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Getting good lifting shoes is crucial if you want to maximize your performance. However, things can get a bit tricky, especially if you also have narrow feet.
In that case, you need a lifting shoe that provides you with a snug fit, so that your foot doesn’t slide around inside it.
So what are the best lifting shoes for narrow feet? The Adidas Adipower is the ideal lifting shoe for anyone with narrow feet. It’s a great option that you can rely on whether you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, or just looking to ramp up your performance in different strength-based movements. I have size 11 narrow feet, and have tested multiple lifting shoes over the years, and there’s no better option than the Adidas Adipower.
In addition to the most popular shoe for lifting with narrow feet, there are many other options and important notes to consider before making your final decision. Read on, if you want to find out more about them!
Top 5 Lifting Shoes for Narrow Feet Available on the Market
Since having narrow feet requires special characteristics, it’s unlikely that you’ll find shoes labeled as “narrow-feet lifting shoes” out there, but that’s exactly what this section is for!
The 5 best lifting shoes for narrow feet are:
- Adidas Adipower – Best Overall Lifting Shoe for Narrow Feet
- Inov-8 Fastlift 400 – Best Budget Lifting Shoe for Narrow Feet
- Sabo Weightlift – Best Narrow Shoe with a High Heel
- Reebok Nano X1 Cross Trainer – Most Versatile Lifting Shoe For Narrow Feet
- Chuck Taylor Converse – Most Minimal Lifting Shoe For Narrow Feet
1. Adidas Adipower – Best Overall Lifting Shoe for Narrow Feet
In my years of lifting, I’ve never heard about any lifting shoe that was associated with narrow feet more than the Adidas Adipower. The shoes are easily the most popular option for narrow feet lifters, according to tons of athletes.
Of course, there’s a clear reason why most lifters with narrow feet pick these shoes over other options on the market.
The shoes are designed to suit lifters with relatively narrow feet, providing them with a snug fit around the sides while preventing their heels from sliding around inside the shoes.
The shoes feature a double closure system that uses both laces and metatarsal straps. This combination is excellent to keep the shoes wrapped up firmly around your feet without being too tight that it becomes uncomfortable.
The rubber outsole design enhances the shoe’s traction while the TPU wedge at the back improves your stability and supports your feet nicely.
If you can’t find any shoes that fit your narrow feet, using inserts with this model will work best for you.
All in all, it’s an excellent choice whether you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, or just looking to boost your performance while doing squats, clean, snatch, overhead press, or any other strength-based movement.
- Durable yet lightweight design
- Works out the best for the majority of lifters with narrow feet
- Features a TPU wedge at the back for added stability and support
- A bit pricey
Check out my comparison of the Reebok Legacy Lifter vs Adidas Adipower.
2. Inov-8 Fastlift 400 – Best Budget Lifting Shoe for Narrow Feet
The Inov-8 Fastlift 400 is one of the most frequently mentioned names when it comes to nice lifting shoes for those with relatively narrow feet.
The Fastlift 400 is definitely a great shoe for lifters. It’s made of synthetic leather, which is durable enough to handle heavier weights than average shoes.
It even has a unique strapping system, which includes double BOA dial lock straps. Using this mechanism, you’ll be able to do micro-adjustments to your strap for optimum support.
Moreover, it comes at a remarkably more affordable price when compared to the Adidas Adipower. However, it’s not the “narrowest” shoe you can get.
In other words, if you have relatively narrower feet, this one will do the trick while saving you a lot of money in the process. This makes it a pretty nice option if you’re on a strict budget for your lifting gear.
However, if your feet are noticeably small, it might not work out as well as the Adidas Adipower will.
- An ideal choice for buyers on a strict budget.
- The double BOA dial lock straps allow for ultra-fine adjustments for optimum support
- The minimal heel raise makes it a great option for beginners
- Not the best choice if you’re looking for the absolute narrowest
3. Sabo Weightlift – Best Narrow Shoe with a High Heel
Not all lifters are created equal. In fact, a lot of aspects and variations might have an impact on the type of shoes you need for lifting.
For example, tall lifters and those who have somewhat limited ankle mobility might find it pretty challenging to get deeper while doing certain movements like the squat.
In that case, having a heel raise in the lifting shoe you’re using will help your ankle achieve better ankle dorsiflexion, which also enhances the stability of your knees and hips while going down.
Although there are many heeled lifting shoes out there, many of them come with a huge toe box that makes narrow-feet lifters unstable while wearing them.
What’s great about Sabo’s Weightlift is that it combines both the narrow frame with the relatively high heel necessary for those lifters.
The shoe has a heel raise of about 0.77 inches, which is regarded by many as the “sweet spot” in the raised heel lifting shoes.
The shoe is also pretty durable and breathable, making it convenient and relatively comfortable to wear while working out.
