There’re enough variables at play to optimal training already, with regards to diet and training schedules. Hence, it’s best to keep other influential factors in check in order to ensure you progress optimally in the gym. One of these that I’m referring to, are weightlifting shoes. As trivial as they may seem, getting your hands on a good pair may actually bring the difference of day and night to your training.

An interesting study, surveying 1,350 Americans between 18- 65 years of age, reveals that an average American spends  $155 per month on their health and fitness. This amount, calculated over a lifetime, surprisingly exceeds the cost of four years worth of public college education by $13,000. (refer)

However terrible the insights of the survey may appear to be, the fact that getting onto the peak of your fitness may leave a heavy dent in your pocket does seem concerning. Well, there’s no point obsessing over what we can’t change! The power of will can cut through stones easily. If you want to pinch a penny to avoid surpassing your budget, no harm at all-but you should know where to compromise and where not to. 

Buying affordable weightlifting shoes could be your first step towards smart investment, provided they secure your footsteps enough. There’s a fine line difference between cheap weightlifting shoes and cheap yet cost-effective weightlifting shoes. This article is all about finding the last one. 

Notable Advantages of Investing in Good Squat Shoes

Before feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of cheap powerlifting shoes available in the stores, further, your clarity on what an ideal pair of powerlifting or weightlifting shoes should offer. 

1. Enhanced Balance and Stability

Weightlifting shoes assist in balancing your lower body and maintaining your balance as you lower into a deep squat position. They keep your spine straight and balance your pressure on the heels, reducing the chances of getting into the wrong form or hurting your feet. This substantially helps in avoiding an excess of post-workout soreness in your lower body.

The solid sole and support straps also permit you to lift more. Unlike the cushioned soles, the solid sole base does not distribute the force that the weights-bars target on specific muscle groups. It also prevents you from losing too much power over the compression of the cushion soles. The support straps added to the tight fit of powerlifting shoes, stabilize you on the floor and promote your confidence. 

2. Ankle Support

The raised heel, facilitated by weightlifting shoes, provides you with a greater ankle movement and action during a deeper squat, compared to using regular shoes or performing barefoot. It concentrates your force on heels while shifting the mechanics to knees, allowing your ankle enhanced mobility. When you perform squats, lift weights, or deadlifts, the ankle motion should increase to avoid any injury and allow you to endure better.

Amateur lifters do feel concerned with their inability to squat deeply because of how stiff their ankles are. At times they end up injuring themselves under defective techniques or lack of mobility. Powerlifting or weightlifting shoes is the best solution!

3. Better Muscle Fiber Recruitment

Heeled squat shoes can activate more muscles and aid you in reaching deeper squats more actively. Permitting you to push through the floor, they engage your muscles in producing more force while performing a lift. Lifting shoes hold you sturdier during heavy squats, deadlifts, and any other compound lift by balancing the kinematic and biomechanical impact.

Studies, having observed the notable difference in peak ankle flexion and erect posture by employing weightlifting shoes, conclude that weightlifting shoes assist in making squats more effective and safe. They help to build the quadriceps and vastus medialis which goes on to stabilize your patella (knee bone) during powerful activities. 

4. Improved Mobility

Our body is designed to accommodate various motions. This goes through three phases, preparing or understanding the dynamics of motion, performing the motion, and retracting to the initial/ resting state. Several muscles engage in accommodating the pattern of movement that happens while performing the simple or variant techniques within a weightlifting regimen. 

During the power lift, our muscles enlarge, leading to momentary hypertrophy. The feet are constantly under the dynamics of holding and releasing the pressure. Therefore, in facilitating all these movements, you need the firm and padded support of weightlifting shoes to enhance performativity. 

The Best Affordable & Cheap Lifting Shoes To Buy in 2021 

1. Adidas Powerlift Men’s 4 Shoes 

The Adidas Powerlift Men’s 4 Shoes are high-quality performative shoes with a solid heel made of hard foam with no spaces in the foam material. The rubber sole further improves your grip on the ground, making you feel as if you have been firmly cemented to the ground while lifting weight. They are sturdy and provide enhanced support to your feet as you squat. To prevent any injury to your lower body the shoes are equipped with decent laces and a lockdown velcro strap. 

Adidas holds a great reputation for its association with various sports. If you nurture a sportive spirit, purchasing a pair of these branded products would best fit your taste. Indeed, the shoes are classic in their design and are available in an assorted range of colors to suit your choice of gym wear. Adidas also offers a range of the same affordable weightlifting shoes for women.

