Mom, I Need New Shoes! Shoe Buying Tips for Youth Weightlifters

Child: “Mom, I need new shoes.”

Mom: “I just bought you new shoes.”

Child: “Well, they don’t fit any more.”

Mom: “I can’t buy you shoes this minute. You’ll just have to make those shoes work.”

It is likely that EVERY child and parent in modern history has had this conversation.

As a parent, it is annoying that kids’ feet grow so quickly. As a child, it is equally annoying that you have to get new shoes just when your old ones start to feel comfortable.  Like it or not, larger feet—and new shoes—are a part of growing up.  Normally, getting new shoes is not a big problem. Plenty of stores sell shoes—you just go into a store that sells the shoes you want, find a pair that fits, and then negotiate with your parents, who always try to talk you into the “cheap” shoes.

When it comes to weightlifting shoes, however, the solution is not so easy!

Weightlifting shoes are not ordinary athletic shoes. They have a raised heel, a hard, flat sole and straps. These features allow a weightlifter get into a deeper squat by permitting a greater range of motion in the ankle. They also provide better stability in the foot when standing up heavy weights.

Selecting weightlifting shoes can be a frustrating process.

    • At $100 to $200 a pair, weightlifting shoes are expensive.
    • Sporting goods stores do not carry weightlifting shoes, so you cannot simply go into a store, try on shoes, and find the pair that suits you.
    • You are going to be spending a LOT of time training in these shoes, so you want to get some that are comfortable and suit your lifting needs.


Selecting YOUTH weightlifting shoes offers additional challenges—

    • Youth athletes’ feet are constantly growing, which means you will probably need a new pair of lifting shoes every six months to a year.
    • Most weightlifting shoes are built for adult weightlifters, so finding a size that fits a youth lifter can be a challenge.


For starters, consider whether you actually NEED new weightlifting shoes . . .

    • Do you lift competitively? If you lift weights to build strength or as conditioning for another sport—or simply for recreation, you may not need weightlifting shoes. Weightlifting shoes provide stability for the feet; this stability becomes particularly noticeable with heavy weights. However, general strength building does not require maxing out with heavy weights. It can be accomplished with submaximal weights and higher repetitions. At lower weights, the benefits of a weightlifting shoe may not be noticeable.
    • Can you buy some used shoes? Ask around your gym. You might find another lifter who is willing to sell you their perfectly good, barely used shoes. Since you’ll probably grow out of the shoes in another 6 months to a year, save your parents some money and accept the used shoes! If it grosses you out to wear someone else’s sweaty shoes, replace the insole. Shoe insoles can be purchased at any drugstore for $10 or less.

If you really DO need new shoes, consider these pointers:

    • Buy a little larger than you need. You want your weightlifting shoes to fit snugly. However, you don’t want to buy new shoes every three months. You can fix this problem by buying a shoe that is a little larger than you need and then adding an extra insole to make the shoe smaller. When your feet grow, take out the extra insole, and your shoe will still fit. We use this trick regularly to extend the wearability of weightlifting shoes.
    • Read reviews! When it comes to weightlifting shoes, one shoe does not suit everyone. Some shoes are wider/narrower; some shoes have a higher heel; some shoes have multiple straps versus a single strap. Fortunately, there are thousands of customer reviews on weightlifting shoes. Find the shoe you are considering on Amazon, and start reading what real customers have to say about it! Read and research until you are confident the shoe is right for you. Keep in mind, however, that most of these reviews are written by and for adult weightlifters, so the review may not be as helpful for you. In the future, I will write an article reviewing weightlifting shoes available to youth lifters. Stay tuned.
    • Shop around. There are only a handful of weightlifting shoe retailers on the market. Start by looking at the manufacturer’s website. For instance, if you are searching for some Nike Romeleo 3s, look at the pricing on From there, search other websites, such as Amazon, Eastbay, and Rogue. You can generally find shoes on sale if you search diligently. However, you should always consult the seller’s return policy before buying. You don’t want to get stuck with shoes that arrive too small with no way to return or exchange them!

Don’t love the shoes you have?


If you find that you don’t love the weightlifting shoes you purchase, you can return them and get something else, or . . .

    • Remember that you will grow out of them soon! In the course of your weightlifting career, you will own many shoes. Don’t obsess about the perfect shoe.  If it’s not just right this time, you can always purchase a different pair the next time.  My son, Hutch, spent a year wearing second-hand Adidas Powerlift shoes that he didn’t love. However, they only cost me $20, and I told him that he could pick his next pair of shoes. It was a win-win situation. I got out easy on Hutch’s shoes one year, and he got to pick the ones he liked the next year.
    • Training matters more than shoes. Fancy weightlifting shoes are fun. However, they won’t compensate for time in the gym. You will never hear someone win a major weightlifting championship and give the credit to their shoes.



