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

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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