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So why do powerlifters wear Converse shoes? Powerlifters prefer Converse shoes for their squats and deadlifts due to their flat, stable construction. A flat sole helps maintain a connection to the ground, enhancing balance and reducing the range of motion, particularly during deadlifts. The high ankle support also ensures stability under a heavy load.
Converse shoes are one of the best for powerlifters but are not right for everyone.
I'm here to answer the questions of why are people wearing chucks today and why do people work out in Converse? I will also give you some fantastic recommendations if you’re a powerlifter not already sporting a fresh pair of Chuck Taylors for lifting.
Let's dive in with everything you need to learn about Converse for lifting!
Table of Contents
9 Reasons Why Powerlifters Wear Converse Shoes
Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars are shoes that have lasted a pretty long time. They’ve not even changed all that much since 1917. They were initially designed to be a basketball shoe but they’ve made a name for themselves in the powerlifting world too. Converse is one of the top powerlifting shoe brands.
Okay, so there are a number of main reasons why powerlifters wear Converse:
- They’re cheap
- They have flat soles
- They make you closer to the ground
- They’re easy to find
- They have less cushioning
- They’re comfortable
- They’re an established brand
- They look good
- They protect your feet
There are a lot of people who choose to wear running shoes to the gym, which is fantastic if you’re running, but not so much for those lifting weights. Converse provides you with the much-needed balance that's needed when lifting weights.
They also really helpful because when you’re trying to lift weights off the ground, they make you closer to the floor, making a lot less work for you as there aren’t any inches on the soles. The lack of cushioning is good in this case too, as it helps you to push up off the ground with intensive workouts. More cushion means more restriction of the leg movements.
They’re also fairly inexpensive! So, with that being said, let’s dive deeper into each reason.
1. They’re Cheap
Weightlifting shoes and powerlifting shoes can get very expensive, which is why Converse shoes are such a breath of fresh air. You can get them from pretty much anywhere, with prices around 50 to 60 dollars.
That being said, you still need to ensure that your Converse are good weightlifting shoes and are of good quality, even if they are cheap. While they are cheap, you shouldn’t be sacrificing quality. In the same vein, not every super-expensive shoe is of high quality, either. You can find a lot of reliable products for fairly cheap prices.
You’re likely to find Converse almost anywhere you look on the internet, and their prices usually start at around $50, as we said. In some places, you can even get them starting around $30. They also come with free shipping and returns if you aren’t happy with them or the fit isn’t right.
2. They Have Flat Soles
The vast majority of shoes have curved soles in order to support the feet. This is ideal for squats, running, walking and just wearing shoes in general but, powerlifters need flat shoes in order to properly support them. This may not sound like a good thing, but for powerlifting, as we previously mentioned, flat soles are particularly helpful.
These shoes help you efficiently push off the ground when you’re doing lifts such as squats and deadlifts. A lot of people prefer to wear no shoes at all, but this isn’t always practical.
Converse comes with good support up to the ankle with high tops and are very flat compared to many other shoes. They’re also made out of canvas, which means they’re very lightweight. This is why so many casual and professional powerlifters love them. If you’re in a gym that won’t allow you to exercise without shoes on, Converse shoes are the next best thing.
It’s very important that your feet are in the right shape to help you keep good posture, and it’s vital for ensuring the proper muscle alignment, so it’s important to get good lifting shoes, like Converse in the gym as well as outside.
You might need to try squat shoes and Converse to see which is best for you during squats. If you have poor ankle mobility, the former will be better, as they’ll offer a slight heel raise to improve your range of motion.
3. They Make You Closer to the Ground
As we previously said, the bottoms of Converse lifting shoes are very thin when you compare them to other types of shoes. While this may seem pretty unimportant, for lifts like deadlifts this is very important. It can give you a huge advantage compared to other weightlifters and gives you a lot of room for self-improvement if you’re training solo.
If you already do deadlifts, then this may not be important information for you, but if you don’t know what it is, then read on. Essentially, when you deadlift, you’re doing a mixture of bending and squatting to get the weight off the ground. Then, as you bring the weight back up, you straighten up your body and stand back up. This is then repeated, and when you’re done you just place the weight back on the ground.
