Why Are Lifting Shoes Necessary
You may be tempted to start training in any old sneaker you find in your closet. You could probably get away with it for at least a few weeks, but as you become more serious with your training, you should consider buying a pair of lifting shoes.
Lifting shoes are necessary because:
- They keep your foot locked in place
- They help to increase your range of motion
- They keep you balanced and stable
Best Weightlifting Shoes Overview
The following shoes are highly rated when it comes to weightlifting. The Nike Metcon is best for all-around lifting where the Adidas Adipower was specifically designed for weightlifting. Reebok Legacy Lifter shoes are also a favorite among weightlifters because of the stability they offer. Each shoe will help you get the most out of your lifts by keeping you grounded.
- Fantastic for heavy squats and deadlifts due to heel stability
- Wide fit, lots of space for toes to splay, immediately comfortable
- Durable upper and sole unit, including wrap
- Inserts for lifting that fit other Metcons too
or buy them here: Men / Women
Reasons to buy
or buy them here: Men / Women
Reasons to buy
or buy them here: Men / Women
How To Choose The Best Cross
Finding the right pair of cross-training shoes is hard enough as it is. But since boutique fitness is all the rage and nobody commits to just one type of exercise anymore, finding the pair thats perfect for all your workout needs can feel near impossible. The fact of the matter is: its probably best to buy a pair of shoes for each fitness discipline that you dedicate yourself to.
For example, you might be bogged down with questions like: I do a lot of running but I love the occasional hit class, so what shoes do I go for?. In this instance, wed recommend purchasing a pair of cross-training shoes for those HIIT classes you do, but only if theyre regular, and – if your budget can stretch to it – buy a pair of trainers specifically for running so that youre best supported in each discipline. No one shoe is perfect for every occasion.
Youre not going to want the stiff heel support in a running shoe as it could cause injury and, conversely, youre not going to want that overly bouncy and flexible design when youre throwing dumbbells around in the middle of a CrossFit class. This is why cross-training shoes are crucial. Theyll give you the right balance of support and flexibility to ensure youre comfortable and safe during functional workouts.
But what else should you look out for?
It helps to know how the shoe is constructed so you can be more informed when it comes to making a decision and know what features of the shoe are best suited to your needs.
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Best For Olympic Lifting: Nobull Coffee Leather Lifter
Courtesy of NOBULL
You need strength to perform a snatch and a clean-and-jerkand also a super stable pair of shoes. These will do the trick.
The handmade NOBULL Lifters have a leather top thats super durable and long-lasting, a strap that lets you customize how tight you want the shoe to hug your foot, and a molded and removable sock-liner. Perhaps most important for an Olympic lifter, this shoe also has an 0.72-inch drop from heel to toe for elevation that supports your range of motion.
Best Hybrid Training Shoes For Treadmill Running
When testing and assessing the best hybrid training shoes for treadmill running Im most concerned with two performance features. The first aspect that I consider is the shoes comfort with treadmill running and where its mileage threshold is.
The second performance aspect is focused on lifting and understanding a models stability thresholds. Generally speaking, most training shoes that work well for treadmill running will lack higher levels of stability.
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Most Affordable Deadlift Shoes
The Adidas HVC 2 is far and away the most affordable shoes you could possibly find which are also great for deadlifting in. Originally intended for Wrestling, the Adidas HVC 2 is extremely lightweight and minimalistic, which allows them to be super cheap.
Dont let their price fool you though, the Adidas HVC 2 is a very capable shoe for deadlifting and, if youre on a budget, or just want to experiment with something different without breaking the bank, I highly recommend them!
- Priced at less than half of some of the alternatives.
- Solid overall performance.
Best Hybrid Training Shoes For Outdoor Workouts
To assess hybrid training shoes for outdoor workouts, Im looking at a shoes comfort for running, its stability for lifting, and its outsole tread for providing grip on different surfaces.
Ideally, you want a shoe that can work well for road running, trail running, and even tackling outdoor lifting and training sessions, so youll also want an increased level of durability with this shoe.
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Best Gym Shoes For Lifting Heavy: Reebok Wit Legacy Lifter Ii
Buy It:Reebok WIT Legacy Lifter II, $200, reebok.com
“This shoe is great if you’re trying to improve heel placement in your squat. It has a raised heel so you can focus on appropriate hip, knee, and foot placement during the eccentric and concentric phase of the squat,” says Adrian Williams, training manager at Tone House in New York City. Also, hello Velcro!
Once you’re geared up, check out these barbell exercises every woman should master. And the next time you’re lacking motivation just scroll through these 11 major health benefits to lifting heavy. You’re welcome.
