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Your choice of lifting shoes has a huge impact on the success or failure of your technique.
High top shoes make great lifting shoes because most types are flat-soled, which means you have direct force transfer through the floor when you’re lifting heavy. In addition, any exercise that requires ankle stability, such as sumo deadlifts, squats, or lunges, will be best supported by high top lifting shoes.
So what is the best high top lifting shoe? The NoBull High Top Trainers are my top pick for the best high top lifting shoe. It is built with proprietary SuperFabric technology, which offers a breathable, lightweight, and waterproof outer-sole. It’s also abrasion-proof, so it can withstand wear and tear. Lastly, I found it to be comfortable in the gym and out.
If you want to know more about the best high top lifting shoes and how to pick the ideal one for your needs, keep on reading!
12 High Top Lifting Shoes: Which Are The Best On The Market?
I looked at 12 high top training shoes, most of which I either tested extensively over multiple training sessions, or at the bare minimum, worn for at least one workout. Some of the shoes I couldn’t get my hands on but I talked with owners of the shoes who are also avid lifters, and they gave me a full list of pros and cons on each shoe.
The 12 best high top lifting shoes are:
- NoBull High Top Trainers – Best Overall High Top Lifting Shoes
- Otomix Carbonite – Best High Top Lifting Shoe for Prolonged Use
- Asics Matflex 5 – Best High Top Wrestling Shoe for Lifting
- Sabo Goodlift Powerlifter – Best High Top Lifting Shoe for Powerlifters
- Otomix Stingray – Most Versatile High Top Lifting Shoe
- Converse Chuck Taylors – Best Budget-Friendly High Top Lifting Shoe
- Yageyan Women's High Top Canvas Sneakers – Best High Top Lifting Shoes for Women
- Adidas Combat Speed – Best Lightweight High Top Lifting Shoe
- Nike Basketball High Top Shoes – Best High Top Lifting Shoe for Sportspeople
- PUMA Unisex-Adult Rebound Layup – Most Stylish High Top Lifting Shoes
- Reebok Women's Freestyle Hi High Top Sneaker – Best High Top Shoe for Narrow Feet
- Sabo Deadlift Shoe – Best High Top Shoe for Deadlifts
The NoBull High Top Trainers are remarkably durable shoes with an outstanding SuperFabric Guard Plates technology that enhances the sturdiness of the shoe.
Another great thing about this trainer is that it’s also available in a High Top women’s version, which ensures a snug fit for women’s feet too!
The stylish shoes come with a flat sole that is necessary for different forms of lifting. While I wore these shoes during my powerlifting workouts, many Crossfitters I know prefer to wear these shoes for their more dynamic workouts too.
Additionally, it features high carbon lateral guards and a tough collar that reduces the ankle’s range of motion and supports it nicely.
I also love how you can wear these shoes straight from the gym to work or school.
- Extremely durable construction with SuperFabric Guard Plates Technology
- Excellent ankle support
- Stylish design with highly accurate size fitting
- The soles are a bit thick for deadlifts
2. Otomix Carbonite – Best High Top Lifting Shoe for Prolonged Use
Some people spend a long time in the gym. However, wearing lifting shoes for a long time might feel a bit painful due to the lack of cushioning.
The Otomix Carbonite is one of the few lifting shoes on the market that comes with fair padding that might help you keep the shoes on for an extended period of time.
The HPB system used in the shoes adds cushioning pads in some critical points in the shoes to make them much more tolerated while walking.
The shoes come with a relatively flat sole that has a total thickness of 0.5 inches, which gives you an excellent feel of the ground and won’t throw you off balance during deadlifts.
- Relatively more comfortable than most lifting shoes
- Durable construction and uses quality materials
- Available in various colors
- The added cushioning might reduce stability
3. Asics Matflex 5 – Best High Top Wrestling Shoe for Lifting
Although the Asics Matflex is originally a wrestling shoe, it has been commonly used as a lifting shoe by amateurs as well as professionals!
Since they fit the bill nicely, wrestling shoes are great for both deadlifts and squats. The flat soles create a connection between the lifter and the ground, which boosts their balance and allows them to focus more on the lift.
The Asics Matflex 5 comes with a rubber sole that’s both durable and rigid enough to resist compression, which helps you lift more.
Also, they’re remarkably affordable, which makes them a great value for your money, especially if you also practice wrestling.
