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Workout Like a Pro With the Best Weightlifting Shoes

If weightlifting is a regular part of your workout routine, we highly recommend trying a pair of weightlifting shoes (no, they’re not just for Olympians). Contrary to common belief, you shouldn’t be wearing your running or hiking shoes during a weightlifting session. If you want to get the most out of your workout and prevent injury, it’s time to commit to a pair of the best weightlifting shoes.

But what are weightlifting shoes anyway? Weightlifting shoes are typically slim sneakers with extra structure and support. While most athletic shoes aim for lightweight comfort, the best lifting shoes are meant to keep you anchored and in control while weightlifting. Most weightlifting shoes use a slightly elevated heel to improve posture, as well as a stiff construction, non-slip sole, and a snug fit for stability.

The Benefits of Weightlifting Shoes

Performance: Weightlifting shoes are designed to keep your body in the correct position during standing movements such as squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. This activates the proper muscles during a specific exercise, improving you’re overall form and balance for a more effective workout.

Safety: Although weightlifting doesn’t have the obvious dangers of action sports, for example, there are still some considerable risks involved. Incorrect posture and mistakes in the gym can cause injuries ranging from chronic back pain to broken bones. The corrective powers of the best lifting shoes can minimize these risks.

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Comfort: Because weightlifting shoes are purpose-built, you’ll also notice an upgrade in comfort. The secure fit means fewer blisters and sliding, plus most shoes have extra breathability to keep your feet cool and dry.

Types of Weightlifting Shoes

There are really only two main categories of weightlifting shoes: powerlifting (or Olympic lifting) shoes and cross-trainers.

Powerlifting shoes are for the classic lifter, allowing you to nail heavy, iconic movements such as squats, snatches, and deadlifts. These feature a raised heel for better posture and usually straps to ensure a secure fit.

Cross-trainers, on the other hand, let you do a little more. They’re in between a powerlifting shoe and a regular trainer. This means you can lift and do more dynamic exercises such as burpees, lunges, and HIIT workouts without switching shoes. Although they’re not quite as good as powerlifting shoes for classic lifting movements, they’re still an upgrade over regular trainers and sneakers. If you’re ready to upgrade your gym visits with a dedicated shoe, read on. We’ve rounded up the best weightlifting shoes for every kind of gym-goer – no matter your routine or budget.

top Rated

$109.95 $129.95 15% off


Nike weightlifting shoes lead the way. These Metcon 8s are our number one pick because they seamlessly transition from serious weightlifting kicks to trainers – and they ace both categories. Our previous pick for this spot was the Metcon 6, but Nike has since upgraded the shoe and added more breathability to keep your feet cool. The shoe’s ability to transition between movements is largely due to Nike React foam which provides a comfortable and cushioned base for squats and deadlifts. Then when you’re ready for sprints, HIIT training, or anything else, the Metcon’s sticky rubber tread and traction make it a fantastic cross-trainer. They also have the necessary low, flat heel for creating a stable base for most weighted exercises, including squats, deadlifts, and presses. The shoes also score top marks in style, which can sometimes be harder to do with such utilitarian shoes.


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With its minimal design and iconic three-stripe look, the adidas Powerlift 5 offer a lot in its construction; the flexible toe, supportive foam heel wedge, and premium nylon material all help to elevate the shoe to be something worthy of rocking during the most intense workouts. It also just so happens the Powerlift 5 looks stylish as hell and comes in various colors to best suit your style.


Some lifters opt for a mid- or high-top shoe. This provides some extra support and responsiveness when bending the ankle during movements such as squats. Our favorite mid-height lifting-slash-training shoe comes from one of the most famous ripped dudes of all time: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. These Project Rock 5 shoes are part of Johnson’s collaboration with Under Armour, and they’re a highly capable gym companion. The Johnson-approved lifting shoes boast an incredibly lightweight design for sprinting and HIIT training, but the TPU heel-to-midfoot strap allows you to hit the squat rack in the same gym session safely. Plus, they’re made of a soft knit that contributes to the lightweight feel while wicking sweat.

