Nike is one of the most trusted brands for delivering high-quality shoes that have been tried and tested for all kinds of sports. Its weightlifting shoes are no different.
Nike offers lifting shoes designed for different types of weight training. The shoes all have unique features specific to the model and intended use of the shoe. But which shoes are best for the type of lifting you do?
To help narrow down your search, I’ve compiled a list of the seven best Nike lifting shoes:
- Nike Metcon 8 – Best Overall
- Nike Free Metcon 4 – Best for CrossFit
- Nike Savaleos – Best Nike Powerlifting Shoes
- Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 – Best Budget Nike Shoes for Lifting
- Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 – Best for Athletes
- Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 – Best for Deadlifting
- Nike Romaleos 4 – Best for Squats
Now the real questions are, “Which shoes should I get? What is best for me?” This detailed guide on the best Nike workout shoes will tell you exactly what you need with my best option.
7 Best Nike Lifting Shoes
|Product||Best For||Heel-to-Toe Drop||Key Features||Learn More|
|Nike Metcon 8 - Best Overall||Overall lifting, CrossFit, HIIT, and cross-training||4 mm||Stability throughout the whole shoe||Buy Now|
|Nike Free Metcon 4 - Best for CrossFit||CrossFit and HIIT||5 mm||Flexible but also stable throughout||Buy Now|
|Nike Savaleos - Best Nike Powerlifting Shoes||Powerlifting||15 mm||Lockdown hook-and-loop strap||Buy Now|
|Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 - Best Budget Nike Shoes for Lifting||Overall lifting and training||4 mm||Multidirectional traction pattern on sole||Buy Now|
|Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 - Best for Athletes||Overall lifting and training||4 mm||React foam for soft bounce||Buy Now|
|Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 - Best for Deadlifting||Deadlifting||5 mm||Herringbone traction pattern on sole||Buy Now|
|Nike Romaleos 4 - Best for Squats||Squatting||19 mm||Rigid midsole with elevated heel||Buy Now|
1. Nike Metcon 8 – Best Overall
- 4 mm heel drop
- Lightweight mesh
- React Foam midsole
- Rubber wraps along the arch for rope climb grip
- Wide flat heel with an inner plate
- Hyperlift heel
- React Foam makes this shoe very versatile
- Quick break-in time
- Many color and size options
- Expensive price point
I’ve owned several models of the Metcons, and the Metcon 8s are not just the best Nike shoes for lifting, they could be the best shoes for lifting overall.
The Metcon 8s are Nike’s newest model of the Metcon family. Compared to the previous models, the Metcon 8 has new features like a reworked mesh upper for more durability and an inner plate in the heel to distribute weight evenly while still being flexible.
The Hyperlift heel allows for minimal heel drop but still provides some heel elevation. When I am looking for a shoe that will raise my heel a bit for squatting but still perform well for exercises like CrossFit or HIIT, this is one of the very few I use.
The Metcon 8 model can support lifts of around 555 lbs, while the full rubber outsole provides great traction for high-intensity movements. The shoe is very stable and secure, so you can lift heavy without worrying about slipping.
I have used these shoes before for my lifting. I really like how secure and versatile they are for whichever type of lifting I was doing.
They offered enough stability and support while I was deadlifting on maximal effort training day. They also held up well on days when I had more plyometric jumping, changes of direction, and HIIT movements in my workouts. The React Foam midsole gave some cushioning to do the more “athletic” movements comfortably without sacrificing stability.
Quick Take From A Friend:
I used to have the Metcon 7 for CrossFit and weightlifting, so when the Metcon 8s came I had to have them and of course with gold. They are very stable and I love to workout in them 💪Natascha Wilger
The Nike Metcon 8 is our top pick for the best shoe for both lifting and running. You can read our full list of the 5 Best Lifting and Running Shoes for Hybrid Workouts.
2. Nike Free Metcon 4 – Best for CrossFit
- 5 mm heel drop
- Nike Free technology in the forefoot
- Soft foam core and firm outer layer around the heel
- Rubber tread in high-wear areas
- Heel strap locks down the foot
- Very comfortable to wear
- Narrow shoe
If you are doing high-intensity CrossFit-styled training with lots of jumping, lifting heavy weights, and quick bursts of sprinting, the Nike Free Metcon 4 is for you.
With CrossFit, you need a weight training shoe that is flexible but also stable. The Nike Free technology in the forefoot of this shoe creates flexibility for your quick bursts of agility and jumps. The layered heel creates a solid, stable base for lifting heavy weights. You can lock into the floor for your heaviest sets.
I really like how this is one of the few shoes on the market that allows for flexibility and stability and provides the best of both worlds.
I wish I had known when I tried these shoes that they run narrow and small. The toe box was tight on me, and I would order one size up if I got another pair of these.
