Why Weightlifting Shoes Are Important and How To Choose The Best Ones

You don’t have to be a competitor to take weightlifting serious. It’s hands down, one of the most effective ways to build strength, power, and lean muscle throughout your entire body. To lift weights you really don’t need much. All you need is yourself, maybe a lifting belt, and a good pair of lifting shoes. I’m writing this article to tell you why weightlifting shoes are important and how to choose the best ones. Don’t take them for granted. Shoes alone can add an additional 30 pounds on any of your power lifts.

Why Can’t I Just Wear My Regular Sneaks?

Tennis shoes, or running shoes are built to be nice and comfy. They’re meant to absorb your bodyweight when you run, and support your feet when you’re making lateral movements.

That softness in the sneakers is what will really kill your lifting technique and efficiency. It’s like trying to lift really heavy weight with your feet on a pillow…..there’s just not enough stability.

When you’re lifting heavy, the goal is to create as much force as possible by transferring it from your feet directly into the floor. If your feet are on squishy surface that’s meant to absorb force, you’re gonna lose a bunch of power, and you’ll be unstable.

Ankle Flexibility

Most people don’t have an impressive range of motion in their ankles. It’s just how life goes. We walk around all day, and your ankles only have to produce force in a very limited range of motion.

On top of that, ankles usually aren’t at the top of the priority list when it comes to stretching and mobility exercises. Most of us just work with the flexibility that just comes naturally to us.

In most olympic lifts, we’re required to plantar flex (toe pointed down) explosively, and then squat down real low which requires a ton of dorsiflexion (toe pointed up). If you don’t have a ton of range of motion in your ankles, that’s where the shoes may come in handy.

Weightlifting Shoes

How Do I Know Which One To Get?

Weightlifting shoes are characterized by a completely solid sole that is slightly raised in the heal. It’s completely solid so that when you push off of the floor, none of the force is lost, and your feet are completely secure.

Most powerlifters use shoes that give them slightly over an inch in the heel. Any shoe with 1 and a quarter inches is pretty standard. You can get higher or lower heels depending upon your leg length.

The platform allows you to sit deeper into a squat while keeping your back and neck straight. Having a raised heel means that you don’t need as much flexibility in your ankle to sit your hips way back. It also promotes driving through your heels on the squat which forces your glutes to do the bulk of the work. And that’s exactly what you want.

Converse Craze

A lot of people also use Converse Chuck Taylor shoes to lift. It’s a completely flat sole which simulates going barefoot.

These shoes have an extremely hard sole, but they’re not completely solid. They’re perfect for deadlifts, because you really don’t need to sit back too far on that lift.

If you have pretty flexible ankles, and haven’t had any previous injuries, you might want to try out this route and see how you like it.

You can always add a slight lift to your heels in these shoes by adding small 2.5 or 5 pound plates under your heels. They’re also $100 cheaper than a lot of official weightlifting shoes. So if you’re ballin’ on a budget, this is the way to go.

Chuck Taylors

If you’re looking to reach your potential, make sure you have a pair of lifting shoes that’s right for you. It might make the difference for a new PR (personal record)!!! Please take a second to share this on facebook. I bet you’ll also like 6 Weightlifting Mistakes That Beginners Should Avoid.

Adam Pegg About Adam Pegg

Adam is an athlete with a serious passion for fitness and health. He played basketball at University of Delaware and Stetson. His degree is in health science and he's a certified personal trainer who loves helping people reach their goals.