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Home » 7 Best Weightlifting Shoes (2023 Update) | Picks for Wide Feet, Squats, and More

7 Best Weightlifting Shoes (2023 Update) | Picks for Wide Feet, Squats, and More

I personally test every product featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training gear. I buy the gear I test and may earn commissions on sales made through links on my site.

Weightlifting shoes also referred to as squat shoes and lifting shoes, are a type of footwear that can be useful for lifters from all walks of life. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a “serious” athlete to benefit from weightlifting shoes.

Much like using cross-training shoes and barefoot shoes for lifting, I think of weightlifting shoes as tools. For example, a weightlifting shoe’s elevated heel will produce a change in exercise mechanics compared to a flat shoe.

Understanding the why behind weightlifting shoes can be really useful because it can then help you better utilize them per your training goals. Weightlifting shoes are like lifting belts, you’re not going to use them every session, but it’s always nice to have them on hand when the time calls.

In my best weightlifting shoes round-up, I’ll break some of my favorite picks into different categories based on a shoe’s performance and the community feedback that I’ve received on different models.

 

Looking at new cross-training shoes, too? Try my Cross-Training Shoe Finder. My calculator matches you with shoes that fit your individual needs best.

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Men

When considering the best weightlifting shoes for men, I’m trying to assess two key performance areas. First, I’m looking at a shoe’s stability and security for things like heavy squats and cleans.

Second, I’m assessing a shoe’s fit. Is it wide enough through the toe box? Will it deliver a fit that aligns with the anatomy of men’s feet?

My Top Pick: Reebok Legacy Lifter II

The Reebok Legacy Lifter II is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for men. This model delivers consistent performance in a variety of training settings and is a good “all-in-one” style weightlifting shoe.

squatting in reebok legacy lifter 2

This model features a stable TPU heel with an effective heel height of 22mm or .86 inches. When it comes to moving heavy weight in squats, cleans, and snatches, this model’s stability is really solid and I’ve used them to compete in now twice.

The adjustable thicker midfoot strap on this model also does a good job of promoting overall foot security. This strap system feels durable and much less clunky compared to the original Reebok Legacy Lifter.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Weightlifting

The toe box in this model has a nice level of maneuverability and I’d describe its fit as neutral. It’s not going to be the best option for wide feet, but for most foot anatomies, the Legacy Lifter II delivers a good fit.

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

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women

To assess the best weightlifting shoes for women, I lean heavily on my girlfriend and my YouTube community for feedback on certain models. I’ll then use this feedback and cross-reference it with my reviews to select top picks.

Since a lot of weightlifting shoes run unisex, their sizing can sometimes be off for women. The models below all do a pretty good job at matching a woman’s anatomical needs while also performing well.

Top Pick: Adidas Adipower III

The Adidas Adipower III is taking the top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for women. This weightlifting shoe delivers a strong performance in the gym for a variety of training contexts.

Adidas Adipower 3 Review

This shoe’s ripstop upper construction does a good job with durability and it delivers one of the better-looking appearances of weightlifting shoes. The TPU heel in this model is stable and feels relatively lightweight.

The midfoot strap is also well-built and its construction feels similar to what the original Adidas Adipower used. For squats, weightlifting, and recreational lifting, the Adidas Adipower III does a good job.

Adidas Adipower 3 Try On and Performance Review

One core reason why this model made the top of this list, though, is due to its last construction. The Adipower III has a neutral and narrower width so it has an “athletic” fit to it when training. I included wider options below if you need more width.

Adidas Adipower 3

$220

Adidas Adipower III Product Shot
4.4
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.0
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Weightlifting
  • Squats/Lower Body Exercises
  • Narrow/Neutral-Width Feet

Falls Short

  • For Wide Feet
  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Forefoot Mobility

Best Budget Weightlifting Shoes

There’s no denying that weightlifting shoes can cost a pretty penny with the norm for most premium models coming in around $200 USD. That price point is not for everyone, and that’s totally understandable.

Whether you’re investing in your first pair of weightlifting shoes or you don’t want to spend a ton on weightlifting shoes, below are some of my favorite budget weightlifting shoes for less than $100 USD.

