Which Shoes for the Gym?

An expensive belt? Check. Supportive leggings? Check. Wrist wraps? Check.

But how much thought do you give your footwear for the gym?

Unless you've experimented with different types of shoe for training, you might be surprised how much your fashion trainers are negatively impacting your lifts and/or cardio. This simple guide will break down different shoes commonly seen in the gym and when you should be using them.


Squatting and Olympic Lifts: weightlifting/powerlifting shoes

These have a very solid sole with no spongey feel so that you can be very stable in a squat and feel more powerful pushing through the floor to get the weight back up. The heel is slightly elevated to help with ankle mobility and help you achieve a deeper, more upright squat position more comfortably.

Deadlifts and Legs: converse (or other flat soled shoes)

There are many exercises where you might want to be flat footed and avoid your weight going onto your toes. These include deadlifts, stiff legged deadlifts, good mornings and even squats if you have the ankle mobility (they may also be more suited to low bar squatting).

In short, anything where you want to feel grounded or use more heel drive to engage the glutes.

Cardio: running shoe

Your local sportswear store should be able to give specific recommendations on what you should be wearing based on the shape of your feet. Cardio shoes should be comfortable and supportive, especially if you suffer with issues such as shin splints.

All round: metcon shoes

These are great for crossfit and other training where you may have to perform a variety of movements without time between to change your shoes. They are designed for grip, stability and mobility, combining a slight platform with a flexible mid-foot.

Another positive is that they are great value for money if you do not want to invest in several very specific pairs.

If you want it all, these are for you!



When it comes down to it, the best shoes for you to train in are the ones which are most comfortable and yield the best results for you. But, if you have not yet tried the above for the relevant training, I urge you to give them a try and see how they benefit your sessions. While perfecting form should be prioritised, the right kit can give you that extra few % that may help break through a plateau.

About the Author

Savannah Westerby, BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition. IG:@savannahwesterby
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