How To Choose The Best Squat Shoes For Weightlifting

best squat shoes

Did you know that by wearing squat shoes, you can lift more weights? Everybody knows why it is important to wear proper running shoes when running, but not why we need squat shoes for weightlifting. If you don’t own one yet, you are in luck, because we thought we’d show you how to choose the best squat shoes for your training today!

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**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

What Are Squat Shoes?

best squat shoes

Squat shoes, often called weightlifting shoes, are footwear specially made for lifting weights. Squat shoes are critical if you are serious about this sport.

When you are not too busy, take a closer look at your best running shoes. You will see they have built-in cushioning that absorbs your every step’s impact. While that may be excellent for running, the cushion doesn’t help at all when you are lifting weights. Instead of absorbing the impact, all the force that your body produces will be used by your squat shoes to help you lift the weights.

Squat shoes are customarily more stable than running shoes. The best squat shoes should be able to prevent injuries and at the same time enhance your performance. They are designed to give you a strong landing and help you transmit as much force possible from the floor to your weights.

Is It Necessary To Wear Squat Shoes During Lifting?

While it is not necessary to wear squat shoes during beginner training, you are going to want to invest in a good pair eventually. Why? Because you are training for a reason, right? You are training to progress. And as you progress, your skills intensify and your weightlifting level increases.

Take Olympic weightlifters for example. Olympic lifting requires a specific set of shoes simply because their lifting involves bigger risks to their body. To prevent injuries, they will have to be wearing Olympic weightlifting shoes that have heel lifts ranging from 0.25 to 1.25 inches.

The heel lifts primarily help lifters with mobility deficits. With an adequate heel lift, these lifters are able to squat deeper or easier.

Benefits

  • Allows for deeper squats
  • Promotes a well-developed musculature
  • Provides added ankle support
  • Prevents knee valgus collapse
  • Prevents misalignment of the torso

Drawbacks

  • Can be stance-specific
  • Tread patterns can pick up all sorts of debris

Things To Consider When Buying Squat Shoes

Not a lot of people gets squat shoes right. And that is one of the reasons for creating this article. Essentially, there are four universal requirements for the best squat shoes:

Fit

Your squat shoes must be relatively snug, but make sure you don’t get a pair that is too tight. You should still be able to wiggle your toes inside. When trying on a pair at the stores, make sure you go with socks on if this is how you usually lift weights. But if you lift barefoot, then try on squat shoes without socks on.

Material

Get a pair that has soles made of plastic or wood. These are both non-compressible materials that won’t shrink under heavy load. Sole compression will result in decreased force transfer.

Remember, you need to transfer as much force upwards to lift those heavy weights. The goal is maximum force transfer.

Weight

Rule of thumb when buying squat shoes: They should be slightly heavier than your regular running shoes. The extra weight will provide additional support during actual lifting.However, try not to get a pair that is too heavy. Otherwise, your movement will be restricted which will result to an ineffective workout.

Support

More than the cushion, you need firm support at the base if you are serious about training. A solid base is crucial particularly if you have weak ankles. Try to get shoes that reinforce the arch of your feet.

To prevent pronation or supination of the foot, make sure the squat shoes you are getting have a metatarsal strap. The metatarsal strap increases the foot’s overall stability and prevents unnecessary foot movement inside.

Our Top Picks: Best Squat Shoes In The Market Today

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

1. Reebok Crossfit Lite TR Training Shoes

The Reebok Men’s Crossfit Lite TR Training Shoe is the best one yet in Reebok CrossFit’s entire lineup. With a wide high-abrasion rubber outsole, these squat shoes provide a more stable foundation for your feet. This pair also features a thinner and much firmer sole for added traction. The lace-up closure warrants a precise fit.

If you have long toes, the Reebok Crossfit Lite TR is an excellent choice as the toe box is spacious. While that may fit you, it is a downside to others who have smaller feet. Remember how we need squat shoes that allows just minimal movement inside?

