Nowadays, there are shoes for everything. Whether you are out running in the rain or enjoying a casual night out with your friends, there is a piece of footwear designed for each occasion.
Among them, the concept of lifting shoes is becoming increasingly common.
You must be thinking, our ancestors worked out barefoot and did pretty well; why should we spend hundreds of dollars on unnecessary equipment?
That’s a valid question with an easy answer – your ancestors simply did not have access to these modern-day tools.
Today, wearing the right kind of shoes while working out can be highly beneficial. Doing so can improve the efficiency of your training, decrease the risk of injuries, and even help you gain strength faster.
So, choosing the perfect lifting shoes for your workout is crucial. But many people struggle with finding the perfect product.
But there are two popular options in the market right now – Converse and Vans.
While both of them are popularly used for lifting, they share some key differences that can either make them perfect or disastrous for your individual needs.
So, if you want to make the right decision, keep reading.
Vans vs Converse for Lifting: Head-to-Head Comparison
Both Vans and Converse shoes are not exactly designed to be lifting shoes. Instead, they have some functional features that might be suitable for strength-based workouts.
As such, people from across the world have been using these brands as a substitute for expensive alternatives like Nike and Adidas.
Converse started as Chuck Taylors, named after the professional basketball player who initially endorsed the brand in the early 1900s. Vans have been around for a lesser time, having their first model come out in the 1960s.
But both of them have gained the irrevocable support and trust of the communities. Both of them were initially used by athletes and sportspeople. Both of them can be quite good for somewhat intense lifting.
So, what are the differences that separate the two? Let’s find out.
Basis of Comparison
Thicker sole with comparatively better cushioning.
Thinner sole with minimal cushioning.
Grip and Traction
Specialized waffle-cut rubber soles for improved grip, friction, and traction.
Basic rubber soles that offer minimal traction for smooth and flat surfaces.
Offers a 0-millimetre heel-to-toe drop
Offers a 0-millimetre heel-to-toe drop.
Some Vans models come with padded ankle support to prevent injuries.
Does not come with additional ankle support.
More durable due to the use of high-quality materials.
Less durable due to the use of standard materials.
Offers a wider fit that is good for people with wide feet.
Offers a narrow fit that is not suitable for people with large or wide feet.
Comparatively bulkier than Converse shoes.
Lightweight and comparable with running shoes.
People with flat feet or low arches.
People with high arches.
More expensive than most Converse models.
Highly cost-effective and affordable.
Different people have different requirements when they are working out.
For example, people with flimsy ankle joints or ankle injuries require additional support. In such a case, they should prefer getting a pair of Vans, as they come with padded ankle support to provide extra stabilization.
Similarly, Vans are built with thicker soles while Converse feature thinner soles. While both of them are not exceptionally good at cushioning, the midsoles of Vans are comparatively more cushy and better-suited for individuals who need maximum shock absorption.
Converse shoes, on the other hand, are better suited for people who want to imitate barefoot training and increase their proprioception abilities.
So, there is no one shoe that can be called better for lifting than the other. In most cases, the decision will depend on your personal preferences and requirements.
Vans shoes have been around for a long time and have cemented their position in the footwear industry. They were originally designed for skateboarders and low-impact athletic applications.
As such, they have the traditional features that you were likely to find in any old pair of sports shoes – flat soles, canvas design, and minimalistic features.
Despite their simplicity, Vans are still popularly used by many casual gym-goers as well as professional lifters.
Here are the pros and cons of using Vans for weightlifting:
- Comes with slightly thick soles that offer decent cushioning for moderate shock absorption and foot protection.
- The signature vulcanized rubber outsole with waffle-pattern tread maximizes the grip and traction on different types of surfaces, including gym floors and lifting platforms.
- Some Vans models come with ankle paddings to provide some extra support and stability to joints and ligaments.
- Offers a more breathable and wider fit compared to other gym shoes.
- Helps maintain proper form and technique during weightlifting exercises by offering a minimal heel-to-toe drop and keeping the heel and forefoot at the same height.
- Zero heel-to-toe drop can inhibit the efficiency of exercises like squats, as studies have found that shoes with raised heels minimize forward trunk lean at the end of the full range of motion.
- Vans do not offer adequate support for intense workouts as they were designed for low-impact activities only.
- Vans are not very cost-effective as one can buy specialized lifting shoes at a comparable price.
Converse shoes, popularly known as just Chucks, were originally introduced as sports shoes, particularly for basketball players.
Since then, they have been the epitome of stylish and functional features. However, Converse shoes are no longer considered athletic, as many other sports shoes with better functionalities and features have appeared since.
Here are the pros and cons of using Converse as lifting shoes.
- Converse shoes are completely flat-soled with zero cushioning, making it a great choice for people who want to imitate the benefits of barefoot training while keeping their feet protected.
- Converse shoes do not offer any lifts or midsole support, allowing lifters to improve and rely on their proprioception abilities to maintain proper form and technique.
- Converse shoes are highly affordable, stylish, and versatile.
- Converse shoes are comparatively lightweight and can be good for lifters who require more responsiveness.
- Flat soles of Converse optimizes the use of Ground Reaction Forces (GRFs) to allow lifters to push off from the ground contact with more power while squatting or lifting heavy weights.
- Converse shoes do not provide adequate support or stability for lifting heavy weights.
- Converse shoes lack flexibility and mobility.
- Converse shoes do not provide heel or ankle support.
Is It Better to Lift in Vans or Converse?
As you can see, both Vans and Converse share some important similarities. But they have their differences as well.
The minor changes in their features can dictate which of the two is the perfect fit for you. Ultimately, the choice for the ultimate lifting shoes will depend on your personal requirements.
Converse shoes are better if you are looking for a minimalistic and affordable option for basic lifting exercises like squats and deadlifting.
On the other hand, Vans are more suitable for lifters who require more flexibility and movement in their training programs.
To sum up, here are the two conclusions:
- Converse shoes are better for basic lifting exercises like squatting and deadlifting as they help in maximizing force generation and proprioception abilities. They also provide a solid base for lifts and have just enough traction to provide a firm grip on flat surfaces like lifting platforms.
- Vans shoes are better for weightlifting and other training programs that require a little bit more dynamic movements, a greater range of motion, and ankle mobility. Vans provide more cushioning, better traction, and added ankle support to facilitate such workouts.
Even today, you will see many people working out in either Vans or Converses when you hit the gym. That’s how popular these two shoes have become.
While they have many drawbacks and limitations, they also provide some functional features to make workouts more effective and endurable.
The better choice between the two will depend on the wearer’s personal preferences.