New Balance is an American footwear company mainly known for their running shoes. They have a great reputation for quality so naturally, we want to know if that extends to weightlifting.
The answer is…sort of. While they do not offer a dedicated weightlifting shoe, they have several pairs of cross-training shoes that would work well for CrossFit and moderate lifting exercises.
I wouldn’t recommend them if you are strictly doing squats and deadlifts as shoes made for those will get you more bang for your buck. But if you want a shoe that isn’t as specialized, they have some great pairs to choose from.
I’m kind of particular on the shoes I use to lift on the gym so you might not be as concerned with it as me though!
It’s really a shame, but I assume it’s because the reputation they have is almost entirely based on running shoes. Probably doesn’t make sense for them to go after the weightlifting shoe market, even though I wish they would.
On to the shoes!
The New Balance MX20v3 Minimus
The first shoe that I’d recommend if you are looking for a great cross trainer is the New Balance Men’s MX20v3 Minimus.
It is extremely lightweight and shaped for running/movement. My brother loves this shoe for the gym because of its minimal style.
The next shoe seems like a natural one to follow the MX20v3, the New Balance Women’s WX20v4 Cross-Training and Weightlifting Shoe. The name’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s the official one listed on Amazon.
It shares the same traits as the men’s version that make it an excellent choice for CrossFit workouts. I’m assuming the only real difference is the sizing.
I haven’t reviewed this one yet and might not just because it’s so similar to the other one. If you need a shoe capable of some mobility I highly recommend it.
It is unfortunate that New Balance really doesn’t offer too much in the way of weightlifting shoes. They make some excellent cross trainers that fit the bill really well for CrossFit, and not much else. Even then, if you know that you want to focus on that then you’re set.
The Adidas Powerlift series is a great place to start if that sounds more up your alley. It’s a very affordable workout shoe to use without breaking the bank.
Maybe that’s just my personal preference speaking though, so decide based on your needs!
It is worth mentioning that if you want to get into running, I highly recommend getting a dedicated shoe for it. Not that you can’t do it in these, but speaking from personal experience I’ve had trouble with running in minimal style shoes in the past. The importance of proper foot support and strengthening the muscles in your feet is real.
The Minimus line is great for running in bursts during a workout. I just wouldn’t put any real mileage on a shoe that isn’t PERFECT for running distance, because for me that tends to be a one-way ticket to injury city.
If they ever end up releasing a shoe purely for weightlifting I will update this page to include it!
I hope they do one day because New Balance has earned a solid reputation for quality. It would be extremely interesting to see what they could put out there!
There are a lot of great CrossFit shoes out there – A lot of different brands offer their take on a lifting shoe for CrossFit, but what’s the difference between a shoe meant for it or strictly weightlifting?
The sole of the shoe makes all the difference! A shoe for weightlifting will have a more rigid sole which does not perform well for the movement that CrossFit workouts can demand.
They are very similiar though and it would be hard for you to go wrong with any of these as I consider them the best CrossFit shoes out there.
Reebok Crossfit Nano 5
This shoe by Reebok is what I’d consider to be the front runner of CrossFit shoes. It’s constructed out of great synthetic materials such as Kevlar for support, and TPU for the midsole.
The sole is flexible, but still has the considerable rigidness you would want out of a lifting shoe. They’re very lightweight because of the materials used and comfortable at the same time.
The only thing to be aware of when purchasing is that sometimes people have issues with the sizing.
In this case, the shoe runs small so you may want to order a size up if you aren’t familiar with Reebok sizing.
I don’t really consider that a bad thing, because a lifting shoe is meant to be a little snug.
Obviously it shouldn’t be so much that you’re uncomfortable though! So once you know the right size you’re good to go.
The Minimus is the only shoe on this list without a forefoot strap, but being made by New Balance gives it a pass for making the list. It’s a very minimal (see what I did there) shoe, and that’s a key reason it’s good for CrossFit.
That being said, if you need more support in a shoe I would go with one of the other three shoes on the list.
Minimal shoes can be a little unforgiving if you haven’t used one before. It is very lightweight and sure to perform well in intense workouts.
They’re a great looking shoe and have good ventilation. I haven’t reviewed this model in more depth yet, so I highly recommend checking them out on Amazon for more details.
There are other optional things, but these are what I consider to be the essential features. The most important one is that the sole is flexible.
Your footwear directly impacts your performance, and wearing improper shoes can be uncomfortable as well as lead to injuries.
The raised heel is also important though. There are some flat shoes out there, but I don’t feel like they provide the same level of support as their counterparts.
You also don’t get the same leverage as you would otherwise for lifts like squats, cleans etc. Unless you have experience with flat shoes, I highly recommend going with a raised heel.
And last but certainly not least is the forefoot strap. Any lifting shoe worth anything will have one of these to keep your foot in place, which is even more important for CrossFit. It provides a lot of stability, which is crucial to any kind of weightlifting activity.
Now I’m going to cover what I think are some of the best shoes for CrossFit. I’ll just be providing summaries, but if you are looking for more detail take a look at the review I’ve written for each one.
Why these are the Best CrossFit Shoes
I think this is a very solid list of the best CrossFit shoes. They all have the features like straps, raised heels and the required flexibility for intense workouts. Even if you don’t go with a shoe on this list, hopefully I’ve provided some good examples of what to look for to suit your needs. That’s what it really boils down to.
A common trend I’ve seen with these types of shoes is this: they don’t last forever. I think it’s just a reality of the more stress a shoe goes under, the less time it will last. And that’s why I highly recommend that you have separate pairs of shoes for CrossFit and weightlifting, (assuming you do both) if you have the budget to do so.
These shoes are going to go under some big stress during a work out!
