Getting The Best Powerlifting Shoes
The world of powerlifting shoes is more complex than one might think. Shoes that are good for squatting or benching may not be ideal for deadlifting and vice versa. Further, a lifter’s technique of choice for each lift influences his or her ideal shoe. Sound complicated? Fortunately, this article is all about simplifying the search for the best powerlifting shoes.
We’ll go over some of the top-rated shoes later, but for now let’s start with a quick rundown of features to look for in powerlifting shoes.
In general, shoes for each lift should provide good traction and a solid base for the foot. The soles of powerlifting shoes should also be non-compressible, as you don’t want shoes to give way under the strain of heavy weight.
For squatting shoes, many lifters prefer shoes with a metatarsal strap because of the extra stability the strap affords. Depending on your technique, you may want a shoe with a raised heel or a shoe with no heel. As a rule of thumb, if you have a narrow squat stance or ankle mobility issues, you may want to consider a shoe with a raised heel. If on the other hand you have a wide squat stance and do not have ankle mobility trouble, a flat soled shoe might be the better option.
For deadlifting, the ideal shoe is low to the ground. Why? To lessen the distance you need to move the bar to lock out.
For benching, a shoe with good traction is important. If you bench with a high arch, a shoe with a raised heel is probably going to suit you best.
Now that the basics have been covered, browse the table below for an overview of crowd favorite shoes categorized by lift, price, and rating.
Comparing Top-Rated Powerlifting Shoes
|Adidas Performance Men's Powerlift Cross-Trainer Shoe||Men's||Squat/Bench||$$$||4.6|
|Inov-8 Women's FastLift 325 Fitness Shoe||Women's||Squat/Bench||$$$||4.7|
|Inov-8 Men's Fastlift 325 Cross-Trainer Shoe||Men's||Squat/Bench||$$||4.6|
|Adidas Performance Women's Powerlift.3 W Cross-Trainer Shoe||Women's||Squat/Bench||$$||4.6|
|Nike Men's Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes||Men's||Squat/Bench||$$||4.5|
|Titan Contender Shoes||Men's/Women's||Squat||$$$||4.5|
|Otomix Stingray Escape||Unisex||Deadlift||$$||4.6|
|SABO Deadlift Shoes||Unisex||Deadlift||$$||4.6|
|Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers||Unisex||Squat/Bench/Deadlift||$||4.0|
|SABO GoodLift Powerlifting Shoes||Unisex||Squat/Bench/Deadlift||$$$||4.6|
A Closer Look At The Best Powerlifting Shoes
Hopefully at this point you have a better idea of which powerlifting shoes will work best for you. Below we’ll go into more detail on a few of our favorite shoes from the table.
Raised Heel Squat Shoe: Nike Romaleos
Lifters who use Nike Romaleos swear by them. The features of this shoe tick about every box in the raised heel wish list.
Firstly, the raised heel is made from a compression-proof thermoplastic material so the shoes can handle heavy weight. The heel rise is .75 inches.
Most of the praise for these shoes centers on the stability they provide for lifts. They feature two velcro straps in addition to laces to secure lifters’ feet inside the shoes snuggly. Lifters also comment on feeling sturdy wearing these shoes because of their heft.
Each pair of Romaleos comes with two sets of insoles–one set that is stiff for lifting heavier and one set that is softer for lighter training days.
On the downside, some lifters feel that these shoes are too heavy and that the foot straps are too long. They are also on the pricey side, running a cost of around $200.
A final note if you’re thinking these shoes are right for you, be advised that they may feel tight when you first wear them, but other lifters say they loosen up once they’re broken in.
- Non-compressible heel
- Two velcro foot straps
- Flat, stable rubber sole
- Come with two sets of insoles for heavy and light training days
- Relatively expensive
- Shoes are heavy
- Foot straps are too long
Deadlift Shoes: Lifiting Large Deadlift Slippers
As funny as they may look, Lifiting Large’s Deadlift Slippers are made specifically for deadlifting. And, yes, they are legal to wear in competition.
The idea with the slippers is to get your feet as close to the ground as possible, therefore making the distance between the floor and the top of your lift as short as possible. These slippers are about as low as you can get, with the flat rubber soles standing at just over a sixteenth of an inch.
The tops of the slippers are made of simple terry cloth, and the rubber sole features a traction pattern.
Obviously, though, these slippers are not going to offer a lifter’s feet extra support. For this reason a deadlifting slipper may not be ideal for lifters who sumo deadlift. If in general you prefer a more supportive shoe while deadlifting these will not be right for you either.
Another drawback that lifters mention is that it can be tricky to get the sizing right when purchasing the slippers.
- Soles are just over 1/16 on an inch tall
- Soles are flat and include grip pad
- Not supportive
- Tough to get sizing right
Budget Friendly: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Sneakers
An ordinary pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars will do the trick for powerlifters on a budget.
So what makes Chucks decent for powerlifting? First of all, the soles of the shoes are relatively low to the ground and flat. These are both typically good features for deadlifting. On the other hand, a flat heel is not ideal for squatting with a narrow stance or with ankle mobility issues.
The soles are hard rubber and stand up fairly well under substantial weight. However, since the soles are rubber they are slightly compressible which is not ideal.
Chucks are also easy to lace up tightly so that lifter’s feet don’t slide around in them. Some lifters find that the support and tightness is not satisfactory for squats, though.
Overall, while Chucks have their drawbacks for powerlifting purposes, they are a fine and inexpensive option.
- Flat, hard rubber sole
- Sole relatively low to the ground for deadlifts
- Flat sole not ideal for squats for some lifters
- Not supportive enough for some lifters
If you’re still looking for more information on choosing the best powerlifting shoes, the following articles are very thorough and helpful.
For Squat Shoes: Are You Wearing The Right Shoes For Squatting?
Overview Of Powerlifting Shoes: Powerlifting Shoes