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Asics Weightlifting Shoes Review 2019

last updated Oct 23, 2019

If you plan on doing any standing barbell exercises beyond biceps curls and upright rows, you will need shoes designed specifically for weightlifting.

In our research, we found that lifting shoes can be divided into two categories. They are:

High-end shoes for competitive athletes. These usually come from established brands, but not always. A high end lifting shoe can run more than 200 dollars.

Shoes for hobbyist lifters. They're built for the weight enthusiast who won't have a need to ever squat twice their body weight. You can usually use these for cross-training.

One of the most trusted providers of hobbyist lifting shoes is Asics. In this buying guide, we run down five of their top current offerings. We have also included more hardy heavy lifting shoes from Nike, Adidas, and NoBull. As you'll see, one of the best hacks in fitness is to repurpose wrestling shoes for weightlifting.

This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:

icon
GEL-Quantum 180 TR
97.8/100 our score
Heel
99
Materials
98
Shock Absorption
97
Support
97
Value
98
GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Why is it better?

Asics gel, plus extra support, adds excellent shock absorption, traction

Springloaded cushion adds more support, doesn't add weight

Excellent tight fit, hugs feet, doesn't work loose over time

Includes Asics truss, meaning lower overall weight and good stability

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Test Winner: GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
30
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
9857
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
20
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Adidas Powerlift IV
Adidas Powerlift IV
All canvas for better movement
Solid midfoot strap
Lightweight construction
Comes in several colors
Price:
Nike Romaleos 3 XD
Nike Romaleos 3 XD
Stable thanks to honeycomb plate
Product line has a great reputation
Extra weight adds stability, no ankle fatigue
Heel lift and squat wedge--a shoe for powerlifting
Price:
NoBull Trainer
NoBull Trainer
Can use as a cross trainer
Grippy and flexible sole
Grippy and flexible sole
Padded ankle support
Price:
Sorting Options
Heel Materials Shock Absorption Support Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.4
Heel
99 %
Materials
99 %
Shock Absorption
98 %
Support
98 %
Value
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.19)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Heel
99 %
Materials
98 %
Shock Absorption
97 %
Support
97 %
Value
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.19)
Amazon Link
$91.75
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.4
Heel
97 %
Materials
97 %
Shock Absorption
98 %
Support
97 %
Value
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.19)
Amazon Link
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Heel
97 %
Materials
97 %
Shock Absorption
94 %
Support
97 %
Value
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.19)
Amazon Link
$67.49
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Heel
93 %
Materials
94 %
Shock Absorption
95 %
Support
96 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (23.10.19)
Amazon Link
$99.95

Top 10 Picks

1. Asics Liftmaster Lite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.4
Asics Liftmaster Lite
Amazon Link
Heel
99
Materials
99
Shock Absorption
98
Support
98
Value
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Sizable heel platform

Breathable mesh toebox

Strap for added stability

Tight comfy fit

Cons:

Not strictly weightlifting shoe-may be important to purists

Asics discontinued the original Liftmaster, but their website is low on details as to why. You can still find the Liftmaster at other online retailers, but supplies are dwindling and we wanted to offer you a lifting shoe we know you can find easily if you’re interested.

Read more

Like the Liftmaster Asics weightlifting shoes before it, the Lite is Asics’s flagship weight training shoe. It is suitable for both hobbyist and competitive lifters, and Asics is even confident enough to recommend it for Olympic athletes.

The widened midsole on the Light gives you a better foundation for deadlifts, squats, and other barbell or dumbbell lifts. Asics also flattened out the forefoot piece and gave it a smooth texture to help with balance, support, and a full range of movement. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) in the heel makes for a lightweight shoe that won’t tire out your ankles and calves during heavy sessions.

The shoe does have a strap to help lessen foot movement and keep you locked in. Asics is known for its breathable mesh outsoles, no-seam design, and Mono Sock inner wear system that hugs your feet like your favorite pair of socks. The Liftmaster Lite Asics weightlifting shoes are also a cross-trainer that you can use for more than just the weight pile.

2. GEL-Quantum 180 TR

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
GEL-Quantum 180 TR
Amazon Link
Heel
99
Materials
98
Shock Absorption
97
Support
97
Value
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$91.75
Pros:

Asics gel, plus extra support, adds excellent shock absorption, traction

Springloaded cushion adds more support, doesn't add weight

Excellent tight fit, hugs feet, doesn't work loose over time

Includes Asics truss, meaning lower overall weight and good stability

Cons:

Wide heel may be unusual, awkward for some--allow for breaking in period

These stylish trainers feature Asics's AHAR Plus outsole, which gives you a lower overall sole weight to reduce ankle fatigue and keep a spring in your step as you bounce from station to station at your gym.

