The Best Weighted Vests for Men & Women

Do you feel like you’ve reached a plateau on your cardio or bodyweight workout routine? Do you want to find a way to step up your gains? If so, then a weighted vest may be exactly what you’re looking for. This simple equipment adds more weight, and thus, resistance to your workout, making them more challenging, and allowing you to maximize your muscle gains, burn more calories, and increase your weight loss goals. By strapping one of these babies on, you really can take your workout routine to the next level. 

What is a weight vest? What does it do? What are the best weighted vests on the market? If these are some of the questions that you’re asking, then you’ve come to the right place! Keep on reading to learn more about this simple, yet incredibly powerful, workout equipment. 

plate weight vest

What is a weighted vest? 

As the name suggests, weighted vests add extra weight to your body, on top of your own natural bodyweight. The most common weighted vest design is similar to the design of a life jacket, with a collection of pockets on the front and back. The pockets are filled with weights, sandbags, or other equipment that weighs down the vest, and thus, weighs you down. You can easily modify the weight to suit your specific needs. The pockets are designed so that they are tight so that the weights fit snuggly, and won’t move around or slip out while you’re working out. 

What does a weighted vest do? 

Weighted vests are designed to add more resistance to your workouts, which will help you build muscle mass and burn off fat faster. Here’s a look at some of what a weighted vest can do for you: 

Increased Heart Rate

When you carry heavy loads while you’re running, jumping, climbing, walking, or doing any other type of strenuous activity, your heart rate increases. Your muscles need to work harder to carry the extra weight, and thus, they need more oxygen. In order to feed your muscles with the oxygen they need, your heart rate speeds up so that it can pump more oxygenated blood to the muscles. This, in effect, gives your whole cardiovascular system a good workout, thus strengthening your heart and improving your circulation. 

Increased Metabolism

Because a weighted vest increases your heart rate so that your muscles will be nourished with the oxygen-rich blood they need to carry the additional weight, your metabolism will increase. When your metabolism increases, you’ll burn through calories even faster, which in turn means that you’ll be able to lose weight faster. 

Improved Speed and Power

If you’ve ever seen a professional athlete running with a parachute behind them, you’re probably wondering why. The parachute adds resistance to your body, which forces the body to perform at a higher level in order to support that resistance. A weighted vest functions much the same way, and delivers the same objective. Put on a weighted vest and perform an activity that you normally partake in – running, walking stairs, or even just walking – and then take off the vest.

You will notice an undeniable difference; you’ll be able to move faster without the resistance, and you’ll move slower while you’re wearing the vest. The more you work out with the vest on, however, the harder your body will have to work, and the more your muscles will grow. As a result, working out in a weighted vest will improve your power and your speed. 

Enhanced Stamina and Endurance

When you wear a weighted vest while you’re working out, your cardiovascular endurance will increase. As your VO2max increases while you’re working out in the vest, your speed will improve and you’ll be able to run for longer periods of time. Why? Because the weight improves your cardiovascular health, which means that your entire body will receive more oxygenated blood; in other words, a weighted vest will condition your body to perform like it is carrying the added weight. Take off the vest when it’s time to race and there’s a good chance that you’ll hit a new record. 

Enhanced Muscle Tone

If you’re wearing a weighted vest while you’re doing bodyweight strength training, you’ll definitely see a notable difference in your muscle size and tone. While push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, and squats (and any other activity) can help you build muscle, there’s only so much they can do; eventually you’re going to plateau. By putting on a weighted vest, you’ll continue to put more weight on your body, which will force your muscles to adapt and become stronger so that it can support the added weight. 

weighted vest for men

7 Factors to Consider When You’re Shopping for a Weighted Vest

If a weighted vest sounds like something that you would like to add to your workout routine, then you want to be sure that you find the right option to best suit your needs. Since they can offer so many benefits and because they are so popular, there are a lot of different weighted vests on the market. To help you determine which option will best meet your needs, here’s a look at some key factors that you should consider when you’re shopping. 

1) The Style

There are three main styles of weighted vests, including tactical, shoulder holster, and torso. Tactical vests are similar to a life vests, shoulder holster vests usually fit similarly to the way a hydration pack that features a buckle on the front fits, and a torso vest covers just your chest. Consider the style that will best suit your needs, including which one will better help you achieve your goals and that you will feel the most comfortable wearing. 

