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Expert Tested and Reviewed: The Best Weightlifting Shoes for 2022

Weightlifting Shoes with Garage Reviews logo

We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Table of Contents

Do you need specialty shoes to lift weights? Technically, no, you don’t. In fact, there are pockets of people who swear by barefoot lifting. They risk their toes for tonnage and leave sweaty footprints all over the gym (pause for retching).

For the rest of us, strapping up the right pair of shoes means holding a better position as we squat, or feeling more stable as we catch a snatch, or getting more grounded for that heavy pull. Our team of competitive weightlifters and Certified Personal Trainers literally put dozens of pairs to the test to find the best weightlifting shoes.

8 Best Weightlifting Shoes in 2022


Best Weightlifting Shoes Overall:

Best Weightlifting Shoes Overall
Nike Romaleos 4
Nike Romaleos 4

The Romaleos 4 is a solidly constructed shoe ideal for Olympic weightlifting movements and squats.

Nike Romaleos 4 Specifications
Heel Height 20 mm
Material Used Woven upper, TPU heel and midsole
Closure System Lacing and double Velcro strap
Sizing Options Men’s sizes only, 5-14

Pros:

  • Secure throughout the midfoot
  • 20 mm heel height
  • Incredibly stable heel

Cons:

  • Cost around $200
  • Stock fluctuates a lot
  • Men’s sizes only

It truly doesn’t get better than the Nike Romaleos 4. I have been wearing Romaleos for years (started with the 2s, skipped over the horrible 3s, and am now in love with my 4s). The Rom 4s have the sturdiest heel on any weightlifting shoe I have ever worn, which is why you’ll see them on elite weightlifters around the world. Additionally, a double-Velcro strap provides extra security throughout the midfoot as you lift.

My biggest qualm with Nike weightlifting shoes is that they go out of stock often. I actually had to wait more than a year to get my feet in the 4s (and because I wear a men’s 5.5, which is even harder to find). They also definitely have a bit of a breaking-in period, as most weightlifting shoes do. I know that $200 is a lot to drop on a pair of shoes, but in this case, the quality is worth it.

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Squats:

Best Weightlifting Shoes for Squats
Reebok Legacy Lifter 2
Reebok Legacy Lifter 2

The Legacy 2 has a high, 22 millimeter heel ideal for helping people get into a better position while squatting.

Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Specifications
Heel Height 22 mm
Material Used Textile upper, TPU heel cup
Closure System Lacing and single Velcro strap
Sizing Options Men’s only, 6.5-14

Pros:

  • Extremely high quality
  • 22 mm heel
  • Room in the toe box

Cons:

  • Cost around $200
  • Not much Velcro on the strap
  • Men’s sizes only

If you’re someone who needs a little help getting deeper into a squat, a shoe with an elevated heel could help. The Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 has a 22 millimeter heel, which is one of the highest heels you’ll find on any weightlifting shoe on the market. A higher heel eases the amount of ankle dorsiflexion required to push the knees over the toes as your hips lower into the squat. This also means your torso remains more upright than it does without the elevated heel, keeping your spine in a safe neutral position.

In addition to a solid TPU heel, the Legacy 2s offer sound construction and a roomy toe box. These are both improvements over the OG Legacy Lifter, which was already a good shoe. I would have liked to have seen a double Velcro strap for additional security, because the single strap on these doesn’t provide as much security in the midfoot and also just doesn’t have a lot of Velcro to support a wider foot. On Reebok, these shoes retail for a spicy $200, though you can often find them for less on Amazon.

Best Shoes for Powerlifting:

Best Shoes for Powerlifting
Adidas Powerlift 4 Logo
Adidas Powerlift 4

For an affordable, lightweight shoe that can be used for all types of lifts, the Adidas Powerlift 4 is a great choice.

Adidas Powerlift 4 Specifications
Heel Height 15 mm
Material Used Canvas outer, synthetic rubber sole
Closure System Lacing and single Velcro strap
Sizing Options Men’s only, 4-19

Pros:

  • Priced affordably for a weightlifting shoe
  • Short break-in period
  • 15 mm heel

Cons:

  • Not the best shoe for competitive powerlifters
  • Not very breathable
  • Men’s sizes only

The Adidas Powerlift 4 is the latest iteration of this line of shoes from the brand, though it stays true to much of what we have come to expect from Powerlifts: They are lightweight, they are affordable, and they work well for people squatting, hitting power cleans, or deadlifting. I do think the name could be slightly misleading, because I wouldn’t recommend these for very serious powerlifters hitting 500+ pounds on squats.

But, most of us are mere mortals, and the Powerlift 4 is great for the numbers we put up. A canvas upper and rubber sole make for a comfortable shoe. The heel loop on the back is somewhat unique to weightlifting shoes, and it’s an added bonus for people with sweaty feet who switch shoes during training sessions (much easier to pull those shoes on).

Starting at $100, the Powerlift gives me very little to gripe about for a weightlifting shoe at this price point. Be aware that it only comes in men’s sizes, but that truly only affects which option you select at checkout.

