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What Shoes To Wear For Weightlifting

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Most Versatile Weightlifting Shoes: Adidas Adipower 3

Should You Wear Weightlifting Shoes? |#AskSquatU Show Ep. 18|
Adidas AdiPower 3
  • Forefoot flexibility detracts from stability
  • Expensive at $200

Adidas Adipowers has been a favorite among functional fitness enthusiasts for years. This is because Adidas somehow managed to create a shoe that embodies the essentials of a good weightlifting shoe and the essentials of a cross-training shoe at the same time.

The Adipowers have the highest heel Ive seen among weightlifting shoes, clocking in at 22 millimeters. This height provides supreme support for squatting and receiving the bar, regardless of the weight youre working with. Despite the high heel, though, you can still wear these shoes during certain conditioning workoutstheyre especially great for cycling barbell snatches and high-volume overhead squats.

RELATED: Barbell Exercises

Theres a ton of forefoot flexibility in the Adipowers, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what exactly you want. The flexibility makes them great for spreading your toes out and gripping the ground, but that may not be ideal depending on your intended use of weightlifting shoes. For functional fitness athletes, its a positive attribute.

At a price point of $200, the Adipowers arent cheap. And because of their unique applicationnot perfect for weightlifting, not perfect for conditioning, but decent at boththe price tag might turn a lot of buyers off.

For more on these shoes, check out my full Adidas Adipower 3 review.

Who Should Wear Weightlifting Shoes

In lifting terms, the above means that weightlifting shoes can be an awesome tool for helping lifters get into positions in exercises like the squat that they often feel limited with by their natural levels of dorsiflexion.

For example, if your ankles lack dorsiflexion to match the amount of hip flexion and balance youre asking for of the body, then weightlifting shoes can be a great asset for your performance output.

Generally, lifters will be able to maintain more upright torso positions when achieving greater degrees of hip flexion with an elevated heel. This is why it generally feels easier to hit squat depth when wearing weightlifting shoes for some lifters. Factor in loading and weve now added a level of balance and bracing on top of the ankle mobility demands we require during various exercises and movements.

Its fairly common knowledge that weightlifting shoes support squat performance, but thats not all theyre limited to. They can also assist athletes in exercises like snatches, clean & jerks, split squats, lunges, and they can also be useful for some lifters with their bodys positioning and achieving greater ranges of motion on certain machines like the leg press and hack squat.

Weightlifting shoes are dynamic and they shouldnt be limited to just the sport of weightlifting. Theres a reason heel wedges are commonly used for supporting certain lifting contexts and weightlifting shoes are essentially heel wedges that you wear on your feet.

How Tight Should Weightlifting Shoes Be

I usually recommend lifters to have around ~.5 of room at the toe to ensure their toes can breathe and splay.

This is also generally a good amount of room to limit sliding around and jamming the toes. The last thing you want is to be catching a clean & jerk and jamming your toes up in the bottom position of every single catch because your foot is sliding forward in your shoe.

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What Kind Of Weightlifting Shoes Are There

Well start with squat shoes, which have an elevated heel. By changing the angle of your foot, the biomechanics of the entire exercise change. Youll feel the movement significantly more in your quads, which is the primary target muscle when squatting, and most users find they can squat much deeper, without having to over-arch their lower back.

If you dont like the raised heel for your squats, or youre working on deadlifts, overhead pressing or other movements, you can also use a flat-soled shoe. These are designed to provide zero heel lift and lock your foot into the ground, without providing the unstable cushion of a running shoe.

Should You Be Wearing Weightlifting Shoes In The Gym

New Deadlifting Shoes

HomeShould You Be Wearing Weightlifting Shoes In The Gym?

If youre an athlete or someone who enjoys copious amounts of exercise, you need to maintain a high fitness level. This requires relying on strong core muscles to stabilize our bodies so that we can perform to the best of our ability. One of the primary exercises to strengthen the core is the squat.

