There’s no doubt that Converse are one of the most popular footwear choices for athletes and professional lifters.
However, not everyone believes that it is suitable for high-impact exercises, based solely on the appearance and functionality of the sneakers. Many experts and critics claim that there are better alternatives to guard your feet if you are an avid gym-goer.
But if there are so many people at the gym wearing Converse for lifting weights and performing other exercises, there have to be some merits associated with these sneakers, right?
To clear these doubts and to decipher if it’s safe and efficient to engage in lifting in Converse, we shall be providing an in-depth review of the sneakers alongside the many advantages and shortcomings associated with using them as workout shoes.
So without further ado, let’s dive straight into it!
Are Converse Good for Lifting?
Converse shoes can be good for lifting, especially for beginners and intermediate lifters. That’s because these sneakers have a flat surface, providing the stability and support required for weight-based training.
However, for experts and professional lifters, there are many better alternatives available on the market that are specifically designed for lifting heavy weights. Most Converse models are not designed to withstand heavy-duty lifting because of their limitations in terms of width, long-term durability, and stack height.
To give you a more detailed takeaway, here are two conclusions as to why Converse shoes are good for lifting and also why they might not be the best option in the market:
- Converse shoes are used heavily at the gym by many fitness enthusiasts and are tried and tested for recreational lifting.
- While Converse models have the right features to support weight-based training, they lack specificity, which might make them fall short of the requirements and demands of professional athletes.
Based on these conclusions, we find that using Converse for lifting might be an adequate option for regular gym-goers. But for those advanced professionals who are heavily invested in strength training, choosing a pair of lifting shoes specifically dedicated to this application is the better choice.
Why are Converse Good for Lifting?
When you walk inside a packed gym, you will find that at least 5-10 people would be working out while wearing their Converse sneakers and flats. If they are so popular among regular gym-goers, these shoes definitely offer some functional advantages.
Here is a list of the primary reasons why wearing Converse at the gym for weightlifting can be good for you:
Improved Proprioception and Awareness
Proprioception is the ability of a human being to subconsciously be aware of their movements, forces applied, and body positions. It is one of the most important qualities for an athlete working out at the gym.
That’s because when you are lifting heavy weights, a part of your mind should be actively working to stabilize your body and maintain proper form/technique. If your proprioception is limited, you will struggle to do this.
The good thing about using Converse as weightlifting shoes is that they can enhance your proprioception abilities. Since they do not have any cushioning or increased softness/thickness in the soles, you’ll always have maximum stability and position awareness while working out.
Offers More Power While Pushing off the Ground
Another reason why Converse can be used as gym shoes is that they maximize efficiency in exercises like squats or deadlifts. That is because they have minimal cushioning.
When you wear a pair of shoes with too much softness and cushioning, you are actually limiting the benefits of ground reaction forces.
When you perform weightlifting exercises like squats or deadlifts, you are exerting force against the ground by pushing into it. Similarly, the ground responds by pushing back with an equal and opposite force, allowing you to go back up with more power.
However, when you wear cushioned footwear, a large percentage of this ground reaction force is absorbed and lost within the cushioning material.
As Converse shoes offer minimal cushioning, they are perfect for such exercises.
Helps in Maximizing Workout Intensity
Most modern-day workout and athletic shoes come with different support features to help your body perform different exercises.
For example, there are all sorts of ankle and heel supports to minimize the range of motion during compound exercises. Unfortunately, getting so much help from your shoes at the gym is not always a good thing.
The less support your shoes offer you, the more your body will have to work on its own to complete a particular task.
For example, if you work out in a regular flat Converse, your proprioceptors and stabilizing muscles will be activated to a greater degree, potentially resulting in more efficient workouts and stronger physiques.
Minimizes the Risk of Back Injuries
When you are working with heavy weights, there is always the risk of picking up spinal and back injuries, which can prove to be disastrous for your chronic health.
Fortunately, wearing flat Converses can safeguard you against such injuries. That’s because when you are working out in a Converse, you don’t have a pelvic tilt because the soles are absolutely flat.
Moreover, there is a better distribution of shearing forces within your body, ankles, knees, hips, and back.
Both of these factors combined minimize the risk of picking up any long-term back injuries while lifting heavy weights.
Offers Extremely Stable Soles
Most modern-day shoes have soles that perform inconsistently under heavier loads. Fortunately, Converse soles are composed of non-compressive rubber materials. So, they offer maximum stability when lifting heavy weights as they cannot be compressed into the ground.
Because of the inclusion of a non-compressive sole, Converse shoes can prove to be excellent for free weight training and also for performing heavy machine work.
They Can Be Used as Daily Wear Shoes
Converse is undoubtedly a great footwear option for lifting heavy weights. But another reason why they are good as workout shoes is that they don’t have to be limited to only a single function.
Converse shoes match great with casual outfits as well. So, you can wear them out on the street, in clubs, or anywhere else when you are simply hanging out.
Another great advantage to this is that you don’t have to carry a separate pair of shoes to the gym in a big. You can simply keep your Converse as they can be worn in public as well as inside commercial gym spaces.
They Offer Maximum Comfort
Converse shoes are mostly made from soft and flexible canvas. The materials used are flexible and can move with your body without restricting the range of motion during complicated compound movements.
