The sports shoe market is saturated with a seemingly endless assortment of different models from every runner and cross-fitter to weightlifter. But when it comes to weightlifting, do we really need all these specialty shoes that claim to improve our performance?
Weightlifting shoes are designed to optimize your form, increase safety and boost performance. But do they really Worth? Let’s take a look.
What Are Weightlifting Shoes?
Weightlifting shoes are basically any sneaker designed for weightlifting. They’re modeled after Olympic lifting shoes and feature a raised heel, which puts your body into a more biomechanically advantageous position for lifting weights. However, they can be much different depending on what type of weightlifter you are.
Runners tend to use them for explosive lifts (like a clean or box jump) that demand a fast push off and explosive movement. Cross-fitters or strength athletes will use them for the same reasons but for both explosive and slower lifts.
There are also specialty shoes designed with specific lifts like the Bulgarian shoe designed specifically for the snatch grip dead lift.
Why We Wear Them
Many weightlifters think that lifting shoes help you lift more weight and get stronger by increasing your stability, improving your ankle mobility, and strengthening your calves and core muscles. While all of these are correct, there’s more to it than that.
Support: Weightlifting shoes provide support for your knees and ankles, which are much more prone to injury (specifically the achilles) when lifting at maximum weights. This can make your lifts safer, especially on heavy deadlifts and squats.
Posture: Wearing weightlifting shoes will increase the arch in your lower back and keep you from rounding out. It will also encourage you to stick your chest out and keep good posture throughout your lifts. This can help build a strong foundation for your lifts and increase the safety of them.
Mobility: All shoes, including weightlifting shoes, may limit mobility in some areas. But weightlifting shoes are made to efficiently control movement and reduce injuries for better athletes.
Strengthen Your Ankles and Calves
The ankle bones (cuneiforms) adapt to the amount of work they’re put under; when force is applied, they grow stronger. This is a natural mechanism that muscles and joints use to adapt to changing loads.
Weightlifting shoes enable you to lift heavier weights by increasing the amount of force applied at the ankle joint. This adaptation leads to stronger ankles and calves and can also lead to a lower risk of ankle sprains.
Wearing weightlifting shoes can also improve the overall quality of your calves by forcing you to work the inside and outside of your calves. This is a much more effective training than doing calf raises.
Improve Your Form
The shoes help you by preventing injury caused due to bad form. When done correctly, Olympic lifting shoes will prevent you from lifting with bad form like a torso that’s bent over or rounded.
They can also help you by helping you to lift with proper posture. A good posture is essential to a good deadlift because it will allow you to feel what’s happening in your lower back, which is the foundation of your deadlift. Proper form will also help you lift more weight and build more muscle.
Boost Your Performance
There’s a big difference between lifting weight with bad form and lifting weight with good form. A truer gauge of how much training you’re getting is in your total number of lifts and total reps. Weightlifting shoes help you lift more weight and get stronger by improving the quality of the lifts.
Weightlifting shoes can also increase your performance by improving your performance on the speed and accuracy of lifts. Specifically, you can improve your speed in lifts like the bench press. This will allow you to lift more weight because the weight will be easier to move with speed.
There is some evidence that weightlifting shoes improve performance by making it easier to push the bar up faster and harder than with running shoes.
Weightlifting shoes are a good training choice if you’re looking to get better at the lifts, or if you’re worried about your form and consistency in the lifts. But they can be particularly helpful when done properly and used with good form.
What to Look for When Buying Weightlifting Shoes
Now that you know what weightlifting shoes are and why you should use them, let’s talk about how to get the best pair for you. Here are some factors that you should consider when choosing whether or not to buy a pair.
Brand: Not all brands are equal, so it’s important that you do your research and make sure the brand is known for producing good products. Some brands you may want to consider are Adidas, Nike, and Reebok.
Type: There are a few different types of weightlifting shoes on the market, and each has its own pros and cons. Low top shoes are comfortable, but they can sometimes give you blisters and roll your socks down. Mid-top and high-top shoes may be more uncomfortable to wear, but they offer more support for your ankle and more protection for your feet.
Size: Just like any shoe, you should get the right size shoe for you. If you have a wide foot or narrow feet, then you should pick the larger shoe. If you have a large foot, then the smaller shoe will fit better.
The shoes should always be snug but not too tight. The best way to know if you’re getting the right fit is to try them on before buying them. Never buy online for this reason alone.
Comfort: The most important factor of the weightlifting shoes is comfort. When you run or jump, your feet and calves get extremely sore after some time. Wearing the correct weightlifting shoes will help minimize this and make your lift easier.
Weightlifting shoes are designed to fit the shape of your feet and ankles, unlike running shoes that were made to fit a wide variety of foot types. It may take some time to get used to wearing weightlifting shoes, but they’ll be worth it once you do.
When To Replace Weightlifting Shoes
Once you have some good weightlifting shoes, you should replace your old pair every couple of months to keep them in good shape. This will also give your pair a bit more life before it becomes unusable. The new pair will also give you a fresh feel and a new way to train.
Weightlifting shoes are made to improve your performance and prevent injuries, so don’t live in them like your favorite pair of Air Force 1s. It’s always important to replace your training tools so you can consistently improve and reach your fitness goals.
The old pair of shoes can get damaged and have worn out components. For instance, your new and improved weightlifting shoes might have some wear in the heel or sole after a few months of use. This is normal, so you don’t need to worry about this happening. Instead, replace the shoes when they start to feel uncomfortable or lose their structural integrity.
To Sum Up!
If you want to get better at your lifts, it’s important that you take care of your feet and ankles. Weightlifting shoes will help you focus on proper form, and they’re a good investment if you want to improve.
Weightlifting shoes are not for everyone. You must be able to squat, deadlift, and pull properly before using weightlifting shoes. Wearing them correctly also requires some training time to get used to them and make sure that you’re doing it correctly.
So, should you use weightlifting shoes? The answer is yes. They’re a terrific way to improve your performance and build muscle while preventing injury. So, why not give them a shot?