You’re headed to the gym to get in those sets and reps, building your strength for an overall fitter and healthier body.
As you pack your gym bag, you throw in a pair of shorts, a T-shirt, and a standard pair of tennis shoes or sneakers—all you need to have a good lifting session…right?
Unfortunately, proper footwear is never so simple. If you’re squatting in particular, you need a pair of shoes geared toward giving you all the support you need to provide a safe lifting experience.
When you’re lifting heavy weights, it’s important you dress for it—the wrong pair of shoes just could lead to an unfortunate lifting accident.
But what makes a pair of good squat shoes any different than your standard pair of running or athletic shoes?
Features Of Good Squat Shoes
For starters, they tend to have a thicker and firmer heel. Many struggles with shifting their weight onto their toes while squatting, a dangerous habit that causes unbalance. The thick and strong heel, then, not only provides extra support but also helps keep your weight distributed and feet planted firmly on the ground.
The strapping and overall design of the squat shoes tends to differ from classic designs as well. These shoes generally have a higher boot to provide extra ankle support as well as insoles and arch support to make your foot as firmly placed within the shoe as possible. These shoes also tend to have Velcro straps rather than laces, so you can get them nice and tight and not worry about tripping over loose laces.
The last important feature that all squat shoes should have is a good rubber sole. These soles should be textured and provide a good grip—you definitely don’t want to be slipping around with hundreds of pounds on your back.
So now that you know what makes up a good squat shoe, how should you go about finding them?
Below, we’ve listed our top seven brands of squat shoes so that you know where to get the quality you’re looking for.
We’ve made our list with both male and female body types in mind.
How We Chose Our Ratings
We’ve selected and rated the brands below based on shoe design, options available, brand authority, and most importantly, customer feedback. It is our goal to provide accurate and unbiased information so that you can get a pair squat shoes that will support and protect you.
Top 7 Squat Shoes Brands
Adidas has several great squat shoes options for both men and women. The Adidas Powerlift 3, for instance, is a great lifting shoe for men. This shoe provides the excellent straps and support of most lifting shoes with a moderate heel. This medium-sized heel makes the Powerlift 3 ideal for those transitioning between standard shoes and lifting shoes, providing increased support without confusing balance.
For women, both the Adidas AdiPower and the women’s version of the Powerlift 3 are great options. This version of the Powerlift 3 has the same moderate heel, which is good for female athletes that tend to have increased mobility. It is also lightweight and flexible.
The AdiPower is also a great choice because of its balance between flexibility and strength. The upper strap provides the ankle with extra support, while the mesh construction makes the shoe both breathable and strong. The toe end of the shoe has a slightly slimmer design than many lifting shoes, making it more inclined towards the female foot.
These are just a few of the great squat shoes Adidas has to offer. The durability of these shoes make Adidas take its place right at the top of the line for all lifting shoes.
- Flexible forefoot allows natural range of motion.
- Flywire technology delivers a locked-down fit.
- Honeycomb-patterned TPU plate for a stable feel.
As perhaps the most recognizable brand when it comes to athletic shoes, it comes as no surprise that Nike offers a line of weightlifting shoes that are sure not to disappoint.
Perhaps the best option that Nike offers for squat shoes is the Nike Romaleos 3. This line of shoes is available in sizes for both men and women.
With its sturdy and elevated heel, this shoe is particularly ideal for high-bar squatting. Perhaps the best feature that this shoe has to offer is its adjustable sole option.
The shoe comes with two soles to choose between and interchange: one that’s soft and one that’s firm, so you can pick which fits your comfort levels and needs best. These shoes are also made with Nike’s Flywire material, making them both flexible and supportive.
Most will attest that if there’s one thing Nike knows how to do really well, it’s designing a good-looking shoe. The design of the Romaleos 3 is not only slim and athletic but comes in a variety of colors and styles.
Reviews of these shoes are overall positive, though there are a few complaints of the tongue ripping out over time—though Nike does do its best to amend these issues.
- TPU heel piece in the midsole for stability and control
- Materials: Perforated synthetic leather upper with mesh for breathability
- Anatomical shape with double upper straps for a customized, locked-in feel
Another brand that offers a lot of great squat shoes is Reebok. The main lifting shoe that Reebok is currently offering is the Legacy Lifter, available in both men’s and women’s sizes (though unfortunately the women’s designs are slightly more limited).
These shoes are specifically geared toward enabling the best squat technique possible, offering ideal heel-to-toe ratio. The TPU heelpiece extends to the midsole, providing a thick outsole of rubber that won’t slip and will keep you locked in place.
The shoes offer laces in addition to straps for extra support and tightness, along with a strong Exoframe to lend the shoe durability. The top of the shoe offers perforated leather and mesh material for a breathable and cool shoe.
Users seem to really like this shoe, stating that it’s strong and durable as well as a great fit for wide feet. Some suggest ordering a size up, however, so try them on in-person first if you’re able.
- Seamless Construction
- Reinforced Vamp
- Midfoot Strap
ASICS also offers great lifting shoes for both men and women, though the best shoe for each sex is not the same. For men, the highest rated shoe is the Lift Master Lite, while for women, the GEL-Quantum 180 TR tends to be the better shoe.
The Lift Master Lite offers both a stable and comfortable weightlifting experience. The forefoot of the shoe is flat and smooth, paired with a strong heel and supportive outsole for a balanced and controlled stance.
Rather than including the traditional tongue structure, this shoe is designed with a mono-sock fit, making everything smooth and fit together. It also has no internal seams to eliminate friction.
