Women are built differently than men.
I hope I’m not telling you anything new here.
But because they’re different, weighted vests for women need to have a fit and a weight distribution specifically designed for women’s bodies.
And it’s not just about the breasts. Women have an entirely different center of gravity.
But few manufacturers seem to understand this.
It should come as no surprise that most women’s vests on the market have issues with fit and comfort. But there are some standouts.
The models listed below are the ones that handle these areas best.
Weighted Vests For Women Compared
|24" to 58" waist
|8 lbs (up to 16 lbs in alt model)
|10 / 10
|Ten pounds w/ ankle
|9.8 / 10
|10" up to 48" waist
|9.4 / 10
|8 lbs up to 19 lbs
|9.3 / 10
|Small to X-large
|9.1 / 10
We’ve included models that are fixed weight and ones that are adjustable. Fixed weight vest almost always offer a better fit and weight distribution. But you can’t adjust the weight.
If you simply want to add a bit of resistance to your exercise routine, or your daily run or walk, then a fixed weight vest is best. It will definitely offer you more comfort.
But if you want to increase the resistance over time, go with an adjustable vest. The ones below fit better than most. They do potentially have issues with weight distribution, but it is really up to you.
As long as you make sure you distribute the weight you add evenly, the west will be comfortable. But when people add weight themselves, many end up adding it unevenly, which is not only uncomfortable, but can lead to injuries as well.
Best Weighted Vests For Women Reviewed
Empower Weighted Vest For Women
As the best weighted running vest for women, Empower features a comfortable and flexible design, which may be its most attractive quality.
The wide strap design of this vest allows you to have full shoulder rotation and arm movements completely unhindered, despite the added weight to your body.
The only issue, as with many women’s weighted vests, is the weight distribution. You’re putting all that stress right on the center of your body when it would be better distributed more evenly.
That said, this vest is customizable, so you can start with what you’re comfortable with. You can choose from eight pounds up to sixteen pounds, in two-pound increments (or buy the fixed eight pound vest that is not adjustable).
Apart from the weights themselves, Empower makes this out of a soft and durable neoprene material, so it won’t tug on your skin while you’re running regardless of the amount of coverage underneath the vest.
The goal here is to provide adequate power while still being comfortable. As a result, this is a great option if you plan on wearing a weighted vest all day.
Empower offers a one-size-fits-most solution with fittings from a 24″ waist up to a 58″ waist. This gives you all the space you need to keep this vest while you work through weight loss goals, without having to replace it.
- Size: 24″ to 58″ waist
- Weight: 8 lbs (up to 16 lbs in alt model)
- Adjustable: Yes, in alternate model
Yes4All Weighted Vest
Yes4All made an excellent affixed weight vest, and they solved some problems that women’s weighted vests have in general.
For one, you’re getting a set here that doesn’t strictly focus on weight around the shoulders. Yes4All identified a few issues that women’s vests have, such as improper weight distribution.
There are six pounds of weight in the vest itself, but they also include two separate two-pound ankle weights, bringing your total vest weight up to about ten pounds.
Because of obvious anatomical differences, women have disadvantages when it comes to wearing vests that can sometimes inhibit proper muscle growth.
With this, you’re still getting ten pounds of resistance, and some of that goes to the legs (which work hard to make the heart move, so you’re still getting viable resistance).
So where’s the issue? Why didn’t Yes4All win the top spot?
Well, they advertise an interior mesh pocket in the vest, but it’s extremely small and not good for even holding a credit card. If you wanted to buy a bottle of water halfway through your run, you’re still going to have to reach into a fanny pack or something along those lines.
Putting anything in the pocket also ends up being uncomfortable. Other than that, it’s a solid vest with no itchy seams.
- Size: Ambiguous one-size-fits-most
- Weight: Ten pounds w/ ankle weights
- Adjustable: No
CAP Barbell Women’s Weight Vest
We all know CAP as one of those time-tested brands in the weight space. They don’t hold anything back.
It’s all about power here, which is why CAP put thirty pounds in this affixed, non-adjustable vest for seasoned professionals. At this level and weight, this isn’t something you should use for running, but rather for resistance training.
CAP could have made the best adjustable weighted vest for women, but they decided to make it fixed instead. They did not want you worrying about taking weights out and possibly ending up with an incorrectly leveled vest.
The result is a well-distributed, even workout vest with weight scattered throughout its entire design. It does not just tug down on your shoulders all day long.
The center strap goes down the center of your chest, providing soft double-stitched seams on the edges (non-itchy or scratchy-feeling, thankfully), giving ample breast support without being too abrasive.
Flexibility is a concern with this vest. While the material is nice, you can only be so flexible when you have thirty pounds of weight hanging off of your torso.
The material is just stretchy enough to make this easy to adjust and to help it not feeling suffocating, but it’s a heavy vest, so don’t expect a lot here.
This is a vest for a very specific need: someone who wants a ton of extra weight. It is too heavy for most people and since it is not adjustable, that makes it unsuitable for most of us.
- Size: 10″ up to 48″ waist
- Weight: 30 lbs
- Adjustable: No
RitFit Adjustable Weighted Vest
Adjustable, designed to help you progress, and comfortable as can be. That’s what RitFit has done here, and it’s wonderful.
You can choose your weight from eight pounds up to nineteen pounds, utilizing two-pound weights all along the way to help with incremental progression.
RitFit is the choice for women who have plans to upgrade their workout plan as time goes on, and do not want to waste time buying multiple vests.
The only issue here is that they claim this is a one-size-fits-most. While that could be true, it’s about comfort as well as fit.
