These are the 8 best weightlifting shoes that experts wear for squatting and deadlifting

Big lifts need the big support these weightlifting shoes offer.

A product shot of a woman in some of the best weightlifting shoes, Nike Metcons
(Image credit: Future)

Keen to know what to look for in the best weightlifting shoes? Are the same as the best gym trainers or, well, do you need strength-specific support?

FYI, the shoes that support your body best for strength training are a far cry from the best running trainers. When strength training, you'll need a sole that's flat and sturdy, unlike trainers designed for cardio which are often cushioned and bouncy.

Wearing the right trainer is important because? Well, as you want your feet, arches, and heels to be able to spread and grip, in turn providing a solid foundation on which to push and pull. All of the weight on the bar or dumbbell will first and foremost move through your feet — and in turn, your shoes. 

"Being asked about the best weightlifting shoes is one of the most common things I hear as a coach," says Jess Rosart, gym manager and coach at WIT Fitness. "In my opinion, they're one of the most important pieces of kit to invest in." 

Research from Reebok shows that 71% of women are weight training in their running shoes, while 65% run in their gym trainers. Other studies show that squatting in running trainers reduced knee flexion — meaning you don't squat as deeply — and led to a less upright posture. 

So - where to start with so many options out there? Know that if you can't afford new shoes right now, barefoot training has heaps of benefits. Plus, you'll likely see the pros practicing heavy, heavy lifts in shoes with a slight heel raise, too. 

But as for best weightlifting shoes for recreational movers, we've got you. Below, Ally Head, Marie Claire UK's Health and Sustainability editor, offers a controversial favourite that's seen her through strength training, freelance writer and fitness trainer Chloe Gray shares the shoes that have got her through her PB's, alongside CrossFit athlete and winner of the Fittest Women In The UK 2022, Lucy Campbell, and Crossfit athlete, Aimee Cringle, sharing their favourites. 

Don't miss our guides to the best cross training shoes and sustainable trainers, while you're here.

What should you look for to find the best weightlifting shoes? 

  • The footbed: it's goodbye to cushioning and padding and hello to minimal insoles that allow you to feel grounded and spread your feet.
  • The sole: Think flat shoes, with every corner making contact with the ground at all times (unlike running trainers that are often turned up at the toe). Look for a grippy base, too. 
  • The ankle: like in running, you've got to protect your ankles when you lift. Ensure your shoes feel sturdy around the joint but still allow enough room for free movement. 
  • The price: it goes without saying that you have to shop within your budget. Luckily, some of the best weightlifting shoes are surprisingly affordable. 

8 best weightlifting shoes, according to experts 

Why should I buy weightlifting shoes?

Short answer - because it's key to not only improving your gains, but protecting your posture, too.

"The most important thing to remember is your foot is meant to have all its toes completely flat on the ground when strength training and weightlifting," explains says Jess Rosart, gym manager and coach at WIT Fitness. "Your toes anchor your entire foot and enhances stability. Think about when you are squatting or deadlifting — you want to feel as stable as possible. If your feet are able to grasp the ground, this will provide stability for the entire body, putting you in the best possible position for your lifts."

Chloe Gray
Contributing Health Writer

Chloe Gray is a freelance journalist who writes and talks about health, fitness, and wellbeing through a feminist lens. She was part of the launch team for Stylist magazine's fitness brand, Strong Women, and has written for i news, Women's Health, Red magazine, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and more. She's all about building mental and physical strength, eating delicious food that fuels you well, and making the fitness industry more accessible and enjoyable. She's also a qualified fitness trainer and research nerd, so you can be sure everything you read is backed by proper science.