Why Wearing the Correct Shoes Matter

Dec 3, 2020

 by Karina Wait

The best workout shoes might not be your old running sneakers.

Think about it, how many marathon runners do you see that are wearing heavy Olympic lifting shoes? Or, how many ballet dancers are wearing running shoes? Wearing the right shoe is important when working out in the gym. Yes, you could wear your cushioned, running shoes in the squat rack but it may hinder you from lifting more weight. 

“Wearing the right shoe for your workout is a game-changer, not just because you’ll be able to perform better, but you’ll also reduce your risk of injury,” says Dan Giordano, DPT, CSCS, co-founder of Bespoke Treatments. Giordano offers up the example of a running sneaker with a lot of cushion—that wouldn’t be the right pick for lifting weights. “The cushion that helps protect your feet from the repetition of your stride on the run could throw you off balance in the weight room,” he says. This could also decrease force production, or the amount of force you can put into the ground during your lifts—that foam is standing between you and your next PR, in other words.

But what if I want to do both? Plenty of workouts these days involve some combination of running with weights. In that case, Giordano says the best workout shoes are something in between. “Look for an option that’s not too high off the ground in the heel,” he says. “This will reduce the potential for you to rock backward or forward in your lifting movements, and give you a sturdy platform of support.”

If you're curious about what shoes to get, here are some of my favorites: 

  1. For everything: Reebok Nano 9 or X's. They're great for crosstraining and lifting. I've worn them during my heavy lifting days but have also worn them during numerous WODs with box jumps, rowing, gymnastics movements, and everything in between. (similar shoes are the Nike metcons or NoBull's).
  2. For heavy lifting and Olympic lifting movements: Adidas Adipowers, Nike Romaelos, and the Reebok Legacy Lifter's. With heavier lifting, you need a shoe that is going to hold your ankle in place and provide a sturdy base for your whole foot. Any extra cushion will decrease stability and minimize force output. I've had my Adipower's for 5 years and I love them. Since I have a wider foot, the shoes do provide a lot of extra space for my foot. However, I recently purchased the Nike Romaelo 4's and I do love them! They have a solid base and have just the right feel during Olympic lifting. I usually wear a size 9-9.5 in women's and picked a size 9. The shoes are a tad snug but, that is how the shoes should feel. Any unneeded space will cause your feet to slide around; which is highly unsafe during Olympic lifting.  

Site Used: https://www.gq.com/story/the-best-gym-shoes-for-every-workout