We hope that you love our articles and find them useful and informative! In full transparency, we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post. These funds allow us to keep the site up and continue to write great articles. Click here to learn about our review process and affiliate structure.

Best Weighted Vests for Running, Crossfit, and Workouts in 2022

 

Runners serious about their training look for every little way to get the most out of a workout. Whether it’s nutrition, shoes, or GPS watches, every little bit can help.

Building strength is also critical to performance, and any runner looking for a shiny new PR has a few options. One of these is using a weighted vest during your runs.

By adding weight, you stress your muscles slightly more and ask your body for more effort. Done properly and carefully can help you reach new levels of strength and pace.

But the best weighted vests have specific features you should look out for if you’re buying.

We’ve highlighted a few of the top models picked from the many options on the market. Just as with any training accessory, understanding how you want to use the vest will help you choose the right one.

If you want to start weight training with a vest, first, you need to decide on how much weight to train with. A good rule of thumb is to gradually work up to 20% of your body weight.

We like vests that you can easily add or remove weight to, so you can completely customize your workout and add resistance as you get stronger.

Durability and fit are also key aspects to look out for. If you plan on using the vest for highly vigorous activity, you’ll want something that fits snugly with little to no bounce.

Sometimes having higher durability material in your vest means you’ll have less breathability, so consider how you’ll use the vest. Here are our best weighted vests for running, Crossfit, and general workouts!

Top 3 Best and Favorites

 

Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite

 

  • Breathable
  • Easy to adjust weight
  • Great fit
Check Price

 

Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

 

  • Minimalist and a low-profile design
  • Integrated mesh pocket on the back
  • Padded shoulder straps
Check Price

 

Empower Weighted Vest

 

  • Made specifically for women
  • Durable design
  • Comfortable fit
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite

This vest is slim-fitting and not as bulky as you might expect. It’s comfortable and versatile enough to be used for multiple occasions.

What We Like

This vest is a lightweight, good-looking piece of equipment that has multiple applications. It has a contoured fit that keeps the weight close to your body, and the thin, light profile allows you to maintain a full range of motion and flexibility.

The tight-fitting nature of this vest means that it stays put during higher-intensity workouts or runs. It’s designed to fit both men and women comfortably.

Although it doesn’t look like it, the vest is breathable and odor-resistant. You can exercise confidently without worrying about overheating or unpleasant odors.

It’s helped by the completely open sides, which allow airflow in. Although it’s slightly less helpful if you have a shirt underneath, as the air doesn’t reach your skin.

The vest features a lot of small pockets that tightly hold steel weights. Remember to keep the weight distribution even if you can adjust this simply by taking out a weight or two.

You should note that the size small can only hold 15 lbs at a maximum, while the medium, large, and extra-large can hold up to 20 lbs.

If you already have the Pro vest, you can buy the Elite without the weights and use your old weights. This saves you some cash!

Why We Like It

This vest is slim-fitting, remains in place while you’re exercising intensely, and is more breathable than it looks. It’s highly comfortable.

What to Consider

If you need a vest to wear in winter, this one may be a little too slim-fitting to wear over clothing. If you want to wear it underneath your clothing, you can, but that will make it hard to adjust as you go.

You can stretch out the elasticated sides to fit it over clothing, but they won’t always retain their elasticity. The zippered body of the vest is still likely to be tight.

What’s New

The Elite is the newer version of the Hyper Vest Pro. The Pro was more stretchy and the fit has been adjusted to fix a chafing issue in the armpit of the Pro.

PROS:

  • A slim profile hugs your body and doesn’t restrict your range of motion
  • The breathable and odor-resistant fabric lets you workout confidently, even during high-intensity workouts
  • Tightly-pocketed steel weights distribute the weight evenly throughout the vest
  • Adjustable weight classes with a maximum weight capacity of 20 pounds

CONS:

  • The close-fitting nature of this vest means it may not fit over lots of clothes
 

Top Value

2. Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

For its price, this is one of the best weighted vests we’ve come across. It’s perfect for those who know what weight they can handle and want to stick with that.

