If you’re looking to amp up your workouts, donning a weighted vest is one beneficial way to up the intensity of your training.

If used correctly, the resistance from the extra weight will give you a tougher workout that can help you become stronger and faster.

If you are in a hurry, here are the top picks:

Best Weight Vest For CrossFit

You may be wondering if you really need a weighted vest for CrossFit.

If you are just not sure where to start when it comes to buying a vest, we will give you a rundown of exactly what you need to know about weight vests.

What are Weight Vests?

A weighted vest is exactly what it’s named for: a vest loaded with weight. This weight can be metal iron ore or sandbags of weight that can usually be removed if needed.

These vests stretch weight over your shoulders and upper body, creating more resistance, and in turn, burning calories and building strength.[1]

The vests also allow you to complete body-weight exercises while doing other exercises, such as walking, running or other drills.

They are a great product to add into your routine if you feel you’ve hit a plateau in training or if you want to hike up the intensity.

Benefits of Running with a Weight Vest

Research is divided on just how beneficial a weighted vest can be, but most experts agree that, if used correctly, a weighted vest can boost your power and strength.

So what are the exact benefits?

Weight Loss

Any work you do with the weight vest will burn extra calories because you’re working harder.

Even doing daily activities while wearing a vest burns more calories, but a good way to get the most healthy weight loss is to wear the vest while running because with the more intense exercise will come more calories lost.

Endurance

You’ll find as you use the vest that over time, your runs without the vest will become easier because you’ve trained your body with the extra load.

A study of 12 athletes wearing weight vests found that those athletes had boosted endurance (25 percent more while sprinting) and more speed while running stairs (3 percent more).[2]

Speed

Just as the above study found, other studies have also shown that using a weight vest during a warm up improves peak running speed by up to 3 percent.[3]

The vest makes your cardiovascular system work harder and strengthens your core, which all translates to improved running performance.

Better Bone Density

Not a fan of milk? Your weight vest has another benefit: stronger bones.

Studies have shown that the extra weight of the vest forces a greater impact on your steps, so your body responds with stronger bone density.

In fact, weight vests are commonly recommended to helping stop bone loss, particularly in women, who are more prone to osteoporosis.[4]

How Heavy of a Vest?

A vest up to about 20 pounds is best for users trying to increase their cardio and burn some extra calories.

This is a great beginner option for run/walkers who want to bump up their endurance or just wear it while going about their daily routine.

For running, choose vests weighing between 20 to about 45 pounds if you’re already in good shape and can carry the extra resistance without having to constantly stop the workout to rest.

A weight vest at this size also has a long lifespan— it can be used in cardio and strength training.[5]

Vests that are heavier than 50 pounds are not best for running.

They will do more harm than good because of the added pressure on your joints as your feet pound away.

Vests at this size are best for bodyweight exercises only.

How Often Should You Run with a Vest?

Running with a weight vest

Firstly, if you decide to take on the weight, you’ll need to take it on slowly.

Incorporate the vest at a lower weight level while walking and doing your daily activities to get used to the feel.

Then, you can add in the vest and add in more weight into your runs slowly, i.e. run with the vest about once every two weeks.[6]

Because the weight is adding more pressure on your joints, it’s important to take those weighted runs slowly and avoid injury.

Also, unless you’re planning on tackling an ultramarathon, keep the weighted runs short.

What to Consider Before Buying a Weight Vest

Before you decide to invest in a weight vest, you’ll need to consider a few factors:

  • Weight– Is this enough weight for you? Can you add weight to the vest as you get stronger? What are the weights made of?

Remember a good running vest weighs less than 50 pounds and reviewers typically advise looking for a vest that has metal weights over sandbags because the sandbags could break.

  • Durability – What’s the vest made of? You want a vest that can hold up to tough workouts and a vest that is sweat-resistant.
  • Stitching – Like durability, you’ll want to look for high-quality and thick stitching. Some even have reinforced stitching. You don’t want the vest to fall apart in the middle of a run.
  • Design – Is the design tailored for men? It may not need to be pink, but could a woman comfortably wear the vest?
  • Adjustability –How easy is it to adjust the vest to the fit you need? Many vests are universal, but be sure that adjusting the fit (and the weights) is easy.

Top Weight Vests Reviewed

40-lb V-Force Weight Vest

40 lb. V-FORCE (Black, 3-1/4

Consistently rated as one of the top weight vests on the market, the V-Force is military tough and boasts durable construction.

You can choose from a range of colors, and the vest is made in the USA and carries a lifetime warranty.

The vest is one of the more expensive ones available, but you’re paying for a top of the line product that has consistently been praised by users.

Pros

  • Lots of color options
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Durable material
  • Comfortable fit
  • Adjustable weights

Cons

  • Pricey

Get A V-Force Vest on Amazon.com

CFF Adjustable Weighted Vest

The CFF Adjustable Weighted Vest-44 pound also boasts a high quality construction.

The vest has wide, double padded shoulders for extra comfort and is easy to adjust.

You can buy this vest at an affordable price with just the shell (no weights), but unless you have vest weights around, you’ll need to be the higher priced option with weights.

Pros

  • Wide shoulder pads
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Excellent quality
  • Adjustable weights

Cons

  • Can be hard to find with weights included
  • Pricey

Mir Weight Vest

Mir Adjustable Weighted Vest, 20 lb.

The BOX weighted vest is a more compact vest, but also gives you the freedom to move your arms.

BOX vests are specifically made for CrossFit users, so you’ll find that you can also use this vest for your bodyweight CrossFit WODs.

It’s USA-made and available in a variety of colors. The vest is also fully adjustable for a comfortable fit.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Lots of colors available
  • Adjustable weights
  • Comfortable fit

Cons

  • 20 lbs.

Get A Mir Weight Vest on Amazon.com

Cross101 Adjustable Camouflage Weighted Vest

Cross 101 Adjustable Weighted Vest, 40 lbs (Camouflage) With Phone Pocket & Water bottle holder

With a maximum weight of 40 pounds, the Cross101 is another compact vest on the market. It boasts a tactical look without being bulky.

It’s also another vest designed specially for CrossFit users, but it might be best for bodyweight exercises only, as some have complained that it’s lack of padding makes it uncomfortable to run in.

Pros

  • Durable material
  • Adjustable belt
  • Not bulky
  • One-piece design

Cons

  • Can be uncomfortable to run in

Get The Cross 101 Camo Vest on Amazon.com

RUN Fast Weighted Vest

RUNFast RM_40  Pro Weighted Vest 12lbs.-60 lbs. (without Shoulder Pads, 40 lb.)

This vest comes in a variety of weighted sizes, but the 40-pound option is best for runners.

This one-size-fits all vest also has the option of buying with or without shoulder pads.

It’s made specifically for running— as the name implies— but you’ll need to spring for the shoulder pads to make those runs comfortable.

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Excellent range of motion
  • Durable material

Cons

  • Universal size doesn’t fit all
  • Have to buy with shoulder pads for comfortable running

Get A Run Fast Vest on Amazon.com

Conclusion

So what’s the best weight vest for running? It’s up to personal preference. Top of the line vests are pricey, but you might find that you get the same impact with a more affordable vest.

Don’t be afraid to take several vests on test runs.

Whether you’re looking to hike up the intensity of your training or want some variety to your workout, a weight vest is a great way to burn extra calories and build speed and endurance.

[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]