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Are weightlifting shoes a necessity or a marketing gimmick to get you to buy a fancy pair?

Imagine lifting on a soft, comfy mat. It would require so much effort to lift more weight than it would on a hard floor.

Weightlifting shoes are unlike running and tennis shoes that absorb impact. Instead, they drive that force into the floor, which, in turn, moves your body to lift more weight. As much as this is a niche product, there are hundreds of choices on the market.

The underlying features that make a good weightlifting shoe include a stiff, raised heel that allows full ankle range of motion, a wide toe box to help with toe splay, and an optional high boot if you want additional ankle security.

We endeavor to find out which shoes rank the best in the weightlifting world. We are not here to get you to buy a specific shoe, but rather find out which one suits your needs.

In Short

Nike Men Romaleos 3 is our favorite pick. It has a standard 0.75 heel height which allows full ankle mobility and flexibility. It is versatile and suitable for most weightlifters.

If you want a flat sole, great for deadlifts, Converse Chuck Taylor is an excellent choice. It has a high top and is versatile such that you can wear it to the gym and outside.

1. Nike Men’s Romaleos 3 - Best Overall Weightlifting Shoes

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  • Runs true to size
  • It has a flexible forefoot
  • Comes with two insoles
  • It has a rubber outsole for all-surface traction
  • Versatile for lifting and aerobics
  • The forefoot is a little too narrow to allow splaying of the toes
  • It does not have a traditional weightlifting look
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The right pair of lifting shoes sets you up to lift more. That’s what Nike Men’s Romaleos 3, a new entry in Nike’s line of weightlifting shoes, is made for. Whether you are a beginner or a powerlifter, you will like the strength and lifting power of this pair.

Construction Design

This shoe aims at providing a secure locked-down fit for stability in heavy lifting sessions. This model is good for classic lifts, and more. It is great for squats, deadlifts, and even burpees, unlike what you would experience with a wood heel.

Its heel is of TPU with a honeycomb plate that provides stability while maintaining a lightweight form. No one wants to deal with a heavy shoe, and Romaleos 3 is only 13 or 15 ounces depending on the insole – it comes with two insoles by the way.

Comfort and Lockdown

When it comes to support and breathability, you get a synthetic leather upper together with mesh layers for air circulation. You no longer have to deal with being hot and wet before completing sessions

With a choice of two insoles, you can choose to use the soft one for comfort or the hard one for improved stability. You will love that it has a cushioned ankle collar. The midfoot strap keeps your foot planted at all times.

Stuff to Consider

With all the good things going for Romaleos 3, it is a disappointment to see that Nike made a flimsy tongue. We don’t expect it to provide the needed comfort for an extended period.

Summary

Nike Romaleos 3 proves to be an efficient lifting shoe. It offers security and stability for challenging heavy lifting sessions. Not only that, it supports other kinds of exercises, so you don’t have to change into another pair if you combine exercises as most people do.

2. Converse Chuck Taylor High Top All-Star - Best Shoes for Deadlifts and Squats

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  • Unisex design
  • Comes in many different colors
  • It has a high top
  • Ortholite insole for cushioning
  • Durable canvas upper
  • It has breathable medial eyelets
  • It does not offer arch support
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If you like the barefoot feel when doing deadlifts, Converse Chuck Taylor High Top shoe comes highly recommended. They are loved because they are budget-friendly and anyone can buy them. They are a good fit whether you go to the gym on a mood basis or train for the Olympics.

Construction Design

The striking design of Converse is anything but plain. It has a flat sole which means the bar does not travel a far distance during deadlifts.

This particular model does not offer full ankle range of motion, but it comes in handy to activate your glutes. This is because instead of pushing from the inside of your feet you will push off the outside; hence your knees are kept from caving in.

Comfort and Breathability

With an Ortholite insole, this shoe is at the center of support. It offers a comfortable landing as it follows your feet’s curves. It customizes the way you wear your shoes so that it feels the same every day.

The medial eyelets, though designed for lacing, are also crucial for breathability. Since canvas is not the best material for air circulation, you won’t set yourself up for hot and sweaty feet. It balances out every feature to bring out the best in every strength trainer.

