Weightlifting is a powerful and effective way to build muscle, but you need to have a steady base underfoot to lift heavy weights. This is where weightlifting shoes come in. As you search for the best weightlifting shoes to support your strength training, you should choose a pair that lets you feel the ground under you. You need that feeling to drive your heels and toes into the ground for the best weightlifting technique. Shoes that give you a strong and stable outsole are the best lifting shoes. These shoes give you the grounding and support you need to effectively push and pull even the heaviest load.
Another thing to look for is to find a weightlifting shoe with extra midfoot support and a reinforced heel. These features prevent your feet from shifting during training. If you’re interested in Olympic lifts, then you should consider getting shoes with a higher heel. These shoes offer a deeper range of motion, which is effective for squats and similar movements.
With that out of the way, here are four of the best weightlifting shoes available right now.
Adidas AdiPower 2
The original AdiPower lifting shoes from Adidas have been popular for years. When the company announced they were finally going to release an improved version, there was buzz and hype aplenty in the weightlifting community. The two models are almost incomparable when you consider all of the changes made to the AdiPower 2. Whether you see that as a good thing or a bad thing depends on the kind of athlete you are and what you hoped to get out of the weight lifting shoes.
We are big fans of the Adidas AdiPower 2. These weightlifting shoes are ideal for a few different training solutions. However, no review of the shoes would be accurate without mentioning that they don’t have some of the original construction characteristics of the AdiPower 1. Even so, there’s a lot to love about the Adidas shoes, including;
- Tough and reliable TPU heel
- Flexible forefoot suited for functional workouts
- Durable outer construction
The shoes make for an excellent choice for someone interested in squats and other functional fitness workouts
- Flexible shoes for recreational lifters and functional fitness athletes
- Same TPU heel and height as the original AdiPower
- Almost too flexible
- Lacks the Adidas Torsion system
The Adidas AdiPower 2 has an effective heel height of .79″/20.1mm. This height is the same as the previous Adidas model. If you like to see consistency in shoe design, specifically heel height, then you’ll appreciate this.
Another similarity to the original model is that the AdiPower 2 has a TPU heel. The heel is put together a little differently, however. Rather than using visible pillars, the new AdiPower2 has a flatter construction and the texture feels like knurling.
The AdiPower 2 has a relatively simple outer construction. The outer is made from woven textile, which feels similar to the Adidas Powerlift 4. The main difference between the two shoes is that the AdiPower 2 has a more rigid outer construction, making it feel more durable.
The classic Adidas triple stripe sits on the lateral side. The stripes are made from a synthetic leather overlay.
The weightlifting shoes have a mid-foot strap that offers some mid-foot security. The strap is in a similar place as with the original model, but the strap on the AdiPower 2 sits slightly lower.
The Adidas AdiPower 2 offers good performance across most lifting situations. The shoe is much better for recreational lifters and functional fitness athletes than the original AdiPower. As good as the original weightlifting shoes were, there’s no denying the power of the increased flexibility. This flexibility makes the new model more accommodating for some activities.
With that said, there’s certainly some concern that dedicated weightlifters won’t be all-in on the AdiPower 2. Flexibility is important for dynamic movements and staying comfortable, but it reduces reactivity. In other words, this weightlifting shoe isn’t the most reactive and so it doesn’t feel as smooth to use.
All in all, the new Adidas AdiPower 2 is a great shoe, but it can’t be compared to the original model. You shouldn’t buy this weightlifting shoe expecting an enhanced version of the original AdiPower.
The new Adidas weightlifting shoe is a lot different from the original fan favourite. However, much like any new thing, the power of the shoe comes from how you plan on using it. If you do buy these weightlifting shoes, then you should expect to get something that feels different from the original model. That isn’t necessarily something bad, but it is something to keep in mind.
DoWin Weightlifting Shoes
The DoWin weightlifting shoes are a relatively popular name in the weightlifting world. The company rose to prominence in the 90s and has remained strong ever since. The original DoWin Weightlifting Shoe was known as the “Pendlay DoWin” but now goes by just “DoWin.”
