The best weightlifting shoes

From Adidas to Nike, Reebok to Under Armour, these gym workout shoes will help take some of that weight off your shoulders.

Close up shot of a woman's weightlifting shoes in action

by Natalie Corner |
Updated on

One great tactic to differentiate a weightlifter from a gym novice is not by their muscle mass, but by their choice of weightlifting shoe. Why? Weightlifters are always the ones with the impressive set of wheels to give them that much-needed oomph to get themselves and weights off the ground.

If you're a weightlifter yourself or are involved in any strength sport activity, such as CrossFit, you'll understand first-hand just how much you depend on weightlifting shoes, lifting shoes or lifters as people like to call them.

Especially when it comes to the big four; squats, deadlifts, bench presses and overhead presses. And, of course, investing in a decent gym towel and some quality weightlifting gloves.

From Adidas to Nike, Reebok to Under Armour, we cover all the best weightlifting shoes for both men and women. Whether you're a new lifter or an experienced powerlifter, we're certain one of these pairs of weightlifting shoes will be right for you.

Best weightlifting shoes at a glance:

1. Best all-round weightlifting shoe: Adipower Weightlifting II Shoe

2. Best for functional exercise: Nike Romaleos 4 Unisex Shoe

3. Best for pure lifting: Reebok Legacy Lifter Weightlifting Shoes

4. Best for high-intensity functional training: Nike Metcon 6 Training Shoe

Why do I need weightlifting shoes?

Apart from providing support mobility, stability and enhanced platform feedback, weightlifting shoes have been designed to give lifters some safety when dealing with heavier loads.

This is through certain features, such as the elevated heel, which helps the lifter maintain the correct posture and stance to even the strapping system, not provided in the average gym shoe. These features also make selecting weightlifting shoes a little more challenging, as every shoe has a slightly different feel and composition.

What to look for in weightlifting shoes?

There are five key characteristics to keep in mind when selecting the best weightlifting shoes:

1. Stiff heel type: Do you prefer TPU, EVA, wood, or stacked leather?

A good stiff heel, not provided on the average rubber-based sneaker, helps with catching and moving weights. There are, however, some differences in heel types. EVA and TPU heels are lightweight and durable, with the EVA heel being more compressible. The stacked and wood heels are more old-school and have platform feedback, with the stacked heel being more lightweight.

2. Heel elevation: The average is 0.75 inches. How elevated do you want your heel?

In addition to the type of heel, you also have heel elevation which provides lifters with a stable base and extra mobility – very important for any weightlifting athlete. This boosts a lifter's confidence, as well as helping them transition between the various weight positions with the correct posture.

3. Boot height: Do you need extra boot height for support and security?

If you're wondering, 'how do I choose the right weightlifting shoe heel height'? Lifting style aside, the preference of height changes depending on whether you have a long torso with long legs (<.75”), a long torso with short legs (.75), a short torso with long legs (>.75”) or a short torso with short legs (<.75).

4. Toe width/room: Would a wider toe box provide more comfort? How much toe splay do you need?

This also applies to your squat style. If you have a narrower stance or a high-bar, go for a higher heel, and if you have a wide stance and a low-bar, go for a lower heel.

5. Shoe strap/lace mechanism: Would you prefer using one or two straps, or are you in need of a BOA tightening system?

Finally, bear in mind your shoe strap and lace mechanism. Only you will know the best weightlifting shoe for you, but the amount of foot security can play a huge part in this decision-making process. Some lifters just need one strap, others need two. Some find BOA lacing models a lot more effective and provide far more security.

The best weightlifting shoes in detail

All of these weightlifting shoes have been hand-selected by What's The Best shopping experts. Our team has spent hours investigating and researching, so you can choose the best one. Plus, we'd never recommend a product we don't believe in. Find out why you should trust us here.

Best all-round weightlifting shoe

Adidas's Adipower Weightlifting lI Cross Trainer is the best weightlifting shoe. Why? It's a favourite lifter for many due to its legendary all-round support. It not only has a lace closure, but also a hook-and-loop midfoot strap for maximum security.