About Pendlay weightlifting shoes and the company that makes them
UPDATE 2/13/17 – Muscle Driver USA (The main seller of Pendlay Products) is no longer in business, so it isn’t clear if Pendlay products will continue to be manufactured by someone else. There are still some reputable sellers of Pendlay branded gear out there, but be careful not to overpay for them. I will update this post if it becomes more clear what the future holds for the Pendlay brand.
Judging from the listing on Amazon, they are selling off the current stock and not producing more. Several sizes are unavailable at the time of this update. If you’re looking for a comparable shoe with a weightlifting focus, I highly recommend the VS Athletics Weightlifting shoe 2.
Pendlay was a hard brand to track down. Their online presence is mostly defined by their weightlifting shoes on the Muscle Driver USA site, although they also produced:
At the time, the most I could find is that they were owned by MuscleDriver USA in a joint venture with Glenn Pendlay, a Level 5 USA Weightlifting coach.
They are mainly known for the Pendlay Do-Win weightlifting shoes, and also offer a women’s version of the same shoe. However, they also manufactured barbells and weights. I found that pretty interesting because most companies only focus on producing one type of product. They were clearly aiming to become a one stop shop for quality gym products.
Weightlifting is clearly something that they were passionate about and I think it shows in the great reputation the company had for quality products.
The Pendlay Do Win Weightlifting Shoes
The Do-Wins are a highly reviewed shoe for their mid-range price and excellent design for lifting.
They are one of the few shoes to use real leather in their construction, which adds a lot to the flexibility of the shoe.
I have to say that this is a shoe designed by weightlifters for weightlifters. All of the features are on point and the shoes perform all of the big three lifts in addition to olympic lifts very nicely.
Compared to shoes from other companies they are also very affordable, especially for the high quality of materials they use.
Most companies tend to go with synthetic materials for everything.
Even brands I have a lot of personal preference for like Adidas. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with synthetic, but it’s hard not to see it as a cheaper route to go for production.
You can also check out my Pendlay Do-Win review if you want to take a closer look at them and how they stack up to other shoes in the industry. You’ll be very surprised at how every feature is perfectly designed with lifting in mind.
A great benefit of buying shoes from them was their customer service.
Their shoes came with a 90 day warranty, which is very unusual and says a lot about how much they believe in their product.
If an incorrect size is ordered they would also ship you a new pair free of charge after you sent the ill-fitting pair back.
Customer service is something few companies get right, and it gave me a lot of confidence to recommend them for that reason alone.
To sum it up, for a brand that lacked much of an online presence, Pendlay lifting shoes used to offer some of the more solid weightlifting products on the market.
The Pendlay Do-wins have a well-deserved reputation for quality, and the company backs it up with an emphasis on customer service that is not seen enough these days.
They are proof that you don’t have to go with a huge brand name to get an awesome shoe that will last you years in the gym. If you are interested in a pair, it might not hurt to seek them out because it isn’t clear whether more will be made in the future.
UPDATE: This shoe is no longer available on Amazon – I highly recommend you read my review of the VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe 2. It keeps what the original does right and looks a hell of a lot better.
The VS Athletics weightlifting shoe is designed for specifically for olympic lifts and might look a little bit rough around the edges. The real question is, how does it perform?
And the short answer is yes.
Function over form is the case here, and let’s be real: who cares how a shoe looks if it gets the job done. I guarantee no one cares what shoes you’re wearing, and if they do you’re better off without ’em.
Its low price relative to other lifting shoes makes it a compelling buy for that reason alone. If you’re on a budget and in the market for a dedicated olympic lifting shoe, you won’t find a better shoe for the money.
Let’s break it down and see how it holds up to the other olympic weightlifting shoes out there.
Let’s look at the defining features
Raised heel (3.3 cm or 1.29 inches)
This is probably one of the taller heels you’ll find in a weightlifting shoe. Heels with this height are made for olympic lifts such as the snatch and clean and jerk.
That makes it an excellent heel for squatting with too. The main drawback is a heel this tall will make deadlifting uncomfortable, because you are raised so high off the floor.
I would recommend a flat soled shoe for deadlifts or maybe even going barefoot. That is one of the only possible downsides to the VS Athletics in my opinion.
Two support straps
I am a big fan of this feature simply because it ensures that your foot is not moving around in the shoe even more so than one strap does.
That always gets points from me, because the last thing you need doing a lift with a lot of movement is your foot moving around in the shoe.
There are a few shoes that do this as well such as the Romaleos 2, but it is still pretty rare to see. Not to mention, these do it for significantly less money.
Lower price point than most olympic weightlifting shoes
There are not as many affordable weightlifting shoes out there as a I would like. Especially when it comes to those ot the Olympic variety.
It’s probably because they are even more of a small market than average gym shoes already are.
This is one of the few that does a good job and isn’t skimping on the important weightlifting features an oly shoe needs.
You won’t find a comparably priced shoe that does as good of a job.
True to size fit
Weightlifting shoes typically are a little tricky to size, but the VS athletics seem to be one of the more reliable fitting pairs out on the market right now.
It’s not a huge deal, but it is definitely a nice thing when it saves you a little bit of hassle making sure you’re ordering the right size.
A lot of companies are known for having their shoes having a unique kind of sizing which can making choosing a lifting shoe harder than it needs to be.
You won’t have to check sizing charts obsessively, which should help to avoid having to deal with an ill-fitting pair.
The most obvious thought that needs to be addressed because everyone is probably thinking it: yes, they aren’t lookers.
In fact, they’re probably the plainest lifting shoe ever on this site. However, the look of your shoe is not going to increase your lifts or provide more stability. (Which is what actually matters here)
It’s a non-issue if you are looking for an affordable lifting shoe that excels in what it’s made for.
Especially when you stop to consider the low price compared to other lifting shoes on the market. You won’t find a better beginner shoe than this one if you’re interested in olympic lifts.
