What Type Of Shoe Do I Need For The Gym?

What Type Of Shoe Do I Need For The Gym?

November 14, 20234 min read

Are you unsure about the type of shoe you want to workout in?  Are you asking yourself “Do I need cross training shoes, running shoes, and what the heck are lifters?” 


This is a pretty common question I get, mainly from someone who is new to the gym setting.  They ask “what type of shoe should I use when working out?” My answer is…”Ultimately, it depends on what feels best to you and the type of activity you are doing.”  Most people don’t want a shoe for every occasion in the gym. That is totally understandable. On the other hand, it may be beneficial to have a shoe that makes each occasion feel a little better.  Personally, I have a shoe for every occasion because I see the value each shoe offers. In case you were wondering, yes my gym bag is full! 


I want to help you out, so I am going to break down three different types of shoes and how they could enhance your gym experience.  We have the training shoe, the running shoe, and the lifting shoe. Hopefully from this information, you can find what would work best for you.

Let’s go over the training shoe and what it has to offer.


The design of a training shoe is built to be flexible, lightweight and durable.  The versatility of a training shoe is great for all types of exercises. This includes lifting, short distance running, climbing, and jumping.  The biggest difference, when being compared to the other shoes, is that training shoes are designed to have a lower heel drop. The advantage of the low heel drop is that it puts you closer to the ground and makes the shoe feel more stable.  This helps with multi directional movements, especially lateral movements. Ever try to change directions in a running shoe? Not so easy. The low heel drop also gives you the ability to put more force into the ground when lifting. This is a huge plus!  If you are wearing shoes with a lot of cushion, your going to feel like your pushing against something squishy and in return your not going to be able to put as much force into the ground. This feeling can be annoying, especially if your trying to lift a good amount of weight.  Another bonus is that some training shoes even have a semi-hard sole that is built for rope climbs. This is a cool feature if you like climbing the rope. Trust me, it helps!  


Overall, the training shoe is nice to have because of the versatility it offers.  I usually point people to this type of shoe for that reason.    


Next up is the running shoe.

The design of a running shoe is built to be lightweight with plenty of cushion and support to help absorb the repetitive impact of hitting the ground while running.  Running shoes do offer different types of support, based on the pronation of your foot. If you are running often, then I recommend going to a store that specializes in running shoes.  They have the ability to fit the correct shoes to your feet.   


All in all, running shoes are exactly what they are, running shoes.  I don’t recommend lifting in them because it’s difficult to put adequate force into the ground due to the cushion.  Other than that, they can be a comfortable shoe to wear when training.   


Last, but not least, the lifting shoe.

The design of a lifting shoe is gonna provide a stable fit, with a flat bottom and little to none cushion.  They were built for squatting and olympic lifts (cleans and snatches). That’s pretty much it. One pair may last you the rest of your life!  The unique aspect of a lifting shoe is the elevated heel. The elevated heel will immediately improve your hip and ankle mobility, which then helps you get lower in a squat.  Trust me, you’ll notice the difference when squatting! If you want to mimic what it feels like, stick a 5lb plate under your heels and then squat.  


If you are serious about maximizing your olympic lifts and squats, then this type of shoe will be beneficial to you.  Otherwise, they are not required to squat or do olympic lifts.  


Hopefully this cleared up some questions about which shoe would be best for you.  Remember as long as the shoe feels good to you, then your golden. If your looking to maximize performance, then I suggest wearing a shoe that optimizes what you are doing!  


Coach Silas

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Breakaway Fitness & Performance

Breakaway Fitness & Performance focuses on strength training, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle in their blogs.

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