Best Weightlifting Shoes 2017

Best Weightlifting Shoes 2017

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One of the most important decisions a lifter can make is what type of shoes they choose to lift in. Weightlifting shoes/lifting shoes, or lifters, are becoming increasingly more popular among all strength sports for their abilities to support an athlete’s performance.

Over the last year, we’ve been on a mission dedicated to reviewing and analyzing the industry’s top lifting shoes. We looked at both older and newer models from some of the biggest companies that have built strong reputations in the market. For the newer lifter, and even the weathered athlete, finding the perfect pair of shoes can be a daunting task.

After all, most weightlifting shoes last multiple years, and with so many shoes on the market it can be a hassle diving into each shoe’s individual attributes/specs. Below is a list of our top picks from the categories we grouped shoes in.

  • Best Lifting Shoes for Squats: Adidas Powerlift 3
  • Best Lifting Shoes for Women: Adidas AdiPower 
  • Best Lifting Shoes for Men: Nike Romaleos 3
  • Best Lifting Shoes for CrossFit®-Style Training: Inov-8 FastLifts
  • Best Lifting Shoes for Weightlifting: Position USA Weightlifting Shoes
  • Best Lifting Shoes for Flat Feet: Reebok Legacy Lifters
  • Best Lifting Shoes for Wide Feet: Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
  • Best Lifting Shoes for the Money: Adidas Powerlift 3

Luckily for you, we’re lifting shoe fiends (call us lifting shoe sneakerheads), and took the time to analyze every single aspect that comes with some of the market’s top shoes.

Why Lifting Shoes?

Lifting shoes are designed to increase a lifter’s stability, support mobility, and enhance platform feedback. They’re composed of multiple features that benefit the above three categories, and these characteristics are what make every shoe slightly different and individual for an athlete.

Lifting Shoe Infographic
Lifting Shoe Infographic

We’re not saying you absolutely need lifters to perform well, but they’re something that can help push your lifting to the next level. There are three main components that make lifting shoes different than a regular pair of sneakers, or cross trainers.

[Excited to find your perfect shoe? Check out our weightlifting shoe quiz!]

Elevated Heel

The elevated heel on lifting shoes supports mobility and provides a stable base for lifters to sit back on. A planted stable foot is a must for athletes, especially when moving heavy weight, so a stable elevated heel can help a lifter to increase their confidence.

A heel’s elevation can range from as low as .3″ – 1″, and every lifter will have a heel height that works best for them. This is dependent on a lifter’s sport and anthropometrics.

Lifting Shoe Heel Height Chart

Additionally, the extra heel height helps support a lifter moving weight through a variety of positions with optimal posture angles (easier to keep chest tall, knees track properly, etc). The table below can help give you an idea of which heel heights work best for different lifting stances and squat styles.

Lifting Shoe Heel Height Guide

Lacing and Strapping System

The way a shoe laces, or straps can be a big deal for lifters who prioritize foot security. Of the shoes we reviewed, you’ll find single strap, double strap, and BOA lacing models. Each come with different levels of security for different areas of the foot. For maximal security, we found double straps and BOA lacing to top the list, but single straps also provide plenty of security.

Type of Heel

Regular sneakers have a compressible rubber-based heel, which is not ideal for catching, or moving weight. The lifting shoes we reviewed come in four different options: EVA, TPU, stacked leather, and wood. Each of these heels will have a different appearance, level of stability, performance, and feel on the platform.

[Still confused? Check out our in-depth descriptive Guide to Lifting Shoes.]

When it comes to deciding which heel is best for an athlete, it’s often up to a lifter’s preferences and discretion. Below are a few reasons a lifter might choose one of the four heels listed above.

  • EVA Heel: Lightweight, somewhat compressible/maneuverable, and durable.
  • TPU Heel: Lightweight, long-lasting, and resistant to abrasion and compression.
  • Stacked Leather Heel: Old school appearance, lightweight, platform feedback.
  • Wood Heel: Platform feedback, stable base, and old school appearance.

Every shoe listed below in their respective categories was selected for a specific reason. The characteristics listed above, along with other factors like a shoe’s weight, are what helped us to divide each shoe into their “best” category.

Best Lifting Shoes for Squats

The Adidas Powerlift 3s are our top pick for the best lifting shoes for squats. These shoes offered multiple characteristics that earn them the number one spot.

Adidas Powerlift 3

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The first reason we chose this shoe is their EVA heel is a little lower, sitting at .65″. This makes them a good shoe for athletes transitioning to using lifting shoes for squats. Additionally, the lower heel will be useful for low-bar and high-bar squats, so they’re pretty versatile in the terms of squat functionality for multiple athletes. Lastly, we liked the minimalist design they offered, and thought the outside leather material made for a durable cost efficient squat shoe.

The second shoe on our squat list is the Reebok Legacy Lifters. We felt the wide profile, heavier weight, TPU based, and double strap of this shoe made it a suitable option for anyone squatting. The heel is a little higher at .75″, so they may not be the best shoe for low-bar squats, but their weight gave them an “anchored” to the floor feeling. The double straps provided full foot security, which is a big plus when moving heavy weight.

