T Nation

Shoe selection for squats

I have read that it is best to perform squats using shoes that have the thinnest sole possible, and preferably no sole. But, other “hardcore” bodybuilders at my gym tell me that it makes no difference which type of shoe is worn. What are your thoughts on this?

I think the issue at hand is the midsole - the padding between your feet and the sole - and not the sole. First, you want something with a flat heel - no running or “cross-training” shoes. The elevated heel contributes to heel instability and pitches you forward ala a 2x4 under your heels, which can affect your groove. Second, the less midsole, the better. Again, a tall midsole may feel nice when running but allows for side-to-side instability when going heavy. Shoes that work great are work boots (don’t laugh), Vans/Airwalks/Converse Chuck T’s and Otomix.

Depends on your squat style. Totally flat is good for Westside. With narrower, more quad dominant styles you mught want a slight heel.

yeah go for chuck taylors converse of you could get those addidas shoes that are white with stripes down the side… i wear those and if i recall right i saw a pic of Ed Coan squatting 1003 pounds and he was wearing the addidas shoes

I love my Otomix “original style” feels like I’m almost barefoot.

I squat barefooted. I find this is most comfortable for me.

Yes! I also squat barefoot, well actually I wear my socks, just to keep my feet warm. I actually do my complete workouts barefoot with the one exception being the leg press. JR.

Barefoot is the way t’ go. Dan

I agree, go barefoot (with squats). I will mix up squats with shoes and without. I do all my calf work without shoes too!

I agree, go barefoot (with socks). I will mix up squats with shoes and without. I do all my calf work without shoes too!

i would squat barefoot, but i think it is a policy at my gym that you always have to wear shoes and they are pretty strict about stuff like that.

Nic. Yet another advantage of training at home. Try it. JR

I use my old wrestling shoes. It’a almost the same as no shoes at all.

Old Chuck Taylor’s.

I don’t want to trump myself, but as a sneak preview of something that’ll be in the third installment of the column Chris Shugart and I pen, “Stuff We Like,” in Testosterone, I can’t recommend Inzer’s “Power Shoe” any more highly. It’s not cheap, but for serious squatting and deadlifting, this piece of equipment makes a serious positive difference. Details in the column. Inzer runs a full page ad for the shoe on the outside back cover of Powerlifting USA most months.

I’m not sure if these are the shoes dman was refering to, but I use and highly recomend the Adidas indoor soccer shoe- the Samba Classic (about $50). Mine are black w/ white stripes, are pretty damn ugly, but have a thin, hard rubber sole that’s perfect for gyms that won’t let you do squats and calf raises w/o shoes on.

After reading Ian King’s opinion that squat shoes should have have little rebound, I tried squatting in my combat boots. They worked awesome! They felt very stable. I had similar success with hiking boots. I seem to recall that Chad Ikei, in the print edition of Ian King’s leg workouts that he was wearing some sort of hiking boots. The combat boots look very cool to boot (no pun intended), and I like to idea of going into combat in the gym.

Mr. Koenig, I love your column with Chris. I wrote 2 weeks ago with a suggestion for your column-which training videos do you feel are worth the money? (besides Ian King’s for impartiality purposes) My suggestion was wrapped up in a larger message having to do with training. Well, Tim Patterson answered my training question BUT I never heard back on the video review suggestion.
Since so many people have videos from Kubik to Ironmind to Lou Simmons to Poliquin to Chek, Staley, Francis, etc. it would be nice to have someone separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I think this would make for a pretty damn good column.
What do you think?