2) Source of Weight

Not only do the styles differ, but so do the weight sources. As mentioned previously, some weighted vests use sand bags to add weight, while others use metal plates. With these sources of weight, you can increase or decrease the weight and the resistance of the vest. Still other vests feature a fixed amount of weight, meaning that you can’t add to or remove the weight. 

3) Breathability

A weighted vest will insulate your body, which means that the weight you build up while you’re working out will stick close to your body. If you’re doing a really intense workout or you’re in a hot climate, things can get downright uncomfortable while you’re wearing the vest. To ensure breathability, look for a vest that is made of moisture-wicking materials that will help to draw moisture away from your body, or that features ventilation elements that will allow for air floor. 

4) Comfort

It goes without saying that you want to be sure that your weighted vest is as comfortable as possible. Make sure that you try on a few different weighted vests to get a good feel for their comfort level, as the last thing you’ll want to do is use an uncomfortable vest, which will minimize your workout routine. 

5) The Intended Use

Weighted vets can be used for an assortment of reasons. For example, if you’re wearing it while running, you’ll want to opt for a vest that has a lower weight than you would if you are engaging in activities where you’ll swat

6) Mechanics

While the load is distributed throughout the vest evenly, the mechanics of your body can chance when you’re wearing a weighted vest. You don’t want to damage our posture, so make sure that you select a weighted vest that is specially designed to help improve your posture and reduce the risk of straining. 

7) Safety

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you’ll be as safe as possible while you’re wearing a weighted vest. Make sure you consider the overall weight and the fit of the vest so as not to stress or strain your body. 

The Best Weighted Vests

Because weighted vests offer so many benefits, there’s no shortage of options available. While choice is always a good thing, so many options can make it difficult to try and figure out which one will best meet your needs. To help you on your quest for finding the best weighted vests, we’ve taken the liberty of doing the research for you. 

Our editorial team spent countless hours researching different weighted vests. We read through the product descriptions, compared the materials, features, and styles, and considered the customer reviews, too. Based on the information we compiled, we narrowed down the options to the what we consider to be the best weighted vests currently available on the market. 

Best Value Unisex Option: LEKARO Weighted Vest

Weight Vest Plates 5.51/8.81/15.43/20.94LB Pair for Weighted Vest, Strength Training, Heavy Workout, Fitness, Running (21 LB)
  • 【WEIGHT VEST PLATES】These weight plates are suitable for weight vests to add an extra load to your workout, fitness to help increase cardio, endurance and overall strength training.

First up on our list of the best weighted vest is this option from LEKARO. Designed for men and women , it features integrated adjustable buckle straps that can easily accommodate busts that measure between 35 and 45 inches, and it adds 22 pounds of weight. Thick and wide shoulder straps evenly distribute the pressure the weight applies across the shoulders and back, thus minimizing the risk of injury. Constructed of premium-quality chloroprene rubber, it remains rigid, it’s breathable, it’s soft, and it’s comfortable.

Chemical-free iron sands fill the vest, adding the ideal amount of weight. Tight stitching prevents sand from leaking and a mesh back on the back can be used to store small items while you’re working out, such as keys, credit cards, cash, and phones. Backed by a 30 day replacement guarantee, if for any reason, you aren’t happy with this vest, you can contact the manufacturer and they’ll send you a new one completely free of charge. 


  • Made of chloroprene rubber for maximum comfort and breathability 
  • Stuffed with chemical-free iron sand
  • Easily adjustable straps
  • Evenly distributes weight across back and shoulders
  • Tight stitching prevents sand leakage
  • Backed by a 30 day replacement guarantee 


  • One user said that it was torn when they received it
  • It’s a value oriented option so it doesn’t have as many features as some of the other more expensive brands like Rogue or Crossfit

Best Variable Weight Option: CAP Barbell Adjustable Weighted Vest

CAP Barbell (HHWV-CB020C) Adjustable Weighted Vest, 20-Pound,20 Pound, Black
  • Adjustable conditioning vest with steel-shot weight packets, weighing approximately 1 lb

The CAP Barbell Adjustable Weight vest weighs in at 20 pounds, but you can increase and decrease the weight to meet your needs. An adjustable conditioning vest design, it features steel-shot weight packets that weigh about 0.75 pounds each. Made of breathable mesh fabric, and there are adjustable clips, so you can easily achieve the perfect fit. Neoprene padding further adds to the comfort. 

