As a skateboarder growing up, I never thought about why I would ever gravitate and use my skate shoes to lift weights and power. I remember going to the skatepark with my friends at 13, skating all day, then coming home and practicing in skate shoes before hockey practice.
I didn’t even think about changing into something like cross-training shoes. Aside from being an overall lazy person (which I still am), I wouldn’t change shoes because I enjoyed the skate shoes and how they fit. Skate shoes were natural to wear for weightlifting.
It’s no coincidence, and wearing skate shoes to work out and lift weights is a topic I’ve been asked about on my YouTube channel several times. Are skate shoes good for exercise?
Some skate shoes can be great options for practice, and I’ll explain why below. Do I still wear my skate shoes for cross-training and heavy lifts? No, I use more specific shoes, but skate shoes can be a good choice for general training.
Can you run in skate shoes?
Skate shoes can be great options for lifting weights and general exercise, but you’ll want to transition them to running. While their design may have a positive carryover for weight lifting, this is not the case for running.
If you’ve been thinking about wearing your skate shoes to the gym and thought, “Well, maybe I could wear them for short runs before or after a lift.” Instead, I would recommend investing in a good pair of running shoes.
Skate shoes can be pretty heavy at times, and when it comes to running, the type of shoes you will need should suit your running needs and requirements. For example, investing in a pair of running shoes that match your walking pattern well can save you from running discomfort.
That said, I would recommend skipping skate shoes for running, even if you tackle shorter runs before and after training.
What types of workouts are best/worst for skate shoes?
Now that I’ve discussed the why behind skate shoes, I want to talk about what types of workouts are best to do in skate shoes and where they will fall short.
Since skate shoes aren’t necessarily designed for exercise, I think it’s important to understand where they can excel and where their performance declines. As with any footwear and specific activities, you’ll want a pair of shoes to suit the task at hand as you expand through your training.
For example, if you’re serious about training your clean and jerk and grab, you’ll probably want a pair of weightlifting or cross-training shoes. It doesn’t mean you can’t use skate shoes for weightlifting, but you may find that their performance is limited.
Likewise, if I get more serious about skateboarding, I’d probably want to ditch the cross-training shoes and opt for a pair of skate shoes. There is a spectrum of specifics to consider when choosing footwear.
Exercises where skate shoes work well:
1) Recreational lifting
2) Very occasional cross training
3) Training focused on stability
Practices where skate shoes fit:
1) CrossFit workouts
2) Training focused on athletics
3) Running training
Any training that involves CrossFit style training, running or a lot of jumping skates and their performance can start to decline. It is because they lack structural elements that are well-suited to these activities.
Why can skate shoes shorten the workout?
Although they are decent options for weight lifting and general training, skate shoes will have some limitations for exercise due to their construction and how you plan to use the boots.
Below are two reasons why skate shoes may not be suitable for certain types of training.
1. Skate shoes can be pretty heavy and clunky:
One of the downsides to skate shoes and training is that they can sometimes feel quite heavy and clunky. Let’s say you’re tackling a plyometric workout or a CrossFit workout with a timed component.
In these contexts, you’ll want a lighter shoe that provides more responsiveness to get the job done. A heavy skate shoe can feel blocked, and when fatigue starts to set in, you can notice it and see your performance drop.
It is why I recommend limiting skate shoes for more static strength work and very occasional cross-training. Using something like the Vans Sk8-Hi for multiple box jumps could be counterproductive.
2. Heel-to-toe skate shoes may not work for every workout:
While zero and low heel-to-heel drops can be helpful in specific training contexts, they may not align with everyone’s training goals. For example, if you like a higher drop for exercise, you may not like how a skate shoe works.
Let’s say you’re doing back squats and notice that it’s hard to hit deep with your skate shoes. In this case, you may want to look into cross-training shoes with a higher drop, a pair of weightlifting shoes, or opt for a wedge to use with your skate shoes.
A flatter shoe may not fit everyone’s mobility limitations, training goals, and lifting mechanics.
Can you exercise in skate shoes?
Skate shoes can work well for lifting and general training due to their stability, sole grip and upper durability. For recreational lifting, skate shoes may be shoes to explore.
Are skate shoes like Vans good for CrossFit?
For CrossFit and more serious cross-training, you may want to skip skate shoes due to their heavier construction and lack of CrossFit-focused construction features.
Skate shoes can be a pretty good choice of footwear for working out and lifting weights. They offer good stability and a grippy sole and are inherently durable.
As you become more specific during your training, skate shoes and their performance can begin to decline, so it is essential to understand that this type of shoe will have limitations when exercising.