A pair of Olympic shoes is one of those things that can really be a game changer in your overall resistance training experience. It’s undoubtedly the most important piece of equipment weightlifters have (next to their precious belts, of course). If you are snatching and cleaning regularly, or doing any weighted explosivity training, you probably already have a pair. However, the question remains: Should you put on Do-Wins when you deadlift? Bear with me and find out.
Simply put, Olympic shoes are shoes made for Olympic lifting. They are made to give extra support to your foot and to stop it from sliding even ever so slightly during your lifts. Also, thanks to the hard heel, less force is dispersed and you can simply move around more weight. One extra benefit that these beauties bring is better ankle placement for people with flexibility issues. But as they are incredibly useful for squats, snatches and similar movements, jury is still out on the case of deadlifting in Olympic shoes.
There appears to be a wave of negativity when it comes to Olys, and if you want to get a pair, you might probably find it located between a rock and a hard place. Everybody seems to be lifting barefoot or in their Chuck’s (which is all fine, I do it sometimes too, but I don’t bash others who do it differently), and all of a sudden you are a douche if you splurged for a pair of “power perfects”. I always say – to each their own. It’s not always easy to find motivation to hit the weights, and if someone gets that push in a pair of sneakers, who I am to judge?
All that being said – I don’t use them when I am deadlifting, and let will explain why it might not be the best option for you (but also, why it could be just the thing you were looking for).
First up, chances are you didn’t have these shoes around when you just started deadlifting. It might not look like that, but deadlift is one of the most difficult exercises to get right, and the one that can hurt you very much if you don’t treat it with respect it deserves (words herniated disc come to mind).
Getting right all of the tiny details like the grip, the stance, the perfect balance between hinging too much and getting too low into the squat is anything but easy, and it takes years to master and adjust to your body’s proportions. Now imagine adding an inch thick sole underneath your heels. It completely messes up the kinetic chain, and it tempers with your already well-established moving patterns.
If this is you, do me a favor and take a quick check first. Put two plates (the smaller the better) under your soles and give it a go. If it feels good, go for the shoes. If it still feels odd, try altering some other aspects of the lift (go sumo and work on your flexibility in the meanwhile would be my first advice), and you might save some money in the process.
Now we come to the matters of pricing, because these shoes can cost you an arm and a leg. Like with so many other things in life, it all comes down to what you want. If you have the money to treat yourself, and you think that these shoes can up your game, more power to you. Just do me one more favor – don’t do it right away. Give it time, and think it through. If someone had told me that (or if I had listened), I would have much more money, and much less junk going back and forth from my garage to the cellar.
If you are on a budget and are say trying to put together a home gym, you might be better off investing in a decent weight set, a solid squat rack or some dumbbells for that matter. Stick to Chuck’s for a while, or go for anything sturdy and flat enough that doesn’t a third of your salary to purchase.
If I had to make a call I would say, skip Olympic shoes when deadlifting. It’s just my opinion, of course, but I think that potential downsides more than trump the benefits that may follow. One more argument is that they take space, as well, and if you don’t want to carry two different pairs of shoes in your backpack, you might be in two minds about which ones to choose.
Trust me – it’s not the easiest decision to make. Say you want to go for a jog on a treadmill after the workout. It’s the end of lifting weights, your glycogen is out, and you are basically running in a fasted state. Perfect for burning some extra calories, right? Now try doing that in a wooden heel. It’s not the most enjoyable experience, you have to give me that.
To sum the whole point, they take space, they might mess with your form, and there are far cheaper alternatives. If you are dead-set on finding a way to work out in them, go for it, but if you are an average Joe or Jane just looking to get bigger and stronger by deadlifting, you are fine with what you have – trust me. Shoes or no shoes, be sure to get the form right, go heavy and stay strong.
Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!