Updated on April 22nd, 2017
Our best weightlifting shoes review for 2017 helps you to find the best pair of weightlifting shoes for your money. 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.
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.
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 more 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 heavy weights 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 heavy weights.
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 Adistar / Adipower
Nike Men's Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes
Reebok Men's Nano 4.0 Cross-Training Shoe
ASICS Men's Gel-Fortius TR Cross-Training Shoe
Inov-8 Men's FastLift 335 Cross-Training Shoe
Adidas have made this niche their home turf and it’s because of these 2 best sellers 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 of them offer pretty good value even if they’re priced closer to $200.
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 heavy weights. 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 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.
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 weren’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 needs 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 3.0 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
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 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
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 heavy weights. 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
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…
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:
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 heavy weights 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 have to put with the rigors of harsh conditions and stress of sustained workouts. Plus, ideally 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.
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, these 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 heavy weights. 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.
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 on this regard. Happy lifting!