The lifter has a stabilizing TPU midsole wedge which provides a flexible forefoot and means the model has been built to last. Very lightweight with a glove-like fit and lockdown feel, the Adidas lifter's outer construction is made of breathable woven fabric. With a comfortable rubber sole and medium shoe width, this stylish lilac lifter is certainly one to check out.

Review: "Item exactly same pink colour and style as advertised. Very sturdy, comfortable and supportive. Help my daughter’s stance when lifting, therefore reducing pressure to her lower back. Certainly not fashion footwear but do the job intended brilliantly. My daughter has rather wide feet so bought half a size bigger than her normal size (8) and they fit perfectly."

Check out the women's version here.


  • Good for lifting heavyweights
  • Secure support
  • Built to last
  • Comfortable


  • Expensive to use exclusively for weightlifting
  • Chunky
  • No good for any other exercise
Stiff heel type: TPU
Heel elevation: High
Boot height: Medium
Strap or lace? Both
Toe width/room? Medium snug fit
Size: True to size. UK Men’s 6-13, UK Women’s 3.5-12

Best for functional exercise

Nike Romaleos 4 Unisex Shoe
Price: $169.95

Nike's Romaleos 4 is the best all-rounder unisex weightlifting shoe. Coming in three colours (black, white, and yellow/black), and although pricey it's well worth the investment. Being a hybrid shoe, it's extremely versatile with strength exercises, and many weightlifters use it as a staple possession.

This lifter has a 0.79-inch heel, which helps users stay stable (especially during squats) and perform a higher range of motion. It also has a strong structure due to its TPU material, making it very lightweight and durable. The upper shoe material is made from Flywire material, which helps towards the shoe's sturdiness, strength and flexibility.

One additional feature worth mentioning is the choice of two different soles (one hard, one soft) and the lightweight nature of the shoe (425g) - perfect for functional style exercises. It also has a one strap mechanism around the midfoot area which means an adequate amount of slack.

Review: "I have had my Romaleo 2s for a decade and love them. I saw these and decided to get another pair. I ordered a size 9 which I have worn for years in all shoes despite the reviews of ordering a half size up.

"I wore a thin sock and they fit perfectly. I wore them around the house for a couple of hours and today started a Smolov squat cycle. They were fantastic! I recommend these wholeheartedly. I did not experience any heel slip. True to size was the right call for me."


  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Durable
  • Perfect for functional exercises


  • May need to order two sizes for perfect fit
  • Heel slip
Stiff heel type: TPU
Heel elevation: 0.79 inch
Boot height: Low
Strap or lace? Strap
Toe width/room? Wide, room to splay your toes
Size: True to size, Unisex UK 3.5 to UK 14

Best for pure lifting

If you're on the market for the best pure lifting option, then the Reebok Legacy Lifter sneaker could be the one. This funky weightlifting shoe has most definitely made its mark, with high ratings and a unique design. Coming in a whole range of colours, it has a distinctively unusual heel, making it suitable for Olympic-style lifting and powerlifting for men and women.

Extremely strong and durable, these lifters excel in their powerlifting abilities. With a synthetic outer material and a lace-up Velcro strap closure, these shoes have no limits and are great for squats and deadlifts.

The medium shoe width also provides flexibility and stability. With longevity in mind, these lifters have a high-abrasion rubber coating on the outsoles and the lateral support helps towards posture. The downfall to these lifters is that you wouldn't be able to venture out to perform other exercises.

Review: “I never thought I'd need special shoes for squatting. After working out for years, I began a powerlifting routine a few months ago and heard good lifting shoes could really help. YES, THEY DO. On my first day squatting with these, I noticed a huge difference in form.

"The squat has never been one of my strongest lifts, but these are helping me correct my form so I can now add weight and possibly even make it one of my favourite lifts! These shoes are worth every penny. If you're thinking about these, just get them. You will not be disappointed.”

Check out the women's version here.


