Strong FootWhich are the best shoes for lifting weights ?

My clients always ask me which shoes should they wear for training ?

Well, it depends on what type of activity you are doing ? Squat, Deadlift, running …

Every activity requires a different support, just like you would not go skiing with flip-flops, lifting weight maybe not be very practical in ski boots ;-).

But at the same time it might be unpractical to go to the gym with 3 different pairs of shoes depending on the exercise you will be performing.


back-squat-21_350x328In a squat or deadlift , you’re pushing down against the earth. Physics dictate that the earth presses back
up. If you use a cushioned shoe, you’ll lose some of that energy transfer. It’s also going to make you unstable. Those of you who do squat in sneakers may find that your knees cave in and that you feel wobbly.

adidas-running-springblade-tv-commercial-01Wrong Shoes: Running Shoes. 

  • The air & gel filling is great for reducing impact shock from running. But bad for lifting.
  • Running shoes will limit your strength & prevent good lifting technique. 
  • Unstable. Soles are squishy so you can’t predict their behavior on each rep. This makes it harder to control your technique and lift properly. 
  • Power Loss. The soles absorb the force generated against the floor instead of directing it towards moving the weight. You lose strength. 
  • Dangerous. Higher risk of injury, especially with heavier weights, since the soles make it hard to balance yourself and are less stable. 


Good lifting shoes have incompressible soles. They must be non slippery and have excellent support. 


  1. More Stability. Better traction against the floor and improved balance under the bar because the soles are hard. 
  2. More Strength. Your heels will sense the pressure of the weight better, which will make your legs contract harder. 
  3. Better Technique. Good lifting shoes will fix many technique issues. You’ll sit back better, your heels will stop coming off the floor.
  4. More Safety. Better balance, better technique, … All of it decreases the risks of injury during lifting.

Which shoes should I wear then ?


Here are a few recommendations that would work very well:

At minimum, you need to use a hard-soled shoe. 

weight-lifting-shoesConverse All-Stars are a great choice. These are the best all around shoe. 
  • Converse are efficient & cheap. And they will last forever as lifting shoes. 
  • Hard Sole. Sole is thin, flat & incompressible. Your feet are close to the floor. You’ll feel your feet better during lifts: more stability & control. 
  • Strong Canvas. This allows you to push your feet to the outside on Squats which helps keeping your knees out and activating your glutes. 
  • Ankle Mobility. Full ankle mobility with low tops Converse. If you buy high tops, leave the top part unlaced.

KSO five fingersVibram Five Fingers are great but a little awkward looking for some people, they are my personal favorite for Deadlift.




They are also the Wolverine’s favorite shoes for heavy lifting! You can’t go wrong by training like an X-Men!

That is a 465 Lbs Deadlift (for 5reps)!

wolverine deadlift


weightlifitng shoes womenAnother choice would be special shoes such as weightlifting shoes. The great thing about weightlifting shoes is that they have a hard sole and an elevated heel. 

The elevated heel puts you in a more ergonomic position for performing the Squat, allowing you to push of your heel and mid-foot better. 


But again they might not be the best shoes for Deadlifting and it does slide on the carpet as you push the sled (Yes sometimes you will push the sled !).


lunarelement nikeThe Nike Lunarelement 

I believe they would be the most versatile shoes as they have low support and some grips in front of the toes. They would work well for Squat, Deadlift and sled work ;-).



NIke BionicAnother shoes from Nike would be the Nike Women’s Free Bionic, that would work just as well as the Nike Lunarelement.




New-Balance-Minimus-PhotoThe New Balance Minimus

This would be also a great choice.

Check out this video for more explanation : New Balance




inov-8The Inov-8 Bare XF

If you watch American Ninja Warrior, many of the top contestant use these shoes. They look cool, and I believe they might be pretty versatile too.




reebok nanoThe Reebok Nano

Very popular shoes, used by many lifters doing different types of training.





So you do have now a few options to choose from, and like my grandma said.

There is 2 things in life that you should invest: 

“A great bed and a pair of good shoes, because if your are not in one you are in the other “ .
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