Weightlifting shoes may be the missing ingredient to energizing your lifts, especially if you’re lacking mobility in the lower body. Also referred to as lifting or squat shoes, they can help you achieve greater depth and further flexion while performing specific movements. Whether you’re working through a session at home or the local gym, the best men’s weightlifting shoes will keep your form in tip-top shape and stabilize your joints to prevent injury. As a result of their unique design, lifting shoes can support your entire body from the bottom up—so much so that studies have found their ability to improve squats by enabling more depth, whilst keeping you in an optimal upright position.
As opposed to running sneakers, where flexibility and cushioning (for shock absorption) are key to protecting your joints during repetitive, impactful movements, weightlifting shoes are styled wider. “This allows for more lateral movement to build and strengthen smaller and underutilized muscles that help you stabilize during a workout,” says Dr. Hooman Melamed, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California. You can also expect more space in the toe box at the front of a weightlifting shoe to splay your toes during lifts for structural support.
“A shoe strap is also key for providing an extra layer of foot stability,” adds Dr. Hooman, just as outsole grip (or traction) is essential for maintaining non-slip contact with the ground as you lift. Like a reliable weightlifting bench, a proper pair of weightlifting shoes are essential if you’re looking to get the most out of your workouts. For that reason, we’ve scoured customer reviews and expert recommendations to bring you the best men’s weightlifting shoes that support the added load.
Style, craft and function—the Reebok Lagacy II delivers on all fronts. In an upgrade to its previous version of the Legacy Lifter, the TPU heel clip (for sturdy support) is set a notch higher for ultimate stability.
Its foam insole is designed to secure your foot in place as you lift which is important for preventing slipping and sliding, while a soft and strategically positioned foamy interior provides solid cushioning and prevents unwanted hotspots.
The shoe also boasts a two-part securing system with laces and a wide velcro strap around the mid-section to secure your foot in place.
High TPU heel clip
Outsole covered in full-length rubber for grip
Single securing strap
Quality & design
The Adidas Powerlift 5 is an eco-friendly purchase (at least 50% of the shoe is made from recycled content) with a price at the cheaper end of the weightlifting shoe spectrum. It’s ideal for beginner lifters as its heel height (at 15mm) places it at a lower-end elevation to ease you into lifting on a platform.
The shoe features open-mesh inserts that let air circulate, while the base—a midsole wedge included—enhances your lifts by offering a solid surface, even for heavier lifts.
High-density EVA sole
Durable canvas and breathable inserts
The Nike Romaleos 4 are the fourth version in this line of shoe, blending the standout features of previous versions. Above all, it’s designed to support explosive movements for beast lifters. Although on the pricier side of weightlifting shoes, the Romaleos 4 deliver on the goods. First off, the shoe has a wide, durable TPU heel to ensure your lifts set off without a hitch and double velcro straps for a snug and secure fit. It’s also designed with a flat outsole and an uncompromising midsole to secure your feet in position during lifts.
The shoe itself is made from breathable fabric that allows for more flexibility than previous models (according to reviews) and doesn’t compromise on quality for a long-lasting lifespan.
Keep in mind, the Romaleos 4 weigh more (570 grams) than many other weightlifting shoes on the market, meaning they’re sturdy but heavier than what you might be used to.
Wide heel for support
TPU heel and midsole
20mm toe drop
Two velcro straps
The INOV 8 Fastlift Power G 380 is one of the latest models in the Fastlift range. It features both a graphene Powerheel and outsole (for unwavering grip), which in laymen’s terms means a hardy material to support your heaviest load. A lockdown strap allows you to alter the width of fit to secure your foot in place.
On the topic of width, these shoes are graded 4 on the toe box scale from 1-5, meaning they’re roomier at the top compared to other lifting shoes. So if you’re after more space to splay your feet, these shoes might fit the bill.
In addition to the roomy interior, the shoe features a one-piece ripstop upper, a flexible and breathable material that claims to provide comfort and support in tandem. This means you’re less likely to need ‘wearing in’ time and unlike more rigidly structured shoes, the Fastlift Power G 380s allows for freer movement.
Wide lockdown strap
Flexible toe box
22mm heel drop
Regular, heavy lifters
Less restricted movement
Reebok’s Lifter PR II features the most highly rated aspects of the original PR shoe, with the addition of a breathable textile upper and sturdier EVA foam midsole. When combined, you’ve got yourself a shoe that offers a stable base and lightweight, breathable cushioning for workouts both simple and demanding.
Whilst the 0.6-inch heel height is on the lower end compared to many other weightlifting shoes, it means they’re suitable for tying in other workout components, cardio included.
The shoes also have a low-cut design for more freedom of movement about the ankle, which comes in handy during those explosive of lifts. Minimalistic elements aside, this is a weightlifting shoe at heart, and the foot lockdown hook-and-loop straps remind you of the shoe’s core capabilities every time you throw them on. When you get all that for half the price of the Reebok Legacy Lifter II, you can’t go wrong.
