Are you wearing the right shoes in the gym?

If the shoe fits wear it, right? Maybe not.

It turns out the choice of which shoe to wear in the gym is not a simple as picking the cutest colour.

There are many different types of shoes you can wear in the gym. I’m going to break each of them down and explain why you should or shouldn’t be wearing them.

The Classic Running Shoe:


These type of shoes are what we commonly tend to see in the gym but they are not necessarily right for everyone wearing them. They contain a very squishy sole that absorbs the impact of your foot hitting the ground repeatedly. This is great for runners but it dramatically reduces stability for anyone training with weights.

When you should wear them:

  • when the majority of your exercise is running either outside or on a treadmill
  • when you play a sport such as basketball or volleyball that has a lot of running/jumping

When you shouldn’t wear them:

  • when lifting weights
  • when training anything that requires stability through the feet (any standing movements)


The Cross Trainer


As you can see with this shoe it contains much less cushioning on the bottom. This gives you much more stability when training with weights but is still comfy enough to do the occasional running or jumping in. This is the shoe I recommend to anyone in the gym that isn’t specifically a runner. It is the perfect shoe to cover all types of training.

When looking to purchase this type of shoe I recommend the Reebok Nano series. I have had multiple pairs and all of them have lasted through a lot of workouts. The durability is very good and if you buy an older model (unless you absolutely need the latest shoe) you can get a great quality shoe at a great price.

When you should wear them:

  • any kind of training with or without weights

When you shouldn’t wear them:

  • if the majority of your training is running
  • may not have enough stability for higher level lifters


The Weightlifting Shoe


This shoe, you can see, has no cushion at all. It is not your typical training shoe. You will never want to run or jump with these on but they do have their purpose. If you want to get serious about lifting weights you will want to consider owning a pair of weightlifting shoes.

Like the nanos, getting an older version of the shoes will significantly lower the price. You can also usually find a pair, second hand, online. These shoes are super durable and because there isn’t any running or jumping in them, you will probably only need one pair in your lifetime (once you’re done growing).

When you should wear them:

  • When you are competing in Olympic Weightlifting or Powerlifting
  • If you want to squat a crap ton of weight

When you shouldn’t wear them:

  • Any training outside of squatting (running, jumping, cross training)


Converse/Chuck Taylor’s


Another type of show to consider if you are taking the strength training route. Like the nano, these shoes have very little cushion and provide great stability for lifting weights with. Unlike the nano, they have so little cushion you will not want to do any running or jumping in them as they are not suitable for any impact.

When you should wear them:

  • Heavy deadlifts
  • Heavy squats – if you have the ankle mobility or squat low bar
  • With jeans and a white t-shirt for that classic look

When you shouldn’t wear them:

  • Any high impact training (running, jumping, cross training)

Once you know what kind of training you are most likely to be doing it is easy to choose the right shoe for the job.

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