The Nike Romaleos 3 are our final squat pick. Newly released this year, we felt this latest Nike lifting shoe was a good choice for someone frequently high-bar squatting. The shoe comes with two soles, so you can select a softer, or firmer base. They’re also made with Nike’s signature Flywire and move well with the foot and ankle. Their strong TPU heel offers minimal to no compression at maximal loads.

Best Lifting Shoes for Women

Our favorite lifting shoes for female athletes is the Adidas AdiPower. The AdiPowers topped the list for a few reasons.

Adidas AdiPower

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The Adidas AdiPowers offer a lightweight durable TPU heel, so there’s minimal upkeep. Their upper tongue strap provides the ankle with additional support, and the leather/mesh construction make them breathable, yet rigid. It’s a good balance of stiffer, yet soft shoe, so athletes won’t need a ton of time breaking them in. We also liked that this shoe has a little bit of a more narrow design, which can be beneficial for a female athlete’s slimmer foot.

Our second pick for female athletes is the NOBULL Lifters. We liked this shoe for female lifters for a few reasons. First, we liked the Superfabric construction and how breathable the shoe is. This could be beneficial for lighter women who would normally take a little longer to break in a stiffer shoe. Additionally, we liked the stacked leather heel and how it was resistant to compression and lightweight, so an athlete won’t feel like they anchors on their feet.

The Adidas Powerlift 3 is the last pick on our list for female athletes. Female athletes may have good mobility to begin with, so a .65″ heel is often high enough to find benefit. In addition, the lower heel makes this shoe a more versatile option compared to some of the higher heeled shoes on the market. The EVA heel is also lightweight and durable with little compression, so it won’t feel heavy on a female athlete’s foot.

Best Lifting Shoes for Men

Our favorite lifting shoe for men is the Nike Romaleos 3. This shoe has multiple features that we feel match most guys asks for in a weightlifting shoe.

Nike Romaleos 3

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The Romaleos 3s .79″ heel height make it a good option for athletes in need of a little mobility help, which a lot of male athletes typically need. There’s also a mid-foot strap that keeps the foot secure. Guys typically have bigger thicker feet, so we thought the mid-foot strap made it a good choice for multiple types of athletes. Additionally, they have a durable TPU heel, so the shoe’s base isn’t going to give under heavy weight.

Our second pick for men is the Position USA Weightlifting Shoes. We like the old school 1″ wood heel, and think this is a good option for guys looking for platform feedback. Similar to the Nike Romaleos 3s, the Position shoes also have a thick mid-foot strap, so it’s a good option for a thicker footed athlete. Men also have a little wider of a foot and the Positions have a slightly wider flexible toe box.

The last pick for men is the Adidas AdiPower. We like this shoe’s pyramid style TPU heel, and think it’s a good option for both beginners and weathered strength athletes. The heel’s effective height is .75″, so if you need it for multiple activities, then it’s a viable option. Additionally, they have a narrow-medium foot profile, so they’re going to fit a plethora of lifters.

Best Lifting Shoes for CrossFit®-Style Training

Our favorite lifting shoe for functional fitness and CrossFit®-style training was the Inov-8 FastLift 325 & 370 BOA. These shoes are designed with versatility in mind and are some of the lightest on the market.

Inov-8 FastLift 325

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In our review, we looked at both the Inov-8 FastLift 325 and 370 BOA shoes. They’re some of the lightest shoes on the market with the FastLift 325 coming in at 11.7 ounces, and the 370 BOAs weighing around 13 ounces. Also, they’re made with a flexible mesh, so they’re suitable for multiple activities. Lastly, each shoe provides you with a lightweight somewhat lower TPU heel (FastLift 325 .65″ and 370 BOA .75″), and can endure multiple activities without compressing or degrading.

The Adidas Powerlift 3s are our second pick for functional fitness athletes. This pick may seem a little unconventional, but hear out our reasoning. First, the EVA heel is a little softer than TPU, so cardio movements are a little more forgiving in this shoe. Second, the lower .65″ heel make it a good option for multiple activities. Lastly, it’s a decently light shoe and easy on the wallet, so you don’t have to stress as much with functional workouts that beat up shoes (rope climbs).

Our last pick for CrossFit® athletes is the NOBULL Lifters. This shoe was initially designed with functional fitness athletes in mind, so we thought their shoe’s characteristics fit the mold pretty well. There were two characteristics of this shoe that really sold us on earning their number three spot. First, the stacked leather heel made the shoe lightweight and comfortable in multiple movements. Second, the NOBULL Superfabric is a good option for someone needing a breathable flexible fitting lifter.

Best Lifting Shoes for Weightlifting

The Position USA Weightlifting Shoes earned our number one pick for weightlifting. Their old school wood heel made this shoe a unique and solid pick for weightlifting specific athletes.

Position USA Weightlifting Shoes

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If you’re in need of a shoe strictly for weightlifting, then we felt the Position USA shoes checked off our qualifying boxes. We liked the higher 1″ heel, which made catching weight pretty easy, even with limited mobility. The wood heel also made this shoe unique to others on the market, and bring back the old school weightlifting feeling. Also, the wood heel provides a lifter with a little more platform feedback.

