Today I want to talk to you guys about one of the most common questions I get, and that’s what type of footwear you should wear when you’re lifting weights. The type of footwear you choose to wear to the gym, it’s pretty specific on the type of workout that you’re going to be doing. If you’re going to play basketball, you wear a basketball shoe. If you’re going to go running, you probably want a running shoe. But this review is all about lifting. So what’s the best shoe to lift weights in or more specifically even squatting and deadlifting.
- Mesh upper offers lightweight breathability
- No-sew Swoosh design trademark and eye stays for a clean look
- Visible Max Air unit provides all-day comfort
- Rubber Waffle outsole for durability and great multi-surface traction
The first shoe I want to talk about today is just a traditional like air max sneaker, a traditional weightlifting sneaker with a cushion bottom. So this is probably the most common gym type of sneaker you’re gonna have.
They might not have an air bottom, but they’ll definitely have some cushion. Now, this is probably fine if you’re hitting an upper body workout, but this is really gonna limit your performance if you’re doing something like squats or dead lifts and it could actually be a dangerous, very dangerous footwear selection for something like an Olympic lift. The reason why we don’t want to use these shoes specifically when we squat are because of the sole right here. This cushion is gonna limit your ability to produce force. We get a lot of force when we drive into the ground, when we use our feet to push into the hard surface beneath us, and this is going to directly inhibit our ability to do that. You’re basically if you’re using this for like squats and deadlifts, you’re trying to generate force off of a pillow.
And that’s not going to be a very effective foundation for you as a lifter. Now, while these shoes might look cool and they might be comfortable and they’re probably going to be fine for things like running and even upper bodywork, I can’t recommend them for things like squats and deadlifts.
- Shaft measures approximately 2'' from arch
- Classic Converse Style
- Canvas upper, rubber sole
- Gender: Unisex
- Runs a half-size larger than your normal shoe.
The easiest and probably cheapest option you have for a good squat or deadlift shoe is just Converse Unisex Chuck Taylor.
The reason that these shoes are so great is there’s no cushion on this sole. It’s very, very flat. The only cushioning you’re going to get is actually inside the sole, the insole, the outsole is rubberized. It’s pretty hard and you’ve got a nice uh, firm outsold that will actually allow you to have some support time nice and tight and feel secure. And that low profile, minimal cushion, it gives you a lot more firm contact with the ground.
This is not something you would ever want to run in. And believe it or not, this was actually the original basketball shoe, which is crazy because playing basketball in this nowadays is like asking for an injury. But for weightlifting or just general recreational wear and tear, these are probably fine. Like low profile shoes like this are great because the ability to articulate the ground beneath you gives you the ability to produce more force.
The minimal cushion profile won’t inhibit strength production and being flat and low to the ground. Like this is just a good place to be when you’re doing intense lifts.
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Now the best piece of footwear you could probably have in your arsenal is a lifting shoe like this. A lot of people will call this a riser. Now you don’t need this, absolutely not. You could be totally fine with just to converse, but if you’re going to be doing things like Olympic weightlifting or you know, heavy-duty front squatting or back squatting, it probably makes sense to have a shoe that was built for lifting.
Now you’ll notice you get some bend out of the forefoot here, but the back is pretty solid and there’s actually a built-in heel here. They can give you some elevated heel effect, which will allow the femur to travel more forward. You’ll get more forward. Knee travel as it’s often called, and that’s really helpful for squatting a, if you’re doing things like front squats or Olympic weightlifting where you’re holding the bar in the rack position up across the torso and you want to keep an upright, uh, vertical torso. Being able to sit back on your heels, which this shoe is going to allow you to do is a huge advantage. Now the one downside to Olympic weightlifting shoes and stuff like this is it is an artificial ankle mobilizer. It’s giving you a lift. It’s not making your ankles anymore mobile. Uh, so something you’re going to want to do if you wear these often is please address your ankle mobility to the side so that you can have that both in the shoe but also away from the shoe.
Now, if I were just a general consumer, like looking to get my first pair of shoes for the gym, I’d probably go to Chuck Taylor. If I’m pretty serious about lifting or I wanna start doing the barbell movements, like barbell squats, I would probably opt for the weightlifting shoe.
And then if I just wanted something comfortable that maybe looks cool, maybe then I would pick like the Nike or Adidas general kind of swaggy shoe but not for lifting. A bonus tip that I have for you guys is the lifting shoe is great for squads. It’s great for cleans, but it’s actually not the best shoe to wear when you do deadlifts.
When I deadlift, I like to either go barefoot or have my Chuck Taylors, but what I don’t like to do is wear an elevated heel. The reason I don’t is, again, like I talked about earlier, the elevated heel lets the knee travel more farther forward and that’s going to help you activate the quad.
It’s going to help you with forward knee travel. But when we do things like deadlifts, at least conventional deadlifts, we really want to use our posterior chain. We want to recruit our glutes and hamstrings and one of the biggest impositions to that happening is the bar trap or the knee traveling too far over the bar. And if you have one of these on, that might happen.
So when I just do conventional deadlifts from the floor, I like to do them barefoot or in a Chuck Taylor cause I can feel better recruitment out of my post cheerier chain. Now if you’re doing things like cleans and snatches where you have a preliminary poll and you’re going to be airborne, even though the first part of the move is essentially a dead lift, I would still opt for the lifting shoe because of, again, the second pole leaving the ground and they get in the landing phase. This is going to help you stay more operate.
I hope you guys found this review helpful. If you did, make sure you leave a comment below. Let us know what direction you want us to take future posts. I want to know what shoes you’ve been wearing to the gym or what’s your favourite pair of sneaker to just wear around.