Weightlifting is a type of strength training in which barbells are lifted competitively. It might sound simple, but it really isn’t—for one thing, it requires both mental and physical control. After all, the weights will probably be more than double your own bodyweight!
If done properly, however, it comes with many health benefits. For instance, it can improve posture, boost metabolism, increase bone density, and more. Of course, it’ll also strengthen your muscles! On top of all that, it can lessen the risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, among other conditions, as well.
What Kind of Gear is Required for Weightlifting?
Safety is always the number one priority when it comes to weightlifting. The last thing that you want is to injure yourself with the heavy barbells! Given that, it only makes sense that you’d want to equip yourself with the proper gear. For instance, it’s probably not a good idea to lift with your bare hands—you won’t be able to get a good grip!
What kind of gear do you need? Quite a few things, actually. For starters, you’ll want to invest in a pair of weightlifting gloves. Why? They’ll prevent blisters and calluses from forming on your hand (trust me, it will happen). On top of that, they’ll provide you with a better grip when you’re holding onto the bar.
Knee sleeves are also helpful. They provide compression, which increases blood flow to the area. What good does that do? It’ll reduce pain and swelling in the joints following a workout. In other words, you won’t have to worry about injuries as much.
The most important thing of all, however, is to have a good pair of weightlifting shoes. Believe it or not but they actually make a big difference when it comes to lifting weights. We’ll be talking more about them below.
Benefits of Wearing Weightlifting Shoes
Weightlifting shoes are different from regular shoes in that they’re designed specifically for the sport. For one thing, they come with a lifted heel that increases the range of movement in your ankles—that is, you’ll be able to squat deeper, which will help improve your overall position.
That’s not all, they can also boost your performance. How? By providing you with a solid and stable surface. Can you imagine lifting on an unstable surface? Not only would it inhibit your power output but it would increase your risk of injury! With weightlifting shoes, however, you’ll have a solid platform to work with; your feet will be stabilized.
How to Pick a Pair of Lifters
Want to maximize your lifting ability? Then you’ll want to get a proper pair of lifting shoes. Here’s a tip—never go for the cheapest option. Remember, you get what you pay for. You wouldn’t want to hurt yourself because you skimped out on the footwear, right?
There are a few things that you want to consider when you’re buying a weightlifting shoe. For instance, you want to consider the heel height. How can you tell whether it’s right for you? Try them on—you should feel as if you’re leaning slightly forwards. It might seem a little weird at the beginning, but you’ll eventually get used to it.
Aside from that, you want to consider the shoe material, style, and durability. Of course, you also want to keep in mind the cost. Generally speaking, a good pair of shoes will run you anywhere from $80 to $200.
Popular Brands That Make Lifting Shoes
As it turns out, there are quite a few companies that make weightlifting shoes. That isn’t too surprising when you think about it, though—after all, it is a popular sport! Curious to know what some of the most popular brands are? We’ll be highlighting some of them below.
Reebok is a global brand that specializes in footwear and apparel. Founded in 1958, the company was one of the first to utilize track spikes in shoes. After many years of operation, they were acquired by Adidas in 2005. Nowadays, they have products that are geared towards certain sports such as running, cross-fit, yoga, and mixed martial arts.
Adidas is one of the most well-known sports brands in the world. In fact, they are the biggest manufacturer of sportswear in Europe! Founded by Adolf Dassler, the company is known for their iconic logo, which consists of three slanted stripes. Aside from weightlifting shoes, they also sell footwear for hockey, running, training, basketball, football, and more.
Nike is the largest manufacturer of athletic shoes in the world. Aside from footwear, they also sell apparel, accessories, and sports equipment. With that said, they’re probably best known for their shoe collection. As with other brands, they have certain products that are designed for specific sports (weightlifting included). For instance, they have ones that are meant for baseball, training, running, skateboarding, volleyball, and golf.
