Like when we talk about running we worry about what shoes are best for this type of activity, the same goes for other sports and even specific exercises. In this case we focus on what is most appropriate footwear, by looking at the kinetic and muscle activation when train squats.
We can start by telling you what type of footwear is not the most appropriate, and these are the running shoes. Training in the weight room, especially if we do free weights, with running shoes is not the best of ideas.
Running shoes, especially those with heel cushioning (most of them, unless specifically we buy minimalist shoes) make the foot is in a very stable position and therefore of little benefit to when lifting. The sole material also usually quite soft, so it does not help us in creating a stable base or favoring proprioceptive of the foot.
What we serve weightlifting shoes?
In 1991 the NSCA positioned on the squat, claiming that poor technique in this exercise can lead athletes to injury (eye, caused by poor technique, not the exercise itself), and one of the guidelines gives time to get a good technique in the squat it is to “maintain a normal lordosis, with the trunk as vertical as possible throughout the uprising”. This can be achieved in a simpler way if we use weightlifting shoes.
The shoe weightlifters are characterized by hard and thin sole, hold very secure our foot (usually with adjustments Velcro) but, above all, to have a hard and firm heel of at least two inches that benefits us when training squats with enough weight.
Why do we benefit from this type of footwear? By placing the foot on a hard surface with slightly raised heel we are slightly modifying the bio-mechanics of exercise, and improve control over our knees and allowing them a greater angle of flexion. The muscular effort is focused on the quadriceps, thereby releasing the lower back, and thus achieving greater verticality.
And what about the flat shoes without heel? This type of footwear can be useful when we have a certain technique in the squat and move a lot of weight. If our squat is more oriented towards hypertrophy force, and if it imply more to the buttocks and hamstrings, this will be the kind of shoes we wear.
Do I need to buy me some specific shoes for squatting? In most cases (unless you are going to compete in powerlifting, where do require specific footwear) no, you do not need. Do you benefit? Yes. Are they essential? Absolutely not.