Best Weightlifting Shoes for 2021-Which One is Worth The Money?
Welcome to the only weightlifting shoe resource that you will need for a long, long time to come.
We keep this website updated so you can be sure that the next time you come we will have even more weightlifting shoes for you to choose from!
- MEN'S WEIGHTLIFTING SHOES
- WOMEN'S WEIGHTLIFTING SHOES
Adidas Adistar / Adipower
Nike Men's Romaleos
Suitable for heavy lifting, keeps feet comfortable, wide toe box for protection
Tough and durable, breathable super soft upper
No nonsense weightlifting shoe, 2 strong straps to keep feet in place
Can handle heavy weights, flexible and lightweight
Stiff at first, expensive
Not the most aesthetically pleasing
Low heel, takes time to break in
Expensive, minor design flaws
Stable, durable and comfortable all-rounder
A solid affordable option
Balance of good looks and functionality
Solid shoes that deliver in terms of performance
Flat rubber sole
Synthetic Leather and Nylon Mesh
Ultra-lightweight EVA foam outsole
15 oz / 425g
12.5 oz / 354g
11.5 oz / 326g
14.4 oz / 408g
Nike Romaleos 3
Nike Romaleos 2
Adidas Powerlift 3
Reebok CrossFit Lifter +2.0
Stable with excellent traction, two interchangeable insoles
Double power straps, unmatchable stability, color options
Customized locked-down fit, flexible toe box
Ideal for CrossFit lifters, built to last
Relatively less secure, expensive
Stiff and heavy, expensive
Not designed for jumping or long runs
Less stable than other options
Light and comfortable hybrid option
High-quality, powerful weightlifting shoe
Lightweight shoe that offers excellent stability
All-rounder shoe that provides strength and comfort
Synthetic leather reinforces mesh
Supportive, durable upper materials
Lightweight Synthetic Leather
Flex grooved outsole Upper
15 oz / 425g
15.8 oz / 447g
15 oz / 425g
14.8 oz / 419g
#2. Nike Romaleos 2
Pros: Double power straps, unmatchable stability, color options
Cons: Stiff and heavy, expensive
Bottom Line: High-quality, powerful weightlifting shoe
#2. VS Athletics
Pros: Tough and durable, breathable super soft upper
Cons: Not the most aesthetically pleasing
Bottom Line: A solid affordable option
Our comprehensive weightlifting shoe comparison and buying guide can help you find the best one for your daily workout routine.
Most people who are starting out lifting, after having spent all the money on buying good quality power racks, adjustable dumbbells and Olympic bars, tend to skimp out their budget when it comes to good quality weightlifting shoes and CrossFit shoes.
Recommended Weightlifting Shoes for 2021
Women’s Weightlifting Shoes
Best Weightlifting Shoe – Nike Romaleos 2 Trainer
The Nike Romaleos 2 weightlifting shoe is for the true champion! The two large midfoot bands and honeycomb midsole deliver maximum support. Featuring the exclusive Nike contoured innovative thermoplastic heel wedge cups the shoe provides an unmatchable lifting stability. The integrated lacing and double power straps lock the foot firmly. The breathable upper mesh provides freedom and movement. The outsole which is made of gum rubber provides maximum traction and also ensures minimum wear of the heel. It is without a doubt one of the best shoe for weightlifting.
Best Bang For The Buck – Adidas Powerlift 3
The Adidas Powerlift 3 can make every lifter’s dream come true. The instep strap gives a customized locked-down fit. The powerlifters come with an open forefoot and flexible toe box which ensure breathability and also make room for natural movements of the foot. The die-cut wedge in the midsole makes its way to the heel offering an exceptional stability. The pattern of the outsole is made up of rubber offering good traction. The wider fit and textile lining provide long-lasting comfort.
Nike Romaleos 3
The Nike Romaleos 3 weightlifting shoes are here to give you the extra push when you are weightlifting. It is designed having the modern weightlifter in mind with the latest footwear technology. The shoe is made up of a variety of fabrics which gives it a lot of colorways. Unlike the Romaleos 2, this shoe has just one thick strap across the middle of the foot. This nylon strap and Flywire technology can keep your foot locked-down and give you the required stability. The honeycomb patterned TPU plate offers extra heel comfort and strength.
