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The 11 Best Weighted Vests of 2023, Tested by Certified Trainers | Muack.net

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BODYWEIGHT WORKOUTS are popular for a reason. They’re as simple as physical training gets. All you need is yourself and the will to move, and you’re ready to build muscle and strength, hone your balance and stability, or improve your cardiovascular health (or all of those at once). But when you want to level up your workouts and progress beyond the minimalist mindset, you’ll need a little something extra. We’re, of course, talking about extra weight.

One of the simplest ways to add a new element to your workout (and keep the same movements as your other bodyweight sessions without picking up a dumbbell or barbell) is to strap some poundage onto your torso and give yourself additional resistance by wearing a weighted vest.

Read more: How Men’s Health Thoroughly Tests and Reviews Fitness Products

The tools have been made especially popular by proponents of ‘functional fitness‘ in recent years, particularly among the CrossFit community. That’s because the weighted vest is an essential component in one of the most popular (and infamous) WODs, the Murph, performed annually on Memorial Day to commemorate a fallen U.S. service member.

Weighted vests come in various styles, from minimal harnesses that provide a few pounds of extra load to large rigs designed to mimic the body armor worn by military groups that hold iron plates. The best weighted vests are as versatile as the best bodyweight workouts themselves, with removable weights that allow the wearer to adjust the load to make the training easier or harder.

After years of rigorous testing, our team at Men’s Health has carefully curated the ultimate list of the best weighted vests for workouts. In collaboration with Men’s Health Strength in Diversity CrossFit experts, we’ve extensively evaluated various weight vest varieties for activities like runs, plyometric workouts, and CrossFit WODs. Our editors have compared their testing notes to ensure we bring you the most reliable recommendations.

Throughout this process, we’ve prioritized key factors such as weight capacity, weight type, fit, comfort, durability, and value. This comprehensive approach guarantees that the weighted vests on our list are not only effective, but worth their weight in performance and price.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a simple way to challenge yourself or a seasoned CrossFitter upgrading your Memorial Day Murph kit, we’ve selected some of the best weighted vests for workouts available. Keep scrolling to check out the 11 best weighted vests to shop this year.

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Great for Most Workouts

TRX XD Kevlar Weight Vest

XD Kevlar Weight Vest

Great for Most Workouts

TRX XD Kevlar Weight Vest

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Material DuPont™ Kevlar® fiber
Weights 10 to 40 pounds (three weights available)
Weight type Adjustable

You might see the word “Kevlar” and think this weighted vest has a different purpose than adding weight to your training. But this formidable piece of gear is only meant to help you ‘bulletproof’ your body through rigorous workouts. It employs a unique cross-strap design (with genuine Velcro), which we found to stay locked down and ultra-secure no matter how vigorously you’re moving. It’s available in 10-, 20-, and 40-pound models, with the 20-pound model adjustable down in 1-pound increments and the 40-pound version adjustable in 2-pound increments. So, you can dial in your perfect level of pain.

There’s a lot to love about this one. So, it’s no surprise that it’s very well-reviewed by our editors and customers alike, and why it’s our pick for the best weighted vest for most workouts in 2023.

What do buyers say? “By far the best weighted vest I’ve had. The weights are simple to remove/insert and are solid (not sand bags) which helps to slim down the look of the vest, so it’s a lot less bulky than others on the market,” said one TRXTraining.com reviewer.

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Most Durable Weighted Vest

5.11 Tactical TacTec Trainer Weight Vest

On Sale

TacTec Trainer Weight Vest

Most Durable Weighted Vest

5.11 Tactical TacTec Trainer Weight Vest

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Weights sold separately
Materials 600D Polyester
Weights Compatible with 5.11 and Rogue weight plates and Tactec Weight Plate Sandbag (sold separately)
Weight type Adjustable

5.11 Tactical has long been a favorite amongst armed service members and military enthusiasts alike. Consider MH fitness editors part of that fan club, too. Everything in the brand’s catalog is built to exacting standards and designed to take a beating, and the TacTec Weight Vest is no exception.

When testing, the streamlined design felt comfortable against the chest and back, while adjustable shoulder straps allowed every body shape and size to achieve a precise fit. Breathable materials, including mesh body pads, felt light and breathable despite heavy weight and hot weather. This vest also has more storage options than most models we’ve seen. A Velcro admin pocket on the front provides quick access to your essentials, while MOLLE panels on the front and rear allow for even more storage.

