On average, adult shoes weigh between 1.5 and 3 pounds while children’s shoes weigh between 1 and 1.5 pounds. The weight of a shoe is mostly dependent on its size and the materials used.
You may be wondering, “how much do shoes weigh?” for a variety of reasons. And very rightly so, as the weight of your shoes can affect any activity you do. Some shoes are hefty, while others are just like wearing socks.
Shoe Size, Width and Weight
The bigger the shoe, the more material is used. This will naturally affect the weight of the shoe. The difference in weight across sizes of a lightweight model is marginal, but a shoe model that uses a much heavier material—like leather—will have a more noticeable weight difference.
But due to weight distribution, those with large feet aren’t likely to feel the weight difference of a larger shoe. If you hold a size 14 in one hand and a size 7 in the other, the size 14 will feel heavier. But if you have a size 14 foot, you likely won’t feel like you’re wearing a heavy pair of shoes.
Most shoes now come in wide and extra-wide variants for people with broad feet. The sole of the shoe is much bigger than a regular-sized one, and more material is used on the sides to accommodate the extra width, so they’ll be heavier than their regular counterparts.
If you’re very particular about shoe weight and have wide feet, make sure you get a pair that offers lightweight properties. The extra-wide version of the Under Armour Charged Pursuit 2 is an excellent example of this.
Material and Weight
In general, there are three parts of a shoe where different materials are used. These are the sole, padding and the upper.
The sole is responsible for the stability and protection of your foot. There are many different sole materials and designs whose use is dependent on the purpose of your shoe.
Athletic shoes use a synthetic sole. Shoe designers either prefer a thin, lightweight sole that improves running speed or a thick sole with impact absorbing properties. The most common materials in athletic shoe soles are polyurethane, PVC and rubber.
Leather shoes are common in formal workplaces and environments that require safety shoes. Their soles are made from Bovine leather, which is a hard and strong material. The sole thickness accounts for a majority of the entire shoe’s weight.
Safety shoes for a factory worker—with a 1-inch sole—will be considerably heavier than a pair of Oxfords.
Padding or cushioning absorbs impact and keeps your feet comfortable. Athletic shoes have more padding than regular shoes because your shoe needs more protection from shock when you are active.
Foam and gel are common materials used in padding. They’re relatively lightweight but can contribute to overall weight when they’re thick to provide comfort and cushioning.
In comparison, non-athletic shoes have little to no padding or cushioning. Think of high heels or Converse shoes. These shoes remain relatively light because of the absence of padding. Unfortunately, you sacrifice comfort and impact absorption when opting for them.
The upper is responsible for breathability, aesthetics and, at times, safety. Leather shoes are often the most stylish, but suede and nubuck are much heavier than the lightweight EVA found in most athletic shoes.
Safety shoes usually have steel toes and regularly feature on construction sites and welding workshops. The steel can add an extra 0.5 pounds to the overall weight of the shoe.
How Much Do Shoes Weigh?
The average weight for a pair of adult shoes is between 1.5 and 3 pounds, but some super lightweight shoes out there weigh just half a pound. For children, the average weight of a pair of shoes is around 1 pound. However, there are lightweight shoes for kids with wide feet that weigh only 0.5 pounds and heavier winter boots that reach 1.5 pounds.
For the different types of shoes, here’s the average weight:
- Running shoes: 1 pound.
- Hiking boots: 3.75 pounds.
- Sandals: 0.75 pounds.
- Heels: 1 pound.
- Steel-capped boots: 4.5 pounds.
Why Do Lightweight Shoes Matter?
In most cases, the lighter the shoe, the better—especially when exercising or walking. There are very few places where heavy shoes are acceptable. These include work boots and weighted shoes for target-specific training. Below are the five main benefits of lightweight shoes:
Lightweight shoes are usually breathable. Athletic shoes made from synthetic fabric have pores that allow air to move through and around the foot. This is why they’re so popular, as ventilation is an essential aspect of comfort when walking or running.
Even leather shoes can be lightweight and breathable. Leather loafers like this one from Cole Haan have a thin lining, making it flexible and comfortable. The penny loafer is suited for warm weather and can be worn without socks. Such shoes are a smart, lightweight option for the formal office.
If you’re concerned about shoe weight during the winter months, you can get weatherproof shoes. Advances in material science have introduced lightweight materials that offer weatherproof properties. Gore-tex, for example, is a lightweight material that can be treated to be weatherproof and wear-resistant.
Designed For Support and Stability
The best athletic shoe brands in the world are focused on producing lightweight shoes. These have been scientifically proven to improve performance. Because of this, they are packed with technological features that contribute to better performance and comfort.
The arch support is usually designed to provide alignment to your feet, knees and hips. Bigger brands have more capital to spend on such performance features.
In addition, such shoes have a well placed sole differential. This is the difference in height between the heel of the shoe and its forefoot. If poorly designed, it can cause a lot of discomfort.
Lightweight shoes are usually trendy. Think of the most popular streetwear sneakers and how stylish they are. They’re usually composed of sleek, futuristic designs that most people love.
Lightweight shoes are often low-top shoes, which make them versatile. They can easily be dressed up or dressed down, making them suitable for both the gym and the informal workplace.
Take the Vans low-top sneakers as an example. They offer a clean, minimalistic design that will go well with most outfits in a modern man or woman’s wardrobe. Lightweight sneakers are in fashion now, and it seems as though they’re here to stay.
Easy to Wear
If your walking shoes are a hassle to put on, why wear them in the first place? Shoes should offer you convenience, and lightweight shoes are designed to be easy to slip on and off.
Three possible features make lightweight shoes easy to wear:
- Slip-on shoes: This is a pair without laces. They often feature stretch fabric for your convenience. A great example of such a pair is the Adidas Ultima Fusion.
- Low-top shoes: These are much easier to put on than boots or high-top sneakers.
- Flexible heels: Flexible heels are a common feature in lightweight shoes. This makes it easier to slip into your shoes. If your shoe’s heel isn’t flexible, you may have to use a shoe horn.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Weighted Shoes and Should I Wear Them?
Weighted shoes are not recommended for walking or regular training. These purposely add 1 to 5 pounds to the shoe sole.
Many claim that they allow you to burn more calories or develop muscles, but they can have many negative side effects. These include foot deformities and strains in leg muscles. Ankle weights are a much safer option.
Should I Weigh My Shoes?
It’s not necessary to weigh your shoes. Wearing shoes is about comfort. A shoe label isn’t going to convenience you that an ill-fitting shoe is the right size. Neither is a number that tells you the weight of the shoe. If the shoe seems heavy or uncomfortable, change it. Don’t try to convince yourself otherwise.
Shoes are meant to offer comfort and enjoyment. Lightweight shoes offer better performance and health benefits than heavier ones. Even if you have to wear heavy shoes for work or sport, you should purchase a good lightweight pair to wear regularly. Heavy feet and legs are unnatural and aren’t suited to our biomechanics.
So how much do shoes weigh? Adult shoes weigh around 1.5–3 pounds. But even if the manufacturer claims that that’s the weight of its shoes and you feel burdened every time you use them, don’t be afraid to change the pair. Do what feels right.