I got a lot of wear out of mine. The rubber tread in high-wear areas helped maintain my shoes’ durability. I usually have a problem with my shoes ripping quickly, but these lasted me for over a year.
3. Nike Savaleos – Best Nike Powerlifting Lifting Shoes
- 15 mm heel drop
- Rigid construction with a wide flat sole
- Hook-and-loop strap for your foot
- Non-compressible thermoplastic polyurethane heel
- Hybrid shoe for powerlifting and training
- Adjustable hook and loop foot straps
- Lightweight compared to other Nike powerlifting shoes
- 14 mm heel drop may be too high for beginners
According to my research, these are the best Nike training shoes for powerlifters who don’t want to carry multiple pairs of shoes to the gym. They are a hybrid shoe, so you can comfortably and effectively use them for your big three lifts as well as any other kind of accessory lift.
The midfoot is stable, so you can distribute pressure equally with a heavy lift. The front foot is flexible, allowing you to comfortably perform explosive plyometric movements. This combination of rigidity and flexibility makes them very versatile. The adjustable strap across the front of the shoe adds even more support.
The raised heel is lower than most weightlifting shoes. This allows the elevated heel to help you lower your squat and build explosive power. This heel height is also low enough to do deadlifts without your body shifting forward too much.
I have tried these shoes before, and felt stable and tight. The best part was the ability to go from a barbell squat into jumps without changing my footwear.
If you’re not set on Nike and want to learn more about other brands, check out this article: Top 7 Powerlifting Shoe Brands (Plus 3 You’ve Never Heard Of).
4. Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 – Best Budget Nike Shoes for Lifting
- 4 mm heel drop
- Multidirectional traction pattern
- High-abrasion mesh overlay
- Flat, wide sole
- Fit true to size
- Not very durable; many reviews said they ripped easily
The Nike Varsity Compete TR 3 comes in as the cheapest option on this list.
This is a very standard weight training shoe. The best feature is the multidirectional traction pattern on the sole. This traction makes this model versatile for many different surfaces in the gym. If you are doing an exercise like a sled push on turf, you will have enough grip on the turf while wearing these. You will also have a good grip on a rubber floor or hardwood lifting platform.
The flat, wide sole offers plenty of stability for heavy strength training. You’ll feel secure on the ground for lifts like deadlifts and squats. The built-in straps on the side of the shoe integrate with the laces to provide even more stability for heavy lifting.
This shoe can rip easily, which is something to consider if you’re looking for a durable shoe. There are rubber edges around high-wear areas of the shoe, but the heel area may ‘squeak’ after a few uses.
Still, the reasonable price makes it a good option for those who love Nike training sneakers but don’t have a large budget.
5. Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 – Best for Athletes
- 4 mm heel drop
- Zoom Air cushioning
- Lightweight React Foam
- Outer mesh for durability and breathability
- Rope grip on the instep
- Highly versatile
- Excellent traction on all surfaces (rubber flooring, wooden platform, wooden court, turf)
- Stiff to break in
The Zoom Metcon Turbo 2s are the best Nike gym shoes for athletes. They are good for every type of workout, from heavy weight lifting to plyometrics to short sprints.
This shoe has several features that make it great for all-around training, including the combination of the React Foam for cushioning and protection and the Air Zoom for bounce in the midfoot.
The minimal heel lift gives you a bit of an advantage while squatting if you need some elevation to help you reach proper depth. But you can still deadlift in this shoe because the heel isn’t so high that it will alter your technique. The shoe also has a wide base with outsole stability.
As a former college athlete, I wish I had these shoes for my workouts. The workouts would consist of heavy lifting, plyometric jumping, sprinting, and quick change of direction on rubber flooring, wooden court, and turf. The Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 is a shoe that fits all those needs.
It’s a small victory for an athlete to only need one pair of shoes to accomplish everything they need for training. Whether that saves room in your gym bag or it is one less thing to worry about bringing to the training session, a pair of shoes that can successfully handle all aspects of training is worth the investment.
If you are curious about weightlifting shoes from other brands, check out the 10 Best Weightlifting Shoes.
6. Nike Blazer Mid ‘77 – Best Nike Lifting Shoe for Deadlift
- 5 mm heel drop
- Leather and synthetic upper material
- Herringbone traction pattern
- Flat soles
- Not much extra cushioning
- High top provides extra ankle stability
- Material can rub on ankles
There are no Nike deadlifting shoes, but the Nike Blazer Mid ‘77s are becoming a new and popular shoe for powerlifters. They are similar to the old-school, high-top shoes powerlifters used to use.
These offer everything you need for a high-top deadlift shoe, including extra stability around your ankle joint. With the added stability, you can focus more on pulling the weight and less on feeling like you have no control through your feet. The herringbone traction pattern also lets you get a great grip on any flooring material.