- Ideal for narrow-feet lifters with limited ankle mobility
- Durable construction that lasts for years
- Built specifically for weightlifting
- The heel raise makes it uncomfortable for deadlifts
4. Reebok Nano X1 Cross Trainer – Most Versatile Lifting Shoe For Narrow Feet
If you’re a casual gym-goer who doesn't focus primarily on lifting weights, getting a weightlifting-exclusive shoe might not be the wisest thing to do.
Not only will you be paying money for a shoe that’s only good for one movement, but you’ll also have to put them on and off frequently, which is highly inconvenient!
Instead, you might want to opt for a versatile lifting shoe that you can use for more than just lifting.
Reebok Cross Trainer are flexible shoes that are great for different movements and exercises in the gym, not just for powerlifting or weightlifting. It was voted as my best high top lifting shoe.
Not only that, but you can also use them while jumping, running, plyometrics, and even CrossFit workouts.
Since they’re also lightweight, breathable, and decently comfortable, you can wear them as everyday shoes too. For that reason, despite being a bit pricey, they’re a great bang for your buck!
- Come in a variety of colors and sizes
- Comfortable and elegant design that can be worn outside
- You can use them for all-around movements in the gym too
- They don’t have any support straps
5. Chuck Taylor Converse – Most Minimal Lifting Shoe For Narrow Feet
Lastly, if you go to the gym, you might notice that a lot of powerlifters wear converse shoes while training.
That’s because these shoes have incompressible flat soles and little cushioning, making them great for deadlifts and other workouts.
What’s great about Chucks is that they’re affordable, fit narrow feet, and come in almost every color and size you can imagine.
The versatile shoes are also a favorite among many people and can be used for running everyday errands as well!
- You can use them for everyday purposes
- Highly affordable price
- Available in tons of sizes and color options
- Not as durable as synthetic and leather shoes
Do You Have Narrow Feet?
Shoe sizes originally describe the length of the shoe. However, if you have a narrow foot, it might wiggle on the sides while fitting you at the toes and heels.
Measuring Your Foot
You can easily measure your feet width and compare it to size charts. Here’s a quick video guide that can show you the process.
Keep in mind that there are different charts for men and women due to the anatomical differences between their feet.
Conditions Associated With Narrow Feet
Unlike people with large feet, those with narrow ones are less prone to medical issues because their feet’ bones aren’t over-pressured inside their shoes.
Yet, wearing relatively wide shoes have a direct impact on how you walk and move because the shoes might slide left and right.
Wearing an inadequate shoe for a long time will subject you to injuries, such as:
- Achilles tendonitis: the inflammation of your Achilles tendon due to excessive sliding
- Arch pain
What to Look For in Lifting Shoes for Narrow Feet
There are various aspects that you need to look for while shopping for the best lifting shoes in general.
While most of these aspects still stand, there are some specific features and points that you should look for if you have narrow feet. Let’s have a quick look at them
Sizing & Fitting
As you now know, it’s extremely important that you only size down if your toes don’t reach the end of the shoe.
The best way to find the ideal shoe for your narrow feet is by trying them on your own. However, a good shortcut to save you the hassle here is to try the most popular options first, such as the Adidas Adipower or the Inov-8 Fastlift 400.
Ideally, a lifting shoe for narrow feet needs a durable and incompressible sole. The best sole materials for this purpose are synthetic fabrics and leather.
Avoid shoes with excessive EVA cushioning because they compress greatly once you apply heavy weights on them, which wastes your gains.
The soles should also provide traction control both inside and outside the shoes, so they prevent your feet from sliding around.
Making sure that your lifting shoes are tight is one of the keys to make the most out of your lift and avoid all the side effects accompanying slippery regular shoes.
If you’re buying lifting shoes for your narrow feet, make sure that they have at least one supporting strap in your metatarsal region.
This strap will help you achieve a tighter fit around your feet while staying comfortable enough to move around.
Importance of Wearing Proper Shoes While Lifting with Narrow Feet
Wearing the right pair of shoes is crucial at all times. However, it’s much more critical while lifting because you’ll be holding a huge barbell that weighs tens or even hundreds of pounds.
If you have narrow feet and they wiggle and slide excessively inside your shoes, it’ll be more likely that you’ll fail that rep.
However, failing the rep should be the least of your concerns, as you’ll also be putting yourself in a huge risk of injuries that can keep you out of the gym for weeks or months.
On the other hand, wearing a decent pair of lifting shoes that provide you with a snug fit will allow you to stay comfortable and focus on making the most out of your rep.
Is It Better to Squat in Flat or Heeled Shoes If You Have Narrow Feet?
As a rule of thumb, all beginners should learn to squat in a flat shoe first. That’s because your feet are one of your greatest assets while squatting.
A huge part of your balance relies strongly on your feet and how they’re positioned. A stable foot will enhance the stability of both your knees and hips.
Since our feet are anatomically designed to be at the highest level of balance when it’s in direct contact with the ground, wearing shoes with flat soles is the ideal choice for the majority of us.
However, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution when it comes to trying on flat or heeled shoes. Whether you’re comfortable with flat shoes or not, at some point, you might want to give shoes with raised heels a try to see if your individual case can benefit more from their mechanics.
So, Why Do Some Lifters Wear Heeled Ones?
Originally, lifting shoes with raised heels were designed for Olympic weightlifting where elite-level athletes required shoes that can give them an extended level of ankle upward flexing, also known as “ankle dorsiflexion”.
However, more and more powerlifters found that wearing these lifting shoes with raised heels gave them technical leverage and helped them overcome some of their genetic disadvantages.
With more research and experience, we now know that heeled shoes are more ideal for some of us than others, depending on certain aspects.
I’ve written an in-depth article about all the aspects where a heeled shoe is a better choice for you than a flat one. Here’s a quick summary of these variable aspects:
Limited Ankle Mobility
Not all of us have the same level of ankle mobility. Some people might find it much more difficult to bend their ankle upwards while squatting.
The lack of ankle mobility will restrict the lifter’s ability to go deep while squatting. In that case, using a lifting shoe with a heel raise will allow the lifter to benefit more from their squats.
The Lifter’s Overall Height
Unfortunately, if you’re a tall person, you’re automatically at a disadvantage while squatting. Of course, I’m talking here about the length of your legs when compared to the rest of your body.
In my experience, almost all the tall lifters that I’ve coached achieved better results when they tried heeled shoes!
The Femur Length
Even if you’re not a relatively tall lifter, your body proportions might require you to wear a lifting shoe with a heel raise in order to perform better.
One of the most notable examples is your femur’s length (the upper leg bone). Since it’s the largest bone in your body, it’ll affect your performance greatly if it’s relatively big compared to your torso, making a heeled shoe in that case a savior.
If you want to learn more about lifting shoes for tall lifters or lifters with long femur bones, check out this guide.
If you do a narrow stance squat, your narrow feet will benefit greatly from wearing a lifting shoe with a heel raise. However, if you're a wide stance squatter, you should stick to flat ones.
The placement of the bar also has an impact on the ideal shoe for you. For example, a high-bar squatter with narrow feet will benefit greatly from a heeled lifting shoe!
Although not necessarily the case, most lifters with narrow feet will also have a shallow pelvis. In that case, wearing heeled shoes will also help in improving their squats.
Should You Lift Barefoot If You Have Narrow Feet?
As a rule of thumb, I always suggest that you try out lifting in special shoes for narrow feet first. However, if none of the popular options on the market work for you, going barefoot while lifting might be your last resort.
I’ve seen many lifters with narrow feet workout with their running shoes just because it fits them right. However, lifting barefooted is still better than trying to lift in unsuitable shoes just because they’re more comfortable.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that barefoot lifting is better. For starters, lifting barefoot is not approved competitively.
So, training without shoes might put you in some serious adaptation issues when you have to put on one to lift in a competition, which is the last thing you want while lifting a ton of weight.
Not only that, but you should also keep in mind that not all gyms will allow you to lift barefoot. And even if they do, you’ll be stepping on a lot of germs from the dirty gym floor, putting your feet in serious infection hazard.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tight should lifting shoes be?
While lifting, you want the shoe to be in a snug fit. This means that it’s not too tight that you’re cramming your toes and unable to wiggle them around, but also not too loose that your toe box can slip and slide inside the shoes.
The ideal fit is when you’re able to feel the sides of the shoe all the time and your toes are only able to claw and clench inside while reaching the end of the shoe. However, your heel mobility should be minimal at all times.
Can you deadlift in a squat shoe?
Ideally, you should avoid using squat shoes while doing a deadlift because these shoes have a heel raise. This elevated heel is usually about 0.6 to 1.5 inches high, making the deadlift a lot harder because you’ll need to pull the barbell to a longer distance.
This won’t only throw your balance and put you in a great risk of accidents, but it’ll also distribute the weight load inadequately by placing a larger load on the knee extensors instead of the posterior chain, which minimizes your workout gains and causes injuries.
How to make a lifting shoe suitable for your narrow feet?
A lot of lifters with skinny feet found that the Adidas Adipower II is the best shoe for narrow feet. However, for some lifters, even with those on, they still can’t feel a snug fit.
Your next best solution, in that case, would be adding shoe inserts. Many lifters with small feet do this and it works brilliantly with them without affecting their performance!
Finding good lifting shoes for narrow feet isn’t only critical for your comfort while in the gym, but also to enhance your stability and protect you from serious accidents due to slipping.
There are many options that are recommended for lifters with narrow feet. However, the Adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes are clearly the most popular ones among lifters with narrow feet.
It’s a great lifting shoe overall, and you can use it to perform in almost any strength-related movement. If you want an even narrower shoe, you might want to consider adding an insert.
However, if you also suffer from limited ankle mobility while lifting, preventing you from going deep while squatting, you should consider a heeled alternative. In that case, the Sabo Weightlift Shoe should be an ideal option for your needs!