People generally know what to look for when choosing the right sports or athletic shoes for them, but what if you’re lifting weights? As any weightlifter will know, a solid foundation is the key to raising the heaviest weights, especially if you’re standing upright. This means you want shoes that are stable, preferably with some grip, but still stylish and subtle enough to not raise any eyebrows.
We’ve gathered five of our favorite running shoes that are fit for weightlifting. Each one is listed below, along with links to where you can find them and a detailed writeup of their features so you can get familiar with them before making a purchase.
Not sure how we ranked them? Don’t worry about that, we’ve included a buyers’ guide below where you can not only learn which features we looked out for, but you can then apply them to any other shoes you may look at in the future.
In a hurry?
If you’re planning to hit the gym soon, you might want to check out our top weightlifting shoe choice and be on your way as soon as possible. We picked the Adidas Adipower Weightlifting II Sneakers, a model from a recognizable brand that, if its name is anything to go by, was specifically made with lifting weights in mind. See why we liked these shoes below:
- These shoes feature an impressively steep heel-to-toe drop. They position your legs in such a way that they’re tenser, encouraging a more aggressive weightlifting stance when worn.
- The torsion bar system supports your feet when standing but isn’t hard enough to punish your feet when the extra weight is added.
- Straps at the side of these sneakers, at the insteps, keep your feet tightly in them when they’re done up. Because there’s only one strap, you can adjust them much easier, even when in the middle of lifting weights.
- The thick, rubber outsoles are pretty tough but once again they aren’t so tough as to make walking difficult. Instead, they provide some bounce, which is again handy for compression when you’re loaded with weights.
Top 5 Running Shoes for Gym and Weight Training
OUR TOP PICK
Everybody knows Adidas, so when one of their products hits the top of a list like this, you know that you’re getting into a product that’s used by many fellow weightlifters. If the brand name itself doesn’t inspire much confidence, then the specific name of these shoes might – Adidas Adipower Weightlifting II Sneakers.
With a name like that, it’s no surprise that these were designed by Adidas for heavy-duty sports use. The first thing you’ll notice about them, perhaps after their striking colors, is that steep heel-to-toe drop. This positions your body in such a way that your knees are slightly forward, and your legs are more tense, encouraging an ideal squatting stance when you do start lifting weights.
The thick outsoles at the back of these shoes conceal a torsion bar system that stays stable whilst also having some give, so it can comfortably accommodate your feet when you’re carrying heavier loads. At the side of the shoes, there’s a single instep strap that keeps your feet stable inside the shoe whilst being very easy to adjust, even being able to be adjusted mid-set.
Since the outsoles need to be so thick, they’ve become a feature in and of themselves. They’re made of rubber and are pretty thick at the back, so they’re suitably tough without being too hard to make walking uncomfortable. This also makes them less treacherous on uneven terrains, though the lack of tread on the bottom makes them no good for much use outside.
As you might have guessed, that steep heel-to-toe drop makes them sub-optimal for running since you’re at an incline when standing perfectly still. We don’t doubt you could tough it out and get some running use out of them, but it’d be bad for your legs in the long term.
There’s a tradeoff to be made between weightlifting effectiveness and running effectiveness, and we decided to lead with a pair of shoes that’ll help you dominate at the rack. If you need running shoes that you can also shift weight with, then check out the next entries in the list.
- Steep heel-to-toe drop encourages optimal weight lifting stance.
- Torsion bar system provides support whilst being flexy enough
- Instep straps are easy to adjust and keep your feet rooted in the shoes.
- Thick rubber outsoles are tough yet bouncy, and durable.
- Is great for weightlifting and not much else.
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At the second place on our list are the Mizuno Wave Rider 23 Running Shoes. Coming from yet another established brand in the running shoe industry, these Mizuno sneakers benefit from the latest tech at their disposal to make them suitable for not just weightlifting but running too.
The namesake of the line of shoes that the Rider 23s belong to, many Mizuno sneakers use their Wave foam inside the shoe. They add a comfort that fights against fatigue and rubbing when you’re running, so the end steps of your run can be as comfortable as the first. This added padding is also handy for keeping your feet comfortable when weightlifting.
U4ic (pronounced “euphoric”) midsoles smoothen your running experience by attenuating the impact shocks that are generated when you run. This makes running easier on the legs, smoothening your running experience whilst also increasing the durability of the shoes at large.
