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

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

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

We’re not saying you absolutely need lifters to perform well, but they’re something that can help push your lifting to the next level. Generally, there are five main shoe characteristics that make every pair of lifters different than a regular pair of sneakers. Additionally, things like a lifting shoe’s heel height and type, and lacing/strapping system offered can be major players in assisting you with your decision.

Best Lifting Shoes Picks

Luckily for you, we’re lifting shoe fiends (call us lifting shoe sneakerheads), and took the time to analyze every single aspect that comes with some of the market’s top shoes. At the bottom of this article, we’ve also included in-depth info on the logic behind weightlifting shoes, along with popular points of construction and materials.

Why Lifting Shoes?

Construction of a Weightlifting Shoe
Different Parts of a Weight Lifting Shoe

Elevated Heels

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

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

How to Choose the Perfect Weightlifting Shoe Heel Height
How to Choose the Perfect Lifting Shoe Heel Height

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

Lacing and Strapping System

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

Type of Heel

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

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

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

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

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

Lifting Shoes and the Research

Believe it or not, weightlifting shoes have been studied on a couple 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. Before diving into our favorite weightlifting shoe picks below, it’s a probably a good idea to look at the current research on lifting shoes.

The first study we’ll look at 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). An elevated heel is often thought to promote mobility, but what did their research find when compared to a running shoe?

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 sheer stress on the lower back. Also, researchers suggested that weightlifting shoes could be useful tools to increase knee extensor activation.

Weightlifting Shoe Options for Beginners
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Beginners

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 they wanted to challenge the idea that weightlifting shoes led to a more upright torso in the squat, which has been suggest 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 off their lifting experience, training history, and anthropometrics, so believing a weightlifting shoe will make a significant impact on lifting by itself is a reach.

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

Best Weightlifting Shoes

Adidas Adipower 2

The Adidas AdiPower 2 offers a lightweight durable TPU heel, so there’s minimal upkeep. Their upper tongue strap provides the ankle with additional support, and the flexible outer construction make them easy to break in. The mid-foot strap is secure and provides adequate support and security. 

Adidas Adipower
Adidas Adipower
Adidas Adipower

A consistent weightlifting shoe that offers the Adidas TORSION System through the mid-foot with a .75" TPU based heel.

Why We Love the Adidas AdiPower II

  • The Adidas AdiPower II is stable enough for dedicated Olympic weightlifters but versatile enough for powerlifters, CrossFitters, and other strength athletes.
  • Solid construction and TPU heel to support performance and durability.
  • Learn more in our Adidas Adipower II Review.

2. Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

Our second pick for men is the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe. We feel this shoe matches the needs of many male athletes for a couple reasons. First, it has a wider toe box, so full toe splay is easy to achiever no matter your foot size. Second, the double straps across the mid-foot provides ample support and stability. Lastly, the shoe comes in around $95.00, which is a great option for those shopping on a budget.

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" TPU heel.

Why We Like Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

  • Wider profile shoe with durable outer construction. 
  • Double mid-foot straps, strong TPU heel, and cost efficient. 
  • Read the full Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

Best Lifting Shoes for Squats

Adidas Powerlift 4

The first reason we chose the Adidas Powerlift 4 shoe is their EVA foam heel is a little lower, sitting at .65″. This makes them a great shoe for athletes transitioning to using lifting shoes for squats. Additionally, the lower heel will be useful for low-bar and high-bar squats, so they’re pretty versatile in the terms of squat functionality for multiple athletes. Lastly, we liked the minimalist design they offered, and thought the outside leather material made for a durable cost efficient squat shoe.

Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4

The brand new updated Adidas Powerlift 4 offers a lightweight canvas outer construction, an open forefoot design, and a strong single strap for stability. 

Why We Like the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Great in-between for multiple strength sport for those focused only on squats.
  • Fair price of $75.00-$90.00, so it’s great for beginners and budget shoppers.
  • Learn more in my Adidas Powerlift 4 Review

Best Lifting Shoes for Women

Reebok Legacy Lifter II

The Reebok Legacy Lifter II is the company’s signature weightlifting shoe with some serious upgrades over version 1. Popular among lifters for support and grip — especially with its rubber outsole — this shoe was designed for maximum stability. The redesign also includes changes to improve airflow over the foot and an anti-microbial lining. 

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

Reebok's signature weightlifting shoe engineered with updates for stability and performance on the platform.

Why We Like the Reebok Legacy Lifter II 

  • Anti-microbial sockliner is both comfortable and supportive.
  • A very stable shoe that also includes features to improve airflow over the foot. 
  • Supports the natural contours of the foot.

2. Adidas Powerlift 4

The Adidas Powerlift 4 is the last pick on our list for female athletes. Female athletes may have good mobility to begin with, so a .65″ heel is often high enough to find benefit. In addition, the lower heel makes this shoe a more versatile option compared to some of the higher heeled shoes on the market. The EVA heel is also lightweight and durable with little compression, so it won’t feel heavy on a female athlete’s foot.

Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4

The brand new updated Adidas Powerlift 4 offers a lightweight canvas outer construction, an open forefoot design, and a strong single strap for stability. 

