7 Best Squat Shoes in 2020

Best Squatting Shoes
Image by Ivan Samkov / Pexels

When it comes to working out, position and form are crucial. This is particularly true for squats, which do wonders for your body when you’re using proper form — and a lot of harm when you’re not. Fortunately, the best squat shoes are an easy way to ease strain and keep you balanced throughout your workout. They may even help you eke out a few more pounds for maximum gains!

Our favorite pair of squat shoes comes from the fitness company, Nordic Lifting. Their MEGIN Powerlifting Shoes are designed for intense squats and lifting regimens, and they’re packed with ergonomic features like raised heels and anti-slip soles.

Not your style? Don’t sweat it. We’ve curated seven of the best and highest-rated squat shoes on the market. Join us as we try them on for size.

Our Top Picks: Best Squat Shoes

Short on time? Here are our top picks:

  • Best Overall: Nordic Lifting MEGIN Powerlifting ShoesThese ultra-durable powerlifting squat shoes with raised heels are perfect for serious lifters seeking to up their game — and their gains.
  • Best Eco-Friendly: Inov-8 Fastlift 300-Series ShoesIf you care about the environment as much as your gains, these eco-friendly shoes are the way to go.
  • Best Budget: Adidas Powerlift 3.1 Cross TrainersFor those on a shoestring budget, the Adidas Powerlift 3.1s are ideal for various workouts, all for under $100.
  • Best Squat & Deadlift: Reebok Legacy Lifter Cross TrainersWith Reebok Exoframe and Flexcage technologies, these squat shoes provide unparalleled support and comfort.
  • Best Sneakers: NOBULL Training ShoesLeave the excuses at home with these all-in-one fitness sneakers perfect for all types of exercise regimens.
  • Best Powerlifting: Nike Romaleos 3 XD Training ShoesThe synthetic leather Nike Romaleos 3s are among the best in the business thanks to their lightweight, Flywire-supported designs.
  • Best Women’s: Adidas Adipower Cross TrainersFinding the perfect pair of squat shoes can be tough for women… until you find the Adipower Cross Trainers. These exceptional shoes are as comfy and supportive as can be.

1. Nordic Lifting MEGIN Powerlifting Shoes

The best squat shoes overall

Nordic Lifting Shoes

Brand: Nordic Lifting / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male / Styles: 2 / Price: 💰💰

Looking for the best squat shoes overall? These trainers from Nordic Lifting are designed to provide maximum support during all your lifting routines.

Built atop a durable non-slip rubber outsole, these bad boys deliver excellent stability under strenuous loads. They boast raised heels, reinforced stitching, and sturdy velcro straps for a reliable and stress-free squat every time.

The MEGIN Powerlifting Shoes come in sizes 7 to 12, but they tend to run small. Our recommendation? Choose one size up, and see how they feel. We can almost guarantee that you’ll be squatting like an Olympian in no time.

  • Stylish design
  • Even tightness around the entire foot
  • Very comfortable for short to medium-length workouts

  • Only available for men
  • Very narrow & sizes run small

2. Inov-8 Fastlift 300-Series Shoes

The best squat shoes for eco-conscious shoppers

Inov 8 Shoes

Brand: Inov-8 / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male & Female / Styles: 8 / Price: 💰💰💰

Brand: Inov-8 / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male & Female / Styles: 8 / Price: 💰💰💰

Shoe companies are notorious for their harmful supply chains. Whether it be for environmental or human rights violations, rarely a month goes by without another high-profile scandal. But one shoe company is different from the rest. Introducing Inov-8.

Thanks to the company’s low-carbon manufacturing process and dedication to recycling, the Inov-8 Fastlift 300-Series shoes don’t just feel good at the gym — they also feel good on your conscience. And that’s all without sacrificing performance. To be sure, the Inov-8s are insanely comfortable with a breathable mesh exterior, and hugely supportive with welded synthetic overlays and grippy FastLift outsoles.

