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When you’re lifting weights (especially heavier weights), safety is everything. Setting yourself up with a good foundation for strength training starts with learning the basics, like how to nail the perfect form while lifting. Another key part of that foundation is having the right shoes.
One thing people may forget when starting out is that not every workout shoe is ideal for lifting weights. “Most regular [running or fitness] sneakers have a lot of cushion to them, so they don’t provide the stronger support you need when lifting weights,” says Sarah Louise Rector, a fitness trainer and founder of The SLR Life.
Enter: specialty weightlifting shoes, which are designed to not only protect your body when you lift weights but also help you lift better.
“[Weightlifting shoes] allow for better weight distribution and transfer when weightlifting,” says Sarah Louise Rector, a fitness trainer and founder of The SLR Life. “An actual weightlifting shoe is great as it’s designed to provide a heel lift to allow you to get deeper into your bend and provide more execution to lift heavy weights.”
Ahead, shop the best weightlifting shoes, according to Rector and glowing customer reviews.
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Reebok Legacy Lifter II Shoes
Best Squat Shoes
Reebok’s Legacy Lifter shoes have a raised heel, which can help provide more support for movements like weighted squats. “I’m a huge lover of Reebok,” says Rector. “Its designers really do cater for each specific workout/activity and its weightlifting shoe has a great elevated heel and close supporting structure.” The shoe also has a TPU heel clip for even more stability while you lift.
Nike Romaleos 4 Shoes
Most Versatile Weightlifting Shoes
Nike offers several weightlifting shoe options, and this pair is one of the brand’s most versatile. The Romaleos have a slightly raised heel to assist with explosive movements. In addition to its sleek design, another key feature on the Romaleo is its adjustable straps on the midsole, which help keep your foot extra secure and steady while lifting.
Adidas Powerlift Shoes
Adidas’ Powerlift shoe is a stable-yet-flexible choice. “These sneakers allow you to move your toes around with the flexibility of the shoe structure for a more breathable feel,” says Rector. The shoes also feature a wide midfoot strap to enhance security and are made with sustainable materials.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers
Best Affordable Weightlifting Shoes
Converse are a fitness-trainer approved shoe for weightlifting, which is good news if you’re a fan of Converse for everyday wear, too. “I love the simplicity and affordability of weightlifting in Converse,” says Rector. “These are great for going from the gym to the street. Converse Chuck Taylors have a flat sole that doesn’t have any cushion, so they provide great assistance for excessive lifting.”
Vans Canvas SK8-High Tapered Shoes
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Foot Pain
Rector says she likes Vans styles, since, like Converse shoes, they have a flat rubber sole. “They’re stylish and have a little more comfort than your traditional strong-supported weightlifting shoes, making them great if you’re someone that suffers with foot issues,” she says. They’re also ideal for anyone who wants something that feels stable but not stiff.
Nike Metcon 7 Shoes
Best Nike Shoes for Weightlifting
The Nike Metcon is notorious in the fitness industry for being one of the best (and most coveted) shoes for weightlifting and cross training. Nike made the Metcon 7 sturdier and more durable than previous versions of the shoe. Plus, the Metcon 7 has added foam, so if your strength workouts blend HIIT or cardio, your feet won’t suffer.
Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3 Shoes
Best Minimal Weightlifting Shoes
If you like the feeling of barefoot or minimal shoes, but crave the support and protection you get from a traditional weightlifting shoe, Inov-8 aims to deliver. These are definitely not true barefoot-style shoes, but are a bit more flexible and natural-fitting than other weightlifting shoe designs. The Bare-XF 210 V3 style has a rubber, sticky outer edge that gives you grip and keeps you from sliding around.
Reebok Nano 9 Cross Trainers
Best for Cross-Training
For those like variety in their training sessions, cross-trainers offer a bit more bang for your buck. Reebok’s Nano 9 is a top-rated shoe on Amazon, with a solid 4.5 out of 5-star rating and nearly 4,000 reviews. The outer part of the shoe has a flexible woven or knit-like material, but the midfoot and outsole are reinforced for stability. One rave reviewer said, “This is a good shoe that provides increased stability for squats, lunges and lifting. My foot stays put when I’m doing side-to-side movements and jumps. The shoe also appears to have the durability to withstand burpees, planks and exercises that put stress on the top of the upper.”
Do-Win Classic Lifters
Best Classic Weightlifting Shoe
This Do-Win style is a makeover of the classic style that launched in 2007. Fans of the Rogue brand will appreciate the update, which comes with two straps to ensure stability around your feet and a supportive suede and mesh upper with a leather heel.
Best for CrossFit
NoBull is the official shoe and apparel brand for CrossFit, which is fitting since the brand was founded by CrossFit fans. These trainers are a bit more versatile than other weightlifting shoes out there, since the nature of CrossFit requires this. These shoes are lightweight, flexible and designed to work in a gym or for training sessions outside.