Home » 7 Best Shoes for Squats 2022 | Top Shoe Picks for Big Squats

7 Best Shoes for Squats 2022 | Top Shoe Picks for Big Squats

When considering what the best shoes are for squats I like to take an approach that accounts for your training needs. As opposed to just listing off an arbitrary list of best squat shoes, I think it’s more productive to create sub-categories for different training contexts. Within each sub-category, I’ll then provide some of my favorite shoes for squats.

The reason I like making these sub-categories is that different athletes and lifters will need different things out of their shoes for squats. For example, a powerlifter who’s searching for the best pair of shoes for squats will likely have different training needs and goals than a more recreational lifter who wants a pair of cross-training shoes that excel for squats.

In this article, I’m going to discuss a variety of categories with different shoe options for tackling squats. This way, you as a lifter and athlete, can better contextualize which squat shoes would be best for your training needs and wants.

On the market for deadlift shoes? Make sure you check out my Best Deadlift Shoes Round-Up to be matched with your perfect deadlift shoes.

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Squats

Weightlifting shoes are a popular shoe choice for tackling heavy squats. There is a lot that goes into weightlifting shoes and how they can manipulate your lifting mechanics especially when it comes to squats.

If you’re on the market for a good pair of weightlifting shoes primarily for squatting, then check out my two favorite options below.

1. Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

The Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 has been a really consistent weightlifting shoe for squats for me. I’ve competed twice in the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2s and they’ve been exceptional across the board for a few different reasons. First, I enjoy this model’s overall durability and have yet to notice any breakdown issues with this shoe’s upper, outsole, and strap.

squatting in reebok legacy lifter 2

Second, this shoe provides a .86″ heel which is awesome for taller individuals and those with longer legs like myself. The slightly more aggressive heel height helps feed better into squat mechanics for taller athletes.

The third and last reason why I’ve been enjoying the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 is their toe box maneuverability. This model is relatively easy to break in and hugs the foot really well.

  • Best For: All types of athletes who want a good pair of squat shoes.
  • Heel Height: .86″ (22mm)
  • Why I Like Them: Easy to break in, good durability, and comfortable fit.
  • Where They Fall Short: They can be heavy and their toe box may be narrow for some athletes
  • Read My Full Review: Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Review

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

$200

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2
4.5
Stability
4.6
Durability
4.5
Quality
4.5

Best For

  • Weightlifting
  • Squats
  • Accessories With an Elevated Heel
  • Heel Height: 0.86″

Falls Short

  • For Functional Fitness Workouts

 

2. Adidas Adipower II

The Adidas Adipower II was a fairly big change compared to the consistent and highly rated Adidas Adipower. Personally, I like the Adidas Adipower II for squats and think they’re a really consistent model for most lifters and athletes in need of a good pair of squat shoes.

For squat specifically, there are three core construction features that I like in the Adidas Adipower II. The first is that the heel height is solid for a variety of lifters. The effective heel height in the Adipower II is .79″ (20.1mm) which is an elevation that tends to work well for a variety of lifters’ needs.

The second reason is the toe box in this model has a neutral width and is really flexible. This provides an easy break-in period and makes this shoe feel a bit more versatile than other stiffer weightlifting shoes on the market. The last aspect to like is that the upper construction and TPU heel are pretty bombproof. This model should be plenty durable for the avid squat enthusiast.

  • Best For: Beginners and all types of athletes who want a good pair of squat shoes.
  • Heel Height: .79″ (20.1mm)
  • Why I Like Them: Easy to break in, flexible toe box, and durable construction.
  • Where They Fall Short: They may not feel as rigid as other weightlifting shoes that experienced athletes have tried.

Adidas Adipower II

$200

adidas adipower ii
4.6
Stability
4.7
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.6

Best For

  • Squatting
  • Weightlifting
  • Beginners Wanting Weightlifting Shoes

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency

 

Best Training Shoes for Squats

If you’re a recreational lifter, into CrossFit, or want just one pair of shoes for all of your training, then you’ve likely considered which cross-training shoes are best for squats. I’m constantly squatting fairly heavily in my training shoes and there are a few key characteristics that I look for.