Talking about the construction of the shoe, the heel is made up of heat wrapped fabric, the toe has a synthetic leather material, and there’s also a mesh featured on the upper part of the toe which ensures breathability. There are two interchangeable insoles which come with the Romaleos 3. One which is firm and made for competition while the other is soft and is made for training. These shoes offer excellent traction as the outsole of the shoe is made up of rubber which gives stability during weight lifting. In short, the Nike Romaleos 3 is a hybrid weightlifting shoe which is light, agile and comfortable.
Nike Romaleos 2
The Nike Romaleos 2 was released ahead of the London Olympics having the Olympic weightlifter in mind. As the name suggests, these shoes are strong and robust. Its sturdy construction makes it look chunkier than other weightlifting shoes. Nike is one among the few manufacturers who offer a lot of color options even in weightlifting shoes. The 3 color options available are Black/Grey, White/Red, and Red/Black. There are two large midfoot bands which provide exceptional support. The lifting stability of the shoe is powered using exclusive Nike contoured innovative TPU heel wedge cups also called the Power Bridge.
The shoe features integrated lacing as well as double power straps that lock the foot firmly. The shoe is constructed with ultra-supportive durable materials. The outsole is made of Gum rubber which makes this shoe a winner when it comes to traction. The upper mesh ensures breathability as well as freedom of natural movement. The midsole is a full-length double lasted one which offers excellent ground control. The Romaleos 2 has a wide base which is heavy ensuring you good stability. In short, the Romaleos 2 is a heavy, and powerful weightlifting shoe which makes it one among the best.
Adidas Powerlift 3
The Adidas Powerlift 3 is the ideal shoe for entry-level weightlifters and CrossFit athletes. The Adidas Powerlift 3 look stunning featuring the iconic Adidas three stripes. It also comes with updated color palettes such as Collegiate Purple and Sunglow Orange. It offers a strong and stable platform and also provides unique breathability with the open forefoot and flexible toe box. The shoe features a single instep strap which offers a customized locked-down fit.
The shoe has a die-cut midsole with high-density providing an increased stability. A wedge in the midsole is the reason for this high stability. The outsole is made of grip-friendly rubber which offers excellent traction and a firm foundation. The lightweight synthetic leather upper along with the instep strap provides optimal support. The textile lining and the air mesh components reduce the moisture and help keep the lifter’s feet dry and comfortable. The cutout pattern on the forefoot also adds to the breathability of the shoe.
Unlike the other standard weightlifting shoes, the Adidas Powerlift 3 weighs just 15oz. The effective heel height of 0.60” is yet another plus for the Adidas Powerlift 3. In short, the shoe is a lightweight hybrid weightlifting shoe offering excellent stability.
Reebok CrossFit Lifter Plus 2.0
The Reebok CrossFit Lifter Plus 2.0 is the perfect pick for CrossFit weightlifters and Olympic weightlifters. The CrossFit lifter falls in line with the Reebok Nanos with respect to looks. It looks sleek and stylish just like every other Reebok CrossFit apparel. There are two color options Electro Pink and High Vis Green. There is a mesh like material which forms the upper part of the shoe contributing towards the Breathability.
The two metatarsal straps attribute towards the extra stability of the shoe and make sure you get a locked-in fit. These straps are made of synthetic leather, and hence you do not have to worry about it wearing out quickly. The toe box is also made up of synthetic leather as well. The 3D FuseFrame technology of Reebok ensures additional comfort and better fit than other weightlifting shoes. The heel of the shoe is made of stiff, incompressible and hardened TPU which makes it ideal for dynamic CrossFit workouts. The outsole of the shoe is firm and sturdy offering excellent traction and keeps your feet planted on the ground throughout your weight lifting phases. The Reebok CrossFit Lifter 2.0 is an all-rounder shoe which checks out all features such as flexibility, stability comfort and performance.
Men’s Weightlifting shoes
Best Weightlifting Shoe – Adidas Adistar / Adipower Weightlifting Shoe
If you are looking for the best weightlifting shoe bar none, then you need to get yourself the Adidas Adistar or the Adipower. Adidas has been churning out quality shoes for lifters over the years and these are no different. A lot of our lifters felt that it was rock solid through lifts without being uncomfortable, hence enabling them to lift for longer. It also had a PU coated upper so it was a lot more airy compared to the rest of the pack. It also has a wider than usual toe box for adequate protection as well as a relaxed fit.