My gym shoes that look better haven’t landed me any girls in the gym yet! So it’s not a big deal when it’s a such a solid shoe for olympic lifting. Put the shoes on and get ready to move some weight.
Overall opinion of the VS Athletics Weightlifting shoe
This shoe has a very accurate fit, where as other brands can be a little bit harder to predict with their sizing. I hate the uncertainty with certain ones that shall remain unnamed for the sake of fairness.
These are often said to run a little wide, which is excellent for people with wider feet.
Even if you don’t have wide feet, it’s a nice advantage to have from a lifting shoe that will provide you with a little more stability.
To sum it all up, the VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe is a great olympic lifting shoe. Just because they cost less than other offerings does not mean that they are of lesser quality.
They’re a great alternative to the more expensive olympic shoes like the Romaleo or Adipower.
The trade off between the looks and price of them is well worth it. It makes them a solid choice for a beginner on a budget looking for a shoe that will get the job done and last for years to come.
It’s not designed for running or jumping, so if you’re looking for that out of a shoe you might want to hustle over to the CrossFit section now!
The shoe’s heel and sole just don’t support movement necessary for that kind of exercise. However, they do support some serious weightlifting potential.
To me, this shoe is a perfect shoe to have more of a weightlifting vibe than the average lifting shoe. With a heel height of .75″ it is about .15-.25″ taller than the average shoe that is solely for compound lifts.
However, the lack of straps keeps me from recommending it as an olympic weightlifting shoe. I’m a big fan of oly shoes that have straps because of how secure they make your foot feels in them.
It takes your mind off of what’s on your feet with the confidence they give.
If you’re looking for a more ‘active’ shoe I recommend looking at some of the cross-trainers by Reebok. For someone just interested in the big three (squat, deadlift and bench) they’re a strong option.
Adidas has a lot of experience with lifting shoes and you can definitely tell with the Drehkraft. The look is very reminiscent of the Adidas Powerlift 3.
The Adidas Drehkraft hits the key points of a lifting shoe
Tall heel profile
The .75 inch heel makes it a great shoe for hitting depth on your squats, and not being too tall either. It’s even high enough you could probably dabble with some olympic lifting, but I would still recommend getting a dedicated shoe for it if that is your goal in the gym.
As mentioned above, straps would have made this a great oly shoe in my book.
Wide toe box
The shoe is a little wider which helps the stability factor a lot compared to narrow shoes. More surface area to distribute the weight across helps a ton.
Plus, you won’t feel like you’re going to fall over with a ton of weight on your back.
People with wider feet will appreciate the fit of the Drehkraft.
Quality materials / build
Coming from Adidas, you know that the shoe is going to be solid. It’s one brand I am a big fan of when it comes to weightlifting shoes because everything they offer is so well made.
That and the fact there are virtually no complaints about the unique lacing system, which is the focal point of the shoe.
When it comes to the build of them, the shoes are mainly synthetic which is more or less normal for 95% of lifting shoes these days.
All of these key points make for what I consider the most important factor in having an effective squat or deadlift: stability.
If you don’t have that then you cant have good form to lift weight effectively or safely.
You have to be able to trust what is essentially the foundation of your lift! Many people lift in shoes that aren’t designed for weight lifting and end up having problems because of it.
Final thoughts on the Adidas Drehkraft
I’d consider this a great shoe for someone interested in something different. If you are looking for a shoe that is good for CrossFit, I recommend going with a cross-trainer and not the Drehkraft.
It is strictly a shoe for compound lifts, as shown by the shape of the shoe and .75″ heel profile.
It is light compared to other lifting shoes, an effective alternative to normal lacing/straps, and comes from Adidas so you know it’s a quality brand that you can trust. On top of that, it’s reasonably priced making it a good buy for pretty much anyone. You won’t go wrong with this unique shoe.
The Drehkraft’s success even paved the way for another model
Perhaps what I find the most interesting though is how Adidas used this shoe to test out the lacing system before unveiling the Leistung. Logically I guess we can assume the Drehkraft paved the way for a more “official” olympic lifting shoe.
The downside to the Leistung being the front-runner is that you are going to pay significantly more for it. There is an argument to be made that this shoe isn’t as specialized as the Leistung is when it comes to Olympic lifting though.
Not having to deal with shoelaces is a pretty tempting selling point by itself. You owe it to yourself to check this one out.
The Inov-8 FastLift 335 is the British company’s entry into the weightlifting shoe market. I have not heard much about this company prior to checking out the shoe so it was very interesting to research.
It seems to fit the bill for most people who have ordered it with a lot of favorable reviews, so how does it stack up for an intense CrossFit work out? Let’s find out!
Digging into the details of the Inov 8 Fastlift 335 weightlifting shoe
This shoe is going to be more flexible in the fore-foot than a standard shoe for weightlifting because of its design. It has a a great heel ‘truss’ design normally seen in more expensive shoes for stability so it will not compress under heavy loads and provide the support you need for squatting and deadlifts.
With a heel height of .75 inches, it is even more designed for weightlifting movements than some shoes purely designed for it!
What is essential about this shoe to me is that it has a forefoot strap for that extra tight fit that some cross-training shoes tend to lack. I am always a fan of the forefoot strap, and if a shoe has two it’s even better!
The stability the strap adds while doing high movement workouts gives you confidence that you won’t lose your footing or slide around, which is all too common in shoes not designed for weightlifting.
It’s got that X-factor going for it because of the combination of features it has that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Which is important because it needs to do a good job at a lot of things to be considered a good buy with how diverse the needs are that CrossFit can demand.
I want to talk about build quality too. Inov 8 uses top of the line synthetic materials to produce a top of the line shoe. The heel is made of TPU, the same as more expensive lifting shoes like the Romaleos or the Adipower.
