Why Do People Lift With Converse And Vans?

November 2, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “why do people lift with converse and vans?”. I will explain the reasons behind this and also examine the shortcomings of doing this.

There are pros and cons of lifting in converse or vans shoes. It also depends on your personal taste as to whether you choose to perform an exercise in these shoes. 

Why Do People Lift With Converse And Vans?

The primary reason why people choose to lift in these shoes comes down to stability. When you perform heavy squats and deadlifts in particular, you are a lot more stable in these shoes than a squishy running shoe.

There is less power leakage and more control. Converse and vans shoes are flat and have an incompressible sole. Vans tend to be more comfortable on the whole as there is slightly more padding.

Another reason is that these shoes are a lot cheaper than buying specialised weightlifting shoes. This is another big consideration that people make when choosing to wear converse or vans.

Finally, it comes down to personal taste. I have a friend who is very strong and he has squatted 270kg in a pair of converse shoes. He has a personal preference for converse shoes over more expensive weightlifting shoes.

The Extra Stability

The big benefit of converse or vans shoes is the extra stability that they afford you. This is crucial on big compound exercises such as the squat and deadlift.

Many times I have seen people squatting in squishy sneakers and cringed. It is simply highly inefficient. If you wear converse shoes you will leak less power and feel a lot more “glued” to the ground.

This will give you a lot more control throughout the range of motion. You will find that you will be automatically stronger on the squat just by wearing vans or converse shoes instead of running shoes. 

For the deadlift, converse shoes are fantastic. I performed deadlifts for many years in the past wearing just chuck taylor’s or vans. Both shoes are excellent for deadlifts as you are very close to the ground.

It is almost like being barefoot. Barefoot is best on the deadlift but many gyms don’t allow this. I will touch on this later in the article.

Converse Have Less Padding Than Vans

It should be stated that converse shoes have less padding than vans. As such vans are more comfortable.

From a lifting perspective, you should only be wearing these shoes for your lifting sessions. As such the comfort of the shoe isn’t a huge issue. I will discuss problems with converse and vans shoes later.

Problems With These Shoes

One of the big problems with these shoes is that they tend to wear out fairly easily. It is unlikely that you will have a pair that will last you 10 years for your lifting sessions.

I can tell you a story from my own personal experience. I used to deadlift in vans and hit my 225kg deadlift many years ago while wearing them. However, the shoe became more and more worn out from my heavy deadlifts.

Eventually there was a hole in the sole and a lot of wear and tear. I continued wearing these shoes for deadlifts and I believe they were a big contributing factor to my deadlift injury back then.

Because there was a hole in the shoe, when I was pulling a heavy weight I hurt myself. Therefore, you have to be careful that you pay attention to the condition of your vans or converses.

Certainly don’t wear them outside. If you are going to use them for lifting, restrict your use to the gym. When the shoe has worn out, replace them immediately!

Weightlifting Shoes And Barefoot Alternative

Since the deadlift injury I had many years ago, I have worn Adipower weightlifting shoes for my workouts. This is because I don’t perform heavy squats and deadlifts now.

Instead I do other exercises for legs such as bulgarian split squats and leg presses. For back I do rows, inverted rows, back extensions, etc. Overall, I would say that weightlifting shoes are superior for the squat.

This is because weightlifting shoes allow you to achieve better depth on the squat and they are just more solid than even converse shoes. However, like I mentioned at the beginning of my article, they are not for everyone.

Weightlifting shoes are more expensive and are an acquired taste. I know people who have tried weightlifting shoes and didn’t like it, those people went back to wearing flat shoes.

From my experience, it is best to wear weightlifting shoes on athletic squats and go barefoot on the deadlift. This is to optimise the mechanics, if you are a geared powerlifter then you should use converse shoes for your wide stance squats.

Whilst barefoot is fantastic for the deadlift, many gyms don’t permit it. When I was younger and trained at my university gym, they had a strict rule against performing exercises barefoot.

If you go to a hardcore powerlifting gym, they won’t have any problems with this. At the end of the day, the footwear that you use for lifting depends on your personal taste. 

deadlift in socks

Final Thoughts

Why do people lift with converse and vans? The reason is very simple – it comes down to improved stability on the compound lifts and a lower cost than weightlifting shoes.

The only thing you need to pay attention to is wear and tear of these shoes. Once they start getting worn you should replace them. Don’t wear converse or vans shoes that you use for lifting outside the gym.

I would love to know if you wear converse or vans in the gym – leave me a comment below! 

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

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