Another brand-specific piece of technology has many of the same effects, absorbing shock for an easier run. We’re talking about the Parallel CloudWave frame built into the midsole. It flattens the insoles at the back foot, having a slight convex at the back to match the rounded shape of our heel. At the front of the shoe, an L-shaped medial side extension supports neutral runners who struggle with late pronation.
The uppers are Mizuno’s own Waveknit type, which is used for many of their shoes since it can stretch and hold in equal measure. This makes the shoes durable whilst still allowing for some give, which is where the true strength is when you’re carrying heavyweights. It also has a set of mesh panels at the center, under the lacing and above the toe bed, to keep them breathable and cool.
- Mizuno Wave foam adds longevity to your running endurance.
- U4ic midsoles provide shock attenuation, making for a smoother ride.
- Parallel CloudWave tech positions your heels flat whilst also cushioning against impact shock.
- Waveknit uppers are capable of both stretching and holding when it needs to.
- The sizing of these shoes run large, so you might want to factor that into your purchase.
- Inspired by our Iconic wave technology, Mizuno introduces the 2nd WAVEKNIT. With wave construction as it's base, WAVEKNIT provides a natural and dynamic fit through stretch and hold abilities
- Waveknit upper design stretches and moves with your foot like no other knit running shoe out there while remaining breathable and cool
- Mizuno WAVE: Wave sets the standard for running shoe technologies. Given that it less reliant on midsole foam due to wave technology your last mile in the rider should feel as great as the first
Here we have yet another pair of sneakers with an eye-catching color scheme, the Under Armour TriBase Reign 2.0 Trainers. As the second model in this particular series, Under Armour has had the advantage of working with the feedback received from the first version of these stable shoes.
They’re stable because of their triangular base, hence why they’re called the TriBase, which adds support to the rear of these shoes via a bolstered heel counter. The TriBase encourages upwards flexibility whilst running and downwards flexibility when lifting. That counter works with this downwards flexibility to make heel lock-in so much easier and more stable, keeping your feet firmly still in the shoe when you’re shifting weight.
Inside the shoes, at the midsole, you’ll find Under Armour’s Micro G foam. As is the goal of all foam, it cushions your feet and adds some comfort to these shoes, all whilst adding a slight bounciness that quite literally puts a spring in your step.
As for the bottoms of these shoes, they have a full rubber outsole that extends up and over the sides of the shoes. The fact they’re made of nothing, but rubber ensures that they’re durable when striking the floor whilst having a gummy flexibility to them when needed. If that wasn’t enough, the bottom of the outsoles has a sawtooth patterning that grips the ground during weightlifting, making slippage a non-issue.
The insoles of these shoes are flat and relatively unpadded, making them unfit for intense, prolonged running sessions. They should be fine for lighter runs and work well with weights, but these aren’t marathon running shoes.
- TriBase and thick heel counter encourages downwards flexibility and heel lock-in.
- Micro G foam midsole runs the length of the whole shoe and gives them a slight bounce.
- Full-rubber outsole wraps up the sides for greater durability and abrasion resistance.
- Sawtooth outsole pattern generates friction with the floor which is great for weightlifting.
- Flat soles aren’t great for intense, prolonged running.
- UA TriBase in the outsole maximizes ground contact where your foot needs it the most, allows for superior upwards flexibility to promote natural motion, & downwards flexibility to grip the ground...
- Larger external heel counter & collar height for increased stability & heel lock-in
- Engineered zonal flex & traction in the forefoot allows for greater mobility during short runs & added grip during planks & sled pushes
At our fourth spot is the New Balance Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe. New Balance is renowned for its stability-oriented shoes and these models aren’t an exception, especially given that they’re trail running sneakers designed for some outdoor uses.
So why is it on this list if it’s a trail running shoe? What you’re looking for in gym shoes, and weightlifting shoes, in particular, is stability and a healthy grip on the ground beneath you, because the last thing you want to do when holding a heavyweight is slip. That’s why we think the Minimus, as a trail shoe, is a decent option for weightlifting.
What sets these apart from other shoes on this list is the fact that they have a four-millimeter heel-to-toe drop. This cushions your feet for short to medium length running, as trail running and hiking would require, but also eliminate ground feedback and provide enough stability to be suitable for gym use.