Kuinini Manumua – August 2017 Featured Athlete

Please let us introduce you to our featured athlete for August: Kuinini Manumua.  We are so excited to feature Kuinini who, btw, secured a bronze medal at the Youth World Weightlifting Championship earlier this year!

Where is home?

This question is very vague in a way but I live in San Francisco,California where my home is at. But if you are indicating where is home in how I feel than to me I feel like home is wherever I feel safe and loved. Very cliche in a way but it is how I feel.

When did you get started in this sport?

I started lifting two and a half years ago. Nearing the end of my Freshmen year in high school.

What (or who) got you started?

My current coach, Kevin Doherty introduced me to weightlifting since he was a teacher at the school I am attending for a program named Avid. He is also the weightlifting, track and field and football coach.

What do you enjoy most about weightlifting?

What I enjoy the most about this sport is that I meet the most kindest and sweetest people through this sport and also finding the joy and pleasure in progressing as an athlete and also as an individual.

What does your current training routine look like (hours per day, days per week, where you train, who you train with)?

Since I am on Summer Break right now, I train two hours a day from 1pm to 3pm on Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays I lift when I am free from 12pm to 2pm because usually I like to go to the movies,  bowling or swimming with friends. I lift for Hassle Free BBC and it is located at the high school I attend, Abraham Lincoln High School. It is a  great environment for me for I get to lift with my friends and also the youth lifters there that are very passionate and dedicated to lifting. They always bring an uplifting feeling to me when I train with these people for they make me want to be successful.

What one or two things do you currently do in your training that has been impactful?

Currently I think the most impactful thing that I do in my training is trying to notice the little mistakes that I do when lifting and fixing it because it really does make a huge impact.

What do you carry around with you in your gym bag that has nothing to do with weightlifting?

Earphones, my phone, wallet and junk food for example like candy especially the blue airheads or hot chips.

What is your diet like?

Honestly speaking, I eat anything that I want. In the mornings, I eat French Toast with bacon and scrambled eggs most of time. On my way to training, I would eat  a banana or strawberries. After training, my friend Savannah and I would pick a place to get food from. Everyday is a different place where we eat all types of food of our choice. From sandwhiches of our choice to Chinese food to anything really that is very delicious. For dinner, I eat whatever my parents cooks up for dinner.

Who do you look up to in the sport?  Why?

Since I am kind of new to knowing the big time lifters in this sport, I don’t look up to anyone yet but I do however have to say that Olga Zubova’s jerks are to die for.

What friendships has this sport brought your way?

This sport introduced me to the people and friends that I know now which I am really close to. It is never a daunting day with the friends I have in weightlifting for they are very supportive, very funny and very energetic.

Are you coachable?

This a very funny question to ask but gladly I am very coachable. That would be a nightmare for my coach if I wasn’t.

What qualities do great coaches possess?

Great coaches are leaders that guides and empowers their athletes, so of course they should have the quality of leadership and also knowledge for they must know the sport they are teaching. Other qualities great coaches possess are effective communication skills, consistency and knowing the athlete for they have to be aware of their individual difference from other athletes because some coaching tactics work on some while on others it doesn’t.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?  Did you take it?

“The only person that should have more faith and belief in the things you do is not your coach or your parents but yourself.” These were the words spoken to me by Kevin Doherty and it has really stuck with me and I did take that advice. No one else should have more faith in me then myself for if I lack faith in myself then why am I lifting? Others shouldn’t have  to believe and hope of things that I know I can do  and end up empty handed because I lacked confidence. It should be myself that wants it more than anyone.

What characteristics do you strive for (on and off the platform)?

Being humble, optimistic and confident.

If you gave everything that you owned away except three things, what would you keep?

My wallet, phone and my mom’s necklace

When you have random free time, how do you spend it?

I watch Netflix, read a book, swim or sleep.

If you could master anything (besides weightlifting), what would it be?

I would want to master all the languages that has ever existed and will exist in the universe.

What have you learned from weightlifting that helps you in other parts of your life?

I learned that it takes a lot of patience and time lifting and it has really helped me out be more patient towards my siblings and be a better sister.

The last time you were knocked down (or discouraged) in this sport, how did you get back up?

Eating a lot of ice cream and keeping my head held high no matter what happened really helped me during my discouraged times.

What are you most grateful for?

I am most grateful for my mom and dad because I love them so much for they are everything in my life.

Where does your strength come from?

I think my strength comes from the people that are very supportive and encouraging towards me because it makes me work hard and be strong in the things that I do so I won’t disappoint.

What are your weightlifting goals?

Being the best weightlifter I can be.

Enjoying the ride.

Photos by Gene Crain, Lifting Life.