Can Men Wear Women’s Shoes? Breaking Gender Norms

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By Health

When it comes to power-driven workouts like weightlifting, nailing the right footwear is a game-changer. While your standard sneakers might cut it for casual gym-goers, enthusiasts and athletes swear by specialized weightlifting shoes. These aren’t just any shoes; they’re engineered with the rigours of heavy lifting in mind, offering crucial support, stability, and alignment that can elevate your performance and prevent injuries.

In this extensive review, we’ve handpicked the top nine weightlifting shoes for 2024. Whether you’re a seasoned lifter looking to upgrade or a beginner searching for your first pair, read on to discover the shoes that could be the grounding force behind your personal bests and muscle gains.

Why Do the 9 Best Weightlifting Shoes Matter?

It’s not just about looking the part in the gym; weightlifting shoes serve a critical function. The elevated heel provides better ankle mobility and alignment, allowing you to maintain a more upright posture during squats and other leg exercises. Furthermore, their solid, non-compressible soles are designed to keep you stable, especially when pushing heavy loads above your head.

Athletic shoes designed for running or other high-impact activities are typically designed with cushioning in mind, which can be counterproductive for weightlifting. The softness of these shoes can result in the dissipation of force, potentially leading to instability and increased risk of injury.

The 9 Picks for the Best Weightlifting Shoes

We understand that not all weightlifters are the same, so we’ve ensured there’s a little something for everyone on our list. These are the nine best weightlifting shoes of 2024:

1. Nike Romaleos 5: The Pro’s Choice

Recently released, the Nike Romaleos 5 have already garnered a reputation as the gold standard in weightlifting footwear. The shoes boast enhanced stability thanks to their TPU heel wedges and a midfoot strap that integrates with the lacing system for a locked-down fit. The uppers utilize a combination of materials for breathability without compromising on durability and support.

For newcomers, the Romaleos line is a well-known favourite among professional weightlifters for its sturdy construction and use of advanced materials created to withstand the most demanding of training regimens. These fifth iterations build upon that legacy by bringing in updated features like a more streamlined profile and a range of stylish colorways, making them both functional and fashionable.

2. Reebok Legacy Lifter II: A Classic Revisited

Building on the successes of the earlier models, the Reebok Legacy Lifter II is a thoroughly modern weightlifting shoe that still manages to retain its classic charm. It sports a generous TPU heel for added stability and a series of straps and laces to ensure your foot is anchored to the sole. The Flexcage technology integrated into the upper helps with breathability, a common pain point in weightlifting shoes, enhancing the overall wearing experience.

The Legacy Lifter II is a favourite among lifters who appreciate a bit of a heel raise but not so much as to tip you off-balance. This is the shoe to consider for those who prefer a more moderate heel height but still want the performance benefits that come with it.

3. Adidas Adipower II: German Engineering in Your Step

Label aficionados might favour the three stripes, and with the Adipower II, Adidas doesn’t disappoint. These shoes boast a high-density, die-cut midsole wedge for stability and a roomy toe box to allow for a more natural splay of the foot. The PU-coated leather upper is both supple and supportive, while the micro-adjusting cross strap ensures a secure fit.

The Adipower II’s reputation for quality continues the tradition Adidas established with the original Adipower line, with many lifters returning to the well-engineered footwear time and again. The German attention to detail is evident in every aspect of these shoes, from the stitching to the design of the outsole, ensuring they stand up to intensive use.

4. Inov-8 Fastlift 385 BOA: Innovation and Performance

The Inov-8 Fastlift 385 BOA is a game-changer, utilizing technology more often seen in snowboarding boots than weightlifting shoes. The unique BOA Fit System offers a precise, \’custom-to-you\’ fit with just a turn of a dial, eliminating the need for traditional laces. A Power-Truss TPU midsole wedge aids in lifting, while the outsole’s array of grippy rubber keeps you planted.

The Fastlift 385 is for the tech-savvy athlete looking for innovation in every piece of their weightlifting gear. The BOA system is not only convenient but also incredibly durable, making it ideal for those who find themselves frequently tightening and loosening their shoes between sets and exercises.

5. NOBULL Lifter: All Muscle, No Gimmicks

If simplicity and robustness are what you’re after, the NOBULL Lifter could be your perfect match. This shoe excels in function over form, with a single-piece SuperFabric upper that’s as tough as it looks. Its 19mm total stack height provides a high degree of lateral stability, essential for Olympic lifts, while the absence of a midfoot strap or cage makes for a more ‘barebones’ feel that’s preferred by some lifters.

The NOBULL Lifter’s minimalist design is anything but minimalist when it comes to performance. This shoe is favoured by lifters who appreciate a stripped-down approach without sacrificing comfort or quality.

6. ASICS Wrestling Shoe: The Underdog’s Choice

Don’t be fooled by the name; the ASICS Wrestling Shoe is a dark horse in the weightlifting shoe world, offering a high-top ankle length that some weightlifters prefer for additional support. The thin, flat rubber sole offers optimal connection to the ground, while the lace garage ensures your strings don’t get in the way of your movement.

ASICS might not be the first brand that comes to mind for weightlifting shoes, but its experience in creating gear for sports that demand quick, precise, and powerful movements translates well to the demands of the lifting platform.

