Best Shoes For Squats

Having the proper shoes for squatting isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity!

Being comfortable and durable is essential for keeping your feet firmly secured to the floor, especially during competition lifts, where one slipped foot will lead to disqualification. These are crucial parts of your gear bag, either for training or competition.

Squat shoes will not only keep you supported, but the best brands will actually help you improve your form. Good squat shoes will improve your form, depth, posture, stance and promote the overall safety of your squat, which is very important for avoiding serious injury.

Some of these shoes will have a raised heel that will stop you from leaning too far back when bringing up the barbell. This will allow your hips to maintain the same position from the start of the exercise right the way through to the end. A lot of these shoes will also have a hard outsole that will enable you to smoothly transfer your energy from your foot to the floor.

Also, when it comes to squat shoes, you’ll be wanting to think about the right material. You’ll want an outer material that is not so restrictive around the feet and can also absorb the excess sweat that you can certainly expect to experience from such an intensive powerlifting exercise.

Best Shoes For Squats

The bottom of the shoe is also very important, having plenty of responsiveness to allow the transfer of energy of the foot from the floor to the powerlifting bench will be very important for getting that superlative power lift.

The sole should also keep you firmly gripped to the floor, to allow for a competition-perfect movement and also prevent slippages, which will cause injury.

You might also want to be thinking about the price of your shoe, especially if you’re training and on a budget. However, if you are a competitive weightlifter, we suggest that you adopt the ‘no expense spared’ attitude, as having the right shoe will be crucial, no matter what the price is.

But where can you find the best shoes for squats? What features should a squat shoe have to give you the best performance during competition and training? What are the best materials for a squatting shoe? How much can you be expecting to pay for a squatting shoe?

Well, powerlifters everywhere won’t have to worry about these questions anymore, because we’ve compiled a list of some of the best shoes for squats currently available on the market. These are some of the shoes that have been recommended by industry professionals, so you won’t be left wanting when you hit the mat.

After that, we’ve got a buyer’s guide that will help you discern the good squat shoes from the bad ones, giving you a broader idea of what to look for in these unique gym accessories. Having the right info before shopping is perfect for being able to narrow down your options.

Then finally we’re going to look at some frequently asked questions that will hopefully allay some of the nagging anxieties that you might have when it comes to buying new squat shoes, or just surrounding the art of squatting in general. We’ll cover how they affect your posture and lifts, as well as which are the best shoes for your particular style of squatting.

But let’s get on with the most important part of the article: the shoes themselves! Here is our list of the best shoes for squats currently on Amazon.

OUR TOP PICK

Our first shoes have a decent heel on them, which as you will come to see is one of the most important features of a squat training shoe.

This is made from the very comfortable and foot-molding EVA foam, which will give you a springy but firm foundation for your squats, which is very important for energy transfer - introducing the Adidas Men’s Powerlift 4 Weightlifting Shoe.

Adidas is a well-established brand and has branched out into making bespoke equipment for all different sports, and the fact that this shoe has garnered so much acclaim has suggested that they have succeeded at this one too.

The material of the upper and the sole are highly wear-resistant and will be able to withstand frequent stretching and strains under heavy loads.

The canvas of this shoe makes for a snug but not too tight fit, which is very important for giving you support during your weightlifting workout. The foot also has pores that will let the foot breathe and disperse sweat, which will be important for reducing the amount of slip that you’ll receive.

Pros

  • The shoe is very roomy and breathable - if you are a competitive weightlifter, the chances are that you won’t want your feet succumbing to blisters from repeated stresses. This will also throw you off concentrating on your moves.
  • These shoes are very light - ideally, you’ll want to feel supported but not overly constricted. The material on these shoes are roomy and allow you to position yourself with your toes wide apart.
  • The heel comes with a heel cup, that is well-rounded and won’t dig in, which is a common problem as this is the area where you experience a lot more pressure when powerlifting.
  • These shoes will have a supportive lining that will be able to withstand the strains put on them by a foot that is experiencing increased pressure.

Cons

  • This shoe has a dip in the mid-foot area, which might be uncomfortable at first. It will simply take a few weightlifting sessions to become accustomed to them.

EDITORS CHOICE

Next up, we have a pair of sneakers that are specifically designed to be used by women, both of them adequately straddling the difference between functionality and comfort.

