Are Chuck Taylors Really the Best Shoes for Squatting?

There’s a lot of consensus in the weightlifting community that Converse Chuck Taylors are the best shoes for squatting: the soles are flat and allow your feet to get as close to the ground as possible, and the material isn’t spongy, meaning that you can get the most power exertion out of your squat (no tension absorbed).

But are Chuck Taylors really the best shoes for squatting?

It depends.

If you have a solid-functioning gait, perfectly shaped feet, and no lower body asymmetries, then you can fare well with Chuck Taylors. You have no need for orthotics, so wearing Chucks is the closest thing to being barefoot. You can get a solid grip on the ground and the shoe won’t absorb any of the weight, so you’ll be able to push through your heels quite easily.

But if you’re screwed up like me, and you need orthotics, then Chucks won’t do you any good.

The reason?

Orthotics are meant to support your feet and correct imbalances in your gait. Therefore, you need a supportive shoe to hold your orthotics in.

Chuck Taylors were not made for orthotics.

Nor were they made for athletic wear (just listen to this guy, who tried playing basketball in them).

The top of the shoe is made of canvas, a very flexible material that can easily twist and bend, while the bottom is made of ‘vulcanized’ rubber, which provides minimal support.

Therefore, Chucks are ONLY suitable for people who have neutral feet (aka a normal arch), as it will allow them to take full advantage of their ‘perfect’ feet.

Think about it: If someone with flat feet wears flat shoes like Chucks, then it’s not really doing anything to help.

Flat feet results in pronation (walking with toes pointed in).

So for those of us who wear orthotics, stay far far away from Chucks.

There are better shoes out there that will provide you with the balance and the stability that you need. Because these shoes were actually made for people with detrimental foot mechanics, they will have features such as advanced cushioning, arch support, and deep foot beds. They will work in conjunction with your orthotics to improve your condition, rather than make it worse. As a result, your feet will be better supported, and you’ll be able to push from your heels a lot easier.

So at the end of the day, if you have no problems associated with your lower-body, then Chuck Taylors are a decent shoe to squat and deadlift in.

But if you have problems related to your gait, feet, and legs, then an orthopedic shoe would serve you better.

It all depends on you.

Until next time,

Darren Li


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