I used to believe that when working out at the gym, you need to wear proper gym shoes for the best output. After all, going barefoot is not an option since my gym didn’t allow it. But gym shoes can be quite expensive, and when my pair of gym shoes started showing signs of their age, I felt devastated.
It meant that I needed to spend another few hundred dollars on my gym shoes which I just couldn’t afford. That is the time when a friend suggested I wear converse shoes. And I never looked back since.
When I think back on it though, it makes a lot of sense. Converse shoes are quite lightweight and do not have too much padding on the inside. They keep you flexible yet offer decent protection to help you maintain the proper posture and stance. And since converse shoes are affordable, when one gets old, you can just get a new one
So, in short, yes, converser shoes are great for lifting or working out in the gym. It took me some time to figure it out. And now, I feel like I must impart my knowledge to those who are wondering whether the converse is good for lifting.
Are High Top or Low Top Converse Better for Lifting?
If you own a few pairs of converses, you already know that they come in two main variants, high top or low top. When it comes to lifting, both high top and low top converses can work well. It mostly depends on whether you prefer support over flexibility.
With low-top converse shoes, you will get a better range of motion from your shoe. You will be able to move around with ease without fear of twisting your ankle.
High-top converse shoes on the other hand offer better arch and heel support. So you will be able to dig into the ground with better stability. But the range of motion from your leg is a bit limited.
Are Converse Good for Working Out?
Yes, converse shoes are an excellent choice of footwear for working out in the gym. Since they are cheap, light, and offer a decent level of support to maintain the proper posture, you will be able to exercise without any issues. In addition, a good pair of converses will give you excellent balance regardless of your workout routine.
I first switched to converse shoes when the sole of my gym shoes wore out. And to be absolutely honest, I felt no difference in my workout experience. My movements and posture were perfect and since the shoes were so lightweight, I could work out for longer without stressing out.
Why Do Powerlifters Wear Converse Shoes?
Powerlifters and gym enthusiasts regularly wear converse shoes while working out and training at the gym. And there are a couple of very good reasons behind it. In this section, I will give you my take on why converse shoes are such a popular choice of footwear among powerlifters.
1. Converse shoes have flat soles
During deadlifts, you want a flat and stable surface to maintain the right posture. And converse shoes, thanks to their flat sole, make it much more efficient to lift weights or do squats. Because of this, many weightlifters and powerlifters opt to go with Converse Chuck Taylors.
When your workout involves squats or deadlifts, you are essentially pushing yourself away from the ground. This requires a direct connection to a flat, solid surface. There’s a saying, that the best shoe for powerlifting is no shoes. However, since most gyms have a restriction against not wearing any shoes, wearing converse is the next best option.
2. It is easy to find
Converse shoes might be the most readily available type of shoe that you can find on the market or online. They have a simple design and there is a good chance that any of your local shoe stores have a lot of different converses for you to choose from.
On the other hand, if you want to invest in a powerlifting shoe, you would have to check multiple stores and might even have to wait a couple of weeks to get your hands on it. Because of the availability of converse, they can be a good option to get when you need something right at that moment.
3. Keeps you closer to the ground
Since the soles of converse shoes are quite thinner than other types of shoes, you are actually closer to the ground. Though it might mean nothing for walking or running, when it comes to powerlifting as a beginner, the impact is quite significant.
When you are deadlifting, you are pulling up the weight from the ground and placing it back down. So, in essence, you are lifting it less when you are wearing a pair of converse. For a seasoned powerlifter, the difference might be minuscule. But for a beginner, it can make all the difference.
4. It is cheap
Let’s not beat around the bushes; you know how expensive gym shoes or powerlifting shoes can get. For the price of buying a single pair of powerlifting shoes, you can get two or three sets of converses. And if you know what you are looking for, a nice pair of converses can last you quite a while.
One of the main reasons why I use converses in the gym is to save money. Everything that I want to achieve in the gym can be done by wearing converse. So, I do not see any reason to spend hundreds of dollars on gym shoes if it does not make the training any more efficient.
5. Limited cushioning
Although a cushioned shoe might be more comfortable when you are running or walking around, it can be a problem during powerlifting. The extra padding will cause you to burn extra energy which can limit the efficiency of your workout. Since converse shoes have limited cushioning, they are a good choice for powerlifters.
Think of it this way, when you are pushing yourself up from the ground with your legs, you want as little distance between the heel of your feet to the ground as possible. If there is thick padding on the shoe, you are essentially pushing down on the padding before getting yourself up from the ground.
6. Decent comfort and protection
Despite offering less cushioning than a normal gym or running shoe, converse shoes have a decent level of protection and are quite comfortable to wear. Sure, they might not be as comfy as a slipper, but still comfy enough that you can wear them the whole day without any trouble.
And due to the flat sole and lightweight nature of a good converse, you will be able to maintain your posture and form while working out or skating. While maintaining your lifting form, you will not even have to worry about spraining your ankle if you are wearing converse shoes.
Should I Wear Shoes or Not When Squatting?
When squatting, I personally prefer to go barefoot. But sadly, most gyms don’t allow you to work out without shoes. Besides, there is also the issue of hygiene. Naturally, people get sweaty while working out. So, the gym floors are not exactly the definition of cleanliness.
In the end, it comes down to personal preference and situation. If you want to squat barefoot, there is absolutely no law against that. And if you prefer, you can always wear shoes when squatting.
Are Socks Necessary with Converse?
Typically, converse feels more comfortable with socks. Remember, these shoes are quite barebones compared to something like a Timberland. The inside of the shoes usually does not come with good insoles or padding to make it comfortable to wear without socks.
Drawbacks Of Converse Shoes
Though converse shoes are a popular choice for working out, it has its major share of drawbacks too. Here are a couple of issues you need to know about if you are planning to buy a new pair of converse shoes.
- They might not be the best choice if you are planning to do running. Running shoes are much better for this task.
- Converse shoes are not exactly durable. They are extremely vulnerable to water. So, wearing them in rainy weather is a bad idea.
- Unless you install a custom sole inside the converse, it might be uncomfortable to wear it for a long time.
Converse shoes might be the most versatile type of footwear out there. It is extremely comfortable and works well for a lot of different activities. If you are a powerlifter and want to replace your old gym shoes, then it can be a great way to go.
When I tried it out the first time, I was quite amazed. It felt good on my feet and I had no trouble finding my proper footing. And hopefully, after reading this article, you will at least give it a try and decide for yourself whether you want to use converse for lifting.