On the downside, this is a premium weighted vest with a premium price tag to match. It’s priced at $135 (in only one size), and the weights are sold separately, easily pushing the cost of this one closer to $200, depending on how much weight you need. But, considering it’s extremely well-reviewed by our team and the greater fitness (and military) community, (and backed by the legendary 5.11 Tactical brand name), it’s a worthy option if you’re willing to splurge.

What do buyers say? “Highly Recommend – Favorite Workout Gear I Own. Love this vest. I have 2 of them and have used them daily for 7 months,” said one 511Tactical.com reviewer.

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Best High-End Weighted Vest

Omorpho G-Vest+

G-Vest+

Best High-End Weighted Vest

Omorpho G-Vest+

Material 100% laminated polyester to synthetic rubber
Weights S/M is 8 lb., L/XL is 9 lb.
Weight type Fixed

This luxe vest isn’t cheap, but it’s designed to be a comfortable, minimalist means to add some extra load to your training. Unlike some other vests, which hold removable plates that make the weight concentrated to only one part of your torso, the Omorpho vest is designed for equal weight distribution.

“It’s the best-fitting weight vest I’ve ever used,” MH Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., said of the G-Vest+. “It also makes you look like a GI Joe when you don it, which is an added bonus, especially in the olive green colorway.”

We especially love that the fit is super-customizable fit, thanks to adjustable cords on the sides and adjustments at the shoulders. Because it’s so form-fitting, it works exceptionally well for lightweight speed drills.

“If you’re in a larger, heavier weight vest, you can run miles upon miles, but it’s so heavy that you won’t be able to train other functions, like change of direction, agility, or leaping ability,” explains Samuel. “The Omorpho Weight Vest is light enough that I can do hurdle jumps in it, or work through change-of-direction exercises like skater lunges and cariocas. I’m also getting to continue moving at a high rate of speed when I do these moves, because I’m not toting around 20 pounds.” In essence, adding a little bit of resistance, but not enough to slow down your body, helps to build explosive athleticism, instead of simply strength.

Read more: Omorpho Review

Most Customizable Weighted Vest

Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest

Editor’s Choice

Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest

Most Customizable Weighted Vest

Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Cons
  • A little pricey
  • Sizing chart not very accurate
Materials Blend of nylon, Tyvek, and Lycra
Weights 10 pounds up to 42 total pounds (in the largest size)
Weight type Adjustable

The design of Hyperwear’s Hyper Vest Pro is a clear departure from most other weighted vests on the market. The lace-up design looks and wears differently, and that’s a good thing as this vest is extremely comfortable. In fact, we like this vest so much, we named it the best of 2017 on our annual Gear of the Year list, and we still love it. Each size comes pre-loaded with 10 pounds, and you can add up to 32 pounds in the largest version. With a blend of nylon, Tyvek, and Lycra, it’s plenty durable to support all that weight, and the Lycra adds a comfy bit of stretch to the fabric too. It’s also quick-wicking and odor-resistant, making it perfect for even the nastiest workouts.

At more than $200 for the entry-level model, this is one of the pricier weighted vests in our roundup. But, the hundreds of buyers and reviewers—including more than 400 five-star ratings on Amazon alone—agree that it’s worth the premium price tag.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 500 Amazon reviews, 89% recommend the Hyperwear Hyper Vest PRO Weighted Vest with at least a 4-star rating.

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Best Weighted Vest Alternative

Goruck Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0

Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0

Best Weighted Vest Alternative

Goruck Ruck Plate Carrier 3.0

Credit: original photo
Cons
  • Weighted plates sold separately
Material 1000D Cordura
Weights 10LB, 20LB, or 30LB (sold separately)
Weight type Adjustable

It’s not quite a vest, but it serves the same role: adding a load to your bodyweight workouts. Plus, we found that the backpack-style design helps spread weight more evenly across your entire back. This vest is designed with a streamlined silhouette to holds the weight closer to your body, which we found made for a noticeably more comfortable, natural-feel while working out. There’s wide, ergonomic lumbar support padding and non-abrasive fabric on the back panel and underside of the shoulder straps designed to add comfort (which they do). On the downside, we found the added padding makes this vest a bit less breathable compared to more minimalist options. Regardless, it’s so comfortable that we even enjoyed wearing it while exercising shirtless. It’s available in four military-friendly colors, including Black Multicam.

At around $100, this weighted vest alternative is priced right. On the downside, however, the weights are sold separately, so you’ll need to figure that into the total cost. But, we like that Goruck allows you to mix and match your setup for the perfect fit. Plus, the brand has a rabid following thanks to their extremely well-made products and excellent customer service.

What do buyers say? “Fantastic piece of equipment to keep loaded with a plate “just in case” you wanna go for a quick (or long) ruck. Gear holds up in rain (from experience), and feels good on my back overall,” said one GoRuck.com reviewer.

