Asics Weightlifting Shoes Review 2021
If you plan on hitting the squat rack or bench on the regular, you need a good pair of shoes. What we love most about ASICS weightlifting shoes is that they provide an extensive lineup of trainers that are perfect for casual lifters or dedicated powerlifters, and they come in at a super reasonable price point.
ASICS trainers utilize a high-abrasion rubber outsole that is insanely durable, and also helps to make contact with all points in the floor for a strong and stable base. More supportive trainers use a gel midsole, which is ideal because it helps to support, yet isn’t overly bulky.
In this guide, we have rounded up some of our favorite styles of ASICS weightlifting shoes to help support your feet as you work towards your new PR.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hours of research
Sizable heel platform
Breathable mesh toebox
Strap for added stability
Tight comfy fit
7 Best Asics Weightlifting Shoes
1. Liftmaster Lite
Sizable heel platform
Breathable mesh toebox
Strap for added stability
Tight comfy fit
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 Asics Liftmaster weightlifting shoes before it, the Lite is Asics’s flagship weight training shoe. It is suitable for both hobbyists 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 weightlifting 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
Excellent shock absorption, traction
Springloaded cushion for support
Excellent tight fit
Lower overall weight and good stability
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. 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.Read more
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.
Grippy rubber outsole
When it comes to added support when lifting weights, gels cushioning is your best option, and the Gel-Fortius has you covered. What makes gel midsoles ideal for weight lifting is that it molds to the shape of your foot which allows you to really push into all points in your feet for better ground connection with added stability. We love this design because it is the perfect marriage between minimalism and support.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is the upper. It boasts a low profile that sits well below the ankle bone to provide enhanced flexibility in your feet for various lifts. It is composed of a blend of super-lightweight mesh materials that lift hot air up and away from your foot, and midfoot synthetic overlays for added stability.
Lifters also appreciate that this trainer boasts a zero-drop midsole that really puts you in contact with the ground. The midsole also boasts a modest layer of gel cushioning that supports your foot without a lot of extra bulk. The outsole is composed of ASICS High Abrasion Rubber that really grips the ground for a stable base for squats or deadlifts.
If you are in the market for a shoe that boasts minimalist features that feel like you aren’t wearing anything at all, while still offering modest support, you can’t go wrong with the Gel-Fortius. The low-profile upper and grippy zero-drop outsole makes it the perfect fit for CrossFit, bodybuilding, and even powerlifting.
4. Cael V7.0
The Cael V7.0 is another great option for lifters that need a little extra ankle support. The design of this shoe offers excellent lockdown and flexibility for a wide variety of lifts and boasts bright and punchy colors that are bound to get attention. While it costs a little bit extra than your average lifting shoe, we feel that the heightened durability and unique design make it worth every penny!Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it has a slightly higher frame than many of the hi-top designs that we have seen so far. The high cut and unique lacking system help to promote lockdown and help to stabilize your ankles when engaging in difficult lifts.
We also love that this shoe is zero-drop, which allows your feet to dig into all corners of the floor when engaging in heavy lifts. The outsole is composed of high-abrasion rubber that really grips the floor beneath your feet for a strong and secure foundation.
If you are in the market for an incredibly durable high-profile design with zero-drop, the Cael V7.0 is a great option. The versatile and flexible design is perfect not only for basic lifts and CrossFit, but it’s also great for powerlifting and compound or snappy movements.
5. JB Elite 4
High tech silhouette
Laces tuck behind a small velcro tongue piece
Lightweight at just 8.9 ounces
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. 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.Read more
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 shoes in men's sizes, 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.
6. GT-1000 10
FlyteFoam Midsole Technology
Ideal for power or speed
EVA sock liner
If you are looking for something that is a little more versatile that can transition from the weight room to the track, this design is worth checking out. It boasts supportive features in the upper and midsole that provides a little extra boost of support when engaging in difficult lifts and offers a supportive midsole that is flexible and lightweight for quick movements.Read more
While many of the trainers on our lists are built for lifting or powerlifting alone, the GT-1000 10 is a hybrid that is perfect for support and speed. The upper is composed of a blend of lightweight mesh materials with synthetic overlays that lock your foot in place while keeping it cool.
