If you’re getting serious with your lifting, chances are you’ll want to invest in some good quality weightlifting shoes.
However, selecting the right pair can be challenging, with so many variations on the market, each promising to help with your lifting.
In this article, we’ll aim to demystify what can be a complex topic and help you with your selection process.
After the shoe reviews, we’ll discuss a number of key considerations that you should make when shopping for the perfect weightlifting shoe.
Pros: Lightweight and comfortable, raised heel provides a solid base and enhances stability
Cons: Expensive, fairly narrow fit
Why we chose them: Nike’s version of the weightlifting shoe comes in the form of the Romaleos 4. The Romaleos line has been very popular with weightlifters since its inception and their latest, updated model continues to provide stability, durability and style.
What’s changed from the Romaleos 3? Nike has made a bunch of updates to this shoe from the previous version. These include a redesign of the outsole construction, the addition of a second strap, and a wider heel for extra stability.
Pros: Lightweight and comfortable, durable construction, more affordable than other options
Cons: Can be hard to find in stock
Why we chose them: The Powerlift 4 has been getting superb reviews since its release a few years ago. Not only is it lightweight, but it is also nice on the eye and performs very well. Additionally, these shoes are relatively well priced.
What’s changed from the Powerlift 3? Adidas has changed the material for the Powerlift 4. Instead of mesh and synthetic leather, the shoe has an outer canvas construction which is much more durable. The Powerlift 4 has scored very well in various strength testing.
Pros: Affordable, flat sole, pure weightlifting shoe
Cons: Less versatile than other options
Why we chose them: If you are looking for an affordable lifting shoe that will help maximise your power, this is a great option. This is a true weightlifting shoe with a flat sole to provide that barefoot feeling. They feature a padded interior for support and stability, and also suede leather on the upper, which helps to keep your feet comfortable and secure.
Pros: Sturdy and strong, great support, raised heel
Cons: Some users find the strap digs in
Why we chose them: The Legacy Lifter II was designed with Olympic Lifting solely in mind which makes it a “true” weightlifting shoe. It has a heel that is constructed with TPU, a lightweight, sturdy material that is highly durable.
It is perfect for heavy lifts – specifically squats, deadlifts, snatches and cleans. Additionally, the way the shoe is constructed seals the feet in tight and prevents them from moving and sliding in the shoe.
What’s changed from the original Legacy Lifter? Firstly, the heel height has increased from 15.5mm to 22.0mm. Secondly, the latest version of this shoe has only one strap. While this single strap is sturdy and provides great support, some users have found its placement digs into the arch of their foot.
Pros: Lightweight and highly flexible, 0.65 inch heel lift helps with performance, heel construction leads to improved stability
Cons: Not a pure weightlifting shoe
Why we chose them: As the name suggests, Inov-8 want to revolutionise the way shoes are designed and perform. The Fastlift 335 is a high-quality shoe designed for serious workouts and WODs.
These shoes are one of the lightest products on the market, weighing in at only 335 grams. In addition to this, the shoes are highly flexible, unlike many other weightlifting shoes which tend to be quite rigid.
The heel of the shoe has a 0.65 inch lift – which is fairly uncommon for weightlifting shoes with the most common heights being 0.75 inches or less than 0.6 inches.
Pros: Versatile, responsive, stable, comfortable
Cons: Not a pure weightlifting shoe
Why we chose them: These shoes are built for weight training but are versatile enough to be used for cardio thanks to their flex. The inner plate distributes weight from edge to edge for stability, while the Nike React foam provides a responsive cushioned base. The tab locks down your laces and the rubber grip from all angles makes them suitable for CrossFit rope climbs.
What’s changed from the Nike Metcon 6? The Metcon 7 has been redesigned with an improved rubber wrap. The shoe is also tougher and more stable than previous versions. Finally, the Metcon now features Nike React foam that improves comfort—so you can train harder and longer.
The Problem With Trainers
The issue with most trainers that are typical worn to the gym is the fact they are heavily padded and are therefore less than ideal when performing heavy lifts such as squats or deadlifts.
This padding actually can absorb a lot of the force created during the lift and also lead to instability.
Many gym-goers overcome this problem by removing their shoes.
While this may indeed resolve the force and stability issue, a pair of weight shoes are a more hygienic and effective option.
Lifting Shoes For Heavier Lifts
Weightlifting shoes are a training tool that may allow you to lift heavier loads – this is because of the raised heel that all lifting shoes have.
So, how does elevating our heels impact our ability to lift weight?
The raised heel increases the range of motion around the ankle and allows you to sit deeper into a squat.
Additionally, this will also help to keep the torso in a more upright position which will do two things – increase overall stability and improve the bar path.
Finally, lifting shoes are very sturdy and supportive which provide a more stable base and therefore assist in lifting. It is a combination of all of these factors that makes the weightlifting shoe highly effective.
In addition to the weightlifting shoes featured above, lifters will often wear flat shoes that are not specifically designed for lifting. These include Converse Chuck Taylors, Vans, and barefoot shoes.