What are Weightlifting shoes?
Weightlifting shoes get their name from the sport of Weightlifting. You’ll therefore hear them referred to as Olympic Weightlifting shoes, and are primarily designed with the ‘Snatch’ and ‘Clean and Jerk’ in mind (or any variant of these). This can get confusing as this is slightly different to ‘weight lifting’ or ‘weight training’, which are more general terms for exercising with weights.
The two crucial requirements of a Weightlifting shoe are stability, and a raised heel. This subsequently makes them perfect for a whole host of other sports, and thus you’ll hear them referred to as Squat Shoes, or Powerlifting shoes.
What are the benefits of Weightlifting shoes?
The benefits of a weight lifting shoe are fundamentally quite simple. Firstly, they improve your position. They do this by giving the lifter increased range of motion, or mobility, in the ankle (dorsiflexion). This all comes from the raised heel. Different lifting shoes have different heel heights, and we can use this to decide on the best shoe for the individual. Simply put, the raised heel allows you to squat deeper, and squat more safely under increasing loads.
The second key to weightlifting shoes is stability. A good weightlifting shoe has a hard and flat sole. Most footwear has some element of flex or cushion to it. This can cause compression in the footwear, and the instability that this breeds is a killer for your lifts. Shoes for weightlifting are made from hard rigid materials that stay stable under loads.The hard and flat sole also allows a lifter to apply more force into the ground, as this force isn't absorbed by the shoes.
What should you look for in a weightlifting shoe?
The best weightlifting shoes have a few features to look out for. There are some key things to consider when buying:
Raised heel - This is imperative, as it is what gives you stability and the ability to get into a deeper squat. This is what makes them the best squatting shoes. The size of the heel raise is also key. The higher the heel, the bigger the increase in mobility.
Rigid Sole - The best shoes for weightlifting have a strong base, and they avoid cushion. It seems counter intuitive, but cushion causes discomfort when it comes to top weightlifting shoes. The best weight lifting shoes will be made of hard plastics, or traditionally hard wood.
Shoe Strap - The best olympic lifting shoes will have at least one strap over the fore and midfoot. The benefits of this are twofold. To give support, and therefore stability to the foot, as well as making sure that the foot can’t move around in the shoe mid lift.
The fit - To get the best lifting shoes, you need to get them fitting correctly. Aim for a delicate balance between having them close fitting enough, so that your feet won’t move in the shoe, and enough space for comfort throughout a long training session.
Why do athletes wear weightlifting shoes?
The best weightlifting shoes help improve your performance in a couple of ways, by helping you get a more vertical torso, and a less vertical tibia (lower leg). This can be of great benefit to those with joint restrictions or impairments and can really make the extra heel worth the investment. These small margins could make the difference for your next PB.
Best Weightlifting shoes to buy for Weightlifting
Nike Romaleos 4 : These Nike Weightlifting shoes are built for strength and steadiness, designed to be the perfect squat shoe. They are focused on creating a strong and sturdy base. The Men’s and women’s weightlifting shoe offers a wide and flat outsole with adjustable straps at the midfoot to give an explosive yet stable lift. The Romaleos is Nike Olympic weightlifting shoe for the masses, going back to the fan favourite roots of the Romaleos 2. Appropriate for beginners through to experienced lifters. You can read our in depth weightlifting shoes review here.
Reebok Legacy Lifter II: Available as both womens and mens weightlifting shoes. These Reebok weightlifting shoes come with a new style for 2020, and always remember, look good, lift good. There are only subtle changes from the previous Reebok lifting shoes, and this is very much a good thing, due to the success of the previous iteration. An aesthetic update whilst keeping the stability of the rigid TPU sole keeps these a reliable lifting shoe. These are a good option for those with feet on the wider side, with a heel raise of 22mm.
Adidas adipower II: The Adidas weightlifting shoes are the offering from the three stripes that most closely resembles the other lifters in this list. These lifting shoes are intended for stability, hugging the foot so you feel safe while hitting heavier weights. Designed for lifters of all experience. A good option for those not so keen on the hard upper materials of some other lifters, due to Adidas focussing on a lighter textile upper, which holds your feet to the rigid TPU sole. Also suitable for those with narrower feet with a heel raise of 20.1mm.
Inov8 fastlift: An interesting option from British brand Inov8. This is the resident lightweight squat shoe, weighing in at a radical 360g. Despite the lack of weight these lifters still boast a stable TPU sole unit in a slightly less bulky fashion than the above lifters. Don’t worry, they still have that midfoot strap to keep your feet in place. A fiit that should be good for most with a slightly lower heel raise of 16.5mm.
Buying the correct shoe is important as the design has a massive impact on your weightlifting. Browse through all the available options and look into how each different style would positively affect your workouts and break your records in your new Olympic lifting shoes.
If you are incorporating weightlifting as a part of training for another sport, or trying it out for the first time, you can get some expert advice on form and technique over at WIT Train. Whatever your ability.
If you are confused about the best squat shoes, and you want the best shoes for weightlifting, check out www.wit-fitness.com.