First, I assess a training shoe’s stability and how they manage different loads. Second, I’m looking at their versatility and how they fair a variety of exercises while also excelling at squats.

1. Foost Trainer HD210

The Foost Trainer HD210 is one of my favorite cross-training shoes for squatting for two particular reasons. First, as a whole, this shoe has Nike Metcon 5 vibes to its construction which I personally really like. Its upper construction is durable and it has a solid midsole and outsole construction for versatility and stability.

foost trainer hd210 for lifting

The second reason why I like the Foost Trainer HD210 for squats is that it comes with an additional plastic insert to manipulate your heel height. Without the insert, the heel of this shoe sits at 5mm, then once you use the insert that has a height of 13mm you can bring your heel to 18mm (.7″).

This makes this one of the few cross-training shoes that can also serve as a pseudo-weightlifting shoe due to its ability to manipulate its heel weight with relative ease and remain plenty stable.

  • Best For: Recreational lifters and CrossFit athletes.
  • Heel Height: 5mm (13mm insert included)
  • Why I Like Them: Versatile for different training settings, durable upper construction, solid for lifting.
  • Where They Fall Short: Long-term outsole durability when training outdoors.
  • Read My Full Review: Foost Trainer HD210 Review

FOOST Trainer HD210

$125

FOOST Trainer HD210
4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • CrossFit-Style Training
  • Heavy Lifting
  • Weightlifting Training
  • Versatile-Focused Workouts
  • Shorter Runs

Falls Short

  • For Outdoor Training On Concrete
  • For Longer Runs

 

2. Nike Metcon 7

The Nike Metcon 7 is a good cross-training shoe for squats, especially for the recreational and CrossFit-focused lifter. Personally, I do like the Nike Metcon 6 slightly more squats due to their stability and Hyperlift insert, however, this model is getting tougher to find so I didn’t want to include them in the list only to have you search around and not find your size.

nike metcon 7 for squats

That being said, both the Nike Metcon 7 and Metcon 6 will work well for heavy squats and I’ve hit squats up to 405 lbs in each model with limited issues with compression. The Nike Metcon 7 utilizes Nike React Foam as its midsole and has a built-in Hyperlift insert in the heel as opposed to the Metcon 6 which had them come separately.

The heel-to-toe drop for the Nike Metcon 7 is said to be 4mm and I think if you’re someone that wants a trainer that can perform in a variety of settings while also holding its own under heavier squats, then this shoe is a good option to go for.

  • Best For: Recreational lifters, versatile training, and CrossFit athletes.
  • Heel Height: 4mm
  • Why I Like Them: Good upper durability, solid for CrossFit, and stable yet versatile.
  • Where They Fall Short: Long-term outsole durability when running and training outdoors.
  • Read My Full Review: Nike Metcon 7 Review

Nike Metcon 7

$130

Nike Metcon 7
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.4

Best For

  • Heavy Training
  • CrossFit Workouts
  • Rope Climbs
  • Plyos and Agility Workouts
  • Short Runs

Falls Short

  • For Long-Distance Runs
  • For Wider Feet

 

Best Squat Shoes for Powerlifting

If you’re a powerlifter looking for squats shoes, then you’ll most likely have two concerns. The first is if the shoes align with your squat style. Powerlifters will have specific squat styles and not every shoe and heel-to-toe drop will align with one’s mechanics.

Second, if the shoes are stable enough to accommodate even your heaviest training sessions. The last thing you want is a pair of shoes compressing or causing any self-doubt in your overall stability and balance mid-squats.

1. Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

For the first squat shoe for powerlifting, I’m going to discuss one of my favorite weightlifting shoe options, the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2. Not every powerlifter will want an elevated heel when squatting.

More specifically, some of my low-bar squatting friends may find that elevated heels conflict with their lifting mechanics while others who have a more hybrid par position like myself that sits between a true “low-bar” and “high-bar” position may want an elevated heel.

