Whether your exercise of choice is walking or hitting up the gym, the best weighted vests will elevate any workout. These vests are either pre-weighted or have removable weights and can be used for a wide range of activities, including walking, hiking, CrossFit, running, and more.
Besides being convenient and easy to use (no more lugging around bulky weights), they also have proven health benefits. In 2021, research found that individuals who wore a weighted vest that was 10% of their body weight burned a significantly higher amount of calories1 compared to those only wearing 5% of their weight or no weight at all. Studies have also shown that strength training can help balance blood sugar, enhance bone health, and may even help improve self-confidence.
Choosing the right weighted vest can feel overwhelming, which is why we've done the heavy lifting for you. Using expert advice, research, and reviews, we've rounded up the best weighted vests of 2023 to help boost your next workout.
The best weighted vests of 2023:
The best weighted vests of 2023:
What is a weighted vest?
Typically worn across your back and chest, a weighted vest is either pre-weighted or comes with adjustable weights that can be added or removed. Luke Greenwell, P.T., DPT, CSMT, CSCS, physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist, explains that weighted vests have been commonly used for training and rucking in the military, to increase resistance without the use of handheld weights. "More recently, it has picked up popularity in the general population for use in the gym and while hiking," Greenwell adds.
Generally secured using Velcro or belt buckles, weighted vests can be added to a wide range of workouts, including running, walking, hiking, calisthenics, CrossFit, and more.
What are the benefits of a weighted vest?
Wearing a weighted vest has many benefits. "By increasing force, weighted vests help build strength, cardiovascular endurance, and power," says Kelly Froelich, NASM-certified personal trainer and co-founder of Balanced. "A weighted vest adds weight to the whole body instead of targeting a specific part of the body." Froelich says that, according to research, weighted vest training has been shown to increase the speed of sprinters and endurance runners2.
A weighted vest may also be a good option for those looking to increase bone density. "Weighted vests can be particularly helpful, when cleared by a doctor, for those who have weakened bone density," Froelich explains. She elaborates, saying that a weighted vest increases the amount of weight the body is bearing, resulting in increased bone density by encouraging bone remodeling in addition to muscular strength.
Besides the health benefits, Greenwell shares that weighted vests are convenient. "A weighted vest leaves you with the ability to still use both arms and legs for tasks such as pushups, pullups, running, and hiking without the need for additional cumbersome weights," he says. "It's typically very portable, and you can take it anywhere with you."
Greenwell does mention that those who are pregnant, have a history of back pain, have undergone spine surgery, or have joint osteoarthritis, should first consult with their doctor before adding additional weight to their body via a weighted vest.
How to use a weighted vest.
Weighted vests can be used in a number of workouts, such as calisthenics and CrossFit. They can also be worn around the house or while walking, to help build strength and stamina.
"Running is also a great option for a weighted vest and can help in improving explosive power," Froelich says. If you're looking to increase upper body strength, weighted vests can be worn during exercises such as pushups, planks, bodyweight rows, or back extensions. "Any impact activity, from walking to stairs to jumping, can be beneficial in increasing VO2 max (the amount of oxygen your body uses while exercising) due to the extra resistance," Froelich adds. "And it feels amazing once the vest comes off!"
How we picked:
There are many weighted vest options out there, which is why we enlisted experts to offer insight into what we should be on the lookout for when choosing the right one.
We paid attention to reviews and testimonials to get a better idea of how these products are received by a wider scope of users. Negative reviews helped us provide a full picture of each product.
Products constructed from durable, high-quality materials are safer and give you the most for your money. We paid close attention to quality when making our selections.
We highlighted special features of each product, to help you better determine which one is best for you.
Our picks for the best weighted vests of 2023:
Best weighted vest for running: Hyper Vest Elite Weighted Vest
- Highly-adjustable side lacing
- Weight pockets run small
This weighted vest is great for running but also works well for walking, hiking, rehabilitation, and other daily activities. Sleek and flexible, its design features open side panels that offer optimal ventilation. An added bonus is its reflective detailing, which helps keep it secure during every activity. Even better? It's breathable, odor-resistant, and sweat-wicking—which is great news for those who like to run long distances, or who exercise in warmer temperatures.
