7 Best Weightlifting Shoes, 30+ Shoes Tested in 2022

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
7 Best Weightlifting Shoes, 30+ Shoes Tested in 2022

Also known as lifting shoes or squat shoes, weightlifting trainers come with a wide non-compressible platform, raised heel, and a strap to keep you stable under the heaviest loads.

Whether you are a competitive weightlifter or someone who does strength training, this footwear will keep you sure-footed. While they may all look similar at first glance, there are differences that make some of them better for beginners, advanced athletes, certain types of exercise.

We have tested over a dozen of lifting shoes to help you find the best option.

How we test weightlifting shoes

Every weightlifting shoe is assigned a CoreScore, which is a number from 1 to 100, which indicates the following:

  • actual wearers’ opinions about the model
  • the stance of expert reviewers who test and assess every shoe from top to bottom

Our ratings are updated on a regular basis, taking into account the freshest releases and reviews.

Best weightlifting shoes overall

Adidas Adipower 2
Adidas Adipower 2

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 3,740 users
93 / 100 from 2 experts

Pros

  • Solid and stable base
  • Improves ankle mobility
  • Good forefoot flexibility
  • Dynamic upper
  • Great minimalist design

Cons

  • Stability issues
  • Eyelet durability concerns

Verdict

Hands down, the Adidas Adipower 2 eats up the competition among weightlifting shoes! It’s secure, stable, and plenty durable, if it has to come down to a pair of trainers, this is the shoe we’re picking. 

The Adipower just packs all the support our feet could ever ask for. 

It has a wide base that keeps our weight grounded during lifts. And even more, it’s a certified solid outsole that really keeps our feet well-supported. 

During squats, we have nothing but praises for the shoe’s elevated heel design! It keeps mobility alive, allowing us to reach even deeper squats. 

Up front, this weightlifting trainer also has some flex, allowing for better ground feedback. 

And it only gets better! The upper is not only foot-conforming (to add support), it also has a spacious room in the forefoot, giving our toes ample space to splay. 

If you’re thinking this shoe is only reserved for weightlifting, you might want to change your mind. The Adidas Adipower 2 is not only a serious performer in lifts, it’s also got what it takes to do some of your agile workouts! 

By far, it’s the most responsive training shoes on our roster!

Adidas Adipower 2 full review

Best weightlifting shoes for professionals

Reebok Legacy Lifter II
Reebok Legacy Lifter II

CoreScore

89
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 2,195 users
90 / 100 from 4 experts

Pros

  • Excellent stability and support
  • Comfortable footbed
  • Aesthetically designed
  • Superior material quality
  • Worthwhile investment
  • Reliable traction

Cons

  • Heel slip issues
  • Midfoot section discomfort

Verdict

When it comes to weightlifting essentials, the Reebok Legacy Lifter II has all the goods laid out on the table. It’s plenty stable and sure has improved squats and lifts!

The shoe is a superstar when it comes to heel support! It’s very solid and it keeps the feet steady, there’s ZERO rolling over sensation. 

And what’s really taken us by surprise is its comfort. To be honest, we weren’t expecting much from it in this aspect (because duh, it’s a lifting shoe) but boy did it amaze us! 

Yes, it’s rigid, but it also has a great blend of softness, providing some cushion to the feet. 

Its grip? FANTASTIC! Whatever surface we’re on, this shoe just bites. No feeling of unsteady strides at all! 

And even better, it’s a champ in sturdiness! We love to really hammer our shoes, and this one is not an exception. And some workouts later, here we are, bowing down to the king. No cap, it’s still as fresh as the day we first put it on! 

For this, kudos to you, Reebok! 

Sealing the deal is the Legacy Lifter II’s incredibly good looks. It’s such a babe, elevating your gym style with it is such an easy feat. We’re telling you, it’s a natural head-turner. 

The catch? It just runs into a few issues with heel slips. But ultimately, it’s an excellent shoe that’s going to make your lifts a breeze!

Reebok Legacy Lifter II full review

Best weightlifting shoes for beginners

Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.7 / 5 from 18,182 users
92 / 100 from 4 experts

Pros

  • Helps to improve lifting form
  • Versatile for other WOD exercises
  • Well-fitting upper
  • Affordable
  • Great traction
  • Quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Stylish and vibrant color options
  • Perfect for weightlifting beginners

Cons

  • Not for pure Olympic weightlifting
  • Upper tends to bunch up

Verdict

Having tried out past iterations of the Adidas Powerlift, easily, the fourth version reigns supreme! It’s a beast in weightlifting, and it’s just as great for seasoned athletes as it is for beginners. 