 

The Reebok Legacy Lifter II provides an awesome level of stability and its outsole grips the floor really well. In the context of powerlifting, I liked how the rubber outsole interacted with the carpet that most powerlifting federations have you squat on. I didn’t have issues with grip on the carpet which is always a plus.

I also like the deeper boot construction of the Legacy Lifter II and how the midfoot strap can be easily adjusted for different food anatomies. If you’re a powerlifter that loves squatting with an elevated heel, then you can’t really go wrong with the Legacy Lifter II.

  • Best For: All types of powerlifters who love squatting with an elevated heel.
  • Heel Height: .86″ (22mm)
  • Why I Like Them: Easy to break in, good durability, and comfortable fit.
  • Where They Fall Short: They can be heavy and their toe box may be narrow for some athletes
  • Read My Full Review: Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Review

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

$200

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2
4.5
Stability
4.6
Durability
4.5
Quality
4.5

Best For

  • Weightlifting
  • Squats
  • Accessories With an Elevated Heel
  • Heel Height: 0.86″

Falls Short

  • For Functional Fitness Workouts

 

2. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is my second favorite squat shoe for powerlifters, and more specifically, powerlifters that want a 0mm heel-to-toe drop shoe. The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is a powerlifting classic and I’ve competed in them twice and like them for squatting for three particular reasons.

The first reason is their price point and the fact that you can opt for low-top or high-top based on your preferences. Personally, I like the high-top models because I enjoy how the boot hugs the ankle when training. The second reason is that their outsole is plenty stable for heavy squats. The rubber utilized in Converse provides a nice stable base to lift on.

The last reason is that they’re consistent with their fit and feel and they can be worn outside of training sessions. Converse Chuck Talor All-Stars are an awesome option for the lifter that wants a zero drop shoe that they can train in and also wear out and about casually.

  • Best For: All types of powerlifters who love squatting with zero drop shoes.
  • Heel Height: 0mm
  • Why I Like Them: Budget-Friendly, good for daily wear, plenty stable for most.
  • Where They Fall Short: Their toe box may be tight for some and their stack height can be offputting.
  • Read My Full Review: Converse Vs Vans Review

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

$60

Converse Taylor All-Star
4.3
Stability
4.7
Versatility
3.8
Durability
4.0

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Heavier Strength Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Deadlifting

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • Long-Term Durability

 

Best Barefoot Shoes for Squats

Barefoot shoes have steadily grown in popularity as being awesome shop options for lifting. If you love having a barefoot positioning when squatting, then you’ve likely considered barefoot shoes for squats before.

In all of my barefoot shoe testing, there are a lot of models that excel really well for squats, but there are two that stand out to me personally that I always end up reaching for.

1. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is one of my go-to barefoot shoes for tackling squats and general lifting. This model has a few construction features that I really like for lifting and general wear. For starters, this shoe has a super minimalist outsole construction so you can really feel the ground below your feet when training in these.

 

You can also remove their insole to get even closer to the ground. So, if you like wearing barefoot shoes on wedges when squatting, you’ll have ample points of contact in this model with your squat style. Additionally, the toe box in this shoe provides a nice width so even wider footed individuals should have no problem splaying their toes during squats.

The last aspect to like about this model is that they’re fairly aesthetic and they work really well daily drivers, too. Not every pair of barefoot shoes has a nice clean appearance, but I think the Primus Lite IIIs do a good job at walking that line of performance and appearance.

  • Best For: Those that want a barefoot shoe for lifting and daily wear.
  • Heel Height: 0mm
  • Why I Like Them: Ample width, clean appearance, and durable construction.
  • Where They Fall Short: On the pricier side of shoes.
  • Read My Full Review: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

$145.00

vivobarefoot primus lite 3
4.8
Stability
4.9
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Heavy Weight Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Workouts
  • Lighter Runs and Athletic Training

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Longer Barefoot-Style Running Workouts

 

2. Xero Shoes 360

The Xero Shoes 360 barefoot shoe is also a solid barefoot shoe option for tackling heavy squats. If you’re more biased towards training in barefoot shoes for cross-training and CrossFit, then the 360 is a really good model to look into. This is the Xero Shoes model that is made specifically for tackling cross-training workouts.

