The 10 Best Weighted Vests of 2021, According to a Certified Running Coach

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Best Weighted Vests

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

If you want to take your workouts to the next level, wearing a weighted vest can help you build lean muscle mass, pump up your calorie burn, and build strength. They're also great for those who prefer exercising outdoors or anyone who wants to make the most of everyday activities like running errands or walking the dog.

“Weighted vests are an excellent way of adding intensity and challenges to your workout, forcing the muscles to work together and perform more effort,” says John Gardner, a certified personal trainer, and CEO of Kickoff, a personal training and nutrition service. “This not only increases the heart rate, maximizing the calorie burn per workout but also boosts a person's fitness levels, strength, and endurance.” 

We spent several days researching weighted vests, interviewing personal trainers, and reading product descriptions and reviews to determine which weighted vests we liked the most.

We tested five of the vests on this list for four hours each, for a total of 20 hours of testing. We put them through the rigors of all types of workouts, including bodyweight exercises, interval training, cardio sessions, running, walking, and hiking. Each vest was evaluated for comfort, fit, durability, quality, and overall value.

Here are the best weighted vests on the market, according to a certified running coach.

Our Top Picks
Best Men's Overall :
ZFOsports Weighted Vest at Amazon
The vest comes in maximum weights of 30, 40, 60, or 80 pounds, and all are adjustable in 3.8-pound increments.
Comes with thin, half-pound weights that slide easily into vest pockets, so you can balance and adjust your load with ease.
The two adjustable buckle straps aid against bouncing and give you a snug, custom-like fit.
It’s ideal for women or men looking for a streamlined, comfortable vest for walking, cardio sessions, or strengthening workouts.
It has a streamlined design that allows for great range of motion, making it a good option for walking and bodyweight workouts.
Sturdy and durable, this vest also features a waterproof pocket that’s convenient for storing your phone or other gear.
Available in 4-, 6-, 8-, or 12-pound models, it’s suitable for everyone and can be adjusted with the front strap.
Best for Bodyweight Workouts:
ETHOS 60 lb. Weighted Vest at Dick's
This unisex vest from Ethos is perfect for adding more intensity to bodyweight exercises like squats and push-ups.
Best for Walking:
ZELUS Weighted Vest at Amazon
The vest’s thickened and widened shoulder straps evenly distribute the weight to help avoid shoulder fatigue.
The soft, breathable neoprene material and the evenly distributed weight make it comfortable and easy to wear.

Best Men's Overall : ZFOsports Weighted Vest

ZFOsports Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Versatile

  • Extremely durable

  • Includes room for storage

  • Comfortable and secure

Cons
  • May not work for smaller sizes

  • Requires some set-up

From durability to exceptional design and comfort, this popular weighted vest from ZFOsports checks all the boxes for quality workout gear. It's an excellent option for men, but thanks to its adjustable straps, it can also be used by women or teens. The vest comes in maximum weights of 30, 40, 60, or 80 pounds, and all are adjustable in 3.8-pound increments.

You also get roomy pockets to conveniently stash your phone, keys, and even a water bottle. Extremely durable and versatile, this vest has a wide range of possible uses including strength training, CrossFit, running, and hiking.

Weights: 3.8 to 30, 40, 60, or 80 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Adjustable | Size Range: One size fits most  | Storage: Yes

Best Women's Overall : Hyperwear Hyper Vest Fit Weighted Vest for Women

Hyperwear Hyper Vest Fit Weighted Vest for Women
Pros
  • Versatile

  • Comfortable fit

  • Balanced weight

  • Very durable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Max weight of 10 pounds

Known for its comfort and versatility, the Hyper Vest Fit is a superb choice for women who want to improve their strength and boost their calorie burn. It comes with thin, half-pound weights that slide easily into vest pockets, so you can balance and adjust your load without difficulty. When first putting it on, we immediately liked the vest’s streamlined design and its super-soft, extremely comfortable fabric.

Unlike some vests that require twisting and turning to get it on, it zips up like a regular vest, which we found to be very easy and convenient. We also appreciate how the low profile makes it easy to wear the vest under a top layer, such as a jacket.

The vest comes in three different sizes, since one size doesn’t fit all, and you can use the elastic side cords for the most comfortable fit. Once we zipped up the front and cinched the sides, the vest was secure enough to run in with no bouncing. It’s a great option for runners, walkers, and anyone looking for a streamlined, comfortable, and versatile vest for all types of workouts.

