Lifting Shoes: What Are They and Do You Need Them?

by Matt Weik

If you do squats, deadlift, or any other strength training on a regular basis, then you know just how important it is to master the form of your lifts. Though these exercises may seem like relatively basic movements, maintaining perfect form is key to improving the effectiveness of your training and preventing injuries. One of the things you need to consider is what’s on your feet. Are you using running shoes, lifting shoes, or the dreaded flip flops?

Depending on your training style and the movements that you’re doing, lifting shoes may be your best option. But what exactly are lifting shoes, and what makes them important? This article will break down everything you need to know about lifting shoes so that you have a better understanding of whether or not you should consider investing in a pair.

What Are Lifting Shoes?

For decades, lifting shoes have been used mostly by Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters to enhance performance by aiding in certain strength movements. Compared to normal sneakers, lifting shoes come with a flat sole and are usually much heavier in weight. Also, lifting shoes are made of a hard and non-compressible material and have a high/raised heel.

Now, what exactly would you want or need lifting shoes for? What’s the purpose or goal you’re trying to achieve?? Let’s check out the benefits.

The Benefits of Lifting Shoes

Below, you’ll find some of the most common benefits of why you may want to utilize lifting shoes during your workouts.

1. Elevate Heel, Solid Base, and Ankle Support

One of the biggest problems that beginners face is poor flexibility, leading to a lack of mobility.

Lifting shoes are designed to wrap around your feet and provide them with support. The elevated heel helps to get deeper, keeps the knees pointed, and gives sufficient ankle mobility. This, in turn, improves overall posture and increases the power that can be applied to lifts.

2. Improve Your Mobility

Have you ever noticed the elevated heels in lifting shoes? That is basically to help you with positioning and improve your mobility — especially for ankles, hips, and feet. The increased mobility help maintain posture and lift some heavy weight.

Poor ankle mobility can lead to issues like having your knees caving in while you squat. Therefore, it is extremely important to choose the right shoes.

3. Reduce Injury

While doing complex movements and lifting heavy weights, the chances of getting injured can increase. This is primarily because the rubber-soled shoes have an unstable base and do not provide the necessary support and stability needed during heavy lifts. Wearing shoes that provide cushioning will flex and give, which can increase the likelihood of getting injured.

When it comes to injury prevention while lifting heavy weights, such as movements like the squat, deadlift, snatch, etc., lifting shoes can be a savior. With a solid base, it provides support and a solid foundation under you. So, lifting shoes not only have the potential to help you to lift more weight but also help in preventing injuries.

Do You Really Need Lifting Shoes?

After reading through all the information above, you might be wondering if you really need a pair of shoes just for the purpose of lifting weights. Honestly, if you are a casual lifter who isn’t concerned with max lifts and pushing around extraordinary weight, you don’t need lifting shoes. But if weightlifting or powerlifting is an actual sport for you, then you definitely need lifting shoes to improve your overall performance.

Can You Use Running Shoes for Lifting?

The next question you may be asking is if it’s okay to do both running and lifting in running shoes? Well, the answer is NO (even though you see a bunch of people doing it in the gym). There is a significant difference between running shoes, training shoes, and lifting shoes.

Running shoes provide a lot of cushioning and have a high heel drop, whereas training and lifting shoes are made for the purpose of training. When lifting weights, you don’t want a shoe with a lot of give in it.

It is recommended to wear training shoes if you’re a casual lifter or lifting shoes while training if you’re advanced and looking to move some heavy weight. The wrong shoes can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort. Also, it can decrease your overall performance and increase the chances of injury.

There are plenty of training shoes out there for you to choose from. Yet, one of the most common is still the old-school Chuck Taylor’s.

How to Choose the Best Lifting Shoes?

While choosing a pair of lifting shoes, keep these things in mind:
• The type of training you will engage in
• The surface where you will work out or train
• The comfort level, how they feel when you wear the lifting shoes
• The weight of your body helps to improve the durability of the shoes
• The shape and the size of your feet (remember, there’s no point in buying expensive shoes that are not well-fitted).

Go Move Some Heavy Weight

Time to take your lifting game to the next level by getting the perfect pair of lifting shoes. If you have further questions, one of the trainers in your gym should be able to help you or speak with a shoe specialist at your local sporting goods store/shoe retailer.