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AHAR is a spongey material that resists cuts and abrasions over the life of the shoes. The design has cushion material built-in, so the shoes are both durable and supportive without being too supportive for Olympic lifting. The grip is superior with the AHAR sole, helping you stay balanced and move with confidence and efficiency.

Midsole weighs noticeably less than typical Asics soles, which are made of EVA plastic. Key areas of the midsole are reinforced with SOLYTE high abrasion rubber. Asics certainly loves their acronyms and proprietary words for materials; far from being ad hype, Asics can explain what each unique element is and what it does for you when you lace up their shoes.

Uppers on the Gel-Quantum are of mesh and synthetic leather. The synthetics are durable, light, ventilated, and easy to clean with warm water and mild dish detergent. These shoes will last you a long time and deliver consistent results, so you can focus on beating your personal records instead of stopping to readjust a pesky shoe.

3. JB Elite III Wrestling Shoe

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.4
JB Elite III Wrestling Shoe
Amazon Link
Heel
97
Materials
97
Shock Absorption
98
Support
97
Value
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Thin, light, durable rubber sole aids with grip and traction

Shoes are OK to wear outside of gym--cuts down on transition time

No seams throughout means no opportunity for friction

Split sole design--the sole is divided into two stable parts, which aids in flexibility and makes shoe more aerodynamic

Cons:

Does not include heel lift or squat assist wedge

Yes, we snuck a wrestling shoe into a rundown of lifting shoes. It won't be the last time. The same ankle support, traction, and thin sole that helps wrestlers dominate the mat will also make you effective on the weight pile.

Read more

The shoe is made of synthetic materials, making them breathable and with sweat abatement properties. The rubber sole follows classic lifting shoe design, though with some bumps and ridges for traction; as we know, many lifters prefer to be close to the ground, with a thin sole, to add immobility. It keeps you safe ensures that you, not the extra padding, will absorb the sweet micro-tearing action that makes muscles grow.

To get an idea of fit, the shaft of this shoe is in the middle of the upper as you shoot straight up from your foot's arch. What's a shaft? It is the part of the shoe, running down the outer circumference on each side, that covers your ankle. Greater shaft height means greater ankle stability. Cowboy boots, for example, have some of the longest standard shafts of any footwear. It suits them to riding and roping, just like lifting shoe shaft adapts them to standing barbell movements.

Another cool feature, the lace garage, lets you tuck the tied laces into small but tight pockets near the top sides of the shoe. The laces won't come out, trip you up, or work their way loose. A mesh upper provides cheap, always on airt conditioning, and Asics made the shoe without seams to eliminate friction or irritation to your beloved feet.

4. Snapdown 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.4
Snapdown 2
Amazon Link
Heel
97
Materials
97
Shock Absorption
94
Support
97
Value
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$67.49
Pros:

Sizes for all genders, no "shrinking and pinking" on women's model

Total weight is just 7.2 ounces

Mesh, suede, and rubber combo makes for durability and sweat abatement

Fits true to size, snug and secure without locking down toes

Cons:

Some reviewers said the fit is narrow

We continue our wrestling shoe streak with this comfortable mat or floor gripper. It has a long outsole covered in Serradial traction pads. Made for fighting feet, the superior traction transfers over to your lifting practice to keep you stable and balanced.

Read more

Though it's at home in the athletic world, the Snapdown 2 does not compromise or skimp on comfort. It is ultra-durable and flexible, without sacrificing the partial immobility that recreational lifters need. A single layer of mesh on the upper, intertwined with human-made suede, creates extra ventilation and makes everything even more flexible. Since the suede is synthetic, too, it will be easier to clean and resist staining better than lamb, deer, goat or calf suede does.

The fit is true to size, according to reviews. Weight is low, so you can easily move from one lifting to station to another even during CrossFit WODs. Also, though it doesn't improve performance, the shoe is just plain stylish. The profile reminds of Nike's supercool Hyperdunk sneaker. In the old days, wrestling boots looked almost like costume boots. This way, you can wear the shoes to run errands without being that person who screams "I'm a cage fighter!" It is a nice touch that doesn't increase the retail price.

The Snapdown 2 has a total weight of 7.2 ounces. Lace Garage technology lets you hide the laces. Should you decide to try wrestling, the laces meet sport requirements.

