put powerlifting shoes into a stern method of testing.
In this article, we designated the top powerlifting shoes from what we have examined and scrutinized. We have proven the worth of these picks, and we are sure that they deliver!
Best powerlifting shoes for squats
Comparison of the 3 best powerlifting shoes
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Powerlifting is a strength sport that involves three key lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Success depends on a combination of technique, stability, and power.
A good powerlifting shoe is an essential requirement for powerlifters. These shoes are designed to provide the stability and support needed for heavy lifting. They typically feature a flat, sturdy sole, a secure lockdown, and an elevated heel to enhance lifting mechanics.
This guide will go take you through the many kinds of powerlifting shoes, important things to keep in mind when shopping for a powerlifting shoe, the best brands available, and answers to the most frequently asked powerlifting shoe questions.
What makes powerlifting shoes special
Powerlifting shoes are customized shoes made to support and stabilize heavy lifting during powerlifting contests or training. They are created expressly to improve performance and lower the risk of injury.
One of the main features of a powerlifting shoe is its flat sole. When lifting heavy weights, a flat sole provides a stable base, enabling the lifter to keep good form and lower the chance of injury. The sole is constructed from a firm material, such as rubber or plastic, to enhance stability and grip on the lifting surface.
Another characteristic of a powerlifting shoe is its elevated heel. A raised heel allows the lifter to achieve a deeper squat position and retain a more upright posture thanks to the increased ankle mobility that it allows. The raised heel also lessens strain on the knees and lower back while also enhancing the lifting technique.
Powerlifting shoes fit snugly and securely. This aids in minimizing movement inside the shoe, enabling the lifter to apply greater force to the ground when lifting. The upper of the shoe is often made of sturdy material, such as leather, which gives the foot and ankle support and stability.
Types of powerlifting shoes
- Shoes with flat soles (zero-drop)
These are perfect for lifters who value simplicity and a small heel-to-toe drop. They are also ideal for deadlifting. With their thin, gripping sole substance, these shoes provide good traction on the lifting surface too. For the best comfort during lifts, the uppers on deadlifting shoes are frequently made of lightweight and breathable material.
- Hybrid shoes (15-18 mm heel height)
Shoes with a hybrid sole combine the benefits of both flat-soled footwear and heels. They normally feature a flat sole and a slightly elevated heel, balancing stability and ankle mobility.
- Elevated heels (19-21 mm heel height)
Using footwear with an elevated heel during squats will help lifters maintain a more upright posture. Moreover, the higher heel permits increased ankle mobility, which is advantageous for lifters with weak ankle flexibility. Olympic weightlifting benefits from a higher heel as well since they allow for a deeper squat.
To learn more about the biomechanics of lifting in different types of shoes, see our science-backed guide on lifting shoes.
Benefits of powerlifting shoes
Enhanced stability: Powerlifting shoes provide a strong foundation, lowering the chance of slipping or sliding when performing heavy lifts. The flat or heeled sole can help with balance and stop inward or outward rolling of the feet.
Increased ankle mobility: Heeled shoes can help lifters achieve a deeper squat position by improving ankle mobility. For lifters with low ankle flexibility, this may be advantageous.
Improved form: Using powerlifting shoes can assist lifters to maintain good form when performing lifts, like keeping the chest up while squatting and having the weight centered over their feet.
Improved power transfer: By lowering the amount of energy lost during lifts due to shoe compression, the harder sole of powerlifting shoes can help produce more power.
Injury prevention: By offering stability and support during lifts, powerlifting shoes can assist prevent injuries. By encouraging appropriate form and weight distribution, they can help lessen stress on the knees and ankles.
5 factors to consider when buying powerlifting shoes
1. Type of Lifting
Think of the types of lifts you will perform most frequently. Will you mostly be bench pressing, deadlifting, or squatting? Choose the pair of shoes that best meets your demands because different shoe kinds are made with different lifts in mind.
|TIP: If you will be doing all three equally, go for a hybrid shoe (15-18 mm heel height).|
2. Heel height
When choosing a powerlifting shoe, the heel height is an essential consideration because it can impact your ankle's mobility and stability during lifts. Regarding heel height, keep the following in mind.