Top Pick: Reebok Lifter PR II

The Reebok Lifter PR II is earning my top spot as the best budget weightlifting shoe. It’s really tough to fault the construction and performance of the Reebok Lifter PR II for its $100 USD price point.

Reebok Lifter PR II Review

Additionally, you can often find this model marked down with multiple colorways on sale, so more than likely, you’ll be able to find them for less than $100 USD which is even better.

This shoe delivers a stable high-density EVA midsole and its midfoot strap has a nice level of security. Plus, unlike other budget weightlifting shoes, both of these construction features feel durable and well-constructed.

Reebok Lifter PR II for weightlifting

The textile upper on this model breathes pretty well and it’s a good “all-in-one” style weightlifting shoe for someone wanting to save. Whether you’re new to weightlifting shoes or you want to save money, this is a good consistent model to explore.

Reebok Lifter PR II

$100

Reebok Lifter PR II Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.3

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Weightlifting
  • Cross-Training
  • Cost-Efficiency

Falls Short

  • For Lifters That Want a Higher Heel
  • For Construction Quality Control

Best Weightlifting Shoes for CrossFit

When discussing the best weightlifting shoes for CrossFit, I think it’s important to recognize how you’ll be using your shoes in the context of CrossFit.

Do you want a pair primarily for heavy CrossFit training sessions or a pair with more versatility that you can wear in particular WODs where you may be wearing them for multiple exercises? Below are a few of my top picks for different asks.

Top Pick: Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380

The Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380 is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for CrossFit. In the context of CrossFit, this model delivers a consistent, stable, and versatile performance for a few reasons.

Testing the Inov 8 Fastlift Power G 380 for squats

First, this shoe features a stable and lightweight graphene-infused power heel. Compared to other weightlifting shoes, this model has a lighter weight which is great for more dynamic training sessions.

Second, the ripstop upper and graphene rubber outsole are durable and the midfoot strap delivers a solid level of security. From a durability and security standpoint, this shoe does a really good job.

Reviewing the Inov 8 Fastlift Power G 380 for Weightlifting

Third and lastly, this model’s toe box has a lot more maneuverability compared to other weightlifting shoes. This is a big reason why this model is taking my top pick here because blocky and stiff toe boxes can feel rough during CrossFit workouts.

Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380

$210

Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380 Review
4.6
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Squats and Leg Workouts
  • Weightlifting (Clean & Jerk/Snatch)
  • Functional Fitness Workouts
  • Narrow and Neutral Width Feet

Falls Short

  • For Wide Feet

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Strongman

The sport of strongman is dynamic in nature, so in many cases, strongman athletes will look for weightlifting shoes that can also be versatile with their performance.

On top of versatility, weightlifting shoes for the sport of strongman also need to deliver a good level of durability. Below are a few great picks to explore, and these models are also based on the feedback from strongman athletes that I receive on content.

Top Pick: Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

The Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes are taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoes for strongman. Honestly, I think the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes are slept on by a lot of lifters despite being consistent performers year after year.

Testing the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes for Lower Body Days

This shoe can be a great option for strongman athletes due to its versatile toe box, stable construction, and budget-friendly price. The Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes deliver a stable midfoot and heel for heavy squats and cleans.

Once broken in, the toe box in this model also feels good and delivers a nice level of maneuverability for different training settings. Size-wise, this shoe’s toe box airs on the neutral side and is slightly wider than other weightlifting shoes on the market.

Testing the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes for Squats

Another perk of the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes is their price point and upper durability. This model costs $105 USD (often on sale for $95), so they’re a good shoe to beat up and not feel guilty for sinking a ton of money into them.

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

$105

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes Product Shot
4.4
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.4

Best For

  • Squats (All Strength Levels)
  • Weightlifting
  • Weightlifting Shoe Beginners
  • Accessory Exercises Where You Want a Wedge

Falls Short

  • For Breathability
  • For Sizing and Fit (Per Rogue’s Recommendations)

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Powerlifting

When it comes to weightlifting shoes for powerlifting, every athlete will have their own preferences. Some athletes love competing and training in flat shoes like barefoot shoes or Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

While others, like myself, compete in powerlifting with weightlifting shoes. Note, shoe selection for strength sports is all contextual based on what allows you to perform your best. 

