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Powerlifting shoes are essential if you want to make the most out of your lifts. They increase your stability, balance, performance, and have the potential to prevent injuries.
With more women hitting the powerlifting scene, manufacturers have been producing women’s powerlifting shoes for a good while now.
So what are the best women’s powerlifting shoes? The best powerlifting shoes for women are the Reebok Legacy Lifter. These shoes have everything you’d need for a women’s lifting shoes, such as the 0.86-inch heel raise, a slightly narrower build, rubber outsole for traction, and the super-rugged TPU construction that will help the shoes stand the test of time and maximize its lifting potential.
Read on, if you want to know more about women’s lifting shoes, how to pick them, and how they can benefit you.
Top 7 Women’s Powerlifting Shoes Available on the Market
Finding the best women’s powerlifting shoes might be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s the first time you’re shopping for a pair
To make things easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of the best lifting shoes for women that you can find out there.
The top 7 powerlifting shoes for women are:
- Reebok Legacy Lifter – Best Powerlifting Shoe For Women
- Women’s Powerlift 4 Cross Trainer – Best Budget Powerlifting Shoe
- Inov-8 Women’s Fastlift 335 – Best For Powerlifting and CrossFit
- Do-Win Powerlifting Shoe – Best Women’s Powerlifting Shoe For Wide Feet
- Reebok Women’s Crossfit Lifter Plus 2.0 – Best For Flat Feet
- Adidas Performance Women’s CrazyPower Cross Trainer Shoe – Most Versatile
- No Bull Women’s Training Shoe – Great For General Lifting
Here’s a brief overview of each one of them
Starting the list with one of the unique shoes that suit almost all kinds of women’s feet. The Reebok Legacy Lifter is a great option to consider due to its excellent set of features and characteristics.
This shoe features a leather and synthetic construction, which offers both durability and rigid soles needed so that your feet don’t slip while lifting.
In addition, there are two metatarsal straps to lock your feet into place, so depending on whether you have wide or narrow feet you can adjust the straps accordingly. A lot of weightlifting shoes for women only have one strap, so this is a nice feature of the Reebok Legacy Lifter.
The heels-to-toe raise is about 0.86 inches, which helps in stabilizing your feet and giving you better control of the barbell. A slight heel raise can help you achieve greater bottom positions in exercises like the squat, snatch, and clean & jerk because it allows your hips and ankles to travel more freely.
The upper is made of perforated leather which enhances breathability and keeps your feet dry and comfortable. This also prevents the shoe from smelling and ensures the material doesn’t break down over time.
The shoe features the same reputable ExoFrame technology used in the men’s version. This technology ensures that your heel doesn’t move while you’re executing your movements, which is a key aspect of any powerlifting of weightlifting movement.
As well, the Legacy Lifter comes in two colors.
- Durable TPU sole construction
- Adequately raised heels
- Exoframe technology and extra straps for enhanced ankle support
- Breathable material
- Extremely comfortable
- Used by most professional and elite female powerlifters
- A bit pricey compared with other powerlifting shoes, but worth the cost in my opinion.
Next up we have the Adidas Women’s Powerlift 4 Cross Trainer. This one offers Adidas’ quality for a remarkably affordable price, making it a great option for budget buyers.
The heel raise on this shoe is about 0.6 inches, which isn’t too high but still within the sweet spot of the powerlifting shoes for women. Anything less and this would be considered a ‘flat sole shoe’, which would only be suitable for people who have excellent hip and ankle mobility, and short legs.
This one is a fantastic option for any woman looking for stability as a priority for a lifting shoe. It features a rigid sole that is made of synthetic rubber all the way to the outsole. So it’s great for heavy squats, and it’s a shoe that can progress with you from beginner to advanced levels.
This gives it great traction while lifting the weights and prevents slipping accidents. The shoe is available in 5 different color combinations, so you can color match it with your outfit.
