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What Are The Best Weighted Vests? We Look At Box Weighted Vests, Weighted Vests For Women, And More

We all want to get our beach bodies in shape and look our best for the summer. If you’re searching for something extra to add to your cardio sessions to increase the intensity– or even a way to burn more calories throughout the day– weighted vests may be just the cardio hack you’re looking for.

Just like the name implies, weighted vests are vests with weights sewn or placed into them. The idea is to spread the weight equally, and those extra pounds should help people kick their workouts up a notch and improve body strength.

Read on to find out how weighted vests work, how you can use weighted vests for exercise, and see our reviews of top-rated weighted vests on the market.

Weighted Vests for Walking

Regular walking leads to better cardiovascular health and reduced chances of developing heart disease. It can help control hypertension, improve cholesterol levels, reduce tension and anxiety, slow down osteoporosis, and support weight loss.

Studies show that using weighted walking vests can increase the intensity of this activity and the stimulus for muscle and bone building. That means more calories burned, which is vital if you want to lose some fat and prepare for the summer.

This study used vests that weighed as much as 20% of body weight. That’s 34 pounds for a 170-pound walker. Using heavier vests produced greater benefits.  However, those heavy weighted vests (20% of body weight) may not be practical everyday use, as they can be uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time, and will make you fatigue faster. 

Weighted Workout Vests

One study in trained women assessed how wearing vests weighted at 8% of body mass during everyday activities affected performance. It turned out that it slightly enhanced vertical jump height and speed, but the improvements were not significant compared to routine training. The authors concluded that using weighted exercise vests with heavier loads would probably yield better results.

A similar study with male subjects found weighted vests to be effective in improving agility-related performance. In addition, using weighted vests may help burn fat, improve strength, and increase bone mass.

Weighted Vests for Running

Wearing weighted vests while running can help activate the upper part of our body since the weight applies to shoulders and spine, in addition to legs. That can help you burn more calories and slim down while building a little more muscle. 

However, athletes usually look for the best weighted vests for running to improve their performance, not lose weight. But, do weighted vests work for that?

Just like we mentioned in the section about weighted training vests and working out, wearing them during daily activities could help improve running performance. The simple logic behind this is that our bodies adjust to a higher weight load, and then when we take the vest off, we feel lighter and run faster.

Similarly, wearing top weighted vests during a warm-up session could help athletes achieve better subsequent running performance. In fact, doing so can lead to an increase in peak speed, better running economy (less oxygen needed), and improved leg stiffness (parameters that describe leg function while running).

However, competitive athletes probably should ditch the weighted vest as the date of their race nears. You still want to follow the principle of training the same way you compete. 

Weighted Vests for Women

Research has shown that exercising with weighted vests can improve bone mass and strength in postmenopausal women. These findings are very important, as older women often have problems with muscle and bone mass loss, and using weighted vests seems to improve those parameters significantly.

It’s probable that women can benefit from weighted vests more than men, or from using lighter vests for longer periods. For instance, women’s skeletal muscles and fiber composition are more geared towards endurance-based activities, so they’ll likely benefit the most from wearing weighted vests during everyday activities, walks, or jogs. 

In comparison, men may benefit more from wearing heavier vests for a shorter time during intensive bouts of exercise.

Some weighted vests are also designed specifically for women, using various strap designs in the front so that the weight goes around and between, but not over, the breasts.  This necessarily limits the weight that can be used, however.

Weighted Vest Comfort

One of the most important things to consider when searching for the perfect weighted vest is comfort. Keep in mind that the weight will be pressing down on your shoulders, so you want shoulder pads that safely cushion the weight and spread it evenly. It is easily overlooked by so many people, as they focus mostly on the total weight of the vest. Remember, 30 pounds spread over 12 square inches will feel better than 10 pounds spread over 3 square inches.

For runners, the vest must be adjustable so that they can tighten it around the torso. Loose vests will slap against you while running, and that isn’t fun.

Top Weighted Vests: Weighted Vests Reviews

If you are looking to buy weighted vests online, we have some suggestions for you. 

CROSS101 Weighted Vest With Shoulder Pads

Best Weighted Vest With Shoulder Pads

CROSS101 Weighted Vest With Shoulder Pads

We mentioned how important comfort is, and this weighted vest by Cross101 comes with optional shoulder pads on every weight you select. The loads go from 20 lbs to 140 lbs, so this weighted vest is an excellent option for both beginners and more advanced gym-goers.

The vest is made of durable materials resistant to wear and tear, and there is also a built-in water holder. In addition, the weights can be removed from the vest so that you can find your ideal workout load.


PACEARTH Weighted Vest With Wrist/Ankle Weights

Best Weighted Vest Set with Ankle and Wrist Weights

PACEARTH Weighted Vest Set

If you are looking for a good running vest, PACEARTH’s weighted vest set is an excellent option. It comes with a pair of 2-pound ankle or wrist weights that can increase the intensity of your workouts or runs.

This vest comes in three sizes – 6 lbs, 12 lbs, and 18 lbs. It’s made of top-quality materials, and the design distributes the weight evenly. There are also adjustable straps to ensure comfort and prevent slipping.


Prodigen Running Weight Vest For Women

Best Weighted Vest for Women

Prodigen Running Weight Vest For Women

We mentioned how important comfort is, and this weighted vest by Cross101 comes with optional shoulder pads on every weight you select. The loads go from 20 lbs to 140 lbs, so this weighted vest is an excellent option for both beginners and more advanced gym-goers.

The vest is made of durable materials resistant to wear and tear, and there is also a built-in water holder. In addition, the weights can be removed from the vest so that you can find your ideal workout load.  

The front side has all of the weight fitted into straps that run vertically down either side of the chest, so they’re to the side of, rather than over, the breasts, making this a comfortable option for women.


GPEESTRAC Water-Filled Vest

Best Adjustable Weighted Vest

GPEESTRAC Water-Filled Vest

Gpeestrac’s weighted sports vest is designed to be filled with water, which allows you to smoothly adjust the weight. Depending on how much you fill it, this vest can go from 4 lbs to 24 lbs, making it excellent for cardio, strength training, walking, running, and more.

Another big advantage of this water-filled vest is that it can cool you down during intense workout sessions. With two adjustable buckles and Velcro straps, you can easily make this vest fit your body shape and prevent it from slipping. 


BOX Weighted Vest By Rogue Fitness

Best Weighted Vest

Rogue Fitness BOX Weighted Vest

BOX weighted vests are compact with natural contouring and padded body and shoulders for increased comfort. The maximum capacity is 45 lbs, and the west weight is available in 2.5 lbs increments.

The BOX weighted vest is made from military-grade materials that are moisture-resistant. All vests are made in the US and come with a lifetime warranty.


Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to hello@the-unwinder.com.

Photo by sporlab on Unsplash

About the author

Dusan is a content writer focusing on biology and science-related topics. His love for biology, nature, and science has helped him gain a better understanding of the world around us. He loves keeping up to date with new research and creating evidence-based content to help improve people’s lives. In his free time, he enjoys hiking trips, camping, exercising, and cooking healthy meals in his tiny kitchen.

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