Running in Weightlifting Shoes: A Big No-No

Weightlifting shoes are NOT running shoes and should never be used for running or jogging.


The flat and wide outsole of a weightlifting shoe, aka squat or Oly shoe, is designed to provide immense stability for lifting heavy weights.

The easiest way to explain this is by imagining yourself running in swim fins. Not really an ideal way of running, is it?

They also have an increased heel for hitting deeper squats (good for poor ankle mobility and heavy squats).

Try to use them for running and you’ll quickly realize how bad they really are.

For some reason people still think weightlifting shoes can be used for running.

I’m going to tell you why this will not work.

The Difference Between Running Shoes and Weightlifting Shoes

First let me explain the biggest and most influential differences between these types of shoes.

A closer look at the running shoe

The running shoe is made for forward motion, the run.

It needs a stiff upper for less range of motion, unlike walking where a full range of motion is required (walking shoes have a flexible upper for this).

Running shoes have incredible cushioning to absorb most of the impact so that your ligaments, tendons, and bones don’t have to.

The cushioning is also made with a special type of material called EVA, compressing on impact and springing back upon lift off.

You’ll see this on product descriptions as “responsive cushioning”.

Responsive cushioning creates a springback effect. This basically keeps you running for longer, faster, and returns energy to the wearer.

Now lets take a look at the weightlifting shoe

The squat/Olympic shoe has stability in all directions, not just forward motions.

They offer balance and power.

The midsole is made with non-compressible material, unlike the running shoe which has responsive cushioning.

The outsole is also hard, rigid and non-compressible.

This setup improves the performance for lifting heavy weights.

Field test

Stand on a bed and try to squat as low as you can.

It’s much harder to stay balanced, the extra cushioning means you have to work harder to get back up (because you sink into the bed).

I had no stability whatsoever and I was using most of my energy trying to stay balanced.

Now try to squat on the ground – a hard surface.

It’s WAY more stable and coming up is much easier because you’re lifting off of a hard surface.

Now lets use that same example with far more ankle stability, an increased heel height, and a hard and rigid platform.

That’s what a weightlifting shoe is.

It provides the same effect of a hard surface but with far more stability, balance and power.

Why Weightlifting Shoes Used for Running is a Huge Disaster

I can see why weightlifting shoes can be mistaken for running shoes.

They look pretty cool and don’t look that heavy.

But looks can be deceiving. Lifting shoes can weigh anywhere from 14 to 20 ounces or more.

A typical running shoe weighs 8 ounces, although racing shoes can weigh as little as 3 ounces.

Squat shoes are simply too heavy, the traction has too much grab, and the hard midsole means cushioning and shock-absorption are non-existent.

Basically, running shoes are made for repeated forward motions and weightlifting shoes are made to lift heavy weights.

What About Crossfit Shoes?

Now here’s where things get interesting.

Crossfit shoes are also weightlifting shoes and they can also be used for running.

You might be asking how is this possible?

There’s one simple explanation for this.

Crossfit shoes are a hybrid of many different shoes put together.

They have enough stability for box jumps, rope climbs, lateral movements, and yes, weightlifting.

But they also have enough forward motion for running.

How much running exactly?

Not a lot.

Yes Crossfit shoes can be used for running because they’re specially designed for weightlifting and running together, but should only be used for short distances only.

Keywords; “short” and “distance”.

My rule of thumb is this:

If your WOD requires a little bit of running, it’s okay and I’m fine with that.

I’m also fine with a 10 minute warm up and warm down.

What I’m not okay with is running 3+ miles at a time.

Key Takeaway

Weightlifting shoes are good for one thing, lifting heavy ass weights, and dong it with incredible form.

The materials are rigid, the shoes are heavy, and they have a heel offset that’s too high for running.

If you’re thinking of mixing crossfit and running into one, you should opt for a crosstraining shoe (this ones good for beginners).

Otherwise invest in a pair of running shoes and a pair of weightlifting shoes separately.

And wear them whenever necessary. Do NOT try and combine the two.

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