I think it’s safe to say that almost every lifter in the gym wants to lift more than they whatever they are putting up currently. If they don’t then why are they there in the first place? What if I told you that a pair of shoes could provide the right amount of support to enhance your lifting ability?
Top Squat Shoes Comparison Chart
Have you ever been squatting 225 pounds at the gym and in the middle of your set think: “man, I could really use some squat shoes right about now.” Yes? No? Well I can honestly say that although squatting shoes never immediately came to mind, they can be extremely useful for the dedicated lifter and/or crossfire. Wearing the standard running shoe wouldn’t necessarily hinder your lift, but having that pair of squatting shoes would give you the advantage needed to enhance your lifting experience and safety.
Squat Shoes Buying Guide
Benefits of Using Squatting Shoes
Squat shoes are designed to put the lifter in the best position possible to build their craft. The most evident feature of the squatting shoe is the height of the heel. The higher-than-average heel helps the lifter squat deeper than normal because of the ankle’s adjusted angle. This new angle forms a strong posture that could further challenge the muscles tested in the squat lift.
Another feature that identifies a squatting shoe is the straps across the laces used for stability and a natural fit. This is important because a lifter wouldn’t be able to safely and effectively squat with a shoe that isn’t secure to the foot. A secure fit will install a sense of confidence in the lifter; they will be able to lift without any disturbance from a lack of security.
Needless to say (or maybe not as obvious as I thought), squatting shoes are not meant for casual or traditional exercise wear. This style of shoe is engineered specifically for weightlifting, and only weightlifting. One should expect to gain enhancements to their lifting using this shoe, rather than gaining the ability to run faster…because you will be disappointed if that’s the case.
Best Shoes for Squats Reviews
It wouldn’t be surprising if some of you were wondering, “why is the Powerlift.2 ranked higher than the Powerlift.3? Shouldn’t the most recent version be the best available?” Well to answer those questions: sometimes the most recent item of a particular brand is the best available yet in other instances an upgrade isn’t always the most logical decision.
Let’s start with the color. The Powelift.2 has plenty of different colors, including blue, grey, yellow, red, and the original black and white. Luckily for lifters with wide feet, these shoes are made wide for enhanced comfort. The upper is completely made of synthetic leather; which makes it very light and durable. This material keeps the feet cool at all times, so there won’t be any distractions when you are getting mentally prepared to squat your personal best record. The elevated heel puts the user in a position that increases depth and puts the hips at an awkward angle.
One thing to always consider with big-name brands is the price. If you are buying anything of value, the odds are that it will come at a price. This decision is strictly a preference. If you’re someone who is 100% committed to powerlifting, then make the investment and get a pair of shoes that could take you to the next level. If you are on a budget or a beginner, there are less expensive options on the list that could be of some use.
- True to size
- Has a wide size, which helps with comfort
- Synthetic leather is lightweight and durable
- Wears down easily
- High priced
The AdiPower shoe from Adidas specializes in weightlifting. The upper is very comfortable because it is applied with PU-coated leather. This shoe will last a lot longer thanks to this high quality material. The hook and loop strap across the shoelaces increases foot security, which is something important when lifting heavy weights. The heel overlay in the AdiPower sets the standard for lightweight stability. This means that the lifter can transition into different lifting positions without feeling weighed down. They also have the support and stability needed to get through those lifts; starting with the heel.
Strength is an asset of the AdiPower shoes that stands out compared to other features. Just by looking at this shoe, you can tell it is meant for something intense, something powerful, like Olympic weightlifting for example. The chassis was engineered specifically for weightlifting, with most of its strength coming from the injected polymer. The outsole hosts “VentFlow” openings that help with comfort and breathability. Ventilation is important when it comes to lifting shoes, because sweat and heat could easily build up when performing intense lifting workouts. Having a good sense of breathability will help the user in the long run because their feet won’t feel like they are in the sauna.
- Plenty of breathability and comfort throughout the upper and the outsole.
- Chassis was made specifically for weightlifting
- Hook and loop strap provides a better sense of fit and security
- Expensive price
One of the newest additions to the Powerlift line, this squatting shoe from Adidas has the looks and the features of an elite lifting shoe. Starting with the obvious, this Adidas sneaker has a thick, bright orange Velcro strap that has “powerlift” placed on it. This gives the lifter the extra support needed to get that tedious last rep out. The heel height on these shoes look above average, so there is a great chance that you will be able to get in the position needed to lift correctly. The comfort in this shoe runs high. The lining and the tongue are made primarily with air mesh, which has enhanced breathability in addition to being soft and light.
Another great part about the Powerlift.3 is the open forefoot and flexible toe. This helps with foot movement, as the lifter might need to move their feet in awkward positions or transition into different positions. The synthetic upper contributes to the durability of the shoe without adding unneeded size. The outsole tests great against stable and unstable surfaces. Made with an anti-slip rubber, the outsole will be able to stabilize your position no matter what lift you are attempting.
