Curious to know what to look for in the best weightlifting shoes? Because FYI, the shoes that best support your body for strength training are far from the best running trainers. (opens in new tab)
Why? Well, because when strength training, you’ll need a sole that’s flat and sturdy, unlike trainers designed for cardio, which are often cushy and bouncy.
Wearing the right trainer is important because? Well, as you want your feet, arches and heels to be able to stretch and hold, in turn providing a solid base on which to push and pull. All the weight on the bar or dumbbell will move first and through your feet — and in turn, your shoes.
“Getting asked about the best weightlifting shoes is one of the most common things I hear as a coach,” says Jess Rossartgym manager and coach intelligence health, “In my opinion, they are one of the most important pieces of kit to invest in.”
research from reebok It shows that 71% of women are weight training in their running shoes, while 65% run in their gym trainers. other studies show that squatting in running trainers reduces knee flexion—meaning you don’t squat as deeply—and lead to a less upright posture.
So – where to start with so many options? Know that even if you can’t afford new shoes right now, there are plenty of benefits to barefoot training. Also, you’ll probably notice that professionals practice heavy, heavy lifts in shoes with a slight heel lift as well.
But for the best weightlifting shoes for recreational movers, we’ve got you. below, associate chief, Marie Claire UKSELF’s health and fitness editor, offers up a controversial favorite that has seen her through strength training, freelance writer and fitness trainer chloe gray The CrossFit athlete and winner of The World’s Fittest Women in 2022 shares the shoes she acquired through her PB, Lucy Campbelland crossfit athletes, amy kringle (opens in new tab), sharing their favourites. go Go go.
What should you look for in order to find the best weightlifting shoes?
- Footbed: It’s goodbye to cushioning and padding and at least hello to the insoles that allow you to feel grounded and stretch your feet.
- only: Think of flat shoes, with every corner having contact with the ground at all times (as opposed to running trainers which are often bent at the toe). Also look for grippy bass.
- Ankle: Like running, you have to protect your ankles when you lift. Make sure your shoes feel firm around the joint but still allow enough room for free movement.
- Price: It goes without saying that you have to shop within your budget. Luckily, some of the best weightlifting shoes are surprisingly affordable.
The 8 Best Weightlifting Shoes According to the Experts
Although she prefers high-heeled weightlifting shoes, Lucy CampbellCrossFit athlete and winner of The World’s Fittest Woman in 2022, still does squats at her MetCons.
Pros: “I find they provide a good amount of stability which is great for lifting weights in a workout,” says Lucy.
Shortcoming: Lucy says that if you struggle with your mobility and have stiff ankles (poor dorsiflexion), a higher heel shoe may be better for you because it will make it easier for you to get to the bottom of the squat.
Bet you weren’t expecting to see conversation on this list, were you? Health editor Allie Head says that if you’re looking for a flat and supportive sole, you need look no further than your beloved converse.
Pros: They’re aesthetically universal—that is, you can wear them everywhere and not spend loads on a shoe option that you’d only wear to workout. They last forever (I’ve had mine for ten years) and they’re helpful for deadlifts, barbell hip thrusts, etc.
Shortcoming: They’re not great for anything other than your day-to-day activities and weightlifting – no, I repeat, no! – Wear them for HIIT exercises, because you’ll be giving yourself a lot of shin splints.
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These are Lululemon’s all-rounder shoes, says Allie Head, and if you’re after a pair of weight-lifting shoes you can also do HIIT in, they’re a great option. She’s worn them for weight training classes, strength sessions, and more, and they’re supportive, and also keep your ankle stable.
Pros: They keep you stable enough to sit but also have enough spring for things like high knees and jump lunges. They also have a flexible yet super-charged outsole that’s helpful for both strength training and HIIT sessions.
Shortcoming: The double logo is quite noticeable, and if you don’t like a highly branded shoe, you’ll see it. Also, go up a half size, because they run smaller.
For Amy Kringle, one of the UK’s most talked about female athletes within the European CrossFit scene, it’s the Nike Romalio for weight training.
Pros: “They’re an incredibly stable shoe that you’ll want to lift up and have an adjustable strap in the mid-foot to provide further support,” she says.
Shortcoming: The heel is on the larger end of the spectrum of weightlifting shoes, which might not be right for everyone, but works for Amy because of her above-average quads.
Another hybrid shoe, the Nano is sturdy and flat enough to be used for weightlifting, says Chloe, but also packs a little bounce if you want to end your training with a sweaty HIIT circuit.
Pros: a Wide, flat base that allows you to stretch your feet out and feel grounded. There are so many versions of shoes so you can find the style that best suits your feet and your color palette. They are super grippy on the bottom for protection too.
Shortcoming: The latest versions aren’t quite as flat as the original Nano Xs, IMO.
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Yes, another Lululemon recommendation. What can we say? They pretty much know what they are doing. When it comes to StrongFeel, the shoe is specifically designed to feel strong—and that includes lifting weights. Since trying them, Khloe wears nothing else to the gym on gray leg day.
Pros: The flat base gives plenty of leg room to stretch, but doesn’t feel too hard under foot, which is great for spending some time at the gym. They also look good for day-to-day wear, and are sturdy enough for functional fitness that involves explosive moves.
Shortcoming: The only downside is that they’re not exactly cheap — but relative to other lifting shoes and cost-per-wear, they’re worth it.
Lightweight and sturdy aren’t two things that usually go together, but somehow these Underarmour shoes have accomplished the impossible. Their unique ‘TriBase’ design optimizes ground contact so you can push off all angles of your foot.
Pros: Chloe found these to be breathable and lightweight, while also being strong and supportive. They have low soles to encourage attachment to the floor—basically helping your feet and ankles do what they’re supposed to do, only better.
Shortcoming: They have a fairly sturdy design so may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re into them we’d say you can’t get much better.
VivoBarefoot Primus Lite II
If you feel awkward about taking off your shoes for barefoot training at the gym (look, we get it) try these shoes that are designed not to feel like shoes. They are foot size rather than shoe size, so your feet can actually be spread too thin to get feedback from the floor below you.
Pros: The eco-friendly credentials and 4mm sole really get you back in touch with nature, shares Chloe. They’re also incredibly flexible shoes (you can roll them into a ball) which makes them easy to transport, but most importantly, they’ll travel with you and go wherever you want to move.
Shortcoming: The USP of this show is that everything about it is different from what we are used to. It’s good in the long run, but it takes some getting used to.
Why Should I Buy Weightlifting Shoes?
Short answer – because it’s the key to not only improving your mileage, but also protecting your currency.
“The most important thing to remember is that all toes on your feet are completely flat on the ground when strength training and weight lifting,” explains Jess Rosartgym manager and coach intelligence health, “Your toes anchor your entire foot and increase stability. Think about when you’re squatting or deadlifting—you want to feel as stable as possible. If your feet touch the ground If you’re able to hold on to that, it will provide stability to the entire body. To be in the best possible position for your lifts.”