Just like using the correct equipment for your training style, you need to ensure that you’re wearing the correct footwear for your workout. Battered, old trainers won’t suffice when you’re lifting heavy weights, and there’s no better return-on-investment than buying the best weightlifting shoes you can afford. In this article, we’ll feature the best shoes for powerlifting, deadlifting and squatting in your local training space – and more besides – and arm you with the know-how you need to make an informed purchasing decision
Before you rush out and purchase the priciest weightlifting shoes you can find, however, take a moment to consider your training style. This will help you identify what type of shoe you need. Do you almost exclusively train with barbells — working through bench presses, deadlifts and squats, for example — or, alternatively, do you exercise at a higher-intensity, like in CrossFit? Perhaps you mix your weight training with exercise classes, in which plyometric movements and bodyweight exercises will be more common. Read on and we’ll discuss all the aspects you need to consider to help you make the best choice.
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Best weightlifting shoes: At a glance
How to choose the best weightlifting shoe for you
Can’t I just wear trainers?
Technically? Yes. Realistically? Not so much. While a soft, cushioned pair of trainers are fine for light treadmill work, mobility and warm-ups, they don’t provide enough foot or ankle support for lifting weights or moving safely under heavy loads – and it’s really not worth risking an injury which could put you out of action for weeks at a time. If you want to build up to seriously heavy lifts, your feet need to be locked in and supported, without any unintended lateral movement
What type of shoe do I need?
If you spent a lot of time shifting heavy barbells — some call this powerlifting — a pair of dedicated weightlifting shoes are a worthwhile investment. Weightlifting shoes are designed to ‘lock’ your foot into a safe and stable position with minimal cushioning. Typically, they combine a higher heel and a solid base in the shoe made of wood, plastic or composite material, both of which help you maintain proper form and posture during a heavy lift. Unlike spongy trainers and softer CrossFit shoes, this added support provides a more stable surface when you’re grinding out reps and lowers your risk of injury.
Alternatively, if you prefer a mixture of higher-intensity exercise, CrossFit or exercise classes alongside your weights programme, you’ll want to opt for more of an all-round gym shoe. These can still provide much better support than bog-standard trainers, but also provide the cushioning and flexibility you need to broaden your exercise repertoire across a wider range of strength, conditioning and cardio focused elements.
How much should I spend?
With even standard gym shoes routinely costing over £100 it’s no surprise that dedicated weightlifting shoes edge closer to £200. That may seem like a huge expense, but, if you’re training three to five times a week, it’s a justifiable outlay for something that’s going to improve your workouts and potentially help you avoid injury
If you’re working to a tighter budget, then it pays to shop around for deals. Brands such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas tend to release new iterations of their shoes on a yearly basis, so if you want to grab something on the cheap, look for the previous years’ models.
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The best weightlifting shoes to buy in 2022
1. Nike Romaleos 4: Best weightlifting shoe
Price: £179.95 | Buy now from Nike
Don’t let the price put you off. Nike’s Romaleos family has been the flagship weightlifting shoe for some time now, proudly worn by anyone from powerlifting newbies to Olympic athletes
The Nike Romaleos 4 is the most stable and breathable weightlifting shoe from Nike yet. It has a supportive midsole and a wide, flat outsole to help your feet stay stable during the challenging phases of a lift, while two wide straps over the laces help lock your foot into position. Meanwhile, the rubber tread helps you maintain traction.
If you can afford to pay the premium, and you want a shoe that’s purely focused on lifting, this is our top choice.
Key details – Drop: 20mm; Weight: 575g; Sizes available: UK 2-14
Buy now from Nike
2. Adidas Adipower: Best weightlifting shoe for compound lifts
Price: £139.99 | Buy now from Sportsshoes
If you don’t want to fork out the best part of £200 for a pair of weightlifting shoes, the Adipower weightlifting shoes are a smart buy
Designed to support your foot during compound lifts — that’s bench pressing, squatting and deadlifting — the Adipower shoes hug your feet to prevent any movement and use a TPU midsole for additional stability
There’s some eco kudos here, too — the Adipower shoe is made with recycled materials, with the shoes containing at least 50% recycled content
Key details – Heel height: 20mm; Weight: 460g; Sizes available: UK 3.5-13.5
Buy now from Sportsshoes
3. Reebok Nano X2: Best all-round gym shoe for beginners
Price: £110 | Buy men’s | women’s from Reebok
As the only brand with potential to topple Nike from the top spot, functional training experts Reebok created the versatile Nano X2 to withstand any workout
Made with Reebok’s Flexweave tech, the Nano X2’s material is comfortable, breathable and soft – it’s arguably one of the comfiest shoes on this list. Likewise, the foam is responsive and flexible enough to make it suitable for a broad range of exercises, without compromising on lateral stiffness
Key details – Drop: 4mm; Weight: 408g; Sizes available: Men’s (UK 5-12), Women’s (UK 2.5-7.5)
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4. Nike Metcon 7: Best all-round gym shoe
Price: £114.95 | Buy men’s | women’s from Nike
Metcon is the flagship line for Nike’s training arm — as Pegasus is for Nike Running — and it’s a firm favorite for CrossFit athletes and regular gym goers. Indeed, the Metcon 7 is a shoe you’ll regularly see on your trips to the gym: it has one of the most recognisable silhouettes of any gym shoe on the market
Thankfully, the Metcon 7 is more than just an eye-catching design, and its combination of a wide sole, supportive heel and effective cushioning make for a shoe that can transfer effortlessly from the treadmill to the deadlift and beyond
This really is a shoe that’s ready for any workout, at any time, in any environment. While previous models weren’t ideal for treadmill use, the all-new React foam broadens the Metcon’s repertoire without compromising its solidity during lifts
Key details – Drop: 4mm; Weight: 283g; Sizes available: Men’s (UK 3.5-14), Women’s (UK 2.5-9.5)
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5. Puma FUSE: Best affordable gym shoe for men
Price: £80 | Buy now from Puma
If you don’t want to break the bank, but still want an affordable gym shoe for weightlifting and training, then the Puma FUSE is a great choice
With a 4mm drop, a wide toe box and a heel clip for added support, it offers a lot of bang for the buck. What’s more, the brand’s signature PUMAGRIP material provides traction during heavy lifts and a mesh upper lets your feet breathe.
Key specs – Drop: 4mm; Weight: 368g; Sizes available: UK 6-11
Buy now from Puma