Best Bang For The Buck – VS Athletics
These lifting shoes from VS Athletics are a great way to get into lifting. They are no-frills and tough which means that you can use and abuse them without worrying too much. They look like no-nonsense lifting shoes that can get the job done and that they do without all the flair of our earlier lifting shoe. It is also pretty breathable with a soft upper consisting of fabric and leather.
Advantages of Weightlifting Shoes
And there are several advantages to using a weightlifting shoe when you’re lifting heavy. One of the most important features of a lifting shoe is that is has a raised heel. This is a critical part of a weightlifting routine as it lets you go all out with your squat, lowering your body to a much deeper position. This is because of the allowance of ankle flex which makes your squat that much more effective. A beneficial side effect of this is the fact that your body ends up being straighter which will help you keep your torso and back free from threatening injuries.
Also, the sole is much thicker and made up of much more firmer material than an average running shoe. What this means is that you can push off and land with much heavier weights than you normally would. It enables you to keep yourself free from problems normally associated with lifting heavyweights and so you can keep training harder.
Weightlifting shoes are very functional. What this means is that they are made taking into consideration what an average lifter is going through. And other types of footwear will not be able to put up with the extreme wear and tear normally associated with lifting heavyweights.
So without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of choosing the right shoe for your requirement which can suit your brand and budget.
I’ve created a smaller list so you can get right to it if you are browsing this at a store. A much more detailed review will follow this list.
Adidas has made this niche their home turf and it’s because of these 2 bestsellers that manage to set weightlifting shoe sales charts on fire and not your calves. Plus, they are durable as well as offer great VFM. A definite buy if you’re serious about lifting weights.
Adipower and Adistar of Adidas have been ruling the roost when it comes to shoes that can take the rigors of weightlifting. Both shoes are built about the same with adistar using different materials and also priced a teeny bit higher. The soles on these shoes are pretty flat and this can keep you pretty stable when you are pushing off heavy loads. This effectively eliminates all occurrences of knee injuries during a lifting session. They also ensure that the materials that they use allow adequate flexibility during heavy lifts plus they are pretty breathable as well.
Also, it looks great! With all the typical Adidas design cues and it’s pretty functional as well.
Click here to read our review of the Adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes.
One of the hottest selling, entry-level weightlifting shoes from VS Athletic, there have been many people who have sworn by these shoes even after they’ve moved from beginner class.
I’ve considered as one of the best shoes in the market for beginners to break into and it has been for years. They use strong materials and functional style to come up something that has stood the test of time.
It has a heel height of about 1 inch and is quite adequate for novices to lift medium heavyweights. The only fault I can find with the material is that like more expensive brands, it’s not that breathable. This is in no way a deal breaker as you can alleviate this with little effort. Coming to the sole, it’s pretty flat and offers great support for when you want to move a lot of weight around.
The design is one of the flaws it has, but it doesn’t bother me really. I don’t go to the gym to show off the latest season’s shoes, I go there to push weight, man.
Click here to read our review of the VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoes.
Pendlay Do-Win CrossFit
One of the newer challengers and putting up quite a fight with established players like Adidas, Nike and Rogue – Pendlay has been making waves in this niche. People love their functionality as well their looks. Check out their latest models and prepare to be awestruck.
Another frills-free, no-nonsense weightlifting shoe, Pendlay has been renowned world over for making great weightlifting shoes that are durable and look the part as well.
Pendlay Do-Win CrossFit Weightlifting Shoes has 2 strong looking straps that can keep your feet in place. The shell of the shoe is made up of strong and durable synthetic material with nylon mesh inserts that can help you with breathability problems for your feet. The heel measures in at ¾ inch which is ideal for most lifters.
It has a simple design, which is tastefully accented and also pretty hard to break down over time.
Click here to read our review of the Pendlay Do-Win CrossFit Weightlifting Shoes.
Don’t be fooled by how low these figure in our review lineup, these are here not because of lack of quality. These are pretty expensive. But they can handle the heaviest loads you can throw at them.
