Barefoot shoes continue to grow in popularity as a valid footwear option for training and lifting. I personally like to alternate between barefoot shoes and cross-training shoes for lifting and training. Both types of shoes allow me to enjoy different sensations when performing squats, deadlifts, and recreational exercises.
If you have never worn barefoot shoes, you have probably wondered which barefoot shoes are best for training and lifting. Since not all barefoot shoes are created equal, I would like to compile a list of my favorite barefoot shoes for lifting and training. Barefoot shoes are a great option when you want to train with a close-to-the-ground feel.
In this roundup of the best barefoot shoes for lifting and training, I explain why I like each pair of Best Barefoot Shoes For Lifting below for specific lifting, performance, and training parameters.
Best Barefoot Shoes For Lifting
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As a general rule, choose shoes for barefoot training that are a half to one size larger than your normal shoe size. Feet naturally spread out over time. There should be enough room for the toes to move without bumping into the front of the shoe, but not so much that the heel slips off when walking.
However, fit varies considerably from shoe to shoe and person to person, so be sure to try them on for size yourself before giving your credit card information. (At the very least, make sure there is a flexible return policy.)
Minimalist training shoes contain less material than other shoes, so make sure the materials included are of high quality and long-lasting. Many minimalist training shoes use recycled plastic, rubber, or rubber-based materials for the soles. Some also use thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is commonly used in the soles of safety shoes.
When choosing several pairs, always choose the most comfortable ones. Your idea of comfort and your friend’s idea of comfort is different, so don’t rely on other people’s opinions when buying shoes.
Try on as many pairs as you need to find the best shoes. The best shoes for weightlifting are always the ones that fit your feet perfectly and feel good.
As we will see in our overview, barefoot weight training shoes come in a variety of styles – from athletic pairs that separate the toes to urban-cool high-tops (a la Feelgrounds). Which type you choose depends largely on your personal preferences and how you plan to use the shoe.
Advantages Of Barefoot Shoes
The benefits of barefoot shoes can vary widely depending on who you ask. For the hardcore barefoot shoe enthusiast, the benefits can be a bit exaggerated. To objectify my perspective as a trainer, here are some of the benefits that are quite consistent with barefoot shoes.
1. Increased Proprioception With The Ground
Most barefoot shoes have soles of 6 mm or less, allowing the wearer to better “feel” the ground beneath the foot. This results in a better perception of the surface you are working on.
2. Improve Foot Muscles
As mentioned earlier, there are 29 different muscles associated with the foot and ankle. On the medial side of the foot, there are small intrinsic muscles that help shape the foot. The foot has three major arches: the lateral longitudinal arch, the medial longitudinal arch, and the anterior transverse arch.
3. Promote Full Contact With The Ground
Barefoot shoes are also useful in training situations to promote full foot contact with the ground. For example, in movements such as deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts, the ideal state is for the feet to be in full contact with the ground, the so-called tripod foot.
Are Barefoot Shoes Good For Lifting?
Barefoot shoes make good lifting shoes for several reasons. Before diving into these reasons, I want to make it clear that barefoot shoes are a great shoe option for weightlifting, but not for their own sake.
For example, I myself like to alternate between barefoot shoes, workout shoes, and weightlifting shoes. This is because each style of shoe is slightly better in certain contexts.
I think it’s important to be objective about how you use your shoes so you don’t fall into the “this is the best and only” trap. Below are two of my favorite reasons to use barefoot shoes in training
They Are Great For Deadlifts And Deadlift Variations
If you like weightlifting and regularly train with different deadlift variations, you will appreciate the feel of barefoot shoes in this performance. The barefoot shoe’s minimal height, thin sole, and wide construction are great for reducing the distance to the ground and promoting stability.
In deadlifts and deadlift variations, this is great because it reduces the total range of motion required to lift weights and allows the feet to be firmly planted on the ground, which in some contexts can contribute to power generation. If you are trying to optimize your deadlift performance, it is hard to fault barefoot shoes and how their structure supports the deadlift.
Suitable For Foot Joint Exercises And Active Foot Exercises
Another reason barefoot shoes are excellent for lifting is in the context of promoting foot joints and foot structure. Barefoot soles are thin, allowing them to bend easily and promote movement through the natural mechanisms of the foot.
This is also recommended for those who are training their feet through active foot exercises. Another benefit for weightlifters who want more sensory return to the ground is that they can bias the order of load transfer to specific areas of the foot.
For example, if you work on something like a walking lunge barefoot, you will probably notice that the shoes move with you very well and provide a high level of maneuverability.
How big should barefoot shoes be?
In general, we recommend sizing your barefoot shoes so that there is between 0.3″-6″ of space at the end of your shoe’s toe box. This is generally a good range for most foot anatomy and will not make barefoot shoes cramped during training.
Are barefoot shoes suitable for weight training?
Barefoot shoes can be an excellent footwear option for strength training. Specifically, barefoot shoes can be an excellent footwear option when a high return to the ground is required, such as in deadlifts and lower body workdays.
Are barefoot shoes suitable for weightlifting?
Barefoot shoes are an excellent shoe choice for deadlifts. Their minimalist sole helps limit the total range of motion in the deadlift that you need to lift the weight, and their wide toe box promotes full toe-off for stability.
Is wearing shoes barefoot good for me?
Barefoot shoes can be good for you, depending on your needs and preferences. For many people, barefoot shoes can be a useful tool to keep in rotation with other footwear options to develop foot muscles and provide a variety of feedback to the feet.
Can barefoot shoes be worn every day?
Yes. Barefoot shoes can certainly be worn every day if you like the fit and feel. However, if you wear barefoot shoes every day, remember that it is important to slowly get used to this style.
Why are shoes called “barefoot”?
Barefoot shoes get their name because they replicate the sensation of walking and moving around barefoot. They have a minimal sole that replicates the sensation of barefoot but protects the foot.
Barefoot shoes make excellent footwear options for lifting and training. They can also be useful in lifting situations because of their minimal soles and non-slip construction. With so many barefoot shoes on the market, finding the Best Barefoot Shoes For Lifting can be difficult. Hopefully this guide helps you to choose the the shoes of your choice.