The soles of these shoes are made from thermoplastic polyurethane, which will not compress your feet too much, coming in a very lightweight design - introducing the Reebok Women’s Legacylifter Cross Trainer.

These shoes have a very high heel to them, making them the perfect shoes for lifters with long legs, making up for the lower ankle and leg mobility.

The heel is also very spongy and responsive, with a padded mesh design around the ankle that will give you plenty of support and help avoid twisting when placed under intense pressure.

These shoes also have ergonomic straps that go in the opposite direction, which makes for full-footed security, which is again very important for security and stability.

The strap is leather, making it both very tough and very wipeable, crucial for avoiding the excess sweat that can accumulate during intense training sessions.

Pros

  • There’s exo-frame support on these trainers, making them the most durable sneakers on this list - this kind of full-footed support is important when subjecting it to the intense strain of a heavy weight.
  • The grip - these women’s sneakers have rubber grips on the bottom, which will keep your feet in place. Remember: a moving foot will result in you being disqualified from a tournament.
  • The construction of these trainers is very breathable, which will prevent sores, blisters and cankers from developing in between the toes or on the heel of the foot.
  • The dual straps - with opposite-facing straps, you can be sure that your foot will be nice and secure in your shoe during the training. You want the foot to be as stable as possible in your shoe, as this could cause big problems for you when competing. 

Cons

  • The price - these shoes are somewhat expensive and will only be appealing to those who are die-hard competitive powerlifters and want the absolute best support and grip for when they hit the mat.

BEST VALUE

Our next pair of sneakers are very reasonably-priced, making them the perfect option for those casual weightlifters who are doing it for recreation rather than competitions.

They come with a decent heel height, which will improve the mechanics of your squat, keeping you in more or less the same position during your lift - introducing the Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes For Heavy Lifting.

These shoes will allow for a much wider range of motion, as well as promoting a more upright torso, which will strengthen your back and ensure that you clench those abdominal muscles during your lift.

There is a velcro strap over the top that will give your foot in a relatively central position, making sure that you aren’t violating any competition rules regarding foot placement.

The stitching on the top of this trainer is very durable and will be resistant to increases in wear and tear for months, if not years. The topmost part of the sneaker is very absorbent, although there have been some complaints that elements of the undershoe are not as durable as some others on this list.

Pros

  • The price - these are certainly for powerlifters who don’t want to spend over $100 on their next training shoe. If you are a casual squatter, you probably don’t want to fork out that much money on your gear.
  • The customer support from this company is excellent, so if you do have problems with this shoe, then you can expect to have either a refund or a replacement within a few weeks.
  • This shoe is one of the most absorbent on this list - if you an excessive sweater, then you won’t have to worry about the inside of the shoe becoming uncomfortable.
  • There are high-quality materials put into the stitching and the velcro elements of this trainer, making it a great unit for stability, promoting overall good posture and a firm stance for your lifts.

Cons

  • The sole - some users have complained that this trainer is not anti-slip, resulting in a potentially hazardous experience on the mat. If you are a competitive squatter, then you won’t want to run the risk of losing one of those white lights and having an unsuccessful lift.

RUNNER UP

It’s always tricky to find the right size of a sneaker, especially if you have a wide foot that spreads out even wider when you expose it to intense levels of pressure.

The foot tends to spread out, causing the toe to squash together, making it very uncomfortable, especially with the sweat. However, this is not so with this sneaker - introducing the Reebok Men’s Legacy Lifter Sneaker.

This one has a much more accommodating toe box, which will allow you to get your feet into position for those complex competition lifts. Spreading out your toes will help to keep you anchored to the ground, giving you as much stability as you need to lift those weights evenly.

The materials of your trainer are also going to be very important, especially if you’re going to have your foot inside the shoe for a long period of time, succumbing to the stresses and strains of active workouts.

This shoe is made from a very durable leather material that will be able to withstand the wear and tear of numerous workouts.

