The right squat shoes protect your ankles, help you squat with better form, and help you lift more weight. Here’s a breakdown of the best squat shoes for women.
First-time users of squat and powerlifting shoes are always a little blown away.
Compared to lifting in cushioned running shoes, the moment you strap on a pair of squat shoes and slide under the barbell some pretty neat-o things quickly become apparent…
? Your feet feel securely planted to the floor. Squat shoes are heavier, sturdy, and made to plant your feet squarely to the ground, giving you added stability and confidence when lifting heavy weight.
? Stronger lifts. Cushioned shoes mean there is “bounce” in your lifts. Instead of pushing weight up, the weight has to go down through the soft sole of your sneakers before hitting ground and going up. Squat shoes help you go up, up, up.
? Better technique and form. Most of us don’t have the ankle and hip mobility to squat with proper form. This results in a ton of technique dysfunction and increases the likelihood of injury. The raised heels allow a straighter squat, again helping you to lift more and avoid hurting yourself.
But seeking out your first (or new) pair of squat shoes can be a little daunting.
With a lot of different options, and lots of hyperbolic nonsense (“SuperMax ElasticXplosion fabric”), it can feel overwhelming.
To make things clearer and easier for you, take advantage of my 30+ years in the weight room and powerlifting community to find shoes that will help you kick the butts of your training goals.
Read on and let’s get to squattin’!
Adidas Powerlift 4
⭐ Best overall squat shoes for women
The Powerlift 4 are one of the most popular powerlifting shoes in my neighborhood gym. Both men and women swear by these shoes for better squats.
And there are plenty of reasons why.
Released in 2019, the 4’s carry on where the 3.1’s—one of the best squat shoes I’ve ever tried—left off. The Powerlift 4 has a new upper that is tougher and more durable than its predecessor, using a new breathable canvas shell instead of leather.
Available in a variety of color patterns, and perfect for all of your powerlifting needs, the Powerlift 4’s have a sturdy heel for maximum power, a heel loop to make getting in and out of the shoes easier, and a thick Velcro strap over the upper for a strong, secure fit.
In sum, they kick butts. All of them.
Adidas AdiPower 2 Squat Shoes
Adidas nails it again with the AdiPowers.
There are a couple of key differences between these and the Powerlifts.
First, these have a slightly slimmer heel thickness, making them ideal for shorter women and women with shorter femurs.
Second, the heel is more rigid. Made of TPU, these things don’t bounce or compress at all. Compared to EVA-based heels, which have a teeny bit of compression, making them better-suited to cross-training, TPU is like standing barefoot on the floor.
Like its cousin, the AdiPowers have traded in leather for canvas and textile where possible.
The design of the AdiPower gets rave reviews from me and powerlifting friends. With the three-stripe logo and bright colors, the Adidas AdiPower 2’s are a great-looking shoe that will help you rock out on the lifting platform.
Reebok Women’s Legacy Lifter Squat Shoes
Although Reebok is known for being affiliated with CrossFit, you don’t need to be training at your local CF box to appreciate the Legacy Lifters, one of the best overall squat shoes on the planet.
There is a lot to love about these shoes.
For starters, there are two heavy-duty straps on the top of the shoes to plant your feet on the shoe. There is nothing worse than having your feet slide around the inside of your shoes when working out.
The upper of the Reebok Legacy Lifters are made of a combination of leather and breathable mesh towards the back of the foot. This is an excellent balance of sturdiness and breathability.
A rubber sole gives your feet grip, the heel (0.75” high) is made of non-compressible TPU, and Reebok offers these shoes in half a dozen colors, appealing both to your desire for performance under the bar and aesthetics (click here to see color availability and today’s pricing at Amazon).
Nike Romaleos 3 XD
⭐ Best squat shoe for women with flat feet
The Nike Romaleos are the first weightlifting shoes I ever got, and nearly ten years later, I am still a huge fan.
Although Nike recently released the Romaleos 4’s, the 3 XD’s are still more than capable of helping you conquer your goals in the gym.
In terms of heel height, the Romaleos ring the bell at 0.75”, making it one of the taller heels. The midsole is customizable, with options for a softer or harder midsole, making it ideal for lifters with flatter feet.
One of the underrated features of these shoes, which has a honey-combed heel (making the shoes lighter than most lifting shoes), is the “Flywire” technology.
Essentially, it’s a pair of filaments that connect the rest of the shoe to your shoelaces. Tightening the laces literally helps wrap the shoe around your foot, providing the best fit possible.