Stuff to Consider

This shoe has been around for over a hundred year, so it has become easy to get an imitation on the market. You will want to look for a 3D embossed converse logo lest you end up with a fake pair.

Summary

You can now train hard and better in the Converse Chuck Taylor High Top shoe. Designed to be flexible and versatile, this model allows for powerful deadlifts in a durable and comfortable shoe. The flat rubber sole is standard for strong lifts while the high top stabilizes the ankle.

3. Pendlay Men’s 15PBLKBLU - Best Weightlifting Shoes for Wide Feet

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  • Ideal for wide feet
  • Covers all Olympic lifting movements
  • Uses two metatarsal straps for lockdown
  • More affordable than competing brands
  • It has a 90-day warranty
  • Women’s version runs true to size
  • They require some time getting used to for those who wear cross trainers
  • Men’s version runs smaller to size
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At 0.75inches heel height and with a newsingle sole, the Men’s 15PBLKBLU is the latest addition to Pendlays Olympic weightlifting shoes.

Construction Design

If you have wide feet, you will love the design of the Do-Win toe box, which prevents your feet from being squished. It helps to improve stability such that you can lift like you would in an Adipower. The heel settles in well such that it won’t start to pinch when your feet feel fuller after a workout.

We like that it provides stability to help generate more force to pull the bar high. It makes it easy to go under, and you can drive your squat harder. The new single sole is everything to strength and flexibility because you can squat deeper.

Comfort and Breathability

The upper of this shoe bears a synthetic leather construction complemented by a durable nylon mesh. These two systems contribute to the enjoyment of this shoe. It not only feels comfortably during long training days, but it also prevents training in sweaty feet.

Women should check out Pendlay Women’s 15PWHTPNK. It boasts the same quality as the men’s version, only the sizing is different, and it comes in eye-catchy colors.

Stuff to Consider

Pendlay Men’s 15PBLKBLU runs smaller than other lifting shoes. You will have to order one or two sizes up for them to fit perfectly.

Summary

Pendlay Men’s 15PBLKBLU is a sturdy, high-quality weightlifting shoe. It is relatively affordable while offering similar performance to expensive brands. It does not use lots of synthetic materials, which is why it wins the hearts of regular gym-goers looking for an Olympic lifting fit.

4. Adidas Men’s Leistung 16 II Cross Trainer - Best 1-Inch Weightlifting Shoes

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  • Powerweave non-stretch upper
  • Offers a full range of ankle motion
  • Lightweight heel for improved strength
  • TPU foam midsole
  • Boa closure system
  • It is more expensive than most lifting shoes
  • 1-inch heel height is not for everyone
  • Synthetic materials may affect the durability
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A 1-inch heel in a weightlifting shoe is something most lifters will tell you to consider only if you have a long torso and long legs to show for it. Otherwise, achieving depth is hard if you have a long torso and short legs in a 1-inch lifting shoe.

Construction Design

Introduced in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Adidas Men’s Leistung 16 II Cross Trainer is made for lifters whose lower extremities are long. Here, we are talking about the shin and femur as it supports narrow stance squats and high bar lifts. You can gain more ankle range of motion so that you can perform lifts that rely on ankle mobility.

The lightweight heel provides impeccable ankle support to help deliver force for barbells. Its closure system includes laces and a micro-closure BOA system. It offers a straightforward method of locking the foot down since you won’t be dealing with inches of lace to tie and hide.

Comfort and Breathability

You will find that Adidas Men’s Leistung 16 II fits much like a glove thanks to the Powerweave upper construction. It is non-stretchable; that’s why it maintains a high level of stability. Together with the TPU midsole, it does not allow for any give that could devastate efforts to create more power.

Since the upper is woven, it is quite difficult to feel the heat unless you are in thick socks, which is rarely the case with lifters. You can expect that it won’t gather an odor and it will remain snug and comfortable for a decent time.

Stuff to Consider

Adidas Men’s Leistung 16 II is not your average lifting shoe. Being an inch high, means you have to need it rather than want it. It is also not cheap, expect to dig a little deeper into your pocket to acquire it.

