Weightlifting can be considered a relatively cheap sport. Your biggest financial outlay is going to be your gym membership and they are going to provide most of the equipment you need such as a barbell, weights, power rack etc. You can choose to purchase some accessories such as wraps, straps, belts etc but these are for the most part optional. One thing that people tend to overlook are their shoes.
The correct shoes are crucial for maximum performance and safety. When most people start out they use their everyday trainers and running shoes that often have an air or gel filling in them in order to minimize the impact on the joints when running. Whilst this might be an attractive feature in a running shoes it is not what we want when lifting weights.
Since a running shoe is “spongy” you will bleed a lot of power. The sole of the shoe will absorb some of the force that you are exerting just negatively effecting the amount of force going into lifting the weight. Therefore you will move less weight.
A running shoe is not flat and is designed to make running easier however this makes them less stable and harder to control when lifting a heavy weight. Since they make it more difficult to balance they will increase the chance of injury as your technique may require continual minor adjustments throughout the movement.
A good weight lifting shoe has a hard sole that cannot be compressed whilst lying flat on the floor. They should provide a good grip whilst having a snug fit. These qualities will improve your overall balance so that you can put your entire focus on lifting the weight. Good lifting shoes will help you to push through your heels better and thus correct technique issues such as not sitting back and your heels coming off the floor.
Which Shoes Should You Choose For Weightlifting
Olympic weightlifting shoes will incorporate a raised heel. This allows you to hit depth easier whilst maintaining a more upright torso. These are beneficial if you are doing the Olympic lifts or performing Olympic squats and front squats. If you lack mobility that is preventing you from going deep enough they can help you overcome this problem although this should be nothing more than a temporary fix whilst you work on improving your mobility. Adidas AdiPowers and Nike Romaleos are examples of Olympic weightlifting shoes.
Best Shoes For Squats and Deadlifts
Whilst weightlifting shoes are also perfect for squats they are not necessary and are relatively expensive for average gym goers who do not perform the Olympic lifts and instead only squats and deadlifts. In the case of deadlifts you don’t want to perform them in weightlifting shoes since due to the raised heel it is similar to performing a deficit deadlift.
Chuck Taylor’s are one of the most widely used and recommended shoes for squats and deadlifts whilst not breaking the bank. They are a solid choice for beginners providing a solid, flat sole that is not too thick. Since the soles are not too thick the bar will have less distance to travel making them a good shoe for deadlifting.
Chucks will help you push off the outside of your feet which in turn help to prevent your knees from caving in thus activating your glutes. I prefer to use the low top Chuck’s since they provide me with better ankle mobility. If you do have the high tops you can try unlacing the top part.
Lifting barefoot is an option, it’s not possible to get any closer to the floor however it is not allowed in competitions. If you squat or lift barefoot you will certainly notice the difference that lifting in running shoes and this might give you the incentive you need to invest in more suitable footwear for lifting.
Personally I don’t like lifting barefoot since it feels like I have very little traction and am more likely to slip.