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Weightlifting Shoes 101...

BrotherIron

BrotherIron

TID Board Of Directors
Mar 6, 2011
10,239
2,526
#1
Ever thought about the shoes that you wear to the gym? Of course you have. You've actually spent some time thinking about which shoes to wear, and you probably have a pair designated as your 'gym shoes'. How did those shoes earn that illustrious title and serve such a noble purpose? Suitability for the task? Performance enhancement? Safety? Not usually. Comfort and looks seem to be the main criteria associated with gym shoe choice. This is a problem if your training includes any free weights at all. While this may be obvious to some, many of us will make a poor footwear decision and wear running shoes to the gym to lift weights.

Proper footwear in the gym is important, especially if you are lifting free weights. When we lift weights we want two things to happen: (1) all the force our body produces under the bar should contribute to moving the weight and (2) the weight needs to be controlled in a safe manner. If we lift in a running shoe, it's akin to trying to lift while standing on a giant marshmallow. The soles of the running shoes, the marshmallow, will absorb and dissipate a large amount of the force generated against the floor that should be directed towards moving the weight. A gel or air cell shoe is a great thing for reducing the impact shock that causes the repetitive use injuries associated with running. But in the weight room, shoes should provide for the efficient transmission of power between the bar and the ground. You can't lift as much weight in the wrong shoes.

The second issue is control of the weight - and your body - while standing on an unstable surface. A compressible medium placed between the feet and the ground will behave inconsistently enough during each rep to alter the pattern of force transmission every time. This means that the subtle points of consistent good technique on any standing exercise are impossible to control. And there is an increased chance for a balance or stability loss-induced injury while lifting heavy weights, since perfect balance cannot be assured on an imperfect surface.

Weightlifters and powerlifters have known this for more than 50 years, although the shoe choices available for their purposes were formerly quite limited. Until the 1970's, combat boots, Chuck Taylor's, and even patent leather oxfords (see old photos of Paul Anderson) were the shoes used for lifting weights. To be stable and perform optimally, a weightlifting shoe needs to be snug fitting, provide exceptional support, and have a noncompressible wedge sole with neoprene or crepe for traction against the floor. Most will lace all the way down to the toe for adjustment to individual foot width, and will have an adjustable strap across the metatarsal area for added lateral stability. When Adidas from Germany and Kahru of Finland became available on a limited basis in the US, weightlifters finally had the opportunity to use equipment specifically designed for their activity. High topped and not especially stylish, these shoes had minimal appeal to the fashion conscious, but lifters loved them because they worked.

But there was a scheduling problem: the gym and fitness club industry had just been revolutionized by the simultaneously-evolving exercise machine industry. Having removed the factors of balance, coordination, and technique from the equation, exercise machines temporarily sidelined the development of weight training shoes. Over the past two decades, free weights and the benefits of their use have crept back into gyms and fitness clubs everywhere. The need for weightlifting shoes re-emerged without a supply beyond the stalwart Adidas corporation's Power Perfect, Equipment, and Adistar models. Other major shoe brands like Nike, Puma, and Reebok began to experiment with weightlifting shoes. A number of foreign brands such as Do Win (China),and Power Firm (Canada),as well as the American company Safe-USA have also competed for a share of the growing US market. All these companies offer shoes that are designed for competitive weightlifting or powerlifting, but that are good for all basic lifts, especially the squat, given their exemplary support and incompressible heel design. A variety of powerlifting shoes with essentially flat soles and no heel lift, much like track flats or wrestling shoes, are also available from powerlifting equipment houses like Inzer (USA),and also work for basic exercise purposes. These shoes are less suited for squatting, since they require that you have better than average flexibility to squat in them, but they are excellent for floor work and standing exercises.

Another pair of shoes to buy? Is it really worth it? Yes. Effective training yields superior results. Safe training yields fewer training injuries. The logic is inescapable. For as little as $40 for a pair of old-school Chuck Taylor's or as much as $170 for the state of the art Adidas shoe, you can have the right shoe for the right job. The right shoe is important for performance and safety, and for as little as half the cost of a premium running shoe, you can look and lift like a pro.
 