  • Unique design
  • Olympic lifting approved
  • Strong and durable
  • Helps improve lifting form


  • No good for any other exercise even walking to the gym
Stiff heel type:TPU
Heel elevation:High
Boot height:Low cut
Strap or lace?Both
Toe width/room?Medium
Size:Runs slightly large UK Men’s 6-14 UK Women’s 4-8.5

Best for high-intensity functional training

Nike Metcon 6 Men's
Price: £114.95

Do you even go to CrossFit if you haven’t got a pair of these trainers? The Nike Metcon 6 trainers are renowned for providing stability during heavy lifting and for traction when it comes to speed and durability as you move around. Their signature design can be spotted in all parts of the CrossFit gym or the weights area down your local.

Anyone serious about their training will likely own a pair. Breathable and lightweight, they still withstand the power needed to push and pull your weights, and with a wide low heel, it creates a stable base. The rubber tread on the inner and outer of the shoe is a perfect addition for climbing ropes.

Review: “The Metcons are the first pair of shoes I've purchased specifically for strength training/HIIT and I'm super impressed so far! I can definitely tell a difference that they have a lower profile from heel to toe compared with my running shoes.

"They're lightweight but snug and don't let my feet slide around. Good grip on the bottom. I've done about a week's worth of higher intensity exercising and have enjoyed every workout with them!”

Check out the women's version here.


  • Great for HIIT and weights
  • Additional heel inserts
  • Lightweight and comfortable


  • No arch support
  • Heel inserts slip
Stiff heel type:TPU
Heel elevation:Flat, adjustable Hyperlift insert
Boot height:Low
Strap or lace?Lace
Toe width/room?Wide
Size:True to size but narrow fit. UK Men’s 3-21 UK Women’s 2.5-9.5

Best budget-friendly (Editor's Pick)

Under Armour TriBase Reign 2 Men's
Price: £78.99-£115

Don’t sleep on Under Armour and their lifting shoe options. The brand’s TriBase Reign series is another example of a great cross-functional training shoe. And yes we’re telling you to buy the TriBase Reign 2 because if you’re looking to save a few coins, you won’t fall short in what they have to offer by opting for the previous season shoe.

The Under Armour TriBase Reign 3 is the latest in the line, but with only minor tweaks, we reckon you’ll get more value for money by choosing Reign 2.

The outer ripstop (woven reinforced construction) and mesh material on the midfoot and heel makes the shoe a very lightweight, breathable and secure solution. The toe box area is considered quite wide for a weightlifter's shoe, allowing users to easily toe splay, perfect for compound lifts when you need that extra bit of grip.

Overall, the Tribase Reign's low-cut design and internal heel cup provide the perfect balance of flexibility and support. The midsole also has a new Micro G Foam, allowing users to feel low to the ground and comfortable for longer weightlifting sessions.

Tried and tested by Deputy Commercial Content Editor Natalie Corner: “Looking to improve my lifting and squatting technique during lockdown I read good things about the Under Armour TriBase Reign 2 shoes. I wanted to invest in a shoe that was a little sturdier for heavier weights but I could also do circuit training which involves quite a bit of jumping around.

"I do find that if I need to jump on the treadmill for a quick warm-up or do something that involves being on my tiptoes, my foot aches without the arch support. Otherwise I’m seriously impressed with how they’ve helped my form. And yes I agree with others who have found the shoe difficult to slip on due to the extra padding around the stiff heel.”

Check out the women's version here.


  • Versatile
  • Secure support
  • Good grip


  • Difficult to put on - no tongue
  • Long laces
Stiff heel type:TPU
Heel elevation:Flat
Boot height:Low but strong heel collar
Strap or lace?Lace
Toe width/room?Wide
Size:True to fit. UK Men’s 7-12 UK Women’s 2-10

Best lightweight weightlifting shoe

Inov8 Fastlift 360 Training Shoes Men's
Price: £134.99

At the expensive end of the scale, yes, but the Inov-8 Fastlift 360 training shoe could be a great investment at the start of your weightlifting journey. It’s the brand’s first foray into lifting shoes, previously Inov-8 has been a hot name in running and workout shoes, they have come up with a clever and eyecatching design that may not be for everyone.