Like I wrote before, if you can afford these do get them. They are great for serious lifters who are going to be moving a heavy amount of weight without fear of damaging their body.
It is pretty robust and Nike wasn’t joking when they said you could use this for any amount of weight. You can actually get this if you want to pursue weightlifting competitively. It’s that good. Another important point to note is that it’s pretty flexible on account of using TPU and pretty lightweight as well.
Unlike Nike’s other shoes, it looks very serious and understated, highlighting the fact that these are a pair of shoes that need to be taken seriously. Nike Romaleos does look good though.
Click here to read our review of the Nike Men's Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes.
Adidas Powerlift 3
Adidas Powerlift 3.0 is a well-executed upgrade of the Powerlift 2.0. Even though the product is costlier than the 2.0, it gives great value for money due to its exceptional features. It is sturdy and durable with reasonably good heel height. Moreover, it comes with a better strap than the Powerlift 2.0. The strap will ensure that your foot is firmly in position. This way slipping or excess movements can be prevented.
It also comes with more air vents which will provide enhanced breathability. The product will suit people with wider feet. Another notable difference is the elevated heel height. This can give you decent squat depth with lowered risks of any knee aches or injuries.
The only disadvantage is that you will not get much forefoot flexibility with the Powerlift 3.0.
Click here to read our review of the Adidas Powerlift 3 Shoe
Reebok Nano 4.0
Another great brand which offers a reliable product, Reebok Nanos have been doing the rounds among the folks at the weightlifting community. These aren’t excellent but can double up as a decent weightlifting shoe.
Reebok has come up with something that can pull off two separate functions, Reebok Nano 4.0 can also perform well through your CrossFit routine.
While the heel height is nothing to write home about (it’s not a complete weightlifting shoe), I’ve felt that it offers great range of ankle movement. While they do advertise it as a weightlifting shoe, I’m more inclined to think it leans more toward the CrossFit discipline. Nevertheless, this makes it an ideal choice for people who are subscribed to both regimes.
Reebok always does a great job with the design and it’s quite evident here that they put in the extra effort. Also, since it’s completely mesh on top, it breathes a lot easier.
Click here to read our review of the Reebok Men's Nano 4.0 CrossFit Shoe
Asics Gel-Fortius TR
There is definitely a place reserved for the shoes at Asics because they’ve been one of the better manufacturers when it comes to gym equipment and fitness apparel.
Another reliable manufacturer when it comes to fitness apparel, Asics have been the preferred brand for many when it comes to this niche.
True to their reputation, they’ve managed to come up with a pair of weightlifting shoes that are solid and offer great support when it comes to lifting heavyweights. A consistent problem with many shoes is the lack of support when it comes the arch of the foot but Asics doesn’t make the same mistake. Asics Gel-Fortius TR has a sole reinforced with innovative gel technology which is great for underfoot support.
Well, not a standout design when it comes to accents or color combos, but it looks pretty decent and should serve you well.
Click here to read our review of the ASICS Men's Gel-Fortius TR Cross-Training Shoe
This is built quite similar to the Pendlays, and this makes it a pretty reliable piece of footwear that you can push off when lifting weights.
Rogue Do-Win is almost the same as Pendlay’s shoe but it comes in suede upper which makes it look more or less classy.
This shoe is pretty sturdy which also comes at a great price to boot. It literally is a rebrand of the Pendlay which is already a winner in my book. So it’s definitely a good thing.
It looks a bit different from the Pendlay’s owing to the different materials, which is a pretty good thing.
Click here to read our review of the Rogue Do-Win Powerlifting Shoe
Inov-8 FastLift 335
One of the lesser known brands out there but it still offers great performance when it comes to lifting weights and dealing with the stress of powerlifting. You can also use this when it comes to a CrossFit session.
Now, for a more detailed review of each of these shoes. Let’s take a closer look at why these shoes are great for you to use while weightlifting.
When you compare Inov-8 to the other brands in the lineup, they have a considerably less fan-following. This hasn’t deterred them from producing a pretty strong case for themselves when it comes to getting out a solid weightlifting shoe.