Several things help these weightlifting shoes stand apart from the crowd. First of all, these shoes come with a double-strap design, which is still rare to see with weightlifting shoes. Second, the design is a little wider toe box than most, which helps make it easier for weightlifters to spread their toes when catching a weight. This wider toe box goes a long way to improving lifter stability by improving grip on the floor.
It’s worth considering the weight of your lifting shoes. These shoes come in at 17 ounces, which is around mid-range for this kind of shoe.
At 17 ounces, the DoWin Weightlifting Shoes are suitable for several scenarios. They aren’t the lightest shoes around, but 17 ounces is pretty versatile. This weight makes it suitable for performing both power moves and strength moves in a single workout, which is great for functional fitness. Weightlifters are sure to appreciate that the shoe was originally designed and made for weightlifters, with a design created by Glenn Pendlay.
In our opinion, the 17 ounces offers a healthy balance between being too light and too heavy. Some extra weight also encourages athletes to plant their feet firmly, which could be a positive for some heavier athletes. For slow-footed lifters, however, this could cause a reduction in foot turnover. This is something that will only affect a very small number of people, however.
Effective Heel Height
The effective heel height on these weightlifting shoes is set to .75 inches or 18mm, which is the industry standard. This heel height is a great fit for most athletes. It can also make for an effective transition point for athletes looking to get higher-heeled shoes.
This heel height works well for most strength training scenarios, with a couple of exceptions. If you want a low heel for powerlifting or low heel squat shoes, then these are likely not the shoes for you. Weightlifters who like to have a full 1-inch heel may also find 0.75″ is a little too low.
The heels are made from hard-thermoplastic polyurethane or TPU. TPU is a lightweight material used for its abrasion resistance and flexible sturdiness.
TPU is a common material for weightlifting shoes because of how durable, lightweight, and rigid it is. The TPU heel of the DoWin Weightlifting Shoes has extra support and a wave-like feature. This is good for weightlifters because heel compression can compromise lifts.
The heels feature a pillar-like structure down the mid-foot and heel of the shoe, letting you feel the ground under you relatively well given that you’re using TPU.
The upper shoe of the DoWin is made from leather and a breathable nylon mesh. The leather is good because it offers some extra stiffness to the weightlifting shoes. It also prevents the shoes from getting stretched out as quickly. Weightlifting is always going to stretch shoes out a little, so having some extra leather over the heel and toebox is a great addition. There’s a breathable mesh over the arch and mid-foot too, which is also nice to see.
Weightlifters will likely wear these shoes for long periods, so having the mesh there helps to keep the shoes cool and comfortable on your feet. You shouldn’t see much slippage – if any – no matter how sweaty your feet get. One downside of the material used to make these shoes is that it takes some time to break them in. The leather is stiff and will break into perfectly, but it takes a bit of time to get there.
A unique feature of the DoWin Weightlifting shoes, and something that could see them claim the mantle of the best weight lifting shoes, is that it features a double metatarsal strapping system. This system is a real rarity, found only in a handful of other shoes such as the Reebok Legacy Lifter shoes. This feature ensures your shoes are equally tight. The more secure your feet are, the better your form when lifting.
Another interesting feature of the straps is that they have velcro strips. Some shoes, such as the Nike Romaleos 2, have excessive straps that stretch too far. That’s not an issue with the DoWin. Each strap also has double stitching, so it should last for a long time with no durability problems.
The DoWin Weightlifting Shoes have built up quite the legacy since they were initially released. The shoes have changed and advanced with the times to create the perfect weightlifting shoe. The double straps, TPU heel, and value for money make this an excellent choice.
Nike Romaleos 3 Olympic
The Nike Romaleos 3 Olympic shoes are the next generation of the Romaleos line. These shoes are an updated version of the earlier Romaleos 2, which proved super popular among strength athletes.
The Nike Romaleos 3 were built to be a hybrid lifting shoe. The idea was to create shoes that could be used in a variety of different strength sports, not just weightlifting. Some things set the second and third generations apart. For example, the third generation has one strap in the middle compared to the two straps of the Romaleos 2. Another difference is that Nike took the opportunity to add its Flywire material to the shoes to improve flexibility and decrease overall weight.
