Should I lift with shoes on

Aaron King (00:02):

Welcome back to the modern old school training podcast. I'm Aaron King with coach Bob King. Today's topic is shoes, and we're going to be talking about shod versus unsharp. And the whole idea here is some of the things you see in the weight room with guys, deadlift and power, clean, various things barefoot versus wearing shoes. That is really the premise of today's topic. Before I ramble on too much about it, what, let's talk a little bit about why this is important. Have you got any thoughts there?


Coach Bob King (00:34):

I think it's hugely important because it comes in the category of a fad. Shod versus unshared was a research article done by the boys down under, at a university in Australia. And those guys are always putting out some interesting type of data and research that I've looked at over the years. And so they took and looked at shoes versus no shoes in the deadlift. And now when you do research, those guys and women are always very careful to say, this is what we looked at. Well, he looked at the deadlift. What about the squat? Well, we didn't look at the squat. I have looked at the squad. It's just like the deadlift, the power cleans, and all that other stuff. So the research I think, is going to carry over to be similar in outcome to the deadlift, but that was the particular lift they looked at.


Coach Bob King (01:22):

So they tested the lifters wearing shoes and those not wearing shoes. Now, before we get into the data or the conclusions and findings, if you go into the weight room, like our facility, we have a group of you know, really, really nice kind of corporate guys and girls all in their late twenties, early thirties who just have a powerlifting bug. It's awesome. And they let's say there's 15 or 16 of them that come in. I guarantee you there are 15 or 16 different kinds of shoe wear. And part of this topic came up because it's so relevant today in training that management put up a sign, proper shoes must be worn at all times to which I replied what is proper because there is that whole movement the sock feet where it has the toes in it neoprene covering just regular old, take my shoes off and lifted my socks, take my shoes off, lift barefooted.


Coach Bob King (02:22):

Then we go into every different kind of shoe that the converse what's his name? Chuck Taylor. Chuck Taylors. Yeah. I've seen a Chuck Taylor high tops come in and there's a, there's a handful about three or four of them. Five, maybe that have legit weightlifting shoes on. Okay. So that's, that's a whole box of goodies right there. So whether it's an S sock foot or regular sock, we're going to call that unshocked or barefooted, because there's no covering the Olympic shoes. This is where it really gets a kind of a dividing line. The Olympic shoes have a, probably a half to three quarter inch heel lift.


Coach Bob King (03:09):

The reason for that is going to be ankle flexibility so that you're not interior shifting your knee over your toe and causing a patellar, femoral strain, and all that kind of stuff. Well, that's, that's a great thing because in the old days we used to have a thing. They miss the coaches misinterpreted it, they call them sissy squats where we'll put a two and a half or a five-pound, even a 10-pound plate under your heels to ask about that. Yeah. And that's just misinformed coaches because is really a good biomechanical assistant to make sure there's not an injury. Not it doesn't, it doesn't help you lift more you know, cheating kind of manner. It just helps you lift properly. That's and that's the key. Usually, we're lifting for


Aaron King (03:50):

Another sport, not just the lifting for lifting.


Coach Bob King (03:53):

Yes. And if you are that weightlifter, you have the shoe that has the sissy squat built-in. So let's, let's go ahead and get past that. And so if you are in, like in our facility, we have the lift Olympic platform, which is an area of wood for the lifter and in the edges are made out of some hardcore rubber so that you can drop the bumper plates and it doesn't blow up anything. But if you listen on TV to an Olympic competition, you'll hear a lot, a loud clap. Once the lifter racks, the bar what's, that would on a cause that sole of the shoe is wood. And so that's designed to you know, assist the lifter in biomechanic position. So there's one good reason for the sheet, right? Secondly, if you don't know, shoe design and construction of the upper and K the uppers, the covering, what you see and it's laced up its leather, so that you get a good secure, whether it's a Velcro strap or the regular lacing that supports the foot.


