The 10 Best Weight Vests

Updated November 20, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Weight Vests
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If your workout just isn't challenging you anymore, step up your routine with a weighted vest. These articles of clothing are made from durable fabrics with compartments for holding weights, adding a little -- or a lot of -- extra difficulty to your program. They can give you results faster than you ever thought possible and are excellent for increasing stamina and core strength. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best weight vest on Amazon.

10. ZFOsports 40

The ZFOsports 40 offers a lot of versatility in terms of fit. It has dual belly and shoulder straps to help you tighten it down, reducing movement during running and jumping exercises. It can be tricky to get it all put together at first, though.
  • can completely remove all weights
  • distributes weight evenly
  • very bulky when fully loaded
Brand ZFOsports
Model 130240
Weight 41.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Cross 101

Coming with ten 4-pound weights, the Cross 101 gives you a lot of room for customization, all the way up to a truly challenging 40-pound maximum. The weights have some give to them, so they conform to your body, and it has a wide belt for a snug fit.
  • fits a wide range of body shapes
  • good value for the price
  • can chafe the stomach on long runs
Brand Cross101RUNmax
Model 10140
Weight 42.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Cap Adjustable

The Cap Adjustable comes in eight different weight options, ranging from 40 lbs to 150 lbs, so you can find just the right one for your fitness level. It's very solidly constructed as well, so it will hold those weights for you for years to come.
  • comfortable for longer workouts
  • great for building strength
  • doesn't fit shorter users very well
Brand Cap Adjustable
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Tone Fitness

If you're looking to slim down and increase your endurance without bulking up, the Tone Fitness is a smart option. It has a pocket to hold your cell phone or iPod, making it a great companion for a long run. The side straps are elastic, though, so you can't adjust them.
  • comfortable neoprene material
  • quickly buckles on and off
  • tends to bounce while running
Brand Tone Fitness
Model HHWV-TN012
Weight 12.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Mir Adjustable

The Mir Adjustable has double padding throughout the vest to help prevent chafing during high-movement exercises. The narrow shoulder design allows you the freedom to do pull-ups or shoulder presses without a problem, so you can build your upper body in a hurry.
  • compact at just 11 inches long
  • durable velcro weight closures
  • doesn't come with instructions
Brand MiR
Model 130150
Weight 51.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Hyperwear Pro

The Hyperwear Pro is made from a flexible stretchy material that makes it a suitable choice for men or women, and is also moisture-wicking to keep the sweat from being overwhelming. It's open on the side as well, which is a godsend during outdoor summer workouts.
  • can be worn under a shirt
  • helps with tactical fitness
  • expensive relative to other options
Brand Hyperwear
Model 21-PARENT
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Perfect Fitness

The Perfect Fitness has a short, slim-fit design that won't hamper movement while running or doing strength-training exercises, making it good for those looking to do CrossFit style routines. It's made with reflective materials as well, so you can run at night safely.
  • dual belly-band enclosure
  • comfortable enough to wear all day
  • velcro is strong and durable
Brand Perfect Fitness
Model 31023
Weight 22.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Mir 140 Pro

With one of the highest weight capacities on the market, the Mir 140 Pro is made specifically for serious athletes looking to improve endurance and increase strength. If you're looking to get a total-body workout, this is one of the most efficient ways to do so.
  • double lining for added comfort
  • mid-chest belt prevents shifting
  • added breathability from mesh fabric
Brand MiR Weighted Vest
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

2. HumanX Vest

The HumanX Vest can hold up to 20 lbs, but uses 1 lb increments, so you can really tailor it to your fitness level. This is invaluable for challenging yourself without increasing the risk of injury. You can hand wash it, so you don't have to worry about it getting funky.
  • contours to the body
  • distributes weight all around vest
  • adjustable one-size-fits-all design
Brand HumanX
Model 7362400
Weight 22.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. V-Force Vest

The V-Force Vest is shorter than some other options, which helps keep weight off your stomach, allowing you to breath better during your workout. You can also customize the width of the shoulder straps, so you can distribute the weight to fit whatever workout you're doing.
  • targets core muscles
  • protected by lifetime warranty
  • fully reinforced at stress points
Brand VForce
Model pending
Weight 40 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

A Few Words On Making Muscle

Before we discuss the enhanced muscular development you can enjoy through the use of a weighted vest, it's important to establish a baseline understanding of how muscles grow in the first place. In the simplest terms, skeletal muscles are those that move your body around, controlling actions ranging from a running long jump to controlling a pair of chopsticks or throwing a 100-mph fastball. Smooth muscles, on the other hand, control involuntary actions such as intestinal activity; cardiac muscles are in their own category yet again, keeping your heart rate up or down as needed to keep oxygen-rich blood moving.

