Weight Lifting Shoes 101

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    Weight Lifting Shoes 101


    Weightlifting Shoes 101
    Weightlifting Shoes 101
    Lon Kilgore, Ph.D. and Mark Rippetoe, CSCS
    ______________________________ __________
    Ever thought about the shoes that you wear to the gym? Of course you have. You've actually spent some time thinking about which shoes to wear, and you probably have a pair designated as your 'gym shoes'. How did those shoes earn that illustrious title and serve such a noble purpose? Suitability for the task? Performance enhancement? Safety? Not usually. Comfort and looks seem to be the main criteria associated with gym shoe choice. This is a problem if your training includes any free weights at all. Most of us would never consider wearing a pair of Bruno Magli's to play racquetball. They are built to look good, not to perform well on the court. While this may be obvious to some, many of us will make an equally poor footwear decision and wear running shoes to the gym to lift weights.
    Proper footwear in the gym is important, especially if you are lifting free weights. When we lift weights we want two things to happen: (1) all the force our body produces under the bar should contribute to moving the weight and (2) the weight needs to be controlled in a safe manner. If we lift in a running shoe, it's akin to trying to lift while standing on a giant marshmallow. The soles of the running shoes, the marshmallow, will absorb and dissipate a large amount of the force generated against the floor that should be directed towards moving the weight. A gel or air cell shoe is a great thing for reducing the impact shock that causes the repetitive use injuries associated with running. But in the weight room, shoes should provide for the efficient transmission of power between the bar and the ground. You can't lift as much weight in the wrong shoes.
    The second issue is control of the weight - and your body - while standing on an unstable surface. A compressible medium placed between the feet and the ground will behave inconsistently enough during each rep to alter the pattern of force transmission every time. This means that the subtle points of consistent good technique on any standing exercise are impossible to control. And there is an increased chance for a balance or stability loss-induced injury while lifting heavy weights, since perfect balance cannot be assured on an imperfect surface.
    Weightlifters and powerlifters have known this for more than 50 years, although the shoe choices available for their purposes were formerly quite limited. Until the 1970's, combat boots, Chuck Taylor's, and even patent leather oxfords (see old photos of Paul Anderson) were the shoes used for lifting weights. To be stable and perform optimally, a weightlifting shoe needs to be snug fitting, provide exceptional support, and have a noncompressible wedge sole with neoprene or crepe for traction against the floor. Most will lace all the way down to the toe for adjustment to individual foot width, and will have an adjustable strap across the metatarsal area for added lateral stability. When Adidas from Germany and Kahru of Finland became available on a limited basis in the US, weightlifters finally had the opportunity to use equipment specifically designed for their activity. High topped and not especially stylish, these shoes had minimal appeal to the fashion conscious, but lifters loved them because they worked.
    But there was a scheduling problem: the gym and fitness club industry had just been revolutionized by the simultaneously-evolving exercise machine industry. Having removed the factors of balance, coordination, and technique from the equation, exercise machines temporarily sidelined the development of weight training shoes. Over the past two decades, free weights and the benefits of their use have crept back into gyms and fitness clubs everywhere. The need for weightlifting shoes re-emerged without a supply beyond the stalwart Adidas corporation's Power Perfect, Equipment, and Adistar models. Other major shoe brands like Nike, Puma, and Reebok began to experiment with weightlifting shoes. A number of foreign brands such as Do Win (China), and Power Firm (Canada), as well as the American company Safe-USA have also competed for a share of the growing US market. All these companies offer shoes that are designed for competitive weightlifting or powerlifting, but that are good for all basic lifts, especially the squat, given their exemplary support and incompressible heel design. A variety of powerlifting shoes with essentially flat soles and no heel lift, much like track flats or wrestling shoes, are also available from powerlifting equipment houses like Inzer (USA), and also work for basic exercise purposes. These shoes are less suited for squatting, since they require that you have better than average flexibility to squat in them, but they are excellent for floor work and standing exercises.
    Another pair of shoes to buy? Is it really worth it? Yes. Effective training yields superior results. Safe training yields fewer training injuries. The logic is inescapable. For as little as $40 for a pair of old-school Chuck Taylor's or as much as $170 for the state of the art Adidas shoe, you can have the right shoe for the right job. The right shoe is important for performance and safety, and for as little as half the cost of a premium running shoe, you can look and lift like a pro.
    Solid sole design and micro-adjustable arch support make today’s economy lifting shoe perform on par with more expensive, stylish, and sought after premier shoes but the old standbys still work.