Best Budget Weightlifting Shoes:

Best Budget Weightlifting Shoes
Reebok Lifter PR2
Reebok Lifter PRII

This is an extremely reasonably priced shoe that offers people versatility and responsiveness.

Reebok Lifter PRII Specifications
Heel Height 15 mm
Material Used Mesh upper, EVA midsole, rubber outsole
Closure System Lacing and single Velcro Strap
Sizing Options Men’s only, 6-14

Pros:

  • Priced under $100
  • Moderate heel height for versatility
  • Multiple color options

Cons:

  • Very responsive EVA midsole
  • Not the most stable heel
  • Heel cup could deform over time

There are two things to consider with a budget fitness product: Does it save you significant money? And can you use it in multiple ways? The Reebok Lifter PRII does both. You can find it for under $100 on Amazon and get free shipping with Prime, so right away, that’s a bonus.

But dig deeper, and the specs of the Lifter PRII (and our experience with it) prove it’s a shoe you can wear for strength sessions as well as functional fitness. A 15 millimeter heel and EVA midsole make this optimal for squats and responsive enough for explosive movements. I do think the midsole is almost too responsive; if you’re squatting heavy, it’s nice to have a sturdy base to push against. However, if you don’t mind some cushion, these could be ideal for you.

Most Comfortable Weightlifting Shoes:

Most Comfortable Weightlifting Shoes
Adidas Adipower 2
Adidas Adipower 2

Lightweight and breathable, the Adipower 2 is great for those seeking comfort.

Adidas Adipower 2 Specifications
Heel Height 20 mm
Material Used Woven textile upper, TPU heel
Closure System Lacing and single Velcro strap
Sizing Options Men's only, 4-14

Pros:

  • High heel great for squats
  • Flexible in the forefoot
  • Woven upper

Cons:

  • Cost around $200
  • Almost too comfortable for some
  • Men’s sizes only

If you’re used to the rock-hard outsole of the Romaleos, or the rigidity of the Legacy 2s, then you’ll notice a distinct difference slipping your feet into the Adidas Adipower 2s. With a textile woven upper and flexible forefoot, these shoes are great for those looking for a shoe that’s versatile enough to handle weightlifting as well as functional fitness workouts, like CrossFit. I’ve done several metcons wearing these and can attest that you move easily in them. (I didn’t wear these for running workouts and wouldn’t recommend them for those WODs.)

While I do feel like these are comfortable, I need to mention that I have a narrow foot, and these are not going to be comfortable if you have super wide feet. They also may not be an attainable purchase if you are on a budget, as they are close to $200.

Best Olympic Weightlifting Shoes for Wide Feet:

Best Olympic Weightlifting Shoes for Wide Feet
Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes

If you have wider feet, the Do-Win is the best traditional weightlifting shoe.

Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes Specifications
Heel Height 18 mm
Material Used TPU heel, leather and nylon upper
Closure System Lacing and double Velcro strap
Sizing Options Men's only, 4.5-14

Pros:

  • Wider toe box
  • Very affordable
  • Double Velcro strap

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come in wide sizes
  • May need a breaking-in period
  • Men’s sizes only

Priced at around $100, the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoe features a roomy toe box. While it doesn’t come in true “wide” sizes, it’s the most comfortable shoe for people who have wider feet that is still a traditional weightlifting shoe. Plus, it has a double-Velcro strap. This means you can make micro-adjustments to just how snug these are on your feet without sacrificing stability.

Do-Win makes two weightlifting shoes: These, and the Classics. I’ve worn the Classics for years because they are great-looking shoes with decent performance, but the OG ones described here are more comfortable. And it may sound counterintuitive, but on these particular shoes, go for half a size smaller than you actually are, as these actually run a little big.

Best Shoes for Deadlifting:

Best Shoes for Deadlifting
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars

The iconic Chuck Taylors provide a flat base ideal for pulling heavy loads.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars Specifications
Heel Height 0 mm
Material Used Canvas upper, vulcanized rubber outsole
Closure System Lacing
Sizing Options Varies per style, comes in men’s and women’s

Pros:

  • Flat heel
  • Minimal cushioning
  • Multiple style options

Cons:

  • May be too narrow for some
  • Not extremely durable
  • Not ideal for squats

There are many people out there—myself included—who like to kick off their kicks before doing a heavy deadlift. Why? Because getting a good, flat grip on the ground enables an efficient transfer of force and puts you in a good position as you pull. But going naked isn’t always a possibility, and that’s where Chuck Taylors come in.

As a zero-drop shoe (AKA no elevated heel) with minimal cushioning, Chucks get you about as grounded as you can be in a pair of shoes. You’ll find them in powerlifting gyms on the feet of people who can pull more weight than most of us can dream of. Plus, most styles are affordable at under $100. The downsides? They run a little narrow, and they aren’t the most durable due to an all-canvas upper.

Best Weightlifting Shoes for CrossFit:

Best Weightlifting Shoes for CrossFit
Nike Metcon 7
Nike Metcon 7

The Metcon is the go-to for functional fitness fanatics thanks to a sturdy heel but also a responsive midfoot.