7. Under Armour Project Rock: For The Arm-Driven Athlete

If you find the bulk of your training lifts involve the upper body, then Project Rock might be the shoe for you. Created in collaboration with wrestling champion Dwayne The Rock” Johnson, these shoes are built for a combination of stability under load and flexibility during the explosive upward phase that is integral to successful weightlifting.

Under Armour’s Charged Cushioning offers comfort without sacrificing power transfer from ground to body, making it perfect for presses and curls. The wide platform and TPU heel piece ensure an unwavering foundation, whether you’re pushing or pulling.

8. PUMA Weightlifting Shoe – The Athlete’s Choice

With its sleek looks and heritage brand backing it, PUMA’s entry into the weightlifting shoe market doesn’t disappoint. The PUMA Weightlifting shoe features a high-density heel wedge for support that transitions into a flat TPU outsole for maximum push-off potential. The fully adjustable Velcro strap system lets you tailor the fit to your preference, and the precision-engineered traction pattern ensures you stay in control.

While the PUMA might not be tailor-made for Olympic lifting enthusiasts, its design and functionality make it an excellent choice for cross-training athletes who might find themselves transitioning from the lifting platform to the track or field and back.

9. New Balance WX77TW1: The Budget Lifter’s Buddy

Money doesn’t grow on trees, and that’s where New Balance’s  comes in as the best budget-friendly option. While not as specialized or laden with fancy features as the others, this shoe offers a 4mm heel-to-toe drop that’s still beneficial for many weightlifting movements. The Rapid Rebound midsole compound provides cushioning to protect your joints while delivering the energy return you need to power through sets.

For new lifters or those who might not want to commit to a more expensive, specialized pair of shoes just yet, the New Balance WX77TW1 offers a feel-good compromise that won’t break the bank.

Selecting Your Perfect Pair

As you peruse our list of the best weightlifting shoes, keep your individual needs and preferences in mind. Some shoes offer more ankle flexibility, while others focus on the most direct power transfer from the ground. Consult with experts, try on multiple pairs, and perhaps even test them out in-store if feasible to find the shoe that feels just right. Remember, lifting shoes is a personal investment, as much about comfort and support as they are about the weights we hoist.

  • Consider a Shoe’s Fit Above All

The fit of a weightlifting shoe is paramount; you should be looking for something that offers a snug grip but doesn’t pinch or squeeze your feet unnaturally. Remember to size up or down if necessary based on the fit of the specific model.

  • Opt for Shoes with Good Breathability

Weightlifting can be a sweaty endeavour, so shoes with good breathability can help keep your feet dry and prevent odours from building up. Look for materials and designs that promote airflow.

  • Stick to Trusted Brands and Models

While there are new contenders every year, trusted brands and well-loved models are often popular for a reason. They have a track record of satisfying customers and are more likely to be consistent in their quality.

Caring for Your Weightlifting Shoes

A pair of quality weightlifting shoes can last you for years, as long as you take good care of them. Follow these maintenance tips to keep your footwear in top shape:

  • Clean them regularly: After each workout, wipe down your weightlifting shoes with a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust, or sweat. This will help prevent the buildup of grime and keep them looking and smelling fresh.

  • Air them out: Allow your weightlifting shoes to air out and dry after each use. Avoid storing them in a closed gym bag or locker, where they can remain damp and develop unpleasant odours. Instead, place them in a well-ventilated area to air dry naturally.
  • Avoid excessive moisture: Moisture can deteriorate the materials of your weightlifting shoes and lead to unpleasant odours. If your shoes become wet during your workout, stuff them with newspaper or use shoe inserts that absorb moisture to help them dry faster.
  • Use a shoe deodorizer: To keep your weightlifting shoes smelling fresh, consider using a shoe deodorizer or odour-absorbing product. These can help eliminate any unpleasant odours that may develop over time.
  • Store them properly: When younot using your weightlifting shoes, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid stacking heavy objects on top of them, as this can deform the shoe’s structure.
  • Replace worn-out parts: Over time, certain parts of your weightlifting shoes may show signs of wear and tear, such as worn-out soles or damaged straps. If possible, check with the manufacturer to see if replacement parts are available. Otherwise, it may be time to consider purchasing a new pair.
  • Use them exclusively for weightlifting: To prolong the lifespan of your weightlifting shoes, it\’s best to reserve them exclusively for weightlifting activities. Using them for other types of workouts or as everyday shoes can accelerate wear and tear.

Useful Links

For more information on weightlifting techniques, shoe reviews, and advice on athletic gear, check out the following resources:

  • Starting Strength: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners and Advanced Lifters, Covering Techniques, Programming, and Equipment.
  • Rogue Fitness: For high-quality weightlifting shoes and other gym equipment, Rogue Fitness is a go-to source for many athletes.
  • BarBend: This site offers reviews and comparisons of weightlifting and cross-training shoes, along with tips for improving your lifting performance.
  • CrossFit Journal: While not solely focused on weightlifting, this journal provides valuable insights into conditioning that complement strength training.
  • The Squat University: Founded by Dr. Aaron Horschig, Squat University provides in-depth advice on technique, injury prevention, and rehab specific to lifting.

Each of these resources offers a wealth of information that can help you on your weightlifting journey, whether you\’re just starting or looking to fine-tune your technique and find the perfect lifting shoes.