A question we get a lot of at the gym is, “Should I buy a pair of weightlifting shoes?” Let us help you answer this question.
Here are the two competing views on weightlifting shoes:
What is special about a weightlifting shoe? A weightlifting shoe is a sturdy shoe that has three important features that make them valuable to the weightlifter.
One, weightlifting shoes have a wooden or composite heel that does not squish or compress under heavy loads. When lifting heavy weights the feet press into the floor and the floor presses back into the feet. It’s Newton’s third law of motion: equal, opposite and collinear forces between two bodies reacting. That means there is less force bleed through a soft squishy sole like on a running shoe. That means you can lift heavier.
Two, weightlifting shoes have a raised heel. The raised heel allows for a greater degree of flexion at the ankle joint thus allowing the lifter to get lower into a squat without the heels coming off the floor. This is valuable for lifters that are inflexible and have problems with their depth. The raised heel also allows for a lifter to be more vertical at the bottom position of their squat
Three, weightlifting shoes are heavy duty leather and have a tarsal strap (or two). The sturdy leather and tarsal strap prevents any shift of the foot within the shoe which would be undesirable when under heavy loads.
The real question is not whether you would benefit from lifting in a pair of weightlifting shoes, but whether it is worth the investment in your training. Justifying a purchase of weightlifting shoes requires answering a few more questions: Do you lift heavy? Do you lift regularly? Do you have any flexibility limitations in your squat? If you are training regularly and making it a priority, then you should probably invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes.
We understand that spending more money on shoes that you only wear three hours per week might seem frivolous. So at least invest in a pair of Chuck Taylors to lift in. Chuck Taylors are flat, sturdy and cheap but unfortunately do not have a heel so they won’t help you with your flexibility and uprightness in your squat. The great thing about Chuck Taylors is that they are an all purpose shoe that you can do all your workouts in.
Since CrossFit has made barbell sports so popular, weightlifting shoes are now available in myriad styles, sizes and price options. Unfortunately, you still will not be able to find weightlifting shoes in your local sporting goods store. So if you are wondering about sizes and fit, ask someone at the gym. Luckily we have a community of lifters here at the gym that have shoes in various styles and sizes. Ask someone if you can try on their shoes and get their opinion on them. Here is a resource list of some of quality retailers:
Reebok|CrossFit is coming out with a hybrid lifting shoe soon that will offer the benefits of a hard, raised heel but with a soft, flexible forefoot that makes them ideal workouts that involve lifting, running and anything else that we can throw at you.
VS Athletics has 3 styles of shoes starting at $39.99. A good entry level shoe.
Again Faster has Pendlay branded Do Wins which are an extremely good shoe for the money. They also carry their own line of shoes.
Rogue Fitness also carries Rogue branded Do Wins as well as Nike Romaleos and Adidas.
Dynamic Eleiko carries Adidas.