6 Best Weightlifting Shoes in 2023

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
6 Best Weightlifting Shoes in 2023
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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

Nike Romaleos 4

What makes it the best?

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.


  • Phenomenal stability
  • Sturdy platform and sole
  • Better lockdown with two straps
  • Comfortable for a lifting shoe
  • True to size
  • Efficient traction
  • Appealing looks


  • Upper lacks durability
  • Not for narrow ankles
  • Not breathable
Full review of Nike Romaleos 4

Today's best price

Any color
Black (CD3463010)
White (CD3463101)
Total Orange/Black (CD3463801)
Marina/Kumquat/Siren Red (CD3463493)

Best low drop training shoes for weightlifting

Adidas The Total

What makes it the best?

Hands down, the Adidas The Total is a well-built shoe that does what it's intended to do: make lifting safer and more efficient. Reviewers can't find any serious flaws in it, so it's safe to say that you will get your money's worth, and perhaps even more, when you buy this.


  • Great for strength training
  • Good traction
  • Quite stable ride
  • A lot of ground feel
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Functionally spacious toebox
  • Accommodates wide feet
  • Fairly priced
  • Streamlined look


  • Has to be broken in
  • Not versatile enough for non-strength exercises
Full review of Adidas The Total

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Any color
Black (GW6354)
Team Royal Blue-silver Metallic-team Navy Blue (GY8917)
Green (HQ1921)
White (GW6353)
Preloved Blue/White/Lucid Blue (HQ3532)
Navy Blue (HQ3533)

Best expensive training shoes for weightlifting

What makes it the best?

A significant number of wearers were delighted with the stability and improved responsiveness of the Adidas Adipower 2. However, there were opposing views about the flexibility of the forefoot area. Some claimed that it helped them get better ground feedback while a few commented that it caused stability issues. Despite the issue, this footwear is quite desirable to have for its many upsides.


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


  • Eyelet durability concerns
Full review of Adidas Adipower 2

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Any color
Wild Moss/Grey/Acid Yellow (FX0573)
Black (EG1214)
Black (F99816)
White (GZ2860)
Schwarz (GZ5952)
Black (GZ2859)
Beige (GZ0176)
Grey (EG1215)
More colors

Best Nike training shoes for weightlifting

Nike Savaleos

What makes it the best?

It's clear that the Savaleos trainers from Nike adequately perform in both lifting and working out. If you're looking for footwear that can switch between these two endeavors, this shoe is the quick answer. In a nutshell, the Nike Savaleos is a versatile, entry-level lifting shoe that could double as a workout buddy.


  • Versatile for a lifting shoe
  • Superb stability
  • Reasonably priced
  • Secure lockdown
  • Velcro doesn’t damage laces
  • Excellent grip
  • Visually appealing
  • Great for beginners


  • Not for heavy weightlifting
  • Not for wide feet
Full review of Nike Savaleos

Today's best price

Any color
Black (CV5708010)
White (CV5708100)
Grey (CV5708083)
148 sail/black-deep royal blue (CV5708148)
Chile Red/Black/Magic Ember (CV5708606)

Best value

What makes it the best?

For many weightlifters, the stability the Inov-8 FastLift 360 delivers is worthy of their commendation. Its dependable traction on gym surfaces and durability didn't go unnoticed too. On the flip side, some were not happy with how tight the shoe fits. Overall, athletes who are serious about weight training enjoy the benefits this trainer brings.


  • Excellent stability
  • Reliable outsole grip
  • Durable
  • Great breathability
  • Appealing design


  • Too tight
  • Stiff
Full review of Inov-8 Fastlift 360

Today's best price

Any color
Black (000919BKGU)
Blue/Red/White (000919BLRDWH)
Khaki (000919KH)
White (000918WHNYRD)

Comparison of the 6 best weightlifting shoes

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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.

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:





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


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

- has no flex or cushioning for any other activity


+ gives cushioning and flexibility needed for agile exercises

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


+ 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


+ 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


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


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


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.

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.