The heel of the shoe is about ¾ inch and comes with a great ankle range. This is great to help you keep your torso straight during heavy lifts which can prevent injuries and also enable you to load up more weight. You can also use it for CrossFit and it will help you during all those dynamic activities.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll know that I don’t fancy design much, but this is one of the more snazzier designs and color combos in the lineup. Fashion conscious weightlifters rejoice!
Click here to read our review of the Inov8 lifting Shoe
So that’s the review of all those shoes. But I’m done with you guys yet. Read on for more info about what you’re actually looking for. To explain, there are different types of shoes that you need to be aware of. Most people are either into CrossFit, Weightlifting or a combination of the two. What you need to do is to decide on how much of those you are going to do and decide on what you’re going to purchase accordingly.
So let’s go on and decide…
What Type of Shoes Do You Need for Fitness in 2021?
With the amount of experience I have and what I've seen over the years, there are basically 3 classes of shoes that are on the market which you will have to choose for your needs:
There are various other types that are available, but I prefer not to mix disciplines that diametrically opposite to each other. Like for example, running and weightlifting. Running shoes are never going to double up as good weightlifting shoes and vice versa. Of course, there are brands out there that have overcome these limitations with excellent design and whole chunk of innovative ideas, but they are pretty expensive and so for now, we will leave them alone.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE OTHER CATEGORIES:
Heavy Weightlifting Shoes
These shoes offer optimum comfort and lift ability when it comes to lifting heavy. There are also several subsets of these shoes that offer personalized comfort for different people.
High top weightlifting shoes are great because they offer support for your ankles which prevents it from becoming stressed. They have a high top and offer flat soles that are great for moving heavyweights around. As an added advantage, you can also pick up sports that require your feet to be flat on the floor like MMA or boxing training.
Flat weightlifting shoes do away with the heel support in favor of a lighter, more agile build. Some people prefer flat soled shoes, saying that is a lot more effective for driving the weight upwards. I sometimes used flat weightlifting shoes to break up the regular motion of using heeled shoes for lifting. This pushes the body to change its routine, giving you a much more thorough workout.
Minimalist lifting shoes are great when you’re starting out. These have the added advantage of being suitable to be used for a variety of other activities along with lifting. I started with Nike Free, which was a gift to me back then. But of late, there are many other popular brands like Vibram’s range, KMD sport etc. These are not meant for really heavy lifting.
Most of these shoes can be used to heavy lifting like squats and deadlifts. They are guaranteed not to fail except for really extreme circumstances.
CrossFit Shoes and Hybrids
CrossFit shoes have to put with the rigors of harsh conditions and stress of sustained workouts. Plus, they have to be a bit less expensive as well for people who are just starting out. Since cross fit has several exercises that involve lifting, the shoes have to put up with that as well. The ideal CrossFit shoe would have to do all this and still keep your feet renewed with high breathability, low weight, great traction, shock absorption ability with the advantage of support for lateral and vertical movements. Now, that is a comprehensive list.
Since women are also getting into this regime, there are several manufacturers out there that have tapped into this market as well. They come in the same specifications as the men’s variety, with the only difference being the variety of colors to choose from.
Weight Training Shoes Checklist for 2021
Weightlifting puts a lot of stresses and strains on the human body that it was never intended to handle in the first place. So the base on which you support yourself is going to be a critical part of the lifting regime. The only people I will excuse here for going the inexpensive way are the people who cannot really afford it. Others should put aside some cash for the better ones because these are going to last you for a very long time.
Regardless, this is the basic checklist of what you should be looking for while shopping for your next pair of shoes.
Price: Let’s be honest, it all comes down to price for most of us not making a huge amount of money. And it should rightly be your concern as well. But just because you can afford something, it doesn’t mean that it will perform as per your requirement. This is where you should take the chance and look through guides like this one to make sure that you are actually getting a good shoe for the amount of money you put in.
Stability: Another important factor when you’re looking through shoes that are meant for lifting heavyweights. A shoe if not stable enough can end in disaster. The shoes that we’ve recommended here have been in circulation for a long time and have proven credentials from a number of lifters out there.
Fit and finish: I’ve been guilty of being so excited for the shoe that many times I’ve just shoehorned my foot in and bought the shoe hastily. Later, when I hit the gym, I find that the shoe begins to bite or is uncomfortable. Don’t be me. Check thoroughly for foot comfort and only get it when you are satisfied 100%. Also read around for reviews that have the long-term test of these shoes for insights into how durable they are.