What We Like

This vest comes in weight categories from 4 lbs to 30lbs. The weight comes from iron pellets inside the neoprene material of the vest, which offers the same benefits as a sandbag but doesn’t hold an odor.

These pallets are built into the vest and cannot be removed or adjusted. They’re well-distributed in both the front and the back, holding the shape of the vest very well.

However, a mesh pocket in the back of the vest can hold workout nutrition, a mobile phone, or extra weight if you want to add some.

The vest itself has a low-profile racerback design that’s comfortable and not intrusive. It’s made of soft neoprene material, wicks away moisture, and dries quickly if you sweat.

Something thoughtful is the padded shoulder straps, which protect your upper body from chafing as the weight sits on your shoulders.

The open design makes it quite breathable, with adjustable buckles that can help you to get a good fit during your workout.

Why We Like It

For its price, this weighted vest is an excellent option. If you’re not likely to need to adjust the weight very much, then we highly recommend this one.

What to Consider

This vest is not adjustable in weight. It may be best for those who already know what weight works for them and won’t be likely to increase it.

PROS:

  • Minimalist and a low-profile design with a racerback are comfortable to wear for a variety of workout regimes
  • Weight is built into the vest using iron pellets that are distributed in the front and back of the vest
  • Integrated mesh pocket on the back for adding extra weight, storing your mobile device, or nutrition during your workout
  • Padded shoulder straps cushion your shoulders and prevents chafing
  • Available in 5 weight classes up to a maximum of 25 pounds

CONS:

  • Non-adjustable in weight
 

Best for Women

3. Empower Weighted Vest

Designed to fit a female body shape, the Empower Weighted Vest is comfortable and minimalist. It can be worn by men as well!

What We Like

The X-shaped design of this vest makes it both exceptionally breathable and not restricting at all.

For women, the design fits their body well and can accommodate a wide range of body shapes. The adjustable straps on the side allow you to get a good fit on waists up to size 48.

This particular vest is available in two models: one, a fixed-weight 8 lb version with sandbags sewn into the vest, and two, a 10 lb model with a pocket and additional space for an extra 6 lbs of small sandbags—up to 16 lbs in total.

Its lycra and spandex construction is soft and stretchy enough to be comfortable and also includes reflective elements, so you’ll stay safe if you use it while running at night.

Why We Like It

This vest’s design makes it easy for women of all body shapes to find a comfortable fit. It also has a good weight capacity.

What to Consider

The maximum weight of 16 lbs may not be enough for women who are accomplished athletes and have a higher level of strength.

PROS:

  • Contoured X-shape that’s designed specifically to fit a variety of female body shapes
  • Adjustable straps can comfortably accommodate up to a size 48 waist
  • Available in a fixed eight-pound vest or adjustable vest with a maximum weight capacity of 16 lbs
  • Reflective detailing increases visibility when walking or running in low-light conditions

CONS:

  • Only has a maximum weight of 16 lbs
 

Top for Running

4. Hyperwear Hyper Vest Pro Weight Vest

Runners will appreciate the fitted nature of this vest, which offers more resistance without bouncing or chafing as you run.

What We Like

This vest is very lightweight and fitted. Made of stretchy fabric, it contours to your body to provide a snug and comfortable fit, made more personal by the drawstrings on the side.

Small pockets across the front of the vest house ¼-inch thick steel weights of 2.25 oz each are evenly distributed for the best performance. These are tightly packed in, so there’s no bouncing when you run or do any other kind of exercise.

Wide arm holes don’t restrict your range of motion at all. The material is breathable and moisture-wicking as well, keeping you cool even though your torso is covered.

It’s also odor-resistant, although the manufacturers recommend hand-washing it with a mild detergent, which you can do without removing the weights.

Why We Like It

This vest is comfortable, weight-adjustable, close-fitting, and bounce-free while providing extra resistance on your run.

What to Consider

It can be difficult to add or remove weights from the back of the vest during a workout.