The platform-heel and the forefoot MetaFlex technology turn the shoe into a hybrid, making it easy to lock down your form but providing enough flexibility when performing any transitions into other movements. It has plenty of space in the toes to really spread them out when you lift and the supportive lifting base provides extra stability.

Review: “SOLID, SOLID, SOLID. Wore them for the first time during training sessions since I got them this week and soooooo much more stable than my previous pair I had that was a mainstream lifter.

"Super solid and I can actually feel the difference in support and rigidness that I was looking for when I was researching for new lifters. I am just starting my masters’ journey in Olympic lifting so cannot wait to see how they help me perform once starting heavier lifts. Super psyched about the and very happy about the purchase!!”

Check out the women's version here.


  • Hybrid design improves lifting technique
  • Ultra-supportive
  • Impressive shoe technology


  • Not for functional training
  • Tight fit and can feel stiff
Stiff heel type: TPU
Heel elevation: High
Boot height: Medium
Strap or lace? Both
Toe width/room? Wide
Size: Runs small size up to fit. UK Men’s 6-13 UK Women’s 3-8.5

What is the best weightlifting shoe? Our verdict:

It goes without saying that we want a shoe that really ticks all the boxes when it comes to our weightlifting journey. Do we want something that is solely for lifting that will provide us with enough elevation to improve our squats?

Then without question, we're going for the Adidas Adipower Weightlifting II shoes. But if you're looking to really get value for money while getting used to a weightlifting shoe we recommend the Under Armour TriBase Reign 2 shoe.

When should I wear weightlifting shoes?

Most weightlifting shoes are designed exactly for that, lifting weights, so bear in mind when it comes to what you want to achieve in the gym and what workout you have planned.

There is no point taking your weightlifting shoes if you are doing treadmill sprints, you need running shoes to make sure you don't cause an injury or make things difficult for yourself. And please do not try and attempt to walk to the gym or wear your weightlifting shoes for anything other than lifting weights, they are not designed for that and will be mostly very uncomfortable.

Weightlifting shoes can improve your squat depth because for some of us a slight elevation will allow your ankles a deeper range of motion. It means you can drop your bottom lower when holding weights and still keep your form in place, particularly preventing any knee damage as you drive through your heels and engage your glutes.

The Squat

This exercise is one for leg day. The squat really tests your lower body pushing your quads and glutes to their limits - that is depending on how heavy you’ve loaded your weights! It involves you standing with your barbell across the top of your shoulders and upper back. Your stance is slightly more than hip-width before you brace your grip, and back to take the load.

Your aim is to push your bottom backwards and the weight into your heels, engaging your glutes as your knees bend to a 90-degree angle before pushing yourself back up and squeezing your bottom at the top. A front squat with a barbell involves the weight held under your chin across your chest. If you want more elevation for your squats then we definitely recommend the Adipower Weightlifting II shoes.

The Clean and Jerk

This is one for the more confident lifters among us. The clean and jerk is a compound movement that involves the lifter jerking the barbell from a standing position to their chest before pushing it clean upwards.

Your weightlifting shoes will provide extra support as you lift the barbell and stop it from dropping towards you, the Inov-8 Fastlift 360 is a good shoe for getting you started on this movement.

The Deadlift

The deadlift involves you picking up your barbell (or dumbbells) directly from the ground, engaging your hamstrings and core to prevent your lower back from feeling the pull of the movement.

This movement involves heavy concentration on your core muscles as well as making sure your glutes are engaged as you come to standing before dropping the weight. Some weightlifters prefer a flatter shoe for this movement, so something like the Under Armour TriBase Reign 2 or the Nike Metcon 6 will help you here.

Emily Farquhar is a Commercial Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, and also writes for, heatworld and Closer across beauty, tech, and lifestyle.

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