Here are our reviews on the best weightlifting shoes money can buy right now. Our guide is complete with reviews, comparison tables and niche buying tips to help you select the best pair of weightlifting shoes. Whether you’re a powerlifter, bodybuilder, crossfitter or athlete, there’s a shoe specific for your sport and niche.
Weight lifting is generally an inexpensive hobby. All you need are some free weights and you can pretty much get going immediately. There aren’t a ton of extra things needed and most gym memberships are fairly reasonable.
But, there is one piece of kit that’s not often mentioned when one starts doing the bigger powerlifting moves such as squats or Olympic moves such as snatches. That’s where Weight Lifting Footwear comes in. Having the right weight lifting shoes is key to your success and safety.
If you’re just getting started and don’t really know the point of using weight lifting shoes then you probably want to check out our article on what are weightlifting shoes, and why to use them. It’ll be sure to give you the basic overview.
Standard ‘gym shoes’ such as tennis and running shoes are not safe for movements such as squats. Those gel and air based shoes are easily compressed and can result in rolled ankles, and takes the power out of the movement. If you have decided on a weightlifting shoe, check out our deals page to see if there’s a discount running.
If you don’t want to read a full article in depth we’ve compiled an easily comparison chart overview where you can select the best shoe based on your sport, the shoe specs, foot size and budget:
|Adidas Powerlift 2.0||0.6"||13.4oz||1 Metatarsal Strap||Low||Approx $50-60||Click for Discount|
|Adidas Adipower||0.75"||18oz||1 Metatarsal Strap||Extremely High||Approx $170+||Click for Discount|
|Inov-8 Fastlift 335||0.65"||12oz||1 Metatarsal Strap||High||Approx $110-130||Click for Discount|
|Nike Romaleos 2||0.75"||15.8oz||2 Metatarsal Straps||Medium||Approx $150+||Click for Discount|
THE WINNERS: BEST WEIGHTLIFTING SHOES
Recomendation #1: Adidas Powerlift 2.0 – Best for Value
The Adidas powerlift 2.0s are an all round incredible shoe, and easily the best value. Sometimes referred to as the ‘budget’ model of the adidas adipowers. Not true!
For us, they are an ideal beginner shoe for those that want some flexibility of a cross-fit shoe without the large heel of traditional ‘wooden block’ weight lifting shoes. It’s also pretty nice to not have to dig into one’s pockets too much.
The heel is 0.6 inches high, which is on the lower end, but still gives you sufficient to get a good squat depth without risking knee damage. It’s a game of preference, some people have terrible leg flexibility while others have bad knee injuries. Go with what works best for your body.
They are also very light for the size, thanks to Adidas’ weight distribution plate in the sole, which allows it to be made of a light plastic composite. The strap keeps you pinned to the floor, there’s no give in the base and the sides are durable giving you really good ankle support.
The strap on the shoe helps keep your foot firmly in position, preventing any excess movement or slipping which occurs in looser footwear.Some have said the strap is flimsy. But bare in mind though that these are considerably more affordable than other makes. So a drop in quality might be the cause.
What makes this shoe top of our list is it’s sheer value and lack of unpractical style. With a neat range of colors it’s really hard to fault this shoe, but it is also the least flexible on the list. Still not convinced? Read a full review of the adidas powerlift 2.0 to get further insight.
Our #2 Recommendation: Adidas Adipower – A premium shoe
The Adidas Adipower is probably the most popular weightlifting shoe on the market today. That might be simply because it’s had so much more advertising. At least, that’s my impression. It’s certainly one of the best selling shoes for the last few years. Often known as the premium version of the Powerlift model, it’s combination of style and performance makes it the best weightlifting shoe for serious powerlifters and olympic weightlifting competitors.
All weight lifting shoe brands have their own take on heel height. The Adipowers offer a 0.75 inch heel height. The higher the heel, the deeper you can go in the squat, too high though, and pressure on the knee is too much. Adidas have a specific customer in mind who want maximal squat depth, and that’s why they have one of the highest heels on the market. The shoe is lightweight, and the sole of the shoe incredibly sturdy, meaning that there’s no loss in power, and ankles and feet are adequately supported. Adipowers is designed keeping weight in mind and the premium-grade lightweight material does justice to its build.