PROS:

  • Stretchy fabric moves with you while the adjustable drawstrings allow you to customize the fit
  • The vest doesn’t bounce as you move or perform dynamic movement exercises
  • Easily remove or add additional weights for your workout needs
  • A slim profile with a V-neck can be worn easily and comfortably under your shirt without restricting your movement

CONS:

  • Not easy to reach the weights on the back
 

Most Color Options

5. Gymnastics Power Weighted Vest

If a plain old black weight vest is boring to you, the Gymnastic Power Weighted Vest offers some bright, exciting colors that will make you stand out!

What We Like

Red, yellow, orange, pink, turquoise, gray, and black… Whatever your preference, you’ll find a color to suit you in this weighted vest!

We love the color options, but the vest itself is high quality and made of tough and durable 1000D nylon, featuring reinforced stitching to ensure that the vest lasts a long time.

It offers up to 16 lbs of weight, evenly distributed between front and back. Multiple 2.2 oz weights can be added or removed according to your needs. Padded shoulder straps offer extra comfort and reduce chafing.

The minimalist, over-the-head design allows you to move freely and easily. Whatever exercise you want to do, you should be comfortable in this vest.

Why We Like It

It offers a good weight, great design, and a choice of fun colors! The over-the-head design also allows for an excellent, comfortable fit.

What to Consider

This weighted vest only has a half-length design. This may be uncomfortable for some as it doesn’t feel like a full piece of equipment and leaves the lower torso open.

PROS:

  • Durable nylon fabric with reinforced stitching that’s available in a variety of colors
  • Comfortable foam padding in the shoulders cushions heavy loads and prevents chafing
  • Adjustable weight lets you vary your resistance based on your planned workout
  • A unisex vest with a cropped design provides a snug fit that allows for a natural range of motion

CONS:

  • The cropped design may be uncomfortable for some
 

Top Adjustable Weight

6. Runfast/Max Pro

This vest can be adjusted to suit you and is ideal for those who want to vary the weight as they go. It’s also highly durable.

What We Like

You can buy this vest in several different weight capacities, from 12 lbs to 140 lbs. The design varies slightly across weights, with the heavier vests including more weight pockets than the lighter ones.

The pockets are distributed on the vest’s front and back for even weight distribution and a comfortable feel. There are also pockets for your phone and water bottle.

You can cinch the waist down nicely using the Velcro strap to get a snug, non-bounce fit. You can also add shoulder pads if you need a bit more cushioning to protect you from the pressure of heavy weights.

Why We Like It

No matter how heavy you want to go, you can find a vest that suits you! They’re easy to adjust, with great weight distribution.

What to Consider

This vest comes in a one-size-fits-all design. This should be fine for most, but short people may find that the vest is a little too long for comfort.

What’s New

The only difference between the Standard and the Pro is that the Pro features a water bottle pouch and a phone pouch.

PROS:

  • Available in weights that range from 12 pounds to 140 pounds
  • Evenly distributed weight pouches help you maintain your balance
  • Velcro belts allow you to cinch down for a comfortable and snug fit
  • Integrated phone pocket and separate pouch to store your water bottle

CONS:

  • The one-size-fits-all design may not work for everyone
 

Best for Crossfit

7. CROSS101 Adjustable Weighted Vest

If you’re looking for a vest that can withstand the rigors of CrossFit and still go for a run afterward, we recommend the CROSS101 Adjustable Weight vest.

What We Like

The full-length design of this vest wraps around your body securely for a great fit without restricting your range of motion.

Two Velcro straps around the waist allow you to get a great cinch-down on the waist so there’s no excess on the vest. It’s snug and comfortable, moving with you as you do dynamic exercises.

Depending on what you need, you can choose between a design with shoulder pads and one without.

A large pocket allows you to carry small valuables or on-the-go nutrition with you, excellent for CrossFit competitions.

It comes in a wide range of weight capacities—from 20 to 140 lbs. You can adjust it in 4 lb increments, so it’s extremely customizable.