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Best Weighted Vest for Beginners

Henkelion Weighted Vest for Workouts

Weighted Vest for Workouts

Best Weighted Vest for Beginners

Henkelion Weighted Vest for Workouts

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Cons
  • Lackluster neoprene construction
  • Only pocket is on the back
Material Neoprene
Weights 4 lbs, 6 lbs, 8 lbs, 12 lbs
Weight type Fixed

If you’re just starting to integrate weights or a weighted vest into your workouts, you don’t need to drop hundreds of dollars on a premium model. Start small with a lightweight vest like this one from Henkelion. It’s available in four versions: 4 pounds, 6 pounds, 8 pounds, and 12 pounds. We love that it features a ton of adjustability thanks to a chest strap and buckle, which help bodies of all anatomies dial in the perfect fit.

Safety is top of mind with this vest, too. Reflective straps on the front increase visibility in high-traffic environments, making it suitable to sport outdoors when the sun goes down. We especially like the use of iron pellets over traditional river sand, as they seem to distribute more evenly throughout this vest (although this also means the weight is not adjustable). Bonus: it’s available in a handful of colors so you can coordinate your workout look.

At this price, it’s hard to find much to complain about. But we did find one flaw: The neoprene construction is incredibly comfortable against the body, however, it’s less durable with heavy use in the long-term compared to Kevlar or reinforced nylon. Still, at around $30 (for any model), this makes a great first weighted vest for beginners.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 6,000 Amazon reviews, 90% recommend the Henkelion Weighted Vest for Workouts with at least a 4-star rating.

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Best Weighted Vest for Running

Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

On Sale

Sport Weighted Vest

Best Weighted Vest for Running

Aduro Sport Weighted Vest

Now 25% Off

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Cons
  • Neoprene not as durable as other materials
  • Only pocket is awkwardly on the back
Material Neoprene
Weights Various (4 lbs – 30 lbs)
Weight type Fixed

Minimalism is key with this vest from Aduro. You won’t be able to pack on the load you can with some of the other options (this maxes out at 30 pounds). But what you sacrifice in weight, you gain in mobility, making it a great option for running or HIIT workouts. We found the neoprene construction to be extremely comfortable and fit snugly (though not tightly), even during the most rigorous runs or full-body HIIT circuits. With a genuine iron pellet fill, the weight is distributed more evenly and designed to last longer than traditional river sand. However, the weight mechanism is fixed and can’t be adjusted. However, it comes in a nice range of weights, from 4 pounds up to 30 pounds, so you can make something work for your fitness level and routine.

Plus, with a starting price under $50, it’s wallet-friendly for any budget. Our only gripe is the neoprene construction. While it’s reasonably durable and extremely comfortable, it’s not built to last in the same way that reinforced fabrics or (obviously) Kevlar are. Still, at this price, it’s an easy pick for the best sport weighted vest.

What do buyers say? Out of more than 9,300 Amazon reviews, 85% recommend the Aduro Sport Weighted Vest with at least a 4-star rating.

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Best Hardcore Weighted Vest

MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest (30 lb.)

Adjustable Weighted Vest (30 lb.)

Best Hardcore Weighted Vest

MiR Adjustable Weighted Vest (30 lb.)

Now 13% Off

Credit: Courtesy of Retailer
Cons
  • A little pricey
Materials Nylon
Weights Varies (20 lbs – 60 lbs)
Weight type Adjustable

Of course, the most serious workouts require the most serious workout gear. The flagship version of MiR’s simply named Adjustable Weighted Vest can hold up to a whopping 60 pounds. Your bodyweight workouts will feel like you have an extra person strapped to your back, and your gains will only grow. All that weight is distributed evenly throughout the vest with a system of little pockets that securely Velcro shut. It’s easy to dial in a snug, comfortable fit via adjustable straps all around. Plus, it goes without saying that this weighted vest features a beefy construction that’s built to last for many years.

This series of weighted vests is a little pricey, especially for beginners. But, given that the “lightest” duty version carries 20 pounds, this is clearly meant for more seasoned fitness enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a seriously punishing workout—and only the heaviest weight will do—this is your man. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a weighted vest that carries more than this one.

What do buyers say? “It lays comfortably, very rugged material even for the pockets which apparently isn’t very common. The weights are snug in the pockets and have a large heavy Velcro flap that closes over the top – they aren’t going anywhere whatever you do in any direction, any force,” said one Amazon reviewer.

