What's On Your Feet? My Top Picks for Gym Kicks

Do me a favor and quickly paint a picture of a caveman with your imagination. Yes, a caveman... bear with me.

  • Does your caveman have long hair and a beard?
  • Is he holding a club or a spear?
  • Does he have any clothing on?
  • Does he take offense to throwback Geico commercials?
  • What's on your caveman's feet?

Think about that for a second. There's a good chance that our friend here is barefoot, right?

Here's one last question I have for you, from the Paleolithic Era until now, what has changed in human DNA? Now, I'm no historian by any means, but outside of the clothes on our body and the iPhone in our hand, we haven't changed much as homo sapiens.

Shoes are obviously a staple of our everyday life, there's not much changing that. From a training perspective, however should we be contemplating what's on our feet while lifting? You bet your ass we should.

Most shoes manufactured today are extremely cushioned, which makes it difficult to stabilize the foot with movement. Sensory feedback is close to nonexistent in the foot when wearing shoes with cushion that separate the intrinsic foot muscles from making contact with the floor below them. I see a staggering amount of injuries in the general population simply because folks have zero control over their feet.

Through years of trial and error with different brands and models of shoes, here are my three go-to choices for footwear while training.

1.) Barefoot

There's an answer you probably weren't expecting. If you've never executed deadlifts or kettlebell swings barefoot before, I highly suggest you give it a shot your next go-around. Now, I wouldn't suggest performing high-intensity sprints or jumps barefoot simply because you probably don't have the proper pre-requisites in order to endure these stresses. Executing movements barefoot is a great way for you to really understand the proper function of your foot, which will automatically make you stronger as you progress.

2.) New Balance Minimus

Any video you've ever seen of me deadlifting is of me either tuggin' in my socks, completely barefoot, or in a pair of New Balance Minimus cross trainers. This has been my favorite sneaker for years when it comes to training, simply because it feels like I'm wearing nothing on my feet. The "barefoot" design of this sneaker really allows me to root my feet hard into the floor. 

3.) Nike MetCon

Growing up I loved Nike's... who didn't? However, the more I learned about movement, the more I started to believe that most of their models were sub-optimal for weight training. 

That was until they released their Nike MetCon line last year.

The Nike MetCon is by far my favorite "casual" sneaker to wear while training clients and walking around Astoria. They have the same barefoot feel as the New Balance Minimus mentioned above, but they're a bit more durable in the long run. I can't lie, they're pretty appealing on the eyes, too.

Keep in mind that these are options that I picked simply because they're shoes that I've worn for a decent amount of time. I left Converse off this list because while they may be great shoes for deadlift, I've never personally owned a pair of Chuck's before. That will change one day!

The Adidas AdiPower Olympic Lifting shoes are a pair of sneakers that I love to squat in. However, squatting in shoes with a heel lift shouldn't be used just to compensate for lack of ankle mobility. These definitely aren't necessary, but if you're a powerlifter/weightlifter, you should definitely look into an Oly shoe.

If you want any other opinion from me based on what you might be currently wearing, feel free to shoot me an email below. I look forward to hearing from you!

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