It is very light compared to most lifting shoes out there. However, being made for movement it sacrifices a little bit of the stability you would get with a shoe dedicated purely to weightlifting.
The flexible nature of it also lends itself well to CrossFit workouts with a lot of movement. It is interesting because most other shoes that are popular for CrossFit have a raised heel too, but not to the same degree as the Fastlift. It’s a very defining feature of this shoe that sets it apart from the competition
I wouldn’t recommend a shoe like this for extended running though, as it’s not the designed purpose of the shoe to provide that kind of support. But for box jumps, burpees, and quick sprints? It can handle those and more with ease.
Overall opinion of the Inov 8 Fastlift 335
The Inov 8 Fastlift 335 has a good variety of different color selections to choose from with a solid sole pattern to give you traction on the concrete/rubber floors that most gyms have. Take a look at the sole and you will see what I mean, grip will definitely not be an issue! There is also plenty of toe space so they are comfortable to wear, compared to more narrow lifting shoes.
Always be aware of the toe profile of any weight lifting shoe that you are looking into buying. My personal preference is for a wider toe space because my foot is wider than it is narrow and that shape provides me more stability and comfort when I am lifting. Generally speaking the toe box is going to be wide for stability purposes on most of them.
The Fastlift 335 is the go to choice if you are looking for versatility in what a pair of weightlifting shoes can do. These are designed for action and not just compound or olympic lifts. You will crush fast paced exercises like box jumps, and still squat like a champ. The .75″ heel is a great height if your ankle mobility isn’t quite up to par and provides the stability you need during heavy lifts.
If you are looking for a great shoe capable of handling almost anything, go with the Fastlift 335.
ASICS is a Japanese athletic gear company that is mainly known for their top of the line running shoes. They have also made weightlifting shoes, such as the 727 TOW (Pictured above), that is not much harder to get ahold of.
They have gained a reputation over the years being used by world-renowned lifters, but are very expensive.
One site I found listed them for $275 and sold out. The next site I found them on did not list the price was only $215 and was also sold out!
It seems like the only option to get a pair is to import them, from a site like Rakuten. (Disclaimer: I have not used this site to purchase from before, use caution if going this route)
The defining feature of the 727s would probably have to be the high quality of materials used, and design has remained relatively unchanged for many years.
With such limited choices, I would honestly recommend a pair of Adidas lifting shoes or Nike Romaleo as viable alternatives. They’ll save you a lot of money and time trying to get a pair of ASICS.
Do I have to import my gym shoes of choice from Japan though?
Don’t worry though, if you aren’t wild about importing there is ONE other option. Yes, only one. ASICS also makes the Lift Trainer, which was recently DISCONTINUED!
You can tell from the pictures on this page alone that these two shoes were VERY different in terms of what they are looking to achieve, with one being a dedicated weightlifting shoe and the other being a cross trainer. So it’s not a fair comparison in that regard. Click here to see my review of them
It’s a shame that it gets overlooked so much. While it’s not a weightlifting specific shoe like the 727 TOW, it performs better than a lot of cross trainers that I’ve reviewed, making it a great choice for CrossFit and other general gym use.
I would highly recommend them for someone who isn’t only focusing on weightlifting exclusively. You’re definitely not going to be a fan if you were looking for the 727s, though.
My best guess is that ASICS do not see the market for an expensive weightlifting shoe for people in the West and may be testing the market with the cross trainer.
Apparently they weren’t selling so great!
Still considering importing the 727s?
The bottom line is that if you are a serious lifter, you can import the 727 TOWs (Also referred to as the 727 Tiger) from various online sites. I’d advise using caution when choosing a site, as I have seen some with middlemen trying to charge a much higher price than the shoe’s actual cost to make a profit. If you are going that route, here is a sizing chart to convert your shoe size:
There are so many good shoes for weightlifting out there these days. I’ve covered many in my reviews on here that are great. I only see importing as an option if you are highly determined to get a pair of these shoes. For anyone but an elite lifter, the trouble isn’t worth it in my opinion.
You can find shoes with similar heel profiles that are great for olympic lifts such as the Nike Romaleo 3 or the Adidas Adipower. Being perfectly honest, I see no reason to pay the premium for the 727’s when there other viable alternatives out there that don’t run the risk of getting scammed.
I have no doubt they are great, but the wooden heel really doesn’t have any advantages compared to the TPU used by modern weightlifting shoes. It might have held some advantage in the past prior to synthetics being as quality as they are today, but it’s negligible today.
When it comes to ASICS lifting shoes
ASICS weightlifting shoes might be hard to find. However, if you do a lot of CrossFit I highly recommend the Lift cross trainers. While not being meant for strictly weightlifting, they have received a ton of great press that ASICS of all types are known for.
Unfortunately, it seems like getting the strict weightlifting shoes by ASICS will remain a difficult task for a while!
If you’re determined enough though you DO have options to import the 727. Just be careful and don’t get ripped off.
Leather with heavy duty black nylon mesh construction
This is an unusual quality for a lifting shoe to have, and I like it a lot. High-quality materials make for a better shoe and shows that they are putting some effort into having the shoe strong as well as flexible. Leather definitely is not a common material among lifting shoes, which is a nice point in the favor of the do-win. I could see this pair of shoes outlasting a lot of what is out there on the market because they just don’t offer the same leather construction as these.
¾ inch heel
A little bit taller than the standard height of a raised heel for a lifting shoe, and a nice height to help deal with poor ankle mobility and a solid base to drive from. When looking for a shoe for for the gym you probably want a raised heel over a flat one to help you achieve squat depth and help form on Olympic lifts. If you struggle with ankle flexibility it is always a good idea to work on that separately as well.