Design: If you have read the whole article, you’d know my stance on how a shoe’s design affects me – zero. But I understand that several people have concerns about shoes “looking” good when they are at the gym. Well, there are some pretty nifty looking footwear out there and in this review as well, so feel free to choose one.
Using Weightlifting Shoes Over Normal Shoes - Advantages
There are distinct advantages when you consider buying lifting shoes for your workouts compared to your running shoes or something else. Here are a few:
But when you really look at it weightlifting is a pretty cheap sport and discipline to get in and stay fit with. You don’t need a lot of accessories to get started. Probably an Olympic barbell, weights and shoes will do. So it doesn’t make sense to cut corners as far as lifting shoes are involved.
Back when I started lifting, choices in footwear were pretty slim and we had to either make do with running shoes, or retrofit them to make our own weightlifting shoe. While this was fun, it was hardly scientific and there were quite a lot of places that things could’ve gone wrong.
Fast forward to today, there are so many choices out there. From beginners to veterans, there are a lot of types of shoes that can suit everyone. Hopefully, this guide has given you some insights into what you should be buying if you are getting into lifting.
If you have stuff that needs sorting out, please make ample use of the comments section here to get in touch with me in this regard. Happy lifting!
Testing Methods – What We Looked For
When it comes to testing weightlifting shoes, it is no easy task. Our lifters spend at least a month with them before drawing any conclusions. A weightlifting shoe has to put up with a lot of stresses and strains owing to heavy poundage. Since this is over a period of time, there might be some models that may have been discontinued at stores right now. But if you are able to get them off your retailer, then nothing like it!
There are several attributes on which we rank weightlifting shoes, and here they are:
Lifting – does it withstand heavy loads?
A weightlifting shoe should withstand huge loads and not give in. Today’s weightlifting shoes are made up of advanced materials that retain their rigidity and shape through the stresses and strains of heavy lifts. Since a weightlifting shoe is all about putting up with poundage, this is a prime factor that can help you decide.
Stability – does it keep you planted and centered during lifts?
While a weightlifting shoe must be rigid it should also be a stable platform on which you can lift heavyweights. Stability is extremely important because when you are lifting heavy, you need the confidence that your footwear will not give way. This can have disastrous consequences.
Rigidity – does it hold its shape under load?
When dealing with huge loads, footwear should remain rigid and not be prone to flexing too much. Rigidity is a prime factor which influences buying decisions of weightlifters.
Heel height – does it offer comfortable heel raise for heavy lifts?
When it comes to lifting heel height is a pretty important factor to generate power and get leverage. The most common heel height is about 0.75” but there are people who use more than that height for better effect.
Comfort – does it give your feet optimal support to lift heavy?
The user needs to be comfortable when they are lifting heavy loads. Top weightlifting shoes are gentle on the feet as well as airy to prevent the accumulation of sweat in the shoe.
Toe box space – does it fit your toes correctly and have room to flex?
Heavy loads cause considerable stress in the toe area of the shoe. This means your shoe’s toe box space becomes a critical part of the equation during your lifting process.
Knee support – does it take effort off your knee?
Besides the feet, there is a huge load on the knees when it comes to lifting. The right kind of shoes can help shed a bit of load off the knees. This is a critical factor that can help you extend your knee’s longevity
Durability – does it hold up against intense workouts?
When it comes to weightlifting shoes, durability is key. You need a pair that will stay in shape for many years and can withstand the impact of lifting heavyweights. When purchasing weightlifting shoes, it is important to ensure that they are manufactured from high-quality materials.
Design – does it look dynamic and aesthetically pleasing?
While you may think that design is a secondary concern, it is often the first thing that’s noticed about a pair of shoes. When your weightlifting shoes are well-designed and aesthetically pleasing, you’ll look great, be motivated to hit the gym more often and perform harder.
Material Quality – does it use high-grade materials in its construction?
The Quality of materials used has a huge impact on the way your shoes perform and how long they last. This is particularly important when it comes to weightlifting shoes due to the high impact nature of the workouts. Look for shoes that are made from lightweight, breathable, heavy-duty materials.