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Anna Schultz / Her Campus

What’s the Word about Working Out with Vans?

Recently, I have been dabbling in more weight-based exercises at the gym. I started venturing into “that room” at the gym where there are a lot of guys who give you weird looks while you're setting the weights to 30 lbs and breaking a sweat as they’re pressing 150 lbs. People in “that room” usually seem to dress slightly different than the cardio-goers upstairs. Lately, however, all I’ve seen is both guys and girls wearing Converse or Vans. I was horrified to say the least! Ever since my Juicy Couture sweatsuit and matching Uggs outfits days back in the third grade, my doctor scolded me for walking around in such flat-footed shoes. She always told me that a flat shoe provides no support, which then causes the arch to slowly flatten overtime. I would then lie and say, “I, like, only really wear them around the house.” During my cross country days, my coach always forced us to get certain brands of sneakers that provided specific structural support for the arch of our feet. 

After seeing these shoes at the gym, I posted on my Snapchat story about how I'm worried for everyone wearing Vans or Converse to the gym. In about five seconds, six of my friends swiped up trying to tell me that they are the best shoes for lifting. Since when??? I was shocked, so I decided to do some deep research with the desire to reject this theory. 

As a nursing major, my mind has been programmed to only support evidence-based research in order to understand the best health practices. I was not able to find any research from reliable evidence-based sources on the topic of wearing Vans for lifting. I turned to PowerliftingTechnique.com in order to understand the reasons behind this new trend. The website claims that these shoes are the best for lifters “on a budget," a.k.a why they appear everywhere at a college gym. It also claims the “durability” and “breathability” of the shoes are what make them good for lifting weights. The most significant reason was that it helps the foot maintain its “natural shape," but my question remains: aren’t all feet arched? 

Upon writing this article, I was ready to find hardcore evidence to challenge the theory that Vans are bad for such intense physical activity. Most information claimed they were good for lifting if you’re “on a budget” and need a shoe with a flat shape. This information, however, seemed to go against everything that I was ever taught. I can’t imagine that this won’t cause back problems in the future. Another part of me is wondering: am I working out wrong? Should I be wearing Vans? If anyone feels as passionately about the wearing-Vans-while-lifting-weights controversy as I do, please send any evidence-based articles my way. Ultimately, I would love to know if this is reliable information or just another trend. 


Jen is a junior nursing student at UNH from Lynnfield, MA. She currently works as a nurse's aide in Boston, and is a member of Alpha Xi Delta.
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