If you’re still new to the scene, this shoe has got you covered! And even better, it’s not going to break the bank. 

It might skimp on price, but it sure packs a lot when it comes to performance! 

And because it’s an affordable trainer, we really haven’t set our expectations high, but it sure is a box full of surprises. 

This shoe gives us the best lifting form and weight load, thanks to its very solid and practically incompressible heel. It’s an ace in this department!

Although it’s got more than enough stiffness to stabilize the feet, it still has some give for comfort. Now that’s something you don’t always get from weightlifting trainers.  

And if you think, support stops there, well, it just gets better and better! In this shoe, we have ZERO issues with slippage. Its upper is an A+, it wraps around the feet so well, there’s NOT a single wobble. 

The Adidas Powerlift 4 is also a tank! As in, it can take a beating, and will come out unscathed. It’s that solid.

Adidas Powerlift 4 full review

Best Nike training shoes for weightlifting

Nike Romaleos 4
Nike Romaleos 4

CoreScore

90
Superb!
4.4 / 5 from 213 users
91 / 100 from 12 experts

Pros

  • Excellent stability
  • Premium materials and craftsmanship
  • Better lockdown with two straps
  • Comfortable for a lifting shoe
  • Breathable
  • Efficient traction
  • Appealing looks

Cons

  • Heel might slip for some
  • Not for wide feet

Verdict

Nike's fourth iteration of the Romaleos received a warm welcome from the weightlifting community. Coming from the brand’s elite series of lifting shoes, this version does not disappoint. With top-notch quality from the outside and a secure and stable shoe feel from the inside, it’s hard to go wrong with this lifter.

Nike Romaleos 4 full review

Best Reebok training shoes for weightlifting

Reebok Lifter PR II
Reebok Lifter PR II

CoreScore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 1,032 users
90 / 100 from 5 experts

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Great value for money
  • Supportive during workouts
  • Stable platform
  • Impressive construction
  • Appealing design

Cons

  • Flimsy strap

Verdict

Most wearers were very enthusiastic about how stable and supportive the Reebok Legacy Lifter II is during workouts. Furthermore, they couldn't help but be delighted about the comfort and level of quality the shoe offers. They also admire its appealing look. While there might be some concerns about the fit, still, this footgear lives up to what athletes would expect from the flagship Legacy Lifter series.
Reebok Lifter PR II full review

Best value weightlifting shoes

Adidas Power Perfect 3
Adidas Power Perfect 3

CoreScore

91
Superb!
4.6 / 5 from 3,964 users
89 / 100 from 6 experts

Pros

  • Excellent quality-price ratio
  • Great stability
  • Exceptional ankle support
  • Quality materials used
  • Sufficient toe box space
  • Grippy outsole
  • Color looks better in person
  • Offers secured foothold
  • Well-built midsole

Cons

  • Flexible forefoot
  • Requires a break-in period.

Verdict

It’s got us performing our best squats to date and it sure has proved its prowess in stabilizing us during lifts. Seriously, it can’t get better than the Adidas Power Perfect 3! 

Whether it’s weightlifting or powerlifting, this shoe is a rockstar! It’s got solid support from the bottom up. 

The heel is very solid and sturdy, it keeps us locked in position during lifts. And the upper is only there to take stability up a notch. It’s form-fitting, and it hugs the foot snugly, there’s really no room for unsteady footing or wobbling. 

Add in the medial straps on the upper, the lockdown is just a 10/10! 

And we just have to give a hats off to this trainer’s elevated heel design. It boosts ankle mobility, encouraging us to reach even deeper squats in an upright position! 

The grip is a standout, of course. It just sticks into the gym floor, making every step surefooted and steady! 

To top it all off, this weightlifting shoe is priced moderately. And if you’re looking for a bang for the buck trainer, you won’t go wrong with the Adidas Power Perfect 3!

And hey, it’s got the looks too!

Adidas Power Perfect 3 full review

Why get a weightlifting shoe

Many gym-goers lift weights using whatever footwear is at their disposal, be it their regular running shoes or even casual sneakers.

These pairs could suffice for very light weights but if you are lifting moderate to heavy loads on a regular basis, there are several solid reasons for considering specialized footwear.

