Best Shoes For Heavy Lifting￼
Have you ever felt like there’s no way to get the job done without hurting yourself?
If so, you’re not alone. Lifting heavy things is part of life, and it can be incredibly frustrating when our bodies don’t seem to be able to keep up with what we need them to do. We’ve all been there—you’re trying to lift something, and suddenly your back is hurting so much that you can barely stand up straight.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can find shoes that will help you lift heavy things without hurting your body.
Best Shoes For Heavy Lifting
Best Weightlifting Shoes
When it comes to weightlifting shoes, there are two camps: those who swear by them, and those who think they offer too much help. Some hard-core lifters look down on weightlifting shoes, saying they help too much and compromise your exercise technique when you don’t wear the shoes. But a good pair of weightlifting shoes can make you feel more powerful and confident, especially when you’re gearing up to lift a personal best. So if you’re looking to up your lifting game, investing in a pair of weightlifting shoes is a good place to start.
The best shoes for weightlifting provide each individual just the right amount of help. A hefty heel-to-toe drop (the difference in height between the heel and toe of the shoe) can improve your technique on various lifts. A wide base provides stability for explosive movements, and compressive insoles keep your feet secure.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops
Best classic weightlifting shoes
You can’t go wrong with Chuck Taylors — for everyday errands or hard-core weightlifting sessions. Chuck Taylors have been around for a long time and have sold millions of pairs of shoes, so it’s safe to say Converse is out there making good shoes.
Although most people wear them for street style, Chuck Taylor high-tops actually encompass everything a good lifting shoe should have. The wide toe box gives your feet room to splay and stabilize, and the extra ankle support takes some pressure off of the joint. The flat, minimally cushioned sole and rubber outsole create a balanced environment for your feet, and you can lace them up as tight or as loose as you like.
Chuck Taylor All-Stars do have some downfalls, though: They’re heavy compared to other weightlifting shoes, and they might feel cumbersome for activities other than straight lifting sets. So if you’re moving from exercise to exercise quickly (such as in a HIRT workout), these probably aren’t the right pick for you.
Nobull Mid Trainers
Most versatile weightlifting shoes
These shoes from Nobull are technically classified as “trainers” on the site rather than “lifters,” but I’m keen on them for workouts that include both.
The Nobull Mid Trainers have many of the same qualities as the All-Stars described above — flat sole, minimal cushion, wide toe box, ankle support — but they’re far more versatile simply because they’re more durable. What makes these shoes special is the fact that you can hit a heavy set of squats and then jump right into a HIIT workout without sacrificing comfort or stability during either.
Nobull has true weightlifting shoe options, too, which are worth checking out if you’re interested in powerlifting or Olympic lifting. All Nobull shoes come in men’s and women’s sizes.
Reebok Legacy Lifter
Best squat shoes
Professional trainers go back and forth about the best type of squat shoe. Minimalist trainers encourage people to squat with flat shoes or even barefoot, while other trainers encourage use of a significant heel-to-toe drop.
Theoretically, we should all be able to squat with flat feet — but we can’t. Good squat form includes feet flat on the ground, chest up high, and back straight. Squatting is a natural and primal position, but in case you hadn’t noticed, humans aren’t exactly primal anymore. Our anatomy has changed and our modern sedentary lifestyles aren’t conducive to perfect mobility.
While everyone should try to improve their mobility, my professional opinion is that squatting with help is better than avoiding squats completely. Squatting is arguably one of the most effective exercises in existence, and if you need a little help from your shoes, so be it.
That’s why I chose the Reebok Legacy Lifter as the best squat shoe. With a 19-millimeter (three quarters of an inch) heel-to-toe drop, this weightlifting shoe with an elevated heel allows your hips to remain in the correct position during your squat descent, and it maximizes ankle mobility to prevent a forward lean in your torso.
Nike Romaleos 4 Training Shoe
Best Olympic weightlifting shoes
Nike Romaleos are a common sight in gyms with barbell clubs. These weightlifting shoes feature a significant heel-to-toe drop, two broad straps to secure your feet in place and a wide base that provides ample room for splaying and grabbing during power cleans, power jerks and snatches.
Rubber tread on the bottom of the Romaleos ensures stability when you stick landings during explosive lifts. There’s little flex in the upper portion of these raised heel shoes — some athletes who wear these say it feels like your feet are stuck to the floor, which is a good thing for an Olympic weightlifting shoe.
For what it’s worth, my first choice for this category was the Adidas AdiPower Weightlifting Shoe, one of the best-known shoes in the Olympic lifting community. At the time of writing, I can’t find these elevated heel shoes in stock anywhere. The pickings for the Romaleos seem to be slim, too, so there may be production issues on the supply chain (like there is with all other fitness equipment currently). In any case, the Romaleos put the AdiPowers to the test for a dedicated weightlifter.
