T Nation

Squatting without shoes

I was reading on olympus.net (great informational site BTW) about squatting with flat heel shoes on - so today before my 5x5 of front squats, I look down at my feet and notice I have a considerable heel on my x-trainers. So I did what any sane person would do; took off my shoes and squatted in my socks! I felt a lot more balanced, especially when I hit rock bottom. Granted I should probably invest in a pair of flat heeled sneaks, but this seemed to do the trick in the meantime.

Anyone else have this same experience?


Yeah Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I’ve never squatted with shoes.

Go barefoot w/ heel blocks and you’ll see an immediate increase in strength due to neurological factors.

Yeah, I always get funny looks. I used to squat in socks, but now use flat heeled power-lifting shoes. They look alot like wrestling shoes.

Yes I do squats without shoes as well… im not really sure if its bad for you. I did 435x7 reps with no shoes… no problems so far.


I have squatted and deadlifted and done other exercises barefoot and actually prefer it.

I also have a considerable heel on my shoes so I’ve been deadlifting, squating shoeless for awhile now…love it.

But I think CT actually reccommends a bigger heel for the Oly lifts right?

Many gyms frown on bare-feet. If yours does, I’ve found that the post-surgical, hospital “footies” with the grips on the bottom work VERY well…and they wash easily!


Yeah, I’ve noticed in Christian’s pics of all his ‘power’ lifts that he is wearing shoes with a heel. Does anybody know why? What are the reasons for going falt, or heeled?

I vary between barefoot and wearing wrestling shoes.

My experience was different.
Squatting bare foot on concrete in summer. An Australian summer!
Doing 20 RM sets.
Sweat runs like water down my legs, gets to my feet, I go to rack the bar.
The next thing I remember is waking up thinking I was lying in bed, it took more than a minute to realise I was lying twisted on the concrete the bar half on top of me. The only time I have ever been KO?d.
What did I get for my trouble?
A splitting head ache and 20 stitches in my skull where I had split my scalp open. Even today I still don?t remember the fall.
Be careful man.
As a side note. Squatting in sneakers?
Leave the runners and cross trainers for your cardio. When you lift wear some hard soled boots. They don?t have to be specific weight lifting boots. Just regular work or hiking boots work great. The stability they give you is fantastic. If you have never tried it I thoroughly recommend it.
From your first work out you will love the stability and consequent power they bring to your work out. And not only those exercises where you stand. You will even notice a psychological difference when you bench.

I picked up some flat-soled shoes the other day after reading this thread, after wearing x-trainers for the past several years. I was amazed at the stability I now have and with that, I feel more comfortable with the weight, which can’t be a bad thing as far as progress goes. They’re these little Addidas Gazelles. Pretty cheap and they feel like slippers. I know there are better choices, but this feels like a good start for me.

Drechsler’s Encyclopedia says higher heels let you keep a more upright torso and maintain a slight arch in the lower back, but they put more stress on the knee. The more flexable you are, the less heel you need.
I’d think beginning lifters without much ham strength and people without much achilles flexibility probably need a higher heel to keep from rocking backwards.

Would it be better to go with old school chucks or a shoe like these


I just bought some read chucks. they are great and the women love them too.