The Romelos 3 XD’s (the “XD” represents an update on the original 3’s which had durability issues) look great, are comfortable as hell, and will help you dominate the barbell.
Inov-8 Women’s FastLift Powerlifting Shoes
⭐ Best squat shoes for tall women
Finally, we have the Inov-8 squat shoes.
The heels on these are 1.25” high, making them by far the tallest heels in this buyer’s guide.
Who would want a heel that high? Women whose hip and ankle mobility isn’t so great and taller women.
Additionally, the toe box on these shoes is larger, which I prefer in lifting shoes—being able to spread out your toes properly means you can recruit more power in your lifts.
With strong heel and ankle support, breathable uppers, and a Velcro strap to lock your feet in, Inov-8 nails it with these squat shoes.
Available in a pair of different colors, they are on the pricier end of the spectrum (about $180—click here for current pricing and availability on Amazon), but for the lifter who wants to comfortably and securely raise their squat game, it’s an investment to better squats.
Picking the Right Women’s Squat Shoes
Ultimately, the right women’s squat shoes will help you get more from your time in the gym. You reap the benefits of extra stability, reduce the likelihood of injury, and the best part of all… lift more!
But what makes a shoe good for squatting? And what’s the difference between most active footwear and shoes made specifically for squatting and other powerlifting, err, lifts?
Glad you asked!
Here’s a breakdown of the key things to look for when trying to pick the best woman’s lifting shoes for you and your workouts.
✔️ Heel height
The first time you put on a pair of lifting shoes it feels like someone has tilted you forward.
The raised heel is one of the major things that make a squat shoe ideal for squatting.
The extra height helps you to squat more deeply, helps you keep your back straighter, and is ideal for lifters who don’t have mobility issues in their ankles and hips that prevent them from squatting properly.
Squat shoes tend to have a heel height of around 1” with some shoes as low as 0.5 inches and others going as high as 1.25”.
✔️ Dense heel
Another feature that is very important when picking out a pair of squat shoes for women is the density of the heel.
Running shoes and other cross-training shoes have soft, springy soles and heels. When lifting heavy loads in the gym, you want a direct connection between your foot and the floor.
Any bounce or cushioning means the bar has to travel further and you are wasting a lot of energy and power trying to work through the bounce.
Squat shoes are usually made with TPU and other high-density materials in the heel—and even the sole—to minimize any waste of power.
Because they are such a specialized shoe, and because they aren’t useful for other physical activities like running or even skipping rope, these kinds of shoes can seem expensive.
Which, in reality, they are.
That said, squat shoes last a long, long time provided you give them even a moderate amount of care and use them strictly for powerlifting.
A quality squat shoe for women will range anywhere in the neighborhood of $100-200 (and sometimes more).
✔️ Full ankle support
While most running shoes have a light mesh fabric along the sides and top of your feet, squat shoes for women have a tough, stiff canvas and textile (older lifting shoes frequently used leather).
Canvas helps to prop up your ankles while also remaining somewhat breathable, especially compared to older leather-made lifting shoes.
Ankle support is crucial during heavy lifts, and lifting shoes help stabilize your feet so that you can spend more time nailing an awesome squat versus worrying that your ankles are going to buckle.
✔️ Velcro strap for support
Almost every lifting shoe worth their salt has at least one thick Velcro strap across the upper of the shoe. While some have two, most lifters will be happy with one wide Velcro strap that comes across the laces.
The strap locks in your foot and gives your feet an additional layer of stability and support while chasing PRs on the lifting platform.
The Final Rep…
For a lot of lifters and athletes, the squat is the most important lift in their exercise routine.
Fortunately, the right pair of squat shoes can help you squat with better technique, reduce the likelihood of injury, and help you boost the numbers on the barbell.
Hopefully after reading this guide you are feeling better about choosing the perfect pair of shoes for your workouts.
The Adidas Powerlift 4 are my top pick for best women’s squat shoes due to their tough and durable construction, thick and bounce-free heel, and reasonable price point.
Women with flat feet will like the Nike Romaleos 3XD, with a heel height of 0.75”, a honey-combed heel and filaments connecting to the shoelaces that helps you really “lock in” your feet into the shoes.
Best Shoes for Deadlifting. Unlike squat shoes, deadlift shoes have no heel and no thick velcro straps. Here’s a look at the best shoes for hammering your deadlift PRs.