4 Best Weightlifting Shoes For Better Lifting In 2022

Person about to lift barbell

Looking for the best weightlifting shoes to help you push some hefty pounds? Shoes can have an immense impact on your performance.

Shoe features can either work with or against you. That’s why you can find a shoe for almost every kind of exercise on the market, and weightlifting is no exception.

If you want to level up your lifting performance, weightlifting shoes may be just the thing you need. With its rock-solid base, snug-fitting body, and elevated heel, a weightlifting shoe provides you with the security and mobility to lift more and do it safely.  

Below are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing the lifting shoe best suited to you. We’ve also rounded up the top weightlifting shoes based on our own tests and research.

Man about to perform deadlift in weightlifting shoes

What Are Lifting Shoes?

Weightlifting shoes are specifically designed to support you during weight training exercises. These training shoes usually have a raised heel, ranging between 0.5” -1” in height. The shoes also have a stronger, sturdier sole and a cross-strap.

You may have seen these odd-looking shoes on one of your fellow gym buddies or at CrossFit competitions. They’re commonly referred to as Olympic weightlifting shoes or “Oly” lifting shoes, and they may just be the thing missing from your gym kit.

Benefits of Powerlifting Shoes

You may see shoes as mere cover-ups for your feet — that happen to be comfortable. But shoes can be an excellent training tool that can help you to improve your performance and progress faster. Below are some of the top benefits of Olympic weightlifting shoes.

Increased stability

Weightlifting shoes have much firmer, sturdier bases. While an almost rock-solid base might sound uncomfortable, it will provide extra stability when lifting heavy weights.

Shoes with more cushioning, like running shoes, may have too much “give,” letting your feet tilt and move unevenly. This not only causes a wobbly base but also makes you more prone to injury.

Squat deeper

Man lifting weight in weightlifting shoes

Unlike with a flat sole, a high heel allows for a better range of motion, especially as you won’t have to bend your ankle as much while squatting down. This will enable you to comfortably and safely perform deeper squats.

Improved form

We all know the importance of proper form when it comes to safety and optimal performance. Thanks to the forward tilt of these shoes, you’re forced to assume a more upright position — which is ideal for a safer and more effective squat.

A study of 20 active adult males found that Olympic weightlifting shoes encourage perfect form thanks to their raised heels. 

Lift more weight

The near-solid, sturdy and flat base is made not to give in. This means the powerful force you exert into the ground is not absorbed by cushioned soles. It rather gets fully exerted back through you.

As such, you’ll get to exert more force upwards, and you’ll likely be hitting those PBs much easier.

Safer lifting

Performing heavy lifts with incorrect form or shoes can cause a lot of strain on your joints and muscles. Weightlifting shoes help you to assume the correct posture during squats and lifts, taking some strain off your back and ankles.

Woman lifting a barbell on back

Best Weightlifting Shoes | Buying Guide

Shoes are not one-size-fits-all — and we’re not just talking about the actual size. Below are some of the top factors to consider while deciding which shoe will best serve your needs.

Heel height

There’s no sure way to determine the ideal height for an elevated heel because everybody has different feet and preferences. The easiest way to determine which height will work for you is to try them on.

But, if you’re ordering online, you can stack up a few books to different heights and see at which height a squat feels most comfortable.

Aesthetic design

Thanks to their sturdy build, you can expect these shoes to last you years. So you may want to consider getting something that’s pleasing to the eye and fits your personal style.

Close up of Rogue bar and weightlifting shoes

Fit & comfort

When it comes to weightlifting shoes, function takes priority over comfort. Some of the best lifting shoes have almost no cushioning. So don’t expect these to fit like your favorite running shoes.

Weightlifting shoes are usually made to fit snuggly to prevent your feet from sliding or tilting. While this is a great feature, some shoes, like the Adidas Powerlift 4, are extra narrow, which can be highly uncomfortable for the wide-footed. In such cases, it’s safer to order half to one shoe size up for improved comfort. 

Price

All the shoes on this list perform excellently during workouts, so you can expect high quality regardless of which you choose. That being said, if you’re not a regular lifter or you’re just starting out, a more affordable shoe may be a better bet.

For competitive lifters looking for the best squat shoes on the market, the Nike Romaleos 4 won’t disappoint. But these do come at an elevated price.

4 Best Weightlifting Shoes

Finding the shoe best suited to you can be overwhelming, especially with the number of available options.

We’ve tested some of the best (and worst) weightlifting shoes on the market and rounded up our top picks to give you a headstart on the decision-making process.

Reebok Legacy Lifter II

Reebok Legacy Lifter II product shot
  • Best for: Wider feet
  • Heel height: 0.87”
  • Comfort: Good
  • Price: $$$

Although these Reebok lifting shoes are more on the expensive side, their quality makes them well worth the price. Compared to the Legacy Lifter I, we found this model to have a more flexible base — that still maintained its sturdiness.

However, we also found that the single lockdown strap was a bit oddly placed, especially for those of us with higher footbridges.

The strap position made it feel like it was digging into the top of our feet. But, for those with lower footbridges, the strap sits snug, providing a good sense of security.

The insole and taller heel provided great arch and ankle support, and we found we could still perform well without the strap. The shoe also has great cushioning on the insides, providing a comfortable, supported feel.

The updated design wasn’t our personal favorite in terms of style. But, if it does the job, which the Legacy Lifter II does, aesthetics don’t really matter. We appreciated that there were multiple different color combinations to choose from.

The toe box in these Legacy Lifters felt a bit roomier than the average Oly lifting shoe. This would be great for someone with slightly wider feet.