5. JB Elite 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
JB Elite 4
Amazon Link
Heel
93
Materials
94
Shock Absorption
95
Support
96
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$99.95
Pros:

Shoe has a high tech sillhouette and comes in endless colors

Mesh uppers for light weight, air circulation, durability

Laces tuck behind a small velcro tongue piece

Lightweight at just 8.9 ounces

Cons:

Not suitable for powerlifting

This JB Elite 3 upgrade doesn't drastically change the stakes, but there's definitely enough difference for us to give the Elie 4 its own entry.

Read more

When we checked the Asics site, we found the shoes available from size 4 to 15 men's. But this is still a unisex shoe, with all the cool patterns and colors available for anyone of any gender to rock. To determine a women's size, just go two sizes down from your typical shoe size. At the time of this writing, the 4 was available in sizes 4 to 15 for men (2 to 13 women).

If you want any women's shoe in men's sizes, too, you can do the same trick by going up two sizes.

Jordan Burroughs, an Olympic and World Champion wrestling hero, helped design the Elite 4. The most striking difference is a shiny synthetic upper, with a raised ankle cuff, making the shoe look like something a cyborg would wear. The mesh material breathes well. Added synthetic coverage in key stress points adds up to a durable shoe. Fit is tight and customizable with a speed lacing system. There are no additional straps or closures on the Elite 4.

There is a velcro snap piece, centered over the tongue, that holds the laces in place without providing additional tightness. Like the older Lace Garage, the snap piece will keep your laces tied and out of the way. A split sole, carried over from the Elite 3, adds to flexibility and freedom of movement while still keeping you stable for Olympic weight work.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Heel

Heavy-duty Asics weightlifting shoes have the highest heel possible, along with a wedge shape to aid with ankle movement during the squat.

But since all of our readers don't need heavy-duty shoes, we did not automatically give a shoe a higher rank just for having a shaped or lifted heel. The freedom of ankle movement comes more into play as you lift heavier and heavier weights. It is safe to assume that a typical fitness buff will never have a need to reach Olympian levels of weight resistance.

This means that the Asics weightlifting shoes without the special heel can save you a substantial amount of money when you select a shoe for purchase. It is the same principle as not spending the extra money for an Olympic barbell if you do not need that level of specialty.

Of course, we are big proponents of the "to each their own" ethos, when it's reasonable. There is nothing wrong with springing for a 200 dollar pair of shoes, if that's what you want, even if you are not an Olympic or competitive lifter. We want everyone to be happy, safe, and free of injury, so we made notes of heel heights and have also provided enough information for you to follow up with your own research.

Materials

You don't need water-resistant Asics weightlifting shoes for the gym, but you definitely need a breathable upper because you are going to sweat when you push iron.

Materials for weightlifting shoes, from what we found, include leather, canvas, synthetics, and proprietary products like the Super Fabric that Nobull uses. There are also brand-specific inner parts, including Asics GEL and the Reebok U-Fit thermal tech.

As with anything, there are pros and cons to each material.

Canvas is lighter than leather and doesn't need as much maintenance, but canvas also isn't very breathable. Leather will last a long time but may make you feel like you have less freedom of movement. Space-age synthetics can repel everything from sweat to dust bunnies but cost more upfront, are harder to clean and may have a bigger environmental footprint than what you are comfortable with.

As with most criteria, your best bet is to research each potential material, make a pros and cons list, decide which pros are most important to you and which cons you can't live with, and go from there. We are happy to offer you our top ten Asics weightlifting shoes as a starting point for that list.

Shock Absorption

Shock absorption and support are not the same things, but they work together to keep you working out hard.

Lifting weight, almost any weight, puts a shock on your skeletal system. More often than not, even if you use perfect form, your delicate spine receives part of that shock. Spines are tough, but still susceptible to damage. And you may not even notice the damage when it starts.

Your joints, too, bear the brunt of this unnaturally heavy burden. Warming up, stretching, rest days, cooling down, cross training-these can all protect your joints. But in a moment of the lift, your shoes have to be ready for the challenge or the prep work may not save you.

All the shoes on our list feature shock absorption. They won't protect you from a shock as Asics weightlifting shoes do, but that's okay. Pounding the pavement and lifting the bar are two different animals. This is why, in each review, we shared whether the shoe is a cross trainer or a straight lifting shoe. Cross trainers Asics weightlifting shoes are fine for most lifts, but if you are going to pursue heavy Olympic lifts--clean and jerk, deadlift, full or front squats, Romanian deadlifts, etc.--you are going to need to invest money in high-end Asics weightlifting shoes to keep those bones and joints healthy.

