Olympic or lifting shoes are a great tool in the frequent lifter/athletes toolbox. If you've ever worked out in a pair you know exactly where I'm coming from. Although, if you don't know what they are, or why they're beneficial to your lifting–here's a quick rundown on their benefits.
- Ankle stability - imagine skating without a stable boot on the ice, your ankle would be more prone to injury due to the increased mobility. When lifting you want a stable base, especially when moving weight.
- Fixed foot - lifting shoes have a solid sole (think bowling shoes), this creates a firm ground to stand on. Which like the point above will help with ankle stability and joint strength (especially for those with knee valgus or constant knees caving in).
- Elevated heel - every shoe comes with an elevated heel (they vary in height), this is great for those who don't have natural lower limb mobility. For those who sit down all day at school/work, this is HUGE for helping achieve proper depth with the squat.
- Better mobility - the above 3 benefits all work hand-in-hand to create improved mobility. When you wear a shoe that allows proper range of motion with a stable base, the body can adapt to movements in a faster/safer way. For example, squatting in regular shoes with poor mobility can put a lot of stress on the lower back (knees caving in, lower back rounding, etc)–these shoes will work to fight that and keep the stress of the movement to the appropriate areas.
If you're in the gym frequently and care about your future strength progress as an athlete, borrow someone's shoes sometime or look into purchasing your own pair. You won't regret it.