The best weightlifting shoes are designed to promote healthy technique and reduce the risk of injury–two things every gym-goer can get behind. These shoes feature either a flat sole that will allow you to root down for balance, or a wedge-shaped sole that supports proper form and better range of motion. In fact, it’s common for serious weightlifters to carry more than one pair of shoes in their gym bag and swap out for different exercises.
Weight-lifting shoes should be sturdy, offer ankle support, and have high traction that prevents shifting as you train. Add it all up and you have something quite different from a long distance running shoe, which podiatrist Dr. Robert Kornfeld highly advises against wearing while lifting. “Long-distance running shoes are ultra-lightweight, well cushioned, and flexible, so they may not provide the needed support in more stationary types of activity where there is a lot more stance phase stress.”
Dr. Sarah Sponaugle, a holistic chiropractor, says, “The best feature for a weightlifting shoe is one that doesn’t hinder sacrifice support while still allowing for movement in all directions.” She recommends looking for something “on the flatter side, so all 4 quadrants of the foot have good contact with the ground.” She adds that weight-lifting shoes with a low profile and a wide toe box help activate your toes and the muscles in your feet to provide a solid foundation.
While having a great pair of weightlifting shoes plays a big part in avoiding injury, it’s still important to understand the movements and keep correct form. Don’t rely on your shoes to do it all. New to weightlifting? We recommend reading up on our guide to strength training, which breaks down the essential movements you’ll find in a standard strength training class.