Unfortunately, the Lift Master Lite is not available in women’s sizes, but the GEL-Quantum is still a great shoe for lifting. This shoe is multipurpose, offering a design that is ideal for both running and lifting. The shoe’s GEL makes it more comfortable and impact-reducing, while the outsole and midsole technology make the base of the shoe perfect for gripping onto the weight platform.
Users of these shoes offer up few complaints, though it is unfortunate that the Lift Master Lite is not available in women’s sizes. The GEL-Quantums, however, are still great squat shoes and also make for the perfect pair of cross training shoes.
- POWERLIFTING SHOES - Maximum Lifting Performance - by Premium Weightlifting Brand Nordic Lifting
- PROVIDES OLYMPIC STABILITY - Good foot support ensures a powerful workout & greater lifting gains
- LONG-LASTING QUALITY - Built to last, even under immense stress. Our warranty backs it up
The Nordic Powerlifting Shoes—Megin are designed with serious athletes and professional weightlifters in mind. It has a raised heel of 1.4’’, allowing for increased stability and support that will allow for deeper squats. These shoes offer both laces and mid-placed straps to provide extra support and security.
The soles of these shoes offer both smooth and rigid patches, allowing for a tight, no-slip grip on the lifting platform. Between these no-slip features and raised heel, Nordic aims to provide superior safety and lifting postures. They’re also made of strong but breathable mesh materials.
The Nordic Powerlifting Shoes—Megin has received glowing praise from the vast majority of their users, particularly from trainers and serious lifters.
The major downfall of these shoes, however, is that they are only available in men’s size. While Nordic does provide a sizing guide to aid in the sizing process, the typical male and female feet differ in shape, so this might not be the best alternative as a female lifter if you’re trying to order online.
- BOA dial system for a custom fit
- Grip, power and flexibility
- Takes stability to the next level
Inov offers weightlifting shoes designed to fit both the feet of men and women. Their main shoe is specifically geared towards weightlifting is the Fastlift 400 BOA.
The base of the shoe is supported by META-FLEX technology, which uses gel in the forefront of the shoe to provide increased comfort and flexibility ideal for switching between lifting and other activities. The heel offers increased stability through its external heel cage and Power-Truss technology, meant to specifically improve lateral stability and provide a strong base.
A rubber toe front protects the front of the foot from and stubs or dropped weights as well.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Fastlift 400 BOA, though, is its custom-fit technology. In addition to laces, the shoe offers a strap with a BOA dial. This dial locks down the strap and enables you to tighten the strap with each twist until you get the right level of security for you. No longer is there a need to worry about stretch Velcro.
These shoes are fairly new on the market so there isn’t a whole lot of information about how these shoes perform long term, but so far, they seem to be performing well and meeting expectations.
NOBULL offers classically styled lifting shoes for both men and women. These shoes are bit higher up on the price scale, typically costing around $299. These shoes are handmade and provide all the features and designs of classic lifting shoes, so you’ll only find old-school quality here rather than the more modern technology-infused shoes. These simple and classical shoes are appropriately named “Lifters.”
These shoes are made of handcrafted leather infused with oils, resulting in a sturdy and supple material that is built to last. The heel is made up of stacked leather, the leather having been cut into thin slices and layered on top of each other, bonded with wax and finished smooth. This results in a sole that is strong and stable, each requiring approximately three hours to hand-manufacture.
These shoes feature an 18.5mm heel to toe drop and a removable sock liner for extra comfort. The shoes offer both laces and the classic leather mid-placed strap for increased support. The top of the shoe is made of their SuperFabric, which is both durable and breathable.
Though the NOBULL Lifters are rather pricey and not very adaptable, they are definitely good at what they do. These shoes will provide you with excellent support, and the durable leather construction will last you for many years to come.
This shoe provides the excellent straps and support of most lifting shoes with a moderate heel.
The design of the Romaleos 3 is not only slim and athletic but comes in a variety of colors and styles.
These shoes are specifically geared toward enabling the best squat technique possible, offering ideal heel-to-toe ratio.
The Lift Master Lite offers both a stable and comfortable weightlifting experience.
The Nordic Powerlifting Shoes—Megin are designed with serious athletes and professional weightlifters in mind
The base of the shoe is supported by META-FLEX technology, which uses gel in the forefront of the shoe to provide increased comfort and flexibility ideal for switching between lifting and other activities.
These shoes are handmade and provide all the features and designs of classic lifting shoes, so you’ll only find old-school quality here rather than the more modern technology-infused shoes.
Now that we’ve listed our top seven brands, what stores and websites should you race off to get your new pair of awesomely supportive lifting shoes?
Adidas and Reebok probably offer the greatest variety of lifting shoes, but all the brands on this list provide great options for both male and female lifters.
In selecting your new lifting shoes, you should also consider what their full purpose will be.
Yes, you will use them as squat shoes, but do you want them to be able to do anything else? The ASICS GEL-Quantum 180 TR, for instance, is a great example of a multipurpose shoe, offering awesome support for cross training.
The NOBULL Lifters, on the other hand, are great for lifting, but that’s about all. You definitely don’t want to go running in these heavy, sturdy shoes.
If you’re able, we recommend heading to the store first to personally try on the shoes before purchasing or ordering. Different brands tend to run small and big, or narrow and wide, so you want to make sure that your squat shoes will be the perfect fit for you.
With that said, we hope you find the squat shoes of your dreams and tackle those squat racks.