Dual strap design
I am always a fan of the two straps for a lifting shoe to totally secure your foot in place so you don’t have to worry about a movement of any kind within the shoe. It’s a less common feature in shoes and I’m surprised by that because it seems so obvious to improve. But maybe that’s just my personal preference speaking. Your feet will not be going anywhere in these!
Most people report that the shoe is wide, which is a good thing for weightlifting of any kind. However, the manufacturer even reports on the Amazon page that the recommended fit is a ½ size down from your normal shoe size. Which is probably to ensure that it’s a snug fit as most lifting shoes want to minimize your foot moving within the shoe. However, if your feet are really wide you might want to keep it at your regular shoe size. Also good to note, is this a re-design of the 2007 model, with significant improvements to the flexibility of the sole and construction of the shoe.
As you can see they have a very wide toe box. Possibly one of the widest I’ve seen and I like it a lot because of that. You are probably wondering why it looks like a monstrosity compared to most lifting shoes, aren’t you? The purpose of it is to distribute the weight over a larger surface to “spread the floor” so to speak and really goes to show the knowledge that was put into the design of the shoe.
This is an excellent weightlifting shoe. If you are looking to get serious about your training and want a solid shoe, I highly recommend them. The materials they use are higher quality than most lifting shoes and the features are everything I would expect a lifting shoe to have.
I think the Pendlay Do Win makes for a great choice for pretty much anyone. The price is right, and Pendlay is a well-known reputable brand. They will even ship you a replacement at no cost if your sizing is wrong and you send the shoes back, which is always great and a solid sign of good customer service.
That kind of support is very hard to come by these days and speaks a lot to the company’s focus on keeping customers happy.
You would find it hard to find another company with such nice return policies, however, if ordering from Amazon that is even less of an issue.
The Otomix weightlifting shoes are one of the more interesting shoes that I have ever reviewed. They are made of leather, which is somewhat unusual for lifting shoes and I like that a lot.
Leather really steps up the quality of a gym shoe to the next level.
They’re also promoted for MMA, but I’m not sure I’m following on that one. I’ll stick to the weightlifting aspects for this one.
Getting down to the features
Even Mark Wahlberg wore these, are you sold yet?
The leather is one of the defining aspects of the shoe as mentioned above. The flexibility lends itself well to having a full range of motion during exercises like calf raises/extensions.
Not only that, but comfort walking around in them as well. Some lifting shoes sacrifice the comfort for a more rigid, performance-based shoe. That definitely is not the case with these bad boys.
But do they hold up to the competition to provide you with the best foundation for heavy lifts? That is probably the most important thing when it comes to a shoe for weightlifting is the sole and heel.
Shoes that have raised heels will help more on squats than flats, and flatter shoes tend to help more with deadlifts. The Otomix weightlifting shoes have a flat rubber sole (which isn’t a big deal, most if not all shoes do), but the heel is actually NOT a part of the sole.
What provides the raised heel in these is a foam insert underneath the insole. WHAT!?
To me, this is a no-go for a weightlifting shoe. I’m sure that the foam heel adds a lot of comfort and spring to the shoe while it’s new, but will compress a LOT under heavy loads.
That means instability where it matters on a squat. When I look at a shoe’s heel, I want it to be part of the sole. Not a piece of foam on top of it.
Interestingly enough, most people did not find this to be an issue other than one review on Amazon, with the shoe having glowing reviews and a great rating.
Obviously, I can’t really comment on these folk’s level of experience in the gym. It’s probably not very high though
And perhaps maybe that’s why they are labeled as “Bodybuilding” shoes and not powerlifting shoes, which would make my critique look a bit silly.
They DO say that they are designed for weight training as well in their description, so I don’t think I am being unfair to look at them with that focus. It is what the site is all about, is it not?
Overall, despite them not being my first choice for a weightlifting shoe, I would recommend these for someone who isn’t as focused on the big three lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Bench) as much as I am and just wants a pair of shoes for the gym.
They are made of leather which is always a plus and have a pretty cool look to them. They kind of look wrestling shoes to me.
As with any pair of shoes, it’s up to you to decide what fits your needs in the gym, not me. And despite my criticism of them, they seem to have a good reputation. So don’t hesitate to do your own research and check them out on Amazon to see what others have to say about them.
Adidas lifting shoes are some of the most popular when it comes to lifting shoes, doing extremely well with pretty much every shoe they put out.
Most of their shoes are for men, however, there is a women’s version of the Powerlift 2.0 which is a great shoe.
I think the main difference between the models for the genders is just sizing and maybe marketing, as the women’s Powerlift 2.0s offer different colors not available in the men’s. Otherwise, they are the same.
I’m going to give summaries of each of these excellent shoes, but if you are looking for more details I have also reviewed each one! I will include links to these with each shoe so you can check it out if you want to know more.
Before I jump into describing each shoe though, I want to start with what they have in common.
Adidas lifting shoes are the kind of quality you would expect from such a large brand name. Even though they use synthetic materials over more expensive ones like leather, the construction of each pair is excellent. Good construction means good performance, leading to better lifts and lasting you a long time before they need to be replaced. They aren’t a heavy shoe, they are fairly lightweight as a result of the synthetic materials. It’s nice not to feel like you’re clunking around in bricks while you’re at the gym. All Adidas shoes feature a rubber sole that is extremely tough and designed to grip the floor. They have been in the shoe game for a while and their products reflect that.
Even though it’s not the most important factor of a lifting shoe, I like the amount of color choices you have with Adidas weightlifting shoes. A lot of brands just have one to two colors to choose from and that’s it. The men’s Powerlift 2.0’s in particular offer a TON of different colors, which is pretty cool in my opinion. One of the main reasons for this is the size of the audience. The larger the target audience, generally the more options a company will provide.