Grab a pair of the Inov-8 325s for women or 335s for men, and take squat time to another level.

  • Beautiful color schemes
  • Exceptional comfort and breathability
  • Comes from a sustainable supply chain

  • Poor quality velcro straps
  • Too narrow at the front of the show

3. Adidas Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainers

The best cheap squat shoes on a budget

Adidas Powerlifting

Brand: Adidas / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male & Female / Styles: 12 / Price: 💰

On a shoestring budget? Look no further than the Adidas Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainers, which have received unrivaled positive reviews from fans and trainers alike.

These shoes are so lightweight, they make you feel like you’re almost barefoot. Plus, they have a very sturdy heel, making for unbeatable support while working out. Because hey, those squats aren’t going to do themselves. The only downside? If you’re working with several hundred pounds at a time, you may want a bit more lift.

With prices starting under $20 for women and $60 for men, it’s a fantastic entry-level squat shoe.

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Affordable option for both men and women
  • Air mesh accents offer enhanced breathability

  • Narrow toe box
  • Shorter raised heel is better for beginners

4. Reebok Legacy Lifter Cross Trainers

The best shoes for squats and deadlifts

Reebok Legacy Shoes

Brand: Reebok / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male & Female / Styles: 15 / Price: 💰💰

Reebok is no stranger to cross-training. They make accessories for nearly every sport, including good ‘ol fashioned weight training. With their latest release — the Reebok Legacy Lifters — they’ve gone a step further, creating some of the best shoes to squat and deadlift in.

The Legacy Lifters are built atop proprietary Exoframe heels, which deliver fantastic stability on your heaviest days. With two thick straps (one top and one bottom), they’re also highly secure and ready for your entire training regimen. Oh, and did we mention comfort? These bad boys come equipped with Flexcage technology and perforated uppers for enhanced breathability.

Overall, a fantastic option that ships in a variety of stylish colors.

  • Boasts Reebok Exoframe and Flexcage technology
  • Comes in a variety of stylish colors for men and women
  • Feels insanely stable, like you’re connected with the gym floor

  • On the pricier side
  • Should only be usedfor squats and lifting

5. NOBULL Training Shoes

The best sneakers for squats

NOBULL Shoes

Brand: NOBULL / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace / Sex: Male & Female / Styles: 24 / Price: 💰💰💰

The NOBULL Training Shoes aren’t just stylish (although they certainly are that). They’re also great for squats and all types of different workouts. Run, climb, lift, and exercise your way to a sculpted physique — all while rocking the same pair of kicks.

What is this magic, you ask? It’s all thanks to NOBULL’s SuperFabric, a seamless, durable, and breathable textile that contours to your foot and remains firm against the most stringent activities. Not enough support for your liking? There’s also a 360° flexible shield around the entire shoe, protecting your feet and toes without sacrificing flexibility. Not to mention an outsole lug pattern that keeps you as sturdy on the gym floor as it does in the boonies.

Our favorite part about the NO BULLs? There are over 20 stylish options for men and women. No more excuses when you’ve got NO BULL.

  • Tons of fantastic colors
  • Great for squats, cardio, and everyday use
  • Comfy and durable design w/ SuperFabric construction

  • Lesser-known company
  • No straps for extra support

6. Nike Romaleos 3 XD Training Shoes

The best powerlifting squat shoes

Nike Shoes

Brand: Nike / Material: Leather / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male / Styles: 3 / Price: 💰💰💰💰

When gym junkies talk about squat shoes, a few names always pop up. The one you hear most frequently? It’s got to be the Nike Romaleos.

As one of the lighter squat shoes, Nike has produced a fantastic squat shoe with excellent grip. While these would be uncomfortable for cardio, the supportive honeycomb-patterned TPU plate offers unrivaled stability on the gym floor. Plus, the Romaleos boast Flywire technology for a supportive fit, and strap wraps that keep you locked, loaded, and ready for action.