Weights: 5, 8, or 10 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Adjustable | Size Range: S, M, L | Storage: Yes (if you leave some weight pockets empty) 

Best Unisex: Prodigen Weighted Vest

Prodigen Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Comfortable and flexible

  • Reflective

  • Versatile

  • Light enough for travel

Cons
  • Fixed weight

  • May not work for plus size

Prodigen's neoprene weighted vest is a versatile pick that can work for all people with a variety of fitness levels and workout interests. The two adjustable buckle straps help you avoid bouncing and give you a snug, custom-like fit. It also has a back storage pocket that’s perfect for stashing your phone or other essentials.

Designed to last, the vest features double stitching to prevent sand leakage, as well as thick, wide shoulders to evenly distribute weight and help you avoid fatigue. It’s soft, breathable, and it has elastic on the waist and edges for enhanced comfort and flexibility. This vest is a great option for fitness walkers, runners, or anyone who wants to make their cardio or strengthening workouts more challenging.

Weights: 8, 12, 16, or 20 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Fixed | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes

Best Budget: Prosourcefit Weighted Vest

Prosourcefit Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Snug, comfortable fit

  • Great for beginners

  • Includes room for storage

  • Inexpensive

Cons
  • Unpleasant smell at first

  • Fixed weight

For a quality vest that doesn’t break the bank, you can’t go wrong with this Prosourcefit Weighted Vest. It’s ideal for women or men looking for a streamlined, comfortable vest for walking, cardio sessions, or strengthening workouts. Made of durable and soft neoprene, the vest is breathable and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

The mesh back pocket is a nice feature for stashing your phone, although we couldn’t access it easily while walking. Another bonus is the reflective strips on the front and back, which are helpful for workouts in low-light conditions.

The vest comes in five different weight options, from 6 to 20 pounds, so it’s suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. We were concerned that a one-size-fits-most vest might not work for different sizes, but we found that the adjustable buckles did allow for a snug, comfortable, and customized fit.

Weights: 6, 8, 10, 12, or 20 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Fixed | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes

Best for Beginners: Tone Fitness Weighted Vest 12 lbs

Tone Fitness Weighted Vest 12 lbs
Pros
  • Comfortable, flexible material

  • Ideal for beginners

  • Versatile

  • Not bulky

Cons
  • May not work for plus size

  • Maximum 12-pound weight

If you’ve never used a weighted vest, this one from Tone Fitness is an ideal entry-level option. It has a streamlined design that allows for a great range of motion, making it good for walking and bodyweight workouts. The soft neoprene material is flexible and breathable, and the adjustable front strap allows for a comfortable, secure fit. If we could make any change, we'd add another strap across the bottom for a tighter fit when running. However, some people may prefer the open design.

The vest comes in either black and blue and even has reflective stripes for when you’re exercising in low-light conditions. With a fixed weight of 12 pounds, it’s perfect for beginners looking to build strength and fitness.

What Our Testers Say

"One downside is that once you see successful results with this vest, you may need to graduate to a heavier one. That being said, as a multi-tasker and frequent dog walker, I found it to be the perfect weight for daily walks with my pooch." — Christine Luff, certified running coach and Verywell Fit tester

Weight: 12 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Fixed | Storage: Yes

Best for CrossFit: Strength Sport Systems Weight Vest

Strength Sport Systems Weight Vest
Pros
  • Bounce-free

  • Adjustable weight

  • Durable

Cons
  • Pocket may not fit large phones

  • Heavier models are expensive

While it’s comfortable and versatile enough for all types of cardio and strengthening workouts, this Strength Sport Systems weighted vest is especially popular among CrossFit participants. The vest can weigh anywhere from 5 to 90 pounds, depending on the model. As you rotate through various CrossFit movements, you can easily adjust your load by adding or removing weights from the front and back pockets.

The adjustable straps with double shoulder padding allow for a custom, comfy fit. Whether you’re doing a CrossFit WOD, running, or hiking, it stays snug and doesn’t bounce as you’re moving. Sturdy and durable, this vest also features a waterproof pocket that’s convenient for storing your phone, keys, or other essentials.

