A Picky Buyer’s Guide to the Best Vegan Weightlifting Shoes + Top Products and Materials
Shoes are probably not the first thing you think about when it comes to weightlifting. But, they’re extremely important to ensure you lift safely with proper form.
If you’re an athletic vegan or weightlifting vegan, I recommend spending some time with this article to find the best vegan weightlifting shoes for you.
So, what are the best weightlifting shoes? The best vegan weightlifting shoes you can buy right now are the Nike Romaleos 3, Adidas Powerlift 3.1, Inov-8 Fastlift 370, and Adidas Leistung 16 II. All offer superior comfort, stability, cushioning, breathability, and durability.
Unfortunately for vegans, buying a gym and sports gear isn’t straightforward. There are lots of animal-derived ingredients that are used to create various equipment. This can be anything from the main materials to the glue used to piece the shoe together.
Use this guide to finding the best vegan weightlifting shoes for you. I’ll also discuss the various materials used and buying tips, but first, let’s look at the top vegan weightlifting shoes you can buy right now.
The Top-4 Vegan Weightlifting Shoes
I’ve only included four weightlifting shoes on the list. This is simply because there are no other vegan weightlifting shoes that come anywhere near these four in terms of quality. These are the only four pairs I could honestly recommend to vegan weightlifters.
I know what you’re thinking, “Nike shoes are vegan?!”. Well, not all of them are, but this pair of Romaleos 3’s most certainly are. Not only do they offer you max comfort, but they’re light and flexible too.
The Romaleos 3 are extremely popular among weightlifters from elite athletes to amateurs. Nike is known for creating long-lasting and high-quality fitness shoes. These are no exceptions.
The shoes can provide you with a lot of support during your lifts and take some immense impact. This is all down to the material choice made by Nike. You get a thick TPU heel so they can handle extreme weight while staying strong and supporting your feet and lower leg muscles.
The rest of the materials are made up of various vegan-friendly fabrics and synthetic materials. I like how breathable the Romaleos are compared to others I’ve tried. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Romaleos 3.
My only issue is the price. Depending on your sex and size, you could pay anything up to $300 for the Romaleos 3.
Another sports powerhouse brand with a high-quality pair of vegan weightlifting shoes. Adidas has smashed this one out of the park. It was an extremely close competition between these and the Nike Romaleos 3.
These are 100% synthetic, completely vegan-friendly, and best suited for those who like to squat. The Powerlift 3.1 has superior heel and ankle support that is instantly noticeable once you try them out.
The price is much more attractive as well, and you should be able to grab a pair for no more than $100 on Amazon. Well worth it for the comfort and support that they provide. I also really like the design with the lace and
Some people may advise you to buy the Inov-8 Fastlift 335, but I don’t recommend them. They’re much more suited for things like Crossfit and HIIT. These Fastlift 370s are much better for weightlifting, offering much more comfort, ankle support, and stability.
That’s not to say you can’t use these bad boys for Crossfit or HIIT. You can if you want, go nuts. I like the 370’s because they feel more supportive than most others on this list, but I also really like the heel design. It reminds me of Nike Shox back in the day.
Flexibility is where the 370’s shine. The meta-flex technology used in the forefoot helps provide ultra-comfortable movement, which allows easy transition from Olympic weightlifting to other functional changes in the same workout.
Another top-quality pair of vegan weightlifting shoes from Adidas. The Leistung 16 II look awesome, feel great, and are made explicitly for “Shoes for squats, cleans and snatches”. That’s the words of Adidas, not mine.
The Leistung 16 II features a wide platform with a heel lift designed to help improve your weightlifting form. You also get a flexible forefoot that supports the heel cradle and a secure fit that all helps support your lifts.
I like the fact they don’t look like weightlifting shoes. You could wear these out on the street, and no one would ever know they were specifically made for weightlifting. Again, just like the Adidas Powerlift 3.1, these are affordable and well worth the money.
The Benefits of Wearing Vegan Weightlifting Shoes
Weightlifting shoes have been created for some very important reasons. Here are the benefits to be realized when wearing a pair.
Increased Lifting Power
Weightlifting shoes will improve your overall lifting performance. They’re specifically designed to give you the support and flexibility needed to lift extremely heavyweights. Not wearing weightlifting shoes when weightlifting is like using standard trainers to play football. Useless.
You will find that you can get into much deeper squats wearing your weightlifting shoes. The elevated heel is designed to allow you to move into deeper positions, which will improve your squats.
Ankle Mobility and Protection
That elevated heel is also useful for allowing some mobility in your ankles. You have a lot of pressure on your ankles when weightlifting, and it’s essential to protect them. Ankle injuries are a nightmare. The extra mobility in the ankle will help reduce the risk of any injuries.
When you move into lifting positions, a movement pattern must be adhered to for the safest and best form. There is a lot of force coming down when lifting, all of which puts immense pressure on your ankles and feet.
If your feet lack adequate support and cushioning, you risk injury and poor form. It will also hinder your performance. This is why investing in a high-quality pair of vegan weightlifting shoes is so important.