What we Like
- Lightweight feeling
- Two different insoles for adjustable shoe weight
- TPU handle and honeycomb design
- Outer leather and mesh offer extra breathability, comfort, and durability
What We Don’t Like
- Potential durability issues
- Not as cost-efficient as other lifting shoes
The Romaleos 3 comes with the same choice of insoles as the second-generation shoes. Use the soft sole for 13oz shoes, or use the hard sole for 15oz.
Either way, the lifting shoes prove to be relatively light compared to other shoes on the market, such as the Reebok Legacy Lifter. Those shoes weigh around 20oz. Lighter shoes offer slower foot turnover for lifters. Lighter shoes are also better for people doing varied workouts and workouts involving functional movements and exercises. The lightweight nature of the shoes could be a major selling point for people who don’t want their feet to feel clunky.
Having the option to adjust the shoe weight is a great benefit. If you prefer heavier shoes, then you can make these shoes heavier. However, this also presents a downside as it could be difficult to firmly plant your feet on the ground. Heavier shoes can cause you to subconsciously keep your feet firmly planted. Lighter shoes make it difficult to keep your feet planted.
Effective Heel Height
The effective heel height here is a little higher than with the other shoes on our list. The Romaleos 3 have an effective heel height of .79 inches/20mm. This is still close enough to .75 inches for them to be put in the same group.
.75″ is the standard heel height for lifting shoes. This is because that height offers the most flexibility to suit a variety of lifters. The slightly larger .79″ benefits people who need some help to support a wide range of motion but don’t want a full 1″. This elevated heel makes it easier for you to stay stable and move effectively through your squat, snatch, and clean and jerk Olympic lifting.
One potential problem with the height of these shoes would be that powerlifters want a shoe specially designed for low-bar squats. A higher heel can get in the way of an effective low-bar movement. On the other hand, the elevated heel is still not quite enough for effective Olymp lifting and weight training.
The heels for these shoes are made from hard-thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a lightweight but tough material used in other shoes.
The new Romaleos 3 shoes feature a new base design, which includes a honeycomb structure. Nike came up with the design to cut down on material use while maintaining the same strength and stability in the heel. This means the shoes are lighter than, but not weaker than, the old Romaleos 2. If you flip the shoe over and look at the other side, you’ll see that the colour scheme is visible through the full honeycomb, which is a neat aesthetic touch.
Upper Shoe Material
The upper shoe material is one of the defining features of these lifting shoes. The shoes include the proprietary Flywire material, which is known to be flexible and lightweight while still being strong. These shoes are the first weight training shoes Nike developed with the technology included. You’ll feel the difference for yourself through the wider toe box and mid-foot. Unlike earlier models, these shoes are light and flexible straight out of the box.
However, the material isn’t perfect. One potential problem is that it isn’t suited for lifters who like heavy lifting shoes. The Flywire material can also be less durable because of how flexible it is.
This weightlifting shoe was created to power athletes through hybrid workouts, but can still help with single sports. The shoes are lighter than their older cousins and have a single strap to secure the shoes tightly. The mid-foot single strap can be a benefit or a drawback, depending on your preferences.
The Flywire material used to make the shoes also makes them stand out from earlier models. These weightlifting shoes are more flexible and can take more time to break in because of it, but the effort is worth it.
These shoes are flexible, lightweight, and an aesthetic choice we would consider some of the best weightlifting shoes around.
Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 Shoes
The Reebok Legacy Lifter 2 shoes are an excellent improvement on the original Legacy Lifter. This is an incredible lifting shoe that is worth your time and money. These training shoes manage to perfectly balance the need for stability with the need for comfort and flexibility. They do this better than most other cross-training shoes.
Let’s start by looking at the design. One thing we can say for sure about these training shoes is that the design is going to be polarizing.
The shoes are mostly unassuming and have almost nothing special in terms of design. One thing they do have is the speckled paint pattern, which stands out for all the wrong reasons. Unless you like that kind of thing. Some people must do it, or they wouldn’t have included it.
One good thing about the design is that the shoes are available in a few different colours. This is nice, but it doesn’t make up for the general bland look and feel of the shoes. There’s nothing inherently bad about the design. There’s just nothing amazing about it either.
There’s no point in having the best weightlifting shoes if they don’t fit properly. The good news is that the fit is among the strongest features of this shoe.