The cross-chest strap is the only questionable part of this vest. If you’re using this to help you hit weight loss goals, then you’re going to have to endure a bit of tightness from the strap.
But the strap is also the key reason that this vest is adjustable, since it allows the sides of the vest to travel far apart. The velcro strap around the midsection is particularly comfortable and durable.
This vest has an excellent base weight. It uses chemical-free and odor-free sand for the built-in weight on the inside. But the additional weights will feel a bit more abrasive and less well-distributed.
They’re solid, but it’s an adjustment to go from a vest with equal weight distribution to one with more weight concentrated in one area. And this is bound to happen as you add additional weight.
This is a solid vest that is good all around, but the minor fit issues and the weight distribution make it best for someone planning to use it for short periods of time only.
- Size: Ambiguous one-size-fits-most
- Weight: 8 lbs up to 19 lbs
- Adjustable: Yes
Challenge Weighted Workoutwear for Women
We had to include Challenge on this list. After all, many users rate it as the best adjustable weighted vest for short women.
You don’t have pre-measured edges and holes to deal with, so you can zip this vest up and not have to worry about the height restrictions on it. It just fits comfortably.
Challenge did something else great here. If you’re using this for running and don’t want to feel like eyes are on you for the vest, you don’t have to worry.
This model can be hidden under a hoodie by just zipping it up over it. The vest vanishes from the eye of public view, but you’re still enjoying its effects.
As the best weighted vest for small women, this also doesn’t add a crazy amount of weight at just four pounds.
You should be following the 10% rule, but obviously if you’re on the smaller side, those averages have to be skewed so you don’t overload and hurt yourself.
Challenge found a good middle ground. But obviously, the limited weight means this is not the best weighted vest for all women.
It is made from a solid 90/10 blend of nylon and spandex. It stretches enough to be comfortable, while the nylon helps wick away sweat and keep you feeling comfortable.
On their page, Challenge lists their vest as being the best weighted vest for women with osteoporosis as well, thanks to the moderate weight level.
It is a great vest if it meets your needs. But it is very limited, so it does not meet most women’s needs. That is why we ranked it lower. The high price tag also dropped it down a bit, since we take value for money into account in our rankings.
- Size: Small to X-large
- Weight: 4 lbs
- Adjustable: No
Weighted Vest For Women FAQ
Are Weighted Vests Bad For Your Spine?
Even if you get the best weighted CrossFit vest for women, or pick a vest designed for another workout sub-category, you could still endure spinal pain or injuries.
Weighted vests are only bad for the spine when you use them improperly. For instance, you should only wear weighted vests during workouts (we’ll get to that all-day-wear thing in a bit).
You can wear weighted vests for walking or for cardio exercises like jogging, but in reality, they’re much better for stationary cardio on spin bikes. Or for resistance training with weights. This is where they really shine.
Using them improperly can absolutely harm your spine. You have 33 vertebrae, including the spine vertebrae and those inside the spinal column. All 33 undergo increased compression from weighted vests. This can cause slipped discs and/or other injuries.
Weighted vests are only good for you if your spine can handle the additional weight. This depends on the surrounding muscles that take on the brunt of the force during use.
What Happens If You Wear A Weight Vest All Day?
Well, you can actually hurt yourself. It’s true that there are some benefits to using a weighted vest to increase the resistance you feel from common tasks and household chores, but you shouldn’t wear one from morning until night.
The main reason is that you could endure muscle tears or cartilage damage depending on what you’re doing.
You have to remember to keep proper posture during workouts, but keeping proper posture during normal tasks (of which, we all do dozens or hundreds in a day) is a little more difficult. As fatigue hits you through the day, you will undoubtedly loosen your posture and open up the chance of an injury.
Can A Weighted Vest Help You Lose Weight?
Yes, they can. A weighted exercise vest adds resistance to everything you do that involves your torso.
Resistance training is synonymous with strength exercises. While many people get stuck in the myth that cardio is the only way to lose weight, resistance training also helps you shed unwanted pounds.
You have something called the afterburn effect, which is when after enough resistance training, your body is still burning calories for hours after your workout has ended.
The exact duration of time depends on gender as well as workout intensity and an amalgam of other health factors. But this effect works for everyone.
Adding resistance could keep you in a short-term state of constantly working out, which could help burn calories just from the resistance alone. But the afterburn effect is where workout vests really shine.
This way, you can take the vest off and have intensified your workout, leading to a stronger afterburn effect and more weight loss.
It’s like putting your metabolism in a state of hyperdrive for several hours after the hard work of exercise is done.
What Muscles Do Weighted Vests Work Out?
Primarily, you’ll find benefits in your supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, and deltoids.
Your latissimus dorsi (the large muscle that stretches from the spine to underneath your arm) is also worked out by weighted vests, but it can actually be restricted more than benefitted if you aren’t careful.
These major muscle groups in your upper back are required for posture, balance, and helping to maintain a healthy spine, so they’re incredibly important and worthwhile to train.
Weighted vests inadvertently help other muscle groups through resistance training as well, but these groups see direct benefits.
Best Weighted Vest For Women: Final Thoughts
Your primary decision comes down to whether you want a vest with a fixed weight or one that allows you to add weight. Obviously the latter is more flexible, but adjustable vests also tend to have more fit issues.
The ones above fit better than the other options on the market. But they still have the weight distribution problem. This is an unavoidable issue, since it comes down to the user.
If you add the weight evenly, there is no issue. But many find this difficult and end up with a weight vest that is off balance. This increases the risk for injury.
If you are not a woman (why did you read this far down?) read our article reviewing the best weighted vests for men instead.