Lifting Gear > 7 Best Cheap Squat Shoes in 2023 (Under $100)

7 Best Cheap Squat Shoes in 2023 (Under $100)

Let us cover the best cheap squat shoes in this article!

Key Points

  • Squat shoes can help you with increasing ankle mobility and protect your back.
  • List of the seven cheap yet best shoes for squatting with our ratings and lists of pros/cons.
  • Hard sole, support straps, raised heel and stylish look make a better squat shoe for men and women.

While you are lifting, it is necessary to have the correct technique and posture.

If your body’s posture is not correct, it can have dire consequences. When you’re squatting, proper technique and breathing are critical. Many lifters turn to weightlifting shoes to help with cues and proper posture.

Squat shoes can help you maintain balance as you work out without putting excess strain on your muscles. The power you generate for the workout begins from your feet. So, you need to choose the right shoes for squats and weightlifting. These shoes can’t be the garden variety running shoes.

However, these shoes tend to be expensive due to the research and development behind them.

For budget-conscious people, I have included cheap squat shoes in this article, offering excellent performance. Among the seven options in this article, I would choose Adidas 3.1 Powerlift as the best choice. From material to comfort, the shoe sells at a very affordable price. 

That’s not all. You can explore the other six options as well. Let’s begin.

Why Purchase Best Cheap Squat Shoes?

The question arises, why can’t you do squats in any regular shoes? Why do you need specifically designed shoes for squats? What is the theory behind this? 

Let’s discuss some advantages you have over purchasing squat shoes instead of regular shoes. 

1. Protect Your Back

As you squat, you need to keep your back in a straight and upright position. Also, the pressure shouldn’t be on your knee but on the hips and thighs. If the position is not right, you might suffer from Chondromalacia patella. It happens when your kneecaps frequently rub with the underneath bone to cause pain and swelling.

The squats shoes help further the squat kinematics and allow your back to remain straight. It relieves lower back pressure and helps to decrease post-workout pain and injuries. 

2. Activate Quads

With heeled squat shoes, you can reach deeper squats effortlessly. Moreover, it activates vastus medialis, your quads, to provide strength without putting in much effort. The primary muscle, vastus medialis, stabilize the patella, the small bone in the knee.

When you exercise the primary muscle, you are less likely to develop chondromalacia patellae. 

3. Help to Lift More Than Your Strength  

Squat shoes are equipped with support straps and a solid sole. With a solid base, you can easily transfer your force to the weight you are lifting. When combined with support straps, it offers the perfect fit to let you stay in one place. 

4. Durable and Sturdy

Your shoes should be made with sturdy and robust material to handle your toes’ lateral force while lifting. That’s why squat shoes have solid leather material, which offers excellent strength. Also, it provides long-lasting durability.   

5. Increase in Ankle Mobility

When your ankles are stiff, you aren’t able to squat deeply. The squat shoes help to increase mobility in your ankles. Its heels of squat shoes shift the mechanics of squatting to the knees. 

Read more about 12 Best Squat Accessory Exercises To Improve Form & Strength

Top 7 Best Cheap Squat Shoes

After researching various squat shoes, I have listed out the best seven cheap squat shoes for you. All the squats shoes reviewed below are below the $100 price range, which won’t harm your cash register while providing exceptional and long-lasting performance. 

Read along with the detailed reviews and select the one that matches the squat style.

1. Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainer as the First Best Cheap Squat Shoes

One of the cheap squat shoes on our list is Adidas Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Cross Trainer. With these squat shoes, you can even prepare for your Olympic lifting training routine. The shoe is designed for athletes or trainers asking for motion stability and control. 

Build with a wide midsole, high-density, and solid base, the shoe is ideal for non-lifting and lifting workout routines. You can easily spread your toes with the shoe to attain wider squats. Also, the tightness offers less foot movement to prevent joint or ankle injuries. 

Weighing 15 ounces, the shoe is lightweight and equipped with a sturdy heel for exceptional support. The Velcro straps come with laces that eliminate lateral movements as you squat or lift. Also, the padded mesh tongue removes any discomfort from the foot.


  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Comes with air mesh accents for breathability
  • Mesh material and lightweight leather ensure durability
  • Offers exceptional sturdiness and stability


  • Toe box is narrow


2. Nordic Lifting Weightlifting Shoes for Crossfit & Gym

Nordic is a well-known and reputable brand in the fitness business that sells budget-friendly and reliable gear lasting for a long time. Most of the time, you want flat shoes for squatting, but the raised heels of this shoe enable you to generate more power. 

The shoe comes with an anti-slip sole, which provides both flexible movements and stability as you work out. Moreover, you can efficiently perform weight-intensive exercises with extra heel support. 

You can use the shoe for both cardio and weightlifting workout routines. The open forefoot allows air to flow when you are working out. Besides, the Velcro strap keeps the shoe intact even after long hours of use.