- Highly affordable alternative
- Relatively thin soles with a high collar to minimize the ankle’s range of motion
- Has minimal padding to anchor your feet to the ground
- They run a bit small, so you have to pick a larger size
4. Sabo Goodlift Powerlifter – Best High Top Lifting Shoe for Powerlifters
Sabo is one of the best brands to consider for lifting shoes because they specialize in them. The Goodlift Powerlifting Shoes are the newest item that Sabo adds to their unique collection of lifting shoes.
What I like about these shoes is that they come with a double mechanism for strapping, which ensures a snug fit around your ankles and minimizes the range of motion in the ankle area to boost your balance and stability.
Another great thing about this shoe is that it’s mostly made of leather, which is a decent material in terms of durability. However, it might lack the necessary ventilation for breathability.
One more tip about that shoe is to not use it without shoelaces. The additional straps improve durability but are not strong enough to be used on their own.
- An excellent choice for powerlifting
- Combines laces with metatarsal straps
- Sturdy and stylish leather construction
- The straps can’t be used alone
5. Otomix Stingray – Most Versatile High Top Lifting Shoe
The Otomix Stingray is another shoe that is popular for how versatile it can be. You can use this one for lifting because it has a flat sole as well as decent coverage over the ankles.
In addition to being flat, the rubber soles on these shoes are also pretty thin and resist heavy compression.
Yet, you can also utilize the Otomix Stingray if you practice wrestling, boxing, MMA fighting, and more.
Unlike many lifting shoes in the market, these ones are known for their noticeably lightweight design, weighing less than 10.56 ounces.
While this might not be necessary for lifting weights, some athletes would prefer their shoes to not be super heavy on their feet or weighing them down.
- Remarkably versatile and can be used for lifting, wrestling, boxing, and more
- Very thin and flat soles enhance the shoes’ stability and reduce the range of motion
- The high collar provides great ankle support
- Lacks arch and midfoot support
6. Converse Chuck Taylors – Best Budget-Friendly High Top Lifting Shoe
The good old converse shoes can also pass as a great example for a lifting shoe. In fact, I wrote separately why powerlifters prefer Converse shoes.
In fact, for a lot of lifters, the Chuck Taylor Converse High Tops were the primary choice for a lifting shoe.
Converse shoes have flat soles that are made of hard rubber, which is durable and incompressible enough to support you while lifting.
Also, it doesn’t have a lot of cushioning which can throw a lifter off-balance while holding a heavy barbell.
Additionally, they’re extremely affordable and would set you back a fraction of what other shoes might cost you, making them an ideal option if you’re on a strict budget.
- An ideal choice for buyers on a budget
- Can be used for everyday purposes too
- The flat sole enhances stability
- Not as durable as leather and synthetic shoes
7. Yageyan Women's High Top Canvas Sneakers – Best High Top Lifting Shoes for Women
The Yageyan High Top Canvas Sneakers are designed specifically for women. They are available in eight different colors, all of which look stylish and are suitable whether you’re working out in the gym or outdoors.
The shoes are available in sizes 5 to 11, but I found that the sizing wasn’t always consistent. Some shoes felt smaller than the stated size, others felt larger, and others fit perfectly. I’d suggest purchasing a couple of different sizes if you’re going to get these high tops for lifting, so you can find the perfect fit.
These shoes come at a very reasonable price and they should last you a while, even with daily use. They’re made with soft, breathable material that won’t cause your feet to get too sweaty when working out. However, due to these shoes being made out of canvas material, they’re not the best option if you’re looking for a more sturdy lifting shoe.
- Available in a number of colors
- Breathable and comfortable canvas material
- Comes at a reasonable price
- Sizing can be a little off
8. Adidas Combat Speed – Best Lightweight High Top Lifting Shoe
As you now know, some athletes complain about always feeling “aware” of what they’re wearing in their feet. This sensation is often associated with heavy shoes that make them feel weighed down.
While this is more common in the wrestling community, some lifters also feel the same while moving around, especially if they perform multiple exercises in the gym.
In that case, opting for a shoe that’s specifically optimized to be as light as possible is the way to go.
The Adidas Combat Speed comes with a flat incompressible sole and a slip-resistant rubber outsole, all the while staying ultra-lightweight and easy to move around with.
- Lightweight design that’s easy to move around with
- Available in a wide variety of colors and size options
- Versatile shoes that can be used for different exercises
- A bit pricey
9. Nike Basketball High Top Shoes – Best High Top Lifting Shoe for Sportspeople
If you’re a keen sportsperson and want a pair of shoes that you can wear for both lifting and sports, I recommend the Nike Basketball High Top Shoes. Although they feel a little stiff when you first start wearing them, they soften up over time and mold to your feet. They’re available in a wide size range (3.5 to 14.5) and there are multiple different colorways to choose from.
