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Looking to take your lifting game to the next level — or maybe just got some mad inspo from watching lifters go all-out at the Olympics? Well, if you want to get serious about weightlifting, it’s worth getting a pair of shoes for the job.
Weightlifting shoes are designed to give your ankles, feet, and torso max support to help you stay stable and enhance moves that require a lot of range of motion (ROM) — like squats, power lifts, and clean and jerks. More stability and range of movement = being able to handle more weight, improve your overall strength, and hit those PRs. 💪
But what should you look for in a weightlifting shoe to maximize your lifting potential? We got you. Read on for our top 8 weightlifting shoe picks, plus some shopping tips to help you find the right fit for you.
There’s some trial and error involved in finding your best weightlifting shoes, and one size def doesn’t fit all. That said, we sought out picks that are widely recognized as top performers, so they’re a primo starting point for narrowing down your search.
The weightlifting shoes in our guide score high marks for:
- Comfort. First and foremost, they’ve gotta feel good! We checked reviews to make sure real customers find them comfortable during all kinds of lifts.
- Performance enhancement. The whole point of wearing dedicated shoes is to make your lifts better. The shoes we included have the goods: lifted heels, arch and ankle support, and plenty of stability.
- Durability. A good pair of shoes should last for years, even with regular use. We checked reviews to make sure our picks weren’t likely to fall apart prematurely.
- Style. It shouldn’t be the top consideration, but it’s nice when a shoe looks cool too, right?
Say hello to ultimate power with these top performers.
Best overall weightlifting shoes
- Price: $$$$
- Color options: black, white, yellow, red, white/pink
- Pros: fan favorite, max support, looks badass
- Cons: expensive, not a great fit for people with wider feet
Reviewers like that the midsole offers plenty of support while the wide heel keeps feet flat even when you’re doing explosive moves, so you’ve got all the power.
The adjustable straps in the middle mean you get a custom fit to help you stay sturdy. The only real downside is that some lifters with wide feet say the shoes are a little too snug.
Best weightlifting shoes for squats
- Price: $$
- Color options: black, white, red
- Pros: stable midfoot, flexible forefoot, lightweight, recycled materials
- Cons: narrow fit
Most reviewers really dig the snug, supportive fit. And thanks to the flexible canvas upper, your toes have some wiggle room to allow for natural movement — so no claus-toe-phobia (ha) here. “I really like the style and the Velcro strap letting you tighten the shoes even more. Great for squatting,” one reviewer writes.
That said, some folks with wider feet say the sneaks are just too snug, so they might not be the best for every foot out there.
Also nice: These shoes are made from Primegreen, Adidas’ high performance recycled material, and don’t contain any virgin polyester. Earth hugs all around.
Best weightlifting shoes for CrossFit
- Price: $$$
- Color options: black, white, several multicolor options
- Pros: versatile, breathable, great traction
- Cons: not as much stability
This shoe serves up support for heavy lifts while still allowing for movement and plenty of cushioning for higher-impact moves. So you’ll be able to go full force throughout any kind of cross-training workout.
Overall, people who wear these shoes are dedicated, to say the least. “This is my 7th pair purchased. Great gym shoes,” one reviewer writes. “Best training shoe I’ve used in ages! The breathable framework and flexibility works great for movement,” says another.
Best weightlifting shoes for wide feet
- Price: $$$
- Color options: black, red, blue
- Pros: maximum stability, breathable, good fit for wider feet
- Cons: on the pricier side
This OG-style weightlifting shoe has it all: a stacked heel for maximum stability, a breathable mesh upper, and hook-and-loop straps for a sweet custom fit.
Lifters have loved this style for years. But the rounded toe shape means folks with wide heels are especially big fans. “They fit great. The size was dead on the money, no break was needed,” says one user.
The grip on these shoes is legit, so they’ll keep you steady for the most intense moves. “I use them for squats and oly lifts and the grip/stability is rock solid,” one user writes.
Best weightlifting shoes for mobility restrictions
- Price: $$$$
- Color options: black, white, blue, several multicolor options
- Pros: breathable, wide toe box, raised heel
- Cons: not as much midfoot support
A plastic heel clip, a lace and strap combo, and a lifted heel combine to give people with reduced mobility max comfort and the stability needed for safe, healthy lifts.
None of that makes the shoe heavy or clunky, though. The upper is durable without sacrificing breathability, ensuring plenty of airflow to keep foot sweat to a minimum. 🙌 🙌
Reviewers say these shoes are an absolute game-changer if you have limited ankle mobility. Some also recommend these if you have a hard time keeping your heels down when squatting.
Best-value weightlifting shoes
- Price: $
- Color options: white, black, red, purple, green, customizable
- Pros: inexpensive, breathable, good intro shoe
- Cons: not as high tech as other options
You read that right. Good ol’ Chucks high-tops are actually a pretty solid lifting option, thanks to the dead-flat sole and snug fit around the ankle. To adjust the fit, just tighten or loosen the laces.
Also good: The rubber sole has plenty of traction, and the canvas fabric is durable and breathable. Plus, they just look cool.
These aren’t necessarily the shoes you want to wear once you start Olympic lifting. But if you’re just getting into the world of serious weights, these are an inexpensive, comfortable option that’ll offer more stability than your standard gym or running shoes.