Every part of the show works together to provide a snug fit for wearers. We like the rubber band that goes around the back of the shoe, which adds some extra security to prevent heel slip. The TPU heels also add to the feeling of security and stability.
The mid-foot is a little light, but it’s just on the border of being too light. You’ll either love it or hate it. There’s plenty of arch support, which makes up for some of the shortcomings.
The toe box is where the fit of the Reebok Legacy Lifter starts to fall apart. There’s so much room in there it almost feels like too much. Make sure you get the right size as you could wind up with too much toe room. Some may also not like the wider toe area. It’s a good choice for people with wide feet who like to spread their toes, but it’s not good for people with narrow feet.
With that said, this is just one minor problem and doesn’t take away from the overall brilliance. We just recommend you get a half-size smaller than you need to avoid the problem.
The best weightlifting shoes must also be comfortable. Given that the shoes have an excellent fit, you won’t be surprised to hear that they are super comfortable. This shoe is on the heavy side, but it doesn’t feel heavy to wear given the comfort factor.
The big toe box means that the front of the shoes is comfortable. Nothing is squeezing against your toes because of how much room there is in there. The shoes also prove to be very rigid, which is what you’d want to see in strength training shoes. However, this does mean that they can be difficult to walk in and might not be suited for general use.
The shoes are less flexible than the Adidas AdiPower 2, but they are more flexible than the Romaleos shoes. The Reeboks fall around the middle in terms of flexibility. There are no real complaints about how comfortable the shoes are, so you shouldn’t have any problems on that front.
Straps and Lacing
The straps for this weightlifting shoe stand out because Reebok has gone back to having a singular strap, which replaces the double-straps on the original Legacy Lifter.
While the shoe features a single strap, that strap is made from two individual materials and can be tightened and adjusted at either end. This is a real innovation for a cross-training shoe and allows for a tailored fit, in theory. Whether it actually does depends, but the innovation is always nice to see.
As far as the laces go, everything is where it should be and works as intended. The shoes include fabric eyelets along the length of the shoe except for the final set. Reebok basically punched holes in the shoe but didn’t make any attempts to strengthen them, which is a shame given that this is where you’ll see most of the stress from tightening the laces.
All in all, it’s impressive that Reebok attempted to do something new. The changes mean the shoe has a great combination of comfort and tightness. However, there are still some small flaws that can’t be overlooked.
The new Legacy Lifter 2 is an excellent weightlifting shoe. It ticks all the same boxes as the previous model, as well as a few new ones, making them some of the best weightlifting shoes on the market.
There might not be enough of a difference to warrant upgrading to the second generation if you already have a pair of Legacy Lifters in good condition. However, if you feel like a change or an upgrade, you can’t get much better than these weightlifting shoes.
Remember to consider buying a size down to get a more accurate fit and you won’t regret making this shoe part of your cross-training and weightlifting.
What to Look For In Weightlifting Shoes
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best weightlifting shoes around, let’s address what to look for in weightlifting shoes;
Weightlifting shoes need to be stable because you need that stability to hoist heavy weights. Shoes that have a firm outsole are effective for this. Reinforced heels are also something worth paying attention to. Sturdy heels mean you won’t shift around in your shoes. Stable shoes also help you maintain a smooth and precise movement, no matter how heavy the weight of your bench press or other strength training exercise.
You should get a pair of shoes that are comfortable enough for you to keep going and perform at your best. We recommend trying shoes before you buy them to get a feel of what they are like. Your shoe shouldn’t leave you feeling restricted or uncomfortable whether you are hitting a squat, lunge, or lifting weights.
Shoes for weightlifting are specialist shoes. That means they cost more than your average pair of Chuck Taylor shoes. For the price, you want to know you’re getting a shoe built to last. These shoes also take more of a beating than your standard shoe during workouts. Find shoes that offer a durable upper and outsole so you know you can get through anything your personal trainer throws at you.
Specialist weightlifting shoes are a boon for any serious athlete. These shoes help to keep your feet firmly planted and make smooth motions when weightlifting. Any of the shoes on our list could be considered the best weightlifting shoe, so choose a pair that feels right for you and supports your needs as a weightlifter.