The Benefits of Lifting Shoes
So you've started going to the gym...
And the normal pair of shoes isn't cutting it any more.
You've watched all the youtube form videos, so that isn't an issue. Your squats are shaky and unstable, and deadlifts are similarly difficult too.
Find out why a pair of lifting shoes will improve your gym experience drastically.
Normal running/walking shoes are designed for entirely different purposes than squat shoes are. Running shoes are designed to absorb repeated impact and cushion your foot which means that they have a compressible sole. This is a HUGE disadvantage for lifting, because it not only gives you a shaky footing, but also takes away power when you are pushing against the ground.
A lifting shoe will have a sole that compresses very little or not at all depending on how much money you spend. They also tend to have a raised heel which helps compensate for poor ankle mobility and allow you to go deeper on squats comfortably. Proper form is the key to getting the most out of any exercise.
Shoes meant for squats are amazing compared to their non solid soled brethren. I can go so much further down into squatting position with the correct posture than I can otherwise. Trust me, your legs will thank you!
- Provide stability
- Allow for better form
Those two things mean that you can move more weight, and do it safely! Safety being the most important because there is nothing worse than getting injured when you're working out.
Key factors of lifting shoes
To look at when looking at a pair of shoes to buy for squats and other lifts. These are what will determine what makes a good shoe for YOU personally. A lot of it comes down to personal preference.
- Price (how much you're willing to spend)
- Heel height (how much ankle mobility you have)
- Type of shoe (Cross trainers are good for crossfit lift, weightlifting for more powerlifting)
- Style (Perhaps a little silly, but you want to look good right!?)
- Features (Two straps instead of one, lacing systems etc.)
After you've gone through these factors, you should have a good idea of what shoe is right for you. And there are plenty to choose from! Take your time to research the differences between them.
Even though something like heel height can seem like a small thing, it's actually huge. It completely changes the shoe's specialty in squats or deadlifts. (A higher heel being more beneficial for squats, and vice versa)
CrossFit is all the rage right now, so for those types of workouts with lots of movement and intensity you would probably want a cross trainer than a dedicated weight lifting shoe. Although some people doing it will just use a lifting shoe anyways, I don't really recommend that if the shoe isn't designed for it. Ignoring that can lead to injuries that keep you out of the gym!
Some shoes offer two straps instead of one as pictured below and I really like that feature. It's just a little bit of added stability that ensures your foot will not wiggle when going into a big lift. other shoes have 'laceless' designs that are interesting and convenient.
It makes sense when you think about it
You wouldn't use a golf shoe to go jogging, you wouldn't wear a soccer shoe to play basketball etc.
I could keep going for a while with these examples, but I'm sure you get the point. All of these sports have specialized shoes to cater to the different needs that each one has.
So why wouldn't you use a shoe designed for squats and weight lifting in the gym? It's just common sense to use the right tool to get the job done.
Even if you don't plan on competing in power lifting or being a SERIOUS lifter, there are plenty of affordable options that won't break the bank and will significantly improve your lifting sessions. Even brands like Adidas have lower priced offerings if you don't want to spend more money. It's essential to have some in almost any case if you go to the gym.
And the great thing is that they will last you years, so don't hesitate to spend some money to get a pair that are high quality and look good. Seriously. Since they are only used for the gym they do not experience the same wear and tear that other shoes might from daily activities or running around a field.
To sum it all up
A good pair of squat shoes will improve the quality of your workouts tremendously.
The gap between a pair of them and running shoes is massive, possibly the size of the distance from the moon to the Earth! (Okay, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration)
If you are working out in anything else, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Even if you are a beginner I highly recommend getting a pair to get the best squat, deadlift, and other olympic lift experience possible. There's no requirement that you have to be an advanced lifter to wear the proper footwear for your goals in the gym. They're for everyone in the gym.
There are a lot of different brands out there and it can be tricky to find the right pair for your needs. I highly recommend checking out a review site like http://bestliftingshoes.org to not go shopping blind. Even weightlifting shoes have different specialties like CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, or just regular gym use.
Do you have a pair of lifting shoes? Share your experience and favorite brand in the comments!