When I was first told I should buy weightlifting shoes to lift kettlebells, I scoffed at the idea and thought there was no way the shoes would make a big enough difference to be worth spending $100-$200.
And I was right… at first.
As a novice lifter, honestly, your shoes aren’t going to make a HUGE difference. Plus, if you are not sure how seriously you want to take the sport yet, there is no need to invest in a pair of $200 shoes.
When I got to a level of experience where I DID see the benefit of lifting shoes, I started with an inexpensive used pair that I bought from a friend (Adidas powerlifting shoes $90). I owned these for the first year and a half that I was competing in Kettlebell Sport, and I have no regrets.
Once I got the Nike Romaleos 2 for Christmas in 2013 (thanks Dad!), the difference was amazing. My balance and efficient execution of the lifts was heightened. I was also farther along the road in my Kettlebell Sport journey – committed to the sport, and fairly advanced. Would I have noticed or appreciated the changes a more expensive pair of lifting shoes made when I was a novice lifter? Maybe, but probably not.
I won a pair of Adidas Adipower lifting shoes at the OKC NorCal competition in August 2015. They are comparable to the Nike Romaleos, and I enjoy lifting in both. The one difference is that over time, my Nike Romaleos have gotten looser and I have to pull the velcro straps super tight, which causes them to drag on the ground. So far this has not happened with the Adidas pair.
Personally, I find weightlifting shoes MOST beneficial for Jerk and Long Cycle. While I usually wear them for Snatch because they do provide balance, sometimes I prefer practicing snatching in regular tennis shoes.
While lifting shoes have their benefits, they are not necessary as a novice lifter. If you are unsure about competing or just want to train kettlebells for fitness, I recommend buying a cheaper pair. If you decide to regularly participate in competition and train solely for the sport, you may want to spend more on a pair of high-quality shoes.
Any lifters have shoe recommendations for Kettlebell Sport lifting?