- Lightweight upper helps with flexibility.
- Anti-slip outsole enhances stability.
- Mesh material within the shoe helps with breathability.
- Lack of color variety.
- Runs very small.
Another Inov-8 shoe on the list, the 325 cross-trainer shoes is considered to be the “lightest weightlifting shoe on the market.” The Inov-8 FastLift 325 is manufactured with high-end footwear technology that puts it at the top of the charts for lifting shoes.
The FastLift 325 offers one of the most comfortable squatting experiences around. Made with meta-flex technology, the FastLift 325 provides the foot with freedom; you can move your foot in any position while lifting. Stability is also a benefit of wearing this shoe. The FastLift 325 has an external heel cage that keeps the heel stable and power-truss technology that builds a solid foundation for the feet. The 325 lifting shoe has a midfoot strap that runs across Inov-8’s Met-Cradle lacing. This combination offers arguable the most secure fit available in the training shoes niche.
- Flexibility in the outsole allows movement for easy transition.
- Heel cage helps with stability.
- Meta-flex technology offers excellent comfort.
- Not true to size.
- Wears down easy.
A flexible, lightweight, durable shoe, the Nike Romaleos has the features necessary for the persistent squatter. The Nike Romaleos lifting shoes are built to keep up with the beating taken with dedicated power lifters. The upper is made with a synthetic material and has two hook-and-loop strap across the laces that are made to keep the foot stable inside the shoe. The elastic placed on the top of the shoe helps the back of the ankle move naturally without any restriction. The toe box in the Romaleos is so narrow that they feel restrictive to those with wide feet.
The heels are reinforced with TPU heel wedge cups that secure the rear-foot. The durable outsole is flat and made with a strong rubber that prevents wear. The reinforced heel will support the feet when lifting heavy weights. This shoe feature will enhance your lifts dramatically. Although they can’t do the lifting for you, and you will still need to practice proper form, you won’t want to lift without these shoes again after you buy them!
- Double hook-and-loop straps stabilize the feet.
- Synthetic upper is light.
- TPU heel cups keep the rear-foot in place.
- Runs Small.
- Toe box is very narrow.
Compared to the CrossFit Lite, the CrossFit Lifter 2.0 looks more like the traditional lifting shoe. The Reebok CrossFit Lifter 2.0 prides itself in flexibility. The CrossFit Lifter 2.0 has an upper consisting of textured and mesh material. The textured part of the upper is used for stability whereas the mesh provides a good level of breathability. The strap across the laces controls the fit of the shoe. You could tighten or loosen the shoe as you please, to provide you the best fit possible.
The sole seems fairly durable just by looking at the rubber sole. The outsole is flat with a little tread towards the forefoot. This tread will gain traction with the ground so the lifter can comfortably stay in place while doing their exercise. The midsole contains Reebok’s signature “PowerBax” material that makes the shoe feel like, yet stable. The combination of the “PowerBax” technology and the rubber outsole results in a stable platform.
- Rubber sole offers durability.
- Mid-strap helps form a proper fit.
- “PowerBax” technology enhances the lightweight feel of the shoe.
- Runs ½ a size larger.
- Quality is average.
- Heel isn’t very reliable.
At first glance, the Reebok Crossfit Lite training shoe looks like a thicker version of the Converse Chuck Taylors. Despite the resemblance, these squatting shoes from Reebok supply the user with comfort, stability, and durability. The CrossFit Lite training shoes from Reebok come in seven different color varieties, giving the user plenty of choices to choose from. The style and shape of this shoe might not match the style of “weightlifting shoe” but it is a great alternative for someone looking for something different.
The outsole of this squatting shoe is flat, with small teeth that are used to build traction. It is made of a high-abrasion rubber, so it won’t be easy to wear down the sole of the Reebok Crossfit Lite. There is a heel clip provided to stabilize the foot when lifting heavy weights. This heel clip increases the stability of the shoe tremendously, especially since the heel isn’t elevated. You will also receive superior ankle support since the shoe is a high top shoe. The area where this shoe lacks is the front. This shoe might not be as secure as other training shoes mostly due to the absence of an adjustable strap. While this feature isn’t an absolute must, it does help when you need it.
- The high top design supports the ankle.
- High-abrasion rubber enhances the durability of the outsole.
- The heel clip stabilizes the foot when lifting heavy weights.
- The shoe is long and wide (depending on your foot size.)
- Quality is average at best.
- Not as durable as advertised.
If you are looking for a squatting shoe that is unique in both looks and features, take a look at the Inov-8 FastLift training shoe. The feature that sets this Inov-8 shoe apart from the rest starts with the BOA closure system, which is used to deliver a secure, custom fit with no pressure points. This BOA feature thrives on security as it is stretch free and offers a stable platform for lifters. When most people get in the zone and start to squat and deadlift, the last thing they want to do is kneel down for twenty minutes trying to fix the fit of their shoes. With the BOA dial, the user needs to simply turn the dial to their liking. This is a quick, easy, and stable process.
