Raised heels and squat depth go hand in hand. The internet is chock-full of research that states the numerous benefits of additional heel lift for squat movements.
Simply put, a raised heel -
- Allows for deeper squats
- Promotes upright chest positioning
- Reduces back pain
- Decreases upfront amount of ankle mobility required.
"If your ankles can’t hinge enough during a squat, you’ll most likely notice that you have to lift your heels off the ground to get any lower, which you want to avoid. In order to prevent this you'll have to limit how deep you go with your squat, and if you're not getting low enough, you won’t be getting the full benefits of a squat in the first place."
- Miguel Aragoncillo C.S.C.S., strength coach at Cressey Sports Performance.
Some people opt to use wedges, weights, or lifting shoes to get increased depth.
These options might not always be practical.
Wedges/weights require careful placement/balance underfoot, present safety concerns, are only usable in one spot, and only work with slow/controlled movements.
Weightlifting shoes can be expensive (ranging from $80-$200) and get very minimal use compared to normal training shoes. Because of their rigidity, they are also not feasible for any other movement or workout, such as plyometric and agility movements.
Granted, we understand that lifting shoes have their time and place. VersaLifts, however, are a good alternative for those who do more than just squats. An insert into your (already existing) training shoe allows you to get increased depth and all the benefits that come with it, without inhibiting your ability to run, jump, and complete any other movements your workout may call for.