Top Pick: Reebok Legacy Lifter II

The Reebok Legacy Lifter II is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for powerlifting. I’ve used this model for two of my powerlifting competitions and have enjoyed their performance in both events.

Reebok Legacy Lifter II for powerlifting

In the context of powerlifting, you’ll only be using your weightlifting shoes for squats, and sometimes bench if the heel helps you ground your feet for better positioning.

For squats, the Legacy Lifter II is an awesome model and its heavier weight is actually a pro for this. I like how “locked down” you feel in this shoe and they feel like anchors when training and hitting singles for competition.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Pros

The rubber outsole also does a good job at gripping both rubber gym floors and the carpet you’ll likely be competing on in powerlifting. From a stability and security standpoint, the Legacy Lifter II does a great job.

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

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Wide Feet

An area where weightlifting shoes have consistently lacked is delivering good models for athletes and lifters with wide feet. It’s low-key pretty insane that there’s not really a good true “wide” option for weightlifting shoes.

I’m not sure whether companies don’t see enough value in this type of footwear and anatomical ask, or if designers don’t realize how a wider toe box can be beneficial for training.

Top Pick: TYR L-1 Lifter

The TYR L-1 Lifter is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for wide feet. In the context of toe box width in weightlifting shoes, there really isn’t a model that competes with the TYR L-1 Lifter.

Testing the TYR L-1 Lifter Weightlifting Shoes for squats

This model’s main claim to fame is its width and I think most lifters will enjoy how much they can splay their toes in this model. Regarding width, I would compare the TYR L-1 Lifter’s toe box shape and construction to a Xero Shoes Prio (a popular barefoot shoe).

Outside of being wider than other weightlifting shoes on the market, the TYR L-1 Lifter also delivers a strong performance in the gym. This model is plenty stable for heavy squats and gave me no issues when squatting up to 440 lbs in them.

Nike Romaleos 4 Versus TYR L1-Lifter

Additionally, the dual straps provide this shoe’s midfoot a nice level of security, so they should work pretty well for recreational lifting, weightlifting, and even functional fitness workouts.

TYR L1-Lifter

$199.99

TYR L-1 Lifter Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Weightlifting
  • Squats
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Wider Feet

Falls Short

  • For Narrow Feet
  • For Budget-Conscious Shoppers

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet

When it comes to the best weightlifting shoes for flat feet, it can also be tough to find shoes that will both feel comfortable and align with a flatter foot’s anatomy.

Below are some decent options for lifters with flat feet in need of weightlifting shoes. I tried to select picks that will accommodate your feet, while also being strong performers.

Top Pick: Reebok Lifter PR II

The Reebok Lifter PR II is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for flat feet. I like this model for flat feet compared to others due to its midsole and heel construction.

Reebok Lifter PR II Performance and Lifting Review

This shoe’s EVA midsole provides a nice level of stability throughout the forefoot, midfoot, and heel, and the midfoot doesn’t taper a ton like other weightlifting shoes.

Additionally, the heel and midfoot wedge in this model is a bit less aggressive compared to other weightlifting shoes featured on this list. The lower heel height and less aggressive wedge can be a bit more comfortable for flat feet.

Reebok Lifter PR II Performance Review

Outside of these characteristics, I also like the performance of the Reebok Lifter PR II. It’s a good intro weightlifting shoe and pick fmore dynamicallythat train in a more dynamic manner.

Reebok Lifter PR II

$100

Reebok Lifter PR II Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.3

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Weightlifting
  • Cross-Training
  • Cost-Efficiency

Falls Short

  • For Lifters That Want a Higher Heel
  • For Construction Quality Control

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Beginners

If you’re new to weightlifting shoes, it can be pretty overwhelming when navigating which model to invest in. Most beginners likely don’t need to invest in the most expensive pair of weightlifting shoes on the market.

In fact, a good budget-friendly pair of weightlifting shoes will often fit the bill perfectly (beginners, also check the budget section above!) and give you a good base to then jump from for your next pair.