- An excellent choice for buyers on a budget
- Available in a nice set of colors to match your gear
- Offers a decent level of stability and foot support
- The shoe runs slightly big, only consider if you have wide feet
If you want a powerlifting shoe that’s flexible enough to be used for both powerlifting and CrossFit training, you should consider the Women’s Fastlift 335 from Inov-8 .
What’s great about these shoes is that they have a high heel raise for lifting, which is about 1.25 inches. This is great for lifters who lack adequate ankle and hip mobility, or female lifters who are taller (above 5’7).
However, on the forefront, the Meta-Flex technology will grant you the needed flexibility for a variety of CrossFit movements.
Another point that enhances the stability of the shoes is the Power-Truss technology at the base of the shoes.
This technology offers unmatched lateral stability, which offers a great anchoring base for lifting the weights.
Not to mention, the shoe has an excellent outsole grip and velcro strap over the upper to provide a snug fit at your midfoot.
- The Power-Truss technology is great for lateral stability
- Remarkably high heel raise for the maximum muscle engagement while lifting
- Relatively wide tox box for women with flat and wide feet
- Lacks a good variety of colors
One of the main differences between men’s and women’s feet is that women’s feet are slightly narrower.
For that reason, women with wide feet might only need to shift for a men’s lifting shoe with a wide feet box to feel comfortable.
The Do-Win Powerlifting Shoe has always been my recommendation for any lifter with wide feet because it has a remarkably wide toe box.
In addition to the toe, it has a 0.75-inch heel raise, two metatarsal straps for stability as well as nylon and leather mesh construction for both durability and air circulation.
You’ll know if you need a wide toe box weightlifting shoe if you have the same problem buying casual footwear, where your feet are slightly wider than the average design.
- A wide toe box to support women with very wide feet
- Double strap support to keep the feet stabilized
- Remarkably durable construction
- Women with regular feet might feel it a bit oversized
Any woman suffering from flat feet will probably have a bad relationship with most shoe brands. If you’re a lifter and have flat feet, you should focus on three main aspects: wide toe box, arch support, and ankle stabilization.
The Reebok Women’s Crossfit Lifter Plus 2.0 is made of synthetic leather features a rubber sole that provides feet stabilization.
Rubber is a great choice of material here because it enhances arch support and keeps your feet stabilized during lifting.
Since most people with flat feet also suffer from wide feet, these shoes have a relatively wide toe box to accommodate your feet without causing you pain.
As for the heel raise, this shoe has a heel raise of 0.75 inches, which is more than enough to provide excellent muscle engagement while lifting.
- Designed to accommodate lifters with flat feet
- High heel raise for muscle incorporation
- Features different color options
- Walking in these shoes feels awkward, so they’re only used for lifting, not jumping, skipping, or other dynamic movements
If you lift casually, you might want a shoe that isn’t fully dedicated to powerlifting. In that case, opting for a more versatile alternative that allows you to do more varied movements in the gym might be a better investment.
The Adidas Performance Women’s CrazyPower is a perfect Cross Trainer that can be used for lifting weights but also works for a variety of workouts because of its lightweight texture.
Despite being lightweight, the durability of these shoes is one of its greatest assets. It’s made of ultra-rugged TPU plastic, which keeps your feet stabilized during the lift.
The shoe has a small heel raise but can be good enough for someone who doesn’t simply specialize in the squat, and wants to do other exercises (more dynamic exercises).
The minimal cushioning on the shoe might be uncomfortable for running, but it’s perfect if you want to make the most while lifting. And to be honest, most weightlifting shoes aren’t meant for running anyways.
- A highly versatile option that can be used for a variety of movements in the gym
- Features a highly durable TPU construction
- Low cushioning for minimal waste of force while lifting
- Not the best option for serious powerlifters
Last but not least, we have one of the most popular brands when it comes to making quality shoes.
The No Bull Women’s Training Shoe is a great choice if you want durable shoes that you can use for lifting all the while staying aesthetically pleasing enough to walk around with it.
One thing you should know is that this one isn’t exactly a lifting shoe. In fact, it has a 4 mm heel raise, which isn’t high enough for a serious lifter.