Support

It may seem counterintuitive, but weightlifting shoes cannot offer you the same support that running shoes can.

That's because running shoes are usually designed for worst-case scenario outdoor running. Worst scenario here means long stretches of running on concrete, asphalt, or another hard surface designed to hold more weight than humans alone can provide. Any surface that can support a car or truck in going to be hard enough to damage your joints over time, and leave you sore or fatigued in the meantime. So shoe designers make sure their products will protect you by going overboard with the padding, compared to the padding you would need to walk around on the average gym floor. Overkill keeps you safe.

This is not something you can do with lifting shoes. That's because the copious padding can actually destabilize you by diverting your energy into keeping your foot planted in place. You'd never stand on your mattress to lift the weight. So Asics weightlifting shoes have to walk the line between taking a load off your spine and keeping your feet immobilized. In this buying guide, we were careful to avoid products that were advertised as lifters but contained more padding than we were comfortable with.

Value

Just like hand tools, cars, and wedding dresses, you never want to pick out lifting shoes based on price alone.

Think about it. That off-brand socket set may get you through a round of oil changes, or simple home repairs, but over time the sockets will lose strength and let you down because the care and oversight just weren't there in the manufacturing process. And those 20 dollar specials from bestlowpricelifties.com will lead you to heartache in even less time.

The takeaway for us, and it is pretty simple. You can find the shoe with the right features, construction, and design with a bit of research. The best value for you will be the one you can rely on without breaking the bank.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
ico Heel
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#2
ico Materials
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#3
ico Shock Absorption
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#4
ico Support
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#5
ico Value
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expert tips icon
Barefoot Lifting: Max Burn or Accident in Motion?

Before he became an action hero, politician, and healthy living advocate, Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in a legendary bodybuilding documentary called Pumping Iron. The film centered around athletes preparing for both the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions. Lou Ferrigno was in the movie, too, just before the Incredible Hulk TV series made him a household name.

It is hard to overestimate the influence Pumping Iron had on the professional and amateur bodybuilding communities. And that is why we bring it up here. Many of the athletes in the movie wore flip flops as training shoes, while others ditched the shoes altogether and pushed out their reps barefoot. Even today, many weightlifters swear up and down that barefoot lifting will you stronger, faster, while pushing up your personal best for the squat.

But is barefoot lifting safe? It seems way too easy to lose your footing and drop a barbell with no traction to speak of, leading to serious injury.

This is not always the case, though. Bare feet can give a more rugged and stable platform than you may think. Still, barefoot squats are best left to professionals with training, who have a competitive reason to take the risk of going without padding or shock absorption. Hobbyist lifters should keep the shoes strapped on. If you do decide to pursue barefoot lifting, do yourself a favor and get guidance from someone with experience. And remember, most commercial gyms will not let you work out without appropriate footwear. You may be able to get away with flip flops in some gyms. Flip flops are flat as pancakes and are the closest you can get to barefoot lifting without actually being barefoot.

Be Your Own Olympian

If you frequent fitness and especially weightlifting sites, you probably read a lot about Olympic weightlifting moves. You may have also watched Olympians performing them on television. The routines and movements are extremely specific, with points given or taken for small nuances of body positioning. With deadlifts, in particular, Olympic athletes train to lift more than their competitors.

The current world record for deadlifting is held by Eddie Hall, a World's Strongest Man competitor. In 2016, Hall deadlifted an astounding half a ton of weight in the UK's World Deadlifting Championship.

It's unlikely anyone reading this will ever need or even want to lift the equivalent of a grand piano with their bare hands. Still, incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine can build strength efficiently and safely if you go about it methodically and add the weight on slowly over time.

The deadlift consists of placing a loaded barbell on the floor, standing behind and over, squatting down to grab it with both arms, then standing back up. That's it. The barbell only comes up to hip level. There's no arm flexion. This means you can work your large muscle groups, the ones in your back, core, and legs, in a single movement. This means you don't have to do a lot of reps. A single rep, with a weight near the top of your limits, will often be enough to start seeing results.

If you decide to make deadlifts a part of your regular practice, be safe about it. Talk with a trainer, if possible, to make sure you are not doing too much too fast. Have the trainer analyze your form. Stick to the proper form every single time. If you find your form is falling apart, that means you are lifting too much weight. Take it down a notch and listen to your body.

Other Factors to Consider

Advanced Features

If we're talking about lifting shoes, advanced features are typically the features associated with high end, dedicated lifting shoes, like the Nike Romaleus or Reebok Legacy Lifter. Those features include extra heel height, reinforced heel cups, proprietary outsole, and padding materials, and a specialized heel plate or sole. Nike's distinctive honeycomb soles are an example. They help with weight distribution and shock absorption.

