So you've spotted the ideal gym for your weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting and acquired a supplement stack to help you to get the best out of your workouts. However, you have not invested in a pair of quality workout shoes.
Gym shoes are extremely important especially if you are regularly lifting weights. They come with a number of advantages, many of which you’ll notice as soon as you step into the training center for your usual workout.
Find out why you really need to own a pair of gym shoes and other facts about them below.
The Force you Encounter When Lifting Weight
When doing general sporting activities like football, soccer, or outdoor running - you are subjecting your lower body (that is supported by the feet) to an extreme amount of impact force and perturbations.
Without good cushioning and a supportive innersole, your feet are subject to excess impact pressure hindering you from reaching your full potential, and even worse potentially causing long-term injury such as sprains, strains or stress fractures. Shoes with support and padding are essential for impact sports like running or outdoor sports, but they are also the exact opposite of what you need for weightlifting or indoor gym use.
The main hitch with heavy lifting (such as squats, deadlifts or leg press) in normal sports shoes or runners is their thick padding which causes your feet to ‘sink’ into the shoe as you apply force to lift weight.
While the cushioning may seem comfortable, you are drastically reducing your capacity to generate power and apply force against the heavy weight since the padding is absorbing much of the force. Furthermore, this spring/cushion affect will also affect your balance under heavy load.
With gym shoes, you have thin and firm innersoles, which reduces the chances of rolling. The padding in normal sports shoes is perfect for impact activities like jogging but not the right fit for lifting.
See more: The Orion and Titan Gym Shoe
Why Bodybuilding & Powerlifting Shoes over Running Shoes
Flat or Elevated Heel?
All weightlifting shoes are designed with firm, incompressible flat or elevated heels to enhance your ability to maintain correct posture throughout lifting sessions. Failing to maintain the right posture and stability is a limiting factor. Depending on your type of routine and the manufacturer, heel elevations vary from one pair to another and the goal is to choose a height that enables you to get in perfect position to apply maximum power with ease and sustain mechanical advantage. Our soles vary from 3.8mm (Orion Genesis) to 25mm on our Juggernaut shoe.
The all new Titan Gym Shoe
That’s why you should look for a height that offers utmost comfort on a squatting position and when standing upright. Don’t forget to check on mobility and flexibility along with other anthropometrics (shin angles, femur length etc).
A proven rule of thumb; choose a pair that matches the type of your body, low to flat heels for short femurs (or those with great flexibility) and vice versa. If you can squat at depth without your heels lifting off the ground, there's a good chance you can both squat and deadlift in a flat soled shoe.
Improved Mobility And Stability
With improved mobility and stability, we increase our capacity to produce power and maintain good form. Weightlifting shoes have ankle support, elevated heel, and a solid incompressible base, which enhances mobility during lifts, particularly in the knee, ankle, and hip areas.
Poor hip and ankle flexion will limit you from obtaining max power especially when doing your squats. Ensure the shoe you pick will allow utmost mobility in all postures throughout your exercises.
Straps to ensure comfortable weightlifting and support:
Unlike running shoes, powerlifting shoes are fitted with straps to secure your feet in place preventing them for moving frontward displacement, again ensuring maximum stability and force transmission.
Along with elevated heels, your weightlifting shoes should provide a solid base (Wooden or EVA heels) to help you resist weight. The worst that can happen during a workout is lifting on an unstable surface; a hard base not only makes you feel more secure but also increases your ability to maintain correct posture and form.
Weightlifting and bodybuilding gym shoes have rubber soles, which are the best for traction as well as support. In addition, to avoid slippage when working out - it is advisable to have shoes that will have you firmly fixed to the ground.
What to look for In a Weight Lifting Gym Shoe
If the shoe fits perfect, you have the greatest potential to lift the maximum weight possible. So when buying look for:
If the Shoe Fits
First and most importantly, make sure the shoes is fits your feet properly. If you have to purchase a pair, which may go for $100 or more, be sure to pick one that keeps you comfortable and secure throughout grueling gym sessions.
You want shoes that fairly comfy but not too tight you can barely wriggle your toes. You don’t want a shoe that’s too big either, as you don’t want your foot to wiggle about while you train. It’s advised that any more than a thumb-length of room in the toe cap is too much. If your toe hits the top of the shoe, it is also OK so long as it is not overbearingly tight – most shoes give half a size after wearing them in.
Does It Offer Maximum Support?
After knowing what fits, look at how much support the shoe will offer when conducting your exercises. As stated earlier, we are not interested in ‘cushion’ support, we are after firm support that makes you feel sturdy under your feet.
Lifting with firm support is very useful especially for those with weak ankles, they offer more support, which will allow you hoist even more weight.
Therefore, when planning to buy ensure you have the following readily available;
- The nature of your workout: what type of workout routines do you do?
- Femur size: low heels will work for short femurs, high heels are ideal for long femurs (upper thigh bone).
- Foot size: choose what fits right— not too tight not too loose. Best rule of thumb is to forget about EUR, UK or US sizing – and simply look inside the lapel of your shoe for a measurement in Centimeters (CM) or Inches. This will often reflect your size most accurately!
- Personal Touch: what’s your favorite color, brand or style?
Having stressed enough the benefits of workout shoes, you now know why next time you need to invest in a quality pair of shoes. You are happier when the effort you put in working out produces results, if anything is limiting your full potential then you are probably struggling more and gaining less. Consider investing in a pair; two pairs are even better!