Coach Bob King (04:56):

So it's not mobile and moving around, you know, this is just, I just don't think it's a great idea to have certain loads of weight on the bones of the foot that are mobile, because you just don't want to have any injuries. And I say that, and, to this day, we have not had any injuries in the barefoot methane. What's the point, the research looked at the ability to lift more or less with, or without a shoe. And so one of the key phrases here is called center pressure excursion. That means a shifting of the bodyweight over the platform or during the weight during the lift. Well, the problem they ran into is the


Coach Bob King (05:42):

It's a truth, but it's what does it mean? Kind of thing? What they found was the person who's lifting barefooted got a better pressure sensation because your foot is right on the ground. And so you have motor nerves move the muscles, and then you have sensory nerves that since it's hot, that's cold, that's hitting. So, you know, it's like, okay, what does that mean? It means they have a heavy sensation on the, of their feet instantly. Now they also found that the people that wore shoes produce the same amount of force. If you are a trained athlete, you kick all that in at once. In other words, you say, I'm getting ready to lift, you know, my buddies, I'm ready, I'm dressed the bar and here I go, I'm going to pull. And so I pressed down we always taught our lifters to try to push the ground down as much as you are lifting.


Coach Bob King (06:34):

And so what ends up happening is you might feel that pressure a second later because that pressure is coming to the bottom of your feet as a sensation. So shoe or no shoe, go ahead and take the advantage of having shoe support to get the weight off the ground. And it just, it makes no sense to me to have to be in and out of shoes because this my opinion, I do not want to do a hang clean power clean, or any Olympic lift where I have to do a catch and stomp the floor barefooted. There's no protection.  


Aaron King (07:09):

I can't see how that is safe at all. I per well, I can see the fracture, you know,


Coach Bob King (07:15):

Well, if you hit it just right, you almost land flat-footed, but if you hit wrong and you hit right on that heel, man, you're done. I mean, that's a lot of weight. Even if it's a say you have, you know, 125 pounds on the bar, the force you are applying to the ground, when you catch, an Olympic lift is significantly upward eight to nine times, your body weight. And so that's a plus the way you're lifting. So the shoe thing I think needs to be put to rest because of some other safety kind of issues that are not at all out of the question or unfortunate, random injuries, we've seen it with fingers and feet. You drop a plate on there. A toe, Oh my gosh, you, you kick a bar or a platform or something that you're, you're gonna the toe loses. And I've been in the business long enough. I've had one of each on the big toe and the thumb just drops that, but the dumbbell is played on there. It's not like I was trying to, or the guy was trying to, but it happens. So if you have a shoe on it, won't stop a, you know, a compression or an impact, but it will keep you from getting cut. You know, it'll help protect the angle of the foot from that angle of the plate.


Aaron King (08:28):

And if you can afford shoes for different things, you know, obviously we're talking about shod versus not for SunShot in the meat, in the it kind of intro, but if you can afford to have different shoes for different training environments, that also is, is a great idea. And we're talking about, say like cleats for the field, for on-court sports, having basketball, tennis shoes, something like that for the sport you're in because even tennis shoes have that built-in, you know, side kind of overbuilt soul.


Coach Bob King (08:58):

That's what I wear, right. I wear an inexpensive pair of tennis shoes. Now we already alluded to it, but a court shoe, I mean, tennis and basketball are designed to keep your foot stable because it's under so much torsion and torque, but I wear an inexpensive pair of tennis shoes because they put me flat on the ground. I'm solid. I don't have to worry about anything because on the other side of the equation, and this is why we're talking about is if I say, wear shoe, protect your feet. You don't want a running shoe because they are quite unstable because it's built to absorb impact and provide a cushion. But you know, when you start squatting loads or deadlifting loads, that foot starts to wobble because the cushion is going to give, then it breaks down. And once it breaks down, you don't notice it so much, but you have a little bit of unevenness in the hips. And for me personally, I know when my shoes are breaking down, cause my right hips to go, starts talking to me. He's like, dude, what's the deal? It's your shoes.


Aaron King (09:57):

I think it was Cal that did a study on that. And they're talking about price points for shoes, and then also rotating shoes, the types of injuries they had from repetitive use kind of in the cross-country longer distance stuff. But for me personally, when you talk about that, that foam wearing down, I was, I almost lost my career in the weight room because of wearing a running shoe. Yeah. You know, we go from the field or the gym, you're doing a lot of different training. We had some guys that would come off the field and cleats, they would beat and their running shoes and then switched to a weightlifting shoe in the gym. And at first, I thought it was overkill. But I started adopting it later in my college career when it got more serious, you know, you're lifting 500 pounds and whatnot, but we did a single leg step up with a kind of, I think it was like 80 something percent of our squat weight. But you know, at a 500-pound squatter, I think I had


Coach Bob King (10:45):

Over, I had a little over four, probably around 400 pounds on the bar. I thought I remember James Hillman is like four Oh five.