I feel like it’s an important distinction to make when there are so many shoes out there, that these are strictly for weightlifting. I would not use them to walk around in, or even use for CrossFit. Now, could you use them for these activities? Of course, but they are not designed for them. You really need a shoe with a more flexible sole when it comes to these types of activities. It will be uncomfortable and wear them down much faster than if they are strictly used for compound lifts.
The Adidas Powerlift 2.0
The Powerlift 2.0s’ are their mid-range shoe, available for less than $100. They provide an excellent choice for someone who is getting more serious about lifting and wants a pair of shoes without breaking the bank and still getting a quality shoe. If I were to recommend anyone new to lifting a pair of shoes, these would be the ones.
You would have a tough time finding a comparable shoe at that price, and they often go on sale at Amazon. The heel profile (how high the heel goes) is great for squatting, and isn’t so high that it would be an issue for deadlifts either. The rubber sole also provides a great grip for the floor on squats and bench press.
The main difference between these and the adiPowers is that the heel construction is a little bit different. The adiPowers heel is slightly less compressible, and that’s really it. With that being said, the Powerlift 2.0’s heel is not going to give you ANY issues at all. It’s just an upgrade for those who want it. Click here to see my Adidas Men’s Powerlift 2.0 Review
And for the next shoe in the Adidas lifting shoe line up, we have the adiPower. This shoe has an amazing reputation, and it’s no surprise why. It performs excellently to provide some of the best stability a lifting shoe can provide.
With a slightly higher heel than the Powerlift 2.0 it makes squatting much easier, without compromising on stability. The shoe is typically reported to be narrow, which is the norm for a weightlifting shoe.
You want them to be snug so there is no movement while you are doing a heavy lift with weight on your back. However, if you have a wide foot you may want to go with a shoe with a wider toe box for comfort. There’s no reason a lifting shoe should be uncomfortable!
The only drawback to the adiPower is the price tag that comes along with it. For top of the line performance, you pay top of the line price. That is why I would usually point a beginner or even someone with a little experience to the Powerlift 2.0 because that would probably meet or exceed their needs. However, they are significantly cheaper than the Nike Romaleo which is Nike’s comparable lifting shoe.
Here’s a great video review of the Adipower and Powerlift 2:
The Adidas Leistung is the latest addition to the Adidas weightlifting shoe line up. It’s primarily designed for olympic lifting because it has a 1″ heel, and makes some drastic changes from previous shoes in the Adidas line up.
It probably shares more similarities with the lesser known Drehkraft because of the unique boa lacing system it uses instead of laces and straps.
The design is also very different despite using most of the same materials as the Adipower. It is still primarily made of TPU which is standard for most weightlifting shoes. The look is often a pretty polarizing topic with some people loving it and some hating it. One thing is for sure, it gets some attention!
This shoe is a top of the line weightlifting shoe. It can be worn for any compound lift, but olympic lifts are where it really shines the most. That specialty comes at a price above what the Adipowers cost and for the Leistung I feel like that’s fair for how specialized they are.
The lacing system it uses is one of the most stand out features to me because frankly, it looks like a gimmick at first glance. Thing is, it really isn’t a gimmick at all. It’s easy to use and very innovative. For more details read the full review here
Adidas weightlifting shoes are some of the best out there if not the best. I highly recommend them for anyone, because it would be hard to go wrong with what they are offering.
They provide a high quality, affordable, and excellent performing shoe for anyone looking to get more out of their workouts at the gym. They have a decent sized line-up that reaches everyone’s potential needs.
And just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you HAVE to go with the women’s version of the Powerlifts or any of these for that matter. It just makes figuring out the sizing a little more difficult. If you have any Adidas shoes they can be used to help figure it out as their running shoes fit closely to these.
I hope this article has been informative and helps you make a decision that’s right for you!
Is the women’s powerlift 2 the lifting shoe for you?
The adidas Women’s Powerlift 2 is the women’s version of the adidas Men’s Powerlift 2 Trainer Review. (I guess that was pretty obvious from the name, right?) But is it as good as its male counterpart that has received a ton of praise for its performance and price? Follow my riveting review to find out out if they make the cut for your gym bag!
The short version: Yes. You can take a look at the shoe and tell they are virtually the same, with the exception of sizing. The same qualities that I loved about the Powerlift.2s are present with these. Except in more colors this time!
The materials used for these are excellent, the shape of the shoe lends itself to stability like you would expect from a weightlifting shoe.
The strap will keep your foot secure and keep it from moving during those heavy lifts.
Good heel height
If you’re coming from a running shoe, or a flat shoe this will be the biggest help to your squats and even deadlifts. Most of us (myself included) lack ankle mobility, so this helps prevent your heels from coming up during a lift and letting you drive from them instead. Old school bodybuilders used to squat on pieces of wood for the same reason: leverage.
From a comfort perspective, it’s nice to not feel like you’re trudging around the gym in a clunky pair of shoes. Super light and comfortable.
Things to be aware of
However, there are a few less appealing qualities from the women’s Powerlift 2 that are still there and need to be pointed out. I don’t really consider them REAL negatives, but they are things to be aware of all the same.
If you are purchasing your first pair of shoes for lifting it’s good to know in advance before you make a purchase.
These are weightlifting shoes, not cross-trainers. This means that they will not be the best choice for you if you’re doing high movement exercises. CrossFit for example.
They are pretty much single purpose in that regard. If you plan on doing sprints/box jumps etc., look into a cross trainer. Using a shoe for a purpose that it was not designed for can lead to injuries that take you out of the gym.
Adidas sizing is unique, and some people report having sizing issues when they buy. A lot of people report buying a half size smaller for this shoe in particular. This is all relative to your foot size, so be aware of that too.
In other words
They are a great shoe. If you are just getting into weightlifting I highly recommend them as an entry level shoe because the price is right and the quality is outstanding. Adidas really knocked this one out of the park and it would be hard to go wrong with these.
