15 Benefits of Weightlifting Shoes [and Why You Should Use Them]
updated January 1, 2019
In recent years as lifting shoe design has matured and the shoes have become both widely available and affordable non-professional weightlifters have begun asking the questions: “Do I need weightlifting shoes?” and “Why use weightliftings shoes?” In this article we’ll address those questions along with “What do weightlifting shoes do?” and “How should weightlifting shoes fit?”
So just what are weightlifting shoes and what are some of the benefits of weightlifting shoes?
After you read this you'll likely want to run out and buy some weightlifting shoes. Be warned! There are a lot of bad shoes out there that will do nothing but cause injury. Check our comprehensive weightlifting shoe guide here before you buy anything!
1. Proper Positioning
Misalignment of the torso is a major cause of accidents and injury which is why weightlifting shoes are a must. High-quality weightlifting shoes guide your body into proper alignment and help it stay that way throughout the lift.
2. Lateral Support
How should weightlifting shoes fit? In a word: snug. Countless lifters in poor footwear have experienced rollovers during a lift resulting in dislocations, ligament tears and worse. The tarsal strap on lifting shoes helps create a firm, snug fit that prevents rollovers.
3. Ankle Support
Many lifters require a degree of ankle support beyond what nature gave them. Thankfully there are a number of high-cut weightlifting shoes that will provide these athletes with the additional ankle support they need.
4. Spreading the Floor
Those tarsal straps mentioned above also allow you to push out harder against the side of your shoe creating additional hip activation for a stronger, more effective deadlift or squat.
5. Increased Overall Stability
If you are lifting in running shoes you might as well be lifting in sand. You not only have to fight the weight you’re trying to lift you also have to compensate for the fact that your base is giving in beneath you, destabilizing your lift attempt.
6. More Effective Vertical Thrust
With your body no longer having to compensate for the energy drain of soft soles all the force you generate can be directed to the task of getting the weight off the floor.
7. Increased Versatility
Proper weightlifting shoes can allow you to attack types of Olympic lifting you may have never considered before and derive the maximum benefit from your expanded lifting repertoire.
8. Core Control
Proper alignment of the lumbar spine and pelvis during squats is extremely important. Good weightlifting shoes will promote this alignment thereby increasing your effectiveness and helping avoid strains.
9. Protection for your Knees
Poorly aligned feet and ankles project the difficulties they create upward. The joints that suffers the brunt of these awkward forces are the knees. Avoid painful injuries to the knee by wearing shoes that align your feet and ankles properly.
10. Greater Range in Ankle Joint
The raised heel is one of the benefits of weightlifting shoes that not only generates greater stability but also provides greater range in the ankle.
11. Increased Safety
The amount of weight even an average lifter today deals with is so far beyond historical precedents that it’s something of a miracle most weightlifters don’t suffer life threatening injuries. Certainly good coaching helps lifters avoid mistakes but the right shoes have been proven to be just as important.
12. Building Good Habits
No matter what your chosen occupation, building good habits is a key element of success. By getting in the habit of wearing the right shoes when you lift you reinforce the proper mindset required for effective lifting.
13. More Effective Workouts
Fewer accidents, better work habits, better body positioning and greater projection of force equals more effective workouts.
14. Better Overall Health
Better workouts equals a higher degree of overall fitness which is not only beneficial to the body but to the mind as well. Fit people in general are more effective at their jobs whether their job is operating heavy machinery or working at a brokerage.
15. And Finally: Get More Bang for Your Buck
Health club memberships are not cheap and spending your time at the gym lifting in tennis shoes is like throwing money out the window. So the last answer to the question “What are weightlifting shoes?” is this: they’re tools to help you get the most out of the money you spent to join the gym.
Lifting enormous amounts of weight in the gym is an act the body simply wasn’t designed for, like climbing Mount Everest. Under extreme conditions our feet need help in order to be able to safely and effectively do the things we ask of them. Just as no serious mountain climber would ignore the benefits of proper mountaineering footwear, no serious weightlifter should ignore the benefits of weightlifting shoes. Read more on the best weight lifting shoes for women here and check out the following article where we compare the Adidas Adipower vs Nike Romaleos against each other. It's a fantastic read and I know you will be surprised at the winner.