The military-style design is also stylish and tactical.

Why We Like It

This vest offers a wide range of weight capacities, extra storage space and can cinch down for a great fit. It’s an excellent addition to the CrossFit box.

What to Consider

The universal fit of this vest may not suit everyone, especially smaller users. Although it can be cinched down, it may feel too big and bulky.

PROS:

  • A full-length design wraps securely around your body without restricting your full range of motion
  • Available in a large weight range capacity, from 20 to 140 pounds, adjustable in 4lb increments
  • Spacious pocket to conveniently store your phone, keys, and nutrition
  • Universal fit and Velcro straps ensure a comfortable fit

CONS:

  • Universal fit may not be suitable for everyone
 

Most Versatile

8. Titan Fitness 40 lb Adjustable Weighted Vest

This comfortable and versatile vest can easily be used for a variety of different activities. It’s simple but effective.

What We Like

Although it’s a universal fit design, this vest does feature adjustable weights. You can get up to 40 lbs in 2.5 iron ingot weights to fit into small pockets on the front of the vest.

It’s made of high-quality, hard-wearing nylon material, which can stand up to hard work. A 64-inch Velcro strap wraps around the waist to get a comfortable but tight fit, so the vest won’t bounce when you exercise.

There’s added foam padding in the shoulders to relieve pressure points when you’re carrying a high amount of weight.

Why We Like It

This vest uses easy-to-adjust 2.5 iron ingots that you can adjust up to 40 lbs depending on your needs. It’s versatile enough for whatever activity you’d like to do, from CrossFit to walking.

What to Consider

The design of this weight vest may cause the weights to bounce when you run. This could be uncomfortable, so it may not be the best choice for those who run often.

Also, because the weights are only on the front of the vest, the weight distribution isn’t as good as others.

PROS:

  • The versatile vest can be used for running, cross-training, and functional movement exercises
  • Soft, comfortable fabric that can be worn directly on the skin
  • Easily adjust your load by sliding weights in and out of the vest pockets
  • Cropped design is comfortable and snug without restricting your range of motion

CONS:

  • Maybe some bounce when running
  • Weight distribution isn’t as good as others
 

Top Adjustable Weight for Women

9. Cap 30 lb Adjustable Weighted

Ladies looking for a little more weight will appreciate the adjustability and capacity of this weighted vest.

What We Like

The X-shaped design reduces pressure regular weight vests may place on sensitive areas. It allows for a full range of motion and excellent airflow, so there’s very little chance of feeling restricted or overly warm in this vest.

You can add or remove the small iron filing weight packets to play with weights anywhere up to 30 lbs.

An easy-to-adjust Velcro belt allows you to tighten it snugly yet comfortably around your waist, so there’s no unnecessary movement during exercise.

This reduces the chances of chafing and prevents an annoying bounce when you’re running or jumping.

The reinforced nylon and polyester construction also means this vest is highly durable.

Why We Like It

This vest offers up to 30 lbs of weight and is easily adjustable to suit your needs. The women-friendly design also makes it comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

What to Consider

This vest has a universal fit. Shorter women may find that the vest is too long and can interfere with dynamic movements like high knees or box jumps.

PROS:

  • Women-friendly design offer freedom of movement and breathability
  • Adjustable weight packets can provide up to 30 lbs of weight
  • Easy-adjust waist belt to create a snug fit during movement
  • Reinforced nylon and polyester construction makes this vest highly durable

CONS:

  • Universal design means shorter women may find the vest to be too long
 

Buyer’s Guide – Weighted Vests

Fixed or Adjustable Weight

You can choose between fixed-weight vests and adjustable weight vests.

A fixed-weight vest doesn’t allow you to add any more weight to it, or remove any of the existing weight. An adjustable vest allows you to add more weight to it as you progress and need more of a challenge.

Fixed-weight vests tend to be lighter than adjustable ones. They’re a good option for beginners, but the lack of adjustability in the weight is likely to become a problem as you improve.