Since it’s super durable, this one counts as a great shoe for general training and lifting. The SuperFabric construction resists all kinds of abrasion while staying breathable.
The heels offer decent traction and rigid support, so you can make the most out of the lifts and avoid wasted effort from excess cushioning, which is why it’s actually a great shoe for deadlifting and other pulling exercises.
No Bull minimalist design with excellent performance is also available in a huge variety of colors, so you can match your workout gear in style!
- Cool design that is available in tons of colors
- Highly versatile and excellent for CrossFitters
- Ultra-durable yet breathable construction construction
- Lacks straps for support
Check out my complete list of Powerlifting Equipment For Women, which includes 9 must-have items if you’re a competitive lifter.
What Makes A Women’s Powerlifting Shoe Special?
I frequently come across athletes that use the wrong type of shoe, thinking that they all get the job done.
However, there’s a huge difference between general training shoes and specialized shoes for powerlifting.
Here are some of the differences that make a squat shoe special from a general training shoe.
First, unlike regular training, powerlifting doesn’t require the extra “springiness” that a foam soled training shoe offers. Instead, it needs a hard sole with minimal cushioning.
You might also think that powerlifting shoes are a bit overpriced because they’re specialized shoes.
However, they’re usually more affordable than training shoes despite being more durable in construction.
Also, general training shoes are mostly flat on the soles. On the other hand, powerlifting shoes feature a slight heel raise that is critical to the stability of the shoes. But more on this later.
The only thing that general training shoes and powerlifting shoes agree on is the hard rubber outsole that is made of slip-resistant materials.
Benefits of Wearing A Women’s Powerlifting Shoe
When I go to the gym, I see a lot of people giving so much attention to their powerlifting accessories and any items that can help them achieve more or better, such as lifting hooks and powerlifting belts.
And there’s no shame in that! After all, athletes in all sports strive to do all they can to make the most out of their workouts and training exercises.
Similar to any other sport, powerlifting requires special shoes, and as you can see, general training shoes and sneakers can’t be used for such activity.
However, a lot of gym-goers and amateur lifters might overlook this fact because they think that a special powerlifting shoe wouldn’t just do them any better.
Although powerlifting isn’t a contact sport, it has its own set of risks and dangers lingering around, which is mainly due to failure accidents and injuries.
Although running shoes and regular training shoes might feel “comfortable”, you don’t want to rely on just comfort while hauling a ton of weights off the ground.
Instead, you want a specially designed shoe that can help you make the most out of every lift and prevent you from any serious accident that might occur because you’re wearing the wrong type of shoes.
In my opinion, if you have a limited budget for your powerlifting gear, you should seriously consider a powerlifting shoe as a top priority, and here’s why:
Looking for workout gloves? Check out my reviews of the best women’s workout gloves.
1. Improved Stability While Lifting
Right off the bat, the first and foremost benefit you’ll get from having a powerlifting shoe is improving the level of stability you’ll get while lifting.
Since these shoes have an especially wide base and a slightly raised heel. This raise helps in achieving a much better form and alignment while preparing for the lift.
Moreover, women’s powerlifting shoes are designed with an excellent grip in the base of the shoes, which prevent slipping and keep your feet stapled to the floor.
This allows you to worry much less about losing your stability while lifting since your feet are technically anchored to the ground.
2. They’re Built to Last
You might not have thought about it before, but most shoes have a maximum weight tolerance which they’re designed to handle.
For instance, a general exercise shoe might look like it’s cut out for intense work. But in reality, they’re not designed to hold more than 300 to 400 lbs.
So, they’re designed to withstand the weight of a person with extra force from jumping and running, but not the constant stress of a barbell.
On the other hand, powerlifting shoes are usually made from extremely durable materials, such as thick leather, which are designed to be worn while someone is literally lifting the weight of an adult with their bare hands.
If you do more than just lifting, don’t expect your regular running shoes to survive more than a few months if you start putting it to the “real test”.
