Why crosfitters need weightlifting shoes
This is a beginner question which is often asked. I've compiled some insights out of the following articles "Why a weightlifting shoe", "Weightlifting shoes, why you need a pair, what to look out for and when to wear them" and added my own experience. In a sentence, if you want to do serious lifting, get a pair as soon as possible.
You should dress for the event
When you go out to a hen party you wear your high heels. When you go into your garden you wear your gardening boots. You wear slippers to feel comfortable and your leather shoe when you mean business. Same goes for weightlifting shoes. If you want to lift weight, show up with the appropriate shoes. You would not go to an interview for a job in a bank with your sneakers on. Running shoes are designed for running, not for weightlifting. They have cushioning or springs in them which are counterproductive during a lift and make you unstable. So think as if you are going to a gala dinner or important business meeting and wear the right gear for the right event.
How the modern weightlifting shoe evolved
The modern weightlifting evolved along with progression to the clean & jerk and snatch which we know today as the Olympic lifts. Lifters began at the turn of the century with relatively static movements which needed stability in the ankle. Therefore they wore high boots which were tightly closed. The ankles were covered and not much attention paid to the sole of the shoe. Soviet lifters even used shoes with nails in them for a period of time combined with leather soles. This did not necessarily help to secure the lift. During the 30 - 60's the olympic lift became more and more explosive and involved the shifting of the feet and a need for the shins to tilt forward. Therefore shoes were favored over time which gave stability to the feet whilst leaving the ankles free and raising the heels for a well grounded stance. The article "Why a weightlifting shoe" goes into a lot more detail, but be prepared to make yourself a cup of tea along with it and read a lot about body positioning which you do not need to know, if you are not a coach.
What weightlifting shoes do for you
A weightlifting shoe enables you to lift more weight, end of story. This is achieved by making it easier for you to drop down into a deep squat fast without losing balance, apply maximum force to the ground through your feet and not slip by having a good sole. The raised heel of weightlifting shoes helps you to maintain good overall body posture wit a straight spine. The shoes are not a replacement for good body functionality and mobility, but will help you to maximize your potential.
Which weightlifting shoes should you get
For the start just get a pair which provides a raised heel, stability to your foot with a strap and good friction on the ground so you do not slip. The make, color and everything else is just secondary to that.
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