Aaron King (10:52):

Yeah. Might have been for over what is that? A hundred and whatever kilos.


Coach Bob King (10:59):

Okay. There's a lot of ways to keep moving. Yeah.


Aaron King (11:02):

But it was a stepped up, stepped down the second step that that foam gave out and I rolled my ankle. There's no, it doesn't matter. In that situation, it doesn't matter how much safety you have built. And we had little, we didn't have enough, but I fell all the way to the ground with that weight on my, on my back and, you know, hit my chin. I was out the ankle. Every ligament torn, Achilles was damaged almost. I missed all spring ball, but I think if I was wearing a better shoe, I probably would have avoided that all. I mean, granted, we should not have been doing that lift and that type of setup, but I think the shoe alone could have saved me a lot of


Coach Bob King (11:41):

Save me her complete injury. And I think so because it just, it's a, it's a lifting device. It is its equipment, you know, it's not a fashion statement and it's not, you know, just required to have your feet covered. It is its equipment. And I think the shoe thing needs to be looked at very carefully. And the research came back just to kind of tag along on that and saying that you know, we can't substantiate that. Barefoot is the answer. We cannot, and this is the researchers. We cannot substantiate that. You know, if you're in the strength conditioning field, that this is a fad that I need to be involved in because there's just now not the science to show that, Hey, it works really, really well for increasing loads or improving strength or any of that kind of stuff. It's just somebody thought it might be a cool idea and somebody else saw it and said, I liked, that's a cool idea.


Aaron King (12:32):

Yeah. We had a way to coach buddy of ours, that he was wearing the those, I forget what they're called, what you mentioned them, where they're kind of the socks, the goat, they form failure, your toes blanking out, but he was wearing it. We were making fun of him. But he was telling us how the benefits, well, a couple of weeks later he's wearing a boot because he has a stress fracture. And well, let me


Coach Bob King (12:53):

A bit on this because this is, this is a, I think it goes along with, it annoys me to death across the board is as if I was to say to one of these individuals that go now, why are you wearing those sock toe feet? Not shoe things they would say, well, I just believe, okay, I'll see you later. Cause when, when somebody says, I just believe they like it and it's, it makes them feel good or, you know I, and I understand the whole, the idea of the mental thing and the placebo effect. I get that. But what we're looking at is, is, you know, the truth is lifting. Let's go ahead and just be honest about it because I believe does not Trump. I know, man, it's not because I know everything, but I go find an answer to questions that science can substantiate. And right now science cannot substantiate. You're missing out. If you're not going.


Aaron King (13:46):

I think, again, it comes down to the purpose of what are you doing? I think a lot of folks misrepresent, maybe the creators of the shoes, the tech science, and the methadone, because I'm sure there's a use case for all of these, just like a weightlifting shoe. If you're out there running sprints and you're powerlifting shoes, you're going to have problems. Okay. So we're not, I think that's it, it's usually user error in that case. Yes. But I think this goes back to the complexity of everything and meekness. And so marketing makes it easy to generalize use cases to sell to more demographics. And that's where I think our field in particular is struggling with science. Is it a name your brand can put out a whole thing to get quicker? Here are your top 10 drills for quickness or whatever. And we've put it on YouTube just to show you, here's a bunch of drills. But if you look at an eight week, 12 weeks or 24-week program where it fits. And so that's one of the big things.


Coach Bob King (14:47):

Well, thank you. You can correct me if I'm wrong, but I, if I'm not mistaken, a lot of commercials are, are, you know shot with a paid endorser, right? And so if, if you pay them enough, they'll say, take your shoes off and drink this you'll be faster and stronger and you will do it. So that's, that's part of the downfall that we have in capitalism. But I like it, but that's, don't go too far.


Aaron King (15:12):

If you have any questions about shoes or what kind of shoes to wear reach out to me or coach King. I am on Instagram and Twitter @DeepSnap and coach Bob King is @CoachBobKing. Visit King port's go to our training web app. It's to create a free account. We send out weekly, weekly newsletters weekly workouts, various things, different cadences. We try to send out as much value as we can. So be sure to subscribe there and we'll get you some content, but for coach Bob King, I am Aaron King. This is the modern old school training podcast. We'll talk to you next time.


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