The Adidas Leistung 16 IIs are our second pick for weightlifting. They also offer a higher 1″ heel, but it’s made with a lightweight TPU. A defining feature this shoe provides is the BOA lacing system. BOA laces allow a lifter to tighten the shoe fully at once with a crank knob on the tongue. These shoes also have a slimmer profile, so if you’re a weightlifter in need of a skinnier fit, then these shoes are a viable option.

The final shoe on our weightlifting list is the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes. Do-Win shoes were originally constructed and guided by Greg Pendlay (a popular weightlifting coach). These shoes offer a wide profile, so toe splay and gripping the floor is never an issue. Also, the double straps provide the foot with full security. The best selling point of this shoe is the price point at $90.00, which makes it a fairly priced weightlifting shoe.

Best Lifting Shoes for Flat Feet

Our top pick for lifters with flat feet is the Reebok Legacy Lifters. This shoe has multiple features a strength athlete wants, plus a wide profile.

Reebok Legacy Lifter

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The Reebok Legacy Lifters have a wider base, which make them comfortable, even for those with flat feet. Their toe box is pretty sizable too, so a lifter can fully splay their foot in catching positions without feeling the sides of the shoe press into the outer toes. We also liked the double straps these shoes offer, and how they held a flat foot securely at the top and bottom of the tongue.

The Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe makes our number two spot for flat feet. These shoes are designed for the wider footed athlete, which is usually synonymous with a flat footed athlete (but not always the case). We liked the full foot wide profile this shoe offered and that the toe box has ample room for full toe splay. In addition, this shoe has double straps, so the flat footed lifter won’t feel like they’re losing any security.

The last pick on our flat foot list is the Adidas Powerlift 3s. These shoes aren’t inherently made wider, but they have a slightly wider profile. Their toe box provides plenty of room for full toe splay, and it’s flexible, so it enables a flat footed lifter to feel comfortable in catches and squats. We thought the single upper foot strap did a fair job at providing the foot with a good amount of security.

Best Lifting Shoes for Wide Feet

Our top pick for athlete with wide feet is the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe. This shoe’s made wide on purpose and offers multiple benefits for the wide footed athlete.

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

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With its wide construction, the Do-Win shoe has multiple characteristics a wider footed strength athlete wants. The shoe offers a standard .75″ TPU heel, so it works with multiple athletes and is durable. There are double straps at the bottom and top of the tongue, which helped secure the full foot. In addition, the toe box is made a little wider so the toes can fully splay with ease.

The Reebok Legacy Lifters make our number two flat feet spot. This shoe is similar to the Do-Win in design, and has a wider profile, which also fits flat feet well. They provide an athlete with a .75″ TPU heel, but at a slightly heavier weight (20.6 ounces). We like how the shoe’s base is TPU, so there’s no rocking side-to-side for the wide footed athlete. Also, the heel is pretty wide and provides a good stable base to sit back on.

Our final pick for wide feet pick is the Inov-8 FastLift models. These shoes weren’t initially on our list, but earned a spot after a full analysis. Compared to other lifting shoes the Inov-8 FastLift 325 and 370 BOA both fall in the middle of the road in width. What earned them their spot was the flexibility and form fitting nature to the foot. The base is designed to grip the floor, and Inov-8 utilizes a Powertruss heel for additional stability.

Best Lifting Shoes for the Money

The Adidas Powerlift 3 tops our list as the best cost efficient shoe for your wallet. 

Adidas Powerlift 3

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The Adidas Powerlift 3 starts at $90.00 and comes in multiple color schemes. This makes it a good option for athletes looking for a standard lifting shoe that’s easy on the wallet and has some uniqueness to it. This shoe may not last as long as some of the TPU heeled shoes, but we haven’t seen many complaints on early degradation. Also, the outer leather/mesh construction makes this shoe pretty resilient to abrasions.

Our next pick for the money is the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe. This shoe starts at $90.00 and has multiple characteristics that make it a viable option for athletes. They have a TPU heel, double straps, and flexible design. For the athlete needing a well-made standard weightlifting shoe, then the Do-Win is a pretty good choice. The only con is the lack of color schemes, but that’s not a big deal for multiple athletes.

The Adidas AdiPowers are our final pick for the money. Yes, some of the newer color schemes are still pretty pricey, but you can find older models around $90.00. This shoe is one of the most popular among strength athletes and for good reason. They provide you with a durable TPU heel, strong single strap, and leather/mesh finish. Additionally, this shoe has proven that it’s durable, so your money can take you far with this model.

Wrapping Up

A great pair of lifting shoes isn’t necessarily the newest model, but the model that fits the lifter best. There are so many models and designs out there, so a lifter should find it relatively easy to find their perfect shoe.

Before investing in a new pair of shoes, make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for. It’s always a good idea to base your decision off of individual needs and preferences. Often the best shoes are the pair that fits your strength sport and anthropometrics best.