Summary

Adidas Men’s Leistung 16 II Cross Trainer is not an ordinary weightlifting shoe. It is expensive but that comes with the advantage of offering lifting oriented features. It has a modern look with appealing aesthetics and lots of interesting colors to pick from. From the heel to the lockdown and midsole, it speaks of strength and stability.

5. Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainer - Best Powerlifting Shoes

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  • Durable Adiwear outsole
  • Collar and tongue have an air mesh construction
  • Lightweight and stable form
  • The forefoot is open - does not take long to break in
  • Facilitates smooth snatch and clean, and jerk movements
  • It has a new thicker strap
  • It’s easier to do deadlifts than squats in it
  • It’s not friendly to those prone to knee injuries
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Adidas is an influential brand in the athletic world. Many powerlifters go for a short heel height as it facilitates all the lifts including squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. The versatility of the Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 is what makes it the ideal pick for powerlifting.

Construction Design

This shoe provides a narrow fit to provide all-day training stability. It weighs only 15 ounces making it one of the lightest weightlifting shoes, unlike the Leistung 16 II that is around 17 ounces. This feature allows for a flexible transition between the different kinds of lifts without losing balance.

It is also kind to newbies since its weight won’t feel any different to cross trainers and tennis shoes except for the hard Adiwear outsole. The outsole makes it easier to achieve a squatting position without wobbling or using the toes to compensate.

Comfort and Breathability

Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 has a lightweight leather upper with multiple perforations to offer ample air circulation. It also integrates mesh which further improves breathability. We like that because the toe box is open, it does not restrict toes, thus providing additional comfort.

Stuff to Consider

With an EVA heel, it’s hard to speak of the long-term durability of this shoe. It won’t last as long as TPU, and it won’t offer much stability for heavy lifts because the insole is soft. You may want to look for a replacement insole in place of the one provided.

Summary

As a shoe designed for versatility, Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 goes above and beyond to balance out the features. Though more expensive than its previous Powerlift 2 version, it has improved on the closure system while being ideal for starters and seasoned lifters.

6. Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter Cross Trainer - Best for Heavy Weightlifting

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  • Quality Velcro strap system
  • Heavy for optimum stability
  • Comes in five color combinations
  • High-traction rubber outsole
  • Mesh and perforated leather upper allow breathability
  • It is not ideal for combining workouts
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Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter is what we call the true Olympics weightlifting shoe. Weightlifting gold medalists have helped to create this shoe, and that’s why it might help at lifting record-breaking weights.

Construction Design

Weighing in at around 20 ounces with 0.86-inch heel height, this shoe is iconic. If you have low flexibility, you may want to rethink this pick, that is if you mind waiting to get used to how heavy it feels. The heavy form is at the center of stability since it feels as if you are standing on bare ground.

It keeps you grounded, balanced, and without any wobble. This way, you are set to squat better and power more force into the ground while avoiding leaning back. The heel is of hard TPU and is wide so that you can pull off complex weights with maximum power.

The outsole is ready for traction owing to the use of grippy rubber. It flares out, which improves stability by keeping the shoe from moving.

Comfort and Lockdown

This shoe provides a removable Ortholite insole. The midsole has an anatomical shape, but it is not soft. It is a shoe that offers comfortable wear for lifting, but not any other activity. It comes with two straps which we have found to be very useful in lockdown.

Breathability comes easy with the perforated leather upper. It also offers side to side security with the help of Flexcage technology.

Stuff to Consider

Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter is strictly for weightlifting. It is not the kind you decide to hit the treadmill in after a lifting session. If you want a versatile shoe, Adidas has nailed flexibility. If you are a competitive lifter, we suggest picking this model.

Summary

The additional weight on the Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter is one of the most distinctive features of this shoe. If you are a competitive lifter, this shoe is a must-have. It allows Olympic squats training with stability, strength, and balance not found in lighter shoes. Only that it is expensive for a model that will not do anything else.