Who Shouldnt Buy Nike Romaleos 4
- People who are looking for a weightlifting shoe with minimal heel height. These are quite tall and may make you feel pitches forward if you are not used to using weightlifting shoes.
- Anyone who is on a tight budget there are shoes that are cheaper, though they may not be up to the same quality.
- Athletes who prefer to have a lighter shoe. These are 20.1 ounces at size 10, which is heavier than some other weightlifting shoes on the market, and may contribute to fatigue if youre not used to wearing weightlifting shoes.
The Nike Romaleos 4 are among the most expensive weightlifting shoes on this list, but theres good reason for these to be our best overall pick. Theyre made from high-quality materials like leather and textile instead of nylon. The extra padding around the collar helps improve comfort during long workouts. Nike designed these with the weightlifting athlete in mind, and theres a good reason the best weightlifters in the world turn to these as their shoe of choice.
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Shoes And Squats: High Bar Or Low
There are two types of squats, high-bar and low, whose names correspond to where the bars placed on the back.
The distinction is important but cloudy. Most programs dont say how to squat, just that you should. The high-low bar consensus might depend on the year you get into the sport. Trends wax and wane. But the way you squat really depends on your goals.
A high-bar squat rests the weight on the lifters trapezius muscles, below the neck. Its the weightlifting version and forces the lifter upright. A high-bar squat targets quads the most they lift up the weight and is designed to train weightlifting, where lifters stand upright below a raised barbell.
It demands mobile ankles try and squat with your back ramrod straight and your knees out and forward which necessitates lifting shoes. Stacked heels can also prevent internal knee collapse on a lift. Squat shoes Adidas Adipowers, Asics 727s Nike Romaleos, Do-Wins make upright squats easier and more stable, and are just about necessary for Olympic lifters.
For these reasons, this squat tends to be preferred by extremely competitive powerlifters, the kinds who set records. A low-bar lifter who is already leaning forward might lean forward too much if they wear squat shoes. Often, Chucks or Vans are ideal.
Is Barefoot Lifting An Alternative
Youve probably seen guys in the gym lifting sans shoes, whether in socks or totally barefoot. In theory, barefoot lifting provides the direct connection to the floor that lifting shoes aim to create. Whether its safe for the feet, however, can be a controversial topic.
Despite the fact that many swear by barefoot training, I believe that most people need some form of support and structure when lifting weights, Boyce says.
In his experience, most people dont make sure to properly position their feet with a correct arch and foot grip every set. Even when someone does take the time to do so, that position and rigidity can be compromised once the weight gets heavy.
McCarthy doesnt have an issue with barefoot lifting during powerlifting movements like squat, bench, and deadlift. If youre going for Olympic lifts , though, its probably a far better idea to wear shoes.
Olympic lifts are dynamicyour feet start in one place and end up in anotherand thats where theres a risk.
If youre trying to catch a few hundred pounds on your shoulders and your feet are moving, with lifting shoes youll hear a pretty loud impact of the shoe on the ground, McCarthy says.
Without shoes, your feet would bear the impact and could potentially get injured. In the same vein, exercises that involve stepsthink walking lunges, rear-leg elevated split squats, and calf raisescan benefit from support.
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Most Versatile Weightlifting Shoes
These shoes from Nobull are technically classified as “trainers” on the site rather than “lifters,” but I’m keen on them for workouts that include both.
The Nobull Mid Trainers have many of the same qualities as the All-Stars described above — flat sole, minimal cushion, wide toe box, ankle support — but they’re far more versatile simply because they’re more durable. What makes these shoes special is the fact that you can hit a heavy set of squats and then jump right into a HIIT workout without sacrificing comfort or stability during either.
Nobull has true weightlifting shoe options, too, which are worth checking out if you’re interested in powerlifting or Olympic lifting. All Nobull shoes come in men’s and women’s sizes.
Should I Use A Raised Heel Or Flat Heel For Squats
Most lifters prefer a raised heel for squatting, as this helps require a bit less ankle mobility for the athlete to achieve the full range of motion throughout the squat.
Squatters with wide stances tend to prefer flat heeled shoes.
Powerlifting University goes into more depth on this subject:
If you squat wide and dont have much forward lean then flat soled shoes are great shoes for squats.
If you have long legs and use a narrow squat stance, then Olympic shoes might just be what the doctor ordered to improve your squat.
If you have strong quads and you want to squat even more instantly? Then investing in a pair of Olympic shoes might do the trick.
Another common preference is for squatters with a wide stance to use flat soled shoes to allow them to sit back into their squat more easily. AsSquats & Science points out, this ultimately comes down to the individual lifters preference and which muscles they want to recruit through the squat.
