Getting ripped for competition is a lot of hard work. Rising to the level of Olympic competition can take many years, and is reserved for the select few, no matter how hard you work.
There are some things that can help you along on your way to the top of the the lifting world, and you can’t afford to overlook anything if you want to compete on the world-stage. Your feet are going to be the base that you build your awesome body up on, so don’t forget to strap on the best Olympic lifting shoes.
Weightlifting is all about force transfer. You want to generate force with your muscles, and direct that force at lifting a bar. What many people don’t realize when they begin lifting weights is that the shoes make all the difference.
The vast majority of shoes are designed for walking, running, cross training or something along those lines. They are designed to absorb impact, and lessen the effect of force. This is the exact opposite of what a weightlifter wants.
In addition to padding, most shoes are designed to be more or less level to the ground, and not angled at all. Again, from the perspective of a weightlifter, and especially a powerlifter, these features are not at all ideal.
While a runner needs their shoe to absorb impact, a weightlifter needs their shoe to transfer power. In addition to power transfer, modern weightlifting shoes are built with a slight downward angle, to help the lifter maintain an optimal orientation for their ankles when they begin their lifts.
After a lifter begins their motion, the shoes act as a sold base for the athlete, so that they feel comfortable holding a huge weight over their heads. This is achieved by using a very solid sole and heel, and these features are unique in the world of athletic shoes.
The low-down on lifting shoes
Weightlifting is a very specialized sport, and the right equipment can make all the difference when you train. When looking for a weightlifting shoe, there are a few factors to consider. Of course, any shoe that was designed for lifting is going to be better than one that was designed for running or cross-training, but taking a deeper look at your lifting needs will pay off big when you go to buy a new pair of shoes to train and compete in.
One thing to remember, is the weight-lifting shoes are really specialized. They are not going to be a multipurpose shoe that you can use for anything in the gym. There are some models that are a bit more multipurpose than others, but overall, lifting shoes are not versatile.
If you are serious about lifting, you need to commit to your sport and pick up a pair of shoes that were made to help you excel, and a pair of special purpose shoes are going to make a huge improvement in your training.
The main thing that separates a lifting shoe from any other kind of athletic shoe is the sole. And when looking for a weightlifting shoe, the firmness of the sole is everything. The angle of the sole is not as straightforward, and your lifting and training needs will determine what kind of angle you choose to buy.
Even slight differences in angle can make big changes to body geometry, and when a lot of weight is involved, knowing what you need can be a big help to both your safety and performance.
- For an Olympic powerlifter, a gently downward slope in the slope of the shoe is recommended.
- For all around training and deadlifting, a flat sole can be more useful.
The most important thing for a weightlifter to have is confidence. When you have 200 kilos above your head, the last thing you want to be thinking about is your foot slipping around inside of your shoe. This is where the support your shoes gives you comes into play.
Weightlifting shoes are not made to be comfortable, they are made to do a specific job and to do it well. When you buy shoes for lifting, they should support your foot when you exert yourself, and you should not have any slip during your lifting motion.
The level of grip should be good, and they should never feel like they may shift or wobble under load. The good news is that most modern lifting shoes are made with these design ideals in mind, but everyone’s feet are different, and trying a pair out a must before you commit to a design.
Lacing up tight is how a lifter binds the shoe to their body, and keeps themselves steady and grounded during a lift. There are two major systems that a lifter has to choose from, and they are both totally functional. Each one has its benefits, so look at both of them before you decide which one you prefer.
- Lace and strap: This is the tried and true system of choice for weightlifting shoes. Laces reach from the front of the shoe to the back, giving the lifter the ability to adjust the shoe to their desired level of tightness. To further help you secure the shoe to your foot, there are one or more Velcro straps to bind the shoe to the foot. While this system is effective, the downside to it is that all the lacing and strapping can take some time to get into and out of.