BEST for lifting and running

HOKA is known for its running shoes, but if you look at its whole product offerings, there are some sneaky good shoes for lifting, too, including the Kawana, which is great for both cardio and weights. The cross trainer includes a responsive foam that gives a solid bounce when running for a well-balanced stride while still having an even base to support you during a lift. Additionally, the recycled jacquard mesh is comfortable and breathable to ensure your feet don’t overheat during either activity.


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If you like to warm up with a jog at the gym or do CrossFit workouts in addition to lifting, go for a cross-training shoe (instead of classic weightlifting shoes). We suggest these Nano sneakers from Reebok because they strike a practical balance between versatile athletic kicks and lifting shoes, allowing an easy transition between activities. They feature Reebok’s nano weave fabric that keeps your feet cool and dry, plus enough stability for Olympic lifts.


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Modern tech is great, but sometimes the old guys do it best. These powerlifting shoes from Nordic Lifting are an example of old-school lifting shoes that easily compete with the young guns. They feature a 1.4-inch heel that encourages correct posture during heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts, plus extra strong stitching that won’t bust under stress even after months of use. They are highly rated with hundreds of reviews, largely thanks to the sturdy toe box and overall width that offers a snug fit for most feet.


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Lifting on a budget? Check out these shoes from Reebok. Most colors come in at just under $80, which provides considerable savings compared to other classic weightlifting shoes (cross-trainers excluded) that typically hover around $100. But although the kicks are affordable, quality isn’t sacrificed. A Thermo TPU midfoot wrap provides a secure fit, while an anti-friction lining reduces heat and moisture buildup. This means less sweat, stink, and blisters.


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No, we didn’t put Converse Chuck Taylors on here by mistake. The iconic sneaker is a favorite of weightlifters who don’t want to invest in real weightlifting shoes thanks to its slim, flat design. Plus, you don’t have to carry around an extra pair of shoes when you go to the gym and will have a really stylish and versatile shoe to wear when you’re not busy hitting a PR either. At under $100, they’re also very affordable, but we only recommend them if you don’t lift too often or if you’re a beginner.


If you want the best, go with NOBULL’s lifter shoes. This boutique brand makes great athletic gear, and its leather lifting shoes aren’t just super trendy; they’re effective at their job. They’re a nod to the traditional weightlifting sport and are made by skilled craftsmen being watched by a Master Craftsman. They’ve stripped down the technology associated with modern lifting shoes and returned to basics in the best way possible. The leather is hand-selected and treated with oils to be as strong as possible, and the stacked heel is bonded, waxed, and finished for strength. There’s a molded sock liner included and an ideal 18.5mm heel-to-toe drop.


A snug, customizable fit is one of the most important aspects of weightlifting shoes. This will keep your feet from sliding inside the shoe while performing heavy lifts. Adjustability is also key for finding the right fit and even altering the size if your feet swell while working out. These Fastlift shoes from INOV-8 offer the best-fit adjustability. They feature BOA dial lockdown straps that let you make micro-adjustments to size and also feature a sturdy graphene rubber outside to ensure you’re not giving up grip during the heaviest of lifts. They lean towards powerlifting, but a flexible forefront toe area can easily be used for cross-training if needed.


Athletic Propulsion Labs (or APL for short) make super technical shoes for a variety of running and training options, but we love their TechLoom Chelsea shoe as a high-top option for lifting. Modeled after a Chelsea boot-style shoe, the upper portion expands to fit your fit and then snaps back into shape to keep your foot locked in place. At the same time, the springy rubber outsole is designed to help return energy back to you, while the 8mm drop from heel to forefoot keeps your foot in a neutral placement. It’s an atypical choice for a lifting shoe but one that’s well worth considering.


For those aiming to do heavy lifts and are in need of deep support, it’s well worth considering the Nike Romaleos 4. With a wide and flat outsole, the shoe’s base provides a strong foundation for you to build upon your body’s strong foundation. In addition to laces to keep your foot in place, two straps keep it absolutely locked in and stable. The structured midsole and subtle heel left help to add further explosiveness to your lifts, making this shoe just as much of a beast as you’ll be, no matter what exercise you’re doing in the gym. The Total Orange/White/Black version of this shoe is currently on sale at Nike for 14% off.