Olympic Weightlifting Shoes for the Wise Lifter
Whether you’re a professional weightlifter or someone who plans on trying out Olympic weightlifting as a simple hobby, a competitive sport, or as an effective way to achieve your fitness goals, you’ll need not only the proper knowledge, discipline and training but also the right equipment and gears like weightlifting shoes. Wearing appropriate shoes when training for this type of sport and exercise is very critical as it can greatly affect not just the efficiency and effectiveness of your workout and performance but also your safety and risk of incurring injuries. So here, we’ll take a look at the qualities that you need to consider when shopping for a pair of Olympic weightlifting shoes as well as some of the top picks available in the market.
Why you need them
There are two fundamental types of lifts in Olympic weightlifting. This first type is the “snatch” lift wherein the lifter raises the weight from the floor and carries it straight up to over his or her head in one single motion. The second type is the “clean and jerk” lift wherein the lifter first carries the weight from the floor up to his or her shoulders and then raises it up to over his or her head. To be able to do both types safely and effectively, your feet should be properly positioned, firmly supported and adequately protected or you won’t be able to manage the enormous amount of strength and force that your body has to produce and excerpt as well as the significant amount of weight that your body has to sustain and carry.
Without the necessary structure, cushioning and padding, which is available in Olympic weightlifting shoes, you also run the risk of incurring injuries and compromising your training and performance as you won’t have the necessary support and protection that will enable you to exert the needed amount of force and to stand on your feet properly, confidently, and as comfortably as you should when lifting weights. On the other hand, you’ll be able to maximize your training and fully enjoy the benefits of this type of workout if you use quality Olympic weightlifting shoes every time you exercise or join in weightlifting competitions.
Lifting weights in regular shoes also pose some serious dangers for lifters since regular shoes are not designed and have no capacity to hold your feet in a proper and stable position so your ankles won’t roll under an extreme amount of weight when training or competing. Note also that unlike weightlifting shoes, which have solid flat soles and firm cushioned surface for reduced sole compression, regular shoes have padded soles that compress under pressure and absorb too much tension causing the body to sink into the shoes when lifting weights and therefore decreasing the body’s capacity to exert the amount of force needed to lift and sustain the weight.
Qualities of a pair of weightlifting shoes
Weightlifting shoes are generally and specifically designed to offer stability and safety when performing lifts. Thus, the fit, composition and structure of the sole, and heel support of such type of shoes differ from those of regular shoes in some major ways.
Sole for Stability
Traction and support provided by your shoes would have great effects on your stability when you lift weights. Ankle rolls can be extremely dangerous so it’s important that your feet stay firmly secure and tight in position so they won’t slide out of place and cause injuries and imbalance. The sole of weightlifting shoes are usually composed of materials such as wood, leather, plastic or a molded composite substance built into a rubber or foam outsole.
Fit for Comfort
Being comfortable in your shoes is also critical to the success or failure of your performance when lifting weights. Not only do your feet need to stand firmly in your shoes, they also need to fit comfortably in the shoes and be free from any pain or discomfort that can decrease your efficiency and distract you when you train and do your lifts. To find a good fit, you’ll need to know your actual foot size and structure.
Right Heel Height
Quality weightlifting shoes are characterized by raised heels, which allow lifters to stand on a sturdy posture and keep their ankles from rolling in or out when lifting weights. Different brands and models would have varying heel heights ranging from 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ although some of the best Olympic weightlifting shoes come with a heel height of 1/2″ or 3/4″ inches.
Because of additional support, weightlifting shoes are typically heavier than regular shoes although they should still feel light enough for you to move freely in them.
Top Picks for Olympic weightlifting shoes
- Nike Romaleo 2 – has double strap design and elastic interiors, solid sole, Olympic grade heel height and design, come in different colors
- Adidas AdiPower – highly durable, breathable, offer maximum stability, come in a variety of colors and attractive designs, has strong duty straps and reliable polymer Torsion heel system
- Rogue Do-win – breathable, offer optimum stability and comfort with its firm fastening system and relatively lower heel height, can accommodate lifters with wide feet structure
- Pendlay Do-win – budget-friendly, comfortable, recommended for basic lifters who’d like to level up to Olympic weightlifting
- Risto – handmade, comfortable, feature rubber material for the outsole and leather material for the upper interior, colors may be customized, created using socially responsible practices
- Reebok Oly – highly durable, features Reebok Oly boosts U-form technology, rubber sole and low heel height for maximum stability, offer two designs for men and two designs for women
- VS Athletics – affordable, ideal entry level Olympic grade shoes, feature two-hook system, solid rubber sole and firm surface
- Asics – affordable, ideal entry level Olympic grade shoes, durable, breathable, comfortable, come in two sets of colors
Keep in mind that in making your decision on which shoes to buy, safety and quality should be your priority.