Rottenrogue

Rottenrogue

Strongwoman
Jan 26, 2011
6,550
1,836
#2
I fall into the female stereotype on this one. I have chucks for box squat,wrestling shoes for deadlifting(if the ground is dirty or cold otherwise it is in socks),and truck pulling.
Oly shoes for pressing and oly squatting.

All purpose merrils for everything else.Each shoes serves it's individual purpose.

I have combat boots for high stone platform loads and powerstairs.Depending on the turf these are also a backup for tire flip.
 
T

Triax

Senior Member
Sep 23, 2010
184
3
#3
I have Chucks for squatting, SST squat shoes for deadlifting and steel toe combat boots for benching.
 
MAYO

MAYO

Bad Mother
Sep 27, 2010
2,089
571
#4
70's style puma's w/ paper thin rubber sole FTW...only cuz I can't go barefoot.
 
S

schultz1

Bangs Raiden's mom VIP
Jan 3, 2011
3,427
812
#5
olympic lifting shoes are the best hands down, for all pulling & squatting movements. The 3/4" heel height pushes the knees out over the toes and puts you in a correct position for all these movements. The heel height of an oly shoe also puts you in a position that more mimics the bodies natural squatting position which, alleviates some of the pressures on the knee vs a flat sole shoe. And the oly shoe doesnt compress, allowing all of the force to be applied to the lift. No other shoe can compete. They
 
D

Diago

New Member
Apr 8, 2011
3
0
#6
Shoes ??
Are there any such shoes , i have seen five finger shoes but have not seen any weight lifting shoes .
Recently bought the grips of weightlifting but never heard about this thing .
 
BrotherIron

BrotherIron

TID Board Of Directors
Mar 6, 2011
10,239
2,526
#8
Shoes ??
Are there any such shoes , i have seen five finger shoes but have not seen any weight lifting shoes .
Recently bought the grips of weightlifting but never heard about this thing .
Olympic Weightlifting shoes have been around as long as the sport itself which is over 50yrs. You can find them at dynamic-eleiko.com and other sites which are geared towards olympic weightlifting.
 
J

jute

Senior Member
Dec 22, 2010
142
9
#9
olympic lifting shoes are the best hands down, for all pulling & squatting movements. The 3/4" heel height pushes the knees out over the toes
Why in the world would you want your knees out over your toes when squatting?
 
SAD

SAD

TID Board Of Directors
Feb 3, 2011
3,034
1,187
#10
I was actually wondering the same thing, but seeing as how I'm not a powerlifter, I kept my mouth shut. For my own knowledge, could someone please verify that you want your ankles, knees, and shoulders in a straight line for the safest and most powerful squatting position?
 
BrotherIron

BrotherIron

TID Board Of Directors
Mar 6, 2011
10,239
2,526
#11
Why in the world would you want your knees out over your toes when squatting?
B/c in Oly Lifting the lifter has to squat hamstrings to calves and therefore you knees have to come over the toes. It's impossible to squat that low without that happening.
 
BrotherIron

BrotherIron

TID Board Of Directors
Mar 6, 2011
10,239
2,526
#12
I was actually wondering the same thing, but seeing as how I'm not a powerlifter, I kept my mouth shut. For my own knowledge, could someone please verify that you want your ankles, knees, and shoulders in a straight line for the safest and most powerful squatting position?
Olympic lifting and Powerlifting are VERY different sports. The bars they use are different, the lifts are different, etc. Powerlifting has you sitting back into a squat with a low bar position, feet far apart, and you only lower yourself to parallel. Olympic weightlifting has the lifter squat with a narrow stance (shoulder width or less),high bar, and the squatter has to lower his hams till they touch the calves. Two very distinctly different types of squatting.
 
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