If you've already got a pair of dedicated lifting shoes then you'll hopefully already know the benefits, but if you haven't made the jump quite yet then I'm here to give you the lowdown on lifting shoes. Before we get into it I should probably state that special shoes are NOT necessary for you to perform well in the gym. Lifting shoes are simply used to aid your training, much like belts, knee sleeves and lifting straps. They aren't necessary but can definitely aid performance in one way or another. Squat Shoes Squat shoes have can help you achieve greater squat depth as a result of the elevated heel which increases plantar-flexion of the ankle! This can therefore be beneficial for those with poor ankle mobility. Having said this, if you do have poor ankle mobility then don't JUST use the shoes to fix this. Add some ankle mobility into your workouts or sit in the bottom position of the squat under a light load.
Reaching appropriate depth isn't just important for those of you that take part in the powerlifting classes - deeper squat depths have shown to be better for glute activation, this can aid those seeking to grow their bum! Along with increased squat depth, squat shoes have also shown to aid in keeping a more upright torso which can be beneficial for maintaining the bar over your centre of gravity which results in far less forward lean (if you feel the weight shift onto your forefoot too much then this is what I mean by forward lean). Finally, squat shoes are a lot more stable around the ankle & due to their hard soles can aid in creating more force as, unlike running shoes which absorb the ground impact forces for you, squat shoes allow you to use those forces to your advantage. Under heavy loads, running shoes leave you more prone to injury as the base is far more bouncy and less stable.
Squat shoes are not necessary by any means - even some elite lifters don't use them - but can be a worthwhile purchase if you are serious about your lifting and want to take it to the next level. Deadlift Shoes In a deadlift, you want a flat sole to give you a good solid base to lift from. Though you can purchase shoes specifically for deadlifting, most people opt for a shoe with a very flat sole such as Converse or Vans. Alternatively, many people prefer deadlifting barefoot! This gives you a solid base to lift from without the cost of buying (another) pair of shoes! Running Shoes Choice of running shoe is an important issue for runners as certain models of shoes can improve running economy. However, overall, unlike when squatting/deadlifting, a more padded sole which absorbs ground impact forces is advised when running to cushion the impact on your knee and ankle joints. Alternatively... None of these options are necessary! You may be doing just fine with your current pair of shoes and if that's the case then carry on! But I shall leave you with one final option. You can now buy popular "crosstraining" shoes which are designed like running shoes to give you some flexibility when running, and some extra rigidity for the lifting parts of your workouts. If you want an all-around lifting/conditioning shoe then this type may suit you!