THE Best Women's Weightlifting Shoes For Squats | 2018
Last Updated 9/28/18
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. In the list below I cover Nike Romaleo 3s which are for serious lifters, Adidas Powerlift 3.1 shoes which are more affordable, Chuck Taylors which are most affordable and fashion versatile, and Under Armour Cross Trainers which are most versatile athletically .
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 For Squats
Nike Romaleos 3
Nike Romaleos 3, price varies by shoe size, available on Amazon
The Nike Romaleos 3 is technically a men's weightlifting shoe, but I'd recommend these as my overall favorite. The construction of the Romaleo is quite sturdy with straps that wrap around the top of your foot for stability and 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.
Adidas PureBoost X Element Powerlifting Shoes
Adidas Powerlift 3.1, price varies by shoe size, available on Amazon
Despite the different branding, these shoes are identical to the men’s version which is great because they are truly an excellent weight training shoe. In my opinion, are just as amazing as the Nike Romaleos 3. Although, I know there is anecdotal evidence that Adidas run wide. Their construction is everything you need in a lifting shoe as the strap-in and sole provide maximum stability as you drive power through your heels.
Adidas hit all points that matter in the gym with comfort and durability. In a choice between these shoes or the Romaleos it often comes down to personal preference. Some people are staunch Adidas fans and others are team Nike. Although the Romaleos have been on the market for a while and thus have a bit more of a reputation behind them, Adidas heard the feedback and came to the market with a clear competitor.
Good Shoes For Squats
Classic Chuck Taylors
Chuck Taylors, price varies by shoe size, available on Amazon
If you’ve noticed a lot of seasoned weight lifters sporting chucks in the gym, you’re not crazy and there’s a reason why the shoe is often preferred. Chuck Taylors are 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 as an option for lifting if cost is a concern or they’re simply not interested in making an investment in a powerlifting shoe.
Best All Around Shoes - Cross Trainers
Cross trainers are really good shoes if you’re not a heavy lifter. Perhaps you strength train, but it’s mostly weight below 50lbs or so and with dumbbells or EZ bars. In that case, it doesn’t make financial sense for you to invest in a powerlifting shoe and you’re likely doing some sort of HIIT training in addition to the strength training. What you need is an all around shoe, or a cross trainer. Cross trainers are perfect for light weights, treadmill running, and HIIT exercises because they have a flat enough sole for stability but are also lightweight and breathable for cardio.
My personal favorite cross trainer right now is, drumroll please, the Under Armour HOVR™ SLK. I used to be a super fan of the Nike Flynits but Under Armour has really improved their shoes from a stylistic standpoint and these shoes are not only great for the gym but they’re so cute!
Under Armour HOVR™ SLK
Under Armour HOVR™ SLK, price varies by shoe size, available on Amazon
I really can’t speak more highly about how well cross trainers perform as a beginner weight lifting show. Cross trainers are a great shoe for a beginner fitness enthusiast because 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. Let’s be honest, all exercise is good exercise and you may be drawn to strength training only to find out that you prefer another form of exercise entirely.
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.
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