today I was going to gym, I had running shoes and I knew that squatting in running shoes is not recommended. So I went barefoot then after my squat finished one of the gym folks came and told me that squatting in barefoot is BAD REPUTATION for gym and you must wear shoes!

What should I told him? Is it really bad to squat in barefoot? any champion who squats barefoot?

  • 1
    StrongLifts creator, Mehdi, recommends squatting barefooted. There are articles online supporting this as well. I haven't heard about gyms frowning on that; as a result, I recommend clarifying this issue with someone that actually works there. Apr 6, 2015 at 16:07
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about a particular gym's policies, not about fitness.
    – Sean Duggan
    Apr 6, 2015 at 17:51
  • The fact of the matter is that a lot of businesses have wrongheaded ideas about bare feet. If this is just some other random gym rat, thank him for his input, and continue on. If it's an employee, consider whether it's worth the trouble.
    – Sean Duggan
    Apr 6, 2015 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


They're probably approaching it from a hygeine and impact-safety prospective. Two rather reasonable concerns regarding barefoot lifting:

  • In the same way you wouldn't walk barefoot around in a locker room so as to avoid foot fungus, now that problem is extending to the deadlift platform and squat rack (and wherever else you're barefoot lifting).

  • Sure, you can wear socks, but that doesn't really stop people from getting foot infections. Lots of socks have holes, and if your socks pick up some fungus then you put your shoes back on and wear them for a few hours, you've got a nice Petri dish going on. Additionally, plenty of folks are wearing rather slippery synthetic socks.

  • You can stub your toes. Lots of people get woozy from heavy lifts and I've banged my (Converse covered) toes into hard metal objects plenty of times.

From a lifting prospective there are lots of advantages to lifting barefoot, in socks, or even in ballet slippers. It's a rock solid foundation, and for things like the deadlift it can shave a small fraction off of the lift itself which matters when you're talking about 1RM and record setting.

Maybe consider picking up some Converse or another flat shoe that doesn't compress. A set of low top Chuck Taylors will set you back $30 (USD) and lasts for years if you just use them for weight lifting.

  • I thought this too, about lifting barefoot or in chucks, but I've been told by a physical therapist PhD that it actually isn't a good idea. His reasoning is that good lifting shoes lock the heel bone (calcaneus) in place. Without something supporting it, it has a tendency to shift backward, causing your arch to collapse and a cascade upward through all your other muscles to adjust. But +1 anyway, since this is a complete answer that agrees with what is commonly believed.
    – Tyler
    Apr 6, 2015 at 23:24
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    One could counter that the arch collapsing is a form breakdown and if you can't lift the weight without losing your arch you're lifting too much. Using the mechanical assist (specialised shoe) to lift more weight without loss of form would be a training decision. (Admitting there is a practical matter than joe/jane-western-shoe-wearer probably doesn't recognize what it feels like to let his or her arch collapse and needs specialized training to recognize and prevent it.)
    – Affe
    Apr 8, 2015 at 17:50

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