  • Offers Olympic support and stability
  • Helps you improve your posture
  • Comes with raised heels
  • Highly durable construction
  • Backed by a one-year warranty


  • Little wide for athletes with small feet


3. Reebok Men’s Crossfit Nano 8.0 Flexweave Sneaker

When it comes to shoes, you can always trust Reebok. The Nano 8.0 Crossfit shoe is suitable for both beginner and elite athletes. The shoe is designed to be versatile to perform various CrossFitters’ activities. The shoe comes in multiple styles and colors to match every athlete’s fashion behavior.

It provides a stable surface for dynamic movements, and heavy Olympic-style lifts with a flat base squat shoe. The outsole is equipped with high-abrasion rubber, which can handle extreme workouts and is exceptionally durable. Secondly, it adds higher traction in comparison to regular outsole rubber to promote safety. 

The comfort of the shoe is commendable. The upper is lightweight and breathable. Thus, it won’t allow a chance for painful hot spots, blisters, and overheating. Also, the low profile enables ankle movement. What else? The midsole comes with dual-density materials that wrap around your foot to regain its shape after strong movements or heavy lifts.  


  • Designed to match the CrossFit athlete workout requirements
  • Comes with updates Flexweave technology upper
  • Has a 4mm heel-to-toe drop
  • Improved ankle mobility with a low profile
  • High-abrasion rubber outsole


  • Not ideal for distance running


4. Converse Men’s Chuck Taylor Sneakers

Even before the heeled shoes for powerlifting were introduced, Converse Chuck Taylor shoes were the go-to shoes for weightlifting. The cotton canvas construction is highly durable, mostly used in sneakers, tents, backpacks, and sails. Moreover, the canvas is lightweight and breathable.

The rubber layer on the sole is equipped with an insole, which enhances shock absorption. The vulcanized outsole hardens the rubber, which makes it more durable and capable of handling harsh conditions compared to other rubber soles.  


  • Breathable and durable canvas construction
  • Comfortable and affordable
  • Offers ankle support
  • Available in multiple colors


  • Does not offer excellent arch support


5. Sabo Powerlift Weightlifting Shoes

Once you get the hang of these cheap squat shoes, you won’t even try to lift or squat without wearing them. The new design offers more breathability and is lightweight to the shoe with a durable metatarsal strap and improved eyelet construction. 

The upper of the shoes boasts the usage of high-quality material. The synthetic leather is durable and long-lasting, while the breathable mesh allows continuous air flow. Moreover, the outsole comes with a unique Sabo Power Platform. The unique system enables forefoot flexibility while letting you remain stable on the ground. 

To lock your ankle and feet in place, the shoe has two multi-directional straps. The heels are lightweight, non-compressible, and sturdy due to plastic polymer. Apart from that, the heel loops let you slip the shoe easily, and the outsole’s heel wings provide support. 


  • Mesh/leather construction
  • Non-compressible and strong sole
  • Non-slip inserts
  • Can be used for weightlifting, bodybuilding, and powerlifting


  • Toe box might be tight for some users


6. Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes for Heavy Weightlifting

Nordic boasts the manufacturing of high-quality shoes with amazing design and performance at a pocket-friendly price. The high-quality lifting shoe is ideally designed for leg presses, deadlifts, and squats. 

The shoe comes with 0.47 inches raised toes and 1.37 inch raised heels. Besides, the reinforced stitching prevents the shoe’s wear and tear during excess pressure or extended period of use. The anti-slip rubber material on the sole is smooth and rigid, which lets you stay in place while you work out. 


  • Best for weightlifting and powerlifting
  • Reinforced stitching
  • Affordable price
  • Backed by a one-year warranty


  • High heels can be challenging for some users


7. Adidas Men’s Adipower Weightlifting II Cross Trainer

The last addition to the list of cheap squat shoes is another Adidas cross-trainer shoes. The Adidas Weightlifting II Cross Trainer shoes offer multiple features at an affordable price. With exceptional design, the shoe is equipped with a textured outsole and inclined heel for stability. Also, the forefoot area has a thin outsole for comfort and flexibility.

Made with canvas, the shoe provides breathability. Even the foot strap offers stability without restricting the movements. Moreover, the elevated heel provides control over deadlifts and squats, and the flexible forefoot lets you wear the shoes in bodyweight and Crossfit workouts.


  • Breathable and durable material
  • Slim sole and flexible forefoot
  • Steel heel-toe inclination


  • Not suitable for beginners


What To Look For In Best Squat Shoes?

By now, I have reviewed all the seven cheap squat shoes; it’s time to get into more details on how to go about buying the squat shoes. Before you purchase, you need to look out for some key features responsible and crucial for the improvement of squat mechanics.  

So, let us begin with our discussion.

Hard Sole

Why do you need a hard sole in a squat shoe? The hard sole means there is not enough cushioning, but that is required to practice squats correctly. A stiff sole allows you to stand on a non-compressible and solid surface. It will enhance force transfer, stability, and safety. 

Mostly, manufacturers use thermoplastic polyurethane to construct the squat’s sole. It is made from soft rubber and hard plastic that doesn’t allow the shoes to lose their sturdiness while maintaining the hardness. 

