There may not be a BEST pair of shoes specifically for squatting, but there are most definitely some BAD choices. Let’s review some of the options and help put people on the right path.
You’re excited. Nervous. Anxious. You’re about to hit the gym, maybe for the first time in a while, maybe for the first time ever. It’s overwhelming. You shop and scour the internet for new workout clothes so that at least at first glance you’ll convince people you know what you’re doing. Look the part, right? To look the part, you need to accomplish a couple basic tasks – proper attire and effective movements.
The squat is one of the ultimate gym exercises. There are countless benefits, but that’s for another article. Regardless of your goals or experience level, here are some types of shoes and why they’re good/bad.
Stop wearing running shoes to lift in. This is the most common mistake we see when it comes to gym attire. People often even purchase NEW running shoes ($120+) to wear these in on their first day. It guts me to tell them that they’re a bad choice. These are GREAT for running, leave them to that.
– great for running
– cushioned, unstable sole
– can be expensive
– raised “Stack” or sole creates instability during lifts and lateral movements
These shoes are designed with the sport of weightlifting in mind (snatch and clean and jerk.) They provide a lifted heal for a more vertical squat position, which helps protect the lower back by allowing our knees to drive further over the toes, sitting us more upright.
– VERY stable
– helps enforce quality position
– designed with squatting in mind
– not versatile (Only good for squatting, cleaning, snatching)
The rise in CrossFit has caused this market to EXPLODE with options (think Nano, MetCon, etc.) These shoes are similar to running shoes, but provide a more solid, stable sole.
– stable base
– familiar look and feel for runners/athletes
– not the BEST shoe for any one* thing.
Flat Sole Shoes
Shoes like the Chuck Taylors have been around forever. Yes they do look “cool” but they’re also not a bad option for squats, power-lifts, or general gym usage.
– stable base
– very affordable
– no support for people with poor ankle mobility
– BAD for running
Ultimately, there are lots of options for gym shoes and shoes for squatting. More than one of these will get the job done, safely. Don’t get caught up in all the new trends and expensive looks of unnecessary bells and whistles. Avoid thick soled shoes and stick to a solid, stable base.