There was a point when I did all my deadlifts with the little 25 lb plates for the extra ROM. This would basically emulate what's called a "deficit deadlift"
What is important is consistency. Both for form and because you need a way to gauge (and drive) your progress. So if you'll be using 45's to deadlift eventually (which you will, don't worry), I'd just stick to pulling from that height for now. You can always specifically add some longer ROM work later on (like deficit SLDL's or whatever else sounds fun) when you're a more advanced lifter.
My squatting form really started to improve when I took off the shoes. Obviously this could be a function of the shoe, but squatting barefoot allows me to push with the heel. When I wear shoes, I want to push with the balls of my feet. I believe this has something to do with the construction of the sole of the shoe, but who knows.
Without trying to state the obvious, a couple of pointers:
1) Make sure your socks have some traction. I have been with a guy when his feet started slipping when he went heavy.
2) Be aware of people around you and even yourself when changing weights. Idiots drop plates all the time and rack them improperly. Even a 2.5 dropped from 6 feet could put you out of commission.
I do all my lifts in Merrel trail gloves, and my workout partner just discovered that barefoot>tennis shoes for squats. His form improved immensely when he took off the shoes. I think the lift in the heel was causing him to tilt forward, so his weight was on the balls of the feet rather than the heels.
I have New Balance minimus that I wear most of the time. They seem pretty good. No heel rise, well, I think it was 3mm when the shoes were new but I doubt there's much heel rise anymore. They feel pretty thin now. I sometimes wear vibrams but I don't like how hot my feet get in them. I don't feel a need for special weight lifting shoes. I can't lift that much weight anyway. Maybe if I was lifting impressive weights things would be different. My understanding of weight lifting shoes is there is support on the sides for pushing the side of the shoe somehow and also the soles have a wooden plank for added stability. I can't see ever needing such a thing. What I really need are stronger hamstrings and glutes.
Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.
Once you try squatting, pressing, and Olympic lifting in weightlifting shoes, you will never wear anything else. There's just something real nice about the feeling like your feet are stuck in concrete.
Deadlifts are a bit trickier, depending on your proportions, you might like bare feet better.
interesting guys, thanks for the insights.
I've read a lot about the New Balance...I'm getting convinced to buy those.
My Health and Nutrition Blog