3 Best Powerlifting Shoes in 2024

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
3 Best Powerlifting Shoes in 2024
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Many workout programmes 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 scrutinised. We have proven the worth of these picks, and we are sure that they deliver!

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 judgement; 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.

Best powerlifting shoes overall

Adidas Powerlift 5

What makes it the best?

When it comes to powerlifting, nothing beats the Powerlift 5 from Adidas because of its notably thick outsole, great twist resistance, and amazing heel lockdown. All these benefits worked together to keep our stances strong and steady when we did powerlifts.

Compared to the 3.9 mm average, the outsole of the Powerlift 5 is quite thick, registering at 5 mm on our caliper. We also learned that the outsole is as durable as other lifting shoes, hence its thickness is a sure sign that it lasts longer than average. 

In the lab, we manually bent and twisted this shoe to see how resistant it is. To our delight, it felt perfectly like the resistant type.  It got a 5 out of 5 from us. We never had to worry about our ankles rolling anywhere because of the firmness of the base.

We also subjected the heel counter to manual lab assessments. After giving it a huge squeeze, we confirmed the strong clasp that we felt while wearing the shoe. It was one stiff heel counter that got a perfect 5/5 from us.

Durability is not a strong point of this shoe, though. Our Dremel tests on both the upper and heel padding resulted in serious damage. We rated the toebox part of the upper a 2 out of 5 while the heel padding got the lowest 1 out of 5 rating.


  • Stable base for moderate lifting
  • Good for accessory exercises
  • Solid bite on gym floors
  • Secure foothold
  • Supportive Velcro strap
  • Reasonably priced
  • Contains sustainable materials


  • Lacks breathability
  • Upper is not very durable
  • Tongue shifts
Full review of Adidas Powerlift 5

Best powerlifting shoes for squats

What makes it the best?

The Reebok Legacy Lifter III is our pick for the premier powerlifting shoe for squats thanks to its super-stiff platform, unrivaled stability, and great outsole grip.

The Legacy Lifter III's TPU heel is made of some seriously sturdy stuff. We measured its hardness at 95.1 HA, which is 27% harder than the average weightlifting shoe, and we did not feel that stiff heel compress at all, even while doing our heaviest squat sets.

And while it has quite a narrow platform - 5.1 mm and 0.7 mm narrower than average in the forefoot and heel, respectively - the Legacy Lifter III remains incredibly stable. We gave it a perfect score of 5 out of 5 in torsional stability, as were simply unable to twist the shoe with our bare hands. Similarly, its heel counter stiffness also got the highest stiffness score, and we felt our feet securely locked in the shoes whenever we got under the bar.

The shoe's outsole grip also doesn't disappoint. Our durometer measured the outsole rubber's hardness at 79.5 HA, which is below the average of 85.0 HA. But that slightly softer rubber delivers great grip, as our feet stick so well to wooden and rubber floors, especially during our squat workouts.

However, we did find that the shoe's actual heel to toe drop is 20.5 mm, which is slightly shorter than the brand's stated drop of 22 mm. So for those looking for a higher drop shoe to squat in, keep that in mind.


  • Mind-blowing stability
  • Incompressible platform
  • High heel helps with posture for squats
  • Highly supportive upper
  • Top-notch durability
  • The Pump feature is fun and improves the fit


  • Unreasonable price hike
  • Short Velcro attachment
Full review of Reebok Legacy Lifter III

Best powerlifting shoes for deadlifts

Adidas The Total

What makes it the best?

Among powerlifting shoes we’ve worn and lab-tested, Adidas The Total’s zero-drop heel and low-to-the-ground stance prove it’s the best for deadlifts. It gives us the confidence to lift heavier or longer since its low nature, vast base, and grippy outsole make it optimal for this type of lift.

Deadlifts require more than just our brute strength. The flat heel and high surface feedback enhance the required balance and coordination to perform this technical lift. Our caliper reveals a low 12.5 mm in both the heel and forefoot, which means it has no incline. This added stability that felt great for lifting. In addition, the firm cushion ensured it wouldn’t bottom out with its 44.4% firmer-than-average durometer result.

Having proper form is key since it involves our whole body. The wide platform allows our natural toe splay and activation of the right muscle groups. Our feet don’t feel restricted as the shoe tapers subtly to the 86.5 mm big toe area. On top of that, the outsole has a solid bite over various surfaces, translating to more controlled movements.

Surprisingly, the shoe offers much flexibility, making it versatile enough for plyometrics and floor exercises. Our bend test reveals it’s 44.8% more bendable than average. While this feature is great for some, it’s too flimsy for more serious and heavier weightlifting. 


  • Ideal for deadlifting
  • Great traction
  • A lot of ground feel
  • Plenty of toebox space
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Fairly priced
  • Streamlined look


  • Not so much breathability
  • Not for heavy squats
Full review of Adidas The Total

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 customised shoes made to support and stabilise 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 minimising 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 centred 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 in achieving 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 favour flat-soled shoes, others could find heels to be more comfortable.

3. Fit

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.

5. Support

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 favour 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 minimising 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.

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.