Male vs Female Vests

Men and women are built differently, so not every vest can fit every person! You do get specially designed weight vests for women, which have a slimmer fit around the waist but more space around the chest.

Make sure that you’re buying the right one for your body type. Choosing the wrong gender fit can lead to a high level of discomfort!

Comfort

The vest you choose should be comfortable enough to wear and move around in for an extended period. You should be able to get your full range of movement and there should be no chafing.

Choose a vest with a flexible material that’s breathable, has even weight distribution, and allows you to move freely while wearing it.

Weight Filling Material

Some weight vests contain weights made of metal and some use sandbags. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that much which one you choose.

Metal weights are likely to be more durable and last you for much longer than sandbags. Also, if you accidentally burst a sandbag, it’s going to require a lot of cleaning up!

Breathability

Breathability is important in a weight vest. Air needs to circulate through the vest to cool you down and prevent the material from developing a smell.

Look for a vest that’s moisture-wicking and lightweight, with a high level of breathability. This is important for comfort as well as durability.

Full-Sized vs Short-Stack Weight Vests

Full-size vests cover the entire torso, usually around the waist. Short-stack vests cover only the upper back and chest and expose the abs.

The one you choose depends on your preference. A full-length vest may have more room to add weight, and you may also be able to add other things to the pockets, like an energy gel or chew. These are often used for running.

Short-stack vests may offer less weight but are often more comfortable. They’re more often used in CrossFit and gym workouts. It’s up to you which one works best for your goals.

Weight Distribution

A good quality vest will distribute the weight evenly across it. One side should not be heavier than the other. This is important to take note of with fixed-weight vests especially, as you won’t be able to change this.

With adjustable vests, make sure you add or remove weight equally on either side in order to keep the weight distribution balanced. This goes for both sides of the vest as well as front and back, depending on how and where the weights are added.

Durability

The vest you choose should be made of strong material, with well-sewn seams. Although you won’t use it all the time, it should be strong and resistant to wear-and-tear.

Cover Material

The material your vest is made of should be moisture-resistant, antibacterial, and soft against the skin. This ensures that the vest is the best combination of being comfortable, durable, and effective for its purpose.

The part of the vest that’s exposed to the outside world should be highly durable and abrasion-resistant. But the part that’s in contact with your skin should be softer and more comfortable in order to prevent chafing.

Weight Vest Accessories

Some weight vests come with an extra pouch for holding valuables, a water bottle holder, or even reflective detailing. These could be handy if you’re planning on running with the vest.

However, if using the vest in the gym is your only goal, then these types of add-ons may not be necessary.

FAQs

What Is a Weighted Vest?

A weighted vest is a piece of apparel that you can add extra weight to by way of pockets and small weights. Its purpose is to add more resistance and make the workout more challenging, burn more calories, and build more muscle.

Is an Adjustable Weighted Vest Better Than a Fixed One?

An adjustable weight vest is ideal if you’re new to using one, and you may want to increase the weight as your fitness level improves. It’s also great if you aren’t yet sure how much weight would be appropriate for you.

However, a fixed-weight vest could work well for you if you’re already fit and just looking for something to add challenge to your run. They often fit more snugly than adjustable weight vests.

How Much Weight Do You Need?

The appropriate weight amount will differ for every person, depending on your fitness level and strength.

However, the maximum weight that a vest should hold—with the vest and the weights—is 20 percent of your current body weight.

If you add more weight than that, you may find that you become injured faster, and it takes you longer to recover after running.

Does Running With a Weight Vest Build Muscle?

Running with a weight vest can help you to develop muscle faster. However, you should be careful because it’s easy to overdo it. You should limit your use to every second run and ensure you maintain your form when you wear the vest.

How Long Should You Run With a Weighted Vest?

You can wear your weight vest for up to 1 ½ hours at a time when running with it. We also advise that you wear it on every second run rather than every run.

Longer than that, your muscles may become too fatigued, leading to poor form and an increased risk of injury.

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner
Logo