Is it okay to Squat in Running Shoes?

Is It Okay to Squat in Running Shoes?

Squatting in running shoes is generally not recommended. Running shoes have cushioned soles and a higher heel-to-toe drop, compromising stability and proper squat mechanics. They can increase the risk of injury and hinder achieving optimal squat depth. For serious weightlifting and strength training, investing in squatting shoes with proper support and a flat sole is advised.

AspectSquatting in Running Shoes
Heel-to-Toe DropRunning shoes have a higher heel-to-toe drop, which may disrupt balance and squat form.
CushioningThe cushioning in running shoes can reduce stability during squats, affecting power output.
Ankle SupportRunning shoes may not provide adequate ankle support necessary for heavy squats.
Lateral StabilityLateral movements in squats might be less controlled in running shoes.
Sole FirmnessRunning shoes have softer soles, which can lead to reduced force transfer during lifts.
Weight DistributionImproper weight distribution in running shoes can lead to poor squat mechanics.
Risk of InjuriesWearing running shoes for squats may increase the risk of foot, knee, or lower back injuries.
Optimal Squat DepthAchieving proper depth in a squat can be hindered by the design of running shoes.
LongevityRegularly using running shoes for squats can lead to faster wear and tear.
Alternative OptionsConsider squat-specific shoes or flat-soled shoes with ample support and stability.
Professional AthletesProfessional weightlifters and powerlifters avoid running shoes for squats.
Casual/Infrequent LiftersFor casual lifters, occasional use of running shoes in squats might be acceptable.
Individual PreferenceSome individuals may still prefer running shoes despite the drawbacks for personal reasons.
Overall RecommendationIt is generally better to avoid squatting in running shoes for improved safety and performance.

The Importance of Proper Squat Form:

Before delving into footwear choices, it’s essential to understand the importance of proper squat form. Squatting involves bending at the knees and hips while maintaining a neutral spine to lower the body and then return to a standing position. Correct form ensures that the stress is placed on the target muscles, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, rather than the joints or lower back.

The Role of Footwear in Squatting:

Footwear plays a critical role in providing stability, support, and a solid foundation during squats. The right shoes can enhance your performance and keep you safe throughout the exercise. The primary factors to consider when choosing squatting shoes are:

  1. Stability: Shoes with a stable base are essential for squats. They help prevent excessive side-to-side movement and ankle rolling, allowing you to maintain proper alignment during the exercise.
  2. Heel Support: An elevated heel in squatting shoes can improve ankle mobility and allow for deeper squats. It shifts the center of gravity, making it easier to maintain an upright torso.
  3. Firm Sole: A firm and non-compressible sole ensures that you can exert maximum force during the lift without losing energy through the shoes.
  4. Grip: Sufficient traction is necessary to prevent slipping, especially when performing heavy squats.

Running Shoes vs. Squatting Shoes:

Now, let’s address the specific differences between running shoes and squatting shoes:

  1. Cushioning: Running shoes are designed with ample cushioning to absorb the impact of each step while jogging or running. However, this same cushioning can be a disadvantage during squats as it reduces stability and balance.
  2. Heel-to-Toe Drop: Running shoes usually have a higher heel-to-toe drop (the height difference between the heel and the toe). This design is intended to cushion the heel during the running gait cycle. Squatting shoes, on the other hand, have minimal heel-to-toe drop or even a raised heel to facilitate proper squatting mechanics.
  3. Lateral Support: Squatting shoes often feature additional lateral support to prevent the foot from rolling inward or outward, reducing the risk of ankle injuries.

Potential Risks of Squatting in Running Shoes:

Squatting in running shoes can lead to several issues, including:

  1. Reduced Stability: The soft and cushioned sole of running shoes may compromise stability during squats, potentially causing balance issues.
  2. Altered Form: The elevated heel in running shoes may affect squat mechanics, leading to improper form and increasing the strain on certain joints.
  3. Ankle Mobility: Limited ankle mobility due to running shoe design can hinder achieving proper squat depth.
  4. Increased Injury Risk: Improper form and reduced stability can increase the risk of injuries, such as ankle sprains, knee pain, and lower back strains.

When is it Acceptable to Squat in Running Shoes?

While squatting shoes are generally preferred for squats, there are situations where squatting in running shoes might be acceptable:

  1. Beginner Level: If you are a beginner and squatting with lighter weights, running shoes may provide sufficient support.
  2. General Workouts: For general fitness workouts that include a mix of exercises, including squats, running shoes can serve adequately.
  3. Personal Comfort: Individual preferences and comfort levels play a significant role. If you find running shoes more comfortable and have no preexisting issues, they may work for lighter squatting sessions.

However, if you are serious about weightlifting and strength training, investing in a good pair of squatting shoes is recommended for optimal performance and safety.