- Think about the kinds of lifts you'll be doing the most frequently. Heel heights may need to vary depending on the lift. A flat-soled shoe may be preferable for deadlifts whereas a heeled shoe may be great for squats.
- Consider how flexible and mobile your ankles are. Shoes with heels might assist you to achieve a deeper squat stance by enhancing ankle mobility. A heeled shoe could be a smart choice if your ankle flexibility is limited.
- Stability: Choose a shoe that offers the best stability possible during lifts. For certain lifters, a heeled shoe may be more stable, whilst, for others, a flat-sole shoe may offer superior stability.
- Comfort: While choosing a heel height, take into account your level of personal comfort. While some lifters might favor flat-soled shoes, others could find heels to be more comfortable.
Powerlifting shoes need to fit correctly; they should feel snug and comfortable without being overly tight. Make sure to try on a range of brands and sizes to discover the one that fits your foot form the best.
Decide on the appropriate size for your foot. While a loose fit can result in instability during lifts, a tight fit can impede blood flow and make you feel uncomfortable. Be sure to assess the shoe's width, especially if your feet are wider. Choose a shoe that fits comfortably and accommodates the shape of your foot.
You should also take into account the toe box's dimensions. While a spacious toe box might offer better flexibility and comfort, a tight toe box can restrict foot movement and be uncomfortable.
Look, too, for a shoe with a secure heel fit that maintains the heel in place during lifts. Your performance may be impacted if your heels fit loosely.
Be aware that some powerlifting shoes could need some time to break in before they feel comfy. Before wearing the shoes for max lifts, make sure you give yourself enough time to get used to them.
See our guide on how to properly measure your feet to find out the right shoe size.
4. Sole Material
The sloe material impacts the durability and traction of the sole. Consider the durability of the material to make sure the shoes will last despite frequent use. Opt for a shoe with a gripping sole that offers strong traction on the lifting surface. A sticky sole can help prevent slipping or sliding during heavy lifts, which can enhance stability and reduce the risk of injury.
Sole durability is also important. To make sure the shoes will withstand frequent use, take the sole material's durability into account. A strong sole material can sustain the abrasion and wear of frequent lifting while offering enduring support.
The weight of the sole material can have an impact on the overall weight of the shoe. In order to increase agility and quickness while lifting, look for a lightweight sole material that won't add extra weight to the shoe.
The amount of energy wasted during lifts due to shoe compression can be influenced by the sole material's thickness. Reduced energy loss from a thinner sole material during lifts might enhance power transfer.
If you want a more minimalist shoe, pay attention to the sole material's flexibility. More range of motion and a more natural feeling can both be achieved with a flexible sole material.
Powerlifting footwear should offer sufficient support to prevent injuries when lifting. In addition to a rigid sole that supports the foot and ankle, look for shoes with extra support elements like straps or laces to keep the foot in place.
Take into account the shoe's support components, such as straps or laces. They can contribute to the support during lifts and aid in keeping the foot in place. A shoe with a secure heel cup that holds the heel in place during lifts is ideal. This can enhance stability and stop heavy loads from rolling or sliding.
Pay attention to the size and form of the toe box because a small or restricted toe box can restrict foot movement and cause pain or damage.
Top powerlifting shoe brands
Nike: Nike offers a variety of powerlifting footwear, with the Nike Romaleos being the most popular. Both powerlifters and weightlifters love these shoes because of their dependability, stability, and support.
Adidas: The Adidas Powerlift is one of the company's best-selling powerlifting shoe types. These shoes are designed to give a solid foundation and enhance power transfer during lifts. In 2022, the brand also released a flat, zero-drop shoe that is ideal for deadlifting - Adidas The Total.