Pros

  • Affordable even at full price
  • Provides side and ankle support
  • Lace-up closure secures the feet despite no metatarsal straps.
  • With flat and thin soles
  • Textured outsole for better grip

Cons

  • Big toe space, enabling unnecessary movement for smaller feet
  • Brand new pairs tend to be uncomfortable.

2. Adidas Powerlift Trainer 2 Weightlifting Shoes

The Adidas Men’s Powerlift 2 Weightlifting Shoes are crafted with a wide base and high-density midsole. With both laces and metatarsal strap, you are given full lockdown support. Specially engineered for weightlifting training, this pair has valuable weight distribution plate that helps weightlifters maintain an upright position while lifting.

While the mesh tongue, lace, and straps help secure your feet inside, you may find them pretty inconvenient. The strap will do just fine, but that is just one opinion.

Pros

  • Comes with both lace and metatarsal strap for better security
  • Provides stability while squatting
  • Good weight distribution plate
  • Perfect for beginner training

Cons

  • A bit pricey for the value
  • Combination of strap and lace may be inconvenient for some users

3. 2013 Pendlay Do-Win Crossfit Weightlifting Shoes

The 2013 Pendlay Weightlifting Shoes features black nylon mesh and real leather. The pair still has the same Dowin fit as the Pendlay Dowin’s that we all came to love. Designed for Olympic weightlifting, the 2013 Pendlay has 3/4-inch heels. The single sole design contributes to the shoes’ overall strength and flexibility.

With lace and strap, the Pendlay Weightlifting Shoes ensure proper support and less chance for pronation or supination. It is intended for Olympic weightlifting, and we best recommend this pair for solely that purpose.

Pros

  • Durable soles
  • 3/4-inch heels for Olympic weightlifting
  • Comfortable for wide-footed users
  • Intricate stitching

Cons

  • Not recommended for high arch and narrow-footed users
  • Highly recommended only for Olympic weightlifters

4. Nike Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes

The Nike Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes are lightweight yet able to withstand heavy lifting. The pair features an integrated lacing and two hook-and-loop straps closing on both sides. It is refreshing to see clever use of closures to achieve optimal foot security.

This high-end pair features both hard and soft insoles that are perfect for competition and training, respectively. You will find an elastic at the top part of the shoe which flexes with your tendons during lifting.

Pros

  • Comes with integrated lacing and two metatarsal straps
  • Can be used comfortably for training and competition
  • Synthetic material for upper part

Cons

  • Rubber outsole
  • Lightweight
  • Pricey

5. Inov-8 Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoes

No doubt the lightest and most flexible squat shoes in the market, the Inov-8 Men’s Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoes are state-of-the-art. This performance training footwear weighs at an incredible one pound! Although lightweight squat shoes aren’t always ideal, this pair offers more useful features.

Aside from its synthetic materials, the Inov-8 Fastlift is proud of its Meta-flex™ technology that allows smooth transitioning from Olympic weightlifting to other functional workouts. The pair also boasts of a PowerTruss™ technology that provides lateral stability critical for heavy lifting.

Pros

  • PowerTruss™ technology for lateral stability
  • Synthetic materials
  • Meta-flex™ technology in forefoot for better lifting transition
  • External heel cage provides stable base

Cons

  • Extremely light
  • Rubber soles may be compressible

The Winner

best squat shoes

After learning how to choose the best squat shoes, we’ve rounded up customer reviews and our own reviews and experiences. A clear winner came out - the Inov-8 Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoes. While this pair doesn’t come without its cons, the technology used in these shoes alone make up for what they lack.

I personally prefer a pair with harder and denser soles to prevent compression, but if you look at value for money, the Inov-8 tops the charts. For now, at least. As squat shoes evolve, we can’t wait to see more pairs that address a variety of needs.

Do you own one of the mentioned squat shoes above? How is your experience and what made you decide to get that pair? Let’s share stories in the comments! Oh, and if you found this article helpful, please feel free to share!

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