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5 Benefits of Buying Proper Weightlifting Shoes

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TYR White L-1 Lifters

Shoes are probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about weightlifting. You see a big, buff guy lifting a huge weight and you dream of the day you’ll be able to do that yourself. That’s a great dream to have, but that big, buff guy probably has a decent pair of weightlifting shoes on, and you should, too. 

Weightlifting shoes are not something brands thought of to get more of your money. They’re specialized equipment every lifter should have because they make your workouts safer, more effective, and they can even help with some ankle issues. If you’re lifting and you don’t have them – get them; you need them. 

You’re probably still on the fence, but that’s okay. There’s a lot of benefits in this article that will sway you our way and by the end, you’ll be running out to buy some new shoes. 

Shoes on!

 What Are Weightlifting Shoes?

You know how you can’t really run properly without a good pair of running shoes? It’s kind of the same thing with weightlifting shoes. You can lift without them, of course, but your workout will be a million times better if you have them. 

If you are serious about strength training, you’ll get yourself a pair of weightlifting shoes. It may not seem like it at first glance, but these specialized shoes play a big part in improving both the performance and the safety of your exercise. It doesn’t matter what you want to use them for – cleans, snatches, or if you just want a pair of shoes for squatting, the important thing is to have them on while you’re working out. 

You don’t even have to look closely to notice they have a pretty distinct look- The elevated heel stands out immediately and it’s what sets these shoes apart from your regular, everyday footwear. The elevated heel improves the mobility of your ankles and makes it easier for you to get a deeper squat position. If you have issues with ankle mobility, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without these shoes because they’re particularly beneficial for people with ankle issues. 

The sole is another important component that differentiates weightlifting shoes from the rest – it’s firm and non-compressible, which makes perfect sense because lifters need a stable platform to generate maximum force against the ground. Not to mention how much it contributes to stability, which is important for both form and reducing injuries. The majority of weightlifting shoes have secure straps or laces to hold your feet in place and improve the stability of your feet in general. Can you imagine what would happen if you slipped during a lift? It can be really dangerous, so you want to reduce the chances of that happening. Weightlifting shoes can prevent slipping or movement within the shoe during lifts and make your entire workout safer. 

The structure of these shoes is quite rigid, and that is intentional because it distributes the weight effectively and ensures that the force generated during lifts is efficiently transferred from your body to the ground. 

As specialized as they look, the design of weightlifting shoes is grounded in practicality and biomechanics. Weightlifting is challenging (to say the least) and these shoes can help you with some of the obstacles you’ll encounter. 

Do I Need Weightlifting Shoes?

Well… You probably do, but you might not. That’s the most accurate response you can get if you want it to be short. This depends on a lot of things and, although weightlifting shoes are fantastic, they’re not necessary for everyone. 

If you lift and you notice that you’re struggling with things like ankle flexibility or maintaining proper form, then weightlifting shoes are a good idea. If the mobility of your ankles is limited, you’ll have a hard time with getting a deep squat, and the elevated heel can help with this issue. 

Those that lift really heavy weights and want to improve their performance should also think about including weightlifting shoes into their routine because they’ll get a stable platform for their exercises, and stability is extremely important for weightlifting. The shoes will also help with preventing forward lean during squats. 

Basically, if you’re really focused on strength training and do a lot of weightlifting, you can’t go wrong with weightlifting shoes. But if you mostly do exercises like running and general gym workouts with a bit of lifting sprinkled here and there, you’ll be fine with just regular old athletic shoes. 

 5 Weightlifting Shoes Benefits

Wearing lifting shoes during your exercises just makes the whole experience… Better. That sounds really vague, but it’s true. Your lifting technique, safety, ankle mobility, everything benefits from just one pair of shoes. 

  • Improved Stability

  • Weightlifting depends heavily on stability, and weightlifting shoes improve it. Lifting shoes will help your form stay correct (which is important for reducing injuries), and they’ll prevent any unnecessary movement or shifts in weight distribution. 

  • Better Ankle Mobility

  • The elevated heel is an important feature because it improves the mobility of your ankle. People with ankle issues will appreciate this more than others, but even if you don’t have those kinds of struggles, the higher heel will help you get a deeper squat. 

  • Optimized Lifting Technique

  • The combination of stable soles and elevated heels helps your lifting technique because it gives you a really solid platform. This way, you’ll be able to focus on the correct form and make sure that the force is transferred efficiently from your body to the ground. 

  • Efficient Weight Distribution

  • Weightlifting shoes are rigid for a reason – to spread the weight effectively. This prevents uneven pressure on your feet and makes your lifts balanced and controlled. 

     What to Look for in Lifting Shoes

    Deciding you want weightlifting shoes is just the first step; there’s a whole lot of reading reviews, looking at the specs and learning about materials that stand between you and having the perfect shoes. 

    It can be a process if you’re not that experienced with buying specialized shoes, but we have a list of things to look out for to make it easier for you. 

    Heel Height and Type

    Heel height is one of the most important things to pay attention to because it varies among weightlifting shoes. Everything between 0.6 and 1.25 inches is okay, but the most common height you’ll find is 0.75 inches. The type of heel is important, too, because it can influence stability and durability. Go for a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) heel because it’s more durable than wood, and it’s still stable. 

    Sole Rigidity

    The sole is anything but a passive component in weightlifting shoes because it can make a lot of difference in your lifting experience. The ideal lifting shoes have firm, non-compressible soles to create a stable platform, prevent energy dissipation, and give you the amount of support you need for your lift. This doesn’t sound too comfortable, but that’s not the point of lifting shoes – you want support and stability, not plushy heaven for your feet. 

    Foot and Ankle Support

    When you start exploring all the different kinds of weightlifting shoes, make sure you end up buying ones that offer a snug fit and that are secured by straps or laces. This will prevent your foot from shifting and moving too much within the shoe, and it will make your foot more stable in general. 

    Material and Durability

    Durability is directly linked to the material (or materials) used to produce the shoes. You can go for something more classic, like leather, or you can go for a blend of synthetic materials that offer more versatility. Just make sure the materials are good quality (although leather is known for being durable already), breathable, and flexible. And keep in mind that leather needs to be broken in, so if you buy leather shoes, don’t expect them to be too comfortable at first. 


    Look at these shoes as an investment that will last you for years and years. That doesn’t mean you should go into debt, of course, but opting for a super cheap pair of shoes is never a good idea when it comes to specialized equipment. Choose something from a reputable brand, go through a few reviews if you can find them, and then buy something in your price range. Just make sure the shoes you pick have the most important features weightlifting shoes should have and that they’re functional. 


    That was a lot of shoe talk, but you really need to make sure you have proper shoes, especially if you’re lifting, Weightlifting is challenging just by itself and you don’t need a random pair of shoes making it any harder, so do yourself a favor and get something that’s specialized and that will help your performance and safety. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it would be great if the shoes you buy came from a reputable brand that knows how to make weightlifting shoes because, believe it or not, there’s a lot that goes into making them.

    Do you wear weightlifting shoes, and do you have a favorite brand? What difference did you see in your technique when you started wearing lifting shoes? 

    Let’s see some shoe talk from your end!

    Shoes out!


    1. Aaron Michael Pangan, Matthew Leineweber "Footwear and Elevated Heel Influence on Barbell Back Squat: A Review," Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 143, no. 9 (2021): 090801.
    2. Hayley S. Legg, Mark Glaister, Daniel J. Cleather, Jon E. Goodwin "The Effect of Weightlifting Shoes on the Kinetics and Kinematics of the Back Squat," Journal of Sports Sciences 35, no. 5 (2017): 508-515.

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