Best Workout Shoes of 2019: Weightlifting, CrossFit, and more

Man doing a squat using a heavy barbell using the best workout shoes for weightlifting

You are ready to start working out but you don’t know which are the best training shoes.

Or, perhaps you need a new pair of shoes to support your training and improve your performance.

Having a good, quality pair of workout shoes is a more important factor in our training than most of us think. Good shoes provide stability, comfort, and can boost our performance through the roof if chosen correctly.

Finding a particularly good pair of shoes for your workouts can be a daunting process and, at times, it can get frustrating.

Therefore, we’re going to provide you with some quick tips and tricks on how to choose the best gym shoes.

We’re throwing the guesswork out the window, by providing you with our top five choices of shoes for different activities.

At a glance: Best workout shoes

#1 Gym

Adidas AdiPower

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#2 Gym

Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA

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#1 CrossFit

Reebok Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave

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#2 CrossFit

Inov-8 Men's F-lite 195 V2

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Do you need training shoes?

The short answer to this question is – it depends.

If training is just a hobby and you don’t really care about performance, then you can get away with a pair of sneakers.

However, if you are going to the gym and are really passionate about it, have goals, and a boost in performance would be something you’d be proud of... then it’s recommended that you get a pair of sports-specific shoes.

It should be noted that there are multiple types of sports shoes, each influencing the mobility, strength exertion, and stability needed for a specific sport.

For example, given that gymnasts use only bodyweight movements in their competitions, they will use beam shoes. These are tight slippers, very light, with traction on the bottom to prevent slipping.

So how do you know which are the best gym shoes for your particular sport?

Let’s break it down below.

How to choose the right workout shoes?

As mentioned above, not all shoes are created equal.

Some of them are very stiff, while others are elastic. Some have a raised heel, while others have a flat sole.

How do you know which of these is the choice for you?

Weightlifting

The following are the very basic requirements for a weightlifting shoe.

  • Heel height between .3” – 1”
  • Stiff heel made of TPU, EVA, wood, or stacked leather
  • Shoe straps: 0-2

Some shoes have a higher boot, for additional security, while others have a wider toe box. That in turn enhances grip and stability by allowing toe splay.


  • Heel height

As stated, the height of the heel should be anywhere between .3” to 1”, the standard being .75”.

An elevated heel increases the range of motion in your ankle and offers a better base of support.

The more stability you have during a clean and jerk, snatch, or squat, the more power you will be able to exert.

  • Stiff heel

The heel in a weightlifting shoe can be made of EVA, TPU, wood, or stacked leather.

Weightlifting shoes are stiff to provide stability. The more stability you have, the more power you can exert in your lifts.

In our opinion, you should avoid heels made of EVA.

EVA compresses under heavy load, taking away from the stability of the shoe.

  • Shoe straps

Straps provide additional ankle support.

Depending on the manufacturer and the style, weightlifting shoes can have up to two straps.

The shoes that do not have straps make up for them with the laces system.

If you try running using these shoes you will soon find yourself having a bad time. They are not intended nor suited for foot strike exercises and using them for running may even lead to injury (due to their stiffness).

CrossFit

CrossFit is the type of sport that mixes elements from gymnastics, weightlifting, and running.

Given that there is so much involved you may be wondering what shoes should you get. You can’t just get a plain ol’ pair of weightlifting shoes; at the same time you can’t get running shoes.

Not to mention that there are elements of gymnastics involved so they should also be light.

Therefore, you need shoes that are supposed to be light, stiff, sturdy, well cushioned – and it may feel like a pain-you-know-where to find your shoes.

We have you covered.

Here’s what we should be on the lookout for when searching for the best CrossFit shoes:

  • Hard soles
  • Sturdy
  • Flat
  • Flexible

It may seem impossible to find such a shoe – sturdy and flexible at the same time? Well, you’d be happy to hear that well-known brands have created shoes specially designed for CrossFit.

Let’s break down the above mentioned features and see why they are necessary.


  • Hard soles

Among the exercises performed in a CrossFit gym we find box jumping, squatting, snatch, rope climbing, and rock climbing.

Can you imagine having a soft sole when climbing rocks or a rope?

Soft soles (found in running shoes) are meant to absorb shock. Losing that shock means losing power that could’ve been used in a lift.

For all the aforementioned exercises you need a hard sole that will provide grip when necessary and that will allow you to stay well planted to the ground during lifts.

  • Sturdy

Running shoes were made for running and weightlifting shoes were made for lifting weights. If you mix the two of them you will get the opposite of a durable shoe.