This model features an upper construction designed to withstand things like burpees and rope climbs, so outside of squats, this model should provide you with a good amount of durability for other training settings. This model also features a removable insole which is nice for giving you an even closer to the ground feel.

The Xero Shoes 360 are not the most aesthetic model on the market, but if you only plan to train in them and squat in them, then I think their appearance is just fine for a gym-focused shoe.

  • Best For: Those that want a barefoot shoe for cross-training and lifting.
  • Heel Height: 0mm
  • Why I Like Them: Durable upper construction, built for cross-training, removable insole.
  • Where They Fall Short: Not the most aesthetic for casual wear.
  • Read My Full Review: Xero Shoes 360 Review

Xero Shoes 360

$119.99

Xero Shoes 360
4.5
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.3

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Functional Fitness Workouts
  • Short Runs and Sprints
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Long-Term Durability

 

Best Budget Squat Shoes

For those on a budget looking for a solid pair of shoes for squatting with a little research, there are a good amount of different squat shoe options that you can go with.

Below, I’m going to provide one budget-friendly shoe that has zero drop construction and one budget-friendly weightlifting shoe. Note, there are other options, too, and if you’re interested in those feel free to reach out and I can suggest more models.

1. Vans Authentic

The Vans Authentic is tried and true shoe zero drop shoe option for lifting and squatting. This model is used by lifters everywhere and is what I would refer to as a “right of passage” shoe for newer lifters and powerlifters. The Vans Authentic model has a vulcanized rubber sole that provides adequate stability under various loads.

are vans good for lifting

This model is similar to the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star in that it has a 0mm heel-to-toe drop and a pretty standard sole construction. The upper can vary based on the model you go with, but the normal Authentic model features a Canvas upper that is also fairly durable for general wear use.

The Vans Authentic is best served as a budget-friendly option and an option for beginners who are just starting their lifting journey. This model can, at times, have some durability issues with the forefoot’s sole, but they should last you a decent bit of time if you take good care of them while training.

  • Best For: All types of powerlifters who love squatting with zero drop shoes.
  • Heel Height: 0mm
  • Why I Like Them: Budget-Friendly, good for daily wear, plenty stable for most.
  • Where They Fall Short: Their toe box may be tight for some and their stack height can be offputting.
  • Read My Full Review: Vans Shoe Guide

Vans Authentic

$50

Vans Authentic
4.2
Stability
4.6
Versatility
3.9
Durability
3.8

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Heavy Weight Training
  • Recreational Lifting

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • For Long-Term Durability

 

2. Nike Savaleos

For those looking for a budget weightlifting shoe for squatting, then the Nike Savaleos is a good option to look into. This shoe features a fairly strong construction for the beginner or budget-conscious shopper they’re a fine weightlifting shoe tackling squats. This model features a pretty durable upper construction and a single midfoot strap for security.

nike savaleos for squats

The effective heel height on this model is said to be around .5″ so it’s also a good introductory shoe for getting into weightlifting shoes and what it’s like to squat and lift with an elevated heel. Since the heel isn’t as aggressive as other weightlifting shoes this model can in theory be good for acclimation to the chance in mechanics a lifted promotes.

The cost of the Nike Savaleos is around $120 USD and compared to other top weightlifting shoes these will save you around $80 USD. My pair has lasted a while and I think if you take good care of them, then you should get a decent runway with them before investing in a pricier pair of weightlifting shoes.

