Weightlifting shoes are characterised by a hard, flat sole, an elevated heel, straps, and a snug fit around your foot. They are perfectly designed to optimise your performance when it comes to weightlifting and workouts involving heavy barbell work, but how exactly do their features help you to improve?
1. THEY PROVIDE A FIRM PLATFORM TO GENERATE POWER
Effective lifting demands a solid platform if you want to generate the maximum amount of power for every lift. This applies to both the surface you stand upon and the shoes you choose to wear.
A hard, flat sole helps you to utilise all of the force that your body generates in order to propel the weight upwards.
If you can generate more force through the ground then you will be able to pull the bar higher. This means that you have a greater chance of getting under the weight and catching it properly.
With exercises such as the snatch, clean and jerk, and overhead squat, this firm platform will also help you to drive the weight upwards when you stand up with the weight. A soft, cushioned sole is designed to absorb and distribute power (think of the soles of running shoes), which will reduce the direct output of power. With weightlifting shoes such as The Nike Romaleos 3 AMP, you can feel secure in the knowledge that none of your energy is being unnecessarily wasted.
2. IMPROVED ANKLE MOBILITY (INCREASED DORSIFLEXION)
Dorsiflexion describes the movement of your feet towards your body and knees. Try curling your toes towards your shin now – that is dorsiflexion.
The raised heel of weightlifting shoes optimises foot positioning for squatting and lifting. This elevation reduces the range of motion required by the ankle, meaning less dorsiflexion is needed to correctly perform the set or rep. Any strain placed upon the ankle is reduced, and this position also allows for greater knee and hip flexion. The end result is a more effective lift.
Ankle mobility affects and influences almost all lower body movement. Weightlifting shoes will also optimise your ankle position for other exercises such as high bar squats, front squats and pistols, making them easier to perform.
Note: It is important not to use weightlifting shoes as a crutch for poor ankle mobility. This aspect of your fitness must be worked upon if it is a weakness, but the combination of good quality ankle mobilty and weightlifting shoes is a powerful foundation for you to build impressive lifts and performances upon.
3. USE THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Weightlifting shoes are specifically designed for that purpose. Top Olympic lifters use weightlifting shoes when they compete and break world records, as do all other elite athletes in competitions thta require Olympic lifting. They are designed to maximise the conditions for any athlete to thrive. Want to improve your lifting? Wear the right gear. Any intelligent individual will always choose the right tool for the job at hand and optimise their own chances of success.
4. SNUG FIT AND STURDY SUPPORT
It is essential when you lift to have absolute control over your body, movement and technique, and this starts with your feet. The nylon midfoot strap on the Romaleos 3 AMP locks your feet into position and prevents any lateral movement – vital when you are pushing beyond your limits into new PR territory. The Flywire cables assist in creating a snug and responsive feel that gave me confidence during the time I spend lifting in these weightlifting shoes.
The TPU heel plate also securely fastens your feet in place, and helps you to generate force from the heel as well as the balls of your feet and toes.
5. INCREASED TRACTION
The last thing you want when supporting heavy weights above your head is to have your feet slip or slide around on the floor. The flat sole of a weightlifting shoe provides a large textured surface area that will attach your feet firmly to the ground.
6. MORE VERTICAL TORSO AND SHIN ANGLES
Weightlifting shoes place you in a more upright position during lifting. This will improve your first pull from the floor and general squat position. This also helps to avoid any unnecessary leaning forward during lifts that can result in lower back problems or failed attempts in the case of front rack exercises such as the clean and jerk or front squat.
7. CONFIDENCE AND STYLE
Confidence is everything when it comes to maxing out a new PR. You must be completely committed and any seed of doubt must be stamped out of your mind completely.
Training helps to build confidence through direct experience and progression. Using top quality equipment helps to give you a psychological boost, as well as the clear functional benefits, when you lift. Looking good and enjoying wearing the gear that we train in also helps us to feel good, which in turn helps to build confidence as well.