Whenever I see someone in the gym or on Instagram working out in Converse, my arches ache. I love Chuck Taylors, but I can't walk more than half a mile in them before my feet start throbbing. And if that's just walking, it can't be good to work out in them, can it?
Well, actually, it can. Monara Dini, doctor of podiatric medicine and associate clinical professor at UC San Francisco, told POPSUGAR that there are three weightlifting exercises that can really benefit from a flat shoe like Converse: squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. That's because the flat surface mimics being barefoot, which forces you to use your whole foot to "grip the ground and remain planted," Dr. Dini explained. It also helps you push through the heel, an essential movement when you're lifting. She added that it's most important to wear flat shoes when you're lifting heavier weights; for a workout with light or medium dumbbells, it's not as crucial.
It's true that Converse aren't ideal for all workouts, though. Dr. Dini pointed out that they don't have good arch support (hence my painful arches from walking long distances), making them and other flat shoes a bad choice for workouts with running and jumping. For those exercises, you can break out your cushy, comfortable athletic shoes to provide that extra support.
And if you're looking for a solid, all-purpose gym shoe, Dr. Dini recommended cross trainers. Their flat soles make them more flexible and allow for a wider range of movements, making them great for aerobics, weight training, and multidirectional workouts like kickboxing. As for your Converse, save them for days when you're just looking to do heavy weightlifting. Just further proof that these old classics will never go out of style.