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Squatting Footwear: What You Use Makes a Difference

Curious about squat shoes? Get the facts here on what you should – and shouldn’t wear.

The verdict is in and squats are king of the weight room. If you are doing a strength and conditioning program and have not yet got squats into the picture, now is definitely the time to start. Few exercises are going to give you the bang for your buck that this move will so it’s vital that you jump on board the bandwagon.

This said, if you aren’t using the right equipment when you squat – namely, your shoes – it can have devastating results.

Let’s look at the main points that you need to know regarding your squat shoes and how what you wear impacts your performance.


First, without a good pair of squat shoes, you simply won’t have the support that you need to really press up the heavy weight you’re looking to use to see optimal results.

Now, some individuals do like to squat barefoot. Generally this comes from the notion that by doing so, they’ll strengthen all the smaller muscle groups in their feet, thus seeing improved overall strength benefits. And it’s true – squatting in bare feet can do this. However, note that by squatting in bare feet, you are limiting how much weight you can lift. Plus, if you aim to lift too heavy, you will risk injury – make no mistake about that.

So instead, focus on doing a few warm-up sets with that lighter weight in bare feet if that’s what you want to do and then put on your shoes as things get heavy. You’ll be thankful you did.

Ability To Keep Your Heels Down

Another reason that you want to invest in good squat shoes is because they’ll help you keep your heels down during the movement. If you wear traditional running shoes while you squat for instance, you’ll have a thick sole that can mess with your squat form and mechanics.

If you look at shoes made specifically for squats, you’ll notice that the heel of the shoes is slightly raised compared to the rest of the shoe, which helps you maintain that heels-down position. This is critical to keeping your form in check.

Explosive Power

Finally, a good pair of squat shoes is also a must to allow you to develop the explosive power you want to be using throughout this exercise.

The heels-down position allows you to generate maximum force and press up through the heels, thus seeing superior results overall.

Those who squat in traditional running shoes may notice they have a hard time maintaining that explosive tempo, thus may limit their overall power improvements.

So all in all, consider investing in a good pair of squat shoes. You’ll find squat shoes to be very firm overall, providing the support you need and will not have a cushy base. Avoid using regular running shoes when squatting and you will immediately notice a difference in how much better doing those squats feels as well as the performance you are able to give while performing them.

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