Typical running sneakers are cushioned and provide a lift in the heel, which can help with the high repetitive load running puts on your joints, says Cameron Yuen, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City. But when it comes to weight-lifting, that extra cushion can work against you.
Unlike running shoes, most training shoes have minimal cushioning with no heel elevation, which can help you press your entire foot into the ground. As a result, you’re likely to experience an improvement in your proprioception (sense of positioning in space), Yuen says, which can help improve your mobility, form and strength.
Strength training with the wrong shoes can not only hinder your form but may set you back in your strength gain. The instability of heavily cushioned shoes can lessen the amount of force you’re able to produce, Yuen says. If you wan’t to maximize strength gains, you’ll want to train in a shoe that’s flat and firm, enabling you to press into the ground with no instability.
Whether you’re looking for a pair of weight-lifting shoes that’s more versatile or ones that are strength-specific, one of these is sure to meet your needs.
“Whether you’re lifting weights, climbing a rope or going on a short run, the shoes are built to withstand and support a variety of activities,” says Michael Schaeffer, Co-Founder of NOBULL. “They are stable, comfortable, lightweight and designed with durability in mind.”
Initially built for the CrossFit community, Reebok’s Nano 9 is flat in design but offers a Flexweave fabric, which gives your foot a little more flexibility. The Nano is a versatile shoe that offers stability with a bit of comfortable cushioning in the forefoot for sprint intervals.
You may be surprised to see these on the list, but Chucks have a cult-like following when it comes to strength training. And they get Yuen’s seal of approval, too. “Chuck Taylors are standard powerlifting shoes due to their flat and relatively cushion-free sole.”
While they’re not as high-tech as some of the other options out there — after all, they’re not actually designed for exercise — Converse shoes are extremely flat and can provide good grounding while you lift.
This content was originally published here.