By investing in a powerlifting shoe, you’ll make sure that you land a durable shoe that will last you much longer and make the most out of your hard-earned money!
3. Better Muscle Engagement
If you’re squatting, you should aim to reach as deep of a squat as possible, which is something you can instantly achieve from your first squat in a lifting shoe.
Since powerlifting shoes have a raised heel, they put your body in a position where it can activate the vastus medialis muscle in your quads much more than a regular shoe.
In addition to the raised heel, these shoes are also known for their particularly hard soles. These soles are designed to improve the transfer for the weight force and shift them directly to where your acting muscles are rather than spreading to the floor.
This helps in utilizing all the force and gains during the lift without needing to increase your body mobility.
4. Enhanced Flexibility and Facilitated Ankle Mobility
Lifters, especially rookies, will often find it very hard to go deep while squatting because of their stiff ankle inside their regular shoes.
Since flexibility at the ankle without having it to move around is essential for a lifting shoe, women’s powerlifting shoe manufacturers design them with a great level of flexibility at the necessary spots.
These shoes store the elastic potential energy created due to bending your feet and direct it towards your heels rather than your ankle, which is far more reliable.
Combined with an excellent grip, this mechanism in a women’s powerlifting shoe can get you deeper than what you could achieve with regular shoes or even barefooted.
5. Helps in Prevention of Injuries
As I previously mentioned, powerlifting errors are inevitable and mistakes are bound to happen.
During a failed rep, the lifter loses their stability, which leads them to accidentally shift the pressure of the weight to other spots on their body, such as their joints, leading to a serious injury that can keep them off-training for weeks to months.
Yet, by having specialized shoes for powerlifting on, you’ll be much more stable and your ankle will have much better support and stay in a controlled status.
This will help in reducing the chances of contracting an injury if such a mistake occurs since you already got a better hold of yourself before failing the rep.
A very good example of these injuries is the chondromalacia patellae, which is a common injury among athletes that affects the knee patella.
Since the activated vastus medialis muscle is the main muscle responsible for keeping your patella stable, you’ll decrease the chance of such injury greatly.
Moreover, these shoes are designed to keep your back upright, especially during squats and deadlifts.
This improvement in kinematics helps in reducing the pressure on your lower back during lifts, which decreases the likelihood of suffering from post-workout back pain.
6. They Can Help You Lift More
Based on all the previous benefits, it’s easy to predict that these shoes might actually help you lift more weight. And to your surprise, that might actually be the case!
Cushioning and pads in shoes provide comfort but they consume a lot of your power when they’re pressed.
Unlike running shoes that are stuffed with cushioned soles and pads, women’s powerlifting shoes aren’t designed with solid soles that have minimal padding.
Additionally, some general exercise shoes don’t have a mechanism for strapping and getting a snug fit like the ones used in lifting shoes.
This tightness gives you much better control over your muscles, which subsequently, improves your performance.
Moreover, throughout my years of experience with lifting, I’ve found that lifting has to do more with mentality than we used to think.
Being in the right gear and feeling confident in what you’re wearing can take you far in powerlifting.
In fact, it has been proven in multiple studies that confidence and enhanced self-esteem has a positive impact on physical performance.
7. Special Powerlifting Shoes Help Lifters with Problematic Feet Structure
Unfortunately, not all feet are created equal. In some cases, people might have flat or wide feet, which put these athletes in some form of a disadvantage.
For example, women with a collapsed foot arch will have their shin bones moving and rotating more inwards while lifting.
This situation demands more work from the knees and hips to counteract, which causes extra strain that puts these women in risk of serious injuries while powerlifting.
Similarly, women with relatively wide feet or those suffering from hammertoes and bunions might be too uncomfortable while lifting.
That’s why they need a special shoe with an extra-wide toe box to avoid pain and instability while lifting.
However, women’s powerlifting shoe manufacturers are aware of these problems and have some shoes designed specifically as a workaround to avoid these issues while lifting.