The less cushioning a shoe has, the better it is for deadlifting. You need to be able to drive your feet into the ground to generate power, and cushioning prevents that. With low amounts of cushioning and flat soles, the Nike Blazers allow you to connect your foot to the ground to drive the weight up.
I know plenty of people who wear these specifically for deadlifting. When I asked them about these shoes, they said breaking them in took a few wears. At first, the material was stiff but still usable. Don’t be alarmed if they don’t feel comfortable at first because they will start to feel better over time.
One other tip for these shoes: wear high socks! Otherwise, the material from the high top will rub on the outside of your ankles.
If you want to read more about lifting in high-top styled shoes, check out Why Do Powerlifters Wear Converse Shoes? (8 Reasons).
7. Nike Romaleos 4 – Best Nike Lifting Shoe for Squats
- 19 mm heel drop
- Two straps over laces
- Rigid midsole with wide heel
- Rubber treads on the sole
- Thermoplastic polyutherane (TPU) heel
- Dual straps for the ankle joint and metatarsals
- Rigid midsole is designed for power transfer
- Wide heel designed for stability
- Expensive price point
This is the ultimate Nike squatting shoe. It’s a high-quality, durable shoe that will last you for years. The added height of the heel and metatarsal straps allow you to get deep into a squat while staying locked and secured.
This is the fourth iteration of the Romaleos. Compared to the single strap in previous versions, a nice update to this newer model is the dual straps. Since our feet have minor anatomical differences, the dual straps can be adjusted to fit you perfectly.
The midsole and wider heel of this shoe give you tons of stability. With the added stability, you can put a lot of force into the ground with each rep, leading to more power transfer on your lifts. The TPU heel is a noncompressible material that adds even more stability through your heel during the lift.
Now, I will be honest — I personally do not like shoes with lifted heels. I am more comfortable lifting barefoot.
However, I have tried these shoes while squatting. Based on my experience, there are a couple of things to note about transitioning to heeled squat shoes.
If you have never used a shoe with a high heel drop, the 19 mm may feel awkward at first. If you are not used to an elevated heel, you may lean forward too much when squatting. I personally did not enjoy that. But if a high heel is what you want, this is the shoe.
I will also say that for how rigid the shoe is, it was still comfortable to wear.
Want to learn more about the differences and similarities between the Romaleo versions? Check out this article: Nike Romaleos 3 vs. 4: Should You Upgrade?
Why You Should Trust PowerliftingTechnique
Our team comprises powerlifting coaches who have competed and worked with athletes at the highest levels. We understand the importance of utilizing the best gear possible, and our recommendations are based on which products helped us achieve the best results.
There are also several strength and conditioning coaches, CrossFitters, strongman athletes, and certified personal trainers on our staff who have years of experience with gym shoes.
Collectively, we’ve tried hundreds of different types of shoes, so we know which ones are worth the money and which ones you should avoid.
How We Chose the Best Nike Lifting Shoes
We tested and read the customer reviews of countless Nike weightlifting shoes. Although some specifications like style and color are important because you want to look the part, performance is more important. We decided the most important factors in selecting the best Nike shoes for lifting were intended use, stability, and versatility.
Buying Guide: What To Look For in a Lifting Shoe
When buying a new and improved lifting shoe, there are a few key specifications to look for. When you find a shoe that ticks all of these boxes, your time in the gym will be much more enjoyable and meaningful.
The shape, materials, and technologies Nike uses are all different depending on the shoe’s intended use.
If your primary goal is to get a shoe with a high heel drop so you can sit down deeper in a squat, that should be one of the first specifications you look for.
On the other hand, if you plan on wearing your shoes for both lifting and workouts with quick directional changes, a shoe with more ankle support will be better.
The best Nike shoes for the gym and running have features like a stable base for heavy lifting but enough cushion to keep your feet comfortable during high-impact movements. So consider what types of activities you’ll do in the gym, and search for Nike shoes that will suit your training.
The traction pattern on the soles of your shoes matters when it comes to weight lifting.
Traction is simply the resistance to sliding or pivoting between the bottom of the shoe and the surface you’re lifting on.
You want the traction pattern to be grippy and secure. The best Nike gym shoes will have a multidirectional patterning to allow for the least amount of slipping because of how the treads “grab” the ground.
You will have to find a happy medium on the comfort spectrum.
For some people, a rigid shoe all the way around may be more comfortable. For others, a more flexible and bendy shoe may feel better.
The best weight training shoes from Nike should have mesh fabric, making your shoes more breathable and keeping your feet comfortable. Trust me, you do not want slippery and sweaty feet all day.
