To perform your best in any sport requires comfortable and purpose-built footwear. And now the range of shoes on offer for gym-goers continues to expand. Today we are going to take a look at the best shoes for Squats and Deadlifts with a high top.
The range of sporting activities that humans are capable of doing is awe-inspiring.
From dancing to weightlifting, from swimming to acrobatic parachuting, from curling to bowling, from track and field to diving, from fishing to hunting.
There are exotic sports like the buzkashi, practised nationally in Afghanistan; or as the sepak takraw, the version of volleyball played with the feet; or the Finnish wife-carrying; or the Hawaiian mokomoko boxing.
In short, the list is vast; almost all human activity has been converted into a sport somewhere in the world at some point in history.
Every sport requires the best shoes to compete at the top levels
Of course, every sport needs some kind of equipment: the buzkashi needs the skin of a stuffed goat, the mokomoko needs a face to hit, and the race carrying your wife needs … well, a wife.
That equipment has to adapt to the sport in particular and almost always defines it.
You do not have to think much about what sport is practised when you see a bat or a basketball or a racket.
Time and technology have caused the equipment used in sports to change and evolve, so what previously satisfied you in your practice now is not enough.
Contemplate the evolution of tennis rackets, racing cars, and shoes.
And now we get where we wanted to go.
Weightlifting is a very complex sport, of great intensity, which implies almost obsessive attention to detail and an iron-proof mental determination.
It is a sport of strength. Therefore, all the equipment used has to be measured, or evaluated, from this point of view.
Shoes are not an exception.
Why do I need special shoes for weightlifting?
Everything in weightlifting has to support your intention to lift more and more weight. So wristbands, belts, everything is designed and manufactured to facilitate your movements more securely.
That’s why weightlifting shoes have also evolved.
Usually, anyone who begins to lift weights does so by wearing general-purpose athletic shoes, or running shoes. Some even start in their home gym barefoot.
That’s not bad for a beginner trying to decide if weightlifting is for them.
But once you start taking it seriously, then it’s time to evaluate what equipment is going to help you reach your goals.
Shoes not designed for squats and deadlifting
Running shoes are not the best because they make you waste energy.
These shoes have a cushion embedded in the sole designed to mitigate the impact of running.
A portion of the foot´s downward directed energy impacting the floor that dissipates inside the cushion; that’s the purpose of that pillow, to minimise the impact.
When you lift weights, you do not want any of the energy that your legs direct down to be lost anywhere.
You want each atom of energy down to become kilograms up.
Importance of the heel of your shoe when deadlifting & performing squats
Another reason to wear the right shoes is the heel.
The ideal shoes for weightlifting have a raised heel, which allows you to adopt a better position in the squat or the deadlift, a more straight back, and ankles with a lot more range of movement.
All this facilitates the movement of the bar upwards.
They also offer a much more stable base than your everyday shoes, increasing the safety factor in your training.
Factors you need to check
The market for weightlifting shoes, like any other sports equipment, is wide and offers a multitude of viable alternatives.
This sometimes makes it a bit difficult to choose the right shoe.
Finding the right shoe is probably a matter of trial and error.
Nothing sharpens more the sense of what you need as constant practice, only then can you determine what is useful and what is not.
It is a process of approximation by degrees until finding the product that suits you best.
However, if you stick to our guide here, in the beginning, you will reduce the chances of getting it wrong and wasting money.
Weightlifting shoe support – Base and sides
The most important thing is getting the foot well supported not only on its base but also on the sides.
As you know, the base of the shoe is the heel.
The heel height is variable but most samples out there goes from half an inch to an inch, so these are the values you should look for in your first purchase.
Your ideal height will be defined only with use and practice.
The rest of the support must come from the complete wrapping of the shoe, that is, your foot has to feel firmly supported in all directions.
When lacing up, the adjustment should be smooth and firm at the same time.
Different brands offer different widths to accommodate all sizes.
In a few words, you never want to feel your foot is loose inside the shoe.
The goal of the best shoes for squats deadlifts and weightlifting
Remember, weightlifting shoes are for lifting weights, they are designed for that activity and to make you more efficient.
Especially when you do squats, you need a very stable base, good range of motion, and the ability to transform all your energy from the legs up.
Despite all these points that we have discussed here, we cannot forget that the specialised shoe is not a substitute for proper technique.
That is, if you are able to make a good squat with shoes but not without them, then you should ask your coach to review your mechanics, posture, and movements.
It is not right to depend on shoes to the point that you feel you do not work well without them.
The same is true if you use wrist wraps but do not worry about strengthening your wrists, or if you do not work to develop torso stability because you lean too much on the belt.
When should you invest in good weightlifting shoes?
As soon as you can.
You might ask yourself ‘But my squat technique is still developing, do I really need squat shoes?’
Again, the shoe supports.
The shoe is not a magic wand, but a suitable shoe is just another factor in the whole of your training along with a good instructor and your commitment to the sport and in the development of your ability to make a good squat.
A good instructor adjusts the weight to your capacity. Gives you the ability to grow and can see your potential when perhaps you cannot.
When starting out, you will make rapid progress on your squat strength.
At various times, you will plateau. That is a given.
Squat shoes can help provide the best foundation for your squats and deadlifts.
And as you already know, a firm foundation is ideal to help you lift heavier and more frequently.
A good squat shoe or deadlift shot can boost your confidence as you are adding kilos to the barbell.
High top squat shoes for weightlifting
Another important question is, is it better to use a high or a low top?
Since the beginning of the article, we have been talking about support for your heaviest lifts like squats and deadlifts.
That is the keyword, support.
We have said that the primary quality of the shoe for weightlifting is its ability to support you, to offer you stability and confidence.
A shoe is a tool that must fulfil its function, and everything that contributes to doing it is a plus.
The high top offers an extension of the wrap covering the ankle, providing extra support to this important and vital joint.
As long as the ankle wrap is not too tight to the point of restricting mobility, the high top offers an advantage over the low cut shoe.
When squatting and deadlifting heavy, you want to trust your foundation to deliver the energy and grip to power back up.
To summarise, a shoe must have:
- an appropriate heel to help you in the mechanics;
- anti-slip sole for greater safety;
- must offer support all around, including your ankle; and
- arch support for heavy lifting.
Ultralifts weightlifting shoes for men and women
One of the best shoes for squats deadlifts and weightlifting are the Ultralifts by Unleashed Muscle Development.
They have all the benefits you need at a fantastic price point.
These are a purpose built weightlifting shoe with a high top.
They come in three colours including
We have, in preparing this information, used our best endeavours to ensure that the information contained herein is true and accurate, but accept no responsibility and disclaim all liability in respect of any errors, inaccuracies or misstatements contained herein. Information guide only and any other further information should be considered by a professional.