Everything You Need to Know About Women's Weightlifting Shoes
Women's weightlifting shoes are an important part of the weightlifting sport. Learn how they can help to support your arches and perfect your form.
Women's athletic shoe sales are 10% of the shoe market. That's $3 billion in shoes in a single year. Women's weightlifting shoes are a growing part of that number as more and more women start weightlifting.
Only use lifting shoes that give you a stable foot base without a lot of cushion.
There are some key features that women's weightlifting shoes or just weightlifting shoes in general have. You need to find the right shoe that combines the features you want and need at a price range that fits your budget.
Why They Matter
When you are lifting there are two important connections, your hands, and your feet. The right pair of weightlifting shoes is 50% of the connections you have.
Having the right shoes on your feet can mean the difference between success or failure. If you are weightlifting at least once a week, you need to have the proper shoes.
To efficiently lift the energy you are creating needs to be transferred to your lift, not your shoes. Shoes with too much cushion take energy away from your lift.
Weightlifting shoes have developed over the years to assist lifters in positioning themselves underneath the barbell. The goal is to position the "kinematic links" properly before lifting the barbell.
When weightlifting first began to get popular, lifters used all varieties of shoes. Athletes would wear plain sneakers, work boots, or boxing shoes.
Pre 1960's most lifters used boxing shoes or plain sneakers. During the 60's new shoes were developed to accommodate the ankle joint movement of new lifting styles.
A heel was put on the shoes to help lifters balance and flex their feet.
The 70's brought a new style of shoes. It abandoned the high top design for a lower cut style. The lower cut style offers great ankle mobility and addresses concerns about the high top's lack of safety in design.
Most weightlifting shoes follow the low cut, high heeled design introduced in the 70's.
Shoe Name and Brand
Top of the line adidas lifting shoe. Very light weight and with a wide design allows your foot to spread out for optimal stability. Laces + strap for tight comfortable fit.
Earlier iteration of the Powerlift 3.1 above. Still a well made shoe. Seem to have more size in W (wide) than M (medium) so maybe more options if you've got wide feet.
First of two entries from the British Inov-8 brand. Extremely lightweight. Best for lighter weights plus some HIIT. If you're going for heavy duty weightlifting try the 335's below.
Our top choice for women's powerlifting shoe. Rubber outsole for gripping power, mesh lining for breathability, 1.25" heel.
These Nike's are nice, but you pay a hefty premium for a shoe that is no better than the Inov-8 or adidas.
Double strap design for added lateral support. Extra flexibility in the forefoot to allow natural movement of the foot.
Maybe a bit closer to a HIIT or CrossFit shoe than a pure lifter, it still gets the job done. The NoBull brand does a nice job creating solid, dependable shoes with, well, no bull.
There are a handful of brands in the weightlifting shoe market. Each brand has their pros and cons on what they have to offer.
You are sure to find a shoe and company that fits your style and needs.
Adidas has been in the weightlifting game since the 70's. They can be credited with coming up with the modern style of low top and a high heel.
Today they offer a wide range of heel heights from .6 up to one inch.
Their shoes are well made and will last a long time. They may not be the cheapest shoes on the shelf though.
You know these Chuck Taylors. These shoes are the all-around do everything great shoe. They have the hard rubber sole, durable canvas, and classic style.
What makes them totally unique in this category is that they come in an insane number of designs and colors. They also offer women's shoes, so finding women's weightlifting shoes.
Could they get even better? YES! They are affordable coming in at $50. You can wear them other places besides the gym.
The best way to lift is barefoot. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger liked to lift barefoot. The gym floor is gross through, don't be walking around barefoot.
Deadlift makes slippers that are the ultimate in minimalism. They are low profile slippers with a rubber bottom and terry cloth top.
These slippers make great women's weightlifting shoes. Women tend to have smaller feet. Wearing these slippers will maximize your foot's contact with the floor.
To make them even better, they are only $15.
Inov-8 has been in the game for 15 years now. They offer a unique PowerTruss heel support system and a lower heel height of .65 inches.
Their shoes are designed to be used in multiple types of strength sports.
Nike is well known for being a juggernaut in the sports equipment world. If someone calls it a sport, Nike is making something for it.
Nike is back after taking a break from the 90's through 2009.
So it's no surprise Nike has weightlifting shoes. They are known for making a good, all around, training shoe. They have one or two straps and sport the standard .75 inch heel.
They don't target their shoes for a specific discipline. You can use these shoes if you're an Olympic weightlifter, squatter, or crossfitter.
Nike has the largest selection of women's weightlifting shoes.
These are pretty new to the market, but already gaining respect among weightlifters. They offer the standard heel height and wood soles.
They also offer an entire line of women's weightlifting shoes in a variety of colors and styles.
This is another brand that has been in the weightlifting shoe market for a long time. They offer a wide range of heel heights from .6 to .75 inches.
They offer a wide range of styles with straps and strength sports. There is a line of women's weightlifting shoes.