- BOA wire: This is a new lacing technology that is growing steadily in popularity. Sometimes referred to as “laces for toddlers” it is in fact a revolutionary lacing system that uses a dial, wires and a specially designed tongue to achieve an effective connection between the shoe and foot. It is simple to use: the wearer just has to twist the dial until the shoe is held tightly around the foot. Making adjustments is just is easy, as the wire can be loosened or tightened very quickly. Unlike the lace and strap system, removing of a pair of shoes with BOA wire laces is a breeze, just deactivate the dial, and you are out of the shoes. The downside to this system is the price, BOA wire laces tend to be built into the upper line for a brand, so the cost of getting a pair of shoes with BOA wires is going to be a bit higher. In addition to that, BOA is a patent-holding company, so the cost of the system is probably going to be higher than laces regardless of the model they are built into. That said, for convenience and ease of use, there is nothing better in the market than BOA lacing.
Making sure your feet don’t get too hot is important for more than one reason. From a purely technical perspective, wet feet are slippery feet.
The last thing you want during practice or competition is any compromise in your performance, and slippery feet wobbling around inside of your shoes would be a pretty big hindrance to your best lift. Not to mention dangerous, especially if you are pushing your limits in a competitive environment.
From a training perspective, keeping your feet as dry and comfortable as possible is also very important. Wet feet are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, and battling an infection in any part of your body while you train is a huge waste of energy.
Keeping as comfortable as possible will help you stay focused, and use your energy for what matters most: your lifts. Don’t buy shoes that are not well-ventilated. Make sure your lifting shoes are made from materials that help your feet shed heat and moisture. You won’t regret spending the extra money, especially when you are in the gym and lifting hard!
Enough talk, lets get some shoes on and start lifting
Getting the right pair of shoes to lift in is going to make a big difference in your life. Don’t be in a hurry to buy, or be obsessed with the most expensive pair. There is going to be a huge difference that you will feel immediately if you are finally giving up your cross-trainers and getting into a pair of lifting shoes.
So look through what is out there and buy a pair that you like the look of and feel like a boss wearing. You are going to lift like a beast!
Inov-8 Men’s Fastlift 335 Shoe
Features: Rip-stop Nylon upper. Laces with Velcro instep strap. Special rubber for maximum grip, flexible sections in fore-foot to accommodate flex without slippage.
This shoe is designed with Olympic-style lifting in mind. The company Inov-8 specializes in shoes for extreme uses, and has utilized a type of rubber that was developed for mountain climbing shoes in the Fastlift 335 in order to maximize grip. Raised heel for improved squat body geometry.
This model has a 3mm footbed to give minimal padding, and used a synthetic mesh interior to help the shoe shed excess heat. A Velcro strap is integrated into the design to allow you to lock your instep into the shoe to the greatest degree possible, and this shoe also features a Power-Truss in order to keep the shoe stable across its entire length. This shoe would be a great contender for a serious lifter, and offers a lot of value for the price.
Adidas Drehkraft Training Shoe
Features: Rubber sole for grip, TPU on both side for added strength. BOA lacing system, padded tongue and collar for extra support. Stable heel for Olympic style lift support.
This is a great weightlifting specific shoe that will serve you well if you are going to train and compete in Olympic style weight-lifting. It features the BOA wire lacing system, and is perfect for someone who is going to be in the gym training a lot. It also has TPU on both side of the shoe to help you maintain support while you lift.
The sole was designed especially for powerlifting, so if you plan on training specifically to lift, these shoes would be a great match for your training goals. It has a raised heel for correct body geometry, and plenty of ventilation to keep your feet breathing. Overall this is a great shoe that is perfect for a lifter who is training hard to improve their performance.
Reebok Crossfit Lifter Plus 2.0
Features: Synthetic and leather construction, twin Velcro straps. Heat activated material, forms to foot quickly. Flex-grooved outsole and special anti-friction lining inside, to prevent foot-slip.
These shoes represent a compromise between the needs of a serious lifter, and someone who lifts as a part of an overall training regimen. The footbed is a bit more flexible than you would find in a lifting-specific shoe, but it is stable enough to train in.
