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Tried Oly Shoes for Squatting, Not Working so Well

I squat shoulder-width high-bar and up until recently always wore Chucks or something similar. Recently I bought some Olympic weightlifting style shoes with the elevated heel, because it seems like most of the really strong guys who squat in this style also wear them - i.e., Carl Christensen, Max Aita, many others. I know they’re supposed to be easier on your back because they enable you to stay more upright, but I find that they actually seem to irritate the hell out of my back. Since using them, my lower back has started to ache really badly. Anyone had an experience like this? If so, does it eventually go away? I’m inclined to ditch the Oly shoes and go back to Chucks, but before I give up on them, I’d like to hear about anyone else’s experiences with Oly shoes and squatting. Thanks to all who post here; this board is really a great resource.

Without seeing you squat in each shoes, hard to tell. At a guess, with oly shoes you go deeper and as a result you’ve discovered a tendency of your butt to tuck under you, which places strain on your lower back. That means you’re not keeping your glutes squeezed and you’re dropping too deep.

I’d squatted in chucks and vans forever, high bar shoulder width stance and always been fine. Started a manual labour job 18 months ago and back started to take a bit of a beating so I got some romaleos thinking it’d at least save some hurt. Didn’t get on with them at all, ditched them after a month of trying to get used to them, back in vans and feel better than ever. Just not for everyone I guess!

If you were doing well with the chucks why did you change?


Some people do better with flat soled shoes, others do better with weightlifting shoes. Weightlifting shoes make it easier to reach depth and they also make the squat more quad dominant. Switching shoes will definitely alter your technique so it would take a while to get used to them, but like jbackos, said there is no reason to switch shoes if the ones you have are working for you.

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I’ve noticed that the guys who use weightlifting shoes are able to keep their torsos more upright, which I assumed would be easier on the lumbar spine. Carl Christensen is the exemplar; he squats high-bar with WL shoes and keeps his torso nearly vertical. Turns out that for me, my lumbar aches quite a bit the next day after squatting with WL shoes. Maybe I’m just built a little differently and actually need a little forward lean?

If your back hurts it’s probably because you are doing something wrong, like butt wink, there is no way that leaning forward more will decrease strain on your back.

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Unless you stay more upright with oly shoes they will fuck your back up. They put you on your toes which causes more forward lean. You would have to strengthen your quads considerably to use them well.

In the long term, IF YOUR LEVERAGES ALLOW IT, develop the posterior chain (Back, Glutes/hips, hams, calves). More weight can be lifted that way again to emphasize for any asshole deciding to flame me - IF YOUR STRUCTURE PERMITS.