The benefits of using weightlifting shoes

Secure foothold

  • Extra-sturdy upper materials keep the foot firmly in place.
  • Wide Velcro straps or BOA dials are added to adjust the fit and hold it at all times. 
  • A firm heel counter at the back stabilizes the rearfoot area.
benefits.png

Raised heel

  • Helps the wearer squat deeper in an upright position without stressing the ankle.
  • Ranges from 15 mm (0.6 inch) to 22 mm (1 inch)

Wide stiff platform

  • The wider base provides a surefooted experience during lifts.
  • The sole unit is made of dense, non-compressible materials.
  • The platform is reinforced by a slip-resistant rubber outsole.

If these benefits are not convincing enough, see why this type of footwear is recommended by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) or watch a weightlifting session of the Olympic Games. 

Lifting shoes vs. cross-training shoes

But what if you are not aiming for the professional tournaments? You just want to incorporate some lifting into your regular gym session.

In this case, a pair of cross-trainers or CrossFit shoes may indeed be a better option. But let’s consider the pros and cons of each type:

Lifter

lifter.png

Cross-trainer

cross-trainer.png

Raised heel (15 - 22 mm)

+ gives an advantage for the following cases:

  • all squats variations (especially if you can’t plant the heel when you squat)
  • snatches
  • cleans
  • jerks
  • push press
  • military press

- will not let you do anything else at the gym; masks problems with ankle flexibility

Flat sole (0 - 6 mm)

+ offers the following benefits:

  • can be used for all gym exercises
  • help to improve ankle mobility
  • okay for light to moderate weight training
  • recommended for deadlifts

- will not help you plant the heel in the squat; can feel unstable for Olympic weightlifting

Non-compressible

+ no wobbling occurs; no power is lost as you go up from the squat

- has no flex or cushioning for any other activity

Compressible

+ gives cushioning and flexibility needed for agile exercises

- the squish will absorb part of the energy you exert when squatting and lifting

Rigid

+ tight casing made of leather and extra straps clasps the foot for stability

- little to no flex makes it uncomfortable to even walk in the shoe; little breathability

Flexible

+ synthetic upper readily flexes in the forefoot to accommodate burpees, planks, jumps, etc.; offers more breathability

- flexibility leads to lack of stability when lifting

Bottom line: If squats, cleans and jerks are the primary focus of your gym routine and you want maximum stability from your shoes, choose lifters. On the other hand, if you want to be more versatile, do all-around workouts, and don’t want to change footwear in the midst of a training session, go for the flat-soled CrossFit shoes.

Middle ground: A solid alternative was introduced by Nike in their flagship Metcon line. Starting from the 5th iteration and up, you get a pair of removable Hyperlift inserts along with the shoes. These firm wedges can be placed underneath the insole in the heel area to increase the heel height by 8 mm for men and by 6 mm in the women’s version. Adding firmness and heel elevation, these inserts make the Metcon come a step closer to an actual lifting shoe. 

If you are also curious about how running shoes, Chuck Taylors, and being barefoot affects your weightlifting performance, see our science-backed study on lifting shoes.

Choosing the right weightlifting shoe for you

The primary parameter to consider in lifting shoes is the heel height.

Weightlifting shoes are available in several heel heights, ranging from 15 mm (0.6 inches) to 22 mm (1 inch).

The tendency for beginners is to select the lower height, while the more professional athletes choose the highest heel height.

Lower range

low.png

Adidas Powerlift

15 mm (0.6 inch)

Inov-8 Fastlift

16.5 mm (0.65 inch)

Best for:

  • beginner and seasoned athletes
  • powerlifting-based training

Middle range

mid.png

Adidas Power Perfect

19 mm (0.7 inch)

Adidas Adipower

20 mm (0.8 inch)

Nike Romaleos

20 mm (0.8 inch)

Best for:

  • intermediate to advanced athletes
  • a mix of powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting

Upper range

upper.png

Reebok Legacy Lifters

22 mm (0.9 inch)

Best for:

  • advanced athletes
  • Olympic weightlifting

Weightlifting shoes help you achieve the best results in what they are intended for - weightlifting.

This footwear is not meant as all-around gym footwear. That’s why it is still crucial to work on the mobility, flexibility, and strength of your feet and ankles outside of your lifting sessions. Keep your training routine versatile to succeed in sports and stay healthy.

Author
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.