It comes recommended by Froelich, and although it is on the more expensive side, it's a good investment if you’re in the market for a versatile, streamlined weighted vest with multiple (adjustable) weight options.
Words like ”excellent” and “outstanding” pop up in this vest’s many rave reviews on Amazon. One reviewer describes it as “Just what I was looking for,” while another shares that they are using this vest to help improve their endurance while marathon training. “I’m training for the 2023 Boston Marathon and purchased a Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite to improve my endurance on hills. It fits perfectly and I often forget I'm wearing it while hiking steep hills and stairways in San Francisco.”
Best heavy weighted vest: miR Pro Weighted Vest
- Straps can be confusing
A brand recommended by both Greenwell and Froelich, miR offers high-quality weighted vests that are loved by serious athletes and amateurs alike. This weighted vest is available in 7 weight options, from 50- to 120-pounds. It’s a must-try for those looking to incorporate a heavier weighted vest into their workouts.
Constructed from durable 1200 reinforced nylon, the vest has double-padded shoulders and mesh ventilation, so you won’t be sacrificing comfort no matter what weight level you opt for. With each vest, you’ll receive a set of 3-pound solid iron weights that can be added to the vest’s Velcro-closure pockets, which are located in the vest’s front and back.
The common sentiment around this weighted vest is that it’s worth it. “Absolutely marvelous,” one reviewer notes. “Won’t be looking for anything else, anytime soon.” Another says, “Purchased this vest for push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. Works great, easy to adjust, and easy to add or subtract weights.” A small con is that one reviewer says the vest sometimes bounces during workouts.
Best weighted vest for walking: RUNmax Weighted Vest
- Removable phone pocket and water bottle holder
- Adjustable weight
- Wide range of weight options
- Shoulder pads cost extra
Reasonably priced, this weighted vest keeps comfort and versatility in mind without the expensive price tag. Front and back pockets allow for equal weight distribution, and the vest has additional helpful features, such as a phone pocket and water bottle holder, making it a good choice for hiking and walking.
Each vest comes with its own maximum weight limit, ranging from 12 to 140 pounds, with a fully adjustable design that makes it easy to add and remove weight. The vest can be ordered with optional shoulder pads if you want a little extra comfort.
This weighted vest is a favorite among those looking for an affordable option—many of its over 6,000 5-star Amazon ratings come with rave reviews for its ease of use and durability. People say it holds up great even with daily use, and that the sand bags are “easy to remove if needed and can be distributed around the vest quickly.” Some reviews do mention that the vest bounces a bit when running, and warn that it can be uncomfortable if purchased without shoulder pads.
Best weighted vest for calisthenics: CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest
- Adjustable waist belt
- Quality construction
- Can be tricky to insert weights
For over 30 years, this brand has been making high-quality workout gear—and this short weighted vest is no exception. Crafted from reinforced nylon and polyester, the fully-adjustable vest has a secure fit and cropped cut that makes it perfect for calisthenic workouts (while longer options may get in the way).
Users can easily adjust the weight by adding or removing the individual 2.5-pound weight packets. The vest has anchor hooks for parachute run training, and reflective detailing to make outdoor nighttime workouts safer. It’s extremely comfortable, too, with an adjustable waist belt and padded shoulder straps.
Customers love how you can easily adjust the weight of this vest, making it a good choice for a variety of workouts. “The weighted vest as a whole is amazing,” shares one Amazon reviewer. “It’s perfect for adding on some more weight while running and or while performing calisthenics exercises. Just be sure not to strap yourself in too tight as it can definitely restrict airflow. The fabric of the vest is lightweight and durable & has yet to rip or tear yet.”
A con, however, is that the vest can bounce up and down a bit if it isn’t tight enough. Make sure to double-check straps and belts while wearing it to help better prevent this.
Best weighted vest for crossfit: 5.11 Tactical Tactec Trainer Weighted Vest
- Has accessory pockets
- Breathable mesh body pads
- Snug fit
- Does not come with weights
Designed specifically for training, this is one of the best weighted vests for crossfit. It’s made from 600D nylon and can withstand the toughest workouts. Comfort is key here, with adjustable yoke shoulder straps, breathable mesh padding, and an adjustable stretch cummerbund that helps keep the vest snug. It also comes with accessory pockets, so you’ll have a secure place to store your phone and keys while you exercise.