Top Pick: Adidas Powerlift 5

The Adidas Powerlift 5 is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for beginners. This model delivers a strong performance in the gym and has a price point that sits around $120 USD.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Performance Review

This model features a high-density EVA foam heel and midsole, which is plenty stable for most beginners getting into weightlifting shoes. The midfoot strap on this model also does a good job supporting foot security when training.

The flexible mesh and canvas upper also do a good job of supporting this shoe’s breathability. I also like the rubber outsole and the level of tread you get with the Adidas Powerlift 5 on rubber gym floors, wooden platforms, and machines.

Testing the Adidas Powerlift 5 for weightlifting

Another reason why I like the Adidas Powerlift 5 for beginners is their overall versatility. They do a good job for a variety of training contexts so if you’re trying to figure out the “when to wear” for weightlifting shoes and your training, they’re a good pick.

Adidas Powerlift 5

$120

Adidas Powerlift 5 Product Shot
4.3
Stability
4.5
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.3

Best For

  • Beginner Powerlifters
  • Recreational Lifters
  • Budget-Conscious Shoppers

Falls Short

  • For Wide Feet
  • For Quality

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Narrow Feet

When testing and assessing the best weightlifting shoes for narrow feet, there are two criteria driving my decision-making process. First, do the shoes actually work for narrow feet and will they provide the security narrow feet need?

Second, I assess how the shoe performs across the board, and ask questions like, “Is it worth investing in for lifters with narrow feet?” And, “Does it have good durability?”

Top Pick: Nike Romaleos 4

The Nike Romaleos 4 is taking my top pick as the best weightlifting shoe for narrow feet. Compared to other weightlifting shoes, this model does a good job for narrow feet for two specific reasons.

nike romaleos 4 performance and price

First, the fit of this model is what I would describe as neutral with a bias towards being more narrow. Second, the upper volume in this shoe is pretty low so it gives you a snug fit through the midfoot and toe box.

If you often find that you’re sliding around in weightlifting shoes or as though you can’t get them tight enough, I don’t think you’ll have these issues with the Nike Romaleos 4.

Nike Romaleos 4 for squatting

The Romaleos 4’s TPU heel provides a nice solid base to lift on and this shoe’s dual strap system provides a nice level of midfoot security. For squats, weightlifting, and recreational lifting, the Nike Romaleos 4 does a good job.

Nike Romaleos 4

$200

nike romaleos 4
4.4
Stability
4.8
Durability
4.3
Quality
4.4

Best For

  • Weightlifting (Snatch and Clean & Jerk)
  • Squats
  • Exercises Where a Heel Wedge Is Desired

Falls Short

  • For Wider Footed Athletes
  • For Cost-Efficiency

How Should Weightlifting Shoes Fit?

When sizing weightlifting shoes, I often suggest having around a .5 inch of space at the end of your toe box. This is typically a good metric to work off of for most weightlifting shoes.

Having around a half inch of space will typically give you enough room in the toe box to not feel cramped, but it will also allow you to tighten your shoes enough to prevent sliding into the toe box when training.

How should weightlifting shoes fit

Before investing in new weightlifting shoes, I’d highly suggest making sure the shoe aligns with your foot anatomy. Some shoes will have different upper volumes and widths, which will make them better or worse for your individual needs.

My advice is to always look at reviews on a shoe’s product page for feedback from others and to cross-reference with other long-form reviews. You can also always reach out to me if you have additional weightlifting shoe questions.

How to Clean Weightlifting Shoes

To properly clean weightlifting shoes, I’d suggest using a spot-clean technique. This is what I also recommend doing for training shoes and it’s a cleaning technique that should help you get more out of your shoes.

Since weightlifting shoes cost a little more than traditional training shoes, it can be super useful to prolong your investment by taking good care of the shoes and keeping them relatively clean.

How to Clean Weightlifting Shoes

  • Step 1: Grab a washcloth, a soft soap (void of harsh dyes and fragrances), and some lukewarm water.
  • Step 2: Wipe down and spot clean areas that have signs of dirt buildup by putting a little soap on your washcloth and getting it a little damp.
  • Step 3: After you’re satisfied with your work, remove the shoe’s insoles and place them in a dry area.