CrossFit asks for a variety of movements from running to sliding down a rope, to climbing rocks and so forth. If you don’t want to get a brand new pair of shoes every single week, you need shoes that have been specifically created for this sport.

  • Flat

The weight should be distributed about midway through the foot (if not closer to the heel). This helps with main lifts such as snatches and squats. CrossFit shoes have an offset of 4mm which makes them ideal for such movements.

  • Flexible

Lastly, running is involved in this sport as well. Having stiff shoes can lead to potential injuries, so the shoe has to be flexible to allow movement of the foot.

How to get the right fit?

After figuring out which are the best training shoes for you, you need to understand how fitting works. Some activities require shoes that are more on the snug side, while others require shoes that are a bit looser.

Weightlifting

If you remember what we’ve discussed above, the whole idea behind a weightlifting shoe was increased support and stability. Therefore, you need shoes that are a bit snug but have a wide enough box to allow toe splay.

There are far too many people who swim in their weightlifting shoes.

The whole point is to get an item that offers stability and in which your feet do NOT slide.

Go try them on if need be, but whatever you do make sure that you won’t get loose weightlifting shoes.

CrossFit

For CrossFit shoes you want a tiny bit of room available after you put them on. During workouts your feet may swell up a little.

That’s normal.

Hence, when they swell, your shoes won’t feel snug.

Be aware that you don’t want them loose either. That may interfere with the quality of your workout, especially during the weightlifting part.

Taking these into account, let’s have a look at the best training shoes for both weightlifting and CrossFit.

Best workout shoes for weightlifting

Adidas AdiPower

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The Adidas AdiPower has a leather-made upper which is coated with PU (polyurethane). Therefore, they are durable and water resistant.

The midsole is made of TPU for a better foothold, and the rubber sole keeps your feet planted to the ground.

Heel height is .75 inches (20.1 mm) which is the sweet-spot for most people.

Adidas’ straps count decreased from three in previous models (AdiStars) to a single strap in this one.

As mentioned above, they offer great stability; our feet felt rock solid under the bar.

The buckle offers extra support, and the heel cup eliminates any possibility of your feet slipping inside the shoes.

If you plan on doing lots of squats and deadlifts, then this may be the perfect shoe for you. These exercises felt like never before (in a good way).

The fit is great and the shoes run true to size.

That being said, the Adidas AdiPower may not be the weightlifting shoes for you if you have wider feet, because the toe box is narrow.

In terms of the price, they are on the expensive side. However, we believe that they are well worth the price taking into account their quality, durability, and performance. Furthermore, you can expect them to last a few good years if properly taken care of.

Pros

  • Made with quality materials for increased durability
  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Runs true to size
  • Especially great with squats and deadlifts

Cons

  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe and workouts.

Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA

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From the get go the Inov-8 FastLift 370 BOA sets itself apart from other weightlifting shoes with its lightweight. It's made of a highly breathable mesh that makes these shoes light and very flexible (compared to other weightlifting shoes).

The increased flexibility in the forefoot makes them more comfortable than other similar shoes.

Another difference from the competition is the height of the heel – 0.65” – as opposed to the .75” which is the norm nowadays.

The heel is made of TPU to prevent your feet from sinking in during heavy lifts.

Another factor that sets it apart is the BOA closure system, that allows for fast shoe lacing, support during movements, and ease of taking the shoes off.

This is a benefit especially for those who have to change their shoes during workouts.

Furthermore, thanks to the closure system these shoes fit as if custom made.

The toe box is wide enough to allow for toe splay during movement, but narrow enough as to not give you the impression of wearing a loose shoe.

As with the AdiPower, the price may be considered a downside.

However, the durability and lightweight make up for it, making it a valuable asset and investment in every weightlifter’s wardrobe.

Pros

  • Lightweight, flexible, and highly breathable
  • BOA closure system allows you to easily change shoes and has a great impact on the way these fit
  • Runs true to size
  • Very comfortable

Cons

  • The BOA system may loosen up after prolonged use

Conclusion:

As the name suggests, the Inov-8 is here to innovate. If you are looking for a light and flexible shoe for your squats, cleans, etc., then the FastLift 370 BOA may be the right choice for you.

Additionally, with its closure system it is a good choice for those who have to change shoes during workouts and for those who want to feel as if wearing a custom made shoe.

Nike Romaleos 3

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Rundown

The Nike Romaleos 3 are a highly breathable weightlifting shoe, made of synthetic leather and mesh which offers extra support during lifts.

They feature a .79 inches honeycomb TPU heel, which qualifies them for the .75 inches category.

The Romaleos 3 have five eyelets, out of which three are normal and two are flywire cables.

