Strength Training Shoes

This article is a deep dive into strength conditioning and power / Olympic lifting shoes. For a more general discussion about workout footwear see our Training Shoes page.

Power / Olympic Lifts | Strength / Heavy Weight Training

Many people wear basic athletic shoes, running shoes or other types of footwear when weight lifting. While this is not necessarily bad, it is not optimal. This is especially true with more OLY focused power and functional lifts such as squat, deadlift, clean, jerk and snatch.

The problem with basic athletic shoes for weight lifting is that the cushion within the sole which is designed for running, jumping, etc., actually takes energy and power out of the athlete and limits performance. The transfer of energy from the floor during a power lift is minimized by the cushion of the sole. Additionally an angle in the sole or tread-design creates a slightly uneven stance which can have negative results particularly with squats and deads.

Optimal shoes for this type of training are flat soled with little tread and a solid heel. The old school wood bottom platform shoes were designed for this purpose. You will also find many people going “old-school” via going barefoot or wearing flat bottom shoes such as, Converse All-Stars Chuck Taylors, Vans or Skate shoes. While these options are better than cushion bottom tread shoes, they are not specifically designed for heavy lifting.

OLY and power lifting shoes have specifically designed soles and often utilize molded technology to provide a tight fit. A very stiff heel allows for balance and maximum transfer of power into the floor. Examples are as follows.

  • Rogue Weightlifting Shoes
  • Pendlay Lifting Shoes
  • Otomix Lifting Shoes
  • Do Win Weight Lifting Shoes
  • Reebok CrossFit OLY Lifter

A solid pair of weightlifting shoes are not cheap and will cost somewhere between $100 and $200 or more. The good news is that if they are only worn during lifting they will last a long time, sometimes 10 years or more.

If you are serious about strength conditioning including heavy weightlifting and power or Olympic lifting, you should seriously consider investing in a quality pair of flat bottom shoes designed for that type of training.