Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet
Buying lifting shoes can be a daunting process, and it shouldn't be. It is not like buying a home gym, where you have multiple attachments, specs, and assembly times to consider. With lifting shoes, you just want something that has a thin, flat sole, a lifted heel (usually), breathable material, and either enhanced laces, straps or both.
The shoe's job is to give you a stable platform while keeping your foot so still that it will not move or slide around and cause you to lose focus. Stable, but not cushioned. Lifting weights is not the same as running, and too much padding can actually keep you from getting an effective workout or cause injury.
We looked for those stable platforms and rock solid stable inners for you. The ones we share here are geared towards lifters with flat arches. Extra support is a must. We hope our guide helps.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hours of research
Derby construction for stability
Extra support in heel
Best 10 Weightlifting Shoes for Flat Feet
1. Adidas Power Perfect High Tops
Derby construction for stability
Extra support in heel
May need to go up or down half a size for best fit
These shoes are a blend of leather and synthetic materials, with heel lift and height for help with flat arches.Read more
The shoes are a strong, stable platform, with a midsole featuring a die cut wedge and extra heel support. There is a strap on the instep, making the shoes more stable so you can do your heaviest Olympic or other routines in safety and confidence. Adidas used their durable Adiwear on the outsole, along with a synthetic upper and mesh in the front foot area to let you move freely.
The heel has extra support padding. The strap uses hooks and loops for closure. Reviewers were quite positive, stating the shoe is breathable and provides comfort. The shoes use what is called derby construction. This means the material is in quarters. The eyelets for the laces are centered right in the center of the foot. The traditional design, also used in dress shoes, gives you a lot of lateral stability.
Air mesh in the collar adds to how breathable this shoe is. You have three color options. These are lifting specific shoes, not suited to other forms of exercise or for wearing outside the gym.
2. Pendlay Do Wins
Company has one of the best reputations
Innovative design based on customer feedback
3/4" plastic heel for lift
Extra wide toebox
Some lifters won't like feel of leather
Pendlay has supplied shoes to serious lifters for decades, and this base model is considered a classic. With its single sole design and extra wide footbed, it isn't hard to see why.Read more
Years of a careful redesign, based on feedback from lifters who use the shoes, have led to an optimal shoe that anyone, at any fitness level, can strap them on and start boosting their lifting skills. The heel, made from hard plastic, is three-quarters of an inch high. This is the standard height for Olympic lifting.
The shoes have leather uppers, with mesh on the sides, keeping them durable and helping resist stains. The wide profile is a favored feature, making the shoes comfortable and useful for those with wider than average feet. Two straps across the middle top area of the shoe keep your feet locked down to avoid injury.
The shoes use a single sole, a signature Do-Win look that everyone will recognize. These shoes are iconic in the lifting world, while also being ideal for routine use at the gym.
3. Nike Romaleos 2
Extremely durable, made for powerlifting
Contoured cup for your heel adds comfort, stability
Shoes better suited to powerlifters
Anyone can lift in this shoe, but its ultra stable construction makes it perfect for powerlifting.Read more
The shoe is surprisingly lightweight. It has a flexible feel, so feet won't feel pinched while you lift as much weight as you like in them. Powerlifters especially expect a lot from their shoes, and the Romaleos 2 can take your worst, set after set.
The uppers are synthetic, with two hook and loop style straps. Your foot will not move or slide around in these shoes. Nike added elastic to the area where your foot's tendons flex with the shoe. This increases comfort and helps you with getting a full range of motion. A wedge in the heel is contoured so it is anatomically friendly and keeps your heel in place perfectly.
A unique touch is the two insoles you get when you buy the Romaleos. There is a soft, flexible one for training as well as a stiff competition insole. Competitive weightlifters need that stiffness for an extra boost and superior stability when they do their routines.
4. Reebok Legacy Lifter
Firm outsole, but flexible
Heel lift for squats
Flex grooves let your feet move comfortably
Extra cushioning, two straps
Cannot be used outside of lifting
This Reebok offering is of synthetic construction, with textile to aid in flexibility. The result is a highly durable shoe that will stick with you and keep your feet locked down through any workout.Read more
The hard rubber sole is thin enough to function as a lifting shoe, with extra heel and ankle support. There are two straps, along with extra lateral support from wings that hold the eyelets and laces in place. The outsole is tough, but will not mark floors.
The shoe is especially suited for doing squats. That is because of the lifted heel. A technology called flex grooves in the front of the shoe allows your feet to move as they would in less substantial shoes. The flex grooves, common in running shoes, are the horizontal scorings you see running across the outsole at the very front of the shoe.
