Weightlifting shoes have come of age and today there is a plethora of brands selling specially crafted lifting shoes. Despite the remarkable evolution, even today some form of resistance exists among weightlifters when it comes to buying lifting shoes.
A common question you will see beginners or non-competitive weightlifters asking their coaches and fellow trainers is – “should I buy lifting shoes” or “are lifting shoes worth it.”
Let’s look at it this way – if you don’t wear the right lifting shoes when sweating it out at the gym then you are actually utilizing half of your potential. You will not be able to unleash your power and give your 100% unless you have the right type of shoe to correctly direct the pressure exerted by your body.
Many people resist from buying lifting shoes because they think they don’t look natural. Well, what’s natural? The rubberized plates, barbells, and lifting platforms that you use to train yourself for weightlifting are not natural either.
Whether you are a competitive weightlifter or a novice, here are a few reasons why you need to buy a lifting shoe:
These shoes are specially designed to help you get into the correct body posture needed for a snatch, clean, and jerk. They help you maintain an upright trunk position in a full-depth squat.
They give you a higher level of stability in different directions with a much wider base. You get an enhanced stability with stiffer uppers while keeping your foot firmly in position.
These shoes come with a hard sole that absorbs less pressure, so most of the force or energy you exert goes into accelerating and elevating the bars.
They come with a thoughtful design and smart technology that works together to help you lift more weight, without the risk of an injury.
What difference can you feel with lifting shoes?
Some weightlifters who resist wearing lifting shoes often say that they have a good mobility and can do deeper squats without lifting shoes. If you ask an expert, there are two main issues with their squatting.
First the depth is nowhere close to a true full depth, and second, the body posture they maintain is suboptimal at best in nature.
If you are capable of doing full-depth squats wearing flat shoes then that’s great. You may not need lifting shoes to increase your ankle and hip mobility.
However that alone does not address other issues like the stability and transfer of force in the right direction, which you cannot achieve with other shoes.
Things to expect when you make the switch:
Let me warn you that if you have been squatting, snatching, and jerking in ordinary sports shoes for a while, then you are definitely going to feel worse when you wear lifting shoes for the first time.
This is because you are used to a particular fit, and the super snug fit of a lifting shoe may make you feel uncomfortable in the beginning. However, give it some time considering that you are making a positive change.
Like any change, the switch to lifting shoes also takes some time to adapt and adjust. In the adjustment period, the lifts may not feel the same as before. Please allow some time to correct the technically bad habit that you are used to, and slowly your feet and body will adapt to the change.
You may feel two main differences as you make the shift to lifting shoes – your body will feel slightly out of balance and squats will feel weaker and uncomfortable.
Why is it so? You are used to lifting weight wearing flat shoes so the elevated heel of a lifting shoe will make you feel as if you are moving forward. It may take some time for your body to adjust to the new position for a better balance.
If you have trained all your life in flat shoes, then your squats will also feel weaker when you make the switch to lifting shoes. This is simply because you have developed a balance by combining your leg and hip strength and this equation changes when you don the weightlifting shoes. In a lifting shoe, you will rely more on quads.
Don’t lose your patience on the initial discomfort caused by the lifting shoes. Old habits die hard, so focus on retraining your body with the best lifting shoe to adjust to the correct posture and the right balance.