Every time you move even the slightest bit, one (or more likely dozens) of your skeletal muscles contract. This is thanks to minute muscle fibers known as sarcomeres responding to a signal sent from your brain that induces an energy transfer from the surrounding cells. The sarcomeres pull on larger bands of muscle fiber known as myofibrils, and these bands draw on the connective tissue attached to bones, thus leading to the actual movement of the body. Of course, all of this takes mere microseconds; you're completing countless contractions even now, as you sip a cup of coffee or lean in closer to the computer screen.

Weight lifting causes muscles to grow through a process known as hypertrophy. (You are probably more familiar with the pejorative antonym of this word: atrophy.) Hypertrophy takes place when the contractions of those sarcomeres and myofibrils occurs enough times or under circumstances requiring enough effort (lifting a heavy barbell, e.g.) to damage the muscle fibers. In response to damage to these fibers, your body sends in satellite cells, which are essentially reserve cells that can travel to the point of damage and help fill the damaged areas. Not only does this action help repair muscle, it also adds material to the muscle. That's also known as muscle growth. Over time, what on a cellular level is a process of repair and regeneration, on an exterior level comes to look like rippling abs, cut triceps, and a bulked up chest.

It seems ironic, but from a scientific standpoint it's accurate to say that the more "damage" you inflict on your muscles, the larger, healthier, and stronger they will grow. Of course, this comes with its limits: muscles grow slowly and steadily, and if you overwork them, you can cause injury beyond the minute tears that these satellite cells will quickly repair, potentially requiring a full cessation of exercise for a protracted period and leading to atrophy instead of hypertrophy. If you're new to weightlifting and core training exercises, read up or meet with a certified trainer before you just start lifting. You need to ease into the activity, essentially priming your muscles before you start the serious work of building serious, lasting muscle.

Make The Most Of Your Training

The phrase "sport specific training" has become something of a buzzword-cum-cliche of late, often thrown around in lieu of a more substantial term. But what the expression essentially refers to is training intended specifically to improve athletic performance, as opposed to a fitness routine intended to promote overall improved health and weight management, for example. In years past, sport specific training referred to a training regimen that was specific to a given sport: a basketball player might incorporate dribbling into his wind sprints and spend plenty of time doing squats to improve his vertical jump, while a softball pitcher might focus on building shoulder strength.

Whether you are training for a specific sport; trying to improve your overall athletic prowess in terms of increased explosiveness, endurance, and reduced chance for injury; or you have embarked on a more general fitness routine because you just want to look and feel better and potentially live longer, a weight vest is a great tool to help you achieve your goals.

Regardless of your feelings about sport specific training, few people will argue that in order to improve your skills at a given activity, you need to spend a lot of time doing said activity. And few sports medicine doctors or fitness instructors will argue that added resistance doesn't build muscle. Thus, by incorporating extra weight into an activity you will already be practicing, you can help your body add the specific musculature that you use in that activity.

Imagine a long jumper suddenly getting the opportunity to try for a new record on Mars: if she weighed 120 lbs. on earth, she would weigh just 45 lbs. on the red planet, yet would still have the same muscle power at her disposal. While it's impractical to cross the tens of millions of miles to Mars for a jump, it's not impractical to add extra weight to yourself while training here on earth, and then remove it prior to performance, thus enjoying a fraction of the same benefit.

From that sprint toward first base to the agility needed in the boxing ring, a weighted vest can improve your ability to perform across multiple types of activity.

Choosing A Weight Vest For Strength Or Endurance Training

Choosing the right weighted vest is a pleasantly easy undertaking: first, know your budget. Next, know how much weight you might want to add, and choose a vest that can accommodate it. Many max out near 20 lbs., which might be too light for larger athletes. Other vests can handle 150 lbs., which should be enough weight for even large, robust bodies in training.

You should also take careful note of the weight increments that come with your vest (or that can be added separately). Some vests can have weight added by just a half-pound at a time, while others increase their load by 2 lbs. per increment. Two pounds might not sound like much on its own, but it can actually greatly increase the difficulty of an activity when you are already heavily weighted.

And finally, choose a vest based on how it secures to the body. For improved squats or lunges, it's hard to find a vest that won't suffice. For a runner or cross trainer, it's imperative to find a vest with multiple adjustment points that can hug the body tightly and won't jostle or chafe during extended periods of use.

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Last updated on November 20, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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