30min Rant about FEET and FOOTWEAR

In this series of articles, I will give myself 30min to write about a topic – a rough draft to published. It will be rough and straight to the point. Let’s see how a few of these go and if I have any friends left after this period of time.

Through the last 22 years,  I’ve seen many fads come and go. One being footwear or lack thereof. I’ve seen combat boots, steel toe boots, work boots, Timberlands, ballerina slippers, night slippers, Asics wrestling shoes all utilized and worn while lifting weights, but for the sake of this article, squatting and pulling.

But lately, I’ve seen an influx of two things that annoy me: bare feet and people lifting (squatting and or DL) in crosstraining or even running shoes. Supposed fitness professionals with not even the slightest idea what squatting or pulling in a shoe that has an air cushion can and will do to your stability, your balance, your weight distribution, as well as the power you put to the ground through your heels. Energy leakages like crazy, which can lead to serious issues, not to mention the loss of power. Think ankle, knee, hip, and full-body drive being held back and compromised as if standing on a yoga mat.

BUT barefoot is good, right? More rooting, more connection with the earth, more Jiffy-feet, and cooler; more natural blah blah, right? Not really as good as it sounds. If you compete in powerlifting, you will never, EVER compete barefoot. It just won’t happen, so why do competitors choose to lift this way? For one, it’s potentially hazardous; you’d be surprised how much protection a shoe (of any sort) will provide the top of your foot and or toes when/if weight is dropped on it or ANYTHING in a gym full of steel and iron, which is actually quite likely (not to mention accidentally kicking something). So much so that the NFL teams I’ve worked with won’t allow their athletes in the weight room without shoes at all times. I’ve gotten yelled at before when I had to pick between a running shoe or barefoot for a 6’8″ 350lb lineman to squat in. But this is another cat to skin. This is why the correct shoe needs to be available and common sense for any fitness professional.

My point is this: it takes time to find the right shoe to squat or deadlift in, but most likely, they will not be one of the latest fancy shoes on the market and no different than a typical Chuck, Van’s, Asic’s, or any other old school basketball shoe (before the air pockets) or skateboarding shoe. My shoe of choice now is Van’s mid-top pros for squatting. For deadlifting, I’d pull barefoot in a perfect world, but it doesn’t work that way, so I pull in Asics.

Stop making things so difficult, stop following silly trends, and stop following dorks that don’t even know that nobody strong pulls or squats in a running shoe. Also, nobody wants to see your nasty feet, so put them away too.

You get the point with my beautiful Diamond colors I had done Friday before calling my shot in support of Dustin “Diamond: Poirier.

See what I mean? You’re welcome.

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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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