The Best Weightlifting Shoes for Squats, CrossFit, Flat Feet, and More

Lift heavy and stay stable with our list of the best weightlifting shoes on the market.

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Weightlifting shoes have a few advantages over normal training shoes — greater stability, a more beneficial position for mobility and a better “feel” for the surface you’re lifting on (improved proprioception if you’re feeling fancy). If you’re mainly lifting using machines, weightlifting shoes don’t add much benefit because the machines themselves take care of the stability. But if used judiciously, weightlifting shoes are a fabulous tool that can aid with mobility and form while performing free weight movements like squats, presses, cleans, and snatches.

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of new gyms as weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit and more have grown in popularity. With that growth of gyms has come a dazzling array of new lifting shoes all with different heel elevations, strap systems, designs and of course, price points. We’re here to help you navigate through and find the best weightlifting shoe that will fit your requirements. 

Best Weightlifting Shoes

Video Review

Watch our complete breakdown of our favorite weightlifting shoes. From sizing to heel height, you’ll be able to see what makes these shoes our top picks. 

Best Weightlifting Shoe Overall

Our pick for the best overall weightlifting shoes goes to the Adidas AdiPower II. These shoes look great, perform fantastically in the gym, and have a host of features like a secure toe box, textile upper for improved airflow, and a TPU heel that benefits a variety of strength athletes.

Adidas AdiPower II

Originally designed for Olympic caliber athletes, the attention to detail on this shoe is impressive. Adidas has taken their already-popular lifting shoe design and added more features for support and durability with an eye toward breathability. (Let’s be honest, no one likes their feet getting too hot while lifting!) That includes an updated design with a reinforced inner forefoot and heel, as well as more padding in the rear. Even the laces are among the more durable we’ve seen in weightlifting shoes. The heel has a 20.1mm lift, and a profile that Adidas claims is suited to almost any foot, including wide feet. Use of TPU material also means that you aren’t going to have any issues with stability, even when the bar is bending.

Adidas AdiPower II
Adidas AdiPower II
Adidas AdiPower II

The Adidas Adipower II offers a full textile woven outer construction and strong 20.1mm heel height, along with an ultra-secure straps & laces closing system to keep the midfoot stable during lifts. Adidas has updated this model with additional heel and forefoot support, making it suited to lifts including snatches and clean & jerks, as well as squats.

Who Should Buy the Adidas AdiPower II

  • Lifters who need a comfortable and versatile shoe, the AdiPower II are best in class.
  • This is a durable set of “boots”, so weightlifters looking for a shoe that can last for multiple years will find these stand the test of time.
  • The design of this shoe is very helpful for athletes who might feel like they have limited flexibility
  • Anyone with slightly wider feet, these shoes should accommodate you quite well.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Adidas AdiPower II

  • People with extremely narrow feet, though the shoe has a profile that will fit most people true-to-size. 
  • Athletes that prefer a smaller heel and a more snug fit.
  • Lifters with a tighter budget. You get what you pay for, and these shoes do deliver for the price tag.

The latest iteration of Adidas’ hallmark weightlifting shoe covers pretty much all the bases. You’ll be hard pressed to find a weightlifting scenario where the AdiPower II doesn’t excel. 

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Squats

If you know that the bulk of your training program is going to revolve around squatting, the Nike Savaleos are our recommended weightlifting shoe. Super stable with a flat sole and slightly elevated heel, these shoes are going to help you feel the platform and help create the drive you need to stand the barbell up.

Nike Savaleos

With a 0.6in (15mm) heel height (that also features a padded mesh for breathability), the Nike Savaleos should be able to perform well across a number of squat variations. The upper features a padded tongue for comfort and additional stability, in concert with the midfoot strap, will help you generate more torque once the weight on the bar starts going up. The heel height isn’t overly aggressive, and the shoe’s design and rigid midsole help optimize force transfer into the floor — a must for heavy squats. 

Nike Savaleos
Nike Savaleos
Nike Savaleos

Nike's next iteration of weightlifting shoe looks sleek and performs well. It features a flat, wide sole and elevated heel, along with a rigid midsole for optimal power transfer through the floor. The heel height is 15mm, which is not on the extreme end for lifting shoes, making it well-suited to heavy squats.