7. Inov-8 Women’s Fastlift 335 - Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women

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  • Comes in beautiful, bright colors
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • Rubber outsole with a meta-flex forefoot
  • Lightweight for hybrid lifting
  • Lace and Velcro combination
  • It is a bit expensive
  • Velcro strap does not last in good condition for a long time
  • Runs narrow and shorter for some
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Inov-8 is a company committed to quality. The Women’s Fastlift 335 prove the ability of the company to deliver a high-quality product with a supportive structure.

Construction Design

You are ready for training in the Inov-8 Women’s Fastlift 335. It has an external heel cage which, with the help of Power-Truss technology, achieves good stability and lateral security. It prevents side to side movement while providing a snug heel fit.

This shoe utilizes suction cup technology which prevents any form of slippage when doing deadlifts, squats, and box jumps. It has a TPU heel with a 1.25 heel height. For those used to the standard 0.75-inch height, this is something to consider before purchasing this model.

Comfort and Breathability

Inov-8 Women’s Fastlift 335 is extremely comfortable. The TPU midsole is a remarkable feature as it ensures there’s no give and loss of power. It utilizes a Velcro strap closure system to complement the lacing system. It locks down the midfoot while the forefoot remains flexible thanks to the application of meta-flex forefoot technology.

It is one of the most breathable picks mostly if you are transitioning from warm running and tennis shoes. It has a nylon ripstop upper with a mesh lining. Together, these materials provide breathable performance.

Stuff to Consider

Apart from being steeper than other lifting shoes, this brand provides a narrow fit. Some people may have to order a pair half size larger. Also, we don’t like the quality of the Velcro strap as it does not match the rest of the shoe.

Summary

For every woman lifter, getting a nice shoe designed to do all the work is hard. Most are built for men, but Inov-8’s Fastlift 335 covers more than just the basics. It has a durable construction, stable performance, and a flexible forefoot. It is the kind you want when you want full ankle mobility.

8. Reebok’s Men’s Lifter Pr. Cross Trainer - Most Affordable Weightlifting Shoes

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  • Quality construction at an affordable price
  • Weighs only 15 ounces
  • Great for those with short lower extremities
  • It uses a lace-up-and-hook Velcro closure system
  • It does not need to break-in
  • TPU wrap and plate helps to achieve deep squats
  • Not ideal for those with low ankle mobility
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Reebok’s Men’s Lifter PR Cross Trainer instills confidence to your lifting. It combines the best materials that provide proper stance, stability, and ankle motion. All the mentioned doesn’t come at a high price.

Construction Design

This shoe comes in a low-cut design. It offers ankle mobility and is great for those with high flexibility since it has a 0.6-inch heel height. It is ideal for low bar squats or wide stance lifts. It provides a customizable fit as it uses a Thermo TPU and U-form midfoot wrap which molds to the foot.

It will not need a break-in period. You will like that it does not restrict your movements meaning you get to perform without worrying about the shoes on your feet. It comes with a powerbax TPU plate that offers stability while remaining responsive during other activities.

Comfort and Breathability

Reebok’s Men’s Lifter PR has a full-grain, perforated leather upper with an air mesh tongue and an anti-friction lining. It aims at providing total comfort as it reduces the build-up of heat and moisture. What’s more, it has a cushioned collar and a spacious toe box. You are guaranteed cleans and jerks without the toes compensating for any wobbling because there won’t be any.

Stuff to Consider

Reebok’s Men’s Lifter PR Cross Trainer has been reported to run a size bigger than other lifters. For squats, there’s a need to order a size smaller to avoid sliding in the shoes. Also, the shoes are narrow and may not feel comfortable for those with wide feet.

Summary

Reebok’s Men’s Lifter PR Cross Trainer is the perfect choice for those looking for an affordable and functional lifting shoe. It ticks the right features in terms of design, durability, and stability needed for weightlifting.

9. Adidas Men’s Adipower - Best Adidas Weightlifting Shoes

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  • Resilient leather, PU coating, and TPU construction
  • Flexible 4mm forefoot
  • Provides stability for snatch and clean, and jerk movements
  • The single strap offers ankle stability
  • Lightweight and versatile.
  • Takes a while to break-in
  • It has a narrow toe box
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Adidas Men’s Adipower is perhaps the most durable weightlift shoe on the market. Lifting enthusiasts love it, but it does not come cheap.