This is made even better by the Vibram outsoles of these shoes, a circle-based traction pattern that has a great grip when used on synthetic surfaces, like the floor of a gym. This makes slipping much less likely, keeping you stable so that you can break your personal bests without any worry of dropping the weight.
Being designed as hardy, outdoorsman running shoes, they also have a toe bumper that affords some much-needed protection to your sensitive toes. This is handy to protect against the kinds of accidents that could happen over at the weight rack. Strap-based lacing also locks your feet in these shoes when you are working out, so you won’t be distracted by your feet moving around within the shoes.
A common problem with hardier running shoes, the Minimus 10 V1 shoes run tight and narrow, so you may want to buy shoes that are a size bigger to get the best fit.
- Low-slung 4mm midsole cushions for short runs whilst maintaining stability.
- Vibram outsoles provide superior grip on synthetic surfaces.
- Toe bumper adds some protection to the fronts of your feet.
- Strap-based lacing locks the foot down when working out.
- They have a tight and narrow fit, so you may want to buy up a size.
Our final shoes on this list are the Brooks Transcend 7 Running Shoes, models which have both cushioning and support in spades. It’s been out for a few years, but we think it still holds up well today and, well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Back when they first made it, Brooks took an unconventional approach by using elevated sidewalls, called the Guiderail Support System, to stabilize these shoes in mid-run and take tension away from your knees since they’re the most vulnerable part of your legs. This also keeps you stable when stationary, too, keeping them suitable for lifting.
The uppers are engineered with 3D Fit Print technology to enhance their fit. Like any respectable upper, it knows when to stretch and when to stay in place to preserve the structural integrity of the shoe as a whole. This makes these shoes both handy for running and squatting with weights.
The midsole to outsole ratio has been redesigned in these shoes, ensuring they stay as soft as ever whilst not losing any of their responsiveness. They also come with an OrthoLite sock liner for maximum comfort. Speaking of the outsole, they’re designed with a wide footprint. A bigger outsole means a thicker and so sturdier lifting base, so it keeps your feet better stabilized when lifting weights.
- Elevated Guiderails stabilizes these shoes when running.
- Reconfigured midsole to outsole ratio makes these shoes soft yet responsive.
- Feature a wide-footprinted outsole that provides a sturdier lifting base.
- 3D Fit Print engineered mesh delivers an enhanced fit.
- Not many ratings on their product page.
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- FOOT SUPPORT: Ideal for runners looking for support. Our Guiderail Support System focuses beyond the feet to the most injury-prone part of a runner’s body: the knees. GuideRails keep you moving...
How to Choose the Best Gym Running Shoes
How to grab the right running shoes for the gym
Getting the right footwear for any occasion can be difficult, so we understand why you may need some help in finding the right running shoes that you can also use to lift weights. We’ve written this buyers’ guide to help you figure out what you want from a shoe and go for the corresponding features.
We’ve split your basic running shoe into different parts to properly review what you should be looking for from each. These are the insoles, the outsoles, and the uppers, with some adjacent features described in those categories too. See them below.
Workout sneakers should have a typically flat sole or, if raised, the elevated heel section should at least be flat. This is different from running shoes, which curse from the heel to the tip to soften foot strikes. Instead, a workout shoe must provide the stable platform required to lift weights.
You should also check how wide the sole is, with particular attention paid to the heel since this is where some models will be reinforced. With high pressure being applied to this area whenever you’re lifting weights, you want these to be thick and supportive without sacrificing any of their comfort.
Just as the insoles are instrumental to the comfort and positioning of your feet when wearing the shoe, the outsoles are where your shoes will get a lot of durability and grip. You’ll first want to make sure the outsoles are made with good material, like rubber, since it's durable whilst still being capable of some bounce if you’ve got good quality rubber.
Aside from their basic construction elements, you’ll also want to check out the traction patterning on the underside of each shoe. Try to go for shoes with saw-toothed patterning, or otherwise any other patterning that’s ideal for casual use and not meant to be used outdoors. This is because some treads work better than others on the synthetic floor of your gym and identifying these can eliminate the chances of you slipping when lifting a weight.
As with any exercise shoe, you should focus a lot on breathability when going for uppers. Your shoe uppers should be comfortable and somewhat tight-fitting, made from durable material, usually synthetic, and able to establish an airflow through the interior of the shoe and out into the exterior, often through the use of mesh panels. All of the above apply for many of the shoes on this list, and it should be useful enough to measure any other interior-use uppers with.