Although the vest does not come with weights, it is compatible with both 5.11 and Rogue inserts, which can be purchased separately on the brand’s website. When unloaded, the vest is lightweight and mobile, making it easy to store and carry to the gym.
With over 200 ratings on Amazon, this vest has 4.8 out of 5 stars overall. Customers praise its comfortable design and useful storage compartments. One says, “I run and workout with the vest on almost every day and it is very comfortable, especially around the shoulders, and it is extremely adjustable. The pockets are a great addition which allows you to carry your phone and other accessories without the worry of them falling out.”
Best adjustable: North Gym Adjustable Weighted Vest
- Streamlined fit
- Includes laser-cut curved plates
- Not available in higher weights
For a vest that’s easily adjustable with multiple weight options, you can’t do much better than this pick. It comes with contoured plate inserts, making it a lot more comfortable to wear than other options. The vest has been designed to keep the weights close to your body, helping to avoid bouncing and eliminating pressure on the torso. Weights are also side-loaded, as opposed to bottom-loaded, which makes for a seamless experience of loading and adjusting heaviness.
Featuring flexible side straps and shoulder straps with two buckle options, this vest fits a wide range of body types and heights. The waterproof PVC-finish means this vest can be worn outdoors during any weather.
With hundreds of 5-star Amazon reviews, this vest gets a lot of love for its comfortable, snug fit and reasonable price. One reviewer says it “Checks every box perfectly: Easily adjustable, durable, comfortable, and doesn’t move while doing WODs. Also isn’t bulky, so you’ll have no problem doing any movement. I’ve used it for runs, on the stair climber, and doing CrossFit. No issues!”
Best budget weighted vest: miR CROSS101 Adjustable Weighted Shoulder Vest
- May feel bulky for some
If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a weighted vest, this affordable option is offered in 20, 40, 60, 80, and 140 pounds. Perfect for weighted vest newbies who aren’t sure how often they’ll use a weighted vest yet, this vest features removable packed sand weights.
The vest comes with a pouch for your phone and a slot for headphones, so you can add music to any of your workouts. Bargain hunters will be happy to hear that quality is not compromised, even though this vest is very affordable compared to more other options.
Customers love that this vest combines versatility and quality, minus the hefty price tag. Reviewers say it “looks exactly like the pictures,” “does what it’s supposed to do,” and that “The best part is you can remove the weights for different exercises or to just lessen the load.”
It is worth mentioning that a few reviewers wish this vest had buckles instead of Velcro, since its Velcro is not as durable through extended use.
Best weighted vest for women: Omorpho G-Vest+
- Adjustable side cords with lock
- Ventilated back
- Connects digitally to Omorpho app
- Maximum 5 pound weight
Touted as the first weighted vest designed specifically for women, this vest allows for a full range of motion no matter what workout you’re completing. The shoulder straps are adjustable to accommodate a range of torso lengths, with adjustable side-cinch pulls for a more custom fit. Weight is distributed evenly throughout the torso area for better comfort.
Unlike many other vests, this option has a front zipper, which helps keep the vest in place while exercising. What really sets this vest apart, though, is the embedded NFC tag, which connects to the brand’s app, where you can access workouts designed specifically for the G-Vest+. The vest is easy to clean: simply spot clean or hand wash with cold water, and dry in the shade.
This brand receives a lot of praise, and is loved by professional athletes. Ajla Tomljanović, the Australian tennis player who recently defeated Serena Williams at this year’s U.S. Open, regularly trains in the G-Vest+ to add resistance to her workouts and says it helps give her an edge. It’s a more expensive option than others on our list, but if you are looking for a comfortable and durable vest designed especially for women that can also be digitally connected, then this is a good choice.
Most comfortable weighted vest: Rogue Plate Carrier
- Weights not included
The Rogue brand has become synonymous with high-quality workout equipment, so it's no surprise that this Plate Carrier is so loved. Made with 1000D cordura lining, extra foam padding, stretch woven fabric, and limited seams to help prevent chafing, this vest was designed with comfort at the forefront. Velcro straps and reinforced stitching make this a highly durable option that will withstand wear and tear.
