I often hear about people using sneakers with a flat, level sole (like Chucks or something similar) for weight-lifting. What are the benefits of that, if there even are any?

These people argue, that this kind of shoe provides a flat surface which is great for weight-lifting. But if that is the only argument, one could even train barefoot and have the same flat surface (the ground).


Yes. Training barefoot is actually one of the best ways to train, atleast if you're doing stuff like deadlifting or sqautting.

The thing is, most gyms do not allow you to train barefoot for obvious hygiene/safety reasons, therefor a lot of people resort to shoes with very flat, sturdy soles. I personally just workout with my shoes off (on my socks) and my gym seems to be fine with it.

  • Does that apply to more exercises than just squats and deads? I'd think eg. for seated or laying exercises like Lat Pulldowns oder Bench Press the shoes won't matter. But what about Military Presses, Bent Over Rowing and other standing exercises?
    – Suimon
    Sep 25 '18 at 10:46
  • It applies to any lift you use your feet for proper form. While benchpressing you use your feet to get proper support and form so it's important for that too. I guess it wouldn't be as important for stuff like seated isolation exercises like bicep curls or something. Or pull-ups ;-)
    – MJB
    Sep 25 '18 at 12:12
  • Got any idea what's so special about Chucks/why they get recommended so often? Some Pumas, Nikes or Adidas with flat soles would do the trick just as fine, if not better. I'd imagine Chucks wouldn't give you as much ankle support as other shoes.
    – Suimon
    Sep 25 '18 at 13:04
  • To be fair I'm not sure why so many people use them, it might just be some sort of personal preference. I've seen a lot of people use them too but I never really get a clear answer as to why they are using those particular shoes.
    – MJB
    Sep 26 '18 at 5:53

The problem with padded shoes is either A) the padding makes you slightly unbalanced or B) you're carrying so much weight that the padding gets flattened and becomes worthless anyway. A) causes you to lose power when pushing through the floor. B) destroys your shoes.

Lifting barefoot has absolutely none of those problems and there are a lot of people who do their lifting barefoot for this reason. It's also free. Though most gyms have a problem with this for hygiene reasons (and safety though I'm not sure how a light shoe would protect against falling weight).

Chucks and Vans are often uses because they are relatively cheap, have absolutely no padding, have rubber soles, have flat soles, are low to the ground, and gyms don't cry about them. Though if you find shoes that also fit that profile, then they will also work just fine.

There are also weightlifting shoes which have a slightly elevated heel. This allows you to get a little lower in squats and may help compensate for weak ankle flexibility. They also have very hard, flat, and wide soles which makes them ideal for squats and deads.

For deadlift, there are also "deadlift slippers" which are usually over-priced tai-chi shoes. They have absolutely no elevated heels or padding and are only slightly thicker than socks. This gets you as low do the ground as possible without being barefoot.

  • One thing I still don't understand. Why are such sneakers (or even deadlift slippers as you say) so good for weightlifting? I feel like other types of shoes would support my ankles way better, making them the better choice. Am I missing something or even getting this whole thing wrong?
    – Suimon
    Sep 26 '18 at 7:09

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