By doing this every few months, you can easily make your weightlifting shoes last longer and get more for your investment. For gym bag users, it can also be a good idea to either open your gym bag post-training session to let it air out or to remove your shoes entirely.

When to Use Weightlifting Shoes

There can be multiple reasons why you’d want to use weightlifting shoes in the gym and for your training. A weightlifting shoe’s use will typically be based on how you train and your anatomical needs.

Generally speaking, you’ll use weightlifting shoes for the following:

  • The Sport of Weightlifting (snatch and clean & jerk)
  • Strength Sports Like Powerlifting, CrossFit, and Strongman (if you like squatting with an elevated heel)
  • Squats
  • Accessory Exercises Where An Elevated Heel Is Desired

Weightlifting Shoe Spectrum of Specificity

A weightlifting shoe will essentially replicate what a heel wedge does for your training. That being said, there are countless reasons why and when you’d want to use weightlifting shoes for your training and this will be based on your individual needs.

Flat Shoes Vs Weightlifting Shoes

A common question that I receive from clients and on YouTube is about the use of flat shoes versus weightlifting shoes. When considering your footwear for training, and more specifically, squats and weightlifting, it can be useful to acknowledge the demands of the activity.

Shoes like barefoot shoes, Vans, and Converse have a 0mm heel-to-toe drop or zero-drop construction. This means that when you’re wearing these shoes your feet will be flat with the ground with no heel elevation.

Are Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Good for Lifting

A weightlifting shoe will have anywhere from .5 inches to 1 inch of heel elevation, which put the foot into a plantarflexed position when wearing these shoes. Plantarflexion means that your toes are flexed downwards below the heel (dorsiflexion is flexing upwards).

The way a flat shoe and an elevated heel shoe will feel for your lifting and squatting can feel drastically different depending on your lifting mechanics and anatomy. Anatomical differences like hip structure, femur neck length, and femur head shape can influence this.

Velaasa Strake Weightlifting Shoes Squat Review

For example, some taller lifters may find that it feels nearly impossible to hit quality squat depth with good mechanics in flat shoes while a shorter lifter or more mobile lifter may have no issues with this style of footwear.

This is important to recognize because if you can understand what shoes allow you to perform your best for certain lifting contexts, you can select the gear that helps you perform your strongest.

Testing Inov-8 Fastlift 360 for working out

In my coaching opinion, there’s no inherent benefit to only wearing flat shoes or only weightlifting shoes. I like to think of shoes as tools and you’ll want to pick the footwear that allows you to perform your best at high thresholds.

From a programming point of view, I squat best with weightlifting shoes as I’m a lanky guy with mediocre mobility. This means that I’ll wear weightlifting shoes when I’m prepping for a meet or I’m pushing high intensities in sessions, then opt for flat shoes which I feel less comfortable in for lower threshold workouts and activities.

Testing the Legends Luka Shorts for Weight Training

This allows me to have a variance in the range of motion demands that I’ll experience while training with different shoes which can be great for things like sport carryover and exposing my ankles/feet to different environments which can translate to building tissue strength.

Long story short, I’d suggest playing with different types of footwear while training. You’ll likely find that you enjoy what type of footwear for certain workouts over others. This is normal and it’s important to recognize what allows you to perform your best.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Can beginners wear lifting shoes?

A:
Absolutely. Weightlifting shoes can be useful for lifters from all walks of life. For beginners specifically, they can be useful tools for teaching strong squat mechanics.

Q:
Should you deadlift in weightlifting shoes?

A:
When it comes to deadlifting in weightlifting shoes, I always liken it to the classic saying, Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. A weightlifting shoe can add more range of motion to your deadlift and alter your deadlift setup mechanics.

Takeaway Thoughts

There are countless weightlifting shoes on the market and each model has its own list of pros and cons. Weightlifting shoes can be useful tools in the gym and for your training based on your individual needs.

When looking into new weightlifting shoes, I’d highly suggest checking out the differences that exist between the market’s current models to ensure you find a pair that fits your needs best.

If you have additional questions on any of the weightlifting shoes featured in this round-up, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

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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