 

 

Who Should Buy the Nike Savaleos

  • Lifters looking to push up their squat numbers and need a solid, stable show to drive from.
  • Athletes who need shoes that grip the platform well and help generate torque.
  • Gym goers who want a shoe with an elevated heel, but one that’s not overly aggressive or among the very highest on the market.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike Savaleos

  • Those who prefer lifting shoes with a higher heel, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • Athletes looking for more forefront stability with two sets of straps.
  • People with very narrow feet, as Nike’s weightlifting shoes tend to fit normal-to-wide feet just a bit better.

A great value shoe that is not going to let you down in a squat cycle, Nike’s Savaleos are a solid choice for the trainee chasing that next PR.

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Men

We’re going to generalize somewhat here, but men tend to lack in the flexibility department when it comes to lifting weights. This is where a pair of strategically chosen weightlifting shoes can be a game changer. They can facilitate better positioning for lifting which will save wear and tear on the body, and ultimately help you lift more weight. The Adidas AdiPower II is an adaptable shoe that fits like a regular shoe but provides the support lifters need.

Adidas AdiPower II

The raised 20.1 mm heel and a reinforced mid-foot lockdown strap, complete with extra padding in the rear foot, allows lifters to screw into the floor and begin movements on firm footing with an elevated heel height. The AdiPower II from Adidas also sports a breathable textile upper so your feet can breathe while you dominate the platform. The rubber outsole provides the desirable level of grip — vital for explosive movements like snatches and split jerks — without weighing the feet down mid-lift. For men, there’s a lot to like here.

Adidas AdiPower II
Adidas AdiPower II
Adidas AdiPower II

The Adidas Adipower II offers a full textile woven outer construction and strong 20.1mm heel height, along with an ultra-secure straps & laces closing system to keep the midfoot stable during lifts. Adidas has updated this model with additional heel and forefoot support, making it suited to lifts including snatches and clean & jerks, as well as squats.

Who Should Buy the Adidas AdiPower II

  • Lifters who want an elevated heel height (20.1mm) for better positioning.
  • Men who struggle to get into positions requiring deeper flexibility, these shoes will help you there.
  • Athletes who like a breathable shoe, these are very breathable for weightlifting shoes. 
  • People who want extra stability around the mid-foot.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Adidas AdiPower II

  • Men who want less heel-to-toe differential. If you prefer squatting in a flat shoe, look elsewhere.
  • Weightlifters who want a shoe with a stiffer toe box, or people who prefer a very heavy shoe.
  • Athletes who want more ankle stability from their weightlifting shoe. 

For men looking to get serious about their lifting, the Adidas AdiPower II is a great choice for helping you create a stable base in order to keep your chest tall and your lift on track. 

Read our full review of the Adidas Adipower II

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women

These shoes look great, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all form and no function. Far from it. Reebok has a strong background in weightlifting shoes that goes back nearly a decade, and it shines through in this latest iteration of the Legacy Lifter, which is perfect for female lifters from novice all the way up to expert.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

These shoes boast an anti-microbial sock liner, breathable textile upper, TPU clip and elevated heel, and extra-grippy rubber outsole that’s perfect for the Olympic lifts: the snatch and clean & jerk. At the same time, they sport a flexible forefoot that allows for great versatility in other movements. We also appreciate the added achilles support, which can be beneficial for athletes putting in a lot of hours under or over the bar.

Reebok Legacy Lifter II for Women
Reebok Legacy Lifter II for Women
Reebok Legacy Lifter II for Women

Reebok's signature weightlifting shoe is engineered with updates for stability and performance on the platform. This version of the shoe features an ETC anti-microbial lining, achilles padding, and a high-grip rubber outsole great for explosive movements.

Who Should Buy the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

  • Women who want a versatile lifting shoe.
  • Trainees who like to opt for a higher heel height. 
  • Shoppers who want a durable lifting shoe, the Legacy Lifter 2 has features designed for longevity. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

  • Lifters who prefer squatting in a flat-heeled shoe.
  • Shoppers on the hunt for a cheaper shoe. 
  • Women who prefer a very light lifting shoe. This is a very stable shoe that isn’t among the lightest on the market.

The Legacy Lifter 2 is a great weightlifting shoe for women, albeit slightly pricey. We have seen them on sale regularly which is a boon, plus they perform admirably and should stand the test of time. 

Best Weightlifting Shoes for CrossFit

CrossFit can often require multiple pairs of shoes to get through a WOD (workout of the day). Instead of cycling through a pair of shoes for lifting, a pair for the metcon and another pair for the cool down, you could just stick with a pair of the Reebok Lifter PR II, which we think are versatile enough to handle each task in their own right. 

