8 Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women

Whether you are a competitive weightlifter or just enjoy lifting weights for fitness and health, what you wear on your feet really matters.

While you could work out in a pair of running shoes, that’s not what they were designed for.

Running shoes have shock-absorbing soles to protect your feet from impact.

After all, when you run, your feet hit the floor with force roughly equal to eight times your bodyweight. As such, running shoes are made to be squishy and springy.

But, if you wear running shoes for weightlifting and strength training, they’re likely to compress and distort, destabilizing your base of support.

The last thing you want when you’re under a heavy barbell is wobbly feet!

Subsequently, shoes made for weightlifting are supportive but have very little in the way of cushioning.

That means the heels and soles don’t compress under load, and you’ll feel much more stable.

If you are a casual gym-goer, running shoes will probably suffice. But, if you take your lifting a little more seriously, a pair of weightlifting shoes can make all the difference.

Not sure how to choose the best women’s weightlifting shoes for your workouts? Here are EIGHT of the best!

8 Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women

Inov-8 (innovate – get it?!) make stylish, functional shoes for a range of sports, including weightlifting.

The Fastlift 360 is very popular among CrossFitters, weightlifters, and powerlifters.

It’s a light, flexible shoe made for women’s feet. The Fastlift 360 is an excellent shoe for all standards of lifter – novices to elite.

Pros

  • Velcro mid-foot strap for a secure fit and increased stability
  • Fabric upper with reinforced stress points
  • External heel cage for security and fit
  • Raised, solid heel
  • Wide, comfortable toe-box
  • Sticky, grippy, non-marking rubber sole
  • Available in five designs/color

Cons

  • A little undersized – consider getting a larger size
  • Quite expensive

2. Adidas Women’s Powerlift 4 Cross Trainer

Adidas has a long history of making excellent weightlifting shoes.

Their Powerlift 4s are a great shoe for beginner and intermediate lifters and ideal for anyone looking for a light, flexible shoe that’s suitable for dedicated weightlifting workouts.

However, they’re more forgiving and comfortable than pure weightlifting shoes can be.

Pros

  • Solid, raised heel for deeper squats
  • Metatarsal strap for a secure fit
  • Non-slip rubber sole
  • Available in nine colors/designs
  • Heel loop to make them easier to pull on
  • Manmade upper and sole
  • Good arch and heel support

Cons

  • Quite narrow
  • Slightly undersized

3. Vibram Women’s V-Train Cross-Trainer Shoe

These minimalist athletic shoes are not typical weightlifting shoes, but they’re actually ideally suited for most gym workouts.

With no cushioning, the soles won’t compress or distort under heavy weights, and they’re so light and flexible you will probably forget you are wearing them! However, if you want a shoe for Olympic lifting or heavy barbell squats, these are probably not the shoes for you.

Pros

  • Completely flat
  • Natural fit with toe contours
  • Breathable upper
  • Machine washable
  • Grippy, lugged Vibram sole
  • Nine colors/designs
  • Flexible and light
  • “Barefoot” feel

Cons

  • Not a dedicated weightlifting shoe
  • Toe separators may take some getting used to

4. Reebok Women’s Legacy Lifter

Reebok makes excellent sport and athletic shoes, and these Legacy Lifters continue the trend.

They’re strong, hardwearing, flexible, comfortable, and supportive – everything you need in a weightlifting shoe.

Plus, with their solid, raised heel, you’ll find you can squat deeper more easily than with flatter weightlifting shoes.

Pros

  • Raised solid heel
  • Wide Velcro metatarsal strap for a secure, stable fit
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Non-marking rubber sole
  • Excellent arch support
  • Available in seven colors/designs

Cons

  • A little heavier than some of the other shoes on review

5. PUMA Women’s Tazon 6 WN’s FM Cross-Trainer Shoe

These shoes are not pure weightlifting shoes. Instead, they’re cross-trainers you can wear for weightlifting.

While this is a small distinction, if you want to do cardio and other types of exercise as well as lift weights, these are the shoes for you.

Think of these shoes as great all-rounders rather than specialist weightlifting shoes.

Pros

  • Firm raised heel
  • Leather/synthetic upper
  • Non-slip sole
  • Stable and supportive
  • Good for CrossFit and similar cross-training workouts
  • Available in five colors/designs

Cons

  • Not a dedicated weightlifting shoe
  • Quite narrow

6. Adidas Women’s Adipower Weightlifting 2 Cross Trainer

If you are serious about weightlifting, these are the shoes you want.

Adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes have a solid raised heel for maximum stability during squats and the Olympic lifts.

The understated, minimalist design won’t detract from your workouts.

These hardwearing shoes are very popular with competitive weightlifters and CrossFitters.

Pros

  • Raised heel for deeper squats
  • Non-slip sole
  • Breathable woven textile upper with reinforced stress points
  • Midfoot strap for increased stability and a better fit
  • Available in three colors/designs
  • Heel loop to make them easier to pull on
  • Very supportive insoles

Cons

  • Quite narrow
  • Expensive

7. Do-Win Pendlay 15PFUSSIL

While Do-Win might not be a mainstream sports brand, they’re pretty well known in weightlifting circles.