Do-Win is a fairly new player in the game, but their shoes are well built. They also come in a ton of cool colors and designs.
They claim to have a line of women's weightlifting shoes, but it's more like two pairs of shoes. Even though they are new, they've developed a following among lifters.
They offer a standard style of a plastic heel and two straps. If that didn't make them unique enough, they also offer suede material.
The shoes are designed as a good all around shoe for athletes who participate in many different strength sports.
VS Athletics is a brand that has been around for a while. It used to be the cheapo brand, but they have come in the world.
Now they offer shoes that may be lacking in style but are completely focused on high function and value. So if you are looking for performance and don't care about flashy looks, these are your shoes.
Anatomy of Women's Weightlifting Shoes
There are some key features that differentiate weightlifting shoes from other athletic shoes. When looking for the right weightlifting shoes, decided which features are the most important to you.
This goes for you too ladies since most companies do not carry specific women's weightlifting shoes.
Men's dress shoes are standardized, so trying on a pair of those will give you a good baseline for what size to be looking at.
The midsole should not compress under your weight. It shouldn't have a lot of cushion.
Many women's weightlifting shoes use wood or compressed rubber that will have very little give when pressure is applied. Running shoes are not appropriate for weightlifting.
Stick to wide and flat shoes. You want to look for a heavy dense sole.
Often beginners will buy Converse sneakers as a starter shoe. Converse are great because they are affordable, lack the cushioning of athletic shoes, and have a solid rubber sole.
You need traction on the bottom of your shoes. You don't want so much traction that they get caught and stuck. You also don't want them to be slippery.
Look for shoes that have a textured bottom of hard rubber.
Did you think you'd be talking about heels when you started an article about women's weightlifting shoes?
Your ideal heel height is unique to you. The average is around .75 inches.
A lower heel will put more stress on the hips and lower back. If you are less flexible this may not be right for you.
A higher heel height will help you keep your torso upright. It will be able to maintain proper back position when squatting.
Having a heel on your shoes may place more stress on your knees and force you to exert more effort to move your knees out of the way.
Even a small difference in heel height can translate to big differences in your lift. Keep this in mind when trying different shoes.
There can be heel height differences from one brand to the next. While you think you are buying the same height, it may feel totally different.
There are conflicting ideas about the two main designs for weightlifting shoes. The high top is the traditional design.
There is an idea that having a high top shoe will provide needed ankle support. These shoes also constrict the movement of the ankle too much in the bottom of your quat.
The "new school" design is low cut and does not provide ankle support. The lack of coverage on the ankle provides for free movement.
Most weightlifters today support the low cut design.
Women's weightlifting shoes can vary greatly in their price points. As we'll discuss further below, you could spend anywhere from $15 to hundreds of dollars.
More expensive doesn't always mean better. You want to look for a pair of women's weightlifting shoes that fit your feet and your needs.
There is the theory that a well-constructed shoe with quality materials will end up costing more than a lower quality one.
If you are new to weightlifting it may be smarter to buy a good sturdy mid-range priced shoe. Use these for a few months while you decide if weightlifting is a long-term commitment to you.
You can always invest in a more expensive pair later on if you decide weightlifting is something you want to do seriously or long term.
If you have unusually small or large feet you can probably find shoes on closeout, aren't you lucky.
Brands like Adidas Adipower and Nike are going to be on the more expensive end. Brands like Adidas Powerlift, Rogue Do-win, and VS Athletics are on the less expensive end.
Durability and Construction
The construction of the shoe can dictate what you can do with the shoe. Some companies are only designed for lifting barbells.
Adidas, Nike, Risto, VS, and Rogue Do-Win are all brands that make these shoes. The shoes have stiff uppers and won't flex easy.
Brands like Invo-8, Reebok, and Nike offer multipurpose shoes. They have some more flex to their soles. If you do CrossFit these are the shoes you will want to look at.
The great feature of these shoes is that you won't have to buy multiple pairs of shoes for your workouts.
If you primarily do weightlifting, and less crossfit, then the traditional style fits your needs better.
Let's face it, we all want some style to our shoes. With the growth of the women's weightlifting shoe market, there are a lot more options.
What do you want your heel to be made out of? Do you like the old school wood look? Would you prefer the new school plastic? How about tested and trusted hard rubber?
Most shoes offer straps across the top of the foot. But you need to consider if you want a strap at all. Once you decide you want a strap you have to decide if you want a skinny one, multiple straps, or just one large one.
Where is strap located? Having the strap lay across the top of your foot in the wrong location can hinder your lift.
Look for the brands that offer a full line of women's weightlifting shoes if you want bright or girlie colors. Nike is probably your best here.
Buy Your Shoes
You have the basics of women's weightlifting shoes. The right pair of shoes can make or break your success in weightlifting.
Whatever shoe you choose, make sure that it provides a stable and secure base for your lifting.
Read about the best weightlifting shoes and why they are the best.