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Grab These Shoes For A Mixture Of Activities
Mixed use shoes need to allow for lateral movement, not forward movement like running shoes. Furthermore, running shoes normally have a higher heel drop where mixed use shoes are flatter and are better suited for wider range of movements. Generally, most mixed use shoes have a heel to toe drop of 0-4mm.
With mixed use shoes, you can jump, stop, cut, and change direction quickly. These shoes are good for:
- Boot camps
- Agility training
- Strength training
Make sure your shoes are flexible in the midsole and have a comfortable upper. The lower heel will put you closer to the ground so it is easier to pivot and push off. Mixed use shoes are also more lightweight than traditional running shoes.
What happens if you get the wrong shoes? It can decrease your performance, cause injury, and be generally uncomfortable.
Best Overall For Women: Reebok Nano X Womens Training Shoes
What do buyers say? 87% of 2,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
This shoe offers 360 degrees of breathability and gives stretch and support when you need it, which is why we chose it as our top pick. The update to the Nano in this X version brings extra comfort, too, with a high-density foam collar and a little more flexibilityperfect for those looking to incorporate faster movements into their strength workouts.
Under your feet, you get reinforcement from your heel to the midfoot, providing the stable base you need for lifts. If you like to do explosive exercises like squat jumps or skaters, this shoe also provides the stability, durability, and mobility needed to crush those exercises.
You can customize the snugness of this shoe by adjusting the straps, particularly the one that runs right across the middle of your foot. Keep it tight for powerful movements like squats and presses when you need your feet to stay grounded in one place.
The wide and flat outsole will also give you the stability you need to dominate heavy lifting, while the rubber traction underneath will stop you from slipping. The shoe also has an elevated heel to help you execute a full range of motion.
Reviewers mention this shoe runs small, so consider sizing up when you buy.
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They Keep Your Foot Locked In Place
When you have a heavy barbell on your back, the last thing you want is your feet to slip out from under you.
Most lifting shoes are equipped with a heel cup and rubber outsoles that keep your feet securely in place.
They not only provide traction to keep your feet from slipping on the floor, they also prevent your feet from slipping inside the shoe.
Running Shoes Vs Gym Shoes
If your main fitness activity is running, or if you frequent the treadmill more than the weights, there are some great running shoe options available to fit your needs weve included a handful below. Kind of like how different sports have different cleats, running shoes and training shoes are designed for their specific activity.
Training shoes often offer a lower heel drop to keep your feet closer to the ground. This can help add stability to your frame, especially when lifting heavy weights. Running shoes, on the other hand, are designed to cushion your steps as you move forward, returning your energy in an efficient manner to propel you forward.
To keep your feet comfortable and your progress on the right path, its best to have separate shoes for training and running. Plus, having separate kicks can help preserve your running shoes for more cardio-focused endeavors, like say, taking off for your fastest mile.
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Adidas Adipower Ii Best Overall Lifting Shoe For Beginners
The Adidas Adipower IIs are lighter and more flexible than other weightlifting shoes on the market. This makes it a good option for new lifters who are wearing lifting shoes for the first time.
With a heel height of 0.75, the Adipower IIs fall right in the middle range of what youll find in most weightlifting shoes.
For new lifters, this is a good heel height to start with because its neither too high nor too low. As you work on your technique, you can use this as a good gauge to determine if you need a shoe with a lower or higher heel.
This shoe is a good entry-level shoe for someone whos still learning how to squat properly, but it doesnt provide enough support to stabilize your feet during very heavy lifts. Once you get stronger and begin lifting heavier weights, you should consider upgrading to a sturdier shoe.
Reebok Nano X1 Best For Lifting Light Weights
Although these shoes werent the overall winner, I was impressed with them from the moment I got them. They were comfortable right out of the box and didnt require any break-in period.
The midsole cushioning is made from a foam material called Floatride Energy. According to Reebok, this material is only on the forefoot and not offered throughout the entire shoe. Still, this extra cushioning makes it less stable for very heavy weights.
The sole isnt as stiff as what youd find in a weightlifting shoe, but it still provides a decently stable platform.
The shoe also has a 7mm heel drop, which is higher than most of the previous Nano models. This makes it less than ideal for heavy lifting since it adds more cushioning to the shoe.
Like the Nike Metcons, the Nano X1s are sufficient for light or moderately heavy deadlifts. For anything above 80%, the cushioning is too much and its hard to drive power from the floor in them. My foot also slipped a little inside the shoe when I did sumo deadlifts in them.
I didnt notice as much foot slippage when I wore these shoes for squats, but the cushioning made me feel less stable.
It does make it a good shoe for running, though. I wouldnt recommend running a marathon in them, but for distances up to a couple of miles, there is enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable.
One thing that I dont love about these shoes is that the heel counter comes up pretty high on the back of the foot.
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