The upper shoes is made of a fine mesh to ensure quality air flow. One of the best features of the adipower that is lacking in other shoes is the incredible flexibility of the toe box. That means dynamic movements are still possible in these shoes, like box jumps or rope climbs.
The sole of the Adipower is totally flat, very solid with a weight distribution plate to ensure maximal power transfer. This is exceptionally helpful during big powerlifting moves. The Adipowers are the heaviest in the top 4.
Design and size
The size of the shoe runs pretty true and is suitable for wide feet out there. Design wise, the shoe is robust and durable, and the fancy styling doesn’t alter performance.
A go-to shoe for professionals and amateurs alike. You can’t really find anything wrong with this shoe, other than some may prefer a slightly lower heel height. We’ve written a full detailed review of the Adipower too.
This is certainly Adidas’ premium and one of the best weightlifting shoes they offer, but if you’re looking for shoes on a tighter budget, the Adidas powerlift 2.0 or 3.0 can’t be faulted for the value it provides.
Best Weightlifting Shoes #3: Inov-8 Fastlift 335 – A truly Hybrid Shoe
The Inov-8 fastlift 335 is a high spec shoe that is aimed at both athletes, crossfitters and powerlifters alike. It is multi functional and built for durability. This Inov-8 lifting shoe has gained a solid reputation, now making it as popular as the big brands Nike and Adidas.
Weight: 335 grams.
The shoe is made of thermoplastic material. It is incredibly strong but also incredibly light. The shoe weights in a just 335 grams (12oz) which is as nearly close to the top dollar running shoe weight. Pretty crazy when you think of the size of the shoe. It’s the lightest in the top 4.
Heel Height: 0.65 Inches.
There are many different heel heights in olympic weight lifting shoes, some are 0.75 inches such as the adipowers, others are less at 0.60 inches such as the powerlift 2.0s. The Inov-8 335 occupy a rather undiscovered middle territory, they have a heel elevation of 0.65 inches. This has been an issue previously as people have often complained about the heel height being either too low or too high.
This gives you the distinct mechanical advantage of having the raised heel, but also allows you to perform plyometric and dynamic movements after heavy squatting. The heel sole is made out of small cylindrical tubes that the company dubs its Power-truss technology.
The Inov-8 Fastlift 335 is built with far better forefoot flexibility than other shoes, thus making it well suited for dynamic movements such as snatches, cleans and for crossfit athletes who do a lot of rope climbing, jumping and even short runs.
I’d argue this is one of the best weightlifting shoes out there and very similar to the adipowers, but pricey.
Best Weightlifting Shoes Recommendation #4: Nike Romaleos 2
Nike Romaleos 2.0 Overview:
The Nike Romaleos 2 is a high-performing weightlifting shoe. It’s a classic that’s aimed at all fitness types and one that has been built for performance. It certainly has stood the test of time. This Nike lifting shoe has gained a solid reputation within the gym and weight lifters community. Now, that partly due to the company’s marketing, making it one of the top 4 stand out shoes. Check out our full review of the Nike Romaleos 2, if you want a more detailed overview.
Nike went to great effort to improve upon its previous version. To make it more stable and comfortable they designed contoured TPU heel wedge cups. These give added foot support and allow for maximum power transfer.
The Nike Romaleos 2 have a heel raise of 0.75 inches which means that they are ideal for hitting squat depth.
Think of these shoes like the Inov-8 fastlift 335 but with higher heel height. The inov-8 fastlifts are another top of the range shoe. It combines the heel height and support of a weight lifting shoe, but with no compromise in flexibility.
The result is a great shoe for those that need maximal squat depth, but need the flexibility and lightness to perform other exercises.
The Nike’s shoe is very wide and would be better suited for guys with wider feet. Narrow feet folks, you’ll probably prefer the Reebok Crossfit Lifer Plus 2.0.
Unlike its nearest competitors, it features not one, but two metatarsal straps. I found that the extra strap on the Nike Romaleos to give you the added stability and lock you in for heavier weights. I also found that the extra strap didn’t affect flexibility, but rather increased it in a different way than you’d expect. The toe box is flexible and so it helps keep you in position. It also made the shoes more durable. The end of each strap is covered with a metal cuff designed to prevent fraying and the upper and lower portions of the strap becoming detached through wear and tear.
The perfect shoe for a lifter with wide feet who wants a classic weightlifting shoe with added flexibility.