Nike Romaleos are a unisex shoe and sizing is in men’s.
Reebok Nano X Flexweave
Best lifting shoes for bodybuilders
Reebok Nanos were originally designed specifically for CrossFit (although that partnership has since fizzled out), so some hard-core bodybuilders might snuff at my suggestion of a CrossFit shoe here. However, the Reebok Nano is perfect for bodybuilders because of its impressive versatility.
Bodybuilders perform various styles of lifting and may even integrate other elements of sports into their training, such as Olympic lifts and CrossFit-style workouts. For example, “functional bodybuilding,” a term coined by former CrossFit Games athlete Marcus Filly, encompasses the slow and hypertrophy-focused lifts you’d see in a bodybuilding routine, as well as explosive and powerful lifts you’d find in a CrossFit program.
The Reebok Nano accounts for all of those factors and more with a flexible but durable Kevlar-infused top, a reinforced heel counter and a molded, compressive midsole. Your feet will feel snug, secure and ready for all types of weightlifting. You can get Nanos in men’s and women’s sizes in a variety of sizes.
The 8 Best Weightlifting Shoes, According to a Personal Trainer
A quick look at the best shoes for weightlifting
- Best overall: Nike Metcon 7 X
- Best for competitive lifting: Nike Romaleos 4
- Best for CrossFit: Reebok Nano X1
- Best for squats: Reebok Legacy Lifter II
- Best for powerlifting: Adidas Powerlift 4
- Best style: Converse Chuck Taylor All Start High Tops
- Best for wide feet: Rogue Fitness Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
- Best for narrow feet: Adidas Adipower Weightlifting II
Between running shoes, cycling cleats, and hiking boots, you probably think you have all your athletic footwear needs covered.
However, if you regularly lift weights, you may need to add another pair to your wardrobe.
According to Holly Roser, certified personal trainer and owner of Holly Roser Fitness Studios in the San Francisco area, weightlifting or training shoes are an important investment for several reasons.
“Running shoes have too large of a support cushion on your feet that will potentially cause injury,” she explained.
“So if you’re performing lateral movements or cross-body movements in running shoes while lifting weights with these on, you’re risking rolling your foot and spraining an ankle.”
Weightlifting shoes not only help prevent injury but also promote good form and technique.
Plus, many are versatile enough that you can still use them for other activities, such as indoor cycling or jumping rope, Roser said.
We rounded up the best shoes for weightlifting based on Roser’s insights and recommendations, as well as the following criteria:
- Use. We included shoes to suit a variety of lifting needs.
- Comfort and fit. The shoes on this list are comfortable and accommodate a variety of foot shapes and sizes.
- Durability. The weightlifting shoes listed below are highly rated for being durable and reliable.
Here are the 8 best weightlifting shoes.
A note on price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.
Generally, prices range from $60–$200, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $100–$150
- $$$ = over $150
We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how products are sold on retail sites, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to one or the other. Choose the product with the fit, style, and features that work best for you.
Healthline’s picks of the best weightlifting shoes
Nike Metcon 7 X
- Price: $$
- Pros: wide range of sizing options, durable materials, versatile for different activities
- Cons: limited color options
The Nike Metcon 7 X is a flexible, durable, and supportive option for a wide range of weightlifting and cross-training activities.
Plus, because it’s made with Nike’s React foam, the shoe can also be used for high intensity cardio bursts.
The shoe offers a wide, flat heel to give you stability while moving between exercises, as well as durable rubber treads for ample traction. The lightweight mesh upper helps keep your feet cool.
“This shoe is great for kettlebell swings, squats, lunges, deadlifts and anything in between,” Roser said. “It offers a neutral base of support, which will also allow you to move quickly through a HIIT class or treadmill intervals.”
Best for competitive lifting
Nike Romaleos 4
- Price: $$$
- Pros: lots of size and color options, quality features for serious lifters
- Cons: not built for other fitness activities
If weightlifting is your main activity, then the Nike Romaleos 4 is the shoe for you.
Featuring a wide base, a hard heel, a noticeable heel-to-toe drop, and adjustable broad straps, the Nike Romaleos 4 provides plenty of stability and support, so you can fully focus on your power cleans and snatches.
The shoe is also designed with minimal flex in the upper portion, which further contributes to a solid base for explosive lifts.
Best for CrossFit
Reebok Nano X1
- Price: $$
- Pros: versatile for various activities, wide range of color and sizing options
- Cons: not great for running longer distances
Reebok Nanos were designed specifically for CrossFit, and the latest model is no exception.
The Reebok Nano X1 is built to help you jump, climb, lift, and run short distances with ease — and without having to swap out your shoes.