Reebok Lifter PR II

These shoes have a lot going for them in a CrossFit scenario. A durable upper won’t get shredded as you move from barbells to burpees. A 22mm heel offers extra height, but isn’t obnoxious and won’t weigh you down on the rower or calorie bike. The secure hook and loop strap will keep your feet from sliding around mid-lunge and the shoes are generally light compared to other weightlifting shoes on this list. 

Reebok Lifter PR II
Reebok Lifter PR II
Reebok Lifter PR II

The Reebok Lifter PR II feature a durable upper, an elevated heel, and a slick color scheme. They're reliable on the platform, lightweight enough for CrossFitters and easy on the wallet. 

Who Should Buy the Reebok Lifter PR II

  • CrossFit athletes who train a variety of movements, including the snatch and clean & jerk.
  • Shoppers looking for a shoe that isn’t overly specialized. 
  • Trainees who need a relatively lightweight shoe that’s still durable. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Lifter PR II

  • CrossFitters who want a weightlifting shoe solely for Olympic Lifting, opt for our top pick on this list.
  • Anyone who prefers a higher heel for training.
  • People who want a heavier shoe that cements your feet to the ground. 

Durable, stable and light enough not to hinder your metcons, these shoes are a great option for any level of CrossFit athlete

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet

If you have a noticeably flat foot and struggle with finding a lifting shoe that helps you stay comfortable and stable, look no further than the Nike Savaleos. We appreciate the fact that they feature a raised heel without being too aggressively high, which could be difficult for some flat-footed athletes to adapt to. It’s also important to look for a shoe with a good amount of midsole support and rigidity. The Nike Savaleos have that and more.

Nike Savaleos

If you have flat feet and/or limited mobility, a raised heel can be beneficial when lifting. However, going too extreme with heel height could feel awkward and contribute to overcompensation or imbalances. Designed with anatomical contours for optimal foot support, Nike’s Savaleo is a great choice if you have a limited arch. The hook-and-loop strap, rigid midsole, and wide base and sole also come into play to ensure that your feet will be in the best possible position to soundly hit your lifts. What’s more, there’s a padded mesh in the heel to contribute to both breathability and comfort.

Nike Savaleos
Nike Savaleos
Nike Savaleos

Nike's next iteration of weightlifting shoe looks sleek and performs well. It features a flat, wide sole and elevated heel, along with a rigid midsole for optimal power transfer through the floor. The heel height is 15mm, which is not on the extreme end for lifting shoes, making it well-suited to heavy squats.

 

 

Who Should Buy the Nike Savaleos

  • Athletes needing dependable arch support and a rigid midsole while lifting.
  • Anyone who needs greater stability during training while maintaining contact with the ground.
  • Lifters who prefer their feet to stay cooler.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike Savaleos

  • People who prefer a less rigid shoe or a shoe with a very flat heel.
  • Athletes who want the highest lifting shoe heel possible.
  • Shoppers with a tight budget.

Don’t let your feet hold you back in training. With a supportive pair of shoes, you’ll be able to focus on getting strong. 

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Wide Feet

Featuring a wide profile — seriously, this shoe was specifically designed with wider-footed athletes in mind — the Do-Wins have long been considered a great shoe for people with wide feet. They are by no means a one-trick-pony though, with a great set of features that will appeal to almost any lifter.

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

The heel-to-toe drop on these shoes comes in at around 0/75″. The heel isn’t especially high (or particularly flat), and the shoes themselves aren’t especially heavy. This gives them a good all round versatility for all strength sports. The dual strap system is unique among the shoes on this list and gives them great stability, too. In addition, the single-piece sole construction offers flexibility and dependable energy transfer. The design is durable, but there aren’t the range of colors available here that you’ll find with other shoes. It’s recommended athletes order 1/2 size below their normal running shoe size

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe
Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe
Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

A wider built weightlifting shoe that offers double mid-foot straps and a solid .75" plastic heel, the Do-Win weightlifting shoe has a classic look and an incredibly sturdy feel. It's specifically designed to cater to athletes with wide feet. The single-sole construction adds to the feeling of support. It's recommended purchases order 1/2 size under their normal running shoe size.

An all-around well built weightlifting shoe, the Do-Win’s are great for wide feet and versatile enough to use in all disciplines of lifting.

Who Should Buy the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

  • Weightlifters with wide feet.
  • Lifters who want their feet extra stable while training.
  • People who want a shoe with single-piece sole construction and/or multiple support straps.
  • Athletes looking for a reasonably priced weightlifting shoe.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

  • People with narrow feet as these shoes are roomier than others.
  • Lifters who want a heavier shoe for a more stable foundation.
  • Lifters who want a very high heel OR completely flat heel.