Construction Design

The first thing to notice when you first wear Adidas Adipower is the comfort it has, despite the tough exterior. It has a full TPU heel and standard 0.75 heel height. It weighs 16.2 ounces meaning it will get you through most lifts without holding you back. At the same time, it prevents wobble when you add a few more pounds to your weights.

Adipower is strong all around the edges. It offers maximum security so you won’t roll an ankle or risk injuring your knees. It also provides versatility since you can also perform CrossFit in it. The shoe has a TORSION system for adaptive midfoot support together with an Adiwear outsole for improved durability.

Comfort and Breathability

From the single instep strap to the PU-coated leather upper, Adidas Adipower is all about comfort while doing what you love. The TPU midsole comes in handy to provide stability since there’s no chance of it absorbing impact.

Even with PU coating, this shoe is not limited in terms of breathability. It has a mesh tongue and ankle, and it is perforated around the upper, heel, and sides.

Stuff to Consider

The price tag on this shoe is something you have to contend with. Most people appreciate that it is durable, but you may have to look for a viable alternative if you can’t meet the price.

Summary

With an elevated heel and a tough exterior, Adidas Adipower remains one of the most popular weightlifting shoes. It is built to last while offering the best aspects of a versatile model that is useful for more than lifting. It secures the heel, ankle, and sides giving you the power to lift more.

10. ASICS Weightlifting 727 - Best Olympic Weightlifting Shoes

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  • It has a classic construction
  • Superior stability on a wood heel
  • It has a standard elevation for most people
  • Offers comfortable footing for heavy weightlifting
  • Solid lace lockdown
  • Comes in only two colors
  • Needs time to break-in
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Any weightlifter who follows trends will tell you the ASICS 727 is the most unchanged shoe they have ever come across. For the past 30 years, this shoe has maintained the same design and materials that speak of the quality of ASICS.

Construction Design

ASICS 727 is a handmade shoe that is produced four times a year at a factory in Japan. It has a solid wood 0.75inch heel making it ideal for those with high ankle mobility. It comes with a rubber outsole sewn in and also nailed in where it meets the heel.

You will find it super stable for the most intense lifts owing to the wood heel. Once you break it in, which will take up to four weeks, it fits like a glove as the leather cradles the foot all the way. The shoe is lighter than Reebok’s Legacy Lifter, which makes it ideal for Olympic lifting.

The best thing about ASICS 727 is that the design is customizable. You can ask for a few mm to be taken off the heel, or order a larger than a US size 13. You can order them in a different color, and even the stripes can be made to your liking.

Comfort and Breathability

Because of the suede material and the wide toe box, you will find this show comfortable for lifting needs. It offers pure comfort since it has a cloth liner and a double lining on the toe box. But, it is not the most breathable shoe you will wear, not that it feels too uncomfortable in hot weather.

Stuff to Consider

First, this shoe is at the same price range as the Adidas Adipower – can be too expensive for non-competing lifters. Second, choosing to customize your shoe means you have to wait up to three months and pay more than double the price for it.

Summary

ASICS 727 is a brand that provides the best aspects of a weightlifting shoe. It follows through with a wood heel, rubber outsole, and suede upper. It’s been proving its efficiency for the past three decades since it is not a model that needs any changing. ASICS 727 makes it easier to attain balance and stability, which is what you need when doing the heavy lifting.

Weightlifting Shoes Buyer’s Guide

Buying new powerlifting shoes can become a hassle if you don’t know what to look for. There are a few factors that you need to be aware of before you can make a smart decision.

The problem is that the Internet is filled with tons of info, and it would take you a long time to sift through it. Fortunately, we have done all of the necessary research to save you time.

Types of Weightlifting Shoes

Not all of the weightlifting shoes are created equal. Some of them can be a good fit for one physical activity, but bad for another one. Before you can choose weightlifting shoes that fit your needs, you need to know how you will be using them.

Olympic Lifting Shoes

These weightlifting shoes provide the most stability for heavy lifting. Most of the times they have a high heel and thick, flat soles.

