Best Training Shoes for Strength Training

women deadlifting in training shoe

STRONG friend, your training shoe will make you or break you. The right shoe matters a whole lot if you’re serious about your lifting. Wearing the right show will maximize your gainz in the gym. Sure you can wear whatever you like. The choice is always yours! But, if you want to have the best training session & get the most out of your training, wearing the right shoe is a game changer. Speaking of training, maximize your training sessions with these 7 Strength Training Habits for Women Who Lift The Things!

Why should you wear the right training shoe?

We all should wear a shoe that is conducive to our training. We don’t want a workout shoe that will take away from our training. We want a shoe that will enhance our training, not take away from it.

So, if you are lifting weights, you should be in a shoe that isn’t squishy—no marshmallow shoes.

Imagine squatting on your bed or on pillows. What’s the stability and balance like? You’ll be all over the place. Your foot will be wobbling from side to side, which may put on due stress on your knees and lower back. You won’t feel grounded, balanced, or stable.

A squishy shoe will also affect the range of motion for lower-body lifts like squats.

If you are running, then, of course, you will want a running shoe …. that shoe that has cushion, support, etc.

Running shoes are not ideal for lifting, but they are great for cardio activities such as HIIT, high-impact stuff, jumping, sprinting, etc. Yes, to cushion for these types of activities! Just say NO to using them for strength training.

So, let’s dive into the characteristics of a great training shoe! You can use this list as a checklist when deciding on a shoe.

The type of shoe that is best for lifting is:

  • One that has a very flat bottom! It’s flat, even sole, straight across with no heel. We want a solid/stable shoe!
  • A shoe that keeps you as close to the ground as possible. You want to feel and sense the ground.
  • A shoe that has zero to minimal heel drop.
  • Not squishy – no foam or soft bottoms.
  • Not lifted – no heel unless you’re using lifters/trainers for Squats, Cleans, Jerks, or Snatches… any of the Oly Lifts!
  • A shoe that provides a firm base!
  • A shoe that provides balance and stability.
  • A wider toe box is a bonus! Why? So that toes can splay, grip the ground better and keep you grounded.

Why you shouldn’t wear squishy shoes, aka running shoes, for strength training:

  • Squishy shoes minimize the force you need to use/generate for heavier lifts.
  • You can get away with a squishier shoe if you aren’t lifting pretty heavy or doing cardio-type workouts.
  • You can’t feel the ground well in a squishy shoe. Proprioception and feedback from the feet are limited.
  • Squishy shoes aren’t very stable. During lifts like lunges, you’re more likely to be forced to your toes, and you’ll feel unbalanced because your feet will be wobbling too much.

Types of training shoes – Think shoes that have a flat bottom:

The types of shoes that are best:

Vivobarefoot – Primus Lite Knit

Vibram Five Fingers – My favorites are the V-Train’s

No Bull Trainers

Nike Metcons

Reebok Cross Trainers –  Nanos – My hubby loves these

Zero Shoes – The Forza Trainer or the Prio Neo are the bomb!

Flux Footwear

Middle Ground:

Converse – Chuck Taylors

Vans – Old Skool

Wrestling Shoes

Budget-Friendly Brands:

Barefoot – Train without your shoes on! It’s a game-changer!

Training Socks – Pedestal, Amazon Brands – Joomra, Saguaro, and Whitin

These are affiliate links. I do get a little kickback if you purchase from Amazon Affiliate Links. Thank you!

Lifters, also called Trainers (Weight Lifting Shoes):

Various lifters can be costly but are very helpful if you are getting into some serious squatting: They have a high hard heel to help with squat depth & ankle limitations. They’re great for squats, not deadlifts (flat shoes are best) and Olympic Weightlifting.

Nike Romanelos

Adidas Weightlifters – Adipower and Powerlift

Reeboks Weightlifting Shoes

Other Reebok Weightlifting Shoe Options


Inov FastLift Power G 389

Note they help with ankle mobility, stability, and range of motion, but the caveat is that I still want you to work on your ankle limitations!

Here are 5 Ankle Mobility Exercises to help your Ankle Mobility! Save this one to refer back to!

Ankle Mobility exercises

Other Minimal Shoe Brands:




Be Lenka

Well, well, there ya have it! I hope you found this blog helpful in picking the best training shoe. Just be sure not to train in running shoes for your strength training!

If you’re already training in the right shoe… what is your favorite lifting shoes?!


In need of a Structured Lifting Progam? Check out my Monthy Training Membership here!

The STRONGER Way is a professionally-designed, done-for-you strength training program. Over 12 weeks, you’ll do three strength training sessions a week. Training blocks rotate every four weeks to keep you building muscle and seeing steady improvements in strength.


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