Are Tennis Shoes Good For Lifting Pros & Cons - 2023/ Featured Image

Are Tennis Shoes Good For Lifting? Pros & Cons – 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • Tennis Shoes for Lifting: While tennis shoes are affordable and comfortable for weightlifting, they aren’t ideal due to limited stability and support.
  • Pros & Cons:
    • Pros: Budget-friendly and versatile.
    • Cons: Lack of the specific features of weightlifting shoes.
  • Using Tennis Shoes: Ensure a good fit, durability, and adequate support.
  • Alternatives: Options include minimalist shoes, Chuck Taylor’s, and cross-training shoes, but specialized weightlifting shoes remain superior.
  • Choosing Shoes: Consider lifting type, foot size, grip, materials, and heel height.
  • Top 2023 Picks: Adidas Leistung 16 II, Nike Metcon 5, and Reebok Nano 9.

Are you getting started with weightlifting and trying to figure out what kind of shoes to wear?

If so, you may have wondered “Are tennis shoes good for lifting or are they an acceptable choice?”

After all, they do provide some support while also being comfortable and relatively affordable.

The good news is that it is actually possible to lift weights in tennis shoes but there are definitely some factors that need to be taken into consideration before doing so.

In this blog post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of using tennis shoes for weightlifting as well as recommend the best ones for your workout needs.

So read on if you’re curious about whether or not you should make the switch!

Related Post: Why Running Shoes Are Bad For Lifting?

Can You Wear Tennis Shoes For Weightlifting?

Wearing tennis shoes for weightlifting is possible but it’s not ideal.

Tennis shoes are designed for running and walking, not for lifting weights.

Therefore, they don’t typically provide the same level of range of motion, support, and stability as a dedicated weightlifting shoe would.

The lack of arch support can also be an issue if you have flat feet or weak arches.

However, if you’re just starting out with weightlifting and don’t have the budget for a dedicated pair of weightlifting shoes, tennis shoes can be an acceptable alternative.

As long as you choose a high-quality pair of tennis shoes that provide sufficient arch support, you should be able to get a good workout without sacrificing your safety or comfort.

Are Tennis Shoes Good For Lifting

Pros & Cons Of Wearing Tennis Shoes For Weightlifting

Tennis shoes usually cost less than dedicated weightlifting shoes, making them a more budget-friendly option.They don’t offer as much stability as weightlifting shoes, which can hinder performance in exercises like squats or deadlifts.
They are generally more comfortable and easier to break in, reducing the adjustment time before workouts.The lack of a raised heel or extra arch support may make it harder to achieve good posture when lifting.
Ideal for multi-directional exercises like lateral strides or agility drills due to their wide, flat sole.The cushioning in tennis shoes can be too soft for weightlifting, particularly with heavy weights, potentially affecting balance.
Suitable for individuals who want to perform activities other than just weightlifting.Some trainers may have safety concerns about their clients lifting in tennis shoes.

Tips For Wearing Tennis Shoes When Lifting Weights

Of course, these drawbacks don’t mean that you can’t use tennis shoes for weightlifting.

If you’re set on wearing them, there are a few tips that can help to maximize your safety and performance.

FitShoes should fit snugly but not too tightly, with enough cushioning at the heel to absorb shock during heavy lifting. Adequate grip on the floor is also crucial to prevent slippage.
DurabilityChoose tennis shoes designed for durability, especially if lifting heavier weights. High-quality materials are an investment that will last.
Style and DesignLook for shoes with arch support, breathable mesh, and heel counters for extra stability. The soles should not be too slim or too thick.
Type of WeightliftingThe type of weightlifting you plan to do can dictate the best shoe type. For example, Olympic lifters often prefer flat-soled shoes, while powerlifters may prefer more cushioning.

Alternatives To Tennis Shoes For Weightlifting

Some of the alternative shoes for lifting. However, these alternatives may not provide the same level of support as weightlifting shoes. 

  1. Running shoes: Running shoes can provide some support and cushioning during weightlifting exercises. The Nike Metcon 8 is a popular option that is designed for both running and lifting
  2. Minimalist shoes: Minimalist shoes are lightweight and flexible, which can be beneficial for weightlifting exercises that require a lot of mobility. The Xero 360 is a good alternative to traditional weightlifting shoes
  3. Chuck Taylor’s: Chuck Taylor’s are a popular choice for weightlifting due to their hard soles, full ankle mobility, and strong canvas
  4. Cross-training shoes: Cross-training shoes are designed for a variety of exercises, including weightlifting. The Altra HIIT XT 2 is a good option that provides stability and support during weightlifting exercises

Are Tennis Shoes Good For Lifting

How To Choose Shoes For Lifting?

