Ideal Weightlifting Shoes That Is Worth Your Money
February 4th 2020
When researching all the different types of gear you could use to improve your weightlifting gains, you might have come across the importance of footwear while working out.
Powerlifting shoes, weightlifting shoes, Olympic weightlifting shoes, they are all the same, and I will just be referring to them as “powerlifting shoes.”
Although powerlifting shoes are not necessary for those that work out, they are a good addition to have for those who are trying to get their weightlifting to the next level
Powerlifting shoes will help you improve your form, stability, and the amount of weight you can move during your main lifts.
Today, I’m going to go over the purpose of powerlifting shoes, the different factors that you should pay attention to, and my picks for the best powerlifting shoes for beginners.
To start off, what are the benefits of powerlifting shoes?
What is the Purpose of Powerlifting shoes?
The purpose of powerlifting shoes is that they allow you to lift more weight.
How do they do this?
It is because they are designed with a flat sole.
Like anybody else that first started going to the gym, you might have been working out in your old pair of running shoes.
Running shoes are not ideal for lifting because of how cushioned they are.
Imagine trying to perform a squat on a mattress.
Now imagine performing a squat on the concrete floor.
On which surface do you think you will be able to lift the most weight?
The concrete surface of course!
And that is what a weightlifting shoe does.
It has a flat sole, and a stable base allowing you to transfer high amounts of force into the ground to get the bar up.
It allows you to transfer much more force than if you were to use a traditional running shoe.
Another benefit of powerlifting shoes is that some of them have a raised heel that allows for deeper squats, more upright squats.
A raised heel decreases the amount of ankle mobility required to get to the bottom position of the squat.
If you watch any Olympic weightlifter, they are usually wearing powerlifting shoes with a raised heel which allows them to keep a more upright position.
This could be beneficial if you are performing Olympic lifts, or if you want to improve your squat depth and form.
If you want to test how this feels for yourself, perform a bodyweight squat barefoot.
Now perform one with a 5-pound plate underneath your heels.
Feel any difference?
You might feel that your quadriceps contract more, your body is in a more upright position, and the squat feels like a more comfortable movement when the heel is raised.
In addition, there are many different types of powerlifting shoes with a variety of different heel heights so if the height of a 5-lb weight feels weird, just know that you have a wide selection available for you.
The third benefit of powerlifting shoes is that they make your foot much more stable.
This is because powerlifting shoes are meant to fit tighter than traditional shoes, and they also have a strap to increase the tightness.
By wrapping around the foot, and making it a tight and rigid surface, powerlifting shoes increase the amount of weight you can lift because you are more stable.
What should you pay attention for in a shoe?
As discussed earlier, the main factors you want to pay attention to when you are looking to select the proper weightlifting shoe for you are heel height, straps, and tightness (or how narrow the shoe fits).
For those who are looking into powerlifting shoes to improve the depth of their squat, or to make up for lack of ankle mobility, you want to get a shoe with a decent amount of heel height.
For those who have enough mobility, looking for shoes to deadlift in, or have no issues with the squat, you should get a shoe without a raised heel for the stability benefits as described earlier.
Other than that, the standard heel height of powerlifting shoes is 0.75”.
These will fit most men of standard height looking to improve their weightlifting.
However, if you are tall or have long femurs, you might want to go for a higher heel.
The ideal heel height is different for everyone, and it really depends on how much mobility you have, how you squat, and how your body is designed.
Refer to this infographic for more tips on choosing the correct heel height.
Straps vs Laces
As stated earlier, one of the other benefits of powerlifting shoes is that they fit your foot tightly, making your foot a more rigid, stable structure allowing you to lift more weight.
One of the variations seen among different powerlifting shoes is the number of straps they have and whether they are laced or not.
This usually isn’t a big deal, especially for those who are just getting started with lifting seriously, and I recommend getting a shoe with straps (1 or 2) rather than a shoe with laces.
Straps are easier than laces for taking on and taking off, and the difference in weightlifting would only be a couple of pounds which if you are just starting out, isn’t that big of a deal.
However, if you are a world-class competitive lifter (which then you probably already have a nice pair of powerlifting shoes), every pound matters.
So, for the sake of simplicity and ease, go for a shoe that has at least 1 strap.
Tight versus loose fit
Powerlifting shoes fit differently than the shoes that you usually wear.
Some people prefer an even tighter fit and get a size down than what they usually wear.
While others, like to find a size that is just right.
How tight you want the shoe to fit depends on your own personal preference.
But just know that competitive lifters like their shoes tighter because it provides more stability.
Shoe Selection for Different Weightlifting Sports
Now that you have learned about the different factors that you should take into account when selecting a powerlifting shoe, you should also consider what types of activities you plan on performing in the shoe so that you could select the most appropriate shoe for you.
If you want to get a powerlifting shoe for improving your squat, obviously get a raised heel.
However, if you are looking for a powerlifting shoe for deadlifting or cross-training in, you might want to consider getting a flat heel.
This is because flat heels are more flexible whereas raised heels are designed more for improving squat depth.
With that being said, here are our top picks for the best powerlifting shoes that are currently on the market.
Our top picks for the best-heeled shoe
- Adidas Adipower Weightlift Cross Trainer
Adidas Adipower Weightlift Cross Trainer
One of the classics of the powerlifting industry, Adidas Adipowers are well-known powerlifting shoes that get the job done.
Adipowers have a raised heel made form TPU (a type of plastic) that is incompressible. This allows for increased stability and longevity, unlike other shoes that have a heel that wears down over time.
In addition, the bottom sole of Adipowers is coated in a specialized rubber that improves the grip and traction of the shoe on the gym floor.
The heel is raised at a standard 0.75” which is suitable for most lifters.
The Adipowers has a single strap which allows a tighter fit.
Overall, the Adipowers are Adidas’ most popular weightlifting shoe, and for good reason.
Due to the high-quality production, and materials used, Adipowers will last you for a long time as a weightlifting shoe.
Our top picks for flat shoes
- Reebok Men's Lifter Pr Cross-trainer
Alternatively, for those who are looking for a flat-heeled shoe, you should consider the Reebok Men’s Lifter PR Cross-Trainer.
The Reebok’s PR Cross trainers are made from both syntenic and full-grain leather, allowing greater comfort and flexibility.
The heel is not elevated, so this is perfect to perform deadlifts in, and the heel is made from EVA and rubber.
The PR’s have a strap that covers the entire midfoot, keeping your foot in your shoe while doing high-performance activities like box jumps or Olympic weightlifting.
Overall, a great shoe, with a solid design that will seriously improve the amount of weight you lift.
When should beginners use powerlifting shoes?
Powerlifting shoes aren’t essential for those who have just started going to the gym.
But for those who are looking to take their weightlifting to the next level, they are very helpful.
There is no required amount of weight you need to be able to lift until you reap the benefits from powerlifting shoes.
If you feel like you may benefit give it a try!