Weightlifting shoes are perhaps the most important piece of equipment a weightlifter can own, aside from a bar and bumper plates. Weightlifting shoes are crucial because they provide support, mobility, increased flexibility, and much more that are necessary to a weightlifter. There are several manufacturers of weightlifting shoes today ranging from Adidas, Werksan, Do-Win, Asics, and several cheaper weightlifting shoes that weightlifters can buy to satisfy their need for an adequate shoe. Weightlifting shoes are also necessary when competing, if a lifter does not have a pair then they will not be allowed to compete. Weightlifting shoes are built tough and should last a long time as the lifter does not abuse them.
Each brand of weightlifting shoe is constructed differently and will have slight variances in their weight. However, one thing that will remain the same is the shoe will be heavier than normal cross training or running sneakers. The weightlifting shoe has to be heavier to provide support when lifting heavy weights, however the shoe cannot be too heavy otherwise it will impair performance. When lifting the feet have to split out to the sides to allow the body to drop underneath the barbell and if the shoes feel like bricks it will slow the lifters mobility down. However, shoes today really do not have a weight problem, but if you decide to try your hand at making your own shoe it is important not too make it too heavy.
It is important to provide support for the foot but not completely restrict ankle movement. Powerlifters typically will use Chuck Taylors for squatting, this might be fine for them, however it is not recommend or desirable for a weightlifter. Chuck Taylors restrict ankle mobility and will impair performance because of the high top lacing, weightlifting shoes do not have this and will allow the shin to move forward and let the weightlifter drop deep in the squat for the clean or the snatch. Weightlifting shoes also have a strap to help secure the foot in place and prevent the toes from smashing into the front of the shoe. Of course, like any other shoe the laces run to the top of the weightlifting shoe to help hold the foot in place. Chuck Taylors may be fine for powerlifting but when it comes to weightlifting a weightlifter should buy the proper shoe wear for the sport.
The heel is an extremely important part of a weightlifting shoe. Standard sneakers are inadequate footwear for weightlifting because their sole is too soft, meaning it compresses too much under heavy weights. The sole of the weightlifting shoe is made of hard rubber instead of the soft material of sneakers. The hard rubber gives the support necessary for lifting heavy weights. There is also a piece of wood in the heel to help the lifter secure their stance. The height of the heel also is an important factor in the shoe. The higher the height of the heel the more the foot will be angled and will also allow the lifter to maintain a more upright posture. However, the higher the heel gets the more the knees will go over the toes and if the lifter does not have the flexibility to allow the knees to go over the toe it can cause some pain. Most lifters do not have an extreme flexibility deficiency so the standard heel height of 1 inch to 1¼ inch is adequate enough. The height of the heel also varies from the manufacturer to manufacturer but the shoes are all within a very close range of each other, quarter inch or so. Weightlifting shoes today are designed with all these things in mind and provide greater support than sneakers, boots, or other shoes would.
First thing to remember is to get the right size when buying the shoe. Weightlifting shoes cost at least 100 dollars in most cases, so if money is an issue try to find used shoes online or ask people at a gym if they are willing to part with shoes they do not need. There are several brands of weightlifting shoes ranging from Werksan, Adidas, Asics, Do-Win, and etc. but they are all relatively the same so it really does not matter which shoe you buy. Last but not least take care of your shoes and wear them only for weightlifting, if they are taken care of they will last a long time.