Why you need Weightlifting Shoes!

Hi Getstrength, I would like to ask a couple of questions. Why do i need Weightlifting Shoes and what is the difference between the Weightlifting shoes you sell and the Lifting Shoes?

Hey, great questions!

Why do I need Weightlifting Shoes?

Let start by explaining why you need Weightlifting Shoes and not sneakers.
We are in the business of selling shoes, so this may come as a surprise but I am going to be completely honest with you, not everybody will require weightlifting shoes to train in.

Weight lifting shoes were originally designed for Weightlifting, hence the name, but over time they have been used more for powerlifting as well.


I would like to explain it to you like this, if you are a golfer you wear golfing shoes, if you play rugby you were rugby boots, you see where I am going with this. Basically if you are Olympic weightlifting you should be using WL Shoes, however the exception to the rule would be powerlifting.

Standing in front of the mirror in the gym doing curls does not require WL Shoes!! Leg Extensions do not require WL Shoes!! But if you are performing Olympic Movements (Snatch, Clean and Jerks or variations thereof) then the answer is yes. If you are performing Power Movements, Squat, Deadlift or variations thereof then the answer is also yes.

Weightlifting shoes

Now lets answer the question why? The WL Shoe has a hard sole which minimizes compression under load. If you were wearing sneakers they have a soft gel like sole which would compress and move under load. Which is great for running, but not so good for Weight Lifting. So your base/platform (shoe sole) would be unstable and power would be lost in the compression of the sole.

The WL Shoe also has two straps that goes over the top of your foot. This stops the foot from moving around inside the shoe, in return making sure your base is stable at every possible angle. Its all about limiting movement inside the shoe. The strap will allow very minimal lateral movement without compromising stability.

Doing overhead work is dangerous without a very stable base. This includes both the shoes and the Lifting Platform/ floor and such movements should not be performed on a rubber floor.

The WL Shoe heel should be around 25mm, the 25mm heel puts you in a more favourable position at the bottom of the lift when catching the bar in Olympic lifting.

The 25mm heel also provides extra stability when squatting narrow or wide.

What is the difference between the Weightlifting shoes you sell and the Lifting Shoes?

This is really simple, the Powerlifting Lifting Shoe has only a 5mm flat sole with no heel. Very similar to a wrestling shoe or boxing shoe to some extent.

The GS Lifting Shoe creates better leverage in the Deadlift by having the lifter closer to the ground, it may only be a few mm, but it can make a huge difference when you are at 100% of  your lifting strength (Maxing out, Contest etc)

The Deadlifting Shoe is also higher cut in the ankle, giving the lifter more ankle support while Deadlifting in conventional or Sumo styles.

Lifting Shoes

Stay Strong,
Steve Thompson

Steve Thompson

Steve is a New Zealand Powerlifting Record holder and founder of Getstrength.com. He has competed in two IPF World Powerlifting Championships. Steve holds four New Zealand Powerlifting records and two All-round Weightlifting World records. Competed in the sport of Powerlifting for more than 18 years. Specialties: strength and conditioning.