Converse are much closer to the ground, so of course, in light of the previous information, it’s a lot easier to deadlift because you have less of a distance to lift the weights. This ensures that it’s easier for you to lift even more weight and do more reps when you’re working out in Converse.
A lot of shoes will give you more lift from the ground as they have thick rubber soles, whereas Converse has very thin soles, which still give your feet the support that they need. This tiny difference can make a lot of difference, and why you should consider Converse shoes for lifting weights.
Want more high top recommendations? Check out my article on the Best High Top Lifting Shoes.
4. They’re Easy To Find
When we say Converse are everywhere, we mean it. You can walk into any shoe store or shoe website, and bang, there’s a pair of Converse. They’re not exactly rare.
These shoes have been around for a hundred years, and not much has changed with their design, which is the opposite of traditional powerlifting shoes.
The majority of shoe stores don’t stock powerlifting shoes and they’re normally not cheap or good if they do. Usually, online stores won’t either unless you’re browsing a site designed for powerlifting. As you may imagine, this isn’t cheap either.
This is in contrast to Converse, which you’ll find anywhere and are inexpensive.
5. They Have Less Cushioning
If you’re wearing Converse for powerlifting, you’ll notice that they don’t have as much cushioning as normal shoes. It’s good that normal running or training shoes have lots of cushioning, but for powerlifting, it can be a hindrance to your performance.
When you’re squatting or deadlifting, you need to push up off the ground with your legs and feet. When your shoes have large cushioning, you’re going to be pushing down on the cushioning before you get to push off the ground.
Shoes like Converse will give you a closer connection to the ground, so you push straight off the ground immediately, allowing you to create a much more seedy lift with much more stability. Your stance isn’t likely to be as stable with too much cushion, so you can eradicate this problem by wearing a pair of Converse as lifting shoes.
Try to envision doing a heavy squat on top of a mattress, and that’s basically what it feels like to try and wear running shoes to lift a deadlift.
The Converse shoes made my top list of best lifting shoes for beginners, which you can check out for more details.
6. They’re Comfortable
Lifting in Converse is incredibly comfortable.
They’re not like slipper-level comfortable or as comfortable as not wearing shoes but they’re pretty good nonetheless.
Powerlifting shoes don’t tend to be all that comfortable and a lot of people that have them complain that they’re not comfortable at all.
This is why for many people Converse are much better for lifting weights than shoes designed specifically for powerlifting.
As well, if you have wide feet the Converse shoes can fit your foot much better than a traditional deadlifting shoe.
7. They're an Established Brand
Converse as a brand has been running since 1908, so they’re not new to the market.
They’ve been making good quality shoes for over 100 years and not much has changed about them in that time. If you have something nailed, why change it?
Converse most definitely gets the job done and there’s a reason they have such a reputation for excellence.
8. They Look Good
A lot of people buy Converse based on their timeless, unique design.
Pretty much everyone recognizes Converse and you can get them in a range of different designs and patterns.
If what you look like is important to you while you’re lifting weights, you can’t go wrong with a good pair of Chuck Taylors.
9. Converse Shoes Protect Your Feet
Your feet greatly impact your overall posture and influence your flexibility and form when lifting heavy weights.
As a result of this, it’s vital to have the best possible shoes that you can so when your feet interact with the ground, you aren’t going to damage your feet. If you don’t choose the right shoes then you’ll struggle to use proper form and your health will suffer as a result.
Converse Chuck Taylors also sport a breathable, lightweight canvas material so when you get sweaty the shoes won’t feel uncomfortable on you.
However, I would not wear Converse shoes for gym workouts if you are looking for deadlift shoes for flat feet. There are several other options on the market that provide your feet with better support.
What Are the Drawbacks of Converse for Lifting?
We’ve taken a look at the advantages of wearing Converse for lifting, but what are the drawbacks are wearing Chuck Taylors in the gym?
Converse or a suitable shoe for beginner lifters, but they are not the best choice for competition training, and there are much better options on the market. If you’re serious about powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting, invest in a proper pair of weightlifting shoes to optimize your performance and maximize your progress.
Here are the reasons why you should avoid wearing Converse for lifting.
They Don’t Have a Raised Heel
Professional weightlifting shoes have a raised heel that benefits you during squats. Having a raised heel enables you to achieve a deeper squat by reducing the degree of ankle flexion. Similar to Vans, Converse have flat soles, so you might find it difficult to get into a deep squat, especially if you have poor ankle mobility.