  • Best For: Beginner and intermediate lifters and budget-friendly shoppers.
  • Heel Height: .5″
  • Why I Like Them: Good for beginners, lower heel height, consistent.
  • Where They Fall Short: They feel like budget-friendly weightlifting shoes and lack the same materials as higher-end models.
  • Read My Full Review: Nike Savaleos Review

Nike Savaleos

$120

Nike Savaleos
3.9
Stability
3.9
Versatility
3.9
Durability
3.8

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Beginner Weightlifters
  • Versatile-Style Training

Falls Short

  • For Maximal Training
  • For Long-Term Durability

 

What Shoes Are Best for Squatting?

When asking the question, “What shoes are best for squatting?” we should explore the surrounding context of the ask. There are no definitive shoe options when it comes to great shoes for squatting because lifters and athletes will have different needs when seeking out great squat shoes.

In reality, instead of pigeonholing on a few different shoes for squatting that may not work for everyone, we should instead focus on the construction characteristics of a shoe that make them great for squatting.

Squatting in regular shoes

Whether you’re a CrossFit athlete, a true beginner, a weightlifter a diehard powerlifter, or a recreational lifter, there are three construction aspects that I always look for when considering different shoes for squatting for different lifters. These three construction traits include:

  1. Stable Midsole and Outsole Construction: This ensures the shoe doesn’t compress under squats which could cause you to lose balance and see a dip in performance.
  2. Adequate Outsole Traction: Good traction on an outsole is a must especially for heavier sessions. The last thing you want is your shoe sliding from under you when you’re training.
  3. Heel-To-Toe Drop That Aligns With Your Squats: Every shoe’s heel-to-toe drop will be slightly different so exploring different options to see which aligns with your squat patterning can be really useful for contextualizing which shoes you should grab for squatting. For example, do you want and prefer an elevated heel, a minimal drop, or a zero drop?

If you use the three construction traits above to guide your shoe selection, then you can’t really go wrong with your choice. There is no “one-size-fits-all” squat shoe.

Can Beginners Wear Squat Shoes?

Without creating confusion here, when lifters say “squat shoes” and “lifting shoes” they really mean weightlifting shoes. That being said, the topic of beginners wearing squat shoes, AKA weightlifting shoes is a popular topic and there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer here.

I’m going to provide context per what I recommend to a lot of the beginner lifters and athletes that I work with who ask this question. In my coaching opinion, beginners can absolutely wear weightlifting shoes especially when they help athletes improve their form.

 

As a beginner, we have an awesome opportunity to build good mechanics and create strong habits. If a weightlifting shoe helps an athlete be more conscious of their and improve their squat mechanics, then weightlifting shoes can be a really useful tool for teaching and creating strong mechanics.

There is no list of minimum requirements for wearing weightlifting shoes. For example, you do not need to be a strength sports athlete or squat a certain amount to benefit from training with an elevated heel. That being said, explore different foot positions while squatting to see what creates the more positive form outcome for your needs and skill level.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Which shoes are best for squats?

A:
The best shoes for squats will be dependent on your training needs and squat mechanics, and there's no one-size-fits-all shoe for squats. As a general rule of thumb, the best shoes for squatting will provide a stable construction, a heel-to-toe drop that works for your squat mechanics, and an outsole that grips the floor well.

Q:
Do shoes matter for squats?

A:
Shoes can certainly matter for squats. As you get more niche and serious about your training, your footwear choice can have an impact on your squat mechanics. For example, if you're a strength sports athlete or someone training heavier, then you'll want a pair of shoes that properly support your squat needs.

Q:
Do you need flat shoes for squats?

A:
You don't necessarily need flat shoes for squats. Some lifters like squatting with flat shoes while others enjoy lifting with an elevated heel. Your shoe choice for squats should align with your needs, wants, and goals with your training. A great pair of shoes for squats should be tailored to your individuality.

Takeaway Thoughts

When considering the best shoes for squatting, I’d suggest exploring the context of your overall training and why you want this pair of shoes. There are a ton of different shoes on the market for squatting and if you can apply the context of training needs when selecting various shoes, then you can make more educated buying decisions.

If you need additional help picking the perfect pair of shoes for squatting for your needs, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

nv-author-image

Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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