Loose Ankles? Shoes for Swimmers to Wear During On-Land Training!

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If you want to get better at your favorite sport, you need to train regularly. BUT, this does not mean that you are limited to training within only the confines of that specific sport. It is “norm” now for all swimmer’s to train outside of the pool. 

In addition to traditional swim training, a swimmer benefits from dryland, flexibility, and resistance training. All of these different types of “on-land” exercises require one MAJOR component that “in-water” training does not, and that’s a swimmer’s shoes.

In general, most swimmers who are good Freestyle kickers have very flexible ankles. With this increased ankle flexibility, a swimmer will need to have proper footwear to ensure safety and to receive the maximum benefits from all of their “on-land” training.

Let’s dig deeper into what a shoes a swimmer should look at for strength training!

What to Look for in a Shoe for Strength Training:

What you wear directly affects the outcome of your strength training, so make sure you wear shoes that are not only comfortable, but are also an appropriate fit for you. Most coaches require their athletes to wear closed-toe cross trainers, even though running shoes are commonly accepted. Remember, picking the right shoes prevents knee misalignment and other injuries.

The first thing to keep in mind when choosing shoes, is to buy a pair that gives you a stable stance. That is, shoes that allow your heels to be as close to the floor as possible, and give you enough space to place all ten of your toes on the ground at a time.

Most running shoes involve a large lift from the heel box of the shoe. This lift disrupt a swimmer’s balance when weight-lifting and/or dryland training and should be avoided. Also, it’s always good to avoid shoes that are air-infused and have springy heels too. All of these “high-lift” types of shoes tend to wear out easily over time and it’s never good to train in worn out shoes for too long. 

The second thing is you want to avoid a shoe that pronates or supinates your ankles too much. With this, you want to look at a swimmer’s knees and ankles while wearing the shoes to ensure they are not rolling in or out while standing.

Also, it’s good to test the shoes before buying and have someone watch your ankles while moving. Most speciality running stores will have associates that will help you find a shoe that will fit your needs and watch your gait for you. I would recommend going to one of those stores before you buy your next pair of training shoes!

Let’s look at 3 of my favorite shoes for lifting!

1.) Chuck Taylors for Power Lifting

If you are involving squats, bench press, and deadlift in your next training program, powerlifters would suggest wearing Chuck Taylors. We all know the brand, as they have withstood the test of time– a 100 years to be exact. While Chuck’s were originally used for basketball, they have also made their way to powerlifting.

A pair of Chucks offers you a flat sole, which keeps your feet as close to the ground as possible. This low sole helps you feel the ground, as well a reminder to engage through your heels as you push through different movements. Your Chucks don’t have heel cups, so your heels exert energy straight to the ground–which allows you to lift heavier weights.

Overall, Chucks are light and simple. They feel like you are basically wearing socks. They are made of canvas and have an inch-thick rubber sole. For those who are on a budget, the good news is that they are affordable and long-lasting.

2.) Vibram Five Fingers for Weightlifting

Aside from Chuck Taylors, lifters also love wearing Vibram Five Fingers. Vibram’s are ideal for deadlifting and squatting, because it puts the lifter with little to zero distance from the ground. Having this minimal distance between a lifter shoe’s and the ground creates a larger range of motion for the lifter to move through. Since the Vibram Five Finger shoes are similar to being barefoot, they are a great alternative to lifting in bare feet.

Keep in mind: lifting barefoot and/or with shoes that have minimal cushion is something a swimmer will need to work up to over time and with proper supervision. If you have never weight lifted and/or used any of the barefoot type of shoes–consult your coach first before transitioning and then, ease into training!

3.) Reebok CrossFit Nano for Weightlifting

The Reebok Crossfit Nano shoe is designed for intense Crossfit workouts. In fact, to promote its latest edition, the brand engaged several top athletes across the globe to break world records while wearing the shoe. Reebok succeeded in this endeavor and actually, broke 44 WORLD records in a matter of 24 hours.

While the Nano’s are primarily branded for Crossfit, they are not limited to only Crossfit workouts. The design of the Nano’s is one for weightlifters too. The shoe provides a flat shoe with a wide toe-box and a little more cushion than the previous two options. Also, the tread on the bottom of the Nano’s is design for lateral movement, in addition to forward and backward motions. This is a great for dryland training, as swimmer’s work on running and moving in all different directions–not just forwards and backwards.

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Overall, don’t overlook the benefits of picking the right shoe for your on-land training. While it may take a pair or two to figure out which ones work the best for you, consulting a specialist will have you get on track to making the right choice. If you have any questions on your shoes and whether they are good fit for you, feel free to comment below and one of coaches here are RITTER will be happy to help you.


This post is a courtesy of Sarah Jones, who writes for Kicks Choice. Sarah is passionate about proper leg and foot care, while also promoting a healthy lifestyle.

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