Pros

  • The wider toebox will be perfect for people who have wider feet and find it difficult to find a pair of shoes that won’t scuff or itch their toes or the outermost side of their foot.
  • The leather construction of these shoes makes them very durable, being both smooth and breathable in a way that will disperse sweat and reduce discomfort.
  • This shoe allows the foot to spread in a way that will give you a good anchoring - the foot is your only contact point with the mat, and having a supportive shoe is very important to keep your balance during a squat.
  • The dual straps - you can make sure that your foot held firmly both over the top of the foot and in the heel. Having this across-foot protection and security will be crucial for a nice solid lift that won’t throw you off-balance. 

Cons

  • Again, the price. This trainer will set you back over a hundred dollars, which certainly won’t be appealing to the casual squatter who has no ambitions outside of their weekly training sessions.

RUNNER UP

Nike is a well-established brand on the sports scene, with decades of experience and brand awareness that rivals that of Coke or Pepsi.

The fact that these weightlifting shoes have achieved such success with users goes to show how much effort that this brand has put into their product, tailor-making it for the powerlifting market - introducing the Nike Romaleos 3 Men’s Weightlifting Shoes.

These trainers have a great arch in the midsole, which will again keep you anchored and able to focus on the task of lifting your dead weight, rather than worrying about adopting the correct foot position.

It also comes with a soft and hard insole that you can swap out depending on your preference.

The heel of this shoe contains a honeycomb structure that manages to give the shoe a lot more support but without contributing overall to the weight.

There are also polymer filaments that run through the entirety of the upper on either side, giving you extra cushioning in the topmost part of the foot where it gets bony.

Pros

  • The honeycomb sole - this unique design will not unduly weigh down your feet, giving you plenty of spring and responsiveness on the initial push down before pulling up the weight.
  • The arch support - this will give you a lot of support where you need it the most, in the sole. This part of the body is the one that suffers from the most pressure but needs the most support, and this shoe does its utmost to give you as much support as you need in this area.
  • The Flywire technology - this Nike patent will give you maximum comfort on the inside of the shoe, reducing the sores and blisters that can come from excessive rubbing.
  • The laces will tighten very effectively around the upper of your foot, giving you that extra snug feeling in the midsole, which is the part of the foot where you will experience the most torque.

Cons

  • Some wearers have reported that the tongue will detach itself after just a short period of use. This will obviously not be appealing to those who want their footwear to be competition ready.

RUNNER UP

Our next pair of squatting sneakers come from the well-established brand of Converse, which is famous for designing ankle-length shoes that give you all the support you need during a variety of sports.

If you are a powerlifter that prefers a wider squatting stance, then we can certainly recommend that you buy a pair of these - introducing the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top Sneaker.

The midsole of this shoe is constructed from a rigid rubber material that will give your feet the height that they need to keep them stable and supported during your heavy squat lifting sessions.

The outsole is made from rubber that is non-slip, making them perfect for negotiating a sweaty competition mat.

These shoes have a very breathable canvas material on the outside that will help you disperse the temperature of your feet, which can get very hot and uncomfortable after a few sessions on the squat rack.

It has a toe box that is very roomy, giving you plenty of room in the front that will help you keep anchored.

Pros

  • The rubber sole of this shoe is very well constructed, keeping your feet anchored even under the intense stresses that come from lifting a heavy barbell.
  • The outsole of this shoe is made from thick non-slip rubber that will really give you a lot of support when you’re on the mat, helping you to avoid slippery scenarios and potentially ruining a successful weightlifting bout.
  • The price - these are some of the most affordable trainers on the market, ideal for casual weightlifters who want to save themselves some money but with plenty of features that will keep pro powerlifters more than happy.
  • This will be the perfect choice for those powerlifters who want to adopt a wider squat stance but still have that firm grip both on the inside of their shoe and the mat.

Cons

  • There are no upper straps on this sneaker, so if you want that extra stability from your shoe during the heavier squatting sessions, then we would recommend that you opt for one of the other shoes on this list.

RUNNER UP

Our next pair of shoes are made by another eminent sportswear designer, Reebok. This sneaker is one of the best in the business, with an anti-friction interior that contains an anti-friction lining that will reduce heat-soreness.

This will also remove sweat, making your feet extra comfortable during an intense workout - introducing the Reebok Men’s Crossfit Lifter Plus 2.0.

This shoe comes with a very ingenious heating technology that is called U-form. All you have to do is put your shoes in a preheated oven at the temperature of 200-degrees for around 2 to 3 minutes.

Then wear them for around 8 minutes, as the shoes contract they will perfectly mold themselves to the shape of your feet.