While they’re not available in women’s sizes, we had to include them on our list. They’re seriously among the best powerlifting squat shoes on the market. 

  • TPU plate is stable and supportive
  • Sturdy rubber outsole provides excellent grip
  • Robust design is ideal for various weight-training workouts

  • No women’s options
  • Metal buckle isn’t very durable

7. Adidas Adipower Cross Trainers

The best women’s squat shoes

Adidas Adipower

Brand: Adidas / Upper: Synthetic / Fit: Lace & Straps / Sex: Male & Female / Styles: 5 / Price: 💰💰

While we’ve mentioned a handful of women’s squat shoes on this list, the Adipower Cross Trainers are among the best.

These synthetic trainers boast legendary weightlifting support, from the hook-and-loop straps on top to the rugged rubber soles on bottom. They’re breathable, supportive, and snug without losing that little bit of necessary wiggle room for your toes.

Plus, they come from one of the most respected brands in the industry and are available in a handful of luxurious colors. So what are you waiting for? Grab a pair, and jump into your next set.

  • Comfy and supportive
  • Rigid sole provides structure
  • Enough heel lift to ensure proper posture

  • Not for cardio
  • Only five color options

What to Look for in the Best Squat Shoes

Here are some of the features and benefits to look for when shopping for powerlifting squat shoes.

Best Squat Shoes: Squatting in Garage
Image by Pexels

1. Material

Weightlifting shoes are made from various materials. The most common? Synthetic and leather.

  • Synthetic shoes. For this guide, we’ve identified synthetic shoes as textiles developed from human-made or blended materials. These shoes tend to be lightweight, breathable, and reasonably affordable.
  • Leather shoes. Squat shoes made of leather are usually very comfortable, durable, and sweat-resistant. They also tend to be more expensive than their synthetic textile counterparts.

2. Fit

Lace, or lace and straps? Having a tight strap on your shoe adds a layer of support that helps you be more stable in your stance, at the expense of flexibility (not necessarily bad while squatting or lifting).

Another feature that helps your squatting stance is the sole of the shoe. Every person has their preference on whether they like a high mid-sole or a higher heel. Whichever way works for you is fine, just be sure it helps you control the weight once you pack it on. An unbalanced stance is an all too common way to injure yourself.

Many shoes will advertise that it is flexible. This can be an indicator that the grip was a primary area of focus when developing these shoes. A shoe is supposed to be flexible enough to make your body’s natural movements possible, but tight enough to keep unnecessary movement to a minimum.

3. Style

Come now! You’ve gotta look good while getting your workout on!

Fortunately, the best shoes for squatting come in various styles and can accommodate men and women. It’s as simple as choosing your favorite shoe, selecting a size, then picking your favorite color(s).

You’ll be making strides on the workout floor in no time.

General Thoughts on Squat Shoes

When going to the gym, it is essential to wear the right shoes for what you are doing. Surprisingly, the best squat shoes can be the difference between comfortably lifting 50 pounds, or 75 pounds.

But you must remember that the best squat shoes are NOT like running shoes. Most running shoes are visually much thicker and have an added cushion that allows your foot to have a more comfortable force of impact when taking each step. Squat shoes (or any weightlifting footwear in general) are very lightly cushioned to keep the energy your body produces contained when bending down. The shoe is naturally much tighter around your foot than a cardio centered shoe.

Also, brands, styles, and colors do not always matter! You may be thinking, “But NIKE is one of the largest shoe brands. That means they must have the best kind”. That statement is not entirely true, as you’ll find excellent options from a range of manufacturers. That said, it’s still crucial that you not sacrifice quality for a lower price tag.

Squats are a simple exercise, but they can do wonders for your body when you use correct form. Using a pair of the best squat shoes will also help with your form, and keep your feet and leg joints comfortable throughout your exercise.

Our Process

For this guide on squat shoes, our team spent 4 hours researching the most popular options from over 25 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each shoe. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 7 squat shoes on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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