Olympic lifting shoes are a good choice if your exercise focus is on clean and jerk lifts. They work on refining your posture and provide you with a deeper squat. The only downside to these shoes is that they are the most expensive weightlifting shoes. But, if you can settle only for the best, then Olympic lifting shoes might be what you need.

Deadlift/Squatting Shoes

Squatting shoes give you the leverage to avoid falling forward during a squat. They do it by providing you with a middle-ground elevation that is advantageous during lifting.

You will notice that most of the squatting shoes come with wooden heels. Wooden heels give you stability. Squatting shoes provide you with flexibility, which is great if you have long legs. These shoes also make sure that you don’t suffer knee injuries or ankle trauma.

While some models come with a wooden heel, you shouldn’t expect the heel to be higher than one centimeter. Most of the time, squatting shoes are flat.

Powerlifting Shoes

Powerlifting shoes come with a slight incline, but it is not as big as the one in Olympic shoes.

These shoes can be a good choice if you lift faster and frequently. They provide you with low back squat advantage, without sacrificing your posture. Powerlifting shoes hold your joints, which can prevent you from falling over when lifting.

Powerlifting shoes won’t give you the maximum support like Olympic and powerlifting shoes do. But, they might be a great choice if you are looking for a middle ground.

Crossfit Shoes

Crossfit shoes, also known as multi-training shoes, give you some of the support you can find in other shoes. In addition, they also give more flexibility.

If you expect yourself to run and jump, and then do some lifting, then Crossfit shoes might be the correct choice. But, bear in mind that Crossfit shoes are not running shoes. These shoes are versatile and most often have a low-medium level heel.

Features to Look For

Before you can buy a pair of weightlifting shoes that will satisfy your needs, you need to know more about a few useful features. Always keep the following things in your mind, and your next purchase will be an educated one.

  • Durability: If you are a dedicated weightlifter, then the durability of the shoes is the most important feature. Good weightlifting shoes are durable and capable of surviving plenty of abuse. Look for sturdy soles that don’t bend a lot.
  • Heel height: After durability, the heel height is the most important feature you should consider. Higher heels give you more balance when you squat, and they make you keep your torso straight when you lift. Different brands offer different heel heights, so keep that in your mind while making a purchase.
  • High-traction sole: There is nothing worse than having your foot slip while you are lifting weights. Weightlifting shoes eliminate the problem of slipping by creating “grippy” soles. Look for shoes with a high-traction sole, and the chances of an injury will drop. The only downside is that high-traction soles wear out quicker than other soles.
  • Perforation holes/mesh panels: This feature is important because it allows your feet to breathe. Perforation holes and mesh panels cut excess moisture that can cause problems like toenail fungus.
  • Comfort and fit: Always try out your new weightlifting shoes if you can. Do they feel comfortable? Do they fit well? You will answer those questions by jumping up and down a few times, doing a few squats, and rolling your ankles. Emulate how you will be using your new shoes and figure out if they feel comfortable during the exercise.
  • Cushioning: Cushioning is important to runners, but that doesn’t mean that weightlifters should avoid it. The cushioning in your weightlifting shoes should be minimal. But, you might be putting your feet in danger if an accident happens. So, try to find shoes that will give you cushioning, but without sacrificing support and performance.
  • Straps: Straps offer you security and mobility during squats. If you want to make sure that you don’t fall while lifting weights, then consider the number of straps on shoes. Most of the weightlifting shoes come with one strap, but there are some models out there that come with more.
  • Laces: Most of the weightlifting shoes come with standard shoelaces. But, some models feature advanced tightening systems that offer more support. Some weightlifting shoes feature the BOA lacing system, which allows you to alter the shoe tightness with a spin of a knob.
  • Aesthetics: Weightlifting shoes are well-known for having lots of different designs. You will find simple shoes in one color, but you will also find shoes with intricate, colorful patterns. Basically, if aesthetics are important to you, then you will be glad to know that you will find a pair that will appeal to your sense of aesthetics.

Besides the features that we have mentioned, there are a couple more, but the only one worth mentioning is – vegan shoes. Yes, if you are a vegan, you can find vegan-friendly weightlifting shoes, but it won’t be easy. It is hard to find weightlifting shoes not made from leather, but it is doable!