The shoes are only for lifting. Though they let you move, they are much too stiff for cardio or other pursuits. The heel lift is standard 3/4 of an inch. Reviewers noted the shoes have great support in the arch. They are firm but will go easy on your feet, not causing pain or constriction.
5. Adidas Powerlift 3.1
Good for lifters of all experience levels
Insole can come out for cleaning
Fit is tight, but not squeezing
Tight uppers with strap
Shoes run a bit small, be careful
The Powerlift is another shoe offering an extra wide footbed and plenty of motion control to help you lift safely.Read more
Construction is all synthetic leather. You get a midsole wedge, die-cut like other quality shoes, to keep you from coming off the ground. This helps you drive your toes and front feet down into the floor for extra power.
The fit is snug with a single strap in the middle of your foot. The shoes are unisex and come in several colors. Reviews are largely positive. These shoes are good for lifting, extra heavy or otherwise. They are best suited to lifting and should not be worn for CrossFit or other activities where you have to move quickly.
6. Inov-8 Men's Fastlift 335
Synthetic easy care materials
Nylon upper resists tearing
Mesh inner lining lets your feet breathe
Tongue and collar padded for comfort
Not dedicated lifting shoes, so may lack certain features
Moving down the list, but not losing in quality, here is a cross training shoe that you can wear for lifting as well as most of your cardio training.Read more
The shoes are made of 100% synthetic materials. This gives it strength, breathability, and some stain resistance. The upper is made not to rip. You get laces and a single lateral strap for stabilizing your foot inside the shoes.
The mesh lining also allows you to breathe, keeping sweat and odors down. The collar and tongue both have padding, so the tongue won't push in or leave indentations on your feet even when you work out heavily. The outsole, which gives the FastLift its name, has extra gripping properties to give you traction on the gym floor.
You get some added benefit, for lifting, with extra heel material. Inov-8 is an interesting small company, based in England, that has been in business since 2003. All of their gear focuses on moving naturally with the human body. These are comfortable shoes that will allow you to move while keeping you perfectly stable.
7. Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoe
Designed to improve your posture
Can keep knees/ankles from rolling
Can help you lift more right away
Company is hyper focused on shoes
May be tough for wider feet
These shoes are made for squatting. They feature a low key, almost simple design, with plenty of features to stabilize you throughout every rep.Read more
Nordic Lifting focuses exclusively on lifting equipment. The company offers wrist and ankle straps, compression gear, and a few other shoes in their catalog. Stitching is reinforced, so these shoes will never come apart at the seams even when you throw your worst at them. The shoes have a strap and Olympic height heel lift, as you would expect, for extra squat assistance.
Although great for Olympic squat artists, the Nordic Lifting shoe can help anyone who regularly lifts free weights or machine weight stacks. The soles have nonslip properties, keeping you ultra stable, and the shoes hold tight to your feet to keep them from moving while they act as your lifting platform.
Because they correct your posture, and because of the lifted heel, shoes like these can actually let you lift more weight. It isn't anything magical in the shoes; they are just designed to make you as efficient as possible. Nordic Lifting makes a product you can rely on, one that will reward you with consistent use.
8. Otomix Stingray
Excellent ankle support
Good sole traction
Flat sole, so you lift the weight and get all the benefit
Lightweight and lets you move
Suede may be hard to keep clean
The Stingray is a high top shoe made for lifting as well as MMA and wrestling. The ankle support is second to none.Read more
The material is suede, which is not as breathable as most mesh or synthetics. Otomix did provide vent holes. The shoe is exceptionally light and allows for your entire range of motion. The sole is extra grippy, with good traction. It's what quality wrestlers need on the mat, and it will benefit you during lifting by stabilizing you and helping you improve posture.
The soles are flat like most lifters expect from their shoes. It lets you use your feet and toes, not any padding, to push down into the floor during the active part of a squat or deadlift. This means you are doing all the work and will get your maximum strength benefits in every workout.
Otomix attaches its soles with both glue and stitching. They will keep the shoe's whole, and keep you protected, for a long time if you use the shoes consistently. You may have to work at keeping the suede clean, but the Stingray will never let you down.
9. Reebok PR Cross Trainer
Low cut collar and profile
Flexible and lightweight
Can wear outside the gym
Mesh uppers, including the tongue
Does not have the wedge heel insert
These are good all around shoes that will keep you stable during lifting, while also suitable for cross training activities.Read more
The uppers are mesh, letting air circulate so your feet stay cool and sweat is kept at a minimum. Your feet will stay comfortable and secure while you do your routine. The tongue, too, is mesh, making it strong, lightweight, and easy on the tops of your feet.
