Thread: Why OLYs?
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Old 07-21-2013, 02:56 PM   #2
Jeff Enge
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Collinsville  IL
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Re: Why OLYs?

OK, here's the mechanics behind weightlifting shoes:

1. They all feature some kind of raised heel. Could be anywhere from 0.5" to 0.75" of lift. This allows most people to get into a much more vertical squat position, which is critical to maintaining balance in the catch of a clean or snatch (not to mention other exercises like back, front and overhead squats, pistols and wall ball shots)

2. They provide a solid base to lift from. Whether made of hard plastic or wood, the soles of lifting shoes are meant to be stiff, not squishy like most other athletic shoes. This means all of your force is being applied to standing up rather than in compressing the soles of your shoes. Of course, this is also why lifting shoes aren't supposed to be used for dynamic movements where the sole will be excessively flexed.

3. They stabilize your feet. Lifting shoes are meant to fit tightly, and in addition they usually are made with velcro straps. This allows your feet to push against the shoes and in turn apply force to the ground, as opposed to looser-fitting shoes where your feet have room to move around a little.

Hope this helps. You certainly don't "need" lifting shoes, but they are highly recommended for anyone who wants to improve their weightlifting skills.

Also, you can find perfectly acceptable shoes for under $100. They aren't Nike or Adidas or Reebok, but they are serviceable enough - and I would argue most of the cheaper ones are better for pure weightlifting than the Reeboks are.

Disclaimer: I'm not an expert. Just an engineer and amateur CrossFitter who recently started to dabble in the weightlifting world.
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