T Nation

Shoes or No Shoes While Lifting

I just started working out again. I have pretty strong feet from waiting tables for years. I was wondering what the pros and cons are for not wearing shoes while lifting. Shrugging 180 today and not a hint of pain in my feet.

I wear shoes for everything but deadlifts.

The biggest pro to not wearing shoes is by eliminating heel lift you can recruit the posterior chain greater. You are also a little lower in relation to the bar so you can theoretically load the bar more as it has less distance to travel.

Yes minimal addition but better than nothing.

Also no Shox

Since I lift at home I only wear shoes when benching. The heel makes contacting the floor with a wide hip setup a little bit easier.

I never wear shoes when squatting or deadlifting because I have read that keeping the feet flat improves hamstring activation and reduces quad dominance in those movements.

Most other lifts it does not matter one way or the other. If I have shoes on anyway (because of benching or from a warm up jog) I will lift in them, but if not I don’t bother putting them on.

My gym makes the decision real easy by requiring shoes, LOL

I would never lift without shoes though, a rolling plate or accidentally kicking something would piss me off.

Plus I have flat feet and hate being barefoot.

I couldn’t imaging being barefoot with some additional weight on them, fuck that.

Chuck Taylors for deads.

It depends on what shoes you have. If you have shoes with a large flexible/compressible cushioned heel then take them off or buy a pair of chucks/nike frees/ironworks.

Its just a preference, I would say its safer to squat with shoes since you could slip with sweaty feet-or drop weight on them- A lot of people prefer no shoes for running, lifting ext.

If your one of those people go ahead and lift barefoot. Don’t squat with socks though, you’ll most likely slip-though depends on surface-.

Most gyms require shoes though, so just get some chucks-cheapest solid squat/deadlift shoe- or similar flat sole shoe.

If you have to wear shoes; wear/find shoes with as little of a sole (very thin) as you can. This will make squatting/deadlifting alot better by not tilting you forward.

Chuck Taylors are a great shoe

There are all sorts of shoes without heels or with really thin soles out there.

If you can NOT wear shoes; do those lifts sans footwear then.

+1 for the Chucks. I love them.

What are ironworks? I googled but all that came up was other people on BB forums discussing them.

puma’s have damn near no sole also, if you get the right pair… I used them cause they fit my wide ass foot really well…


I had the same question about shoes. I finally settled on a pair of mat shoes used for wrestling. The have virtually no sole. I found them on sale for $20.

As far as the gym goes, my Dad gave me his weight set to use. Free weights; dumb bells, plates, bars, bench, preacher curl adaption, etc. I have carpeted floors in my apartment. I decided to use Aasics(sp?) for DLs and Squats. Thanks for the input. I will check into Chucks once mine wear out.

Chuckie Ts for everything but deads. I go shoeless on those bastards. I feel its helps. The thinner the shoe the better, IMHO.