Choosing the best weightlifting shoes comes down to price, features, and performance. A shoe needs to hit that perfect combination of factors that set it above the rest.
Of course, personal preference will be important in deciding the best shoe for you. Whether you’re a powerlifter, olympic lifter or just a regular old gym rat: you’ll find the right one here.
Just because a shoe isn’t at the top of my list, doesn’t mean it isn’t good in its own right. Let’s jump into it!
|1||Adidas Adipower||.75"||$$$$||Click here to view the price|
|2||Nike Romaleo 2||.75"||$$$$||Click here to view the price|
|3||VS Athletics 2||1.37"||$$||Click here to view the price|
The Adidas Adipowers are at rank one because they are a top of the line shoe for weightlifting. 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.
The heel height is probably the biggest difference from most gym shoes.
With a higher heel, it makes it easier to go deeper in the squat and gives you more of that crucial stability for weightlifting movements.
You wouldn’t think that a .15 inch difference would be that significant, but it DOES, in fact, make a difference in feel and flexibility. Of course, this is less of an issue if you have good ankle mobility, but most people need to work on that! (myself included)
The next factor that sets it apart is the TPU used in the construction of the shoe. TPU is much harder than a non-weightlifting shoe and doesn’t compress as much as cheaper shoes do.
I consider that one of the most important things that set dedicated weightlifting shoes apart from the competition. Compression, when you are moving weight around, is not acceptable in the slightest.
The rest of the shoe is rather standard for a weightlifting shoe, and the quality you would expect from Adidas. A lot of people consider the Adipower to be the “gold standard” of workout shoes, and while it would be impossible to go wrong with either model, it will last you for many years.
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.
Nike Romaleo 2
The Nike Romaleo 2’s come as a natural second for me. The largest similarity between them and the Adidas Adipower is the .75″ heel height.
The materials used for them is almost the same. However, the Romaleos have more of a reputation for being comfortable.
I’m a fan of the two straps used to secure your foot in place. Any kind of unintentional movement in a weightlifting shoe can hinder performance at best and potentially cause injuries.
The Nike Romaleos 2 weightlifting shoes are a solid choice for anyone looking to buy a high-end shoe that delivers on:
- Heel height
The contoured heel along with the optional two insoles they ship with are extremely nice for the comfort factor. In terms of quality they are not outdone by anyone on the market, they might be the most well-made shoes out there. You also can’t go wrong with a .75″ heel as that is ideal for compounds and olympic lifts.
They hold up to any competition thrown at them. Between them and the Adipowers, it basically comes down to personal preference. You really can’t go wrong with either one in my books as they are both fantastic lifting shoes.
Note that the difference in the soles of the shoes is VERY minimal and plenty of weightlifters enjoy this shoe.
VS Athletics weightlifting shoe 2
Formerly, they were one of the ugliest shoes around. However, the second version takes all of the stable fundamentals from the first and dresses them up nicely. (They don’t look like something you found in your grandparent’s garage anymore!)
They also have the tallest heel of any shoe at this list (1.37 inches) which makes them exclusively a weightlifting shoe. It’s one of the most unknown shoes out there that does an amazing job.
They’re one of the most affordable weightlifting shoes on this list by a decent margin. I can’t recommend them enough! Read the more indepth review here.
Getting the best weightlifting 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 the best weightlifting shoes:
- 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.
- The 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, it’s really important to pick one that you can feel confident in.
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 great return policy if you get it wrong.
Weightlifting shoes are essential for the gym
I consider these to be the best weightlifting shoes of 2021. I hope my list and description help you make an informed decision based on what YOU need.
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.
Feel free to check out the individual reviews 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 useful!