On the other hand, Ethylene-vinyl acetate is another material that is flexible and lightweight. However, it is most commonly used in running shoes. 

Raised Heel

What differentiates squat shoes from other regular shoes? It’s the raised heel. The shoes’ raised heels activate the motion of your ankle. Thus, you can perform deeper squats while engaging your quads. 

If you are beginning to do squats, you should look for 0.75 inches heel height. It does not cause discomfort. 

Support Straps

Straps or Lace? What can provide additional comfort and support for stable movements and flexibility? Laces are great while you run as it offers sufficient grip and breathability. However, you need a tighter grip while weightlifting around the feet. That’s why most squat shoes or weightlifting shoes come with a Velcro support strap.


You need the best cheap squat shoes for a workout. But, what about its appearance? You have the right to look stylish and classy as well. Luckily, squat shoes are available in a variety of colors and styles for both women and men. 

While you choose the perfect size, look for your favorite color and enjoy your workout like never before!

Is It Better To Squat In Flat Shoes (Without A Heel)?

It’s a most debatable question, whether you should do squats in flat shoes or heels? Let’s discuss some of the factors to answer the question. 

Are Raised Heel vs. Flat Shoes Good For Squatting?

Femur Length

If your body tends to lean forward while doing squats, it means your femur’s length is long compared to the shin bones. It can cause injuries and pain. To help keep your torso straight, you need heeled shoes.

Mobility Of Ankle

You will have deeper squats with heeled shoes when there is the limited mobility of the ankle. But, you should know why this restricted dorsiflexion occurs. This is mostly because of the natural interaction of the bones. 

However, if limited ankle movements result from your ligaments and muscles, heeled shoes won’t help. You have to exercise your ankles. 

Style Of Squat

If you perform low bar squats, both flat and heeled shoes are effective. Flat shoes help to do squats with a wide stance, while if your back leans forward slightly, you should go for heels to rectify the posture.

Squat Stance

When you perform a wider stance squat, your feet are more angled, which affects the lift. That’s why wider stance squatters favor flat shoes, as heeled shoes will not offer balance and stability. On the contrary, narrow stance squatter benefit from heeled shoes as they require high ankle dorsiflexion.  

Is It Okay to Squat in Running Shoes?


I have observed many athletes use running shoes for squats for cross-training. Running shoes are great for jumping, running, and other physical exercises but not weightlifting. You know why? That’s what I am going to discuss.

5 Proven Reasons Why You Should NOT Squat in Running Shoes

1. Safety Concerns

With maximum flexibility, running shoes are made for running but not for stationary movements and exercises. Weightlifting or squat shoes block the lateral movements to remain cemented on the ground. If the shoes are flexible, the ankle will rotate and resulting in fractures or sprains.

2. Lack of Support

What’s a runner’s knee syndrome? Runner’s knee syndrome happens when you have poor foot support, and you feel pain around the patella (knee’s front). If the soles are not soft, running will put all the pressure on your knees. That’s the reason the running shoes come with cushioned soles, which are soft to offer comfortable and long-running. 

Squat shoes require a non-compressible surface so that you can transfer the weight on the object you are lifting.

3. Expensive

I can understand budget is your main concern. We tend to buy a combination of things, all-in-one products, right? You must be thinking, why can’t you buy a pair of shoes that can let you do both lifting and running? That wouldn’t be an expensive deal.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In comparison to squat shoes, running shoes are less durable and sturdy. Moreover, if you do squats while wearing them, they can wear out earlier than expected. Therefore, you need to buy separate shoes for both purposes so that it remains cost-effective and they will last long.   

Final Thoughts

Every athlete knows how to squat, and keep their head up and back straight. The difficulty arises in balancing the position. Squatting aims at different muscle groups to make your back and other portions stronger. Therefore, you must have the best squat shoes to improve your stability and prevent unwanted injuries.

Now I have listed the cheap squat shoes and helped you choose the right one in this article. It’s your time to go through the topics carefully and choose your squat shoe for an excellent workout routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Do Squats Barefoot?

Yes, as the floor is flat, it will challenge and improve the mobility of the ankle. However, you may not perform deeper squats, but it can let you do stronger and better lifts.

Do squat shoes help reduce back pain?

The right squat shoes help you to maintain a straight back and chest position. So, if you want to reduce lower back pain, you will benefit from squats only if you are wearing the right squat shoes.

Where else can you do with squat shoes?

Apart from squatting, you can wear squat shoes to work on the lower/back body. Except for the two purposes, you should not use them anywhere else as the materials used and their construction is slightly different from regular shoes. 

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Wasim Kagzi

Hi! I’m Wasim Kagzi and this is where my team and I write and research about everything fitness. On MuscleLead we share all the helpful tips, techniques, and advice we've learned over the years. Personally, I've been lifting for more than 10 years and hope to eventually become a Certified Personal Trainer. My goal is to compete in weightlifting and train to be the strongest version of myself.

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