PROS

  • Noncompressible 
  • Made for stability
  • In Vogue Design 
  • A midsole wedge, and a wide instep strap for complete lockdown. 
  • Rubber outsole to keep you firmly planted
  • The lightweight upper is made from durable canvas. 
  • Available in half sizes.

CONS

  • May run a little small 
  • Too narrow for flat feet
  • Not ideal for CrossFit movements or any activity other than lifting

2. Reebok Men’s Lifter Weightlifting PR Shoes

Do you get sweaty feet more often while training at the gym? 

Reebok Men’s Lifter Weightlifting PR Shoes are sneakers-styled weightlifting shoes, featuring a full-grain leather toe and an air mesh tongue on the upper for supporting your feet and providing improved breathability. Furthermore, to avoid excessive sweating or greasy suffocation in the foot, an anti-friction lining has been employed inside the shoes. These shoes are proven to be effective in terms of supporting and allowing you a powerful experience during strength training.

Featuring a Powerbox TPU plate and a dual rubber outsole, these shoes can ensure greater stability to your feet and lower body while accommodating the motions of the squat or lift.

Your feet would be secured in Hook-and-loop closures that firmly hold the feet in position. Just in case you perform a side-squat walk or lunges with weights, the raised sole can help you activate more muscle groups around quads to derive maximum benefits. 

PROS

  • Greater breathability and support
  • Reduced moisture and sweat build-up
  • Customized fit with  U-form and Thermo TPU midfoot wrap
  •  hard and ultra-flat sole
  • Sneaker-design 

CONS

  • Narrow, not ideal for wide feet
  • Some customers believe the sole is not lasting while many others have the opposite opinion 
  • The insole is slightly too cushy

3. Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes – Men’s Squat Shoe 

Newbie or a soon-to-be professional Powerlifter? No matter where you stand on your strength training journey, welcome to a renovated experience of powerlifting with Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Men’s Squat Shoes. Made of premium quality material, these shoes have it all that makes you feel powerful while working out. You can perform anything from deep squats, deadlifts to other heavy exercises with these great pairs of affordable weightlifting shoes.

Nordic Lifting promises an Olympic level foot stability and support with its premium accessories like Sturdy Velcro Strap and raised heel (3.5 cm) and reinforced stitching that levels the shoes up. It also provides a range of different sizes to suitably fit anything from too wide to narrow feet. The greater traction of the sole and snug fit, grounds you decently while restricting any unnecessary movement of the feet to minimize any potential risk of injury or soreness.

PROS

  • Greater stability with anti-slip sole
  • Raised heels and design to enable lifting more
  • Sturdy Velcro strap and snug fit 
  • Contemporary style
  • Longer warranty on shoes 

CONS

  • You may feel like a slight slope to the back 
  • Not ideal for a wide range of movements 
  • A few customers complaint against the softness of the inside fabric
  • Heels don’t provide a flat feeling

4. Converse, Chuck Taylor, All Star Core Ox

Fond of flat-soled shoes? The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox could be the “Taylor-made” shoes to fit your workout regimen. These shoes have a canvas upper and rubber soles ideal enough for heavy squats or deadlifts. It may not seem like a traditional weightlifting shoe at the first glance, for its sneaker-styled appearance with front enmeshed-lacing, but no wonder, these lacing systems end up providing string security and stability to the feet up till ankle. 

Be it maintaining right foot posture, flat on the ground, or stabilizing your lower body while performing the lifts, these are your go-to shoes for an improved form. While the design might appear to be limiting your dorsiflexion to some extent, but rest assured, this boosts the sense of security and prevents unnecessary movement or shifting of weight during the training sessions.

 

For generations, Chuck Taylor All-Star sneaker continues to celebrate personal style and individual self-expression and has been widely adopted by rockers, rappers, artists, dreamers, thinkers, and many aspiring individuals. 

PROS

  • Affordable and versatile (casual footwear that can be worn outside the gym)
  • Available in a wide range of sizes and colors
  • Promotes controlled yet flexible foot mobility
  • Well-stitched Canvas uppers 
  • Facilitates enduringness and breathability

CONS

  • Not a raised-heel design
  • Firm rubber base but highly compressible 
  • Canvas upper is the only supporting strap

5. VANS Unisex Era Classic Low Top Squat Shoes

Fans of classic- here’s your match! 

