The Best Powerlifting Shoes: Four Top Choices
When it comes to weightlifting, you’re only as strong as your foundation. That’s why choosing the right shoes for the task can make all the difference in your results. Powerlifting shoes come in a range of styles and options, so knowing which type to choose can be a challenge.
Here, we’ll go through the selection process and highlight four brands of powerlifting shoes worth considering.
What you should look for in Shoes for Squats
The best shoes for squats aren’t like traditional trainers. Instead, they require a sturdy, non-compressible sole that works to support your body through heavy sets, and most of these soles are made from wood or an inflexible plastic.
This extra support reinforces your foot’s natural arch and gives it something to push up against, all without absorbing any of the force of your movements. You’ll consequently have better form and more power throughout each lift.
Next in importance is the shoe’s metatarsal strap. Usually made from Velcro, this strap goes along the top of the shoe to keep your foot secure. The metatarsal strap increases your foot’s overall stability within the shoe so that it doesn’t move around. Not only does this prevent you from rolling your feet sideways, but it also increases your lifting efficiency by minimizing any force absorption from your movements.
The result? You’ll perform stronger, more supported lifts with a slightly lower risk of injury.
You might be thinking that your regular gym shoes should work fine for weightlifting. The truth is, their squishy soles make them less than ideal for this kind of activity. You’ll do better to invest in a pair designed explicitly for lifting so that you get the support needed through every set.
While flat shoes can be a solution for those with arch problems, you should still seek out a slightly raised heel, so you get some ankle support. This will also shift your center of gravity forward somewhat so that you maintain better posture as you lift.
So, which shoes for squats are best? Here are four options worth considering.
1: Adidas Powerlift 4
Good luck finding a better value for powerlifting shoes than the Adidas Powerlift 4. These shoes boast sturdy soles that keep you stabilized, and they have a large strap that goes over your midfoot to keep you balanced.
Their all-canvas construction with reinforced stitching keeps them breathable and durable, so you’re less likely to deal with “gym foot” over time. Some lifters might appreciate the slightly lower heal (0.6” compared to the 0.75” industry standard), which gives them a less aggressive boost. Just keep in mind that in true Adidas style, you’ll have few color options beyond black to choose between.
Listed Price: $70-$100
2: Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes
These powerlifting shoes are the popular choice for tens of thousands of world-class weightlifters, thanks both to their quality construction and relatively low price-point. They are made with a blend of leather and breathable nylon mesh that should last you through years of training.
Those seeking extra stability will appreciate the double straps and wider profile designed for people with wide feet. (Note: the company recommends going a size down from your standard shoe size for a better fit). They also contain a standard 0.75” plastic heel for optimal stability while powerlifting.
But as with the Adidas Powerlift 4s, you’re limited in color and style options.
Listed Price: $95-$105
3: Reebok Legacy Lifters
If you’re aiming for technical perfection during your squat set, the Reebok Legacy Lifters strive to deliver. Their ultra-hard sole and 0.75” heel maximize your force for every movement, and these mesh and leather shoes have an antimicrobial lining to minimize odor. They also include a double strap so you can get an extra snug fit on the top of your foot.
Many people will be drawn to the Legacy’s stylish designing, but others might not think it’s worth paying almost twice the price as its competitors.
While these powerlifting shoes earn great reviews, Reebok is a relative newcomer in the world of weightlifting. Expect these shoes to improve every generation.
Listed Price: $200
4: Nike Romaleos 4
These ultra-stylish powerlifting shoes will earn you points at the gym, but they also deliver from a functionality standpoint.
They offer a complete redesign compared to the Romaleos 3, and their heavy construction and double strapped design keep you feeling stabilized no matter how much you’re lifting—which makes them a preferred choice for heavy lifters.
The Romaleos 4s are constructed from a woven fabric blend, and they will likely feel a little too rigid until you start breaking them in.
You can choose from five color options and counting, but these powerlifting shoes are pricier than the competition. Likewise, many users have shared online that they experienced heel slips in the middle of reps while wearing these shoes.
Listed Price: $200
How to Pick Shoes for Deadlifts
Let’s say you’re looking for a pair of shoes for deadlifts. Do you need something different than traditional powerlifting shoes? For most of us, the answer is yes.
Standard weightlifting shoes will work in a pinch, but they aren’t ideal. That’s because their lifted heel changes the angle of your ankle and can get you in trouble while performing hinge-dominant movements like deadlifts by upsetting your center of gravity. Instead, it’s better to stay flat-footed so that your feet have an even surface to push off from.
A firm base is still critical to maximize the transfer of force from your feet through the lift, so avoid wearing any shoe with a squishy-sole, like most running shoes. Though they might feel comfortable, they will absorb a higher percentage of your momentum and make you work harder for worse results.
Some of the best options for deadlifting include Chuck Taylors and indoor soccer shoes. Essentially, though, any flat, non-compressible athletic shoe you can thoroughly tighten will work. Other popular choices include flat-soled wrestling and boxing shoes, though some people prefer a minimal approach and enter competitions in slippers.
As you make your shoe selection, keep in mind that a well-supported base will make all the difference in your deadlifts and powerlifts. Don’t skimp on quality shoes for weightlifting, and your feet will thank you by helping you maximize your potential with every set.