A very common question coaches hear is “Do I really need weightlifting shoes? Will they really make that big of a difference? Will I be able to lift more weight?” The simple answer is yes, yes and yes. If you are serious about improving your Olympic Weightlifting then below are a few of the reasons why you should consider the investment.
Hard Wood or Plastic Soles
The stiff sole of weightlifting shoes are designed to enable you to utilize the force you produce while lifting, unlike the running shoe. Running and cross-training shoes have soft rubber soles designed to help absorb impact, which is the opposite of what you want when performing a snatch, clean, jerk or squats. You want to get as much force as possible off the ground to help you move weight.
Think of it this way: More force off the ground = higher bar pull, which means a better chance of getting under the bar. Once you are under it, all the force you generate will go into driving yourself out of the squat.
Weightlifting shoes also have a raised heel, which allows you to squat deeper, stay more upright and helps keep your knees angled outward by increasing your ankle range of motion.
Those of you that have tight ankles and hips will see some of the biggest improvement in your ability to squat when you start using weightlifting shoes.
Finally, weightlifting shoes are more stable than running and cross-training shoes both below and around your foot. The hard sole ensures you have a strong and consistent base to push through, land on, and push out from. The Velcro straps, which help give the shoe a snug fit feeling, stop your foot from slipping around inside your shoes while performing a lift or squat. The straps also allow you to push out against the side of the shoe with your foot. This increases hip activation, which will equate to a stronger pull or squat.
So which shoes should you get? Well, that is going to require you to do some work. Research a few brands, try some on and see which feel the best. A few of the common brands you will see around the gym are Adidas, Do-Win, Nike, Reebok, Risto and VS athletics.
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