Olympic weightlifting is one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to build strength and increase athleticism.
Following an Olympic training program will help you build a better body that is more functional. Ultimately, it will reduce your risk of injuries and help you burn a load of calories.
In this article we will be taking a look at seven of the best Olympic weightlifting shoes around.
While most people don’t consider footwear to be all that integral to proper lifting technique, you absolutely need the correct footwear to perform Olympic weightlifting properly.
The increased stability of a good pair of shoes is vital, particularly when holding a heavy barbell over your head!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Quick answer – Top 7 Best Olympic Weightlifting Shoes 2021
- Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter Sneaker – Best Overall
- Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4
- Adidas Men’s Adipower Weightlifting Shoes
- Adidas Men’s Leistung. 16 Cross-Trainer Shoe
- Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainer
- Adidas Men’s Power Perfect III. Cross Trainer
- Inov-8 Men’s Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoe
Reviews – Top 7 Best Olympic Weightlifting Shoes
In this section we will review seven of the best Olympic Weightlifting shoes available to buy. We will discuss the pros, the cons, and give a quick overview of each product on this list.
1. Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter Sneaker – Best Overall
- Amazing shoes for lifting
- Superior stability
- Very durable
- Designed to be anatomically perfect for your feet while lifting
Sometimes, you just need to ignore your first impressions of a shoe. Because the Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter Sneakers are immense. But our first reaction? Damn, those are some ugly shoes! They are also quite expensive.
But if you are serious about finding the best shoes for Olympic weightlifting, then what does it matter how they look? Ignoring what looks cool in favour of what works best is how you get new personal bests!
There are two straps on this shoe, rather than one. The second is to secure the midsole. What’s great about this is that it offers you the option of more stability, but you don’t have to use it. You can keep it loose.
The shape of the shoes is designed to be anatomically accurate. This explains why the shoes look awful but feel amazing. Reebok care only about making you lift better. The Flexcage technology in the upper is a great way to provide support without weighing down the shoes.
2. Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4
- Great value for money
- Nice flat rubber sole
- Beautiful design
- Hook and loop strap help to boost stability
- Tight fitting shoes will improve stability
- Breathable canvas upper
- Easy to get the size wrong
- Loop for strap can be weak
The first thing that you’ll notice about the Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4 shoes is just how amazing they look! There are a whole host of different colour schemes, but the all-black, all-red, and all-blue shoes in particular look stunning. Adidas always wins points for style in our book.
A great feature of these shoes is how tightly they fit, so make sure that you get the right size! Once you’ve found the right size for you, you’ll never have to worry about the shoes slipping during a heavy lift. The hook and loop strap helps to tighten the shoe over the top of your foot and helps to increase stability.
The rubber sole is nice and thick, with a flat design which is ideal for Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting. The upper is made from canvas making it nice and breathable, always appreciated in a cramped and humid gym environment.
These are by far the best looking weightlifting shoes on this list. If you want to look as awesome as possible while lifting, then these are the shoes for you. They just happen to also be excellent for lifting. Style and substance!
3. Adidas Men’s Adipower Weightlifting Shoes
- Ideal for Olympic weightlifting thanks to the raised heel
- Tight fitting for increased stability
- PU leather upper for comfort and stability
- Very breathable
- Easy to get size wrong
- Strap not as good as Powerlift 4’s strap
Another set of weightlifting shoes from Adidas (expect a few on this list, Adidas make some amazing weightlifting shoes). But whereas the previous shoes had a flat sole (ideal for back squats and deadlifts) the Adipower Weightlifting shoes have a much larger heel.
The raised heel will really help you while performing cleans or clean and jerks. They are also great for front squats. The Adipower shoes have great stability, the upper is also covered in PU to increase comfort and support. Improving stability further.
While these shoes aren’t as pretty to look at as the Powerlift 4 shoes, they are still quite aesthetic. The white and black shoes are particularly nice, though you have to wonder how long they could possibly stay clean for!
A very comfortable pair of shoes, with a narrow fit. This is ideal for weightlifting where an ill-fitting pair of shoes can seriously hamper progress. But this may take a while to get used to for new lifters.
4. Adidas Men’s Leistung. 16 Cross-Trainer Shoe
- Boa system is innovative and will appeal to many
- High heel is ideal for Olympic weightlifting
- Well-fitted shoes with great stability
- Very breathable material
- Not particularly aesthetically pleasing
- Not as good value for money as other Adidas shoes on this list
The first thing that you notice when you take a look at this shoe from Adidas, is the fact that there is no strap to tighten the shoe. Instead, you’ve got the Boa system. Something that they’ve brought in from their triathlete range.
The use for a Boa in triathlons is that instead of tying laces you just pull the cord until the shoes fit you. This saves precious time during a race. In weightlifting it is useful because there is no strap in the way. But that’s about it.
The heels are raised quite high on these shoes compared to other lifting shoes. This will suit certain lifters and certain exercises more than others. Standard Olympic weightlifting exercises will, for the most part, be improved. But deadlifts and back squats will be challenging.
With these shoes it is really up to your personal preferences and needs whether you get them or not. They are quite breathable, but not quite as fashionable as the other Adidas shoes on this list. The use of the Boa system is interesting and will appeal to anyone who hates the usual Velcro straps.
5. Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainer
- Very durable outsole
- Stability is high due to the midsole
- Breathable collar and tongue will keep your feet cool
- Great colour scheme
- Great for squats and deadlifts thanks to the lower heel
- Not as great as the Adipower for Olympic lifting as the heel is not as high
- Can be quite pricey
These shoes are vibrant and electrifying. It is difficult to describe them in any other way. The colour scheme is incredible. The shoes themselves are very similar in design to the Adipower weightlifting shoes. The only difference is that they have less of a heel. Making them quite similar in that respect to the Adidas Powerlift 4s.
The shoes are very breathable, with an air mesh collar and tongue. The midsole wedge on these shoes is perfectly designed to increase stability, while staying surprisingly light in weight. These shoes are very durable, perhaps the most durable so far. Particularly the outsole.
6. Adidas Men’s Power Perfect III. Cross Trainer
- Breathable – more than any of the shoes on this list
- Look great
- Not as stable as most of the shoes on this list
Compared to some of the weightlifting shoes on this list, the Adidas Men’s Power Perfect III Cross Trainer shoe is going to look quite basic. They don’t have the same level of support as the Reebok (for example). They are also much more breathable.
These shoes would be great for training, and maybe for CrossFit (for the lifting parts at least) where you may be doing a lot of reps and sweating a lot. But they might not suit personal bests. They are a lot more flexible than most of the shoes on this list.
These shoes are the closest to being everyday weightlifting shoes (if that makes sense). They are reasonably priced, and they look good. You can walk in them, and they are not too tight through the midsole.
7. Inov-8 Men’s Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoe
- Nice ratio of flexibility to stability
- External heel cage helps increase heel stability
- Breathable upper
- Good lateral stability
- Very lightweight
- Amazing value for money
- Not quite as durable as some of the shoes on this list
After looking at Adidas Power Perfect III Cross Trainer, the Inov-8 Fastlift 325 cross trainer shoe looks like the most stable shoe ever. The external heel cage looks like some sort of exo-skeleton! The stability is incredible. These shoes are also surprisingly flexible, which is great for people who want to perform snatches, cleans, and clean and jerks.
That combination of stability and flexibility is difficult to get right. Too stable, and you can’t perform your lifts perfectly. Too flexible and you’ll struggle to pull the bar. The amount of lateral stability in these shoes is truly remarkable. The shoes use meta-flex technology in the forefoot, which adds to the comfort.
The Inov-8 Fastlift 325 cross trainer shoes are promoted as the “lightest weightlifting shoes in the world”. They are also the best value for money shoes on this list.
What to Look for When Purchasing Olympic Weightlifting Shoes?
In this section, we will go over what you should be looking for when you buy a pair of Olympic weightlifting shoes. Hopefully, this section will help you make the right decision.
Check the Heel
The first thing that you want to do is check what the heel and the sole of the shoe look like. You want the bottom of the shoe to be completely flat. The heel can be raised, usually up to about an inch. The higher the heel, the easier it is to perform Olympic lifts, as well as front squats. The lower the heel, the easier it is to perform deadlifts and back squats.
High Heel or Low Heel?
The high heels are probably better overall for Olympic weightlifting. They allow you to easily get into a front squat position. This is useful for snatches, cleans, and clean and jerks. The heel helps you stay upright. However, low heel shoes are so much better for deadlifts and back squats.
If you use a high heel to do back squats using a low-bar technique, the high heels push you so far forward it will feel weird. If you’re more into powerlifting, then a flatter, low-heeled shoe might be your best bet. But different shoe types will suit different lifters. So experiment (if you can).
Check the Stability of the Shoe
When wearing the shoe, you want to feel tightness around the midsole. Ideally, when the strap is on, you should also feel stability running laterally along the shoe. Having tightness across the front and lateral edge of the shoe will give you the ideal amount of stability to lift heavy.
Make Sure the Shoe Fits
Usually, a rule of thumb for weightlifting shoes is to go a half-size up. So, if you are usually a size 9, you would go for a size 9.5. This is because weightlifting shoes often run small. The reason being, that they need to be as tight as possible.
How to choose the right weightlifting shoe for you?
If you look at our list, you’ll see that the type of weightlifting shoe available can vary quite a lot. Which one suits you best will depend on what you’re looking for, and where you currently are in terms of progress.
Brand new weightlifters should consider Inov-8 Fastlift 325 cross trainer shoes. They are very reasonably priced; the stability is amazing. Yet, they are still flexible, which means that you can easily wear them while learning the lifts. They may not be the most durable shoes on this list. But they are still going to last you long enough and are a great starter shoe.
Can I Use Weightlifting Shoes for Other Exercises?
No, not really. Weightlifting shoes are designed to be stable, particularly around the midsole. This makes them unsuited for exercise that requires flexibility of the foot (i.e. running, jumping, any form of cardio).
You can wear your weightlifting shoes while on the bench press, you can wear them for some resistance machines (ones where your feet aren’t really needed), and you can use them for many free weight exercises.
But they are designed for Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting exercises, and should be used for these purposes alone. They are definitely worth buying, as they’ll really help. But bring a spare pair of regular gym shoes for the rest of your workout.
There are seven best Olympic weightlifting shoes on this list. Each one more than earns its place, but inevitably there are some that we feel outperform the rest. When it comes to finding the best shoes, the Reeboks win, they are the best suited for lifting. However, they are also expensive and unattractive.
On the other hand, you have the Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4 shoes which are fantastic, well-priced, and look incredible.
Finally, you have the perfect beginner shoes in the Inov-8 Fastlift 325 cross trainer shoes. Well priced, very comfortable, and amazingly stable.