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.