They are laser-focused on one task: lifting, and because of that, they perform it well. One dimensional, but it is all up to you and your personal goals in the gym.
Does the minimal cross-trainer make the cut for a squatting shoe?
The New Balance Men’s MX20v3 Minimus Cross-Training shoe has rave reviews on Amazon for being a great lightweight shoe that is not only a good shoe for weight training, but also faster paced cardio activities.
But how does it hold up for squats and deadlifts? I mean, that IS why you’re here, right!?
The heel is low, which is good for weight lifting. But the material looks like the kind that will compress under heavy loads, which to me is less than ideal.
If it had a higher heel that would be a deal breaker for me as that would be too unstable to depend on for a heavy lift (because of that material). That said, I’m sure they are fine to squat in, but for a dedicated squatting shoe? I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars based on that specific purpose.
To be fair though, it is a cross-training shoe. It isn’t trying to be a power lifter’s shoe by its design. And for that I think it makes for a great all around gym shoe. Whether you are playing basketball or doing CrossFit, it provides a little more support than a dedicated weightlifting shoe will.
The way the shoe is shaped with the wider toe, and the sole not being STRICTLY flat is a good thing for cross training purposes.
So as with any shoe, it really depends on your goals. I don’t mean to be too harsh on it for deadlifting and squats because they WILL get the job done. It’s just that a shoe meant for those lifts will perform better than this one.
Kind of hard to judge a cross-training shoe harshly for being diverse, right? And for a diverse activity at the gym like CrossFit where there is a combination of running/jumping/lifting, I think these would be the perfect combination of a minimal shoe, but still enough support to be better than a single purpose shoe.
The only thing that I am not particularly wild about it when it comes to weight lifting is the shape of the sole. It’s got the curve in it as you can see above, which takes away from stability in squatting or deadlifting.
It’s shaped that way to handle running / absorb impact from those kinds of movements. So as far as weight lifting goes that’s my main knock against the Minimus.
Final thoughts on the Minimus
The New Balance Men’s MX20v3 Minimus Cross-Training shoes are definitely high quality. They may not be the number one pair for squats, but it is hard to go wrong with New Balance, and a lot of people swear by them for their running and walking shoes.
And if my other reviews are anything to go by, I definitely put a lot of value in a brand’s reputation even if it isn’t my first choice. These are also very inexpensive for a quality cross training shoe. So if you’re looking for a pair of shoes that can do everything, I would go with this one.
The Reebok Crossfit Lite are weight lifting shoes geared towards normal lifting and CrossFit lifters alike. The first thing I noticed about them was their striking resemblance to Chuck Taylor’s.
But how do they hold up against those, and are they good shoes for squatting? Where a flat sole shoe really excels is the deadlift. A raised heel won’t really affect your deadlift ability, but when you have a flat connection to the ground it helps your leverage a little bit.
They were built for lifting, so they’re going to have an edge by default! The mesh tongue helps a lot with the ‘breath-ability’ if that’s a word, the heel and toe are perhaps a bit more durable for lifting and provide an excellent grip.
But do they make for good lifting shoes? That’s going to be a matter of personal preference, and why I started off by comparing them to Chucks. If you are used to a flat heel and have the ankle mobility, then I’d say yes.
However, if your ankle mobility is lacking, they probably aren’t the best choice for you. A quick way you can get a feel for how mobile your ankles are, is just do a body weight squat barefoot and see how deep you can go comfortably.
If you can go to parallel or below (even better) then that is probably not a factor for you. I can hit pretty good depth on mine, but I still prefer a slightly raised heel. The cool thing about them though which kind of balances this out is the wide toe profile they have, which may be beneficial depending on the stance you use for squats.
Where do they really excel?
The lift these shoes really shine for in my opinion, is the deadlift. They provide the stability you’d expect from a weight lifting shoe and with that low heel profile it really helps you push from your heels. If you have bad ankle mobility they may not be ideal for squatting, but that’s the trade off with these!
And I guess that’s to be expected when they’re endorsed by Mark Bell (Famous powerlifter) Below is a promotional video where they talk about them. Obviously they are trying to sell them, but they also talk about the shoe’s features and you can see them in action:
I think you’d be hard pressed to go wrong with the Reebok Men’s Crossfit Lite for any kind of weight lifting. There are zero issues with build quality and are proven to have a good reputation. I feel like they are a great choice based on the low price alone.
Objectively they will get the job done and it just depends on your preference in what you’re looking for with a heel profile on a lifting shoe. A lot of people report them running half a size too large, so consider that if you are buying online.
Squatting without shoes is an interesting approach to the squat. It takes away all the factors of a shoe and directly connects you with the ground. But does that make it a good thing, and is it worth doing?
That’s a good question. In this article, I will tell you the pros and cons of squatting barefoot, and you can decide whether it’s something to try for you or not.
That being said, listen to your body when you do this. If you lack balance or feel any pain STOP immediately. This goes for any lift but is something you should keep in mind if you are switching things up and doing something you aren’t used to.
You don’t want to load up the normal squatting weight that you’re used to doing in a raised heel from the get-go. Take your time seeing how things feel and being aware of your form. Working out should never be painful, it should always be enjoyable and safe.
Pros of squatting barefoot:
No interference from shoes.
First off, when you squat barefoot you take away any shoe sole that is between you and the ground. If you were previously squatting in running shoes, those squishy soles are no longer impeding your connection to drive from your feet. There’s something very freeing about that feeling.
You don’t have to pay a dime to squat barefoot. I’ve only done it a few times, myself. Mainly out of curiosity than anything else, but why not? If I didn’t have my real squat shoes then I did the next best thing available!
