Like most powerlifting equipment and accessories, you have to weigh in the pros and cons, compare multiple brands and read several reviews before you set out to buy the best and most suitable pair of weightlifting shoes for your home or gym workout sessions.
Owed to their convenience, as well as being a one-time investment, home gyms are becoming more and more popular among fitness enthusiasts. Weightlifting, in particular, is one of the cheaper workouts due to the lack of equipment required. All you need is the weight bench, power rack, weights and of course, a good pair of weightlifting shoes.
It’s surprising how many people disregard the importance of using the appropriate footwear when powerlifting and instead, opt to weight train in regular running shoes. The primary reason why experts don’t advise wearing running shoes when powerlifting is because the amount of weight lifted is often compromised on in this footwear. Running shoes are designed to have air and gel in them for the purpose of absorbing shock. This means you aren’t getting in the full weight training exercise you hope for. With that in mind, here’s all you need to know about buying the right weightlifting shoes for you.
Weightlifting Shoes vs Running Shoes
Running shoes are built to absorb the shock and force that would otherwise be borne by your feet and knees. This is of grave importance when running as you could risk severe damage to your knees wearing the wrong footwear.
Weightlifting shoes, on the other hand, do the exact opposite; i.e. they are designed to create force by standing firmly on the ground, giving you more energy to lift weight. They do not absorb force in any way like a typical running shoe would.
Features of a Weightlifting Shoe:
There are various aspects of weightlifting shoes that come together to give you a better powerlifting experience. Here’s a breakdown of these important features.
Stability: Having a firm, steady hold on the ground is important when lifting weights. Particularly when you squat, your footing needs to be firm for more safety and efficiency. Weightlifting shoes with a wide base promote stability and help in sharing the weight equally.
Heels: Any weightlifting shoe with a heel height between 1/4 – 1 inch is a good choice. With a raised heel, you can squat lower and, in turn, lift with more ease. The obvious difference in experience is hard to ignore when you switch from running shoes to weightlifting shoes.
Strapping: Unlike regular running shoes, weightlifting shoes are designed to accommodate feet snuggly and comfortably, leaving no room for sliding or moving within the shoe. This increases your stability and eliminates the risk of injury should your feet slide inside the shoes.
Choosing Shoes to Suit Your Level of Weightlifting
The type of shoes you need depends on whether you’re solely into powerlifting, amateur lifting or combine weight training with other workouts at the gym. Let’s break them down into two categories:
Powerlifters: Weightlifting shoes are a must for this category. As explained earlier, heavy weightlifting requires a shoe that will not absorb force and make you use more energy. Weightlifting shoes provide more stability, safety and allow you to lift more efficiently. Apart from this, these shoes are more suitable for weightlifters who do squats on a regular basis.
Cross Trainers: For those who incorporate various exercises in their workout routines including light to moderate weight training, CrossFit shoes are the way to go. They’re suitable for running, lifting, jumping and many other gym activities with maximum leg movement.
Keeping these two categories in mind, here’s a look at 2017’s best weightlifting shoes to help you make a suitable selection.
Best Weightlifting Shoes Currently on the Market
Adidas Adipower: The successor of Adidas Adistar did not disappoint users of the brand with the new and improved version of their most popular weightlifting shoe. Adipower checks all the boxes in terms of style, efficiency and quality. It’s lighter than the Adistar thanks to the new, breathable synthetic material used on top of the shoe. All in all, this one is highly recommended for the powerlifter.
Nike Romaleos 2: This one certainly delivers value for money with its durability, performance and style. One of Nike Romaleos 2’s best features is the Power Bridge’, which is ultimately a heel cup that gives users a snug fit with no room for sliding. There are plenty of ongoing debates on whether this weightlifting shoe is better than the Adipower, but the truth is they are both excellent choices for powerlifting.
Wei Ru Warrior: This budget weightlifting shoe makes the list because it has proven to be a very effective, durable and comfortable option for a mere price of $69! The primary material used for the shoe is pure leather (hence its durability), and is considered to be one of the best of its kind in this price range. Tried and tested, if you’re a powerlifter on a budget, look no further than the Wei Ru Warrior.
Best Weightlifting Shoes for Women
While Crossfit shoes are suitable for lifting moderate weight and performing various other exercises, powerlifting requires stable, high-performance weightlifting shoes like the Nike Romaleos or Adidas Powerlift 2. Sturdy and efficient in nature, these options have a desirable heel height that allows you to achieve an improved upright position for better, safer lifting. A stable weightlifting shoe distributes weight evenly, thereby reducing the risk of injury and providing a better all-round weight training experience.
Best CrossFit Shoes For Men
In simple words, CrossFit shoes are versatile. Whether you’re going rock climbing, running, doing squats, lifting moderate weight or doing regular workouts at the gym, they keep you comfortable, allow your feet to breathe, have great traction, and do fantastically well to absorb shock. Leaning towards a more minimalist design, CrossFit shoes are light, trendy and pretty affordable. They are a hot favorite among fitness freaks, women in particular. Click here for more CrossFit shoes for men.
Best CrossFit Shoes for Women
Maximum comfort is a top priority when looking at best CrossFit shoes for women. This is because women who run a lot don’t have as much flexibility in their feet as men do. CrossFit shoes, though simple in design, aim at maximizing comfort while giving the wearer great traction and a snug fit. Durability, breathability and stability are also important for women who run competitively and lift moderate weight. For all that, and more, CrossFit shoes are a very reliable choice.
High Top Weightlifting Shoes
If your workout includes deadlifts, squats, boxing and other flat-footed gyms activities, high top weightlifting shoes are highly recommended. They are sturdy and versatile in nature with a firm footing on the ground for increased stability. High top weightlifting shoes come in various styles and price ranges starting with budget high top gym shoes (for moderate weight training), to top of the line weightlifting footwear from big name brands.
There’s no doubt about it; the current selection of weightlifting shoes on the market are highly advanced, highly competitive, and most of all, highly reliable. Over the years, the surge in quality of construction, material, and innovative ideas based on in-depth studies of the human body, have led to the creation of some of best weightlifting shoes for any powerlifter. I hope I’ve helped you make the right choice for your weight training needs; it’s always a pleasure to guide you to reach your workout goals! All the best!