After yesterday’s biceps and back workout, I am feeling sore. I have decided to do light cardio today and focus on triceps and shoulders tomorrow. With this rest day, I want to take a moment to talk about shoes when weight training. It is very important to select the proper shoes to help avoid injury and make the most of the lifting sessions.
Years ago, I went to workout with a trainer at Gold’s Gym in Sunrise, Fla. He practically yelled at me for wearing Chuck Taylor’s. In fact, he told me how they have no support and it was a poor choice to wear them during the session. For many years after, I started wearing shoes with thicker soles.
However, his advice was completely WRONG.
Before you make the same mistake listening to the wrong advice, I want to take a moment to talk about the perfect shoes for various workouts. It has made a huge difference for me.
Running Shoes when Weight Training
Let me begin with the wrong shoes. Running shoes are great when you are hitting the pavement. However, they are not the correct shoes for weight training. They limit strength and prevent proper lifting techniques.
Lack of stability. The soles of running shoes are squishy. This makes it difficult to predict the behavior during a session. It makes it challenging to control the technique.
Loss of power. The soles of these types of shoes absorb the force when hitting the ground. Instead of focusing that force toward ground, we want to move it towards the weight. In other words, you lose strength.
Danger. These shoes can increase the risk of injury, especially when lifting heavier weights. The soles make it harder to balance and reduce stability.
Lifting Shoe Benefits
The benefit to have good lifting shoes is to gain more stability. The soles of the shoes should be incompressible. In addition, they should be non-slippery with excellent support and a snug fit.
Increased stability. These types of shoes offer better traction against the floor and increase the balance under the bar. Reason being, their soles are hard so the stability is more controlled.
Strength. Our legs will contract harder when the heels sense the pressure of the weight better.
Technique. A pair of good lifting shoes will correct many technique problems.
Safety. With more control over stability and technique, this makes for better balance and reducing the risk of injury during a weight training session.
Best Shoes for Squats
This really depends on how you squat. However, the sole should always be incompressible for maximal stability, power and technique. For low bar squats, we lean forward with less depth. According to Louie Simmons, an American power lifter and strength coach, he recommends wearing Chuck Taylor’s.
When it comes to Olympic and front squats, the torso is upright. Here, you want shoes with a slight heel to make the going deep easier. According to Cody Burgner, a crossfitter, he recommends the brands Reebok, Risto, Nike, Adidas, Do-Win, and VS athletic.
Best Shoes for Deadlifts
When it comes to deadlifts, thinner soles are better. This allows the bar to travel less and keep your feet closer to the floor. In the end, you will be able to lift heavier weight. These shoes should be incompressible and flat.
Bare is all. If you want to get as close to the floor as possible, going barefoot is an option. However, going bare is not an option when competing. They will require socks or slippers.
Ballet slippers.Ballet slippers are less slippery than socks. Usually, they have a rubber sole but still very thin.
Chuck Taylor’s. The soles of these shoes are flat enough to deadlift. The bar will have to travel slightly more than wearing slippers.
If only I could go back to that trainer today who told me these shoes were a poor decision to wear, while weight training. However, we never look back and continue moving forward. The fact is Chuck Taylor’s have ranked the best shoe all around for weight training. They are efficient, cheap and last forever as lifting shoes.
Hard sole. The sole is incompressible, flat and thin. You feet will rest close to the ground. In addition, you will feel your feet better during lifts. In other words, you gain control and stability.
Strong Canvas. This powerful canvas allows you to push your feet to the outside when performing squats. This helps keep the knees out and activating the glutes.
Ankles. If you want full ankle mobility, opt for the low tops. If you must have high tops, leave the top part unlaced.
Recommendations – Lifting Shoes
For low bar squats and deadlifts, wear shoes that have incompressible soles. For deadlifts, barefoot or slippers. Unfortunately, many shoes are made with animal skins. My best recommendation for vegan lifting shoes would be Converse Chuck Taylor’s All Stars.
Another pair of shoes that I have seen growing in popularity is the Vivobarefoot brand. They have a variety of minimalist shoes that are vegan. I have not personally tried them out, but from what I have read online, it seems to be in many people’s favor. I would be interested in trying out the Training Click One Ladies.
If you know of any other lifting shoes that are vegan-friendly, please comment below.
Recommendation – Olympic Lifting Shoes
Find a shoe with a heel for power cleans, front squats, overhead squats, high bar Olympic squats and snatches. For vegan-friendly shoes, Saucony does have a wide-selection. Once again, if you have any suggestion on vegan-friendly lifting shoes with heels, please comment below.