If your ankle mobility is good then you’re essentially doing a very pure form of squat that would be similar to wearing a flat soled shoe. However, if you do not have the mobility for it then it could lead to you leaning on the ball of your foot and not pushing from your heels. That could cause you to lose your balance as well, which no one wants to do in a busy gym. Make sure you are at least going to parallel when you squat, even if you have to lower the weight you are using.
Lack of stability/support
Gym policy violation
No one wants to smell your feet (seriously)
When you have a lot of weight on the bar, you want the best footing absolutely possible. You don’t want to trip with any amount of weight on your back, and that’s more likely to happen barefoot than wearing a pair of shoes.
Possibly more important than that is the support that squatting shoes will offer. The higher the weight you are using, the more important your foot has proper support for it.
No one is going to yell at you for squatting without shoes if you do it occasionally, but if you do it every time you squat then someone is going to notice, it’s just a matter of time. It is also worth considering that you could drop a weight on your foot which even a basic shoe will help shield a LITTLE. Anything is better than just being barefoot if that were to happen.
Nobody wants to smell your feet in the gym. Seriously. Consider it common courtesy to your fellow gym goers by sparing them that awful, potent odor that most if not all people have. I know my feet don’t smell good by the time I get to the gym after work, so I definitely would not want to subject even myself to that funk. Think about slipping your feet back into your shoes in between sets to minimize this effect.
So why not try squatting barefoot?
It’s really just something different to try out in my opinion. You’ll get a good idea of how flexible your ankles are and if you need to improve that, and also have some fun. Which having a good time in the gym is important. When I first started lifting I occasionally wouldn’t have the right pair of shoes on me so I would just take them off for squats. It was better than squatting with a squishy sole.
And if you do decide to try it, consider using a lower amount of weight compared to what you might normally do to make sure everything feels right. Especially if you use higher weights, which I do not recommend for this. The human foot wasn’t designed to compensate for 300 pounds + your body weight going up and down exerting the force on it. The wider surface area of a shoe sole helps so much in spreading the weight on your foot, and also supporting the arches of your feet. I highly recommend getting a pair of lifting shoes.
The importance of having a good pair of weightlifting shoes makes more sense for a real work out. It feels good, but the limitations of it are very apparent once you have tried it. You can’t really do anything else while you work out without shoes which makes it also a little bit silly. You’d be chained to the squat rack before you could go anywhere else!
And hopefully, by now you aren’t considering squatting without a pair. I’m a firm believer in investing in what will help keep me in good shape and will be used regularly. Weightlifting shoes are not a gimmick, but a necessary part of what I use in the gym.
By far one of the best lifting related purchases I’ve made, if not the best. If you are looking for a shoe that is less than a hundred dollars and performs excellently, I highly recommend the Adidas Powerlift 2’s.
You can check out my review here for more information, but they are the first pair of shoes I bought for the gym and I still use them to this day.
Hopefully this article was informative and you learned a thing or two. It’s always fun to give new things a try in the gym, or just to be aware that you CAN do it if you feel like it or find yourself without your pair of shoes in hand. You never know what you might get out of trying something new.
Both lifts are crazy challenging, but are they worth doing?
I recommend having a pair of weightlifting shoes for these exercises. It is very important to have a stable base for these lifts to avoid taking a visit to Snap City.
Tennis shoes do not cut it when you are trying to move some heavy ass weight!
Into the details
Both exercises are “compound movements” meaning they work a group of muscles, opposed to just one. ‘
They will increase overall growth extremely by hitting different muscles that you may not already be isolating.
But which exercise will give you the most gainz?
Let’s start with analyzing the muscles worked by both exercises, with the squat first.
Now a slight disclaimer: no illustration is perfect, but it serves the purpose of showing you the main muscles being worked. The squat hits a tremendous amount!
Not only will it give you a killer set of legs, but it will help build your core and back as well in the process. The only downside of this diagram is it makes you think that your legs are the only thing being worked here.
Even though you may not see muscle growth from it, you need a strong core and back for squats too.
The key point in the squat is to go to parallel or lower as shown in the diagram to fully hit all the muscles. If you are not doing them with proper form you are putting your joints under more stress and getting LESS out of it. Always drive from your heels and be aware of your form.
Here are the muscles used in the deadlift:
The deadlift on the other hand also works a ton of muscles in the back. It’s the key to building a monstrous, barn door back. The hamstrings are the primary leg muscle used for the deadlift.
So now that we have a basic understanding of the anatomy being used here, which one wins out? You probably guessed it by now…Neither.
The three compound movements should be a core part of any workout plan for anyone serious about building a physique or improving their sports performance.
The squat and deadlift both compliment each other so well, and here’s why:
A better deadlift means a stronger back.
A stronger back for a squat is more weight you can comfortably put on your shoulders and support it.Then you have squats strengthening your legs more so than your back.
So in the beginning “lift off” phase of the deadlift, you have more explosive power getting the weight off of the floor.
Only doing one or the other means that you would be significantly neglecting big parts of your body.
Deadlift or Squat?
One of my favorite deadlift pictures.
Both exercises are amazing compound movements that will strengthen you overall more so than any other movements out there.
They really compliment each other with the different emphasis on the muscle groups that they work.
Recently I have been pushing for bench press PRs (personal records), and if my back was not strong enough from those two exercises it would be much harder to progress with the weight as I have. It’s one of those things I never really stopped to think about, and indirectly benefited from.
The great thing about both exercises is that they can be tailored to your goals (as with any movement) but they are compound, so you are training a group of muscles to grow instead of just one.
Training for hypertrophy (muscle growth)? Three sets of eight reps. Training for strength? Five sets of three to five reps.
It’s really up to your goals in the gym, personally I alternate between strength days and hypertrophy days to keep things fresh.
So obviously it’s in your best interest to do both of them.
A draw was probably a predictable outcome, but how else could this have ended with two of the best movements you could do in the gym?