Not As Good As Professional Weightlifting Shoes
If you’re looking for a solid shoe for powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, or general bodybuilding, it’s always best to purchase a pair of shoes that are specifically designed for weightlifting.
Converse aren't designed with weightlifting in mind. Therefore, they are not going to be the best choice on the market. They don’t have any support around the ankles and are nowhere near as durable as professional weightlifting shoes.
Increased Risk of Ankle Injuries
I’ve said this many times in this article already, but Converse have absolutely no ankle support. They are made out of flexible canvas material instead of rubber and leather, and they provide no additional stability for your ankle joints during squats, deadlifts, and CrossFit movements.
Therefore, your risk of ankle injuries is higher if you’re wearing Converse as opposed to proper weightlifting shoes.
If you'd prefer a specific shoe for squats, here are the best squat shoes on the market.
How Are Converse Shoes for Squats and Deadlifts?
Are Converse Good for Squats?
Due to their higher rise, high-top Converse provide a little more ankle support and stability than low-tops, although no Converse shoes have padding or cushioning for your ankle joints. They are, therefore, the better choice for squats, as they will stabilize your ankle as you descend and ascend during each rep.
However, if you have poor ankle mobility, you’ll be better off choosing a shoe that has a raised heel, as opposed to flat shoes, like Converse. Choosing a raised-heel shoe will improve your squat mechanics and enable you to get deeper without risking an injury.
Are Converse Good for Deadlifting?
You might see quite a lot of people deadlifting in Converse, and they’re a decent option. Their flat rubber soles enable you to get a good grip on the deadlift platform to stabilize yourself during heavy deadlifts.
However, if you’re trying to maximize your deadlift performance, Converse are a sub-par shoe. You’re better off training barefoot or investing in a proper pair of weightlifting shoes that will improve your deadlift biomechanics and enable you to use proper form and technique throughout each rep.
Check out our full round-up of the best deadlifting shoes on the market.
Squat Shoes vs. Converse: Which Is the Best for Lifting?
So, are squat shoes or Converse shoes better for squatting? You should use squat shoes if you are a tall lifter, squat in a low bar position, or have poor ankle/hip mobility. If you squat in a wide stance, use a low bar position, or have adequate ankle/hip mobility, you should use Converse shoes.
Comparing the Features Face-To-Face: Squat Shoes vs Chucks
In this section, I’ll dive deeper into each of the three pairs to see how they compare to each other. But instead of discussing each one separately, I’ll highlight the differences based on features like the heel height, support, durability, and others.
Here’s a quick comparison table.
|Adidas Men's Powerlift 4
|Reebok Women's Legacylifter
|Chuck Taylor All Star High-Top
|Claimed: 1.1” Actual: 0.6”
|Thick full canvas
|Perforated leather and canvas
|Full canvas with a rubber toecap
|High if you get an authentic pair
|Medium — courtesy of the thick canvas upper
|High — courtesy of the Exoframe technology
|Excellent — courtesy of the high-top collar
|Check today’s price on Amazon
|Check today’s price on Amazon
|Check today’s price on Amazon
What Exercises Should You Avoid When Wearing Converse?
Converse are okay for general weightlifting and can be ideal for squats, deadlifts, and some Olympic lifts. However, there are certain exercises that Converse shoes aren’t suitable for, and wearing them can increase your risk of a serious injury.
Due to their lack of adequate ankle support and flat soles, Converse are unsuitable for running. When you’re running, you’ll want a shoe with cushioning to absorb the shock of your foot striking the ground and reduce the risk of ankle or knee injuries.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT requires a lot of dynamic and plyometric movements. Converse won’t be supportive enough to keep your ankles safe because they have no cushioning whatsoever. Their flat soles will also make it harder to land properly on the ground when you’re jumping. They’re also quite heavy and clunky, so they won’t feel the best when you’re doing burpees and box jumps.
Best Converse Shoes for Lifting
So now that we’ve covered why you should or shouldn't wear Converse for powerlifting, what ones could you buy? Should you buy high or low-top Converse for lifting?
Here are some potential options!