How to Choose Ethical Sports Footwear for Weightlifting
Buying ethical sportswear can be difficult. The ethical sportswear industry is only just starting to flourish. So, if you’re looking for something niche such as vegan weightlifting shoes, you will have to settle for brands like Nike and Adidas.
Top sportswear brands are improving their ethics, but they still have issues surrounding workers’ rights and supply chain management. To make the most ethical choice with the small number of products available, you can act on the following:
Buy Ethical Materials
As a vegan, you will want to avoid the obvious such as leather, suede, sheepskin, and adhesives using animal-derived materials such as various glues and gelatin.
I recommend doing some research on individual materials before buying any sports shoes. The products listed above use a mix of vegan-friendly materials and synthetic materials. While these materials may not be perfect for the environment, they’re much better than leather or other animal-derived materials.
You will find that most sports shoes use synthetic materials to keep them light and breathable. You will rarely find a paid one using leather these days.
Factor in the Durability
The lifecycle of a product is extremely important to consider when buying sports shoes. The longer they last, the more sustainable they’re. There is no point in spending money on a pair of ultra-ethical sports shoes that fall apart after 12 months.
Buying a pair of sturdy and durable sports shoes like the ones reviewed above will last you at least 2-3 years. I still have Nike running shoes I bought five years ago, and they still like brand new.
Always consider the durability of the shoes you’re looking to buy. Check customer reviews for more information.
Important Things to Consider When Buying Vegan Weightlifting Shoes
Before you jump in and buy any pair of vegan weightlifting shoes, you should consider the following.
My honest advice is not to go cheap when buying professional sports gear. I recommend saving up and buying the best pair you can get. Weight Lifting is dangerous and impacts your body in extreme ways. I suggest investing your hard-earned cash into a pair that offers the best support.
A cheap pair of weightlifting shoes will not provide you with the support or stability you need. If you’re a serious weightlifter, your shoes can be the difference between hitting a new personal best or not.
Most importantly, buy quality gear that protects your body. Money comes and goes, but you’re muscles, ligaments, and bones are for life. Protect them as much as you possibly can.
Choose the Correct Heel Height
You must consider the height of the heel that is suitable to you and your goals for weightlifting. This is where it gets a bit technical, and some thought is needed.
Standard Heel Height for Weightlifting – 0.75” (19mm)
Other Ranges – 0.5″ to 1″ (10 mm – 25 mm)
So, why do we have different heel heights? It’s all about different types of lifting. A raised heel height allows you to perform adequate squat depth with your upright in the proper form.
The heel height is going to be slightly different for every individual. It depends on the length of your legs, your height, size of your feet, type of squats, and so on.
If you can already squat with proper form, you may not benefit from an elevated heel. It might mess up your form, which you don’t want.
If you’re a tall person who may have out-of-proportion limbs, an elevated heel will most likely help you achieve better lifting.
You also need to consider the type of squats and lifts you want to achieve with your vegan weightlifting shoes. Low-bar squats require a low-heel shoe. High-bar and front squats require a higher heel shoe.
Weightlifting is an extreme activity that puts intense pressure on your footwear. This is why companies create specific shoes that are suitable for weightlifting. Thinking about durability is essential for two reasons.
First, you want to make sure you have a pair of shoes that can deal with the extreme activity and, therefore, will last you a long time. Weightlifting shoes aren’t cheap, but if they last 2-5 years, then it’s money well spent.
Second, durability can be factored into the sustainability of the shoes. You may feel guilty buying from brands like Nike and Adidas because they’re not the best environmentally. But, they both make the best weightlifting shoes.
If you buy a pair of Nike or Adidas shoes that are durable and last a few years, they’re eco-friendly. Within that same time, you may go through two or three pairs of low-quality shoes, which is far worse for the environment.
Do I Need Weightlifting Shoes?
More often than not, people buy tons of gear that they simply don’t need in the gym world. To understand if you require special weightlifting shoes, you should think about the activity you do.
Initially, weightlifting shoes were created for Olympic weightlifters to support their extreme lifts. But now, we have lots of avid weightlifters in our local gyms who need various other types of support. So, we now have multiple types of weightlifting shoes for lots of different kinds of lifting.
If you regularly perform any of the following, it’s well worth investing in a pair of weightlifting shoes:
- Bench press
- Clean & jerk
- Olympic lifts
- Overhead press
- Squats – high-bar, low-bar, front squats, SSB squats, and so on.
If you dabble in different forms of exercise, including weightlifting, Crossfit, HIIT, or other, you will want to choose a more flexible weightlifting shoe.
I also suggest using your weightlifting shoes only when you need to. For example, don’t go running in them or playing soccer. The more you preserve their use, the longer they will last and the better they will serve you.
Using a high-quality pair of vegan weightlifting shoes is extremely important. I highly recommend you go for quality and spend the extra money to ensure you’re safe and supported in your lifts. You’re also going to perform better with a high-quality pair over a cheap pair.
Stick with the top brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Inov-8. These brands offer the best quality weightlifting shoes, just make sure they’re vegan before you buy. A high-quality pair of vegan weightlifting shoes will help you improve your performance, lift heavier, and keep your body safe.