EVA foam midsole
Sturdy rubber outsole
Low-cut design for free ankle motion
Three color options
Everyday weightlifting sessions
Those who prefer a lightweight shoe
If you classify lifting as more of a pastime, the Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes are a pair worthy of a ponder. The heel is constructed from tough EVA foam that provides a steady base to load up on mid- to heavy-weight lifts. And if squats are your go-to, this shoe takes the biscuit.
With a heel elevation of 1.4-inches—higher than most other shoes on the market—it’s ideal for holding a proper squat position, knees tracked and all. The price is one of the most affordable on the market, but keep in mind, you get what you pay for. The shoes don’t offer the desired tread or stability in their base for upping the ante to brute force lifts.
Higher heel drop of 1.4-inches
EVA foam heel
The Nike Metcon 8 is the latest model in the Metcon line and a personal choice of Dr. Melamed, who credits its short heel-to-toe drop (at 4mm) for providing enhanced support to the ground. This makes it an excellent CrossFit shoe as it’s supportive, without unwanted restriction. The shoe also features an optional lace lock in place of a strap, allowing you to choose how tightly you’d like to secure it in place.
Unlike previous generations of the Metcon, this edition has an inner-heel plate for better weight placement and enhanced lateral movements.
As for anyone with flat feet in need of a supportive shoe, one reviewer commented that the Nike Metcon 8 provides enhanced arch support over other weightlifting shoes.
The general consensus is that minor tweaks differentiate the Metcon 8 from its previous version, suggesting it required only slight tampering to perfect the design.
4mm heel-to-toe drop
Versatility is the name of the game with the Reebok Nano 6000s, where your lifting and cardio sessions can blend into one. This hybrid shoe combines the best of both worlds with Floatride Energy foam that adds a little bounce to your step and adds a solid base for deadlifts, squats and more. It combines function with style by way of four tri-color options for a fashionable nod to its original design from 40 years ago.
The outsole has a tread pattern for traction across many surfaces as well as a supportive heel clip, meaning you can train with the peace of mind that your shoe has a stable base whether you’re lifting or running.
Flexweave upper knit
Hybrid strength training and cardio workouts
Core Weightlifting Shoes are an economical buy for regular lifters with eyes on heavier weight stacks at the gym. The 1.2-inch heel places this footwear height at the higher end of weightlifting shoes, but that boost in elevation adds more depth to your squats.
Both laces and a strap work in tandem for a secure and snug fit that keeps your foot planted on the ground for more stability, with a non-slip EVA midsole wedge enhancing your support during lifts. These shoes are also functional when incorporating CrossFit-style snatches and jerks into your workout.
Ethylene vinyl acetate sole
Powerlifters who require more height
Incorporating CrossFit-style workouts
How We Chose The Best Weightlifting Shoes For Men
This roundup is a result of extensive research—we scrutinized customer reviews and expert recommendations to find the best weightlifting shoes available on the market now. Our selections are based on function, design, product specifications, price and positive consumer feedback of a broad variety of shoes from big brands to lesser known names. We also spoke to an industry professional for their advice on what features to look for in a weightlifting shoe. This article is regularly reviewed to keep you updated on availability, prices and ratings. This story was last revised in December 2022, but we recommend checking back often for updates and revisions.
What Is The Best Shoe For Weightlifting?
The best weightlifting shoe depends on a range of factors, including your personal range of motion and what kind of stability you’re looking for. If you require more depth to your squats with increased flexion at the knee, you’ll want a shoe that promotes a higher heel drop to allow for more motion—something around the 1-inch mark and above. The same goes for taller lifters who require more space for full flexion. Beyond this, you’ll want a shoe that feels secure and hugs your foot. Otherwise, you may slide around during lifts instead of staying planted on the floor.
We chose the Reebok Legacy Lifter II as the best overall men’s weightlifting shoe due to its solid reputation among lifters, as well as its thoughtful design and overall quality. But that doesn’t make it the best shoe for you. In order to get a feel for the different types of weightlifting shoes on the market, your best bet is to hit up your local shoe store where you can try different pairs in person.
Are Lifting Shoes Worth It?
If you lift often with the intention of progressively adding more weight over time, weightlifting shoes can provide you with the stable, elevated base you need to up the ante. A lifting shoe is also worth investing in if you’re struggling to reach depth with your squats as they allow for a greater range of motion. However, they’re not a fix for mobility issues—that’s something that requires work in itself. And if you’re a beginner who lifts sporadically, it may not be worth the cost when a regular pair of gym shoes will serve you just as well.
Should You Wear Weightlifting Shoes To Deadlift?
Weightlifting shoes are also called squat shoes for a reason—they’re intended for squats and similar explosive exercises. A raised heel redistributes your weight to enlist more of your quadricep muscles—ideal for squatting, but not for deadlifts which target your posterior muscles. An elevated heel will push your knees in a forward position, taking the emphasis off your glutes. For deadlifts, a flat shoe with good grip will ensure your soles don’t slide during the lift.
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