Nike Metcon 7 Specifications
Heel Height 4 mm
Material Used Mesh upper, E-TPU midsole, TPU heel
Closure System Lacing
Sizing Options Large selection for men and women’s sizes

Pros:

  • Incredibly versatile
  • Reinforced heel for squats
  • Lots of colorways and designs

Cons:

  • Cost around $130
  • Not ideal for long runs
  • May feel narrow

Nike Metcons have been a staple in the CrossFit community for years, and the latest iteration, the Metcon 7, is ideal for people in functional fitness who want to lift weights but also jump, run, climb ropes, and do burpees. An E-TPU midsole (expanded thermoplastic polyester-urethane) is responsive enough for dynamic movement, and a TPU heel is stable enough to support lifting. Also, the 7 has a secured tongue, 4 millimeter heel-to-toe drop, and a highly breathable upper.

While these are great for moving weights, I wouldn’t recommend them for running long distances. I’ve worn my Metcons for distances of up to about 3 miles, which is around where my feet start hurting. Also, as with most Nike shoes, these run a little narrow.

 

How We Picked the Best Weightlifting Shoes

Our expert product testers include competitive weightlifters, powerlifting enthusiasts, CrossFitters, and more. We have worn every pair of shoes on this list (and many more) to assess key factors, including:

  • Durability: Are the shoes built to last? Can they withstand grueling workouts with heavy weights?
  • Materials: Is it a TPU heel, or vulcanized rubber, or stacked leather? Does the upper offer breathability?
  • Heel height: What is the heel-to-toe drop, and how does that affect movements like squats and Olympic lifts?
  • Price: Does the shoe offer value compared to its cost?
  • Functionality: Does the shoe work for how you would use it? Consider how often you do cross-training, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, CrossFit, etc.

Our team strapped on shoes for squats, snatches, cleans, deadlifts, and CrossFit workouts to truly gauge their feel and provide authentic recommendations for all types of exercisers.

 

Benefits of Weightlifting Shoes

You can absolutely squat and deadlift in any shoes you want to wear, but you might find that weightlifting shoes – which typically have a raised heel – make the experience better.

  • A solid base, like hardened plastic or wood, creates a stable surface to catch weight.
  • The raised heel often helps people find a more comfortable position in the bottom of a squat, specifically addressing those who have issues with ankle mobility.
  • Added fastening systems like Velcro straps provide more security and safety in lifts.

While we call all the shoes on this list “weightlifting shoes”, it’s an umbrella term meant to categorize any shoes you can wear to lift weights. What you’ll find here are a number of options, including powerlifting shoes, squat shoes, cross-training shoes, CrossFit shoes—you could even run (short distances) in some of them. Therefore, you might find that weightlifting shoes offer additional benefits in terms of versatility.

 

What to Look For in Weightlifting Shoes

Several factors determine how to find the right training shoe for heavy lifts. Here are a few things to put your eye on:

Fastening Mechanism

How does the shoe close? You’ll find on most weightlifting shoes, there is one (or more) Velcro strap. The strap helps in a few ways, such as pulling the shoe on tighter to your foot for more security and stability. I always tuck my shoelaces under the strap as well, because the last thing I want when throwing a few hundred pounds over my head is a random, untied shoelace tripping up my split jerk.

Heel Height

The heel height of most weightlifting shoes is typically between 18 to 20 millimeters (about three-quarters of an inch for you non-metric lifters). Shoes like the Nike Romaleos and Reebok Legacy Lifters have this size of a heel-to-toe drop. Shoes like the Adidas Adipowers have a mid-range drop, and shoes like Chuck Taylors have a minimal or zero drop.

A higher heel often translates to more comfort in the bottom of a squat. Why? Because squatting typically involves significant ankle dorsiflexion as your knees push out over your toes to get into a deeper range of motion. When your heel is elevated, your ankle doesn’t have to dorsiflex as much. This is why trainers sometimes slide small weight plates under heels when they see people with mobility issues struggling to squat to depth.

Midsole

The midsole of a shoe—the part between the upper and the outsole—is incredibly important for how the shoe feels when you are under heavy loads during strength training.

For weightlifting shoes, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is generally best because it provides a highly durable and stable base, as opposed to something like EVA foam (the cushioning in running shoes).

FAQs

The best weightlifting shoes are the ones that fit your needs. If you’re a powerlifter, you’ll be in the market for something different from Olympic weightlifters and CrossFitters. Our favorite weightlifting shoes are:

Many activities require specific gear, and weightlifting is no different. Shoes that have an elevated heel, firm midsole, and secure fastening system are ideal if you do barbell movements like back squats, snatches, and cleans. Shoes with a flat sole are great for movements like deadlifts.

There are many cross-trainer shoes that could work for a variety of fitness exercises. However, shoes designed for weightlifting give you a stable foundation and can often help you get into better positions in the movements.

If you have wide feet, there are a few options for weightlifting shoes: the Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes and the Reebok Legacy Lifters. They don’t come in actual “wide” sizes, but they have a wider construction.