Nordic Lifting specializes in weightlifting gear. Based in Sweden, the brand sells a variety of products for lifters including wraps, compression gear, accessories, and more. Of course, they also offer various types of shoes. Unlike the other brands that we’ve mentioned, however, their products are only available online—that is, they do not have a brick-and-mortar store.
Inov-8 is a leading manufacturer of all-terrain footwear, apparel, and sports equipment. Founded in 2003, the brand has been offering high-quality, innovative products for over two decades. In addition to weightlifting shoes, they also have products that are designed for running, cross-fit, training, hiking, and more.
Keeping Your Powerlifting Shoes Clean
Sure, weightlifting shoes are only worn at the gym, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get dirty! Assuming that you wear them on a regular basis, it’s not uncommon for them to start to smell. After all, you’ll probably be sweating a lot while you’re lifting! Over time, stains can also develop on the inside.
Want to get the most out of your shoes? If so, you’ll want to give them a good wash every now and then. Why? The sweat and dirt can actually deteriorate the fabric! But wait, what’s the best way to wash them without ruining them? Can you put them in the washing machine? Keep reading to find out!
How to Wash Weightlifting Shoes
As it turns out, there’s more than one way to clean lifting shoes. Here are a few methods that you might want to try!
Putting Your Weightlifting Shoes in the Washer
Believe it or not but some weightlifting shoes can be put in the washing machine. Not sure whether or not that goes for your pair? Check the care tag label on the inside—that will have all the information that you need regarding its washing instructions.
The first step is to remove the laces (you can always leave them on, but that would mean that you won’t be able to clean them properly). Place them in a small mesh bag and put them in the washer—that will prevent them from getting tangled during the cycle. If you don’t have a wash bag, you stuff them inside a pillowcase.
Note: Depending on your shoes, you might be able to take out the inner soles and wash them separately.
From there, you want to prepare your shoes. Ultimately, what you want to do is to wipe off as much debris as possible from the surface with a soft brush (e.g. an old toothbrush). If necessary, you can clap them together a few times—that will help to remove some of the dirt.
When you’re finished, put the lifting shoes into a laundry bag and place them in the washer. Do not wash them by themselves—what you want to do instead is to throw in a few towels (3-6 should do the trick). That will help balance the load so that your shoes will not be slamming widely inside the washing machine. Aside from the towels, you do not want to add anything else to the washer.
Add a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and run the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle. Once it’s finished running, remove the shoes. Take them out of the laundry bag and allow them to dry naturally at room temperature. Never put them in the dryer—the heat can melt the glue. Not to mention that it can warp the shape!
Washing Your Lifting Shoes by Hand
The first thing that you want to do is to create a sudsy solution. To do this, add a small amount of ACTIVE detergent to a bowl of water. Once the powder has dissolved, apply it onto the surface of your shoe with a small brush. Avoid rubbing motions as that can damage the shoe material. Pay extra attention to the grooves as that’s where most of the dirt gets embedded.
Note: As with machine washing, it’s a good idea to remove the laces before cleaning—that way, you’ll be able to better wash the shoe and the laces.
The next step is to wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth. From there, all you have to do is wait for it to air dry. As stated earlier, the last thing that you want to do is to toss them in the dryer.
Best Way to Deodorize Lifters
Weightlifting shoes can get quite stinky. Don’t worry, though, you can deodorize them easily! One of the easiest ways to do this is by using baking soda. All you have to do is sprinkle some inside the shoes—about a tablespoon’s worth or so should be enough. How it works is that the baking soda will absorb the odor. Of course, you’ll want to leave it in there for it to work (for the best results, leave the powder in overnight). In the morning, just shake out the baking soda!
Alternatively, you can de-stink your shoes with white vinegar. Dampen a cloth with the liquid and use it to swab the inside of each shoe. Do not use balsamic or apple cider vinegar and these variations can stain the fabric! When you’re finished, let them air dry—do not wear them again until they’re dry completely. If necessary, you can also stuff the shoes with crumpled newspaper as that will help to get rid of some of the excess moisture.