Most Nike lifting shoes are true to size. It is always best to try them on to make sure you have a good fit. The shoes should be secure around your foot but not excruciatingly tight. A midfoot strap and secure laces will always help keep a snug fit.
Nike weight training shoes can be expensive, but you don’t have to spend a lot for good quality sneakers. However, you should value the shoe more than what is on the price tag.
High Top vs. Low Top
High-top lifting shoes are your answer if you are looking for shoes with more ankle stability and support. A high-top shoe, especially one with metatarsal straps, will limit the range of motion your ankle will go through. These shoes really lock your ankle in place. This can lead to a reduction in injuries and even improve your lifting technique.
Features and Technologies in Nike Lifting Shoes
Nike shoes have some unique features that set them apart from shoes from other brands. Some of the features are even unique to specific models.
Raised vs. Flat Heel
A raised heel is a good idea for somebody whose ankle mobility is the limiting factor in their squat depth. A higher heel alters the range of motion of the ankles, knees, hips, and torso while squatting. Typically, you can squat much lower, and your torso will remain more upright. This position will allow for more of a quad-focused squat.
Other factors that may influence an elevated heel are limb length and anatomical differences in the hip. People with short femurs are at an advantage because they don’t have to descend as much, so a shorter heel height will work. People with longer femurs may benefit from a shoe with a higher heel.
The Romaleos 4 are the best Nike weightlifting shoes with a raised heel.
A shoe with a flat heel will require strict squat mechanics so you can sit down low without the added help an elevated heel will give you. Many people like the feel of flat shoes and the stability that comes with them. Flat heels have also been shown in research studies to make squats more hip and glute dominant, leading to a more forward torso position.
When the hips and chest rise simultaneously from this position, the bar stays centered over the midfoot, producing efficient power.
Flatter-heeled shoes Nike offers include the Metcon 8 and Zoom Metcon Turbo 2.
Nike React Foam
React Foam is a durable, lightweight cushion in the midsole of some Nike shoes. This material offers 13% more energy return than previous models’ foam. This allows for a softer bounce to the shoe and is ideal for quick and explosive movements to help ease the landings.
The Metcon 8 and Zoom Metcon Turbo 2 offer this technology.
Nike Zoom Air
This explosive cushioning uses tightly stretched fibers and pressurized air to absorb impact for low-stress output.
For weightlifting sessions involving repetitive plyometric exercises like jumping and bounding, you want shoes with cushioning to support your joints, muscles, and tendons. This technology is specifically important for athletes who perform many different kinds of training.
You can find Zoom Air technology in Nike’s Zoom Metcon Turbo 2.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Nike Weightlifting Shoes Expensive?
Lifting shoes from Nike are typically more expensive than your everyday lifestyle shoes. They are meant to provide stability and absorb high amounts of force, which requires more materials to make the shoes. However, some models of Nike strength training shoes are cheaper than others.
What Is the Best Nike Weightlifting Shoe for Deadlifting?
The Nike Metcon 8 is the best Nike deadlift shoe. It ticks the boxes of everything you want in a deadlift shoe. The flat sole keeps your foot close to the ground and helps prevent slipping. There is an inner plate that allows for more stability. The Metcon 8s also have a strong sole that can lock into the ground.
Are Nike Metcons Good for Squatting?
Nike Metcons are great for squatting. They have a rigid heel that allows for stability throughout the entire shoe, so you do not have to worry about slipping. The heel is also slightly lifted, so you will get some assistance to squat deeper.
Are Nike Lifting Shoes Good?
Nike is one of the most reputable shoe brands in the world. Its shoes are made with high-density foam, lightweight mesh uppers, and staked leather to provide you with the most support and best performance possible.
Can You Run in Nike Training Shoes?
You can run in some Nike training shoes. CrossFit-styled shoes like the Nike Metcon are good to run short distances in. But other Nike training shoes are designed for the purpose of weightlifting and are more rigid. Nike shoes designed specifically for running would be a better option.
Nike has many options when it comes to weightlifting shoes. Its models are designed to specifically help with different kinds of exercises. Each type of shoe has its own pros and cons.
With that said, the best Nike lifting shoe overall is the Nike Metcon 8. It can comfortably and effectively be used with heavy lifting, short sprints, and plyometrics. Technology specific to Nike in these shoes, such as the React Foam midsole and fixed Hyperlift heel, allow for soft cushioning and a small heel lift when you strength train.If you want a Nike shoe specific to powerlifting, the Savaleos are a great option. The shoe is lightweight, has straps to secure your foot, and can be used with many powerlifting movements.
About the Author
Jake Woodruff has an MS in Sports Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh. His research area explored how an exercise intervention affected runners with knee pain measured by a movement screening. He is currently a strength and conditioning sports performance coach at a private Pittsburgh facility. He is a former college athlete and currently plays semi-pro soccer.