The best Olympic weightlifting shoes, sometimes referred to as Oly’s, provide greater support and stability than the minimalist CrossFit shoes such as the Reebok Nano 3.0 and Inov-8 F-Lite 240. The Oly’s are ideal if your primary focus is to become a power-lifter, and you want to master the lifting workouts such as squats, clean & jerks, and snatches.
Some CrossFitters own one pair of minimalist shoes for doing WODs that include a lot of cardio, jumps, and rope climbs, while having another pair of shoes to use strictly for weightlifting.
What are Olympic weightlifting shoes?
They are quite different from the minimalist CrossFit shoes in a number of ways. First, they have a raised heel, which is about half an inch to about an inch above the ground. It is made of solid wood, which makes it quite rigid, and the Oly’s also have a strap to tighten the fit. Minimalist shoes have almost a zero heel to toe drop, and you feel like you’re walking barefoot.
While the Oly’s are a lot heavier than the minimalist shoes, they allow the lifter to drive as much force as possible to the ground through their heels, which enables them to lift heavier weights.
Although the Oly’s technically don’t make you lift heavier weights, you’ll feel a lot more stable when lifting. When you feel more stable and confident, you’ll have more control of your lifts, and you’ll maintain a better balance, especially if you’re lifting heavy weights over your head.
Why are Olympic weightlifting shoes good for you?
- The Oly’s have straps, which allow you to push against the side of your shoe with your foot. This increases hip activation and enables you to do a powerful squat.
- Some soled shoes don’t provide you with enough stability to do your lifts. Weightlifting shoes have a wooden sole with rubber on the bottom. This helps keep a good grip on the ground so that you won’t slide. This means that you’ll be standing on a stable surface and perform the lifting moves with proper form.
- Weightlifting shoes have a higher heel than the minimalist shoes, which gives you greater range of motion for your ankle joints. This helps you go into a much deeper squat or clean position because the heel is raised and you don’t need as much ankle mobility. However, it’s always important to increase your calf and ankle mobility to prevent injuries.
- The raised heels take away the need of having to place plates under your heels. With more stability, you’ll have greater control of the weights in a safe manner.
- Having the raised heels also helps keep your chest upright.
- The Oly’s are also durable. A good pair of shoes can last for several years.
Top 5 Best Olympic Weightlifting Shoes
Stylish and fashionable, the Adidas Adipower uses a lightweight polymer Torsion Heel system, which provides maximum support and locks your heels into place. It’s heavy-duty strap locks your foot into place, and its design provides increased ventilation in the forefoot, which provides maximum breathability for your feet. These shoes are also durable and built to last.
- Great for lifting, but not great for WODs because they are so stiff.
- They are secure, safe and solid, which makes it perfect for lifting.
- When you wear them, it feels like you’re glued to the floor, which makes you feel very stable.
- Some users recommend buying them a ½ size smaller than what you normally wear, since they’re a bit too big.
- It’s one of the most expensive weightlifting shoes available.
Nike Romaleos II
Used by a number of Olympic lifters in the 2012 Olympic games, the Romaleos uses Nike’s exclusive “Power Bridge”. This contoured heel wedge is designed to support the foot and bear as much weight as the user can lift. It’s integrated lacing and double power straps lock your foot firmly into place.
This technology also provides a lightweight alternative to the wooden heel wedge. Each pair also comes with two insoles – one that is stiffer for competition, and another one you can use for training.
- Many users don’t recommend using this for cardio or non-lifting activities.
- Your feet feel like they’re anchored to the floor, which enables you to perform higher quality lifts.
- It’s a little bit uncomfortable at first, and it takes a while to break them in. Some users complained it has poor arch support.
- It feels incredibly stable, and very durable.
- It’s very pricey, just like the Adidas Adistar.
The VS Athletics is designed to provide a safe and stable platform to increase your weightlifting ability. Although the VS Athletics may not be as stylish as the Adidas Adipower, they are great quality for the price you pay. They will last a long time, and the raised heel is extremely sturdy. Great for improving your snatch, squat and clean & jerk while staying at an affordable budget.
- They are very comfortable and durable.
- The shoes provide excellent foot positioning and support for doing deeper squats and heavier lifting.
- Not stylish or aesthetically pleasing.
- Good value for the money you pay.
- The straps are a bit long.
Asics Lift Trainer
The Asics Lift Trainer is made of synthetic leather, which makes it lightweight, comfortable and breathable all while enhancing performance and lift. It uses the DuoMax support system where the midsole system is positioned to enhance support and stability. The raised heel has helped users get full depth for overhead squats and snatches without losing balance.
- The raised heels helped users get full depth for overhead squats and snatching without losing balance.
- They are very strong and sturdy during heavy lifts.
- The fabric is breathable and washable.
- Good value for the money you pay.
- It’s a bit tight for users with wide feet, but they eventually loosen up.
Inov-8 FastLift 335
At 12 ounces, Inov-8 FastLift 335 offers enhanced stability and superior support. It has a Velcro strap lacing cover, which provides a secure fit and foot placement. Its external heel cage creates lateral stability and comfort.
- They provide an extremely stable platform that helps you develop technique and ability without the bulk and weight of other types of Oly’s.
- They provide incredible stability during squats, thrusters, deadlifts, wall balls, snatches and power cleans.
- They grip to the ground like glue, keeping you stable during your lifts.
- The front is flexible enough to allow your toes to bend.
- Fits true to size.
Regardless of what Oly’s you decide to purchase, always check if the shoes can provide you with good support that helps increase your hip and ankle flexibility. This will help you get into deeper squats. Check if they fit you well, are durable, and within your budget. We are looking forward to hearing your stories about your lifting improvements with the Oly’s.