Weights: 5 to 90 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Adjustable | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes

Best for Running: Henkelion Weighted Vest

Henkelion Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Ideal for running or other cardio

  • Doesn’t bounce

  • Adjustable size

  • Includes room for storage

Cons
  • Fixed weight

  • May not work for plus size

A good weighted vest for running should be snug enough that it doesn’t bounce up and down as you're pounding the pavement, but not so constricting that you can't move comfortably. With an adjustable strap and ergonomic design, this one from Henkelion gets the job done. The weight is evenly distributed throughout the vest, so you won’t put too much stress or pressure on one area.

Whether you’re wearing it for long runs or short interval workouts, runners will appreciate that this vest is breathable, soft, and not at all bulky. Available in 4-, 6-, 8-, or 12-pound models, it’s suitable for all people and can be easily adjusted with the front strap.

Other cool features include a mesh back pocket to hold essentials and the reflective strips on the front and back for enhanced visibility.

What Our Testers Say

"Running in the 8-pound version definitely slowed me down from my usual pace, but the vest was comfortable and snug but not constricting. I appreciated the compact size and open design that allowed me to run without altering my form." — Christine Luff, certified running coach and Verywell Fit tester

Weight: 4, 6, 8, or 12 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Fixed | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes

Best for Bodyweight Workouts: ETHOS 60 lb. Weighted Vest

Ethos 60-pound Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Versatile

  • Unisex

  • Adjustable weight from 2.5 to 60 pounds

  • Comfortable and secure fit

Cons
  • May feel bulky for small frames

  • Expensive

If you want to boost the intensity of your bodyweight workouts, this versatile vest from Ethos is ideal for adding more weight to exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups. It comes with 24 pockets of removable 2.5-pound weights, so you can vary your resistance based on the exercise you’re doing and your overall fitness level.

With comfortable foam padding, an adjustable waist belt, and a cropped design, the unisex vest is comfortable and snug but doesn’t restrict your natural range of motion. The secure fit helps it stay put during strengthening workouts, as well as cardio exercises such as running or hiking. Plus, the reinforced stitching and strapping add to the vest’s performance and durability.

Weights: 2.5 to 60 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Adjustable | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes (if you use empty weight pockets)

Best for Walking: ZELUS Weighted Vest

ZELUS Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Durable

  • Includes room for storage

  • Allows for optimal mobility

  • Comfy, cushioned straps

Cons
  • Maximum 20-pound weight

  • May lack durability

Looking to add more intensity to your fitness walks? Wearing a weighted vest while walking will help you build more muscle and boost your calorie-burning potential, taking you one step closer to your fitness goals. The open design and shoulder holster style of this vest from Z Zelus allows for excellent mobility, and the comfortable shoulder straps evenly distribute the weight to help avoid shoulder fatigue.

Adjustable buckle straps are designed to tighten the vest for a snug, no-bounce fit. Additionally, the neoprene material is extremely soft and breathable, so you’ll stay cool when exercising outdoors. Available in several different weight options, from 4 to 20 pounds, the vest also has reflective strips to help keep you seen when you’re walking outdoors in low-light conditions.

Weights: 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 20 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Fixed | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes

Best for Hiking: Aduro Sport Adjustable Weighted Vest

Aduro Sport Adjustable Weighted Vest
Pros
  • Padded shoulder straps

  • Comfortable material

  • Includes room for storage

  • Secure fit

Cons
  • Can’t adjust weight

  • Storage is fairly small

If you’re looking to make your hikes a bit more challenging, you may want to try wearing a weighted vest on the trails. This lightweight, affordable vest from Aduro is a perfect choice for hiking, as well as other cardio activities such as running or walking.

We like that this vest sits very high up, hugging the shoulders, without covering the entire torso area as some other weighted vests do. The compact size, along with the evenly distributed weight, allows for optimal comfort and a good range of motion.

With an adjustable front belt and padded shoulder straps, this vest didn’t move around when the tester was wearing it. We were even able to put a backpack over it thanks to the streamlined design.

The vest also has a convenient mesh pocket on the back for storage, although it's just big enough to hold a phone. It’s available in weight options ranging from 4 to 30 pounds, so you can choose one that works for your fitness level and goals.

Weight: 4, 6, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30 pounds | Adjustable or fixed weight: Fixed | Size Range: One size fits most | Storage: Yes

Final Verdict

The ZFOsports (view at Amazon) and Hyper Vest Fit (view at Amazon) weighted vests are both versatile, durable, and comfortable. Both have adjustable weights, so you can modify your weight based on your activity and fitness level.

