Once you cross the line from recreational sports into the competitive realm, you realize strength training is no longer optional. Hopefully at that point you've read Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength and Practical Programming for Strength Training, and you're putting in the time under the bar.
Once you're under that bar, you realize a couple of things. First: holy s**t is it heavy. Second: there has got to be gear to make the pain go away. Well, the gear is here, but as for the pain it's like Greg LeMond said, "It never gets easier, you just go faster."
The beauty of barbell training is that there are really only two pieces of gear you need: a good pair of weightlifting-specific shoes and a belt. The reason for the belt is probably not what you think, so read this and stay tuned for our upcoming review of the best belt in existence. The need for special shoes should be obvious: you just can't have a big bouncy midsole like you're used to. You need some seriously hard stuff under your heel, and the Adidas adiPower gives it to you.
The adiPower is not cheap, but you really only need to buy them once in a very long while. The adiPower features a leather upper and a polymer heel with a 24mm to 4mm heel to toe drop, perfect for the big compound lifts like squat and deadlift - you are squatting and deadlifting, right? There's an instep strap to really lock your foot in, and for the intended application you want to be as locked in as possible. OK, you're fully informed so get off that elliptical and start training.