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Why Shoes Matter When Lifting


There’s a lot of debate on whether weightlifting sports are safe for women to practice; but an Insider feature on lifting highlights that sports like powerlifting and CrossFit actually have a lower risk of injury compared to other activities like soccer, football, and running.

In fact, women of all ages and backgrounds can safely learn weightlifting with the help of a good coach, and of course, the right equipment.

If you’re thinking about starting lifting, we’re here to show you the ins and outs of choosing the right pair to support you.

Lifting 101

Lifting is great for women’s health as it can improve your bone health and strengthen your tendons and joints.

It also has several psychological benefits which include reducing stress, boosting your mood, and improving the quality of your sleep.

And as we discussed in our podcast featuring licensed physio Brodie Sharpe of the Run Smarter Series, lifting can also act as a supplementary exercise for runners who want to build their strength and endurance.

Of course, no physical activity is completely risk-free.

And without the proper footwear, you won’t be able to employ the appropriate technique and posture. This could increase your risk of injuries and subject your body to extra wear and tear in the long run.

According to health professionals from ProHEALTH Care, shoulder and rotator cuff injuries, lower back injuries, and knee injuries are very common among people who work out with too heavy of a weight and poor form. Shoes are supposed to prevent these injuries — but how exactly?

The Right Shoes for Lifting

There are a lot of squats involved with lifting, and this is essentially why footwear matters. Proper shoes will give you stability by reinforcing your arches, supporting your ankles, and providing a snug fit to limit the movement of your feet. Usually, lifting shoes have wide toe boxes that let your feet “spread” on the floor. All these supportive features prevent your ankles from rolling and help you maintain your stance during lifting. And although some people feel more stable when lifting barefoot, weightlifting shoes will actually help keep your shins more vertical, which allows for proper knee tracking.

Finding the Right Pair for You

Shoes should correspond to your program’s most dominant exercises, but this is also one of the most debated topics in lifting.

Some shoes have stacked heels about an inch high, while there are others that have a mostly flat sole. This is why it’s important to be a part of a weightlifting or shoe community that can help you get started. 

SoleSavy is a sneaker community centered around sports and wellness, where you can ask fellow community members for very specific information that will help you determine the right shoe for you.

These types of communities are founded upon the members using their knowledge and resources to help each other. You should also consult with your trainer or other people with expertise in weightlifting.

In general, Inverse explains that lifters who do a lot of high-bar squats are better off with squat shoes with stacked heels — ones like the Adidas Adipowers, Asics 727s Nike Romaleos, and Do-Wins.

On the other hand, those who do low-bar squats are well-suited to flat-soled shoes like Converse Chuck Taylors and Vans.

Finding the right shoes for you might take some trial and error, and you might even change your mind a couple of months into your lifting journey. But remember that it’s alright to take your time, as long as you end up comfortable and supported in whatever shoe you select.

For more articles on health and wellness, do visit our website here at RunLiftMom.