Best weightlifting shoes for Olympic weightlifters
- Price: $$$$
- Color options: black, white, gray
- Pros: targeted support, flexible toe bed, grippy sole, customizable fit, raised heel
- Cons: expensive
Reach for these when you’re pulling out all the stops for Oly lifts. They boast a raised heel plus targeted inner reinforcements for even more foot-hugging stability, but with a flexible footbed that still gives your toes the freedom to move naturally. “They give you all the support but are not extremely rigid,” one reviewer writes.
Users also agree that these shoes go big on comfort and don’t have that weird awkward feel. A combo of laces and straps means you’ll get the best possible fit, so you’ll feel supported but not squished.
Best of all, they have the potential to really take your lifts to the next level. “Great shoe. Game changer. Completely changed my squat and deadlift,” one user writes.
Best old-school design weightlifting shoes
- Price: $$$$$
- Color options: blue, brown, red
- Pros: made for heavy lifting, long lasting natural materials
- Cons: expensive, runs narrow
Wanna channel that black and white pic of Grandpa flexing at the gym back in the day? This old-school shoe boasts a classic stacked leather heel and high quality, durable leather uppers that are designed to last, well, forever.
There’s no rocket science here, and that’s the whole point. The design is meant to harken back to lifters of yore, and users are happy to stick with what works — even with the higher price point. “Feels great, looks great. Makes my low bar squat feel more natural as well as my deadlifts. Worth every penny,” one reviewer writes.
The only downside? Some folks find that the fit runs a little narrow than more modern-style shoes. So def give these a good try around the house to make sure they feel good before taking them to the gym.
Why do you even need a special pair of shoes just for lifting? TBH, if you’re just a casual lifter who’s slinging the weights to stay in shape, you don’t. But once you get into lifting as an actual sport, the right shoes will give you more comfort and better performance. It’s really just like any other athletic pursuit.
Weightlifting shoes have a flat sole, stacked heel, and relatively stiff feel. They look more like bowling shoes than most other types of athletic shoes, but the distinct shape and fit are key.
A flat sole and lifted heel help you get deeper while keeping your ankles steady, especially when it comes to moves like squats. The design also helps you hold your torso straight so you’re not leaning forward or back, which gives you more power so your lift isn’t compromised.
All these features help you lift comfortably and safely, reducing your risk of an injury.
Compare that to something like a running or walking shoe, which is all about giving you loads of cushion. If you wore those for serious lifts, your ankles would start to sink and you’d end up rocking backward instead of standing straight. Not exactly a recipe for success (or safety), right?
It’s always a good idea to shop IRL for your first pair. A pro can help you figure out what type of shoe might work best for you and point you in the direction of a few options that could make the cut.
Still, whether you’re at a store or shopping the interwebs in bed at 3 a.m. (no judgment!), you’ll want to keep these factors in mind to find a solid shoe:
- Type of training or sport. In general, shoes designed specifically for weightlifting are your best bet. Certain cross-trainers designed with lifting in mind might also work for things like CrossFit.
- Comfort. Does it feel good when you put it on? Your toes should have some room to wiggle, but the shoe should still fit relatively snugly.
- Durability. Do the material and stitching seem sturdy? When taken care of, high quality lifting shoes can last years and years. Also check the reviews to see what past customers say about durability.
- Budget. Paying a little more means you’ll get more comfort, stability, and durability. But if you’re just starting out in the world of lifting, don’t feel like you need to splurge right off the bat.
- Heel height/elevation. Stacked heels can help you get a deeper bend for moves like squats, especially if you have any mobility restrictions in your hips or ankles.
- Lacing and strapping. Adjustable straps = more custom fit = more support. Laces take it to the next level.
- Type of heel. Leather and wood are more OG, while more tech-driven shoes often use synthetic materials. Which type you choose comes down to personal preference, which is why shopping IRL might be helpful.
- Materials. Synthetics and mesh can be more breathable, but they may not be as durable as leather or suede.
- Versatility. Most weightlifting shoes are designed for lifting only, so they’re not gonna work on the treadmill. But certain cross-training shoes can also fit the bill for high intensity moves that call for more cushioning.
- Design. Looks aren’t everything, but a cool shoe is still fun!
Still wondering about some things? We’ve got answers.
Can I just wear regular shoes when weightlifting?
Sure, esp if you’re just starting out. In fact, some coaches recommend starting with basic flat-soled sneakers you can find anywhere, like Converse or Vans. But once you start getting into more serious lifting, a specialized shoe will give you more support and the performance edge you’re looking for.
Do I need to be an advanced weightlifter to wear weightlifting shoes?
Nope. Any lifter can wear weightlifting shoes. Just keep in mind that more recreational lifters prob won’t get as big of a benefit, since they’re doing more basic moves. But if you’re the kind of person who likes to have all the gear right from the start, go for it.
How much should I spend on weightlifting shoes?
Lifting shoes are def an investment, but we’re not talking a month’s rent or anything. A pair of solid shoes from a big brand will run you between $100 and $200. And if you take proper care of them, they should last a while too.
Are there any downsides to using weightlifting shoes?
Not really, but because they feel a bit different from other types of athletic shoes, it might take a little while to get used to the fit. If you’re wearing a new pair for the first time, start out easy until things feel natural and steady. Then go to town.
The right pair of weightlifting shoes can give you more stability and range of motion for max power moves. Finding the perfect fit can take some trial and error, but once you find the right pair, they should have you dropping it low and werkin’ those clean and jerks for years to come.