The midsole utilizes FlyteFoam Midsole Technology that adds a little spring to your step and supports your foot when engaging in compound lifts. This supportive midsole is ideal for lifters with tired knees or hips that need a little extra boost. It also boasts ASICS patented high abrasion rubber for heightened durability that really grips the ground under your feet.
If you are reluctant to invest in a pair of trainers built specifically for the weight room, the GT-1000 is an excellent hybrid option that works just about anywhere. The lightweight midsole and upper are incredibly flexible that allows for quick and snappy movements during CrossFit, and the lightweight FlyteFoam midsole gives you a little boost of support where you need it most.
7. Matflex 6
Excellent for squats
EVA sock liner
Breathable mesh upper
Runs small and narrow
Very thight fit
This high-profile design is the perfect option for those looking for great powerlifting or CrossFit shoes that have excellent movement while keeping your feet securely locked in place. The higher frame of this design helps to lock your ankle in place which makes it ideal for squats, and the zero drop keeps all points of your foot in contact with the floor.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it has a hi-top frame that runs up and over your ankle bone. The unique lacing system locks the shoe in place and provides your ankles with an added layer of support which is super important when engaging in weighted squats.
We also love that the outsole of the Matflex 6 is composed of high abrasion rubber that can stand up to high weights over time, and really grips the floor. The zero-drop of this design makes it ideal for heavy lifts (such as deadlifts) because it allows you to anchor your feet into all points on the floor.
If you are in the market for something that is lightweight and boasts a minimalistic frame that feels like you aren’t wearing anything at all, the Matflex 6 is a great choice. We love that it comes in a wide variety of color options and clocks in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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. 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 5 Asics weightlifting shoes as a starting point for that list.
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 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.
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 is 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.
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 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
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.
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
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: Are Asics good workout shoes?
Absolutely! There are a few key features found in Asics that make them the perfect companion for lifting. First of all, they come in at a super reasonable price point. Many powerlifting shoes come in at a pretty steep price point and can really only be used for one type of movement, which makes taking the plunge of an expensive shoe difficult.
ASICS are incredibly affordable and versatile, which means you get a bigger bang for your buck. They also utilize their patented high-abrasion rubber outsole, which extends the overall life of your shoe. Lifters need an outsole that can withstand high wear and tear and heavy lifts, and ASICS delivers.
q: When should I buy weightlifting shoes?
If you are dedicated to a scheduled weightlifting routine, it may be time to invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes. Whether you are bodybuilding, engaging in CrossFit, or powerlifting, your standard running shoes just won’t cut it. Running shoes are designs to compensate for a repetitive gait cycle, and have higher density rubber on key areas of your foot. Good weight lifting shoes have high-abrasion rubber on all points of your foot for even wear-and-tear, and also provide added support where you need it most.
q: Are weightlifting shoes worth it?
Veteran lifters may tell you that you need to ditch your trainers altogether and lift in your socks. While barefoot lifting help to connect you with the ground, you fail to support your arches, knees, and ankles. We recommend investing in a good pair of durable trainers that will work to support your feet, and may even help you to push heavier weights.
The good news here is that compared to some of the other brands of dedicated lifting shoes, ASICS maintains a reasonable price point. Plus, many of the trainers that we selected are not only great for powerlifting, but for supplemental lifts and even cardio work, which gives you a bigger bang for your buck!
q: Do I have to have weightlifting shoes if I lift weights?
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?
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?
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.
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?
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: Are zero-drop shoes better than wedges?
The answer to this question boils down to personal preference and the type of lifts you engage in. For bench presses, heels are incredibly helpful, and help to support your back, and may even help you push heavier weights. For deadlifts, a zero-drop trainer may be your better option because it helps to make full contact with the floor to generate more power.
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.
q: Should I squat in lifting shoes?
Yes! In fact, many of the shoes that we selected are built for squats. If your lifting routine involves a lot of weighted squats, we suggest investing in a pair of high-top designs, like the Cael V7.0. When squatting, a lot of the weight falls on your ankles and can make them turn inwards (which is a wonderful recipe for an injury). By wearing a pair of hightops with a tight lacing system, they support your ankles and prevent them from turning in at odd angles.
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