So, if your unique foot structure is causing you some trouble, you should opt for a women’s powerlifting shoe that can correct your feet arch and save you the trouble of lifting in inadequate shoes.
Should Women Lift In Flat or Heeled Shoes?
The answer to this question can take a whole article. And in fact, I’ve written a full one before regarding the squatting dilemma that you can check out.
I’ll briefly summarize the most important point to consider before deciding.
As you already know, one of the main advantages of a heeled shoe over a flat one is that it enhances your limited dorsiflexion.
Dorsiflexion is your ability to bend your feet at your ankle area whether it’s going forward or backward. A heeled shoe will help you improve your limited ankle motion and achieve deeper squats.
However, if what’s muscles and ligaments are the reason for your limitation, you might need to consider training your ankle before considering heeled shoes in the first place.
Another thing you should know is that a study was made to assess the kinematic impact of heeled shoes vs flat heels found that heeled show offered:
- Greater muscle excitation and engagement
- Reduced the stress on the lower back
- Improved the dorsiflexion on the ankle
- Enhanced performance for tall lifter (lefters with long femur bones)
Based on all the previous findings as well as the benefits of wearing a heeled shoe while lifting, it’s safe to assume that women should lift in a heeled shoe rather than a flat one.
After all, women’s powerlifting shoe manufacturers must be making them with high heels for a reason!
Features of a Women’s Powerlifting Shoe
Not all women’s lifting shoes are branded as “powerlifting shoes”. Similarly, the fact that a shoe mentions lifting in the title doesn’t necessarily make it a good shoe for lifting.
In fact, there are some specific features and design aspects that make a women’s shoe a reliable one for lifting.
While shopping for a powerlifting shoe, you have to keep your eyes peeled for these specifications. Here are the features of a women’s powerlifting shoe.
The first aspect to have on your checklist while inspecting a lifting shoe is the raised heel.
As we’ve established earlier, a raised heel is a crucial aspect of a women’s lifting shoe because it promotes stability, helps you squat deeper, put more force into your quads, and prevent tons of chances for injuries.
Ideally, there’s a sweet spot from this heel raise, which is usually between 0.5 to 1.25 inches. This raise is usually enough to keep your feet stabilized without throwing you off balance.
You might need to test out different heel heights to determine your ideal one, but the difference within this range is typically minimal.
The last thing to mention about the heel raise is that different brands give it different terms, such as “heel drop”, “drop level”, “heel to toe drop”, and “offset”. All these terms usually describe the same thing.
Another extremely critical feature of perfect women’s powerlifting shoes is the rigidity of the soles.
While some running shoes might have some form of a heel raise, their soles are mostly made of springy and soft EVA foam, which helps in giving a better shock absorption and bounce while running.
However, in women’s lifting shoes, you want the soles to be as rigid as possible to prevent any power to be absorbed and lost during lifting by compression. That’s why soles made of thermoplastic materials, such as TPU and hard rubber are the best for the job.
The only note about these materials is that they’re usually quite heavy when compared to regular shoe soles, which makes it quite uncomfortable to do any other activities with these shoes.
But since you’ll most likely spare these shoes for powerlifting only, you won’t have to worry about that at all.
Midsole and Outsole
In running shoes, a midsole is crucial for cushioning and provides the arch support needed for a natural gait.
However, in women’s powerlifting shoes, you shouldn’t be lured in by how comfortable or cushioned the shoes are.
The midsole in lifting shoes is usually also made of TPU. However, a thin EVA plastic layer can also pass for powerlifting shoes as long as it’s not too thick.
As for the outsole, it needs to have as much grip and traction as possible because even the tiniest slip can be a recipe for a disaster if you’re lifting a heavy barbell.
Ideally, artificial rubber is the best material to go for while considering the outsoles. Despite being quite heavy, if you devote your shoes for lifting only, you won’t have to worry about how the shoes weigh you down at all.
Your feet and ankle area require some serious support to keep your feet secured and anchored to the floor while lifting.
That’s why I prefer shoes that have double strap support that covers and supports your feet while searching for new powerlifting shoes.