Is it okay to lift in running shoes?It is generally not recommended to lift in running shoes as they lack the stability and support needed for weightlifting.
Should I squat in running shoes or barefoot?Barefoot or minimalist shoes are better for squats as they provide a more stable base and allow for proper foot engagement.
Is it bad to do leg day in running shoes?Using running shoes for leg day can hinder performance and increase the risk of injuries due to reduced stability and support.
Is it OK to deadlift in running shoes?Deadlifting in running shoes is not ideal as they have soft soles, which may limit force transfer and affect lifting form.
Do I need lifting shoes to squat?Lifting shoes with an elevated heel can help improve squat mechanics and are beneficial for more advanced lifters or those with mobility issues.
Can beginners lift in running shoes?Beginners are better off starting with flat-soled shoes or minimal footwear to learn proper lifting techniques and form.
Why do people take their shoes off to squat?Taking shoes off for squatting allows for a more natural foot position, better ground contact, and improved stability.
Why do people squat in socks?Squatting in socks provides better grip and traction on the floor, allowing for a more stable foundation during the lift.
Why do I squat better barefoot?Squatting barefoot allows your feet to be in direct contact with the ground, enhancing proprioception and balance during the movement.
Why do people wear flat shoes for lifting?Flat-soled shoes promote better force transfer and stability during lifts, making them a popular choice for weightlifting.
Why you shouldn’t walk in your running shoes?Walking in running shoes can wear them down quickly and may not provide adequate support for extended periods of walking.
Why do people lift in Converse?Converse shoes have flat soles and provide good stability, making them suitable for lifting purposes, especially for powerlifting.
Should I squat in Vans?Vans have relatively flat soles, which can be suitable for squatting, but they lack the advanced features of lifting shoes.
Can I squat in Converse?Yes, Converse shoes can be used for squatting as they offer a flat and stable sole, which is beneficial for lifting.
What shoes should you squat with?Squat shoes, flat-soled shoes, or lifting shoes with an elevated heel can be appropriate, depending on individual preferences and lifting style.
Why do people squat without sneakers?Squatting without sneakers allows for a more direct connection to the ground, improved balance, and better lifting mechanics.
Can you squat without flat shoes?Yes, you can squat without flat shoes, but they are generally recommended for better stability and form during lifting.
Can I lift weights in Hokas?Hokas, being heavily cushioned running shoes, are not suitable for lifting as they compromise stability and force transfer.
Is it better to run or lift first?It is generally better to prioritize lifting before running as running can fatigue your muscles, affecting lifting performance.
Should beginners use squat shoes?Beginners can benefit from squat shoes if they have mobility issues, but it’s not necessary for everyone starting out.
Is squatting with flat feet bad?Squatting with flat feet can be improved with proper footwear, such as lifting shoes, and addressing any underlying issues.
What do you wear when squatting?Flat-soled shoes, lifting shoes, or even squat-specific shoes are commonly worn during squats for stability and support.
Is squatting in Crocs bad?Squatting in Crocs is not recommended as they lack the necessary stability and support for weightlifting.
How deep should you squat?The ideal squat depth varies for each individual, but a proper squat typically involves going as deep as your mobility allows without compromising form.
Why does Cbum workout in socks?Cbum (Chris Bumstead, a professional bodybuilder) may choose to work out in socks for better grip and to maintain a connection with the ground during lifts.
Why do squatters wrap their knees?Squatters wrap their knees to provide extra support and stability during heavy lifting, reducing the risk of knee injuries.
Why do people wear no shoes at the gym?Some people prefer not wearing shoes at the gym to enhance proprioception, balance, and grip during exercises.
Should you squat and deadlift barefoot?Squatting and deadlifting barefoot or in minimalist shoes can be beneficial for some individuals as it allows for better ground contact and lifting mechanics.
Do barefoot shoes make you stronger?Barefoot shoes can improve foot and ankle strength over time, but their direct impact on overall strength might be limited.
Are running shoes better than lifting shoes?Lifting shoes are generally better for weightlifting due to their stability features, while running shoes are designed for impact absorption during running.
Can you do lunges in running shoes?While possible, lunges are better performed in shoes with more stability and support to reduce the risk of injuries.
Are Crocs good for leg day?Crocs are not suitable for leg day or weightlifting as they lack the necessary stability and structure required for proper form.
What to avoid in running shoes?Avoid using running shoes for weightlifting, lateral movements, or exercises that require stability and support.
Can we use sneakers for the gym?Sneakers can be used for the gym, but they should provide sufficient stability and support for the type of exercises performed.
Can you wear running shoes for just walking?Yes, running shoes are designed for running and walking, but they may not provide enough support for certain gym activities.
Which shoe is best for the gym?The best shoe for the gym depends on the specific activities, but cross-trainers or flat-soled shoes are versatile options.
Why do girls wear Converse at the gym?Some girls wear Converse at the gym due to their flat soles, which can provide stability during weightlifting and other exercises.
Are high-top shoes good for squats?High-top shoes can provide additional ankle support for some individuals during squats, but it’s a matter of personal preference.


In conclusion, while wearing running shoes during squats might be acceptable in certain situations, it is generally not the ideal choice. Investing in a pair of squatting shoes designed specifically for weightlifting and strength training can significantly improve your squat form, stability, and overall safety during this essential exercise. Remember always to prioritize form, listen to your body, and make choices that align with your fitness goals.