These Shoes Were Made for Lifting
By Mike Dineen
Depending on how hardcore you are when it comes to lifting, you might consider investing in a pair of proper weightlifting shoes.
While athletic shoes are important for higher impact activities like running, lifting is better done without the typical arch support and cushioning we’re used to with traditional running shoes.
Jordan Lee, a Charles Poliquin-certified regional-level strength and conditioning coach, highly recommends lifting shoes for beginner to professional lifters. “Lifting shoes are designed with a slightly elevated heel, which can help a lifter to maintain proper form and extension in the spine. By wearing a weightlifting shoe, what you’re essentially doing is putting less stress on the Achilles Tendon, which in turn allows for a greater range of motion.”
For traditional weightlifting shoes, I’d recommend having a look at Risto Sports. This American company’s shoes are expertly designed by professionals and handmade in an ethical factory in Ecuador using locally sourced materials.
I’d also recommend checking out Inov-8’s Fastlift model, made from completely vegan materials. While Inov-8’s products are made overseas, the company has taken real, transparent steps to ensure their products are ethically made, and that their carbon footprint is minimized. As an alternative to lifting shoes, Inov-8 offers their trademarked Powerheel, designed as an attachment to your own gym shoes which creates the same effect as a weightlifting shoe. Check out the whole Inov-8 line here.
While lifting shoes are a great investment, a flat-bottomed, simple shoe can also be perfect for mastering the squat, deadlift, or clean. A flat shoe ensures the lifter maintains natural balance according to the shape of his or her foot, as opposed to the shape of the shoe. In addition, the thick sole of athletic shoes sometimes means we may overextend during dead lifts.
My personal favourite is the Ethletic line of low-top sneakers, which you can find online at Nice Shoes. While these shoes look like the traditional “chucks” many of us have owned at least once in our lifetime, Ethletic’s line is made from 100% Vegan materials, and manufactured in ethical working conditions.
Although weightlifting shoes are a great investment, Jordan urges lifters to remember that if you’re having difficulty squatting, the shoe won’t necessarily fix the problem. “If you’re not able to properly complete a lift without maintaining spinal extension – if your back collapses in – there may be other issues that are playing a factor.” Jordan recommends thorough warming up and stretching before lifting.