For the gym grinding, meal-prepping, Ronnie Coleman-worshipping lifters, it’s all about gaining that extra edge. Amino acids, lifting belts, foam rollers: to some it might seem excessive, but if you’re a serious trainer, you’ll know the sense of fulfillment and raw power that comes from adding an extra plate to your squat, or seeing that extra definition in your delts.
This is why a pair of lifting shoes is so essential. Sure, you can hit a respectable squat PB in those weathered, dirt-crusted sneakers you also wore for Tough Mudder 2017. But if you want to take leg day from regular to record-breaking, then a pair of specific, weightlifting shoes is essential!
We’ve broken down the benefits of weightlifting shoes to give you an insight into why they belong in your gym bag, and what the best weightlifting shoes are for you!
If you’re like most gym junkies, you’re contemplating buying a pair of weightlifting shoes because you want to level up your lifts, push past those plateaus and redefine your 1RM. But it’s not simply a matter of throwing on a pair of D-Mak’s and discovering your inner Kai Greene, like a bodybuilding version of Like Mike. There’s a bit of biomechanics and science worth understanding if lifting shoes are on your shopping list.
The main way a pair of weightlifting shoes will truly improve your lifts is by offering better power transfer. Isaac Newton probably didn’t have your deadlift PB in mind when he said everything has an equal and opposite reaction, but the concept is the same: if you push against an object, the object also pushes back. Well, power transfer is all about how easily you can push against resistance, ideally aiming for a 1:1 ratio. On leg day, you transfer of power is connected to the three contact points typically used when lifting serious iron: the floor, your body and the barbell, which is the standard kinetic chain when performing a compound lift like a squat.
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A pair of weightlifting shoes with a flat, firm sole is going to offer better transfer of force through your legs, because that surface offers less resistance, compared to those soft, compressive sneakers you’re currently rocking. Imagine doing a heavy back squat on a mattress. Your 1RM just won’t be the same, because so much of your force will be absorbed ,rather than being transferred into the motion of pushing the barbell up. Now compare this with the firm, high transaction sole of a shoe like the Kai Greene Signature Series D-Mak, and it’s easy to understand how a pair of lifting kicks can add those coveted kg’s to your deadlift.
ANTIDOTE TO ANKLE ROLLS
If there’s one thing lifters hate more than treadmills, it’s getting injured. That’s why if you’re wanting to avoid a lifetime of aches, pains and serious injuries, then a pair of weightlifting shoes are essential. Whether you currently train barefoot or in a pair of fraying old sneakers, both are going to pale in comparison to the benefits you can get from a pair of proper weightlifting shoes.
Other than being able to sprint to the squat rack before the guy doing bicep curls gets there, sneakers aren’t doing you any favours when it comes to protecting your body from injury at the gym. Trainers will typically have a lightweight and high flexible upper, which offers minimal support or prevention against ankle rolling, as they were created to cushion your feet from hours pounding the pavement, not keep you stable with four plates stacked on the bar. Having so much compression can also blunt proprioception of the feet and ankles!
If you’re part of the barefoot battalion training sans sneakers, a pair of weightlifting shoes will place less stress on your back and knees, decreasing your chance of a serious injury keeping you out of the squat rack. We’ve dedicated an entire blog to barefoot lifting, which you can check out here.
WEAR AND TEAR
While wearing everyday shoes in the squat rack ensures they’ll quickly be destined for the scrapheap, a pair of weightlifting shoes is for life. They might set you back slightly more than your average sneaker but it’s a worthwhile investment, as they should last for a minimum of ten years of lifting, lunging, sweating and squatting. This is all down to the premium fabrics used, with the Ryderwear D-Mak created from near-indestructible materials, like a durable canvas, action and suede leather as well as a latex heel cushioning. This all contributes to the longevity of the lifting shoe lifecycle!
THE BEST WEIGHTLIFTING SHOE: JOIN THE SERIOUS LIFTER’S CLUB
The game-changing Ryderwear D-Mak is a bodybuilding shoe created for grinding through heavy, bar-bending lifts that shake the earth and set your legs on fire. Lifters like Kai Greene train religiously in the D-Mak, with the thin, flat rubber sole offering a barefoot feel, while still delivering optimal traction and stability.
Wearing the D-Mak is a statement of intent, a symbol of your single-mindedness and a signifier of your entry into the serious lifter’s club.
Why is the D-Mak created for me?
You’re a hardcore lifter, with a relentless passion for taking your physique to the next level. The number of plates stacked on the bar is meaningful to you, and you’re continually trying to push your limits, always searching for that edge.
You want to be renowned and respected for your physique, and for the enormity of your lifts. You like the sound of iron clashing against iron, and how the ground tremors after you finish a heavy set. You want a shoe engineered to maximise your power on leg day, with all of the benefits of barefoot lifting, but the added element of traction and stability that a lifting shoe offers.
If you’ve ever sacrificed sleep ins for squats, tracked your macros meticulously or spilt blood and scraped away skin in pursuit of a PB, then the D-Mak belongs in your lifting arsenal, as your ticket to bigger, more powerful lifts.
High Top Design
The high ankle support of the D-Mak’s gives the lifter unrivaled stability and confidence during heavy compound movements like squats and deadlifts
High Quality Fabrics
The Ryderwear D-Mak Rogue is made with lightweight mesh, action leather and suede leather fabrics
Flat Rubber Sole
The thin, flat rubber sole offers that barefoot feel, bringing the lifter close to the ground for maximum contact and stability, with the sole created to grip tightly to rubber gym floors
Signature Ryderwear Branding
Workout with confidence, with distinctive Ryderwear flame branding and details, as well as a signature toe box shape