Regular laces are fine but they’re sometimes not enough to secure your feet with the tight fit you need. If you want the maximum strap support you should look for shoes that have velcro straps or bands that allow you to tighten the grip on your ankle.
More straps usually mean more support. But make sure that you don’t go overboard with the straps because they can be quite difficult to take off sometimes.
Materials and Durability
A good feature to consider while buying any shoes is how durable it is. However, in some cases, this “nice to have” feature is promoted to a “must-have” one. And that is the case with women’s powerlifting shoes.
If you’re planning to splurge a little on a powerlifting shoe, you’ll end up saving more money than you thought simply because these shoes will be made of rock-solid materials that resist the wear and tear that generally accompanies lifting tons of weight every week.
This means that your shoes will last you longer, so you’ll need to replace them at further intervals.
While choosing the products for this guide, I’ve made sure to pick the women’s powerlifting shoes that are as durable as it gets based on tons of athletes that tested them out.
These shoes are made by brands that are popular for their undisputed reputation for durability and longevity when compared to other brands.
How To Wear Your Powerlifting Shoes Properly
The first thing you need to care about before using your powerlifting shoes is making sure that the pair is fitting your feet perfectly.
Women have slightly narrower feet than men and their sizes usually run smaller, so you have to make sure that the shoes provide a snug fit when you wear them.
Since these shoes usually have multiple straps as well as a shoelace system, it’s better to unwind them so they’re loose enough for your feet to slide inside without a hassle.
I know this might seem like too much work. However, you can look at it as an excellent chance to mentally prepare yourself for lifting and hyping your brain before you hold the barbell.
You can achieve that by carefully researching the options and making sure that you pick the right size for your feet.
As a rule of thumb, most women’s powerlifting shoes will have a similar sizing system to the one used for running shoes. However, some brands are known for running a bit smaller or larger than standard sizes.
Solutions to these problems are to check the company’s sizing guide and compare it to the measurements of your feet. Also, you may want to keep your choices limited to the options that support product returns if they don’t fit.
Lastly, even with research, a pair of lifting shoes will be as good as you feel them when you put them on and try them out.
That’s why you have to keep room for trial and error while picking and wearing the shoes, especially if they’re your first pair.
Looking for a workout vest? Check out my reviews of the best women’s weighted vest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What shoes are best for women’s powerlifting?
Powerlifting typically requires a durable shoe that has rigid soles to stabilize your feet while lifting. Also, a good powerlifting shoe should offer minimal cushioning to prevent wasting your lifting force by compression. Lastly, hard rubber outsoles for slip resistance are critical for stabilization and accident prevention.
Do women need special shoes for powerlifting?
In competitive powerlifting, even a single pound can be the margin between winning or losing. If you want to make the most out of your lift, you’ll need a special shoe.
What’s the difference between men’s and women’s powerlifting shoes?
The difference lies in conforming to the variation between men’s and women’s feet. Women’s feet are slightly narrower, so they usually have narrower shoes. And since lifting requires a tight fit, wearing men’s shoes might feel too loose even if they’re the same size as yours.
Is lifting in Chuck Taylor’s converse a good idea for women?
A lot of lifters prefer to lift in Chucks because they’re budget-friendly, easy to replace and have a rigid sole. While converse shoes can be used for deadlifts, they’re not ideal for squats because they’re typically flat and have no raised heels.
There you have it. A complete guide with everything you need to know about women’s lifting shoes, so you can choose the one that suits you the most.
If you want my opinion, I’d say that you should go for the overall best women’s powerlifting shoes on the market, which is the Reebok Legacy Lifter.
These shoes are designed with a raised heel, durable and rigid soles to maximize your lifting potential, and excellent slip-resistant rubber outsoles to protect you from accidents upon failed reps.
If you’re a casual weightlifter and want a slightly versatile shoe that’s also good for varied movements in the gym, you should consider the Adidas Performance Women’s CrazyPower Cross Trainer Shoe.