Another lifting feature is the heel-to-toe drop of about ¾ of in inch, which is more than enough to help you maintain a good geometry for powerlifting. The high-heel will probably take a little getting used to if you plan on running in them, but it is very doable, and lets you switch from one kind of training to another in a hurry.
The interior of the shoe has a special no-slip lining applied to it, so that you won’t be sliding around inside of these shoes while you a powering a bar off the ground and over your head. If you are looking for an all-in-one shoe that will accommodate serious lifting, these are a great contender.
Adidas Performance Adipower Weightlifting Trainer
Features: Synthetic shoe with rubber sole. Lace-up with rear Velcro strap for extra support. Purpose-built for Olympic style lifting and training, special polymer insert for added support. Ventflow opening for ventilation.
The Adidas Performance Adipower Weightlifting Trainer shoes represent a different, more traditional approach by Adidas to a lifting shoe designed especially for Olympic style weightlifters. This model uses lacing and a single Velcro strap to fit snugly the lifters feet, and also a rubber sole to maximize power transfer and stability.
They have a nice heel-to-toe drop, and will maximize your quad engagement when you squat. They are well vented and well suited for hours of training in the gym. They are not designed for running, but could be used for jump rope and other weight training. These shoes are a great option for a weightlifter who squats a lot, and are sure to preform well for you.
ASICS Lift Master Lite Cross-Trainer
Features: Seamless synthetic uppers with rubber sole. MONO SOCK fit system with reinforced vamp. Lift specific platform. Velcro strap for rear of foot. Angled sole for proper body geometry.
These shoes are a great fit for anyone who need cross-training shoes that can handle serious Olympic style lifting. They are built to handle squatting, and also function as an all-around gym shoe as well.
They are built with a seamless upper, that has a mesh vamp around the top to allow the feet to breathe, and drop heat and moisture while you are training hard. These shoes feature a wider midsole and TPU heel geometry to ensure that you are well taken care of when you lift, and also a Velcro strap to lock your feet in when you need to.
Built with a sloping sole, and a ¾ heel, these shoes will keep your body in the right position for Olympic style lifting or training. Overall these are a great value for someone who wants to lift hard, and not spend a pile of money on shoes to do it in.
Pendlay Do-Win Crossfit Weightlifting Shoes
Features: Leather and nylon construction. ¾ Inch heel with twin Velcro straps. Single sole designed to be very strong and flexible.
The Pendlay Crossfit is a great shoe if you are training to lift, and don’t need a shoe that you can run in. They are strong, and the new sole design gives you some added flexibility in the toe, which opens these shoes up to being useful beyond just squatting.
The two Velcro straps let you decide how tightly you want your feet to be held, and there is plenty of ventilation built into these lifting shoes. They have the standard ¾ heel lift, and will work great for most forms of weight training. These shoes are a great fit for a lifter, and offer a huge advantage over normal running shoes for weight lifting of any kind.
Crossmaxxe Men’s V1.0 Olympic Weight Lifting Shoes
Features: Durable synthetic construction, with mesh for ventilation. Special die-cut instep for maximum support, and dual Velcro straps for additional integrity. Non-marking rubber sole with grip pattern for additional stability. One inch heel.
These shoes feature a slightly higher than average heel lift, for people who want a little more height. Otherwise, they are well made weight-lifting shoes, and have twin Velcro straps to help hold your feet steady when you are training.
The one-inch heel would probably prevent these from being used for anything but weight training, and should be considered by anyone who is looking for a no-nonsense Olympic weight lifting shoe. They do represent a very good value for the money, and are solidly constructed from materials that should last you many years.
Pick some and get lifting!
If you are still working out in regular shoes it is time to buy a pair of shoes that were made for lifting. The benefits to using a shoe that was made specifically for Olympic style weightlifting are enormous, and you will lift better in them.
There are many options to choose from, and any purpose-built lifting shoe is going to be a huge improvement over cross-training shoes that were never intended for Olympic style lifting. Do your body a favor, and improve your lifts while you are at it, take a look around online or shop in person, but get out there, and get yourself a pair of new lifting shoes!