If you’ve ever watched a professional lifter performing squats, you can’t help but notice their shoes. Serious weightlifters, especially those who squat, don’t wear conventional gym footwear, they wear special shoes for squats and powerlifting.
Why do weightlifters and squat enthusiasts wear these particular shoes? Keep reading to find out why they wear them and what best shoes to squat in are.
Most people when they are first starting out weightlifting wonder if they need a pair of gym or squat shoes. The short answer to that question is yes!
If you regularly lift weights, you need a good pair of weightlifting shoes. Good quality weightlifting shoes will provide you with several advantages over ordinary gym footwear. One of the best reasons to purchase a pair of lifting shoes is that they will allow you to lift more weight safely than their regular counterparts.
Remember when it comes to squat shoes, the brand, style, and color aren’t going to matter. What matters is that you have a quality pair of lifting shoes for squatting that improves your ability to lift!
5 Best Shoes To Squat In
#1 – Adidas Powerlift 3 Shoe – Best For Squats
With an Olympic weightlifting shoe, looks shouldn’t matter. But the Adidas Powerlift 3 looks great and better than most regular gym shoes with its classic 3-stripe design. They are also available in a range of colors making them great shoes for women and men.
The Powerlift 3’s synthetic leather to provides lifters with a light weight squat shoe that is also extremely durable without compromising support (which is key). The lightweight breathable mesh also allows your feet to stay cool while lifting and performing squats.
To put power into your squats, you need shoes that provide a good, solid foundation and the Powerlift 3 trainer does just that. A power strap over the laces of the these provides you with anchored support.
The high-density midsole wedge is engineered for weightlifting. Its wedge shape provides lightweight stability and a wide stable base. The heel height of the Powerlift 3 sneaker is designed specifically for weightlifting. And being a perfect shoe for weightlifting, it can take a little getting used to if you haven’t experienced proper weightlifting shoes before. But once you are used to them, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.
#2 – Inov-8 Fastlift 335 Weight-Lifting Shoe – Best Lightweight
Inov-8 is a British company known for their high-quality designs that work with your body’s natural movements. The Inov-8 Fastlift 335 is one of their designs made to give you the best possible grip for maximum weight lifted. Manufactured from Sticky rubber (a style of rock climbing rubber), the FastLift outsole provides you with the greatest grip for your squats. The FastLift 335 uses their Meta-Flex system to provide athletes with flexibility and comfort in the toe section of the shoe without hurting performance. The flexible toe section allows the shoe to be comfortable for walking or jump roping, but with no shock absorber in the heel, they are not recommended for running.
With a precision fit and an adjustable hook-and-loop strap, the FastLift 335 provides a snug fit with very limited internal movement. Comfort is essential with weightlifting shoes, so the FastLift 335 uses a plush tongue and collar, as well as a 3mm footbed and a breathable mesh lining. When lifting any weight, you need stability, structure, and support in the middle of your foot and the heel, which the FastLift 335 provides. Using a solid Power-Truss heel, you will have a stable base once you plant your feet to lift.
#3 – Adidas Performance Adipower – Best For Grip
Sporting the traditional 3-stripe design, there is no mistake that the Adipower Weightlifting Trainer Shoe belongs to the Adidas Performance line. While these shoes are engineered specifically for powerlifting, they are one of the more comfortable pairs. The upper part of the these is made from PU-Coated leather to provide maximum comfort and support, while the inside offers a soft textile lining. The outsole features VentFlow openings for maximum ventilation. Once you get used to wearing the shoes, you won’t even notice you have them on when walking around the gym.
The Adipower Weightlifting Trainer is designed for Olympic weightlifting not deadlifting. If you try to deadlift in these, you will understand as the footwear tilts you a little too far forward. But as a shoe for squats, they are perfect. The heel of the shoe is very stable and provides an excellent slope from the heel to the toe and is an ideal heel height for Olympic lifting. For structured strength, the shoe’s chassis is a lightweight injected polymer. The heel overlay provides lightweight stability, while the rubber sole provides excellent grip. To anchor the rear part of your foot, the Adipower Weightlifting Trainer offers an adjustable hook-and-loop instep strap that secures over the laces themselves.
#4 – Reebok Men’s Crossfit Lifter 2.0 – Best For Flexibility
If you are looking for a flexible lifting shoe that provides both balance and power for your squats, look no further than the Reebok Men’s Crossfit Lifter 2.0. The Crossfit Lifter 2.0 is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a comfortable, yet stable shoes for Crossfit workouts or those that are looking for good lifting footwear. One thing that you might notice with these shoes is when you first put them on, is the heel is a little bigger than others. The Crossfit Lifter offers a flexible platform that allows for better toe spring in a variety of Crossfit movements.