High tops tend to have a thinner rubber sole in comparison to normal Converse All Stars, which is helpful for powerlifting. If you’re planning on wearing your Converse for fashion purposes, you should consider what kind of outfits will go with the high top design, such as skinny jeans for example.
Obviously, the thing that distinguishes the high top from the low top is the height of the ankle collar. Because there is more fabric, they are slightly heavier and work well for bigger men.
The Converse Boy's Chuck Taylor All Star Leather High Top Sneakers are some of the best Converse for lifting. They give you a classic look to sport in the gym when you’re powerlifting.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Leather High Top Sneakers are a good fit no matter what your age is, or what your gender is. They’re available in sizes betwee 3 and 14.5 and there are a bunch of different color options too, so there will definitely be an option there to suit you.
Because these shoes are fashionable, you can wear them inside and outside of the gym, and they’ll certainly last you a while, even with daily use.
The Converse Women’s Chuck Taylor All Stars are available between sizes 5 and 11, and they come in a variety of colors. They have a cushioned footbed and lace up closure so you can enjoy some added support and stability around your ankles during exercise. Because they’re fashionable lifting shoes, you can wear them inside and outside of the gym too.
As we mentioned, there’s not a huge difference as far as high tops and low tops are concerned but they are slightly more lightweight. Low tops are also able to go with different kinds of outfits too if you are fashion conscious. There also isn’t as much ankle support with low tops either.
These shoes come in a bunch of fun colors and designs so there’s always going to be something that will be a good fit for you.
These low top Converse are classics and although they’re not specifically designed for lifting, many people choose to wear them in the gym because of their flat soles and flexible feel.
You won’t struggle to find a color that you love with these Converse. There is everything from black to purple to red, and there’s even a multi-colored option. They’re true to size and you can use the laces to create a snug and comfortable fit for lifting.
The Converse All Star Shorline Slip-Ons are available in white, grey, black, and navy, between sizes 5 and 11. They have a sleek and stylish look, and are really comfortable to wear. They’re easy to slip onto your feet and they’ll stay in place during your workouts. Thanks to the flat soles, these low top Converse lifting shoes have a barefoot feel that’s perfect for powerlifting.
Looking for other shoe options? Check out my other articles:
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Wear Shoes or Not When Squatting?
It’s actually quite helpful to go barefoot when you’re squatting.
This is mainly because your feet are able to naturally connect with the floor so your form will be better while you’re lifting. It’s not always a viable option, however, as some gyms forbid it. Other gyms may be dirty, or you may not be comfortable with going around barefoot around strangers. Either way, you’re not really missing out as a lot of people do squats while they’re wearing shoes.
Check out my comparison of wearing squat shoes or Converse shoes while lifting.
Can I Run in Converse?
Converse are ideal for lifting as we’ve already covered, but they aren’t a good fit for running. Both of these activities impact your body differently with different movement requirements.
Converse are brilliant for certain things but for running you should opt for something else as you could end up causing yourself injuries. Running shoes are designed to properly support your feet and absorb shock as your feet rapidly hit the ground, which is not something that Converse offers.
What size Converse should I get?
When you’re looking for a pair of Converse, you should bear in mind that the shoes are a little bit long so wearers recommend that you buy a size down from your regular size to ensure that you’ve got the right fit. It’s best not to look like a clown when you’re completing a deadlift!
How do I wash Converse?
Whatever you do, don’t just throw them into the washing machine!
When cleaning your Converse, just wipe them over with a damp cloth, using mild soap and lukewarm water. When you’re scrubbing the toe cap and rubber base you can use a small brush or a toothbrush. Make sure you aren’t scrubbing too hard either as this is simply not necessary.
They’re fairly simple to clean, no extra hassle required. Your Converse will be looking like new in no time!
Are Converse Good for CrossFit?
Converse aren’t the best as CrossFit shoes because they don’t provide very much support for your ankles, something that is essential when you’re doing a lot of dynamic movement. They have very little bounce and can feel a bit clunky and heavy while you’re practicing CrossFit exercises.
Are Converse Good for Olympic Lifts?
I would recommend wearing Converse shoes if you’re an amateur weightlifter and want a pair of flat-soled shoes for squats, cleans, and snatches. However, if you’re training for weightlifting competitions or you take the sport very seriously, I suggest getting yourself a proper pair of weightlifting shoes.