Are Weightlifting Shoes Necessary for the Gym?

Do you really need weightlifting shoes for weightlifting?


Or is this just a fallacy that the typical “gym bro” wants to push onto his gym buddies?

“Yeah bro you need weightlifting shoes if you wana lift heavier and get huge gains bruz”.

Said by every gym bro ever.

I’m a weightlifter, have been in the gym since 2011 (when I was 18).

9 years later I am still lifting weights and have seen insane results.

Did I use weightlifting shoes?

No I didn’t.

Will I use weightlifting shoes in the future?

Probably not.

But enough about me, lets discuss whether or not you need weightlifting shoes for your gym adventures.

What are Weightlifting Shoes?

Reebok Men's Legacy Lifter Sneaker

Weightlifting shoes are designed to give help you lift more thanks to the increased angles and deeper positions you can get into.

That is the gist of it.

The main benefit of weightlifting shoes is the deeper position for squats.

They do this with the increased heel height, so it’s easier to go lower.

However, they can also be used for other heavy lifts such as shoulder presses cleans, jerks, and all variations of thanks to the increased stability and support.

But for the most part they are designed for squats and that’s it.

People started using them for other lifts and liked it, but for the most part, people only use them for squats because everything else is uncomfortable.

Keep in mind that weightlifting shoes should NOT be used for deadlifts.

They raise your heel, creating more distance to pull the bar all the way up.

But doesn’t harder mean better gains?

It does but there is also more risk of injury if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Even though they can be used for deadlifts I highly recommend you do it under the supervision of a trainer, or if you know what you are doing.

To recap

Weightlifting shoes are designed for squats to get a deeper angle.

Some find them comfortable for other lifts but others find them uncomfortable, as everyone is different.

The only way to know is to try for yourself.

Do They Work?

Weightlifting shoes actually do work for squats and they’ve been used by professional lifters for years.

Professional lifters have come forward and explained in detail how they increase performance.

They have also said that they work for cleans, jerks, snatches, overhead squats, front squats, back squats, etc.

However, everyone is different.

What might increase the performance for someone else might not better your performance.

They’ll definitely help you better your squat, but helping with other lifts?

There’s only one way to know and that’s to see for yourself.

Are They Necessary for Weightlifting?

I have never used weightlifting shoes throughout my entire 9 years of lifting and I have seen massive gains.

Does that mean they aren’t necessary?

Of course they aren’t.

They are a tool to help you with squats and that’s it.

They don’t put in the work, they don’t put in the consistency, they don’t offer dedication, all of this comes down to the individual.

Will you become a better lifter with these special shoes?

Not necessarily. Yes they will help you but I highly recommend lifting without weightlifting shoes first until you get the mechanics right.

Do this for at least a couple of months until you know what you are doing, then invest in some weightlifting shoes and see if you notice a difference.

To recap

  • They aren’t necessary
  • They help increase performance
  • Beginners should get the mechanics right and learn how to squat properly before investing in some shoes. Then you’ll know if there’s a difference or not
  • Intermediate-to-experts can use them if they want to take their lifts to the next level

Will You Still Get Gains Without Them?

Of course you will!

You can still get huge gains.

Like I said, shoes are tools, not your mind, motivation, dedication.

Your mind and how willing you are to get better is a trillion times more powerful then a silly pair of weightlifting shoes.

They will help better your performance to get deeper angles for some gains.

But that’s only limited.

Your mindset is going to get you further than the best weightlifting equipment in the world.

“But Brandon, will I get faster gains?”

That’s a maybe.

The way I see it, I have my money on the person that is determined, the one that is dedicated to the gym and wants to get better.

The person relying on shoes to get better is going to lose.

Normal Shoes for Weightlifting (What to Look For)

Now we know that weightlifting shoes do work and the fact that they aren’t necessary for everyone, there are some things to look for when using normal shoes for weightlifting.

A lot of people use basketball shoes, some use running shoes, others use CrossFit shoes, and others use casual shoes.

Basically, everyone uses whatever they find comfortable, but in my opinion, there are a few things to look for in a shoe to use for weightlifting and I’m explain what they are.

Stability – Stability is a huge importance when it comes to lifting weights, especially dumbbell and barbell exercises. A padded collar and tongue offers immense stability, which are mostly found on basketball shoes

Support – You should be using a shoe with the right support. If you have neutral arch, use a neutral shoe and the same goes for the others. This is the difference between an okay shoe and a shoe that feels like you’re on clouds

The right fit – The right fit is very important. Ill-fitting shoes can restrict blood flow, cause discomfort, blisters, calluses, and all sorts of other problems

Comfort – When you have stability, support and proper fitting shoes, comfort comes as a no-brainer.

These are the 4 things I look for when getting a new pair of weightlifting shoes.

Whether the shoe is designed for running, walking, tennis, casual, cross training, basketball, it doesn’t matter.

Any shoe can be used for weightlifting as long as it has the right amount the things mentioned above.

They don’t need to have all 4 but if you can, this will definitely take your weightlifting game to the next level, especially for heavy lifts.

Shoes I Use

Nike Men's AIR Precision II NBK Basketball Shoe

Me Wearing Nike Men's AIR Precision II NBK

I use basketball shoes when I go to the gym because as I’ve mentioned in other articles, I am a 245 pound guy and lift heavy.

I need plenty of stability so I don’t roll an ankle or cause any other injuries.

I know it won’t happen but it gives me a peace of mind and lots of confidence that I will be okay.

I can focus more on the lift and my form and be comfortable while doing it!

The shoes I currently use are the Nike AIR Precision NBK II Basketball Shoes.

However, that doesn’t mean you need basketball shoes as you might be different than me.

You might do cardio after weight training and need something to run or walk in, and that’s where a good pair of Nike’s come into play.

The Nike Air Max 97 are popular gym bro shoes because they are versatile in the gym.

They can be used for throwing weights around, then warming down with a light CrossFit session, or even walking or running.

In Conclusion

Weightlifting shoes are definitely not needed in the gym.

Sure they help you better your performance but it’s not going to get you in the gym and keep you in the gym.

Dedication does that.

Should you invest in a nice pair of weightlifting shoes?

If you’re looking to take your lifting game to the next level, then sure, because it will have a small impact on your performance.

When you’ve been in the weightlifting game for years, even an ounce of improvement is huge because it’s harder to make gains the longer you’ve been doing it for.

If you think it’s going to take you from amateur to Mr. Olympia overnight, then skip the shoes and focus on improving your form and learning to stay in the gym FIRST.

Well I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about weightlifting shoes, whether or not you need some for yourself.

Let me know if you’ll be getting some in the comments below, and I’ll get back to you asap 🙂



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