This seems like a pretty typical and easy exercise, but in order to perfect it, athletes must improve their form. For squats, this means reducing forward lean, getting the thighs as close to a horizontal position as they can, and keeping the hips at or below knee level. What happens to the feet during this exercise is a matter of debate. Some people think the feet should be flat on the ground. Others believe the heel should be slightly elevated. Those who believe in elevating the heel often choose running or weightlifting shoes.

Read on to learn more about the effects of using weightlifting shoes while squatting!

Also Check: Where Can I Buy Florsheim Shoes

Best Gym Shoes For Cross

Buy It: Nike Free Metcon 4, $120, nike.com

The fully updated Nike Free Metcon 4 is the Nano’s close rival. It too is best for athletes who need a shoe that can support them when they’re going for a PR and when they’re hitting cardio-based moves. Better yet, the shoe is on the narrow side, making it a great pick for cross-training athletes with a slim foot.

How To Pick Your Lifting Shoes

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to picking the right weightlifting shoe for you. You are going to need a shoe that has a hard sole, an elevated heel, and some lateral support, says Sean Waxman, C.S.C.S., head coach and owner of Waxmans Gym.

The right shoe will help you generate as much force through the floor as possible in order to pick up heavy weights.

The hard, flat sole in weightlifting shoes allows more force to be applied into the ground, says Scott Caulfield, C.S.C.S., the head strength and conditioning coach at the National Strength and Conditioning Association. You wouldn’t want to use a real big air cushion sneaker to lift in, because that cushioning is going to just dissipate force and be like a big sponge on the foot and on the floor.

No matter what discipline you practice, you want the sole to be hard and flat. But an elevated heel helps the natural movement of your body and your torso stay upright during a snatch or clean-and-jerk. The heel lift gives you a little bit more mobility in your ankle, Caulfield says. By raising your heel, it allows you to get into your lower squat position, and also allows you to maintain an upright posture easier, because what happens if you lean too far forward, the biomechanics of that bar being out over you can put you in a bad position.

One type of shoes all lifters should avoid?

Here are 10 of the best weightlifting shoes, according to trainers.

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Picking The Right Shoe For Your Workout

No matter what kind of workout youre doing, the right shoes are crucial. Wearing the wrong shoes can lead to injuries, or just make your workout less effective. Here are some tips for choosing the right shoes for different kinds of workouts.

If youre going to be doing mostly cardio, like running on a treadmill or using an elliptical, youll want a shoe that is lightweight and has a lot of cushioning. This will help absorb the impact of your feet hitting the ground and protect your joints from too much shock. You might also want a shoe with added stability if you have any problems with your ankles or knees.

For weights or other strength-training workouts, you dont need as much cushioning in your shoes. But you will want a shoe that provides good support for your ankles and has a hard sole so you can feel stable when youre lifting heavy weights. You might also want to consider a cross-trainer type of shoe that can provide support and traction if you jump around or do any kind of quick movements.

If youre going to be doing mostly yoga or Pilates, you dont need a lot of support or cushioning in your shoe, but you will want something that provides good traction so your feet dont slip when youre doing poses. A lightweight shoe with a flexible sole is ideal.

Other Shoe Options For Lifting

The BEST Shoes To Wear While Lifting (IT MATTERS!)

That said, Converse are not the only shoes suitable for lifting. For some people, Converse will work great for squatting in particular, but for others it may not be the best option. Dr. Levine says this depends on your anatomy, specifically torso versus limb length. People with longer torsos and shorter limbs will have different biomechanics than those with shorter torsos and longer legs, she says. You also have to take into account hip flexor and ankle mobility. If you are having a hard time adding depth to your squat, you might be better off using those shoes with a wedge because that changes ankle mobility so that you can get a little deeper.

This begs the question: Is there any point in investing in lifting shoes? According to Dr. Levine, you can if you want to, of course, but its really not necessary. Specifically, she says people with plantar fasciitis or Haglunds heel may feel some benefits from investing in weightlifting shoes. Generally, solid, flat shoes like Converse fit the bill.