As these shoes should fit relatively snug to provide the best support, we’d recommend going half a size down if you have fairly narrow feet.

If your feet are especially wide, going half a size up will make a significant difference in comfort, as you may end up with cramped toes if you go true to size.

Man lifting kettle bell
Adidas Men's Powerlift 4 Cross Trainer
  • Best for: Beginner weightlifters
  • Heel height: 0.59”
  • Comfort: Good
  • Price: $$

Firstly, we loved this Adidas lifting shoe’s minimalist and simple look. It could easily blend in as an average sneaker — although we wouldn’t recommend wearing these as outfit accessories.

We loved the muted color palette, which set it apart from the vibrant colors in models like the Reebok Legacy Lifter II. Although, there are brighter options if you like a bit of flair.

The heel is relatively low, which is great if this is your first time buying lifting shoes, as it can be quite the adjustment. We found the less steep drop to be significantly more comfortable on those of us with flatter feet. But for those of us with higher arches, the lack of arch support made these shoes uncomfortable. 

When it comes to sizing, these shoes fit extremely snugly. We found that sizing up half or even an entire size up was necessary for these to fit comfortably.

As much as we want a tighter-fitting shoe, these narrow lifting shoes felt too close for comfort — even to those of us with narrow feet.

The ankle area had tons of cushioning, which we found both helpful and slightly detrimental. Although it provided great comfort, it did allow for even more movement than necessary, reducing the overall sense of stability in the shoe.

However, we loved how rigid the base was and felt that the flat outsoles clung to the floor well. Overall, we think the moderately raised heel and reasonable price make this shoe a great entry-level Olympic shoe.

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Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

DO-Win weightlifting shoes
  • Best for: Value for money
  • Heel height: 0.75″
  • Comfort: Excellent
  • Price: $

As one of the lowest-priced shoes on this list, we were shocked to see it perform so well. These shoes are said to have been designed with lifters in mind — the first pair of Do-Win lifters were actually designed with the help of Glenn Pendlay.

We were happy to find that the Do-Wins are, in fact, quite optimally designed. We loved the positioning of the synthetic leather around the heel and toe box, with the breathable mesh around the arch and midfoot. This made the shoe feel sturdy in the right places and comfortably ventilated during lifts.

However, these shoes did take longer to break in due to the sturdy leather. But the sturdiness, along with the thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel, left us optimistic about the shoe’s durability.

This shoe sits at the average heel height, with an elevation of 0.75”. We found this to hit the sweet spot for decent elevation, making these great squat shoes for both first-time Oly-wearers and in-the-know lifters who have tried other models.

The Do-Wins are marketed as being perfect for wide-set feet, so the broad-footed lifters in our team were excited for a bit of foot relief.

But, the shoes weren’t as wide as we expected. We ordered true to size, and the shoes fit perfectly with little extra space. We found a half-size-up provided slightly more room in the toe-box.

Nike Romaleos 4

Nike Romaleos 4 Product shot
  • Best for: Experienced lifters
  • Heel height: 0.79”
  • Comfort: Good
  • Price: $$$

We know we said aesthetics don’t matter if the shoe does the job. But, with its high price point, we were thankful for the beautiful design of the new Nike Romaleos.

Those who were taken with the Romaleos 2 will be happy to know that, in many aspects, the 4 is an upgraded version of it.

However, one thing that is a bit different, which we found a bit disappointing, is that it only comes with an ultra-thin competition sole. It didn’t come with an extra, more comfortable training sole. But, since these shoes aren’t made for walking, it’s a small enough issue to tolerate.

The broad base is one of the most impressive features of this shoe, providing immense stability during lifts. The base not only extends past the body of the shoe on both sides, the outsole is also slightly longer than the shoe. This, along with the rubber traction and its weight, really made us feel like we had a rock-solid base.

We appreciated the spacious toe box, as many of these Olympic lifting shoes left our toes feeling cramped. The double straps are perfectly placed across the metatarsal area (forefoot) and near the ankle. This allowed us to lock in our feet and keep them from slipping forward into the toe box.

Even with the spacious toe box, we found that a half size up felt more comfortable while remaining snug. We did, however, feel that the heel slip didn’t provide enough hold around our ankles. This felt like our feet could slip out at any moment. But we popped on some padded socks and found that it added the extra bit of cushioning needed to keep our heels snug inside.

Note: If you’re a big fan of Nike, it’s worthwhile to check out the Nike Metcon series too.

Weightlifting Shoes Exercise Options

We’ll have to warn you that these shoes are not “all-rounders” like cross-training sneakers, and they’re not for everyday wear. They’re specifically made for, well, lifting weights. During any other exercise, you may find the elevated and hard heel to be a hindrance.

Deadlifts are the one kind of weight training exercise these shoes are not suited for, as a flat heel is a better fit. Deadlifts aside, below are the many exercises that will benefit from the addition of a weightlifting shoe.

  • Squat variations (High bar, low bar, etc.)
  • Keg loads
  • Military press
  • Cleans
  • Snatch
  • Barbell thrusters
  • Jerks
  • Push press

Final Thoughts on Best Powerlifting Shoes

Person wearing weightlifting shoes

We hope that you’ve learned a thing or two about weightlifting shoes. And, that you’re one step closer to finding the right pair for your needs. These shoes are an excellent investment, and you’re bound to notice a difference as soon as you put them to work.

The best part is that these specialized shoes don’t cost that much more than an average cross-training sneaker. And with its durable build, you can expect your new weight training shoes to carry you through many new personal bests.

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