Moreover, these shoes are generally very lightweight. So, there’s greater ease while performing heavy weightlifting exercises.
Converse Shoes are Cost-Effective
Having separate workout shoes can be costly. That’s because, unlike lifestyle sneakers, athletic footwear is comparatively costlier. That’s because they have multiple design and support features that amplify the overall cost.
So, purchasing a pair of workout shoes can put a huge dent in your pocket if you go for premium options.
Most Converse options, on the other hand, are comparatively cheaper and can be replaced regularly without breaking the bank.
So, using Converse for gym uses can actually be very cost-efficient in the long run.
Drawbacks of Using Converse Shoes for Lifting
Despite offering many advantages to lifters, Converse shoes also have some shortcomings if you wear them for athletic applications.
Some of the major limitations are as follows:
More Stack Height
One of the reasons why Converse might not be the best for professional lifters is because they have an increased stack height.
So, what is stack height? It is basically a metric used to measure the distance between the ground and the wearer’s foot. So, it measures the thickness of the material that separates the floor from your feet.
In traditional weightlifting exercises like deadlifts, the stack height should be minimal. That’s why many professional athletes wear barefoot shoes to perform such exercises.
Unfortunately, while Converse shoes have less stack height compared to other sports shoes, they still lag behind lifting and barefoot shoes that are designed specifically for traditional weightlifting activities.
Not Good for Versatile Workout Regimes
While a pair of Converses can offer decent support for high-impact weightlifting applications, they are not as good for cardiovascular activities, plyometrics, or any other sort of training that requires dynamic movements.
That’s because Converse shoes have limited responsiveness and do not provide enough support for activities like running or jogging.
Another major issue with a pair of Converses is that they are not as durable as other workout or gym shoes.
These shoes are mostly made of lightweight canvas that can deteriorate and get damaged faster.
Moreover, if you are using these shoes while lifting heavy weights, they will have to absorb more shock from rough impacts, which can damage the upper portion of the shoes due to excessive stress.
Lack of Specialized Features
Regular workout shoes have performance-enhancing features like heel drops, toe protection, arch support, pronation control motion control, and so on to support strength and cardiovascular training.
However, Converse shoes do not come with these additional privileges, which might make the workout slightly less appealing and effective.
Low Traction Support
Converse shoes lack rubber outsoles with multidirectional treads or patterns needed to optimize the traction and grip offered on various types of surfaces.
The lack of grip might make the wearer susceptible to slipping or falling during workouts, especially when engaged in cross-training or outdoor sports.
Workout shoes are generally built to be more breathable. They have mesh panels or perforations to allow maximum air circulation, helping wearers keep their feet dry and clean during strenuous workouts.
Converse shoes, however, do not have these features. So, working intensely for long hours can be uncomfortable, with sweat accumulating on your feet.
Lack of Customization
Converse shoes are made for their timeless designs and fit. However, this also makes them highly rigid and not open to customization.
There are limited color and design options available. Moreover, additional customizable features like adjustable straps, interchangeable soles, and custom lacing options will also be unavailable if you go for a traditional Converse shoe model.
The lack of customization can seriously hurt your workouts if you have specific needs and requirements like support for wide feet or any ankle/heel injuries.
Which Converse is Best for Working Out?
Lifting in classic Chuck Taylors is the best option if you want to try out a pair of affordable Converses for your gym requirements.
More specifically, the Chuck Taylors All-Star High-Top model is best-suited for all kinds of weightlifting applications, including squats and deadlifts. These Converse models offer the best ankle support among competitors.
They are also fairly more durable compared to alternatives in the same category, especially when pitted against low-top Converses.
The design of the upper portion is very futuristic and good-looking, making these shoes fit to be worn on casual occasions as well.
All kinds of Chucks have the right features to support weightlifting applications. They have a 0mm heel-to-toe drop and weigh around 14.3 ounces (size 10 model), which is perfect for wearing at the gym.
However, it should be noted that these shoes are only fit for weight-based training. If you are into running or cardiovascular activities, you should get a pair of running shoes as well.
Are Converse Good for Squatting?
Converse shoes are a popular choice for exercises like barbell squats. That’s because these shoes have a flat and stable, non-compressive sole.
There is also limited cushioning that can provide a solid base to heavy lifters and allow a better force transfer between your feet and the ground while performing the exercise.
Are Converse Good for Deadlifting?
While Converse shoes are good for intermediate-level deadlifting, advanced professional athletes should not perform such exercises while wearing them.
That’s because these shoes have higher stack height compared to shoes that are designed specifically for deadlifts.
However, if you cannot afford high-end barefoot shoes or lifting shoes, a decent pair of Converses can get you closest to how you would feel while working out barefoot.
Are Converse Good for Crossfit?
No, it is not recommended that you use Converse shoes for CrossFit training. While features like flat soles and minimal cushioning are ideal for certain exercises, they are not suitable for CrossFit that include various movements.
Since there is a combination of weightlifting, jumping, running, and other dynamic movements in a typical CrossFit routine, it is recommended that you wear shoes that offer more functional and supportive features for such applications.
Converse shoes are popular among gym-goers because they offer a lot of advantages when it comes to weightlifting exercises like squats and deadlifts.
However, they cannot be compared to shoes that are designed specifically for lifting as they don’t have the specific features needed to support dynamic exercises.