Reebok: The Reebok Legacy Lifter is a part of Reebok's powerlifting shoe lineup. The elevated heel and snug fit of these shoes promote stability while lifting.
Inov-8: Inov-8 provides a variety of powerlifting shoes, such as the Inov-8 FastLift and Inov-8 Bare-XF types. These shoes are known for their comfort, flexibility, and light construction.
SBD: SBD is a UK-based company that focuses on producing equipment for powerlifting, including shoes. Powerlifters frequently choose the SBD Powerlifting Shoe because of its stability, toughness, and support.
Rogue: Rogue is a well-known producer of shoes for powerlifting and other strength and conditioning gear. Lifters favor the Rogue Do-Win and Rogue Legacy Lifter models due to their assistance and stability.
How to extend the lifespan of your powerlifting shoe
The quality of the shoe, how often it is used, and the weightlifting intensity all affect how long your powerlifting shoes last. A pair of powerlifting shoes can typically last from six months to two years if they are properly cared for.
Here are some tips to help extend the life of your powerlifting shoes:
- Wear them only for lifting: Powerlifting shoes should only be used for lifting; wearing them for other purposes could result in unneeded wear and tear.
- Properly store them: To protect them from deterioration from heat or moisture, store your powerlifting shoes in a cool, dry location.
- Regularly clean them: Clean your weightlifting shoes frequently to get rid of perspiration and dirt that might collect and smell bad or deteriorate.
- Rotate between pairs: Changing up your shoes will give each pair a chance to recover and keep its shape if you frequently use your powerlifting shoes.
- Replace them as necessary: You should consider replacing your powerlifting shoes if you observe substantial wear or tear, or if they are no longer stable or supportive enough.
Frequently asked questions about powerlifting shoes
Are powerlifting shoes necessary for lifting?
Although powerlifting shoes are not technically necessary for lifting, they can have a big impact on lifters' performance. Powerlifting footwear is created to enhance stability, support, and traction during lifts, assisting lifters in maintaining perfect form and avoiding harm.
Powerlifting shoes offer a strong foundation for lifts, lowering the possibility of slipping or sliding during difficult lifts. The feet's ability to roll inward or outward can be reduced thanks to the flat or heeled sole. By minimizing the energy lost through shoe compression, the firmer sole of powerlifting shoes can also help generate more power during lifts.
So, while lifting without powerlifting shoes is doable, we don’t recommend it. Wearing a dedicated lifting shoe can improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury.
Can I wear my powerlifting shoes outside of the gym?
It is not advised to wear weightlifting shoes outside of the gym. Powerlifting footwear may not offer the support or comfort required for other activities because they are made exclusively for lifting. A powerlifting shoe's sole is made to provide stability and traction on lifting platforms. Wearing them on concrete or asphalt might result in severe sole wear and tear, shortening the shoe's lifespan and decreasing its efficiency during lifts.
To enhance stability and power transfer during lifts, powerlifting shoes are typically made with little padding. As a result, they may be painful when walking or standing for extended periods of time since they do not sufficiently absorb trauma.
Should I go up a size in powerlifting shoes?
To achieve the best fit, stability, and performance while lifting, it's critical to select the proper size for your powerlifting shoes. Although going up a full size is not necessary, some lifters might want to get a slightly larger size to account for foot swelling during lifts or to provide a more comfortable fit.
How we test training shoes
Here at RunRepeat, we don't just take our claims and assertions lightly. You can rest assured that the powerlifting shoes we hail as the best are the ones that we tried using in actual lifting sessions. They've been tested in real-life scenarios, and they've prevailed!
The following are the other things that we do in order to preserve the objectivity and dependability of our reviews:
- We refuse shoe sponsorships because our gratitude might cloud our judgment; that just can't be helped
- We perform different powerlifting activities such as bench presses, deadlifts, and squats. We then evaluate how the shoes do during our workouts.
- We send the shoes to our lab and we do various tests on them to measure its 30+ parameters. We also reach the point wherein we split the shoes in half.