They are lace-up shoes, so you can tighten them as much as you like, and they have flat and rigid soles that resist compression and keep your feet balanced during lifts.
- Available in a wide range of colors
- Wide size range
- Flat soles
- Can feel slightly uncomfortable at first and need breaking in
10. PUMA Unisex-Adult Rebound Layup – Most Stylish High Top Lifting Shoes
The PUMA Unisex-Adult Rebound Layup is one of the most stylish and well-built lifting shoes that you can find on the market.
This rugged trainer from Puma is made of ariaprene and mesh fabric, which ensures both the durability and the breathability of the shoe.
The shoe is also one of the most comfortable options out there because the ariaprene is quite soft and firm.
The shoe has an EVA midsole, which promotes comfort but might take away from the stability while lifting. For that reason, it’s better suited for those who don’t lift extremely heavy.
- Sleek and stylish design
- Available for men and women
- Breathable fabric to avoid overheating and sweat odor
- Might be excessively cushioned for serious powerlifters
11. Reebok Women's Freestyle Hi High Top Sneaker – Best High Top Shoe for Narrow Feet
The Reebok Womens Freestyle High Top Sneaker is a synthetic leather shoe with a thick rubber sole. They run small and are relatively narrow in width, which makes them great for people with narrow feet who usually struggle to find lifting shoes with a snug fit.
They have soft padding around the ankles, providing extra support and stability during lifts. The soles aren’t as flat as I’d have liked for deadlifts and they didn’t have the same barefoot feel as some of the other lifting shoes that I tried. However, the slightly raised heel made these high tops perfect for squats and enabled me to achieve a deeper range of motion than usual.
- Unmatched ankle support
- Suitable for lifters with narrow feet
- Slight heel lift is great for squats
- Sole isn’t completely flat, so the shoes don’t provide a barefoot feel
12. Sabo Deadlift Shoe – Best High Top Shoe for Deadlifts
Ending on a high note, Sabo’s Deadlift Shoe has always been my personal choice for the best shoes for deadlifts.
In fact, I’ve written a separate Sabo Deadlift Shoe review that goes deep into everything you need to know about this wonderful deadlift shoe.
Unlike many shoes on the list, this one is specifically designed and optimized for deadlifts. It has an absolutely flat sole that is extremely thin, which enhances its stability level and improves your performance while lifting.
Not only that, but they also have multiple traction pods on the outsole, which makes them perfect for sumo deadlifts because you’re more prone to slip in that technique than any other one.
- Designed specifically for deadlifts
- Flat and thin soles to retain stability and performance
- The multiple traction pods ensure maximum slip resistance
- The velcro metatarsal straps are quite flimsy
Why You Should Trust Us
Here at PowerliftingTechnique, we comprise a team of expert powerlifting coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, personal trainers, and fitness experts. Together, we have several decades of experience in the industry and we have used our professional experience to test a range of gym equipment to identify the best products.
How We Chose the Best High Top Lifting Shoes
There are hundreds of different gym high top shoes on the market that are ideal for lifting. We tested a range of shoes from different brands to create a list of the best options. We wore these shoes during powerlifting and weightlifting sessions to see how they held up in the gym. Specifically, we looked at the size range, color range, comfort, and quality of each pair of high top lifting shoes that we tested.
Benefits of a High Top Weightlifting Shoe
A good lifting shoe will likely have a flat and rigid sole. However, owning one with a high top collar adds some additional perks. These technical advantages include:
- Extra Ankle Support: The rigid construction of the shoes will extend all the way up to your ankles.
- Reduced Range of Motion: ankles are free-moving joints, which is bad for lifting. With a high collar and tightly-fastened metatarsal strap, your ankles will reduce the wobbliness that accompanies having a full range of motion.
- Prevent Some Injuries: with more balanced feet and reduced ankle instability, you’re going to avoid some serious injuries that come with failed reps.
- Improves the Performance of Specific Techniques: some techniques make you more prone to slipping, which you can avoid with the right pair of lifting shoes!
What Makes a Good High Top Lifting Shoe?
While shopping for a good high top lifting shoe, there are specific characteristics that you need to consider in order to land the perfect pick.
Materials & Soles
A good lifting shoe is all about its construction materials. You need a very durable shoe that can take a beating because you’ll wear it while lifting off much more weight than regular shoes are designed to withstand.
Consider shoes that have incompressible soles, such as the ones made from rubber or thick and firm synthetic fabrics.
You don’t want a shoe that wobbles around or slides your feet inside while holding the barbell up.