The upper of this shoe is constructed with a breathable mesh material that won’t result in your foot being too constricted or succumbing to rubbing through repeated training.

This also has a rubber insole that will be able to adequately support your foot in the midsection, which is where it will need it the most.

Pros

  • This has an anti-friction lining in the lining that will decrease the amount of sweating that you’ll experience. Having less moisture on the inside of your shoe will also result in fewer sores and blisters that could really throw you off your game.
  • This foot has an optimal fitting technology - by heating it up in the oven for a few minutes, this shoe will cool and mold to the exact shape of your foot. What better way to have that comfortable shoe than by having one that is utterly unique to you.
  • This has plenty of stability with upper straps - holding your foot in place, these straps will make sure you can maintain that competition-winning posture.
  • This shoe is simple to use and put on your foot, you won’t have to worry about wasting extra competition time, simply strap it on and be ready to hit the mat.

Cons

  • Some users have complained that this doesn’t offer you support with heavier weights, tending to let your shoe move around on the inside as well as not giving you the adequate grip that you need.

RUNNER UP

Our final shoe might not be the most recognizable brand on this list, but it certainly comes with plenty of features that make it ideal for use during the most intensive powerlifting sessions.

It has an upper that is constructed from a well-ventilated upper mesh, with a strap in the midfoot that will give you extra stability - introducing the Inov-8 Men’s Fastlift 335 Running Shoes.

This has a plastic cage that will surround the heel area, which offers protection in an area that has to deal with repeated pressures.

These shoes are often a lot lighter than some of the brands that we’ve got on this list, you almost won’t feel like that you’re wearing them most of the time!

The outsole of this shoe is made from non-slip rubber, again, making it the ideal accompaniment for a tournament. However, it has a groove in the forefoot region that will facilitate moving into more complex positions, making it a great shoe to wear for a multitude of exercises, not just powerlifting.

Pros

  • This shoe is lightweight and flexible, making it an ideal shoe for those who have varying stances when it comes to first approaching the squatting rack - if you fancy altering your position in the run up to competition, these are the shoes for you.
  • The groove on the forefoot region will give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to operating in certain positions. Having this kind of dynamic range will allow you to get yourself into the right position before pushing your weight off the mat.
  • The material on the outside is non-slip, which will mean that you can avoid injury and slippage that can potentially disqualify you from a decent squat performance in a tournament.
  • You can use these sneakers for lower body training as well as upper body squats - these are simply the best shoes for all-round exercises, perfect if you are a casual powerlifter and like to indulge in other sports and exercises.

Cons

  • These are not great for use with large weights - some users have reported splitting between the sides and the front when trying to squat more heavy-duty weights.

Best Shoes For Squats Buying Guide

You might have already noticed that there are numerous features that are common to all squat shoes, although which pair you buy will certainly depend on the intensity of your squatting as well as the frequency at which you’ll be doing the exercises.

If you are a heavy weightlifter, then having sturdy stitching in the canvas will be of paramount importance to avoid tearing or molding in the seams through excessive sweating over a long period of time.

However, if you are a casual one-day-a-week lifter, then you’ll definitely want to think more about the budget as well as durability.

Here are just some of the things you’ll need to think about before purchasing your next pair of squatting shoes:

Height Of The Heel

Ideally, you’ll be looking for a heel that drops somewhere between 0.5 and 1.2 inches. This is because having a larger heel will allow you to get a deeper squat, having your backside below the level of your heel slightly.

Also, having a larger heel will allow you to straighten your back, putting more pressure on your stomach and allowing you to pull up your weight without straining your back or giving you a slipped disc. Having a back injury will certainly put you out of competition for quite some time.

Keeping your force in your quad muscles will be very important when pulling your weight, and having a decent heel will be one way of achieving that goal.

Having The Appropriate Strap Support

You won’t be looking for regular laces to keep your feet firmly secured during your weightlifting program. This is simply because the laces are smaller and might concentrate too much pressure in the mid-spot of your foot, essentially cutting into it.

Velcro straps are much more accurate for achieving the level of tightness that you’ll need. Remember that different bodybuilders will want different levels of tightness depending on the excessiveness of the workout that they engage with.