Pendlay 15PFUSSIL weightlifting shoes are named after USA weightlifting coach Glen Pendlay, which gives you an idea of these shoes’ pedigree.

Made for serious lifters, these traditionally-styled leather shoes should provide many years of faithful service.

Pros

  • 100% leather uppers
  • Breathable mesh panels
  • Raised, solid heel
  • Non-slip non-marking sole
  • Wide toe box
  • Excellent arch support
  • Duel metatarsal straps for support and a customizable fit
  • Very well priced

Cons

  • Only available in one color/design
  • Not widely available

8. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi Sneakers

Chuck Taylor All-Star Hi Sneakers (AKA Chucks) might not be what you think of for weightlifting shoes, but a lot of lifters swear by them.

Very popular for powerlifting, Chucks are entirely flat, don’t compress much, and provide lots of ankle support.

They’re not for everyone, but plenty of elite powerlifters won’t wear anything else.

Pros

  • Breathable uppers with air vents
  • High ankle support
  • Completely flat
  • Widely available
  • Fashionable and practical
  • Available in a range of colors/designs

Cons

  • Not made specifically for weightlifting
  • Not a lot of lateral support

Buyers Guide

Not sure what to look for in a pair of weightlifting shoes? Don’t worry; we’re here to help!

Features

Weightlifting shoes often have features not found in regular athletic shoes. Features to look for that could enhance your workout and performance include:

  • A flat, non-slip, non-marking sole
  • A wide toe box for extra comfort
  • Breathable upper
  • Mid-foot metatarsal strap(s) for a better fit and more support
  • Reinforced stress points in the uppers
  • Solid, raised heel for deeper squats, better ankle mobility, and greater stability
  • Supportive arch
  • Minimal cushioning

Raised heel or flat

If you want to squat hard and heavy, a raised heel will help.Adidas Women’s Adipower Weightlifting 2 Cross Trainer

With your heels slightly elevated, you should find you can squat deeper and more comfortably. But a raised heel is less useful for deadlifts and can even be detrimental.

If you want a shoe for Olympic lifting, including squats, go for a raised heel.

But, if you are more into deadlifts and other types of general strength training, flatter heels could be the best choice.

Fit

Shoe fit can vary from manufacturer and even model to model. Some weightlifting shoes are “true to fit,” and you can buy your normal size.

But others run small, and you may need to go up a size or two for a perfect fit. Weightlifting shoes are often a little narrow, too.

Read the reviews and see how your shoes measure up. If you can, try before you buy or, if that’s not possible, buy a few sizes and send back the ones you don’t want.

Poorly fitting shoes will be uncomfortable and could detract from your workout.

Price

Weightlifting shoes can be expensive. That said, you don’t need to break the bank to get a good pair of workout shoes.

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi SneakersPrice is not always indicative of quality or functionality, and there are plenty of lesser-known manufacturers making good weightlifting shoes.

Buying last year’s style could also save you money.

Also, remember that weightlifting shoes tend to be very long-lasting. Think of your purchase as an investment. Make your shoes last even longer by only wearing them in the gym.

Purpose

Some shoes are strictly for weightlifting, i.e., the Olympic lifts and squats.

They’re not really suitable for anything else. In contrast, other shoes are all-rounders, and you can use them for almost any gym-based workout.

Decide what you need your shoes for, and then buy the best shoes for that purpose.

Bottom Line

A lot of exercisers are astonished at how much difference weightlifting shoes make.

Instead of wobbling during squats, cleans, overhead presses, etc., they report feeling “nailed down” and super-stable.

This increases confidence, makes for a safer, more productive workout, and usually means heavier weights and more reps.

On the downside, most weightlifting shoes are exactly that – shoes for weightlifting.

With zero cushioning, and solid, raised heels, you won’t want to run in weightlifting shoes, and may not want to walk far in them, either.

They also tend to be stiffer and heavier than regular workout shoes and can take some getting used to.

For a lot of exercisers, this can mean swapping shoes partway through your workout or wearing different shoes on different days.

But, the advantages of wearing weightlifting shoes generally outweigh any drawbacks. Weightlifting shoes also tend to be very hardwearing.

As you’ll only be wearing them in the gym, they’ll probably outlast your regular workout shoes by several years.

If you want to take your weightlifting workouts to another level, specialist shoes will help.

But, if you want shoes that you can use for cardio as well as lifting weights, cross-trainers or minimalist athletic shoes are probably your best choice.

Use this guide to help you find the best weightlifting shoes for women. Visit the Fitness Equipment Reviews homepage for more expert product reviews. 

Patrick

Patrick

Patrick Dale is an ex-British Royal Marine and owner and lecturer for a fitness qualifications company. In addition to training prospective personal trainers, Patrick has also authored three fitness and exercise books, dozens of e-books, thousands of articles, and several fitness videos.

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