The toe of the shoe is leather-not synthetic, but full grain. It adds extra protection to your toe area, and also allows movement and adds durability. The back opening, where your foot goes in, is cut low so you are able to move freely during wear. The shoes are stable and stiff enough to give you a lifting platform but offer enough flexibility for cross training.
You also get an inner lining that guards against friction. Your feet will not chafe, redden, or become irritated when you wear these shoes.
10. Adidas Leistung 2
Synthetic textile blend uppers
Flexible and long lasting upper
Boa Closure system gives you a snug but pain free fit
Outsole is flat, giving you a big platform
No heel height or wedge
The heel height and lift on this shoe are not matched to Olympic standards, but the shoe is still an excellent and affordable choice for most gym lifters.Read more
The uppers are synthetic, woven into a pattern that will keep the shoe strong and in one piece for a long time. There's no strap, but Adidas used their patented Boa Closure system. It's a disc-shaped device that you can use to tighten the laces beyond what you could by hand. The Boa makes for a tight fit but won't constrict your feet.
The very front bottom of the shoe, the forefoot, is flat and has excellent movement. It is sturdy and gives you a good lifting foundation, but not as stiff as a powerlifting shoe would be. You get decent protection and a full range of motion.
The chassis, or heart of the shoe's design, was designed and fabricated specifically for lifting. Plastic polymers injected into the material give strength to the whole shoe, so you can be confident the shoes will deliver performance and help you achieve your best.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
A lifting shoe should set you up for safe and effective lifting.
In this review, the lifting shoe should also provide extra arch support. We specifically looked for those that do. Arch support can come in the form of padding, inserts, or even the wedge-shaped heel, inside the shoe, that you often find on squat shoes.
Since we were looking for lifting shoes, ones with that as their application, we did not include many that don't have the wedge. The ones we did include are lower in the list. We noticed these shoes also tend to be trainers, or cross trainers, good for other activities besides lifting. We provided them because we know many of our readers will want to cross train in their lifting shoes. But shoes that are not made solely for lifting did not make the top of our list.
If your feet sweat enough to make the shoe smell, bacteria can grow.
We do not want any of our readers to have that problem. So we made sure the shoes on our list will all allow airflow. Many of them have mesh uppers or quarter panels for this reason. We think synthetic materials have leather beat as far as breathability. This is why lifting shoes are rarely made completely of natural leather. The leather has good freedom of movement, and it is durable, but by itself, the leather cannot breathe to the level you need for cleanliness. Often, leather or partial leather lifting shoes will use synthetic leather, because it is more porous.
If the shoe fits, you will wear it and get the benefits.
You could probably lift in a pair of boots. This was popular at one time in the powerlifting community, and in some gyms you still see people working out in boots. It is frowned upon at most gyms, though, because the boots are loud and can leave marks on the floor.
We caution against using boots, too, but for different reasons. Mainly, the boots are not designed for comfort during heavy lifting. Work boots are not made to help you beat your PR on the squat or deadlift.
All the shoes we have reviewed here have superior comfort and will keep your feet feeling protected over time.
Leather was once the preferred material for many kinds of footwear.
That's because it is durable and lasts a long time. Jackets, shoes, and sometimes other clothing made of leather is treated and processed to make it even tougher than the animal the leather came from.
But in modern times, sporting footwear is rarely made completely of leather. It is heavy, expensive, and not very breathable, as we mentioned. Most makers have switched to synthetic materials, or a synthetic and textile blend. The synthetic materials are made by combining other fabrics strengthening polymers in a lab. This makes for a long lasting shoe that gives a good performance.
We are confident that every shoe on this list will give you long-lasting performance and will still be strong after periods of long use.
A lifting shoe's number one job is to lock your foot down.
The feet are the foundation of any Olympic weightlifting move, and this is also true for things like standing rows or standing barbell curls. If your feet move the wrong way, you can pull a tendon or lose control of the weight.
While the shoe is keeping your foot as still as possible, though, it also has to keep you comfortable. Uncomfortable shoes do not lead to good results. So the shoes we prioritized are ones that keep your feet still, giving you stability, while also being flexible enough for freedom of movement.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Not everyone needs to put forth the expense of getting a pair of shoes that they will only use for lifting weight at the gym.