For those unaware, flywire is a cable that acts as an eyelet. Its purpose is to offer more support than a basic eyelet, while at the same time minimizing the weight of the shoe.

Couple that with the nylon mid-foot strap and they feel like glued to your foot.

The tongue is light to help with breathability; however, bear in mind that we've encountered wear and tear issues with it quite early.

These weightlifting shoes come with two insoles - one soft, the other firm. We consider this a huge benefit in terms of comfort and performance.

Depending on the exercise, you may need a softer or a stiffer insole and the Romaleos 3 gives you both.

We should note that these shoes are quite narrow. If you have wide feet they may not be a good choice for you.

However, if you have narrow or medium width feet they will fit great.

Lastly, we have encountered some problems with the buckle. More precisely, it broke at some point after using them for a few times.

Pros

  • Flywire cables for minimized weight and extra support 
  • Comes with two insoles to suit different comfort and performance needs
  • Fit great if you have narrow or medium-width feet

Cons

  • The tongue may present wear and tear issues early on
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet
  • The strap buckle may break after using them for a while

Conclusion:

Nike Romaleos 3 are great in terms of support, comfort, and performance. We feel like the two interchangeable insoles can make your weightlifting journey more pleasant. You may encounter some wear and tear issues early on 

VS Athletics 2

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Rundown

The VS Athletics 2 is an affordable weightlifting shoe that can really make a difference in your lifts even if you are on a budget. While most people avoid shoes (especially sports shoes) that are more on the medium to low price range, we found these to be an exception.

We believe that this brand has the potential to wrestle with the big, established brands in the weightlifting department.

First of all, we can notice the improve aesthetics of the 2nd version of these weightlifting shoes. The first version was amazing for its price point; however, the company used to get lots of complaints regarding the looks.

This new version has all the good features with a sleeker design.

Apart from the convenient price, the VS Athletics 2 also offers great stability. Training in these shoes feels as if you’re glued to the floor. Balance is no longer an issue and pushing back up through your heels should feel more natural.

These shoes run true to size, feel snug mid-foot – for stability – and have enough box room for toe splay. 

Apart from the way they fit, another advantage is the addition of two straps, which is less common nowadays, allowing for a better fit and improved stability.

If you are looking for a weightlifting shoe that is a bargain while performing at high levels, then the VS Athletics 2 might be the right choice for you.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Pendlay Do-Win

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Rundown

The last but not the least shoe on our list is the Pendlay Do-Win. This is yet another affordable item, with a friendly design, two straps and a TPU heel.

​The TPU is a non-compressible material, which will provide stability during lifts like clean and  jerks and snatches. The Do-Win does a great job in preventing any kind of compression that may compromise a lift.

​One of the less pleasant aspects of this model is the time it takes to break in, which is a byproduct of the synthetic leather it’s made of.

​Another negative point is that they may not be as durable as competing products, according to our research.

​They fit very well, leaving enough room for toe splay. The two straps system – one at the bottom of the tongue, the other at the top – provide increased stability for your foot, helping to avoid injury.

​To wrap it up, the Do-Win is a good weightlifting shoe. The durability is questionable, however the price point makes up for it. If this shoe lasts for two years or so then it is well worth the money.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Best workout shoes for CrossFit

Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0 Flexweave

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Rundown

We should start by saying that the item performs way better than its predecessor, the Nano 7.0.

The Reebok CrossFit Nano 8.0 Flexweave comes with an attached bootie that is comfortable and does not hinder movements. The toe box is wide, allowing for toe splay for a better grip during lifts.

The sole is hard and provides stability in a number of movements. Furthermore, it provides an amazing grip, thanks to its texture.

If you are a fan of doing snatches, squats, and clean and jerks, then this shoe may be what you’re looking for. The hard, grippy sole plants your feet to the ground, giving you a boost of confidence when performing the moves.

The Flexweave material is rough, flexible, breathable, and showed durability in rope climbing. It is the perfect mix between flexibility and durability.

However, this shoe may not be a good choice if you want to increase performance in cardio-based movements. The hard sole makes prolonged cardio uncomfortable.

Stability wise, the Nano 8.0 is truly great. The heel cup allows for more stable movements, while the eyelets – 7 of them – give you the option to tie the shoe pretty high on your feet.

As far as pricing, the item sits at an average price for most CrossFit shoes – especially as they are a new model.

Is it worth the money? In our opinion, yes.