No matter if you have flat, wide, or bunion feet, here’s a shoe that you may choose to put on while performing heavy lifting exercises and jumping into a walk right after! We all have gone through that phase in our childhood when laced casual shoes were our sweethearts for improved comfort and flexible matching with almost any outfit! 

Many buyers of VANS Unisex Era Classic Low Top Squat Shoes personally prefer removing the OEM sole and use a thinner sole to customize it to their needs. Wearing the lace a little loose during daily activity and tightening it for workout sessions can deliver you the all-day purpose benefit at an affordable cost.

However, it would not be ideal to lift heavy weights or perform a heavy-duty activity with these shoes. When we say Casual- we technically mean- not for professional powerlifters. In case if you feel too suffocated in narrow fits, these shoes can be your friend for workout sessions. For generations, Chuck Taylor All-Star sneaker continues to celebrate personal style and individual self-expression and has been widely adopted by rockers, rappers, artists, dreamers, thinkers, and many aspiring individuals. 

PROS

  • Casual and multipurpose shoes 
  • OEM hard sole 
  • Great traction and grip for stability
  • Canvas and durable 
  • Cushioning can be added by loosening the laces

CONS

  • Very little to no arch support
  • The back of the shoe may cause rashes or blisters if tightly bound 
  • Not for professional weightlifters 
  • Not recommended for high movement activities except walking and regular mobility

What to Look for While Buying Cheap Squat Shoes 

1. Flat and Stiff Outsole 

Flat Sole Cheap Weightlifting Shoes for Deadlifts

Stiff sole is essential for performing squats. It is preferable to go for hard and flat soles since a non-compressible surface increases safety, stability, and force transfer while performing strength-training. Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), made of hard plastic and soft rubber, is the most commonly utilized material for manufacturing the sole of weightlifting shoes. 

An advantage of wearing TPU soled shoes is that it allows flexible tuning for hardness. However, this material is expensive and you may not find them in cheap weightlifting shoes. Rubber in these cheap powerlifting shoes could be closer to TPU in terms of hardness and sturdiness. Another material used in the soles of running shoes, Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), is light-weight and flexible. This material is not at all expected to construct the sole of squat shoes! 

2. Raised Heel (Heel Wedge)

Raised Heel Affordable Lifting Shoes

Powerlifting shoes with raised heels can empower you to maintain proper form while performing the lifts. It also assists in increasing your range of motion at the ankles and calves. Despite the standard heel height for squat shoes being 0.75 inches, it is recommended that you must go for your ideal fit that fits your femur and shin size. 

A little higher heels are suitable for taller people with longer legs. Generally, greater heel elevation offers an increased range of motion around the ankle and lower body. On the other hand, lower than average heels are often comparatively cheaper squat shoes. For workouts involving less ankle mobility and more hip hinge movement, shorter heels are proven beneficial than higher heels. 

3. Ankle Strap 

Inexpensive Squat Shoes With Ankle Straps

Yes, here comes an important feature to look for! Most cheap lifting shoes feature one metatarsal strap to the middle of your foot and sometimes, an additional one at the ankle for stabilizing your leg. Stability is essential while performing strength training or weight workouts. Strong straps ensure that your feet are secure enough and do not slide accidentally in between the squats and lifts. The last thing we would want you to compromise with cheap shoes is your safety! 

For aspiring bodybuilders, newbies, and the ones with weak ankles, finding the right shoes with proper ankle security is more than essential. Moreover, some straps are wider and more durable than others. Therefore consider buying stronger straps than the thinner straps.

4. Perforation Holes 

Perforation Holes in Cheap Weightlifting Shoes

Ventilation in squat shoes is important. But it becomes all the more essential if you either tend to spend more time working with squats and lifts or you have naturally sweaty feet. Sweat does not only reduce the friction inside shoes, creating a slippery environment, but it also makes us feel greasily uncomfortable. 

Perforation holes and mesh panels, on the top and sides of the shoes, help to make the squat shoe highly breathable by eliminating excess moisture. You can look for additional anti-sweat linings in the shoes to help mitigate the sweaty experience. Perforation also reduces suffocation that helps to make workout sessions more fruitful and enjoyable too!

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind! Besides the aforementioned factors, you need to look for the ideal material and the right size. Comfort should be a priority but remember, squat shoes are not meant to be cushiony or squishy like casual sneakers or running shoes. The sturdier the built, the superior the shoe! Concerning majorly with supporting your body and heels during a weightlift, these squat shoes tend to last longer than usual gym-going or running shoes. 

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