This is especially true of beginners. If you join a gym, take up a sport, or just decide to be more active after a period of being sedentary, the most important thing you can do is show up. Make a routine and stick to it daily. Your favored activities may not include weightlifting, and that's okay. You can do a lot with the weight stack machines and body weight exercises.
If you do decide to lift, it is wise to learn the proper forms, techniques, muscle groups and different exercises. Once you know what to target and how, and once you are able to get through a few weeks of a lifting regimen without injury or layups, you may be ready for your first pair of lifting shoes. We suggest not going out and spending the money if you either aren't going to use them or don't have the knowledge base to use them effectively.
The main point of difference, what makes a lifting shoe a lifting shoe, is the lifted heel. You can see these on the back of a lifting shoe. Some of them resemble the honeycomb or waffle sole plates on a pair of Nike Shox, but the ones on lifting shoes will be a lot more pronounced. The raised heel, in fact, can feel unnatural for walking and standing when you try on your first pair.
What the heel does is to give your ankle an enhanced range of motion. That is important because if you can stretch that Achilles, you can go deeper into your squat. This will lead to greater strength and flexibility and, over time, less likelihood of injury.
The other thing setting lifting shoes apart from regular gym shoes is the flat sole. The flat sole, which comes into more contact with the ground, gives you a stronger foundation and a platform with more surface area. This feature can actually help you lift a bit more weight.
Other Factors to Consider
The outsole is the part of a shoe that comes into contact with the ground. On lifting shoes, these are almost always made of hard rubber, perhaps with a plastic heel lift cup in back. Everything above the outsole is called the upper of the shoe.
Materials and design of the uppers are important factors in the effectiveness of any lifting shoe. The material determines breathability, flexibility, stain fighting properties, and even how durable the shoe is. The design of an upper is important because it impacts stability. If you look at a dress shoe, something not made for the gym, it will not have the side panels and lace closures, or the padded tongue, that you almost always see on a sneaker.
Weightlifting shoes don't have to be heavy to help you lift heavy weight. In fact, shoes made from heavier materials can cause leg fatigue and make you want to finish your routine early. Heavier materials, also, will not be as breathable and can cause moisture problems inside the shoe.
In picking and studying shoes for our reviews, we looked for those that are lightweight enough to allow you movement. Lifting shoes are not as light as running shoes, but wearing them should not feel like you are in a pair of combat boots, either.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is there a difference between a squat shoe and a lifting shoe?
There really is, even though the terms get thrown around and are used interchangeably. A squat shoe, by definition, must have heel lift and a wedge-shaped insert for the arch. These are the mechanical tools that give you an advantage in doing squats, because of the increased ankle flexion. Lifting shoes are those with flat soles, ankle straps, padding, and good traction, but that may or may not have the raised heel or the insert. Often, lifting shoes are preferred because you can wear them for other activities. Squat shoes are so stiff that they can only be safe or effective while lifting free weights.
q: How do straps help?
Straps help by giving you a more snug fit. They are one tool, along with the laces or, sometimes, along with a patented closure system. You almost never see a lifting shoe with straps and no laces. That is because the strap alone is not strong enough to keep your foot still by itself. The laces aren't, either, so they are reinforced by the straps unless the manufacturer made other arrangements.
The straps also save you from feeling like you have to pull the laces in so tight that they hurt your feet.
q: Are lifting shoes worth it?
If you have progressed in your training program enough to start questioning whether you need lifting shoes or not, the answer is probably yes. The shoes really will help prevent injury and encourage your body to lift more. With so many on the market, too, you can always find something that will give you what you need without you having to overspend.
q: Will the shoes make me squat more?
They can help you squat more, and the results can be pretty dramatic at first. In addition to the increased ankle motion, a good pair of squat shoes will also drive your heel into the ground, giving you an extra boost and ensuring that all the effort is coming from you, not from the shoes. The other benefit with squat shoes is that they encourage you to keep your torso and spine straight. This will give you a lifting advantage and will also protect you from serious injury.
q: Is it good to use wrestling shoes for lifting?
Yes, it is fine, and in fact, Otomix is known for promoting their shoes as both for lifters and for martial artists. Otomix is a well known and trusted brand. One secret, for wrestling shoes, is that they will specifically help you with deadlifting. That is because of how lightweight and grippy they are. Wrestlers need good traction, more than almost any other athletes do.
- The Effects of Weightlifting Shoes on Squat Kinematics, University Study ,
- Kinematic Changes Using Weightlifting Shoes on Barbell Back, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research ,
- The History of Weightlifting Shoes, Long Running Educational Blog ,