I am the epitome of a beginner. I'm 34, and haven't lifted weights since high school. Life goals changed and this year I got some weights and have been following Strong Lifts 5X5 consistently for 13 weeks. Great results, feeling awesome, and definitely much much stronger.
I had been lifting in Chucks, but came across a great deal on Adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes. Figured it couldn't hurt and decided to give them a try.
First time squatting in the Adipowers = OUCH, YIKES, BURN, FATIGUE.
That small heal raise lead to a drastically different squatting experience. Compared to my Chucks I was hitting lower depths, getting a noticeable stretch reflex, and burning muscles that I haven't felt burn squatting before. My quads, glutes (on fire), hammy, calves, all came alive in a big way. After my 5th set my legs were shaking, and my CNS system was crying...in a good way.
My assumption is the heal lift improved my form by incorporating more muscles into the movement in combination with increased ROM by hitting consistently lower depths. Basically, I think I just performed my first real squats. I've read some guys say weightlifting shoes allows people to lift more weight...not me. I'll definitely need to deload and build back up.
As for the shoes themselves, I think they're great. Very surprised how stable, planted, and solid the Adipowers were compared to my Chucks. I have somewhat flat feet, and in the Chuck my arches tend to break down a bit, and my feet have some room to move a bit. Not in the Adipowers. There is zero movement, my arches are fully supported, and due to rock solid connection to the floor I was fully aware of my weight distribution throughout the lift. For what it's worth I wear a size 10 in Chucks, and an 11 in the Adipowers.
Long post for something many people probably don't care about, however I'm now a big fan of weightlifting shoes. I don't think anyone needs to rush out and buy expensive shoes, but would encourage anyone interested to at least throw some 5lb plates on the floor and experiment with a heal raise. For me, a complete beginner with zero credibility, the Chucks are good while the Adipowers are great.
Thanks for your time!