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 Reebok Legacy Lifter 2. These shoes look great, perform fantastically in the gym, and have a host of features like a wider toe box, textile upper for improved airflow, and a TPU heel that benefits a variety of strength athletes.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

Poised and purposeful, the attention to detail on this shoe is impressive. Anatomically natural contours, an antimicrobial lining, and a specially designed collar that reduces heat and abrasion highlight the thought that has gone into this shoe. The 0.86in (22mm) heel constructed from TPU also means that you aren’t going to have any issues with stability, even when the bar is bending.

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. 

Who Should Buy the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

  • Lifters who need a comfortable and versatile shoe.
  • Athletes who might feel like they have limited flexibility.
  • Anyone with slightly wider feet.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

  • People with narrow feet. 
  • Athletes that prefer a smaller heel.
  • Lifters with a tighter budget.

The latest iteration of Reebok’s weightlifting shoes covers all bases. You’ll be hard pressed to find a weightlifting scenario where the Legacy Lifter 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 Powerlift 4 is our recommended weightlifting shoe. Super stable with a grippy sole, these shoes are going to help you feel the platform and help create the drive you need to stand the barbell up.

Adidas Powerlift 4

With a 0.6in (15mm) heel made from high density EVA foam, the Powerlift 4 should be able to perform well across a number of squat variations. The upper is made from durable canvas and, in concert with the midfoot strap, will help you generate more torque once the weight on the bar starts going up.

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. 

Who Should Buy the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Lifters looking to push up their squat numbers.
  • Athletes who need shoes that grip the platform well and help generate torque.
  • Gym goers with a smaller budget.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Those who prefer lifting shoes with a higher heel.
  • Athletes looking for more forefront stability with straps.
  • People with wider feet.

A great value shoe that is not going to let you down in a squat cycle, the Powerlift 4 is a solid choice for the trainee chasing that next PR.

Read our full review of the Adidas Powerlift 4

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.

Reebok Lifter PR II

The raised 22mm heel and a stylish mid-foot lockdown strap, complete with a grippy rubber outsole, enable you to screw into the floor and begin movements on firm footing with an elevated heel height. The shoe also sports a breathable textile upper so your feet can breathe while you tear up the platform, as well as an EVA foam mid-sole for some cushion without breaking down during your lift. 

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

  • Lifters who want an elevated heel height.
  • Men who struggle to get into positions requiring deeper flexibility.
  • Athletes who like a breathable shoe. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Lifter PR II

  • Men who want less heel-to-toe differential.
  • Weightlifters who want a shoe with a stiffer toe box.
  • Athletes who want more ankle stability from their weightlifting shoe. 

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

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. Adidas has a strong pedigree with weightlifting shoes, and it shines through in this latest iteration of the Adipower 2, which is perfect for female lifters from novice all the way up to expert.

Adidas Adipower 2

These shoes boast a solid 0.79 in (20.1mm) TPU heel that is ideally suited to the classic lifts: the snatch and clean & jerk. At the same time, they sport a flexible forefoot that allows for great versatility in other movements.

Adidas Adipower 2 (Women)
Adidas Adipower 2 (Women)
Adidas Adipower 2 (Women)

A versatile shoe in a wide range of color styles, the Adidas Adipower 2 is a flexible, lightweight and breathable weightlifting shoe. 

Who Should Buy the Adidas Adipower 2

  • Women who want a versatile lifting shoe.
  • Trainees who like to opt for a higher heel height. 
  • Shoppers who want a wide choice of colors.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Adidas Adipower 2

  • Dedicated Olympic Lifters who need a more rigid sole.
  • Shoppers on the hunt for a cheaper shoe. 
  • Women who prefer a heavier shoe. 

The Adipower 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. 

Read our full review of the Adidas Adipower 2

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Legacy Lifter 2. 

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

Designed with anatomical contours for optimal foot support, the Legacy Lifter 2 is a great choice if you have a limited arch. The wrap tight strap, heel cup and wide base 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 foam lining with an achilles pad to ensure you’re strapped in and comfortable.

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. 

Who Should Buy the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

  • Athletes needing greater arch support while lifting.
  • Anyone who needs greater stability during training.
  • Lifters who prefer their feet to stay cooler.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

  • People who prefer a less rigid shoe.
  • Athletes who want a lower heel.
  • 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, 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 Classic Lifter Weightlifting Shoe

The heel-to-toe drop on these shoes varies by size (included on Rogue’s product page), but the Do-Wins fit firmly in the middle of the weightlifting shoe spectrum. The heel isn’t especially high and they 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. The design is timeless, sporting a suede and mesh upper with a stacked leather heel, but there aren’t the range of colors available here that you’ll find with other shoes.

Do-Win Classic Lifter
Do-Win Classic Lifter
Do-Win Classic Lifter

The Do-Win Classic Lifter is true to its name. Sporting a stacked leather heel and a suede upper, it's an ideal shoe for serious weightlifters who also want a wider shoe for tripod foot positioning. 

A classically 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 Classic Lifter Weightlifting Shoe

  • Weightlifters with wide feet.
  • Lifters who want their feet extra stable while training.
  • People who want a classic look with classic materials. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Do-Win Classic Lifter Weightlifting Shoe

  • People with narrow feet as these shoes are roomier than others.
  • Lifters who want a heavier shoe for a more stable foundation.
  • Those who want to avoid shoes made from animal leather. 

The Do-Win Lifter 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 Adidas Powerlift 4 is an excellent option that won’t let you down in training.

Adidas Powerlift 4

Coming in between $90 to $100 depending on the retailer, the Powerlift 4 is really great value for a pair of weightlifting shoes. The Do-Win’s are a close second here, but the Adidas quality shines through, and you can be sure that you’ll get plenty of training out of them. The lightweight canvas upper is both durable and breathable, and the little details like the heel loop add up to a shoe that offers a lot in its price range. 

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. 

Who Should Buy the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Shoppers with a limited budget who need a solid pair of weightlifting shoes.
  • Lifters with narrower feet who need a snug fit.
  • Athletes who don’t want or need a high heel for their lifting.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Adidas Powerlift 4

  • Athletes who require a higher heel when lifting.
  • People planning to use their weightlifting shoes for more general workouts.
  • Trainees with wider feet.

In terms of value for money, the Adidas Powerlift 4 are 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