The ZFOsports vest is ideal for those who want an adjustable weight vest that’s suitable for CrossFit and strength training. The Hyper Vest Fit is a bit more streamlined and is a superb option for those who want a comfy, reliable vest for all types of activities.

What to Look for in Weighted Vests

Purpose

“When you’re buying a vest, think of how you want to use it,” says Jack Craig, a certified personal trainer with Inside Bodybuilding. “If you want to run with a vest, you’ll need a lighter weight one than if you’re going to walk or strength train with it, for example.”

Choose a weighted vest based on what exercise you're going to use it for most often.

Material and Design

Look for vests made of materials that are comfortable and moisture-wicking, such as Lycra, nylon, and neoprene. Durable fabrics with double-stitching enhance a vest’s sturdiness.

Closure straps, whether Velcro or buckles, are a key design feature since they’ll give you a more custom, secure fit and help eliminate bouncing and shifting as you’re working out. A vest with storage pockets may be helpful for running outside, hiking, or doing other outdoor pursuits since you can use the space to stash water bottles, keys, and other essentials.

“Make sure your weighted vest is comfortable and has extra padding around the shoulders to reduce friction from the edges of the strap,” says Gardner.

Weight

When choosing a vest, you’ll want to decide whether you want one with a fixed or adjustable weight.

Vests with fixed weights are popular among fitness walkers and runners who want a small amount of weight to make their workouts more challenging. Before selecting a vest with a fixed weight, think about the activities you plan to do while wearing it. Some beginners make the mistake of buying a vest that’s too heavy for their needs and fitness level.

Vests with expandable weight slots are convenient and versatile because they allow you to change how much resistance you’re using based on your workout. For example, if you’re doing squats, you can increase the weight to 20 pounds, but reduce it to 10 pounds for pushups.

“Adjustable options also allow you to up the weight as you get stronger,” says Craig. Adjustable weight vests are often more expensive but are a good investment if you expect to use them long-term to improve your training and fitness.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does walking with a weighted vest build muscle?

    Weighted vest training can help someone build muscle and increase strength.

    “The vest adds resistance to the walk, making it a bit harder,” says Craig. “The vest will make it a little harder to stand upright, so you’ll get some core activation, which will also mesh well with the extra leg workout.”

    But don’t assume that you’ll be getting a full-body workout when wearing a weighted vest during walks. “Remember that a weighted vest used while walking will only work your lower body, so if you want a full-body program, you’ll need to add some arm workouts to balance things out,” Craig adds.

  • How heavy should a weighted vest be?

    The load of your weighted vest should really depend on your activity and fitness level. Lighter vests with less material are ideal for cardio activities, while heavier vests with a higher weight capacity are better for strengthening workouts.

    For beginners just getting started with weighted vests for walking and other cardio activities, stick with one that’s 5 to 10 percent of your body weight.

  • What size weighted vest should I get?

    Sizing should be a top priority when choosing a vest, since you won’t be motivated to use one that’s uncomfortable. Take measurements of your torso, chest, and shoulders, and consult the manufacturer’s size chart so you get the right size for you. Each vest and sizing are different, so don’t assume your usual size for clothing or gear.

    Using your measurements, find a vest that will fit snugly through your torso or chest, without feeling too constricting or limiting your range of motion.

     “A weighted vest needs to have a snug fit and have the weight distributed equally across both the trunk and the torso to prevent any muscle imbalance,” says Gardner.  

  • Are weighted vests safe?

    Like any strength or resistance tool, weighted vests are safe when used properly and when following certain safety precautions.

    “Someone can use it to get stronger, or someone can accidentally harm themselves by using poor form and going too fast,” says Craig. “When you start using a weighted vest, make sure to ease into it. Do easy, 10- to 15-minute walking sessions with it, and see how you feel after a few days or a week. Then, you can start to increase the duration under load, safely.”

    A common beginner mistake is to choose a weighted vest that’s too heavy. People with any neck or back issues should consult their health care provider before using a weighted vest.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Certified personal trainer and marathon coach Christine Luff has recommended weighted vests to her clients who are training for endurance races or are looking for fun ways to add more strengthening to their fitness routine.

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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