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Best Basic Weighted Vest with Water Storage

RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest

Pro Weighted Vest

Best Basic Weighted Vest with Water Storage

RUNMax Pro Weighted Vest

Material Neoprene
Weights 12, 20, 40, 50, 60 lb.
Weight type Adjustable

If you’re looking to go basic, this Amazon best-seller from RunMax is a great no-frills choice. The 20-pound version is all you need for the Murph, one of CrossFit’s toughest WODs.

What do buyers say? Comfortable, sturdy, well-made, and a much-needed change up for the workout routine,” said one Amazon reviewer.

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Ramp up the weight on your hikes and runs with the 50-pound version of this padded mesh weighted vest from CAP. You won’t get bored, either—there’s an integrated pocket for your phone to stream music while you work out.

What do buyers say? Relatively comfortable. Not crazy bulky. Easy to put on and off,” said one Amazon reviewer.

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Prodigen’s neoprene weighted vest was designed with running in mind. It has elastic on the waist as well as elastic on the edges for more flexibility. It also has reflective strips on both sides of the vest to keep you visible in all weather conditions. away from traffic accidents in all weather conditions (rain, fog, dark) at day or night. It comes in various colors and weights between 8 pounds and 30 pounds.

What do buyers say? If you want to get the most bang for your buck doing cardio, this thing will kick your ass,” said one Amazon reviewer.

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This top-rated weighted vest comes with plenty of convenience specs like a buckle system that’s easy to put on and take off, and hand washable and wipe-able liner that comes especially clutch during grueling sweat sessions.

What do buyers say? I bought this vest as an investment into myself; I wanted to gain a bit more resistance in my walks and in my workouts at the gym. It’s perfect,” said one buyer on the brand’s site.

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How to Find the Best Weighted Vest (for You)

Weighted vests are straightforward workout tools. As the name implies, they’re little more than a specially designed vest with dedicated pockets for some form of weights (usually sand, iron pellets, or solid plates). There’s no one best weighted vest, of course. It’s all about what’s best for you. Here’s what to look for when shopping weighted vests:

Type of use: How you plan to use your weighted vest is arguably the most important consideration. Different vests are built for different purposes. If you’re planning to jog, run, or even hike with your vest, you might want to consider a model that fits snugly (though not too tightly) and securely without slipping around mid-workout.

If, however, you’re looking to integrate your new weighted vest into more stationary activities like, say, squats, you’ll want a model that’s beefier and built to hold more weight. If you’re just getting started with weighted vests, consider one that can add a light to modest load (10-15 pounds at most) above your own body weight. You’ll likely get your money’s worth and, when your personal fitness level “outgrows” that weight, you can reassess your needs with a new weighted vest.

Fit: Fit is all a matter of personal preference, but the main thing is that you want it to be comfortable. For more active workouts like sprinting, jogging, and running, a more streamlined design that hugs your body is best. But, for most other activities, a perfect fit isn’t as important. It just needs to fit your body reasonably well without flopping around too much.

Weight: There’s no right amount of weight for your weighted vest. It depends on your personal fitness level and your goals. But, for most people, there’s rarely a reason to go above 10-20 pounds of total weight, especially in the beginning.

Note where the weights fit inside the vest and whether they’re fixed or adjustable, too. Some weighted vests load all the weight in the back, some in the front, while others distribute everything evenly. In some cases, you can take some weight out or add extra in. Ideally, you want an even distribution so that your weighted vest sits comfortably on your torso (without sliding front to back or side to side) and adjustable weight to maximize the versatility and longevity of the vest.

Durability: Durability goes hand-in-hand with the fabrics used in making a weighted vest. Entry-level vests are typically made from neoprene or thinner nylon. While these are often lightweight and comfortable in a variety of temperatures and environments, they’re typically not built for heavy weights. These are often best for jogging and running.

Beefier materials—think Cordura, heavy-duty synthetics, and even Kevlar—are much stronger. Weighted vests made with these materials will last significantly longer and can handle much more weight (some up to 60 pounds or more), but are almost always more expensive too.

Price: Budget is almost always a factor, especially considering that most workout gear can be expensive. Thankfully, you can score a decent weighted vest for under $100. Even the best weighted vests typically run under $200. If you’re willing to splurge, you’ll typically be rewarded with a vest that’s built better and fits more comfortably.

Other features: Most weighted vests are fairly simple—that’s how it should be. Aim to sit out weight vests that tout extra features like water bottle holders, storage pocets, and systems for attachments and accessories. You want your weight vest to be designed to accommodate and offer balanced, symmetrical resistance. All those added features take away from this.