In addition to a soft and durable upper for optimal support during quick movements, the shoe provides lightweight and responsive cushioning with its Floatride Energy Foam.
“This is a lightweight shoe, which will feel great on your feet through every strength training move,” Roser said. “You’ll love the style and function of these while you do side lunges, stability work, TRX, or while doing twisting movements.”
Best for squats
Reebok Legacy Lifter II
- Price: $$$
- Pros: ideal for taller people; hard, flat sole and wide base offer extra stability
- Cons: may not fit true to size (some reviewers say to size down, while others say to size up)
Squats might seem like a move you could do with any shoes, or even no shoes, but to ensure proper form and technique, you’ll want to choose the right footwear.
The Reebok Legacy Lifter II is one of the best options because it’s built with a taller heel that keeps your hips properly aligned as you descend toward the ground while also supporting your ankles to keep you from leaning too far forward.
As a bonus, the elevated heel makes the shoe a good fit for taller lifters with longer legs who need extra stability.
Best for powerlifting
Adidas Powerlift 4
- Price: $$
- Pros: can be used for various weightlifting exercises, stylish enough for everyday wear, wide range of sizes and color options
- Cons: synthetic textile upper promotes breathability but may not be as durable as other materials; not a good shoe for running, according to reviewers
Based on the name, it’s no surprise that this shoe is great for powerlifters who need support for a variety of moves such as squats, snatches, deadlifts, and clean and jerks.
The shoe is also relatively affordable without compromising the quality of your workouts, though some reviewers complain that the shoe needs to be replaced more often than more expensive options.
Additionally, keep in mind that because this shoe is designed with a thin heel wedge for powerlifting, it’s not suitable for cross-training.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops
- Price: $–$$
- Pros: stylish enough for casual street wear, various fun colors and patterns available
- Cons: might feel too bulky for activities beyond basic lifting exercises, may not fit true to size
You’re likely familiar with these shoes, because Converse Chuck Taylor High Tops have been around seemingly forever for casual wear.
Turns out, these high top shoes are also great for lifting, because the wide toe box provides stability while the added ankle support helps keep pressure off your joints.
Plus, the shoe’s minimally cushioned sole promotes balance and optimal weight distribution.
Best for wide feet
Rogue Fitness Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
- Price: $$
- Pros: built for wider feet and competitive lifters
- Cons: only one color option, may run large (website recommends sizing down a half size from your running shoe size)
Rogue Fitness is well known for producing high quality gym equipment. However, you may not know that the brand also makes a solid weightlifting shoe.
Thanks to its wide toe box, the Rogue Fitness Do-Win is ideal if you’re on the hunt for a comfortable wide-fit shoe.
According to the brand’s website, the shoe’s 0.75-inch (1.9-cm) hard plastic heel is the preferred height for Olympic lifting, which is a bonus for competitive lifters.
Best for narrow feet
Adidas Adipower Weightlifting II
- Price: $$$
- Pros: double-closure system can make for an ideally snug fit for narrow feet; good for squatting, according to reviewers
- Cons: minimal color options
If you have narrow feet, you’ll want to consider the Adidas Adipower Weightlifting II shoe because it offers a snug fit to prevent your heels from sliding around.
The shoe is also equipped with an adjustable double-closure system featuring laces and straps, allowing you to get a fit that’s firm without being too tight.
Finally, the Adipower Weightlifting II’s rubber outsole provides optimal traction to promote stability and support.
How to choose weightlifting shoes
There are several factors to consider when shopping for weightlifting shoes, including:
- Intended use. Are you a powerlifter? Or do you need a shoe that offers more versatility for short cardio bursts?
- Mobility. According to Roser, it’s important to choose a shoe that’s somewhat flexible and allows you easily pivot in any direction.
- Profile and cushioning. “Your weightlifting shoe should [also] be flatter on the ground to help your deadlifting and squat form,” Roser explained. “These tend to be the lower-profile type of sneaker with less cushion all around.”
- Stability and support. To prevent injury, look for a shoe with a wide toe box and plenty of grip to keep your foot secure.
- Fit. It’s always helpful to try on shoes before buying to ensure that you buy the right size and fit, especially if you have wide or narrow feet.
- Price. Weightlifting shoes vary greatly in price, so be sure to consider how much you’re willing to spend on a pair. It’s also worth shopping around to find the best price.
The bottom line
Whether you’re a CrossFit enthusiast or a competitive weightlifter or are simply looking to add more strength training to your routine, weightlifting shoes are a worthwhile investment because they can help prevent injury and encourage proper form.
We’re confident that by considering your foot shape and the types of exercises you plan on performing, you’ll find a shoe that best fits your weightlifting goals.