For over 5 years (when I began squats with proper form) I’ve been subjecting my knees to the torture of performing leg exercises in running shoes. I’m sure anyone trying squats has felt it.  You pick up a personal record breaking weight, shakily shift your feet into place, and wobble down to below 90 basically on your toes.  Next time you’re performing any type of leg press or squat pay attention to your feet and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about because you might have just gotten used to it, like I did.

After getting more serious into bodybuilding and taking care of my body so that when I’m older I’m not walking around with braces on my knees at all time…..I realized running shoes probably weren’t the brightest idea for performing workouts. Thus I went on a day long internet quest to find the best means of securing my feet for the dreaded leg day.  This led me to a plethora of websites championing what are known as Olympic lifting shoes.  After counseling with some bodybuilders, powerlifters, and even….crossfitters, I settled on the Nike Romaleo 2 as my shoe of choice.

I’ve been using these guys for quite a while and I just want to review them so as to encourage my readers to check out the benefits of using a pair of shoes like this.  Here are the Pro’s and Cons.

Pros:
  • Massive increase in stability. You’re feet literally feel like they are glued to whatever they are touching.
  • Comfort. I’ve noticed far less aches and pains during/after a number of exercises.
  • More force generated when pressing.  A nice side effect of having increased stability. You spend less time focuses on keeping your feet from wobbling and more time lifting.
  • Better squat form. (I’ll get to this).
Cons:
  • Pain to walk in. Sound like clogs, but this is nowhere near annoying enough to out-weigh the benefits.
  • Price
How do they work?

This question boils down to a few factors. The straps, the raised heel, and the inserts.  The straps obviously help secure your feet better than your traditional shoe laces. I find that my feet hardly shift around when I’m wearing the Romaleos. The heel being raised enables you to focus the majority of your force on your heels rather than your ties drastically improving form and taking pressure off the knees. Finally, the inserts make sure you foot is snug and comfortable throughout the whole lift (Kind of plays into that security factor).

I’d suggest everyone go out and buy a pair asap if you’re serious about lifting and protecting yourself. There are a massive amount of options out there from Pendlays to the Adistar to the Rogues.  Each is going to cost you a pretty penny, but obviously your pay for what you get. It’s important to note that you aren’t just jogging around and tearing these shoes up daily…so they will probably last for an incredibly long time.

Go out and get you some.