My criteria for the best weight lifting shoes is price, features, and performance. For a shoe to be good for the gym it needs to hit that perfect combination of factors that set it above the rest. Of course, personal preferance will also play a roll in what the best shoe is for you. Whether you’re a power lifter, olympic lifter or just a regular old gym rat: you’ll find the right one for you here.
I will cover my reasoning for why I ranked each shoe where I did, but feel free to check out my reviews of all these shoes for a more in depth look.
Just because a shoe isn’t at the top of my list, doesn’t mean it isn’t good in its own right. It might be the best lifting shoe for you. Let’s jump into it!
|1||Adidas Adipower||.75"||$$$$||Click here to view the price|
|2||Nike Romaleo 2||.75"||$$$$|
|3||Pendlay Do-Win||.75"||$$$||Click here to view the price|
|4||VS Athletics||1.29"||$$||Click here to view the price|
The Adidas Adipowers are at rank one, because they are a top of the line shoe for squats. These are pretty much considered the “gold standard” of lifting shoes that have earned their reputation over the years from being such high quality and good at what they do.
With a pronounced effective heel height of .75″, they make a great choice for an olympic lifting shoe as well.
They are also the most expensive shoe on the list, but not by such a large enough margin to bump them down a rank. They are a clear pick for the best lifting shoes around. Read more
The Nike Romaleo 2’s come as a natural second for me. As the main competitor of the Adipowers, it is still an excellent shoe. Overall, they share a lot of similarities (.75″ heel). The materials used for them is almost identical, however the Romaleos have more of a reputation for being comfortable. Nike always puts a lot of emphasis on feel which is a huge plus.
Note that the difference in the soles of the shoes is VERY minimal and plenty of weightlifters enjoy this shoe. They make a natural choice for someone looking for a comparable weight lifting shoe that isn’t made by Adidas. I’m also a huge fan of the two straps they use compared to the 1 of the Adipower. Read more
For the best prices check out the Romaleo 2s on RogueFitness.com
The Pendlay Do-Win’s are a great, unique shoe for lifting. However, what’s keeping them from being second on the list is that they are a little more expensive than the Powerlift 2s, and not quite as ‘entry level.
However, the Pendlay line as of the time as this writing is defunct. So these probably won’t be making a come back any time soon, if ever. I will keep this page updated if I find anything out, but they are probably selling out their remaining stock on these.
Still an excellent weight lifting shoe though for someone who knows what they want. I could see a more experienced user having a preference for them over something else. Read more
And lastly the VS Athletics. They are a function over form shoe with that one thing in mind. Probably by far the least stylish shoe on this list, however they are cheap and do a good job at their primary focus: lifting.
They also have the tallest heel of any shoe at this list (1.29 inches) which makes them exclusively a weightlifting shoe.
No one wears a lifting shoe outside of the gym anyways, so it’s kind of a moot point. Definitely a great shoe for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. By a decent margin, they are the cheapest shoe on this list. Read more
Getting the best weight lifting shoes possible is important if you want to be able to push yourself in the gym and do it safely. If you’ve ever tried to lift in a normal pair of shoes, it’s far from ideal. A shoe meant for lifting will provide you with stability, and the support you need to effectively squat.
When I first started lifting I used some squishy tennis shoes and it was just crap for squatting. They were obviously designed for absorbing the impact of a tennis court, not holding up a 300+ pound load. It kind of hit me that I needed a pair of shoes strictly for the gym.
It’s a question I see a lot of online. “Do I need a pair of shoes for lifting?” Well if you are serious about going to the gym, absolutely. A good pair of lifting shoes will last you for MANY years.
Important factors in a weightlifting shoe:
- Raised heel
This is essential for a shoe meant for doing squats, because it helps those of us (yes, including myself here) with less than ideal ankle mobility. It’s one of those things that is going to be personal preference to a certain degree, but will inevitably help you to achieve good squatting depth comfortably.
You can squat in a shoe with flat soles just fine, but that may take more time to get used to and not help as much for squats. Generally the higher the heel the more preferable the shoe is for squats and olympic lifts such as the snatch and clean and jerk.
- Wide toe box, good ankle support
Because your heel is raised in a lifting shoe, it’s also important that you have ankle support. This is pretty much a given since the two go hand in hand, but some shoes skimp on this. A wider toe box not only makes for a more comfortable fit, but aids with the overall stability of the shoe.
- Non-compressible sole
Probably the biggest and most important difference between a shoe meant for lifting and pretty much any other shoe. The non-compressible sole provides a LOT more stability compared to a running shoe, and ensures you have something to push from that won’t absorb energy and stability from your lift. A solid connection with the floor to push “through” it is essential when squatting. It basically extends the area your foot takes up on the floor.
Also a big factor to consider when purchasing is your level experience with them. If you’ve never owned a pair before then it’s really important to pick one that you can feel confident with being the right fit and price for you. For example, a shoe with a wooden sole probably wouldn’t be the best choice for a beginner lifting shoe!
I highly recommend choosing a brand that you already have a pair of shoes with so you know what to expect in regards to their sizing. Of course you can always go out on a limb because Amazon has a very nice return policy if you get it wrong.
Weightlifting shoes are essential
I think it would be hard to go wrong with any of these shoes, and hopefully my list and description help you make an informed decision based on what YOU need. I tried to be as objective as possible so the list isn’t just one of my personal favorites. At the end of the day it’s all based on your preferences and what you want from a weightlifting shoe.
Whether you have wide feet or narrow feet, prefer a raised heel or flat sole, there is so much on the market that you can find something exactly for your preference. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the shoes listed above, click here to view my picks for cheap weightlifting shoes.
If you are looking for a little bit more in depth look at each shoe, please feel free to check out the reviews of them on this site to get a better idea of what each shoe is about. Even though I consider the Adipowers to be the best weightlifting shoes, they all have their pros and cons that make them unique. Thanks for reading, please share with other aspiring lifters if you found it informative!