The Do-Win Weightlifting shoe is well priced, has a great dual strap system for stability and sports a design that is ideal if you have wide feet. If these features are important to you, the Do-Win fits the bill.

Read our full review of the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

Best Weightlifting Shoes for the Money

If you’ve been bitten by the exercise bug, then you’ve realized that it’s easy to end up spending a lot of money on all kinds of gear. If you want to avoid burning a hole in your wallet — at least with regards to weightlifting shoes — the Reebok Lifter PR II is an excellent option that won’t let you down in training.

Reebok Lifter PR II

Coming in between at between $75 and $90 depending on the retailer, the Reebok Lifter PR II is really great value for a pair of weightlifting shoes. The Do-Win’s (above) are a close second here, but the Reebok quality shines through, and you can be sure that you’ll get plenty of training out of them. The breathable textile upper is both durable and comfortable, and the little details like a lower-cut heel help ensure the shoe is anything but a one-trick pony; some athletes even like wearing this shoe during conditioning workouts with multiple different movements. 

Reebok Lifter PR II
Reebok Lifter PR II
Reebok Lifter PR II

The Reebok Lifter PR II feature a durable upper, an elevated heel, and a slick color scheme. They're reliable on the platform, lightweight enough for CrossFitters and easy on the wallet. 

Who Should Buy the Reebok Lifter PR II

  • Shoppers with a limited budget who need a solid pair of weightlifting shoes.
  • Lifters who want a shoe that can excel across training protocols.
  • Athletes who want a raised heel; at 22mm, this is a noticeable heel height.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Lifter PR II

  • Athletes who require a lower or flat heel when lifting.
  • People who want a heavier, thicker shoe profile.
  • Lifters who want a shoe with multiple straps or more ankle support.

In terms of value for money, the Reebok Lifter PR II is almost a no brainer. Well-built, breathable and with a variety of color options, you and your wallet should be very happy with the performance these weightlifting shoes offer.

What to Consider Before Buying Weightlifting Shoes

Just like running shoes, there are all kinds of weightlifting shoes out on the market. Here are some factors to think about before purchasing.

Your Training and Sport

While some athletes are extremely focused on one sport, many are going to bounce between a variety of training modalities, like low bar squatting for a cycle then hitting front squats the next cycle. If you like variety, you’ll have to settle for a more generalist shoe that isn’t designed to perform as well in any one area. On the other end, if you’re a purist, you can pick the best shoe designed specifically for your activity, knowing that it won’t translate as well to other aspects of your training. 

Your Budget

Pretty self explanatory here. Some of these shoes look really nice, but have a hefty price tag to accompany them. Whether you have money to spare, or you’re tight on a budget, choosing the right weightlifting shoe should obviously come down to what features you absolutely need to achieve your goals in the gym and on the platform.

Heel Height and Elevation

Heel height is something that can dramatically influence your training, especially if you’re a weightlifter. 

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.

How to choose the perfect weightlifting shoe via heel height and squat style

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. What’s important is the lifter’s sport and anthropometrics.

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).

Lacing and Strapping

The way a shoe laces or straps can be a big deal for lifters who prioritize foot stability. Of the shoes we reviewed, you’ll find single strap, double strap, and other lacing models. Each comes 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. Lifting shoes have many different heel options: EVA, TPU, stacked leather, and wood to name a few. Each of these heels will have a different appearance, level of stability, performance, and feel on the platform.

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.

The heel height and type of material found in the heel, along with other factors like a shoe’s weight, are what helped us to divide each shoe into their “best” category.

Durability

This isn’t so much of an issue nowadays, as the quality of manufacturing has improved leaps and bounds, however it’s still worth paying attention to friends and online reviews to see if the shoe you have your sights set can hold up to the training. Consider how often you’ll use weightlifting shoes and how much wear and tear you anticipate putting them through on a weekly basis to determine if they’re the right fit for you. 

Materials 

There are now endless material options out there for shoe manufacturers to use. Be aware that some materials look good, but come with drawbacks like less breathability, leather being a prime example here. On the other hand, extensive use of breathable fabrics might make a shoe nice and airy, but can greatly affect its durability. 

weightlifting shoe construction and key components

Regarding heels and outsoles, weightlifting shoes tend to be built for stability. While there are plenty of shoes in this list with softer heels than others, don’t expect a weightlifting shoe to feel squishy or offer lots of forgiveness as they are typically designed to offer lots of stability under heavy weight. 