The Benefits of Weighted Vests

There’s no denying that adding additional weight to your bodyweight (or other) workouts can have its benefits at times. “More load means you’re generating more force slowly, which is good for strength,” explains Samuel.

Overall Strength: At a certain point in our training journeys, we all plateau. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your bodyweight exercises (e.g., push-ups, plyometrics, etc.), consider adding a weighted vest into the mix. The weighted vest allows you to progressively overload bodyweight exercises, challenging your muscles in new ways and stimulating further strength gains. Initially, you might need to lower your reps, but as your body adjusts to the new weight, so will your workout routine. This gradual progression will contribute to overall strength gains and improved muscle development.

Core Strength: One of the benefits of using a weighted vest is that it forces the core musculature to never stop firing. “If you’re a newbie and you rely too much on weights, it’s really easy to be lazy with your core when doing moves like biceps curls or bench presses,” explains Samuel. “By using bodyweight to build muscle, you ensure you’re developing solid core strength.” And so, incorporating a weighted vest into bodyweight exercises engages your core stabilizing muscles more effectively. As you progressively overload these exercises, your core is continuously challenged, leading to enhanced core strength and stability.

Conditioning: Incorporating a weighted vest into your endurance exercise regimen, whether that’s jogging, hiking, or running, can certainly increase your overall conditioning. You can build stamina without a weighted vest, but by adding extra load, you’re conditioning your body to achieve a certain level of movement with extra weight. Later, when you remove that load, and you can expect to feel faster and stronger. This is especially true once you build up to using a more substantial weighted vest (say, more than 5-10 pounds), but keep in mind, heavier isn’t always better.

Cardiovascular Fitness:From your muscles and joints to your respiratory and cardiovascular systems, adding extra weight to your body while working out ups the ante. With consistent use of a weighted vest, your entire body—and that’s including your heart—grows accustomed to the additional weight. The result? A stronger, healthier, more fit aerobic capacity to help you go the distance (literally).


Are Weighted Vests Good for Training?

By adding extra weight to the body during exercise, a vest can increase the resistance and intensity of the exercise. As a result, your muscles and cardiovascular system have to work harder, making your training session more intense and efficient. This can lead to enhanced muscle recruitment and burning more calories, which is an appealing prospect for just about anyone, regardless of fitness level and goals.

You can add a vest into your current training routine just to up the intensity, or try it out with a fresh program of the best weighted vest exercises.


What is the Best Weight for a Weighted Vest?

For people who are just starting to use a weighted vest, it’s recommended to start with a vest that weighs between 5-10% of their body weight. This allows the body to adjust to the added weight and prevents injury or strain.

A weight of 10-15% body weight may be a good choice for those with a bit more experience in the gym. Keep in mind: Regardless of fitness level, using a vest that is too heavy can result in a skewed center of gravity and potentially place stress on the body in unexpected places.


Why You Can Trust Us

At Men’s Health, we take great pride in providing our readers with reliable and trustworthy product recommendations. We believe that our readers deserve the best, which is why we always make sure to conduct thorough research and testing before making any recommendations. Our writers and editors thoughtfully select experts for collaboration on product recommendations, and are also experts in their own right, using their informed opinions to select products and ensuring that our content is of the highest quality.

Our product recommendations are purely editorial, and while we may receive free products to test and review, we only recommend the products we are most impressed by. We never let retailers or public relations contacts dictate our content or product coverage. Which is why you can trust us to provide you with reliable and unbiased product recommendations.


How We Selected

For the past few years, we consulted with Men’s Health‘s Fitness editors and writers on the best weighted vests for men. Experts including our fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., Senior Fitness Editor Brett Williams, NASM, and Fitness and Commerce Editor Talene Appleton, NASM, put weighted vests from top brands through the wringer to evaluate their fit, weight amount and type, and performance. The list above represents our carefully curated picks for the best weighted vests of 2023.

Headshot of Brett Williams, NASM

Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.

Headshot of Talene Appleton, NASM

Fitness and Commerce Editor

Talene Appleton is the Fitness and Commerce Editor at Men’s Health, a NASM-CPT certified trainer, and former professional dancer and chef. With a background in fitness, nutrition, and culinary arts, her passion lies in inspiring others to lead healthy lives through engaging and research-driven content. You can find her work elsewhere at The Food Institute, The Nessie, and other outlets.

Lettermark

Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He’s kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South Africa, and survived a near-miss great white shark attack in Mexico. His travel advice has appeared on the websites for Forbes, Travel + Leisure, CNET, and National Geographic. He loves the great outdoors and good bourbon, and (usually) calls Tulsa, Oklahoma home. Mike also enjoys speaking in the third person. 

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