This customizable vest is currently offered in three adjustable sizes and four colorways, including Black, Ranger Green, Coyote Brown, and Gray. A portion of each Rogue Plate Carrier purchase helps benefit the Operator Foundation, an organization focused on providing educational and other special funding assistance to U.S. special operations members and their families.
The bulk of Rogue’s shoppers are pleased with this comfortable weighted vest. One writes, “I bought this 2 months ago. I looked through different options but this has been the best, compared to the ones my partners use; great design and is super comfortable for my running and workouts. Definitely recommend and the best part is made in the USA.”
Best weighted vest for workouts: Condor Sentry Plate Carrier
- Padded mesh lining for added comfort
- Does not come with steel plates
An excellent weighted vest for workouts, this pick is designed to offer you a greater range of motion. The high-performance vest is easily adjustable for a more custom fit, with padded mesh shoulder pads that can be added or removed as you please. The mesh interior lining helps with breathability, and the quick-release buckles make for a quick and easy setup. Even better, the vest can be worn for long workouts, without becoming uncomfortable.
While the vest does not come with weights, each of its plate pockets is designed to hold medium and large ESAPI standard plates (up to 10.25" x 13.25") and is compatible with the ergonomically-contoured Rogue USA Cast Weight Vest Plates.
This vest has still won the approval of many happy customers who applaud it for its impressive quality and adjustability. One person writes, “I bought this because I wanted to take my training up a level. Let me tell you that it worked! I feel that it is so customizable that whenever I’m ready to take on more [weight] it will adapt—just like when I want to take the weight off, it’s easy to do. This is my best purchase yet.”
How to choose a weighted vest.
When choosing the best weighted vest, it is important to take into consideration your fitness and experience level, what the vest will be used for, and any fitness goals you have. According to Froelich, those new to weighted vests are advised to start at a lower weight, no more than 5% to 10% of their body weight, and should gradually introduce the weight into their workout routine over time.
It's also important to keep in mind your budget as you shop around for weighted vests as prices vary greatly. Quality should also be kept in mind as it can help prevent injury.
Some weighted vests are better than others for certain exercises. For instance, Greenwell shares that the best weighted vests for running should be sleek and not move around too much while secured on your body. On the other hand, if you'll be using a weighted vest for hiking or rucking, you should opt for a sturdy pack with easily adjustable weight.
It's also helpful to take note of unique features, such as compartments for food or water bottles. "If you are using a vest for exercises, such as pullups and pushups, you want something that breathes easily, fits well, and has the ability to interchange weights so that you don't have to buy a new vest as you get stronger," Greenwell adds.
Are weighted vests a good workout?
While many kinds of strength training are great for your health, weighted vests are a good option. According to a 2022 study, muscle-strengthening activities resulted in a 10% to 17% lower risk of disease, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
How heavy should a weighted vest be?
There are many types of weighted vests out there, but Froelich recommends starting at a low weight if you haven't used one before or are at a lower fitness level. "For example, starting off with 5% to 10% of your bodyweight is a great starting point, depending on the exercise," she says.
How long should you wear weighted vests in a day?
It depends. If wearing a vest throughout the day, Greenwell suggests 15 to 30 minutes of wear on day one, working up to no more than two to three hours per day. The type of physical activity you are doing while wearing a weighted vest must be taken into consideration. For example, hiking with a weighted vest is different from wearing a weighted vest to do calisthenics.
Should a weighted vest be tight?
A weighted vest should feel snug and secure, and not bounce around or shift much while doing workouts. Be sure to double check sizing before ordering, and choose one with adjustable straps and belts if the fit is a concern.
A weighted vest is a great way to elevate your workouts by increasing endurance and strength levels without having to purchase a ton of equipment. Both portable and convenient, weighted vests take the place of large, often bulky weights (which is especially important if your home also doubles as your gym). If you're looking for additional ways to amp up your training and save on home gym space, check out our picks for the best adjustable dumbbells and home gym equipment.