    Top Left - Adidas Adistar ($170).
    Top Right – Inzer Pillar ($115).
    Center Left – Werksan lifting shoe ($99).
    Center Right –. VS Athletics lifting shoe ($50).
    Bottom – The most economical choice, the Converse Chuck Taylor® All Star ($40)
    If your going to squat or train heavy get some Chucks. Cross training, running shoes, ect are simply no acceptable.

    And if you want to get serious a specialty squatting shoe can be helpful.
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    I use to use adidas shell tops. They had a flat sole and worked well. Now that I train at home I go barefoot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstrong20 View Post
    I use to use adidas shell tops. They had a flat sole and worked well. Now that I train at home I go barefoot.
    i do barefoot for deadlifting but definetly don't for heavy squating do to ankle support. Definetly don't see myself going for that 800 attemp barefoot.

    I posted this because i see so many people posting squat vids with running or similiar athletic shoes on. And you can just see there knee moving all over the place as the heel rolls around inside that cushy shoe.

    just makes me cringe.
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    i squatted 600lbs with just a belt and converse runners hahahaha i looove my converse, but then again they are like 4 years old so they are flat as hell and after countless squat workout flat as can be
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    This article basically convinced me to go out and buy a new pair of chucks...thanks 'buki
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    barefoot, dito
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    Quote Originally Posted by PumpingIron View Post
    This article basically convinced me to go out and buy a new pair of chucks...thanks 'buki
    same here. i think ill go get my FIRST pair.
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    Been meaning to get a pair of Chucks. Strained my back doing squats yesterday..wearing Merrell hiking shoes.. Oopsey daisey.
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    i used to wear these sweet adidas shoes that were perfect, and stylish enough to double as street shoes. i actually had three pairs. only problem - they were a strange slip in design, so after awhile, the "stretch" portion lost a little of its elasticity, and were not as tight around the upper portions of me feet as I would have liked.
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    i use nike dunks.
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    Im all about the Nikes man.....I cant stand Chucks i cant see how anyone wears them Haha
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    I need to get a pair.
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    Use some kind of heavy steel-toed boots. That was you get the stability of the heel, ankle support, and protection of your toe incase you drop a weight on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kabuki View Post
    i do barefoot for deadlifting but definetly don't for heavy squating do to ankle support. Definetly don't see myself going for that 800 attemp barefoot.

    I posted this because i see so many people posting squat vids with running or similiar athletic shoes on. And you can just see there knee moving all over the place as the heel rolls around inside that cushy shoe.

    just makes me cringe.
    Yeah I made the mistake of wearing shox to a gym one time on leg day. I didn't feel stable at all. I have a pretty narrow stance as far as powerlifting style squating goes so thats probably why ankle support isn't as important to me. Not to mention I'm no where near the 800lbs mark yet either so things may change 300lbs from now.lol Do you squat wide like chuck vogelphol? I tried that once and couldn't walk right for a week.lol I obviously didn't think about the flexibility it would take ahead of time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstrong20 View Post
    Yeah I made the mistake of wearing shox to a gym one time on leg day. I didn't feel stable at all. I have a pretty narrow stance as far as powerlifting style squating goes so thats probably why ankle support isn't as important to me. Not to mention I'm no where near the 800lbs mark yet either so things may change 300lbs from now.lol Do you squat wide like chuck vogelphol? I tried that once and couldn't walk right for a week.lol I obviously didn't think about the flexibility it would take ahead of time.
    i'm medium wide. yes that is something you have to slowly work into for sure....you don't just do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kabuki View Post
    i'm medium wide. yes that is something you have to slowly work into for sure....you don't just do it.

    YouTube - Squat 755x1
    Awesome squat bro. What weight class do you compete in?
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    thanks,

    242
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    I don't understand the appeal of Chuck's quite honestly. I've owned 2 pairs of weightlifting shoes in my life. One pair of addidas for weightlifting ~$110, and I've had them for 12yrs, and they are still in perfect condition. I also bought a pair of safe-usa's for powerlifting for ~$99 15years ago, and I just put them to rest. The leather was fine, and I probably could've gotten away with just resoling them, but I've decided to splurge on a new pair for my birthday. It hurts a little to shell out $150 (at today's prices) for a new pair of shoes, but if you realize that they will likely last well into your master's lifting years, it is well worth it.
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    anybody have any experience with the reebok workout line of shoes. Some of them look good, they are full lace, no straps, and they are really cheap at finishline. Only issues I see are maybe not so great a grip from the rubber outsole, would have to test it in person.

    oh man those adidas ones look sweet, though the only ones I saw would run ya about $200. yikes. I'll stick to my s.carters for now.
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    The Nike Zoom TR might be a good training shoe. I know the Free 7.0s are.

