Footwear in the gym

Now this topic might be a little obvious to most of is but the fact that I see a whole lot of us wearing comfy high impact trainers whilst squatting or deadlifting tells me it’s not as obvious as one might think.

When participating in cardio yes those high impact comfy endurance air bubbled trainers come in to play. These trainers are made to support your a feet and prevent injuries from cardiovascular training like splinters. But when embarking upon the vast majority of weight training you really want to be wearing footwear that is flat. You want footwear that is flat so that they encourage correct form whilst you pump iron. You should now know just how important the correct form is when training it can be the difference between mediocre and boulder shoulders. Something as simple as wearing the incorrect footwear can indeed completely change the way in which you perform a movement.


For example if you wear a certain type of footwear for comfort to perform a squat (ass to grass style), due to the cushioned sole your ankles and feet are not supported and so your joints fight to stabilise the body whilst squatting. In this scenario you are placing stress on the joints instead of your muscles leaving yourself susceptible to injury and vagus collapse can also occur (knee collapse inwards). In this incorrect movement, because the correct tension is not being held where it is intended, glutes, hamstring and quadriceps you will not experience the progression you had wished for. Last point is that strength is lost, the cushioned sole will absorb your force pushed against the floor instead of targeting it towards moving the weight.

What we should all be wearing is flat solid low top footwear especially for standing exercises e.g. Deadlift. If finance permits weightlifting shoes are a preferable choice but more so for squats, particularly if your goal is quadricep hypertrophy. These shoes have a rigid solid platform which allows for the joints (ankles and knees) to align correctly. The elevated heel also allows for you to maintain the upright position of the back as the shins incline forward reducing stress on the spine. These are great for beginners and intermediate gym goers.

Now if your planning a cardio and weight training session together and cannot for the life of you pick up the courage to carry another bag on top of the ginormous rucksack onto the tightly compact tube which may leave you victim to embarrassingly having this extra bag being caught in the closing doors (admitting it hands high in the air) you can just remove those comfy cardio trainers and go bare foot whilst performing the necessary exercises. Your feet and joints won’t be as supported as they would in shoes but your feet will be flat. However this does come with risk as there is no traction between your feet and the floor which can cause you to slip. If asked i would say pack two types of footwear in this situation. Especially due to the fact vertically loading up your body like in a squat and squatting bare foot can put allot of pressure on the ankle joint.

However, with out intentionally advertising any brand, low top Chuck Taylor’s or similar are great for weight lifting they are flat, solid, thin, provide traction, ankle mobility and overall encourages the correct form whilst exercising. These shoes are also great for medium to wide stance squats, focusing on the hamstrings and glutes. They will also allow you to perform cardio or any other CV/Met-con style class.

Danielle Lennon

Powermoves fitness



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