The Crossfit Lifter 2.0 is synthetic footwear with a lightweight 3D Fuse Frame construction. The unique construction of this is designed to provide a sturdy base for lifting, but also provides a flexible support for Crossfit workouts. The Crossfit Lifter laces up like other training shoes but features a plastic hook and loop strap that goes over the laces to lock in your foot. Locking your foot into place provides better stability and immediately improves your lifting performance. The shoe also features a heel clip that securely grips your rear foot, and the Flex grooved outsoles are great at providing traction on different surfaces.
#5 – Pendlay Do-Win Crossfit Squatting Shoes – Best Cross Trainer
The Pendlay Do-Win Crossfit Weightlifting Shoe is a redesigned Pendlay Do-Win. Pendlay took the original model and made some drastic improvements to the sole of them. The new and improved sole is a single sole design that increases the strength and flexibility of the sole itself. Even with the improvements to the sole, Pendlay doesn’t recommend you use these for only working out. They strongly recommend that the Do-Win Crossfit Weightlifting Shoes can also be used for Olympic Weightlifting. These tend to run smaller than training shoes by ½ size. The Do-Win is ideal for people who have wide or flat feet, plus the toe box is wider than other lifting footwear.
With the Do-Win Crossfit Weightlifting Shoes, your feet won’t move whether you are doing squats or power lifting with the rubber grip sole. The upper part of the shoe is made from leather to increase comfort and breathability. Unlike other styles of squat shoes, the Do-Win features two hook and loop straps over the laces to secure your foot in place while lifting. The heel height comes in at a ¾ inch, which is the ideal height for Olympic Lifting.
Why you Need Squat Footwear
Squat shoes are not designed like other training shoes, which contain cushioning to absorb impacts as you run, jog, or walk. If you have ever tried to squat in running shoes, you will experience this. Weightlifting footwear is not cushioned, so they are not absorbing any of the force your body is producing when it is moving, especially when squatting. The more power that you can generate, the more you can lift. With lifting shoes, you will notice they have a hard, flat sole rather than a soft, flexible sole. Usually, the treads are made of a hard plastic, but some are made from sticky rubber. Trainers for squats use these bottoms to allow you to generate as much force off the ground as you can. Lifting footwear also has many other features that help you lift more weight.
Powerlifting shoes have elevated heels, and the ideal heel height in Olympic lifting is a ¾ of an inch. An elevated heel doesn’t create more force, but it will help you with squatting. With an elevated heel, your squat is going to be deeper because your ankle has a better flexibility. Also, raised heels and deeper squats improve your lifting position, as you will sit more upright than before. Deeper squats and an upright position increase your chances of getting the bar going up as you can use more of your muscles to push it upwards.
Lifting shoes increase the flexibility in your hip and ankle. The more flexible you are in the ankle and hip, the lower you can go in the squatting position. Lower squatting position allows you to create more force to lift with. This raises the concern of your feet sliding around inside your footwear. With lifting shoes, you want them to be snug to keep your feet in place. Laces alone are not going to provide a snug enough fit to keep your foot in one position inside the sneaker. To prevent your foot from slipping inside your shoe, lifting footwear uses straps that go over the laces to provide maximum support. The hook and loop strap anchors your foot in place allowing you to generate maximum force when lifting.
Before Buying Squatting Shoes
Now that you understand why you need a quality pair of shoes for squats, there are few things that you want to think about before you purchase a pair. With gym shoes, you need to remember that like running shoes, lifting footwear is all designed for the same purpose, which is to help you lift. So, how do you know which ones to buy then?
When it comes to purchasing a pair of squat shoes, there are a few things that you want to look at. The first thing is heel height. The ideal height for Olympic lifting is a ¾ inch, but some footwear will offer a ½ inch and up to 1-inch heels. Look at the base of the lifting shoe; you want one with a solid base for Olympic powerlifting and squats. If you plan to use them for activities such as Crossfit and weightlifting, the newer hybrid shoes are a better choice. These hybrid types have a flexible toe box that allows for the extra movement, such as jumping rope.
Support and strapping should also be considered when purchasing a pair of squat shoes. It is important for your foot to be supported all over, not just the toe or heel. Width varies in weightlifting shoes by brand, so pay close attention. Adidas is geared towards narrow feet while DoWin is preferred by people who have wider feet. Also, look carefully at the laces to see if they go all the way down to the toe. Shoes with these laces can be tightened or loosened to accommodate different widths.
Conclusion – Picking Sneakers For Squats
If you are serious about Olympic powerlifting, you need to invest in a quality pair of weightlifting shoes. Weightlifting footwear will provide you with the support and stability you need when lifting or squatting. Good shoes to squat in are designed to fit your foot snugly to provide you with maximum stability while lifting. All weightlifting shoes are designed with the same purpose, so how do you know what ones are best. With weightlifting shoes you simply need to find the right fit for you; one that is comfortable and supportive.