You wear football boots to play football in and you wear walking boots to walk in. But you wear running shoes to…lift weights?
The importance of a good lifting shoe has long been overlooked, but when you wear a pair of specialist ‘lifters’ you will instantly improve technique, biomechanics, injury resistance and strength.
A good lifting shoe has a flat sole to increase ground contact and stability, and the midsole should be firm: if it’s soft it’ll compress under load, resulting in power leaks. It should also be wedge-shaped, with the heel sitting higher than the toes, which allows you to squat deeper and maintain an upright torso throughout your lifts. The upper, meanwhile, should be firm, with a little flexibility, to support the feet without compromising comfort.
MF BEST BUY:
inov-8 Fastlift 360
It’s a brand more commonly associated with trail running than heavy lifting, but it seems inov-8’s footwear expertise isn’t limited to the land of mud and hills.
The Fastlift 360 is everything a lifting shoe should be: stable and grippy, with just enough flexibility for moving with comfort and control.
Best-in-test traction is provided by a sticky rubber outsole, which combines with an ultra-sturdy base to deliver the most secure lifting experience of any shoe in this list.
Reebok Legacy Lifter 2
Reebok’s CrossFit pedigree comes to the fore with the next generation of its much-loved Legacy Lifter.
Comfortable straight out the box and available in a range of colourways, this shoe is a squatter’s dream, with the raised heel – complete with TPU clip for locked-in support – and wide, rubber outsole encouraging complete range of motion.
If there’s one slight gripe, it’s that the strap could be slightly longer.
Nike Romaleos 4
After the huge success of the Romaleos 2 (which some consider to be the best ever lifting shoe), and the underwhelming third iteration, Nike is back with a bang with the Romaleos 4.
The usual lifting features are there – wide, high heel; adjustable straps; rigid midsole – but the overall feel of the shoe is what impressed us.
Stability is the most important factor, but that’s paired with genuine comfort matched by few other lifters.
Under Armour TriBase Reign 3
It might lack the completely flat, lifting-specific outsole of other shoes in the list, but the latest TriBase Reign is still a solid option – particularly if you’re switching from compound lifts to lighter cardio or weights work within the same workout.
The full rubber outsole provides the grip (and wraps up the sides for added stability), while the mesh upper brings the comfort and breathability.
Adipower Weightlifting 2
A breathable, woven textile upper with inner reinforcements provides both foot-hugging comfort and added stability, while laces and a strap work together to lock down your midfoot.
The flexible forefoot allows your toes to move naturally mid-lift, and the rigid TPU midsole stands up well to heavy loads.
At less than £100, this is the shoe for you if you’re dipping your toe into lifting and don’t want to spend the really big bucks.
Intro: Steve Hoyles
Main photo: Renato Macassi/inov-8