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Nike / Nobull / New Balance / Converse

Beginners and seasoned weightlifters alike can have a hard time finding reliable weightlifting shoes. While most athletic shoes prioritize cushy support, the best weightlifting shoes tend to be rigid and flat. That's because you need a wide, flat surface that won't compress under the added weight so you can maintain a stable stance while lifting.

But if you're like most people, you're not just powerlifting. You're probably also mixing some cross-training or more agile plyometric moves with dumbbells or kettlebells into your routine. For those, you need flexibility, traction and good ground contact so you can jump, walk and lunge without losing your footing.

Whether you're looking for a dedicated weightlifting shoe worn exclusively for your powerlifting sessions or a more versatile gym shoe you can do your entire workout in, we've rounded up the best weightlifting shoes on the market for every type of gym-goer.


Best weightlifting shoe overall: Nike Romaleos 4

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Nike

The Nike Romaleos 4 is easily one of the most popular weightlifting shoes on the market. With a sturdy footbed and a higher heel drop, these shoes are designed to not only offer stability but also proper lifting mechanics.

Another standout feature is the two-strap design. An adjustable midfoot strap adds extra support around your arches and allows for a more secure fit overall. The second strap runs in the opposite direction so you get an even more custom and snug fit.

Overall, it's the optimal shoe if you're looking for a dedicated weightlifting shoe that you can put on for heavy lifting sessions. But you'll probably want to bring a more versatile shoe to switch to for more dynamic or agile moves like lunges and most kettlebell exercises.

Get the popular weightlifting shoes from Nike for $200.

Top features of the Nike Romaleos 4:

  • The 19mm heel drop supports proper lifting mechanics during explosive movements.
  • A wide, rigid sole and traction on the outsole offer stability.
  • Two midfoot straps create a snug fit tailored to your foot.
  • This is a great dedicated weightlifting shoe to wear during heavy lifting sessions.

Shop unisex sizes:

$200 at Nike

Best traditional weightlifting shoe: Nobull Lifter

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Nobull

Featuring a classic design, complete with a leather upper and stacked leather heel, the Nobull Lifter is the ideal shoe for Olympic lifters (or anyone who wants to train like one).

In addition to the basic features you need in a weightlifting shoe -- a wide, flat outsole and stiff, stabilizing structure -- the Nobull Lifter adds a few touches of comfort and stability like ankle padding and an adjustable midfoot strap for a secure and customized fit.

For heavy training days and powerlifting, these are the shoes you want to lock in your stance. They give your feet and ankles the range of motion needed to move through your squats and deadlifts.

Top features of the Nobull Lifter:

  • A stiff stacked leather heel offers stability and comfort.
  • Get a custom, secure fit thanks to the adjustable midfoot strap.
  • The wide, flat sole and low top design give your foot and ankles room to flex and spread as needed for the most secure stance.
  • These premium, handcrafted weightlifting shoes are great for Olympic lifting.

Shop men's sizes:

$249 at Nobull

Shop women's sizes:

$249 at Nobull

Best cross-training shoes: Nike Metcon 9

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Nike

Nike might be known for its running shoes, but the brand also makes a great selection of trainers and weightlifting shoes. The Nike Metcon 9, in particular, is one of the most popular gym shoes on the market. Built for deadlifts and other high intensity weightlifting, the shoes feature a wide Hyperlift plate in the heel to provide stability and support under heavy loads.

The toebox is designed with a stretchy, breathable fabric that molds to your foot while still providing enough stretch to let your toes spread out while doing squats or deadlifts. That way, you get the secure fit you need to train safely without restricting your feet when you need extra movement.

This makes it a great gym trainer for someone who does a lot of HIIT workouts that combine a mix of dynamic exercises and strength training.

Get a pair of Nike Metcon 9 trainers for as low as $99 (reduced from $150).

Top features of the Nike Metcon 9:

  • The breathable and flexible chain-link mesh stretches just enough to let your foot and ankle move naturally.
  • The rubber sidewalls and support braces in the heel and midfoot keep you stable while you're lifting.
  • The rubber tread on the outsole offers traction for stability during dynamic exercises like lunges or mountain climbers.
  • A 4mm heel-to-toe drop is low enough to feel stable without completely losing the support of a standard training shoe.

