Thursday, May 17, 2012

Picking Your Shoes & Socks

What's your pick?

In strength training a person doesn't need much gear to lift. Shoes, socks, and that's about it. Even those aren't entirely necessary in a home gym. When competing, assistive equipment becomes an additional option. This includes belts, straps, suits, heeled shoes, and chalk.

But shoes and socks are usually glossed over by a trainee. There are a few nuances you should know about to maximize the comfort of your feet.
Socks
  • I like my socks like my shoes - very thin. Thick socks muffle your foot's ability to feel around in the shoe. It's similar to wearing overly supportive shoes where you're unable to feel the ground.
  • Make sure your socks breathe well. Feet get hot in shoes as is but the wrong socks can make your feet exceptionally sweaty.
  • Thin socks are great but not if they are constantly shifting around. They should conform well to your feet.
  • Long socks are often recommended for deadlifts and floor pulls. They protect the shins from the bar scraping them. This is actually a technical error. It can be the result of employing the back too early or just trying too hard to keep the bar close.

    Whatever the reason may be it creates friction and slows down the pull. Long socks reduce the problem but they don't eliminate it. Practice with short cut socks to ensure you're not scraping your shins.
  • Currently I use low cut Hanes socks. The elastic might be too low for some people as they can go into the shoe and slip off the back of the foot. If that's the case choose ankle socks such as these. (I'm not recommending Hanes. They're examples.)
Shoes
  • I say no shoe is the best shoe. However due to hygiene and safety issues that never sits well with gym staffs.
  • Since going barefoot isn't always a choice choose a thin minimal support shoe. It should be able to bend in half, twist, and be very flexible.
  • A good shoe will allow you to feel varying terrains. This is most noticeable when stepping on small rocks.
  • Secondary characteristics to consider are price and style. Some shoes are fashionable enough that they can double for casual wear.

My shoe choices
Left: Tai Chi's by Asics / Right: Martial Arts Slippers

  • BirthdayShoes.com is an excellent site for all things regarding minimal shoes. Use it to browse different shoes and their reviews.
Squats
  • Squat are another issue when determining your shoe.
  • Because ankle mobility, specifically dorsiflexion, is limited by genetics squat depth will stop at a certain point. Go pass that point and the chances are your form will be compromised.

    Toes go up [dorsiflexion],
    toes go down [plantarflexion]
    .
  • The elevated heel on weightlifting shoes reduces this problem and allows for deeper squats with a more upright torso.
  • How necessary is the heel? It depends on the lifter and is wholly up to them. Squats become easier but they can be done completely fine barefoot.

    I'd say front squats are the exception to this. In front squats you want your torso to stay as vertical as possible. Weightlifting shoes do a great job at accomplishing this.
  • If you feel you would benefit from a weightlifting shoe, check out WLShoes.com. The site reviews many of the weightlifting shoes currently on the market.
Picking the right socks and shoes for yourself isn't too hard a topic. Use the above information to narrow down what fits your preferences and see how it feels.

If you like your choice and it feels good when you lift that's all that matters.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent and decent post. I found this much informative, as to what I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. 

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    ReplyDelete

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