Heavy lifters will want a tighter strap and casual lifters will want a shoe that will allow their toes can breathe.

Some sneakers will only come with one strap, which will give the wearer more lateral and vertical stability. However, this might not be suitable for the type of squatting that you’re doing, so you might want to shop around for shoes with two straps.

The Midsole

Typically, a midsole in a squatter’s shoe will be very thin and mainly providing cushioning under the heel, which is where the most pressure is applied during the weightlifting.

Unlike a runner’s shoe, the midsole will not be that important, as you do not need to provide that stability and support when running.

The Outsole

Having an outsole that will provide you with as much grip as possible on the mat will be incredibly important for a powerlifter, as this is where you’ll need to keep your feet steady. Reducing the level of slippage on your mat is crucial for maintaining your balance.

Remember that a loss of balance is something can give you those dreaded red light when you’re in a competition - two red lights mean that you’ve failed the lift entirely.

Rubber is traditionally the best material for an outsole, giving you great traction on a rubber mat. Squatting is a stationary activity, but you want to make sure that your feet are basically fused to the floor to stop you from losing crucial points.

How Durable Is Your Shoe?

A sneaker with durability is one of the most important aspects of buying the perfect pair for powerlifting. This means that you will often have to pay a lot more for a pair of powerlifting shoes than you would have to for a pair of running shoes.

However, we would recommend that your fork out the extra cash, as this could be the difference between your shoes lasting for months and lasting for years.

Think of your weightlifting shoes as an investment, the more you spend on them the longer that they’ll last. You don’t want to have to replace your shoes every few months, as this will become like a used car payment - a complete waste of money!

Going with a trusted brand like Nike, Adidas or Converse will certainly decrease the risk of you buying a duff pair of shoes.

Also, check the reviews of each pair, the more positive reviews, the greater the chances are they will be a reliable pair of shoes. If you are ordering online, then you won’t be able to try them on, so having reliable reviews will be very handy.

How Rigid Are Your Shoes?

Having a rigid pair of shoes will be invaluable to a squatter, as you will need them to keep you fixed to the floor. You’ll need a pair of trainers that will support you, ideally up to the knees, so make sure they are made from a material like TPU.

Rigidity will be very important when you’re competing professionally, as you don’t want to lose any force through a foot slipping during the wrong moment.

You’ll want your energy to be transferred precisely through the sole of your shoe and into the floor. A truly great shoe will be responsive in the sole and give you enough bounce to propel you and your weight up and back.

One of the trade-offs for having a rigid shoe might be added weight, but this won’t matter too much with squatting, as you’ll largely be in a stationary position. In fact, the additional weight might help keep your feet fixed to the floor during the pull-up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible To Replace Squat Shoes With Weights?

There are no rules against this, however, you might be compromising your safety if you swap out your shoes with weights.

You’ll need some degree of maneuverability inside the shoe as you pull your weight up and having weights on your shoes might make you more rigid than you’d like.

Also, it will be difficult to keep weights attached to the top of your feet, unless you use duct tape, which will certainly be in contravention of certain weightlifting tournaments. Your heel position will also change, which might make it difficult to improve your performance during training.

We would recommend that you simply become more accustomed to your squatting shoes in training and purchasing a pair that will help you develop good mechanics in the lift.

You can also incur serious injuries from putting weights on your shoes, which could put you out of training for several weeks.

What Is the Best Way To Maintain Squat Shoes?

It might sound strange, but a lot of experts recommend stuffing your shoes with newspaper to avoid damp and odors eating away at them after training. Sweat rot can damage the seams over time, so we would certainly recommend doing this in between each training session to preserve either lifespan.

Once you have used your trainers for around a year, you’ll probably need to give them a spin in the washing machine.

You can machine wash your shoes on a slow spin cycle, which will certainly give them a new lease of life. However, we would recommend that you check the tags on your shoes to avoid irreversible damage.

We would also recommend that you don’t wear them to and from the gym, otherwise this will speed up their wear and tear. Have separate shoes for traveling to the gym and save your squatting shoes for when you hit the rack.

Our Final Say

Can shoes make you a better squatter? Well, maybe not without the correct techniques, but they can certainly help you improve your game.

We hope that our comprehensive run-down has given you everything you need to know when shopping for your next pair of squatting shoes.

Kevin Harris

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