Do You Need Special Sneakers For Lifting Weights?

Photographed by Andi Elloway.
Olympic weightlifters, CrossFitters, and most lifters you come across in the weight room tend to wear lots of accessories — like bulky belts, gloves, and even fancy sneakers. Lifting shoes are often flatter than running sneakers, and have a higher top than other cross-trainers. Many have intense straps or buckles across the arch, too. But as intimidating as lifting shoes might appear to the untrained eye, are they really necessary for the sport?
According to Morit Summers, NCSA-certified personal trainer and CrossFit trainer, and owner of Form Fitness in Brooklyn, the type of shoe you wear to lift weights does matter when it comes to your form. "Wearing a shoe with a harder bottom is important while lifting weights; you need and want to be able to feel the floor," she says. If you usually work out in your running sneakers, or something with a lot of cushion, it can be harder to press your feet down during a lift, she says. And if you can't do that, then you can't create the force necessary to lift a weight.
Now, you don't necessarily have to spend the money on a new pair of shoes just for lifting, because some cross-trainers can be used for general lifting and cardio-style movements, Summers says. But if you are getting into lifting weights, these are the shoes Summers suggests checking out.

More from Fitness

R29 Original Series