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This Article Includes Insights From:

Dr. Michael Yessis – Professor, sports performance trainer, biomechanist, training and technique consultant and analysis specialist, and author with over 50 years of experience of training world-class athletes in a wide variety of Olympic and professional sports

Carlo Buzzichelli – Director of the International Strength & Conditioning Institute, strength and conditioning coach of world-class athletes, speaker, and co-author of Periodization Training for Sports, 3rd edition with Tudor Bompa

Dr. Joel Seedman – Ph.D. Neuromuscular Physiologist and Athletic Performance Specialist and Owner of Advanced Human Performance

Dave Tate – Founder and CEO of EliteFTS with three decades as a powerlifter with 20,000 hours of strength consulting as well as an author of 20 books and over 500 articles for magazines and prominent websites.

– Strength training coach and author of Starting Strength, Practical Programming for Strength Training, and several peer-reviewed articles

Ray Williams – The first human to squat over 1,000 lbs without equipment, world record holding powerlifting total of 2,436 lbs, and 4x IPF Raw Powerlifting World Champion

Frances Manias – Physique Coach and founder of Iron Sisters, 5x National Bodybuilding Championship and 2x National Powerlifting winner, and only Canadian to represent their country in both the IFBB World Bodybuilding Championship and IPF Powerlifting Championships .

In regards to the purview of this investigation:

What Are Weightlifting Shoes

Weightlifting shoes are shoes designed to support the sport of weightliftings demands. The sport of weightlifting involves the snatch and clean & jerk and a weightlifting shoes construction was originally designed to promote lifting performance in these two movements.

However, with the growth of strength sports, an improved understanding of biomechanics, and increased validity of multiple coaching methodologies and applications, weightlifting shoes are now dynamic tools for a wide variety of lifters and strength sports athletes.

Weightlifting shoes are constructed with firm outsoles to increase stability, elevated heels which can support lifting mechanics, and additional mid-foot security to help lock down the foot when moving weight.

Also Check: How To Kill Athlete’s Foot In Shoes

Brooks Adrenaline Gts 21 Best For Running Long Distances

Brooks is one of the most popular running shoe brands on the market, and the Adrenaline GTS has been the go-to-shoe for many runners for over 20 years .

Ive never been a serious runner, but years ago when running consumed most of my training, Brooks Adrenaline GTS were the first shoes I was professionally fitted for. Ive tried other brands over the years, but I keep coming back to these.

These shoes offer a great amount of support and lateral stability, which is important if you overpronate when you run. They have GuideRails on either side that keep the foot and knee aligned and help prevent lower body injuries.

The midsole is made with DNA LOFT material that provides heel-to-toe support as you run. It offers a plush surface for running, but its not suitable for heavy lifting.

However, the shoes perform well during HIIT or circuit training workouts. Ive even worn them for workouts like Murph that have a lot of bodyweight squats combined with running.

While I personally have only ever run up to 5 miles at a time in these shoes, other runners praise them for long distances.

These shoes are also built to last. It is recommended to switch out running shoes every 300-500 miles. Since I dont run very often anymore, it takes me a while to get there.

But once I do, I use my old running shoes for walking and other non-lifting activities. Every Adrenaline GTS model Ive had has lasted long after Ive retired them from running.

Pros

Cons

Why Do Weightlifting Shoes Have A Heel

Why you need Weightlifting Shoes! NZ

While some lifting shoes are specifically created to be flat , many other styles have a slight incline. The raised heel allows you to squat deeper without straining your ankles in extreme positions. An incline also helps keep your body upright in a strong, tall posture. The highest incline we’ve come across is 22mm in Reebok’s Legacy Lifter II, while the Adidas Adipower is 20mm, and the Inov-8 Fastlift 360 is lower at 16.5 mm.

Also Check: Black Leather Sneakers With White Soles

What Are The Differences Between Weightlifting Shoes And Running Shoes

Running shoes and weightlifting shoes are two different things. At first glance, weightlifting shoes appear to be the better choice. Most weightlifting shoes come with a lateral stability that running shoes dont offer, thanks to a wider base and differences in construction, like a less flexible midsole. Running shoes are also cushioned, and absorb energy when exercising. If you lift weights, you want to redirect as much energy as possible during the movement vertically.