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    I've got a blacked out pair of chucks. I either use them for deads / squats, or I go barefoot.
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    Im hoping Santa brings me some Metal Squat shoes for christmas. Or my birthday. Or my Anniversary. Or for Thursday

    Jason
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Pegg View Post
    Im hoping Santa brings me some Metal Squat shoes for christmas. Or my birthday. Or my Anniversary. Or for Thursday

    Jason
    Time to hit up Santa Wendler.
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    I like wrestling shoes the best, ascics makes good cheap ones.

    The adidas weightlifting shoes look nice but are too pricey.

    I even wear old flat soled Air Jordans from time to time (although the AIR makes for an unstable surface in the heel when squating/DLing)
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    How come weightlifting specific shoes always look to have elevated heels but then people seem to always recommend against lifting in boots?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugger View Post
    How come weightlifting specific shoes always look to have elevated heels but then people seem to always recommend against lifting in boots?
    Olympic lifters utilize the elevated feel because it allows them to get under the bar quicker and deeper during the catch phase of their movements. They will also give some people , such as myself, better balance and stability. The flat shoe is making a push in powerlifting circles because it allows you to sit back further and push through your heels instead of off your toes. Also flat shoes are going to create stronger ankles and are said to keep knees in better shape due to the alignment of the joints and the different stress points that are caused during a squat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReaperX View Post
    Use some kind of heavy steel-toed boots. That was you get the stability of the heel, ankle support, and protection of your toe incase you drop a weight on it.
    Vulcan Safety Shoes!

    They're all I wore for years (they sold 'em @ the steel mill where my dad & I worked) - don't think they make sneaks, though - and my last pair of wellingtons wore out decades ago....

    I like my li'l chinese kung-fu shoes - simplest/cheapest thing ever, just enough cushion, no placement distortion. I don't go barefoot when it's THIS cold!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhuge67 View Post
    The Nike Zoom TR might be a good training shoe. I know the Free 7.0s are.


    i like those, but for training, i use my 3 yr old Nike Air Max. Great protection around outside of foot. At this point, a cushion hardly exist. I normally wear Nike airs at work since i walk all day and New Balance Zips when i go out.

    Ill take pics of the Gym one if i get a chance today afteri apply some more Shoe Goop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MentalTwitch View Post
    i like those, but for training, i use my 3 yr old Nike Air Max. Great protection around outside of foot. At this point, a cushion hardly exist. I normally wear Nike airs at work since i walk all day and New Balance Zips when i go out.

    Ill take pics of the Gym one if i get a chance today afteri apply some more Shoe Goop.
    Those NB Zips look / sound great - but they only come in a D width. I need EE...
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    Quote Originally Posted by BodyWizard View Post
    Those NB Zips look / sound great - but they only come in a D width. I need EE...
    oh. I dint notice that. I just buy them. They are a bit slim, especially the running ones i first bought.
    The ones i have now dont seem to be as slim. I get them off Ebay. I say search fro them, if you walk alot or run frequently, def. a good choice.

    EDIT: Here ya go BodyWizard. Joe's New Balance Outlet - Discount Men's Shoes
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    MT, you're brilliant! LOVE that link , as New Balance is all I wear ('cept for weddings & funerals)

    Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by BodyWizard View Post
    MT, you're brilliant! LOVE that link , as New Balance is all I wear ('cept for weddings & funerals)

    Thanks!

    haha no problem man. Not bad prices there either.
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    This is the power lifting forum. With this in mind I have to state that the new balance Zip is a very poor choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kabuki View Post
    This is the power lifting forum. With this in mind I have to state that the new balance Zip is a very poor choice.
    haha, sorry bro. i knew someone would get tired of the hijack.
    I fully agree though. It is garbage for lifting, but for everyday comfort and such i like them. I walk for 6-10 hours shifts at work and i need the help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmiller383 View Post
    Olympic lifters utilize the elevated feel because it allows them to get under the bar quicker and deeper during the catch phase of their movements. They will also give some people , such as myself, better balance and stability. The flat shoe is making a push in powerlifting circles because it allows you to sit back further and push through your heels instead of off your toes. Also flat shoes are going to create stronger ankles and are said to keep knees in better shape due to the alignment of the joints and the different stress points that are caused during a squat.
    i was gonna ask why the converse were good because they seem to be so flat and cousionless...now i undertsnad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad2131 View Post
    i was gonna ask why the converse were good because they seem to be so flat and cousionless...now i undertsnad.
    i actually have the back half of the sole of my converse cut out to provide a negative rake to my shoe. It really helps with sitting back in the squat and with getting behind the bar in sumo deadlifting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kabuki View Post
    i actually have the back half of the sole of my converse cut out to provide a negative rake to my shoe. It really helps with sitting back in the squat and with getting behind the bar in sumo deadlifting.
    PM with more details?
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