While most people think you don’t need anything other than the weights but quality weightlifting shoes can really help you be a better weightlifter and help you reach your full potential. They are especially good for women weightlifters since they offer plenty of benefits that can specifically pertain to those with naturally smaller frames.
With weightlifting becoming more popular among average Janes, women’s weightlifting shoes are more readily available than ever before. If you’ve been considering getting weightlifting shoes but aren’t sure yet, consider these benefits of weightlifting shoes for women.
What to Look for in Weightlifting Shoes
When you’re serious about weightlifting, you’ll want good quality shoes. This would be easy if every weightlifting shoe on the market provided the same benefits or had the same features. However, this isn’t the case. When looking for the best weightlifting shoe, there are some things to keep in mind.
First, you’ll want to make sure the shoe has a non-compressible sole. This is important because you don’t want shoes that will compress down as you squat with your weights or as you’re trying to remain stable while holding a lift. A non-compressible sole will allow for the best transfer of power as you lift. When trying on shoes, you’ll want to feel a hard, unyielding surface.
There should be no rocking or bounce when your foot lands.
You’ll also want to look for a shoe that has a significantly raised heel. This should be a platform heel, not a stacked separate heel. A raised heel will help your body stay in alignment so you can maintain the proper position as you lift. It’s best to find a shoe that has a high enough heel that will keep you upright when you reach the bottom of your squat. Try on different shoes with different heights and see what feels best for you. Be sure to read this guide on the best weightlifting shoes for women or our guide on weightlifting shoes for everyone.
The right shoe should also have a metatarsal strap. This is a strap that goes across the top of your foot just under your toes where the metatarsal bones are located. These are the five bones that come down from the phalanges of the toes and connect to the hind foot. Quality weightlifting shoes will have a strap that goes across this area. You may notice other shoes only have a strap closer to the ankle. However, a metatarsal strap will make sure the shoe is snug and you have the best stability possible. When shopping, find a shoe that feels tight and secure. You should have mobility but there shouldn’t be any parts that feel loose. You also shouldn’t have too much wiggle room anymore.
Finally, you’ll want a shoe that has an overall quality build. This is an obvious point but it’s still worth mentioning. Look for something that is made well and will be durable. You’ll be wearing them often so you don’t want something that will become worn after frequent use. Ideally, you want something that will last for at least a year.
If the shoe you’re looking at doesn’t fit this criterion you might want to consider another pair that is better quality. A shoe that skimps on quality won’t just wear out easily, it can also cause you injury by not providing you with good support and not protecting you in the right spots. Take your time and shop around for the right shoe.
Proper Foot Positioning and Alignment
When lifting weights, you probably already know that the proper alignment and positioning are important to keep you injury free and to make sure that you’re actually working the muscles you want to target. If your torso isn’t aligned properly, you can easily injure yourself. By wearing weightlifting shoes, your torso will stay in the right position throughout your whole lift.
Similarly, the straps on weightlifting shoes will offer you a supported, snug fit that will let you push your feet out more into the sides of the shoes. This will allow you to activate your hips more during squats and deadlifts.
In terms of core control, you’ll need to keep your spine and pelvis positioned properly especially during squats. Weightlifting shoes will allow you to keep your lumbar spine and your pelvis properly positioned as you squat. This will help you avoid muscle strains and give you a more effective workout.
Complete Support and Stability
Women have naturally smaller frames when compared to men. This makes support during lifts even more important. Weightlifting shoes can give you that support so you’re confident as you lift your weights.
As stated earlier, proper weightlifting shoes should be tight. When you have the proper support you won’t have to worry about rolling an ankle and suffering injuries like dislocations or torn ligaments. Ankle support is especially important and most lifters need the stability that weightlifting shoes provide for at least peace of mind as they lift. More so, the raised heel that a quality weightlifting shoe should have will help you get more range in your ankles. This will also give you better support and stability as you squat.
Also, regular running shoes or other sneakers have soles that bounce, rock, and compress as you stand and move. This will mean you’ll have to compensate for this lack of stability as you lift. So while you’re battling the heavy weight you’re lifting, you’re also fighting your shoes as they collapse under you.
More Power and Versatility in Your Lifts
With more stability and support and without constantly adjusting your stance to make up for a soft-sole shoe, you can lift with more power as you concentrate your energy solely on lifting the weight in question. You’ll be able to hold positions longer, too, so you can properly work your muscles.
In the same vein, if you’ve shied away from certain lifts because you were too worried about your stability or you couldn’t get the proper footing, wearing a good pair of weightlifting shoes can help. With the added support from your new shoes, you might have the newfound confidence in your physical strength to tackle those workouts you’ve been concerned about trying.
More Protection and Safety
The support and control that weightlifting shoes give you will protect your joints and keep you from getting injured. When you’re wearing normal shoes, your body won’t be aligned properly and your body will pay the price for this. Your joints will take on unnecessary strain as your body pushes against the weights. Your knees will take the brunt of this punishment. However, weightlifting shoes will keep you in the right position at all times and help you avoid these strains and possible injuries. Your knees and ankles will thank you.
Better Workouts and Increased Overall Health
With all of your energy concentrated on lifting your weight, you’ll be able to properly work the muscles you’re targeting. You won’t be worried about hurting yourself or losing your footing because you’re wearing the right footwear. Your workouts will be that much more effective than they were before you switched shoes. Similarly, you’ll be getting the most out of your gym membership (if you have one), too, since you’ll be able to do more in a more effective manner.
As you get better workouts you’ll be in better health by having a higher degree of fitness. This is great for your body but also for your mind. When you’re feeling physically fit your mind is clearer since you’ll always be functioning better when you’re in good health.
Your feet take a lot of abuse on a daily basis and this abuse doesn’t stop in the gym or in your home weight room. To help them stay in good shape as you strengthen the rest of your body, you really should pick up a pair high-quality weightlifting shoes. As you can see, the benefits of weightlifting shoes for women (as well as men) are numerous and shouldn’t be ignored. Try out different ones to find the best one for your body type as well as your style. Your workout and your body will thank you.