Dont use your running or other athletic shoes for lifting purposes. The ideal lifting shoe should be hard with a raised heel, as this comes in handy with exercises such as squats and deadlifts. You dont need as much arch support when weightlifting, either.

The differences in cushioning, shape, and construction between weightlifting shoes and other kinds of footwear produce a different result when wearing the weightlifting shoes. Scientific studies can show exactly what kinematic differences will manifest when wearing either type of shoe.

What About Lifting Barefoot

We mentioned at the start of this blog that you may have spotted some people lifting in the gym with no shoes on at all. That seems fairly counter-intuitive, keeping in mind what weve just said about the benefits of a weightlifting shoe. However, again, this is all about putting you into a better position during the exercise youre doing. If youre deadlifting for example, you dont want to be too far from the floor because itd be much harder to get low enough to pick the weight up. In this case, you want to be as low as possible, so you have to move the weight over as small a distance as possible.

This is why many opt for barefoot lifting or wearing very thin-soled shoes, like Converse. Beyond these positional benefits of lifting barefoot, some also suggest it can lead to greater increases in strength. This may be a result of having to work harder when lifting like this, as it requires you to constantly stabilise yourself , which may be beneficial depending on your goals.

While were on barefoot lifting, its worth a quick public safety announcement to say to be careful when doing so accidents in the gym do happen!

Read Also: What Stores Carry Asics Shoes

The Anatomy And Materials Of A Weightlifting Shoe

The upper

  • Uppers typically consist of leather, PU coated leather, or synthetic leather
  • Additional layers of leather or TPU are added around the heel
  • Include a single strap over the mid of the foot or dual straps with an additional strap around the ankles for greater fit and support
  • Toe boxes are spacious enough for toe splaying

The midsole

  • The majority are comprised of exclusively TPU
  • Other options consist of multi-density EVA which makes it hard and non-compressible or other old school options such as stacked leather or wood.

The outsoles

  • Highly abrasion resistant and anti-slip rubber
  • Some shoes also include a small amount of TPU in the form of an underside plate that come in a variety of forms such as the honeycomb structure of Nike Romaleos 3 or Adidas Powerlift 3.1
  • Soles are typically wider than most shoes

The heel

  • The elevated heel typically ranges in height from half an inch to an inch
  • Typically made of TPU stacked upon each other or in unique constructions much like pillars. Again, some are also made of wood or stacked leather.

It isnt called a weightlifting shoe for nothing

The construction of the weightlifting shoe provides maximal amounts of support, stability, and force transfer to the ground. The material ensures it is as safe as possible to reduce any chance of slippage, ankle rolling, or movement within the shoe. The heels come in varying heights to best suit the individual, which provides its own benefits.

Where Can I Buy Weightlifting Shoes

The Best Weightlifting Shoes YOU Should Wear!

It can be super frustrating when trying to buy weightlifting shoes at a store. For whatever reason, companies typically dont provide major retail outlets with weightlifting shoe models to sell in-store. My guess is since weightlifting shoes are so niche with their use that companies probably dont have the inventory to stock every major retail outlet with a variety of sizes.

This is also the consensus and suggestion that my friends at Nike gave me when I asked them about this a few years ago. The lack of inventory would explain why most popular new models also sell out so quickly online.

That all being said, that doesnt mean all hope is lost when it comes to finding pairs in store. In fact, newer weightlifting shoes like the Nike Savaleos a budget-friendly functional weightlifting shoe can be found at stores like Dicks Sporting Goods.

However, not every location seems to have them in this example, so before going in I would highly suggest calling to check their inventory. My advice is to call specialty stores in your area that carry weightlifting gear and lifting equipment and niche strength sports gyms as they can sometimes carry certain models of weightlifting shoes.

This outreach should only take ~15 minutes and it will save you from trekking around and not finding any models to try on.

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