The next part of the Inov-8 shoe to evaluate is the midsole. The heel is raised fairly high; measured at about 16.5 millimeters. This raised heel will provide excellent balance for the individual who is lifting heavy weights. The outsole is made with FastLift technology that consists of sticky rubber used to grip onto the floor. The upper is made of a lightweight, breathable mesh that will keep the lifter light on their feet with enough support to lift the heaviest of weights. The inside of the FastLift BOA shoe has a fabric lining and a removable foam footbed. There is a strap attached to the BOA dial that has the phrase “rise to it,” printed across it. This, along with the padded tongue and collar, offers great comfort and motivation for anyone who throws these shoes on.
- BOA dial makes it easy to adjust the strap for a better fit.
- Raised heel provides balance.
- Lightweight fabric in the upper.
- FastLift Outsole provides excellent grip to the ground.
- Run bigger than expected.
- Quality is subpar.
This shoe is a 2014 limited edition version of Pendlay’s weightlifting collection. This durable squatting shoe is primarily made with a combination of synthetic leather nylon mesh that helps the shoe stabilize the foot snugly inside. One side note about this shoe that everyone should be aware of is that it runs significantly smaller compared to your standard running shoe. An ideal rule to go by for the Pendlay shoes is to order a half a size lower than your regular shoe size. The Pendlay lifting shoes have two adjustable Velcro straps going across the laces. This gives the user options to tighten or loosen the shoe depending on their foot size and how much support they desire.
You can tell that the heel of the Pendlay limited edition-training shoes is elevated, which provides a significant advantage to the squatter and/or dead lifter. A lifted heel will benefit the lifter in the long haul, as they will get better depth during squats. Another note-worthy feature of the 2014 Pendlay shoes is the single sole design. The purpose of this design is to make the sole durable and flexible, since it is only one piece. Furthermore, there is a ninety-day warranty for this shoe just in case it wears out during that time period. The Pendlay 2014 limited edition shoes for weightlifters are strongly recommended for weightlifting only.
- Elevated heel provides the lifter with better squatting depth.
- Two adjustable straps give the lifter control of their fit.
- Single sole design enhances the strength and flexibility of the Pendlay shoe.
- Runs ½ size small compared to the standard shoe.
- Not very comfortable.
The Asics Lift-Trainer is a lifting sneaker that stabilizes the lifter’s foot for a proper lift. This shoe offers comfort, support, and style. Starting with the fit, Asics has a padded tongue and color for ultimate comfort and support. The feather last at the forefoot enhances the stability in that area so that you can move your foot in several positions without discomfort.
The Asics Lifting shoe has a great level of breathability thanks to the moisture-absorbing sock liner and the mesh lining throughout the upper. The sock liner is removable just in case the user would like to replace it with a gel sole or something medical-related. The heel of this shoe is measured at over half an inch, so you can expect your flexibility to be slightly enhanced due to this increased angle. You will be able to maintain the best depth possible for any type of squat or deadlift that you are aspiring to get through during your gym session.
Asics’ signature DuoMax Support System in the midsole will keep the shoe feeling extremely light while still providing quality comfort. The GEL cushioning also contributes to excellent comfort because it will absorb the impact that the lifter would feel when applying substantial pressure towards their feet. The full rubber outsole will be able to secure your feet because of the solid traction that is applied to the ground. You will be able to easily lift during your set without the worry of an unstable shoe.
Asics has some great, unique quality features that are something to look forward to.
- Specialized Asics material offers a unique lifting experience.
- Raised heel enhances flexibility.
- Not as durable as other brands.
- Some reviews claim the shoe isn’t comfortable.
Conclusion & Recommendations
Squatting shoes can assist a powerlifter or fitness addict in reaching their goals. If you have the form, and have the drive, the next step is to purchase the right pair of squatting shoes that will ultimately put you in the best position to win. Unlike running shoes, this type of shoe has less padding, extra support using a strap over the shoelaces, and a raised heel used to increase depth and change the position of the hips. Squatting shoes will enhance the lifter’s depth during their lifts. Sure, squatting shoes are more of a luxury rather than a necessity, but luxuries are always good to have.
Based off of this list, it is clear that Adidas has dominated the market for lifting shoes. The Powerlift series proves to have the advantage, primarily because of the high quality material used when they were manufactured. They have the right amount of height in the heel so that the squatter would hit the right depth to increase their weight.
If you want to shy away from Adidas, there are other options out there that you can depend on. Inov-8 has two pairs of training shoes that can qualify as a reliable asset to a lifter’s squatting session. The FastLifts are made with superior technology that will show the difference when it comes down to it. There are also reasonable options from Nike and Reebok, but ultimately the Adidas brand runs away with this one.