Make sure that the shoes provide you with a very snug fit and have mechanisms to tighten the fit around your feet, such as metatarsal straps.
The most significant property of a high top lifting shoe is the elevated collar. Make sure that the collar isn’t too soft that it doesn’t minimize your ankle’s range of motion.
Ideally, a durable shoe with rigid collars will provide your ankles with the needed balance and support while keeping their flexion at a controlled level.
Comfort & Breathability
As a rule of thumb, lifting shoes aren’t the most comfortable type of shoes around due to the lack of padding.
However, you might want to keep the other aspects of comfort in mind, such as breathability. Look for rigid shoes that have a mesh fabric that allows better air circulation around your feet to protect them from overheating and sweating.
Which High Top Shoe Should You Get Based On Your Lifting Goals?
Are you a casual lifter or you put more concentration and effort into a specific kind of lifting goal?
The answer to this question is quite necessary to get yourself the right high top shoe.
If you’ve been doing squats and deadlifts for while now, you’ll probably realize that each lifting technique can be greatly enhanced if you use a totally different shoe.
For a casual weightlifter who practices once or twice a week, it might not be necessary for you to go for a target-specific workout shoe.
Instead, you’ll need a shoe that balances between both styles, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your footwear gear alone.
Mid-Top Vs. High-Top Shoes
You might be wondering whether to go for mid-top or high-top training shoes and the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
Mid-top shoes are those that come to the level of the ankle. High-top workout shoes extend above the ankle and often have a lacing system or zipper as a fastening.
If you have limited ankle mobility and you're looking for a pair of weightlifting shoes with a high top that offers maximum ankle stability and support, a high-top training shoe is your option. For this reason, high tops are great as powerlifting shoes.
High-tops will be your best choice if you’re performing dynamic movements with an increased risk of knocking your ankle. They’re also best if you’re looking for squat shoes that offer a high level of support as you descend into a deep squatting position. You can wear high-tops as Crossfit shoes, but most have flat soles, and it’s better to have footwear with a raised ankle when performing things like cleans, snatches, and push presses.
Mid-top training shoes are good for lifting to improve your ankle mobility and strength. They offer more freedom and flexibility around your ankle joints, so you can focus on exercises that move your ankles through a full range of motion.
Regardless of whether you go for high-tops or mid-tops for your new training shoes, consider the materials' quality, the shoe size range, and the price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Lifting Shoes Really Help?
According to various studies to assess the effectiveness of high top bodybuilding shoes, they DO help greatly in improving your performance.
Another 2012 study found that using the right shoe for lifting will help you activate more muscles during lifts, which also helps in increasing your gains!
Are Converse Good High Top Lifting Shoes?
Since they have all the essential aspects needed for the job, High Top Converse Chuck Taylors are great shoes for lifting.
They’re more suitable for deadlifts than squatting because they have flat soles with no heel drop, which is essential to keep your balance during a deadlift.
They are an excellent choice for anyone on a strict budget. However, they still have thick soles that might reduce your contact with the ground, which is why you should consider a better alternative whenever you can afford it.
Should You Lift Barefoot?
However, it’s not recommended to rely on it for many reasons. For instance, it’s not approved competitively, so if you’re a competitive lifter or planning to join a competition, this won’t work for you.
Also, some gyms set rules that forbid anyone from lifting barefoot, so you’ll need to wear lifting shoes or running shoes. Lastly, you should also keep in mind all the germs and dirty floors that you’ll be stepping on.
Are High-Top Shoes Good For CrossFit?
High-top lifting shoes are okay to use for Crossfit as long as they have a raised heel. Since most high-top training shoes have completely flat soles, you might be better off choosing a different style of shoe.
Can I Squat With High-Top Shoes?
You can use high-tops as squat shoes and they offer a higher level of ankle support and stability than low-tops or mid-tops. However, if you have limited ankle mobility, you’re best going for a squat shoe with a raised heel.
In the end, I hope that this guide has helped you pick or narrow down your choice for the best high top weightlifting shoes for your needs.
As you can see, a good high top lifting shoe is all about giving you the maximum level of support, especially at the ankle spot. For that reason, I pick NoBull High Top Trainers as my overall favorite high top model.
The shoes are incredibly durable and should last you for years. Additionally, they’re very stylish and available in a wide variety of colors for women’s high top weightlifting shoes or men’s high-top weightlifting shoes.
However, if you’re on a strict budget, and looking for a versatile shoe that you can also wear while at the gym, you might want to consider Chuck Taylor Converse Shoes.