Shop men's sizes:

$150 at Nike

Shop women's sizes:

$99 and up at Nike

Best minimalist weightlifting shoe: New Balance Minimus TR

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Zappos

A zero drop or flat-sole shoe, the New Balance Minimus TR can be a game changer for navigating more complex moves like snatches, cleans and jerks since your foot has better ground contact. While you tend to see higher heel drops on many dedicated weightlifting shoes, this can be uncomfortable if you're not used to them and it limits your ability to use them for anything other than the more stationary moves.

The idea behind a zero drop shoe is that it allows you to keep your weight over your heels rather than your toes, which can feel more secure and give you more flexibility to handle dynamic or complex moves. The New Balance Minimum TR BOA gives you that zero drop stability along with a firmer foam that provides cushioning but doesn't compress so much that it impacts your form.

It's a lightweight and flexible shoe, with a breathable upper that fits more like a glove than a shoe. If you've never lifted in zero drop shoes before, this is a great shoe to start with.

Get the minimalist gym shoe at Zappos for as low as $96 (reduced from $130).

Top features of the New Balance Minimus TR:

  • The zero-millimeter heel to drop is the best choice for achieving a solid, stable form during complex moves.
  • The flexible, breathable upper provides a snug yet stretchy fit -- more like a glove than a shoe.
  • The lightweight, minimalist shoe gives you a barefoot feel that's great for people who find other weightlifting shoes too stiff or constricting.

Shop men's sizes:

$97 and up

Shop women's sizes:

$96 and up

Best budget weightlifting shoe: Converse Chuck Taylor

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Foot Locker

The iconic Converse Chuck Taylor design has been a staple among weightlifters for decades because of the flat sole, high-top fit and strong laces. All of those features make for a stable stance, decent ankle support and just enough flexibility to move through squats and lifts.

It's durable, breathable and comes in both standard and wide sizes so you can get the right fit. At $65 for a pair, it's also the most affordable option that still does what you need a weightlifting shoe to do.

With that said, it's missing some of the more advanced tech you find in modern designs like midfoot straps, ankle padding or stiff heel plates. It's also light on traction. But even with those missing details, Chuck Taylors are still reliable for dedicated weightlifting sessions. Just don't plan on doing any cardio or agile strength training workouts in your Chucks.

Top features of the Converse Chuck Taylor:

  • A flat, firm sole helps add stability to your stance.
  • The breathable canvas upper is durable and flexible enough to allow your ankles to move as needed while lifting.
  • The strong laces can serve sort of like a midfoot strap, providing a more secure fit.
  • These budget-friendly weightlifting shoes are a durable, no-frills option that's great for beginners.

Shop men's sizes:

$65 at Foot Locker

Shop women's sizes:

$65 at Foot Locker

Shop more top-rated weightlifting shoes


What type of shoes are best for weightlifting?

The best shoes for weightlifting are flat and stiff. In other words, it's the opposite of what you want in a running shoe or walking shoe. With too much cushion, your sole will compress under the weight of your deadlift. That movement can destabilize you at the moment stability matters most.

With too much arch support, your shoe can prevent your foot from spreading and flattening the way it needs to during a deadlift.

Is it better to lift weights barefoot or with shoes?

While you might see some people lifting barefoot, it's not necessarily the better option. The idea behind barefoot lifting is that it improves stability by letting your foot flex naturally, eliminating any risk of midsole compression destabilizing you mid-lift.

However, what you gain in flexibility, you lose in traction and support. A well-designed weightlifting shoe offers a grippy outsole and strategically placed support to give you the right balance of flexibility and stability.

Can you use cross training shoes for weightlifting?

The short answer: yes. For low-weight, high-rep workouts, cross training shoes like the Nike Metcon 9 will work just fine for weightlifting. However, for high-weight, low-rep strength training, it's worth owning a pair of dedicated weightlifting shoes.

If your workouts consist of a mix of both, consider bringing both cross training shoes and weightlifting shoes to the gym. Wear your cross training shoes for the bulk of your training and then swap them for your dedicated weightlifting shoes when you get into the heavier weights.