We need footwear for every aspect of life. The more specific the action, the more unique the shoe, which is why runners and football players have different style shoes.
The same goes for the sport of lifting.
The Air Jordan 1 is definitely a popular shoe, obviously starting with basketball at its inception, and the Air Jordan brand is obviously known for being a basketball shoe.
But Is The Jordan 1 A Good Lifting Shoe?
Let’s take a look at some of the important aspects a shoe needs to have for lifting, and examine if the Jordan 1’s fit those criteria, as well as discussing how well Jordan 1’s work for different types of weightlifting exercises.
Are Jordan 1’s Good for Squats?
Squats are one of the primary weightlifting workouts. Anyone who has done any lifting knows there are specific postures and motions needed for a solid squat, both for maximum performance and for health and safety.
Squatting requires a combination of having feet flat on the ground, chest elevated in the air, and back straight and aligned.
This position maximizes the use of your legs while minimizing the motion of your back and chest, preventing injury to your torso while also creating a rigid posture to support the carried weight.
To get that posture, there are different requirements and recommendations for shoes, but typically it is encouraged to have a solid sole without much cushion, a wide toe box to allow your feet to spread out and create a wider base in contact with the ground, and a large heel-to-toe drop.
This drop allows the foot to angle properly to give you the necessary posture, while also providing force directly downward, or “pushing through the floor” as they say.
Jordan 1’s do offer some of these benefits. For instance, they have a reasonable heel-to-toe drop and a wider toe box to encourage proper posture and offer good structural support.
However, they are softer in their sole as they were designed for basketball.
The Jordan 1’s are great shoes overall, but they were intended to be used in a running sport, meaning the sole was designed to absorb shock and impact as opposed to providing direct force transfer.
Because of that, these shoes are not the best for squats, although they can certainly be used in a pinch.
Are Jordan 1’s Good for Deadlifts?
Deadlifts are a different animal than squats, although many of the needs are the same.
When you’re performing a deadlift, you use different postures and muscle groups, so you’re going to need some different things out of your shoe.
Ankle stability is still important because you run the risk of ankle injury whenever you’re supporting heavy weight, particularly without any restrictions to steady the ankle.
The shape and angle of the shoe, however, is not quite as important, because you aren’t engaging in as much motion with your legs.
The important pieces for a deadlift shoe are the sole and the ankle stability, as well as the toe box because you need to create a solid base for whatever lifting you’re doing.
The Jordan 1 checks a few more of these boxes compared with their usefulness in squatting.
The wider base and toe box allow for a higher surface area to stabilize your base, and the ankle support is very solid.
Unfortunately, it still runs into the issue of a highly cushioned sole, which is detrimental to any sort of lifting.
When you do a deadlift, you want to be able to push your feet downward to drive the force of the lift into the floor.
Softer soles absorb some of this force, and they leave you with less stability and force overall.
While Jordan 1 is a great sneaker in high demand, I wouldn’t say they are the best for doing these exercises.
What Makes a Good Lifting Shoe?
I guess the real question here is what constitutes a good lifting shoe?
There are people who will tell you that you absolutely must buy performance lifting shoes – but those can run up to several hundreds of dollars, which is a significant expense, particularly for a sport that doesn’t consume large stretches of time.
Additionally, if you’re not competing with your lifting, it may not seem worth your money to get professional-grade shoes for the task.
That begs the question then, how do we determine what is a good lifting shoe?
It’s as simple as looking at what benefits these professional shoes offer compared to others.
First and foremost, they offer support and structure.
It makes sense that reducing ankle movement is vital to the sport of lifting.
Imagine trying to lift several hundred pounds while your ankle is swaying rapidly back and forth.
That would not only make the task far more difficult but would risk significant injury to your ankles and feet.
A good lifting shoe will provide structure around the ankle to help limit movement and align the ankles.
Proper ankle alignment protects your feet from injury and it also helps to focus your strength.
When your ankles are aligned vertically, you can maximize the strength generated from your feet and the muscles in your calf, because they’re pushing directly upwards, maximizing lift.
Another benefit of good lifting shoes is a solid sole. Well-designed lifting shoes have a very sturdy sole that transfers force directly downwards without compressing significantly.
The more cushion on the bottom of the shoe, the less structure it provides, and the less force is able to travel through the lifting motion.
Think of it this way – with a cushioned sole, you are using some of your lifting energy just to compress the sole so that it will support you and transfer that force directly into the floor.
Are Converse Chuck Taylors A Better Lifting Shoe?
They may not be the performance grade shoes that some trainers insist upon, but for the majority of your lifting work, Chuck Taylors will perform better than most else.
Knowing what we’ve learned about a good lifting shoe, it’s pretty easy to see why they fare so well.
First and foremost, the High Top shoes offer great ankle stability. You can lace them all the way up past your ankle and lock your feet into position easily and effectively.
This prevents a lot of injuries and helps you maintain stability throughout the exercise.
Additionally, the rigid soles are great for driving the lift through the floor.
You’re not wasting any energy on compression or stability, so all of that force can go directly into the lift.
For squats and deadlifts, these shoes have wide toe boxes and a relatively high heel-to-toe drop, meaning it fits the bill for a wide variety of lifting activities.
While they’re relatively cheap, they provide all the benefits of higher cost lifting shoes, and they’re extremely versatile.
For one, they are commonplace, so you can wear them as regular attire, but they also come in a variety of colors to give you options.
Their versatility also means they can be used throughout your entire lifting workout as they cater equally well to both options.
They are and have always been the standard lifting shoe for everyday lifting.
Finding the right lifting shoe can seem like a daunting task, but when you know the features you need, it’s pretty simple.
The Chuck Taylors are the gold standard for a regular lifting shoe.
While the Jordan 1’s are great shoes and may provide the aesthetic look you’re going for, they may not offer quite the support and rigidity that you need when doing the serious lifting.