The best example of a shoe with zero advanced features is the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star. It has an ordinary rubber sole, little padding, canvas or leather outsole with two vent holes, a traditional lacing system, and not much else aside from that iconic look. Yet there are plenty of hardcore lifters who wear Chucks and swear by them. We don't want to discount advanced features, because they can give you an edge and may be indispensable if you deal with chronic pain. But we wanted to make you aware that, just because a shoe has all the frills, that doesn't mean it is the best one for your lifting practice.

Outsole

The outsole of the Asics weightlifting shoes is the very bottom part, the part that meets the ground. In athletic shoes or sneakers, the outsole is almost always made of rubber. It will be either carbon rubber, blown rubber, or both in different areas. Carbon rubber is the harder of the two, and will often be found in those areas that wear out the fastest.

Weightlifting shoes have extra thin soles for stability and balance. Extra features include grip materials or textured surfaces for traction. Outsoles are designed to help you push and drive into the floor, rather than to protect you from bumps in the road. This is why bodybuilders value a thin sole over almost any other design feature and are what led to the idea that flip flops are the best Asics weightlifting shoes. With a flip flop, your feet are doing all the work and you are reaping the strength benefits of that.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do I have to have weightlifting shoes if I lift weights?

a:

No. Some of the people you meet at the gym will tell you differently, and shoe manufacturers will certainly work to persuade you, but regular running shoes or cross trainers are fine unless you want to get into lifting heavyweights. If you are primarily into dumbbell or barbell curls for general fitness or sport-specific training, or if most of your lifting takes place on machines, you can get by with your favorite Asics weightlifting shoes. And, of course, bench presses and other bench exercises don't require you to use your feet, so you don't need lifting shoes to do those either.

q: If leather doesn't breathe, why use it for lifting shoes?

a:

Although it's not porous, leather is exceptionally strong, durable, and stain-resistant. If you spill something on a leather shoe, or if you walk through a rain puddle, you can usually wipe it off with a baby wipe, makeup remover sheet, or moist paper towel. Soft leather, which undergoes a chemical treatment, is flexible and allows for a complete range of movement.

A shoe made of basic leather, either natural or synthetic, can also mean a lower price tag. Leather handbags, dress shoes, boots, and jackets are practically luxury items, and prices reflect that. But those products use a different grade of leather that is more expensive to produce and cure. Leather gym shoes are made of a more workmanlike leather that lends itself to gym use.

q: I'm always concerned about environmental impact. What should I look for in weightlifting shoes?

a:

Many of today's fitness buffs share this concern and desire to minimize our footprint. Manufacturers have caught on to this, and now, more than at any other time, you have options.

For cruelty-free and minimally processed shoes, there are vegan weightlifting shoes. Nike's Romaleos is one.

The chemicals that go into the shoe are important, too, maybe even more important than any other factors. A company's exact manufacturing process may effectively be a secret, but the shoe ingredients are not. For example, if you aren't vegan, you can be sure that leather Asics weightlifting shoes are safer for the environment than heavily processed synthetic leather.

Finally, remember that environmentally friendly shoes are a fine balance. You may find a shoe that contains no animal products, but contains atmosphere destroying chemicals and even carcinogens. This is where research comes in. If you can set yourself up with base knowledge about common ingredients, you will not need to do copious research for each potential shoe you look at.

q: Why are heel wedges such a big deal?

a:

Heel wedges are important because they can improve the strength gains that you get from barbell squats while improving your efficiency and reducing the chance of injury while lifting heavyweights. They do this by slightly elevating your heel to enhance your ability to drive your feet down towards the ground, squatting a bit lower as your body uses that downward driving force to push your legs and upper body up into that barbell.

q: Am I okay with a shoe doesn't have the squat wedge?

a:

The answer is almost always yes. As you progress into heavier squats, if you decide to go that route, you will definitely want to start using the wedges at some point. One option is to use sport-specific heel cups to place inside your shoe. You'll get the basic benefits of an elevated heel while giving yourself more time to save up for a pair of high-end Asics weightlifting shoes with built-in heel lifts.

Sources

  1. Web Staff, Strength and Conditioning, Equipment Maker/Seller
  2. IMDB Staff, Pumping Iron (1977), Film Review Site
  3. Gregory D. Myer et al., The back squat: A proposed assessment of functional deficits and technical factors that limit performance, NIH Website