Design

It’s hard to avoid design before you buy a pair of shoes these days, but it’s certainly true that some shoes have added focus on the looks. This is generally good news as it only adds to the whole package, but the unfortunate reality is that the shoe design you like best may not be the most comfortable or the most suitable for your needs in the gym. 

Lifting Shoes and the Research

Weightlifting shoes have been studied on multiple occasions, although not incredibly in-depth. The topics that have been researched have mostly been focused on the idea of how an elevated heel can alter performance and mechanics.

A notable study comes from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In this research, authors assessed kinematic changes weightlifting shoes have on the barbell back squat (1).

From the study, researchers suggested that weightlifting shoes changed an athlete’s foot angle and forward lean, but didn’t change thigh angle to a high degree. They suggested that weightlifting shoes were seen to be beneficial when reducing forward torso lean, which can at times cause additional shear stress on the lower back. Also, researchers suggested that weightlifting shoes could be useful tools to increase knee extensor activation.

Another study from 2017 published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research sought out to explore the same idea of how weightlifting shoes impact trunk and leg mechanics in the back squat (2). For this study, researchers noted that this topic was lacking research and sought to challenge the idea that weightlifting shoes led to a more upright torso in the squat, which has been suggested to protect the back from injury.

In their study, authors took 14 recreational weightlifters who ranged from the ages of 18-50 and had them squat in three different conditions: Barefoot, with an elevated platform, and with weightlifting shoes. They performed a 3-D motion analysis and tracked the EMG activity of the knee extensors and the paraspinal muscles of L-3 and T-12.

Unlike the 2012 study, their research suggested that neither of the heel elevated conditions led to a significant difference in biomechanics, especially in respects to forward torso lean. They suggested that weightlifting shoes are unlikely to lead to a significant amount of back protection in the squat.

Research Takeaways

When you consider both studies and how they assessed their participants, it makes sense that they found varied results. Everyone will have slightly different mechanics based on their lifting experience, training history, and anthropometrics. If you feel that using a weightlifting shoe translates to better performance in the gym, then the tool is working for you. Just be sure to assess your health and speak to a licensed medical professional if you have any concern about injury. 

Our advice

Assess your body’s needs, your sport’s demands, and the different construction characteristics of each shoe to find the perfect fit for you. 

Check out our in-depth Guide to Lifting Shoes

Final Word

While these weightlifting shoes each have their strengths and weaknesses, one key thing to remember when buying any pair of shoes is your overall comfort. We can talk about the toe width, the heel height and all the other features that are available, but if your feet hurt when you wear them, then they aren’t the right shoe for you. 

It’s worth thinking about your sport, your body and your budget before you buy a pair of quality lifting shoes. Chat to your friends if they have lifting shoes, and try to buy from a retailer that has a good return policy so you don’t have to worry about sending them back for a different size or model.

Once you have that perfect pair, it’s time to let the PRs roll.

FAQs

Why should I buy weightlifting shoes?

Weightlifting shoes come with a few key benefits that traditional training shoes can’t offer due to structural differences. For example, weightlifting shoes have:

  • Elevated heels to provide assistance when sitting back and under weight.
  • Additional straps and security systems to lock down the foot.
  • Firm EVA/Wood/TPU heels for stability and durability.
  • Flat outsoles for full toe splay and contact with the ground/platform feedback.

What are the best weightlifting shoes for wide feet?

The weightlifting shoe that often works best for wide footed athletes is the Do-Win weightlifting shoe. The shoe is constructed to be wider and can accommodate for full toe splay really well, even with wide feet.

Can beginners wear weightlifting shoes?

Yes. The important thing to remember with weightlifting shoes for beginners is the “why” behind them. They should be used as tools to promote perfect form and to teach proper movement mechanics with the assistance of their elevated heels and stable outsoles.

What are the benefits of weightlifting shoes?

There are multiple benefits that come along with weightlifting for serious lifters and strength sport athletes. Some of these benefits include:

  • Elevated and stable heel.
  • Additional mid-foot security.
  • Firm and flat outsole material provides platform feedback.
  • Beefier construction.

References

1. Sato K, e. (2018). Kinematic changes using weightlifting shoes on barbell back squat. – PubMed – NCBI Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 10 October 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22201687

2. Lee SP, e. (2018). Heel-Raised Foot Posture Do Not Affect Trunk And Lower Extremity Biomechanics During A Barbell Back Squat In Recreational Weightlifters. – PubMed – NCBI Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 10 October 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28644193