Beginner's Guide to the Best and Worst Women's Weightlifting Shoes

 best shoes for squats

If you're looking for a guide on the best women's shoes for weight training, squats, and deadlifts, look no further.

Best Women's Weightlifting Shoes

For weightlifting, specifically squats and deadlifts, shoes with extremely flat soles are your best options. This can be confusing looking at popular fitness Instagram accounts because a lot of accounts feature folks performing exercises in extremely fashionable wedge sneakers, running or basketball shoes.

It is my firm belief that those individuals do not wear those types of shoes on a regular basis while lifting. In reality, followers tend to love fitness personalities with the snazziest shoe collections, therefore the culture moved in that direction. Fashion aside, when you focus on which types of shoes will aid your form and progression in weightlifting flat soled shoes are unsurpassed.

Flat Shoes Are Best For Weightlifting

Flat soled shoes are the best type of shoes for weightlifting. Flat soled shoes allow you to firmly plant your feet on the ground while lifting. This is particularly important for lower body exercises as you work to activate the appropriate muscles while driving all your force through your heels. Activating the proper muscles for each exercise will ensure your muscle progression without increased risk for injury.


Best Shoes

Nike Metcon 2 $130;

Next to Nike's Romaleos 2 which are a men's weightlifting shoe, I'd recommend these as a favorite. The construction of the metcons is quite sturdy. They're constructed with Nike's flywire cables that wrap around your arch and add support. The toe is composed of mesh fabric for breathing and the sole is very firm. You'll immediately notice the no slip grip which will give you more confidence while performing your squats. There's extra room in the toes which is quite comfortable, especially if you're used to wearing shoes that have been too narrow in the past. Nike did an excellent job with the sizing on these as they run true to size with a perfect fit.


Better Shoes

Adidas Adipure;

The Adidas Adipure is truly an excellent weight training shoe and ranks quite closely to the Nike Metcons. Adidas hit all points that matter in the gym with comfort and durability. They also have a reputation for alleviating foot cramping during workouts. Foot cramping can sometimes happen due to less than stellar arch support and shoes that simply don't fit properly. 


Good Shoes

Classic Chuck Taylors $50;

A common flat soled shoe, that is inexpensive, available in a wide array of colors and my personal favorite is the Chuck Taylor. They're stylish, and can be easily worn in or outside of the gym. It's simply an all-around great shoe for lifting. You will find most bodybuilders will recommend and or wear chucks to lift in.

Check out the rest of Nike's weight lifting collection to find your perfect shoe.


Best All Around Shoes - Cross Trainers

If you're looking for a shoe that can be worn to lift in then taken to the treadmill for a light run, make sure to stick with cross trainers like Nike Free TR's. These are what I wear personally, specifically the flyknit style.

Check out the rest of Nike's cross trainer selection to find your perfect shoe.

Cross trainers are a great shoe for a beginner fitness enthusiast. For one, if you're just getting started you may not have established which form of training you prefer best. You may not want to grab a shoe that caters to a specific style of training, then realize you don't like it. Cross trainers are constructed to support many different styles of training. They're lightweight, flexible, and have relatively flat soles. What that means is they're a great all around shoe for your workout whether it be primarily running or weightlifting. This is because they're flat enough to keep your feet firm and planted while performing squats. Yet they have a flexible toe to allow you to run on the balls of your feet.

Worst Shoes for Weight Lifting-Running, Walking, and Basketball Shoes

Athletic shoes fit into a few categories and are designed to provide the best performance in that category. For example, running, walking, and basketball shoes are all designed differently. Running shoes are flexible in the toe, to the allow a runner more ease in running on the balls of their feet thereby improving performance. Basketball shoes are high tops, so that when basketball players jump they do not roll their ankles when they meet the ground. When athletic shoes are consistently worn in manners they weren't designed for, they wear more quickly, and in ways not intended.

If you wear your snazzy Nike Air Maxes and attempt to perform a squat movement, your toes will roll forward. That is precisely what the shoe is designed to do because it is a running shoe. However, when your toe rolls forward while performing a squat movement it will cause loss of balance, undue activation of your quads, and stress on your shins. This is a real life example of what I commonly see in the gym when gym goers wear the wrong shoes. The simple solution, is a flat soled shoe, as it's the key to a firm stance and even weight distribution.

Still, the goal is to maximize your performance and shoes specifically created for training do just that. Strength training lower body requires you to drive your force through your heels with greater torque. In doing this while wearing the proper shoes, you're safely activating the correct muscles and more muscle fibers.

If new shoes simply aren't in the budget, many female lifters will lift in ballet shoes, barefoot, or wear socks. Any of those options are better than wearing a shoe not made for what you're doing, and potentially injuring yourself.