Is it worth the money if you are on a budget? Probably not, as you’ll be able to find options that offer more or less the same quality for less money.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Inov-8 F-Lite 195v2

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Rundown

​If you are considering transitioning to barefoot training, you should give the Inov-8 F-Lite 195v2 a chance. This shoe has a non-existent heel-to-toe drop, making it a good option to get used to the feeling of training barefoot.

The item is durable even with movements such as burpees, thanks to the thicker strip of rubber on the toe.

The F-Lite 195v2 comes with a wider toe box and offers a good grip in movements like squats and deadlifts.

Even though this shoe was meant for cross training, we should note that more emphasis was placed on the power portion of the workout.

Side to side movements are a strong point of the Inov-8 F-Lite 195v2, with a lockdown system that locks your foot down to the footplate.

One of the drawbacks is that the mesh started falling apart after just a few months of training.

Also note that the cardio portion has taken the back seat, with the F-Lite 195v2 not having a lot of padding on the inside. That makes it uncomfortable when performing cardio-based movements – especially running.

Lastly, this may not be ideal for people with narrower feet due to the wide toe box.

We believe that the item is a good addition to any CrossFit trainee’s wardrobe, especially for strength/power training sessions. Having said that, we should note that it is on the pricier end so if you’re on a budget you may want to reconsider it.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Nike Metcon 4

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Rundown

The Nike Metcon 4 is constructed with the Flywire technology from Nike and has a TPU heel.

The material makes the shoe versatile, being a good mix between flexibility and firmness. The sandwich mesh is fairly breathable, getting thinner towards the toes, helping with flexibility and breathability in that area.

Thanks to its firm sole, the shoes provide good stability. While that is a good thing for weightlifting activities, the Metcon 4 is pretty bad at absorbing shocks (such as box jumps or double unders).

It performed well in the rope climbing test, offering a good grip overall.

The Nike Metcon 4 has an offset of 4mm which makes the shoe feel sturdy.

It is in the same price range as most CrossFit shoes. While the size and popularity of the brand alone may bias some people in purchasing this model in favor of others, we actually feel like the Nike Metcon 4 is worth the money.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Adidas Powerlift 3.1

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Rundown

Even though this item was designed for weightlifting, its flexibility, weight, and the height of the heel make it a good option for CrossFit.

Construction wise, the item has a .6” heel as opposed to the standard .75” for weightlifting shoes. The heel is made of high density EVA which is a durable, lightweight material.

A downside of this material is the lack of firmness. EVA is known to compress under heavy load, leading to loss in stability when lifting weights.

The item runs a bit small and narrow, so getting it half a size up could be a good call.

While the Adidas Powerlift 3.1 is flexible, breaking them in may take up to a week. After that initial week is over, you can view the full potential of these shoes: increased stability in the low bar squat, durability, and comfort (at least for a shoe designed for WL).

Considering what it offers, the price of this item is a total bargain.

If you are a recreational lifter who doesn’t want to invest that much into a pair of shoes but at the same time want quality for your money, then the Adidas Powerlift 3.1 is a good choice for you.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

ASICS Conviction X 2

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Rundown

If I had two words to describe this model, they would be: ‘minimalism’ and ‘performance’.

The Asics Conviction X 2 is a plain looking shoe that performs very well. This design may be the go to for minimalists; however, athletes who want a more stand out-ish shoe may not be fond of its design.

The Asics Conviction X 2 come with really long laces and pockets in the front of the tongue to tuck them in.

Functionality wise, there are some things that can be noted: the outsole is extremely grippy and can assist with rope climbing, the heel is stiff – ideal for weightlifting, and the forefoot is flexible – comfortable when doing double unders.

However, the stiff outsole may be an impingement for runners who have a heel strike.

The Asics Conviction X 2 is built with mesh and synthetic leather – RhynoSkin – that blends around it. The material is breathable and suitable for training in hot environments. The sole has a good grip and performs very well in rope climbing.

A downside of the item is the lack of ankle support and lateral stability, making it a not so good choice for squats, deadlifts, snatches, etc.

The shoe is totally worth its money. However, it may be tough to compete with other big, established brands such as Adidas.

Pros

  • Anti-slip technology that offers amazing grip 
  • Heel cup to prevent slipping of the foot
  • Runs true to size
  • Durable

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • May feel too narrow for people with wider feeet

Conclusion:

If you are not on a budget and you're looking for a high quality, durable weightlifting shoe, then the AdiPower may be the right choice for you. With its sleek design and incredible stability, it will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Conclusion

These are, in our opinion, the best workout shoes. If you want to go into more detail, you can check the articles specially created for the best weightlifting shoes and the one for the best CrossFit shoes.

In those articles, we go into more specifics for each item and present you multiple options.