If you’re working out your most likely wearing shoes, unless you’re doing yoga or Thai chi. The options are endless for workout shoes, running, cross training, basketball, tennis but weightlifting? Weightlifting shoes, a must have or fashion accessory? That’s kind of a loaded question. Of course you should be wearing shoes when lifting weights but do you need a specific shoe to do so? Let’s look into what a specific weightlifting shoe does.
The shoe was originally developed in the 40’s when Olympic style weight lifters went from a splot style decent under the bar to a deep split and eventually the squat style. It is imperative in the split and squat style to keep the foot flat for balance and to drive through the heel to recruit the glute muscles to complete the lift. The problem is it’s extremely hard to keep your foot flat when performing these styles of lifts with the extreme knee bend that’s needed.
So, the answer was a shoe with an elevated heal that allowed the weight lifter to essentially keep the foot flat, but still have the extreme knee bend. The modern weightlifting shoe was born and the type of shoe is still used to today.
Now, if you’re into correct kinetic chain alignment like I am, there are is a problem with using this type of shoe. The elevated heal is a major kinetic chain dysfunction and I work long and hard with many clients to correct the over activity in the calve complex that is a result of having an elevated heal; women who wear high heels know what I’m talking about.
This causes an externally rotated and flattening of the foot, which causes your knees to adduct or move inward, which causes an anterior rotated hip or forward rotation and that causes your shoulders to protract or move forward and down. So, you see this is a long line of kinetic chain dysfunction that can happen.
Getting back to the question, weightlifting shoes, a must have or fashion accessory? Two part answer. If you’re an Olympic style weight lifter, they are very much a must have. You have to have that mobility in your ankle joint to get the deep squat needed to be successful.
If you're not an Olympic style weight lifter then they are very much just a fashion accessory. If you actually want to be seen in them, they’re not very attractive. They also have the potential for further kinetic chain dysfunction.
The best type of shoe to wear is a flat, flexible soled shoe. It allows your feet flex normally and over activate any muscles in your lower leg.
Weightlifting shoes, a must have or fashion accessory? If you’re not an Olympic weightlifter they are un-needed and potentially harmful to your fitness. If you’re looking for an all-around solid fitness shoe, find something flat and flexible to keep your feet and lower leg strong and healthy.