Is it the Shoes?

QUICK guide to weightlifting shoes

We see so many lifters show up to the gym with the latest and greatest in equipment. Everything from the hottest new belt on the market, to the tightest knee sleeved ever made. Lifters want the edge and pay good money for the best equipment. So what about shoes? Shoes are the one part of your gear that can make or break your lifting performance and unfortunately we see a great shoe on the wrong lifter all the time. Shoes are one of the biggest parts of our fashion culture. Just ask any teenager that is waiting for the new Jordan to release. In the lifting world, the shoe is 100% about performance and the best looking shoe could be the one thing that kills your squat.

Types of Weightlifting shoes

Before we get into specific types of weightlifting shoes let’s get one thing out of the way. Do not lift in a running shoe, period. They have no place in the performance of the squat or deadlift. They are meant for running, which means they are made to have cushioning and “give” for your feet. These are the exactly the opposite of what you need in squat or deadlifting performance. You need stability.  Moving on…..There are numerous types of shoes known as the squat shoe. Most have an elevated heel and a very firm rubber or if you go old school, a wooden base.  These provide the foot the most stable base to lift from.  Within the squat shoe category there are traditional Olympic Lifting shoes which have a more aggressive heel. These shoes usually have a 3/4″ elevation of the heel. These shoes work best for High Bar squatters since the high bar position needs a more vertical torso in the lift. Olympic Weightlifters also need to keep a very vertical torso through out the lift so the elevated heel will allow for this. 

There is also another squat shoe that is made that only has a .60″ heel. This is less aggressive and is more suited for those squatting with a lower bar position. 

Who needs an elevated heel to squat

INot everyone needs an elevated heel. If you are looking to improve your performance in the squat a show can help (some people). First, if you have poor ankle mobility a squat shoe may help with your squat especially if you are a high bar squatter. With the bar located high on the traps, you will need to maintain  more upright torso since the bar will need to stay over your mid foot through out the lift. In the high bar position the knees will track forward more than a low bar squat..  

Though the squat comes very natural to some people, there is a certain group of people that absolutely hate the squat, those with long femurs(thigh bone) and short tibia(lower leg). In order to squat to depth the femur has to sit back further . Even with great ankle mobility, long femurs can complicate the movement pattern. Finding a shoe with an elevated heel will increase the length of the lower leg which can help with squat mechanics. Finding the correct elevation is important.  Many people with tight ankles and or long femurs tend to use a powerlifting shoe with a .60″ heel and usually choose a lower bar position since it allows the lifter to sit back further in the squat instead of being so upright.

If you don’t know what shoe is correct to you we highly recommend getting with strength coach that understands squat mechanics. More than likely it won’t be your personal trainer at LA Fitness. Get with a powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting coach to help you choose your shoe. If you are in Tucson, feel free to contact us!. If you are located else where feel free to reach out and we can see if we can help you find a qualified coach to help you out!

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