An integrated pocket is sewn right into the vest, so you can carry your cell phone, keys, credit cards, or cash, and keep them close at hand while you’re working out. This vest measures 14.5 inches wide, 16.5 inches high, and 5 inches deep, and reflective piping along the front and back ensures that you will remain visible when working out at night. A fully adjustable waist belt and padded shoulder straps ensure that you can achieve a secure, snug, and comfy fit. 


  • Made of neoprene and alloy steel 
  • Adjustable weight
  • Steel-shot weight pockets
  • Neoprene padded adds to the comfort
  • An integrated pocket provides close-at-hand storage
  • Breathable mesh and adjustable clips allow for adjustability and comfort
  • Adjustable waist belt 
  • Reflective piping


  • A few users said that it wasn’t as well-made as they had hoped it would be

Best Men’s Weighted Vest: LEKARO Adjustable 44LB Workout Vest

Adjustable Weighted Vest 44LB Workout Weight Vest Training Fitness Weighted Jacket for Man Woman (Included 96 Steel Plates Weights)
  • 【Train Harder, Achieve More】Our adjustable weighted vest offers the ultimate resistance for both cardio and strength training sessions. With an innovative inclined shoulder strap design and 4.1-inch wide design, enjoy maximum comfort, no matter the...

If you’re looking to really increase your weight resistance and you have room in your budget to spare, the LEKARO Adjustable Weighted Vest 44LB Workout Weight Vest Training Fitness Weighted Jacket is a great choice. Like the previous LEKARO weighted vest on our list, this one is designed for both men and women, and an inclined shoulder strap and 4.1-inch widened design maximizes the comfort. 

This vest comes with a total of 96 removable steel plate weights, and there are 32 small pockets, each of which can hold up to 3 weights, for a total weight of 44 pounds. This vest features PVE elastic rubber, a double-layer of nylon mesh material, and a soft buffer layer for enhanced comfort. Soft, comfortable, breathable, and adjustable, this weighted vest from LEKARO will definitely be a worthwhile investment. 


  • Features 96 removable steel plate weights 
  • 32 small pockets, and each can hold up to 3 weights
  • Adds up to 44 pounds of weight
  • Made of PVE elastic rubber, double-layer nylon mesh, and a soft buffer layer
  • Breathable and comfortable 


  • The price is a bit on the high side

Best Crossfit Weighted Vest: North Gym Adjustable Plate Weight Vest

The North Gym vest is one of the most popular options among Crossfit enthusiasts for adding body weight for those particularly intense WODs. The North Gym vest is an obvious choice given it comes in 14lb, 20lb and 30lb options and these can be had in black, grey, tactical tan, tactical green, and black camo. With all these weight options and all these different color options the North Gym vest is probably the one to get if you don’t want to ruin your gym style.

What makes this vest particularly well suited for Crossfit workouts are the standard side straps to keep the vest centered during activity as well as the 3D contoured weight plates which make for a closer-to-the-body fit so the vest doesn’t swing around and throw off your workout.

Finding a secure fitting vest is most important for Crossfitters as they generally move in a whole variety of planes during their workouts. Being over-engineered means this vest will also work perfectly well for more standard workouts like weighted pushups or walking/running. Oh, and these vests work for both men and women, so everyone can join in the fun!


  • Multiple stylish color options
  • 3D contoured weight plates
  • 2 different side strap lengths to accommodate multiple torso circumferences
  • 600D Nylon construction for long-lasting durability
  • Tear-proof and water resistant making for easy cleaning and sweat-resistance


  • Not the cheapest option
  • Must use weight plates so if you already have weighted bags they won’t be compatible

Skinny Yoked Summary

Weighted vests are great complimentary fitness tools that are drastically under utilized in most people’s workout regimens. Whether you’re looking to boost your cardiovascular activity during workouts or if you’re just looking to strengthen your full body by wearing it for long durations, weight belts can be the cherry on top of an already solid workout program.

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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