What shoes have you found to be most effective for exercises like squats and deadlifts etc.?

  • Could you consider adding some more information, like what shoes you currently wear and any experience you have with shoes during weightlifting?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 14:15
  • I wear a pair of Vans slipons most of the time. Nice stable sole.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 9:07
  • 1
    I ended up getting a pair of Merrell barefoot running shoes, and they've worked great for me so far. I wanted to get the VFFs but these shoes fit my feet much more comfortably. Since they have minimal cushioning and a wide toe box, you don't get a compressible sole or wobbliness. They're also very versatile, and you can take them for a run or a hike. There are also several other brands of "minimal" style shoes that could probably double as weightlifting shoes: New Balance and Terra Plana come to mind
    – Curtis
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 4:59

4 Answers 4


When doing any weight training that involves the legs/feet, you want a shoe that provides:

  • Hard, incompressible sole. Avoid squishy sneakers, as they are a bit like doing push-ups on a mattress.
  • Wide & stable. You don't want to be wobbly.enter image description here

Specific cases:

  • Any type of squatting (including the clean, jerk, snatch): a raised heel is advantagous when squatting. Proper weightlifting shoes are your best bet, such as the ones available at Rogue Fitness, Pendlay Barbell or Eleiko.
  • Just about everything else (including deadlifts): you want to be as low/close to the ground as possible. Barefoot or in socks is ideal when conditions allow. If not, Chucks and Vibram Five Fingers are good alternatives.
  • 1
    +1 for Vibrams. I love these for squats and deadlifts.
    – G__
    Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 7:02
  • +1 for raised heel when squatting Commented Mar 22, 2011 at 8:56
  • 1
    If you could only choose one pair for squats, deadlifts and presses, would you prefer a raised heel or not?
    – user26
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 18:23
  • Are you saying one should change their shoes when squatting vs. deadlifting?
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Apr 28, 2014 at 2:27
  • 1
    If you're wearing Olympic shoes with a raised heel, you best be launching some real weight in the air. For 99% of lifters a pair of low top converse will work just fine.
    – Eric
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 22:53

To some degree I think the shoe needs will vary based on individual anatomy and flexibility. For me (43yr old male with 2yrs of heavy lifting, 6 months olympic weightlifting) a taller and stiffer heel was needed to deal with my ankle flexibility issues. Without the higher heel I tended to end up with my weight to far forward onto my toes rather than heels while lifting.

I've been through 3 different pairs in the past year and so far have liked the Risto Olimpico the best. They seem to have the biggest heel to toe drop of the ones I've tried and are definitely one of the most comfortable. I'be also tried the Pendlays (had a good heel but were very uncomfortable for me) and the Adidas Powerlift Trainers (very comfortable but not a big enough heel for me). Others at my gym swear by the Nike Romaleos and the Adidas Adipower shoes but I have never tried those.


I feel like it really depends on the lift. Pretty much unanimously, a lifter performing oly lifts or front squats will benefit from an oly lifting shoe. Equally, a flat bottom shoe, such as chuck taylors or ballet slippers will help out during the deadlift. However, I feel like the back squat has a wider variance in what lifters prefer to lift in.


A cheap good shoe to start in - Adidas Spezial. It is close to the ground, is very sturdy and does not cost a whole lot, like specialized shoes do.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.