Why We Like the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Great transitional shoe from a flatter, or tennis shoe to lifting shoes.
  • Durable construction and cost efficient. 
  • Read our full Adidas Powerlift 4 Review

Best Lifting Shoes for Men

Adidas Adipower 2

The Adidas AdiPower 2 offers a lightweight durable TPU heel, so there’s minimal upkeep. Their upper tongue strap provides the ankle with additional support, and the flexible outer construction make them easy to break in. The mid-foot strap is secure and provides adequate support and security. 

Adidas Adipower
Adidas Adipower
Adidas Adipower

A consistent weightlifting shoe that offers the Adidas TORSION System through the mid-foot with a .75" TPU based heel.

Why We Love the Adidas AdiPowers

  • Offer a unique take on lifting shoes accommodating for a variety of needs.
  • Solid construction and TPU heel to support performance and durability.
  • Learn more in our Adidas Adipower Review.

2. Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

Our second pick for men is the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe. We feel this shoe matches the needs of many male athletes for a couple reasons. First, it has a wider toe box, so full toe splay is easy to achiever no matter your foot size. Second, the double straps across the mid-foot provides ample support and stability. Lastly, the shoe comes in around $95.00, which is a great option for those shopping on a budget.

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" TPU heel.

Why We Like Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

  • Wider profile shoe with durable outer construction. 
  • Double mid-foot straps, strong TPU heel, and cost efficient. 
  • Read the full Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

Best Lifting Shoes for CrossFit® Training

Adidas Powerlift 4

The Adidas Powerlift 4 is a versatile lifting shoe that’s great for traditional movements like the snatch and clean & jerk. However, it has enough flex and versatility to accommodate movements like double-unders and lunges, which you may see in between lifts during a WOD. Lifting shoes will never be optimum for movements like box jumps, but this is one of the few lifting shoes where traditional conditioning movements are actually a possibility if there are other parts of the workout where having a raised heel and stable base would truly help.

Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4

The brand new updated Adidas Powerlift 4 offers a lightweight canvas outer construction, an open forefoot design, and a strong single strap for stability. 

Why We Like the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Great in-between for multiple strength sport for those focused only on squats.
  • Fair price of $75.00-$90.00, so it’s great for beginners and budget shoppers.
  • Learn more in our Adidas Powerlift 4 Review

Best Lifting Shoes for Flat Feet 

Reebok Legacy Lifter

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

Reebok Legacy Lifter II
Reebok Legacy Lifter II
Reebok Legacy Lifter II

An updated version of Reebok's signature weightlifting shoe, featuring solid construction and a raised heel built to traditional weightlifting specifications. This update model also features anti-microbial lining and additional design elements for airflow. 

Why We Love the Reebok Legacy Lifter II

  • Wider boot to support a variety of foot sizes and toe splay. 
  • Reinforced leather construction and double straps to ensure no foot hang.

2. Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

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

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" TPU heel.

Why We Like Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

  • Wider profile shoe with larger toe box and durable outer construction. 
  • Double mid-foot straps, strong TPU heel, and cost efficient. 
  • Read the full Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

Best Lifting Shoes for Wide Feet

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe

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

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

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" TPU heel.

Why We Like the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

  • Designed with a wider toe box to ensure full splay is easily achievable. 
  • Double straps and solid leather construction to provide stability.
  • Learn more in our full Do-Win weightlifting shoe review.

2. Reebok Legacy Lifter II

The Reebok Legacy Lifters — and the now-updated II model — are designed to be wider to accommodate for full toe splay. This means that the forefoot and mid-foot for this model is slightly wider compared to other weightlifting shoes on the market. If you need a wider shoe with a slightly larger boot, then the Reebok Legacy Lifter is a good fit. 

Reebok Legacy Lifter II
Reebok Legacy Lifter II
Reebok Legacy Lifter II

Reebok's signature weightlifting shoe that provides a strong TPU heel and double mid-foot straps for security.

Why We Love the Reebok Legacy Lifter II

  • Wider boot to support a variety of foot sizes and toe splay. 
  • Reinforced leather construction and double straps to ensure no foot hang.

Best Lifting Shoes for the Money

Adidas Powerlift 4

The Adidas Powerlift 4 comes in at around $90 or a bit other, depending on multiple color schemes and retailer. This makes it a good option for athletes looking for a standard lifting shoe that’s easy on the wallet and has some uniqueness to it. This shoe may not last as long as some of the TPU heeled shoes, but we haven’t seen many complaints on early degradation. Also, the outer leather/mesh construction makes this shoe pretty resilient to abrasions.

Adidas Powerlift 4 — $90.00 – $100.00

Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4
Adidas Powerlift 4

The brand new updated Adidas Powerlift 4 offers a lightweight canvas outer construction, an open forefoot design, and a strong single strap for stability. 

Why We Like the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Fair price of $75.00-$90.00 depending on the color scheme and retailer.
  • Solid construction for the money and great for beginners/budget shoppers, but also suitable for more advanced athletes (especially those who are doing movements other than traditional weightlifting moves)

2. Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes — $80.00 – $90.00

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" TPU heel.

Best Weight Lifting Shoes – Wrapping Up

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

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

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