So maybe you're getting really into CrossFit/lifting, and you think you're ready for some lifters. You see everyone else wear them, and they look really cool...but what exactly do they do?
We're here to explain the purpose of lifting shoes and whether or not you should buy some.
The term "lifters" as most CrossFitters use it, refers to a shoe designed for performing Olympic Lifts such as the Clean and Snatch (but also squatting in general). It has a raised heel, usually made of a harder material. This raised heel does 2 main things for you while you're lifting:
1. It makes it easier to stay balanced, keeping your weight mostly in your heels, which is vital for catching a successful lift.
2. It shortens your range of motion, making it *ever so slightly* easier to move a heavy load.
We think lifting shoes are great, and can be really helpful in improving an athlete's performance. However, it is important for beginner athletes to establish a strong foundation of strength before relying on lifters to make things a little easier for them.
To summarize, lifting shoes will make you feel more stable, and give you a higher chance of catching difficult lifts. But they should not replace attention to technique and strength building.
It is important to note, that certain styles of lifting shoes are designed for different levels of athletes. Reebok makes a lifter with a slightly softer heel (pictured below), that some like to refer to as a "hybrid" shoe. This softer heel style can serve as a great introduction lifting shoe for newer athletes. Once you become more advanced in your lifting, graduating to a heavier and harder heel (which will be more difficult to move swiftly in) will serve as a stronger base under heavier loads.
We hope this article has been informative and helpful in your decision to try lifting shoes. Just remember, there is no substitute for hard work and great technique.