It’s always recommended to wear shoes specifically designed for the activity.

The same goes for weightlifting. Whether you’re just getting started or are a seasoned pro, having the right pair of shoes can make all the difference in your lifting routine.

Here are some tips on how to choose the best weightlifting shoes:

1Determine the type of weightlifting you’ll be doing. Certain shoes work better for different exercises.
2Consider your foot size and arch support needs. Shoes should fit comfortably and try them on before purchasing, as some weightlifting shoes have narrower toe boxes.
3Think about the grip you need. Shoes with extra grip are good for exercises involving foot and ankle movement, while less grip is better for static exercises like squats or deadlifts.
4Consider the materials used in the shoes. The best shoes are usually made from a combination of leather and synthetic materials. Some shoes also have extra cushioning on their insoles for shock absorption during heavy lifts.
5Pay attention to heel height. A raised heel can be beneficial for certain exercises but many weightlifting shoes have no heel, so these might not be suitable if you want extra height.
6Look for shoes with a wide, flat sole for better stability and shock absorption. Avoid shoes with a curved or tapered sole as they can cause instability and increase the risk of injury.

Benefits Of Using Weightlifting Shoes For Lifting

Benefits of wearing specialized lifting shoes include:

Pros of Weightlifting ShoesDescription
Increased StabilityDesigned for balance during weightlifting with maximum foot support. The rubber or plastic soles provide ample grip, helpful in movements like squats and deadlifts.
Reduced Risk of InjuriesProvide additional support and cushioning for vulnerable foot areas during certain lifts. The higher heel provides extra stability when lifting heavier weights.
Improved Power and Better Lifting ResultsBuilt with flat, rigid soles and elevated heels, enabling efficient force transfer from feet to the ground, aiding power generation and ultimately better results.

Best Shoes For Weightlifting In 2023

Here are the best weightlifting shoes in 2023 for powerlifters, bodybuilders, and any other type of weightlifter.

  1. Adidas Leistung 16 II – This is a great option for strength athletes who need extra support when performing heavy lifts such as squats and deadlifts. The shoe features a flat sole with a slight heel which allows you to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground for more stability. The upper is made from breathable mesh and synthetic leather which helps keep your feet cool and comfortable during your workout.
  2. Nike Metcon 5 – This is a great choice if you are looking for maximum comfort when weightlifting. The shoe features an extra wide, flat sole with an elevated heel to ensure stability during heavy lifts. The upper is made from durable mesh and synthetic materials for breathability and support while the midsole cushioning helps reduce impact on your feet for a comfortable workout experience.
  3. Reebok Nano 9 – This shoe is designed with CrossFit athletes in mind and provides superior traction, support, and durability when performing heavy lifts also. The midsole is made from lightweight foam for long-lasting cushioning and the reinforced toe provides extra protection against impacts. The upper features a breathable mesh construction with supportive overlays for a secure fit during workouts.


In the end, it is possible to lift weights in tennis shoes but they do have certain drawbacks that need to be taken into consideration.

If you are serious about weightlifting, investing in a pair of dedicated lifting shoes can be a great way to improve your performance and help reduce the risk of injury.

With that said, if you’re just getting started and don’t want to invest in shoes specifically designed for lifting, there are some tennis shoes out there that can get the job done.

Just make sure that you choose one with flat, rigid soles and an elevated heel to provide adequate support and stability.

Regardless of what kind of shoes you decide to go with, always remember to stay safe and be sure to take proper precautions when lifting.


What kind of shoes do you wear to lift weights?

When lifting weights, it’s ideal to wear shoes that provide a firm, stable base to help ensure proper form and balance.
Options like weightlifting-specific shoes, cross-trainers, or minimalist, flat-soled shoes are often recommended.

Should you lift in sneakers?

It depends on the type of sneakers. Generally, it’s not advisable to lift in soft, cushioned running sneakers as they can compromise stability. However, flat-soled sneakers or ones specifically designed for weightlifting are acceptable.

Can I wear sneakers for gym?

Yes, you can wear sneakers to the gym. It’s important, though, to select a type that matches your activities.
For instance, for cardio-based exercises or classes, running shoes are suitable.
For weightlifting, flat-soled sneakers or weightlifting shoes are preferable.

Why are flat shoes better for lifting?

Flat shoes are better for lifting because they provide a solid and stable surface, allowing for better force transfer during weightlifting exercises.
They can improve balance and stability, enhance movement mechanics, and decrease the risk of injury.

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