Can you work out in crocs? Are crocs good lifting shoes? To answer this question we have started by going over what the croc is, followed by discussing the benefits and drawbacks as a lifting shoe.
I know lots of people that love wearing crocs overall and they’ve gained lots of popularity recently.
But can you work out in crocs? Overall, crocs are not the best lifting shoes. You can use your Crocs in sport mode but even then they don’t provide the best stability. If you plan to lift heavy or workout heavy, go with another type of lifting shoe than the crocs.
What Are Crocs?
The croc is a relatively new shoe founded in 2002, but has really become popular in the last few years.
The name comes from the design, as the vamp looks similar to the scale of a crocodile. Take a look at the image and let us know if you agree.
The croc is made of a resin like material, with a scaly vamp, sponge/curvy inner sole, non-slip outer sole, and a heel strap.
In fact, the croc was never designed to be a lifting shoe. Yet we have seen an influx of lifters wearing them for exercises like the barbell back squat and the barbell deadlift.
Can You Wear Crocs on a Treadmill?
For the purpose of the treadmill, crocs can be a bit painful.
Crocs are meant to be for walking casually on the road. However, if you plan on wearing them while incline walking at a high speed, they will be painful!
Instead, you can wear the crocs on a walk and get the same affect as a treadmill as long as you have some spare time.
Can You Work Out in Crocs? 7 Great Benefits
It is understandable why the croc is such a popular lifting shoe! It has 7 main benefits that many lifters swear by.
1. Light Weight
In my experience, the croc shoes are lightweight and easy to walk around in. I must say much less fatiguing to other shoes like boots.
In turn, this can save your energy for lifting opposed to wasting it lofting around your heavy work boots.
Have you ever walked around in tight footwear and found that at the end of the day you have blisters poking through?
Lucky for you, crocs are made of croslite TM , which is a flexible resin material similar to foam. This material may reduce friction and foot blister risk in the gym.
As I like to say, COMFORT IS KING!
3. Heel Lifted
I have always been an advocate of heel lifted shoes for all squat variations. The heel lift of the crocks puts the ankles into a pre-plantarflexed position (2).
Furthermore, this position gives a lifter more squat depth and places the emphasis on the knee joint by keeping the trunk more upright (2).
This change in mechanics may put more work on the quadricep muscles, to help build their strength and size in the long term (2).
This idea can be supported with a 2014 study by Sinclair and colleagues (2). The researchers looked at how footwear affected muscle activation during the barbell back squat at 70% intensity.
The shoes that were being looked at were the running shoes and barefoot lifting.
Although the running shoe is not the same as the croc shoe. Both of these shoes have a similar structure with a lifted heel, a spongy inner sole and a grippy outsole.
Learn about 5 Reasons You Should NOT Squat in Running Shoes
The muscles that the researchers wired up to the EMG (muscle activation detector) were the quadriceps, calf muscles, glutes, and lower back.
Even though the running shoe had many limitations, it gave off more quadricep activation from the heel lift. I would not expect anything different from the croc shoe.
4. None Slip Outer Soles
If you look at the bottom outer sole of the croc, it is grippy. This could help a lifter find base and avoid slipping during lifts like the squats, lunges, leg press, bench press etc.
Slipping during any exercise at worst has a fall and injury risk. Secondly, it can make a lift less effective from losing the momentum/energy.
5. Protection from Foreign Objects
The outer soles offer a layer of protection from foreign objects. Say there is a piece of glass in the weights room and you tread on it, the croc may stop the piece from puncturing through the foot.
Moreover, If by mistake a lifter drops a weight on the foot, the croslite TM vamp may also offer some protection from a blunt force Injury like fractured bones and torn ligaments.
I am not claiming that you would come out without even a bump, but they are certainly better than some shoes and lifting barefoot in this category.
This ones subjective, but I think the crocs look pretty unique and cool for the gym, especially if you get the color right.
I certainly would not wear them out and about, but they make great ‘run arounds’ for gym exercises and casual walking.
7. Air Conditioning
You might be thinking what the holes around the croc show are? These are jibbit holes that can offer some air conditioning to the feet, thereby keeping it cooler during exercise.
4 Drawbacks of Lifting in Crocs
We have gone over why the crocs are so great, but we can not forget to mention their limitations.
1. Limited Foot Security
In fact, the croc is pretty wide and only secures the foot by the heel strap. In my personal experience, the feet can move around during exercises like the squat.
This takes away from the effectiveness of the lift as you would lose all that squat energy, which would be taken off the working muscles.
2. Soft Inner Soles
The soft and spongy inner soles of the croc are comfortable, no doubt. However, this is a terrible property when we look at this from a lifting perspective.
Furthermore, the spongy inner sole would absorb a lot of the shock from a lift and reel the energy away a lot of thar energy and the quality of the lift.
For example, when you are trying to barbell squat upwards, it is essential to get a good head start with a strong press starting from the feet onto the ground.
As mentioned, the croc shoe absorbs that foot force, which would then chain into a weaker and possibly unstable lift.
3. Heel lift
So, you might be thinking that I am contradicting myself as I mentioned the heel lift as 1 of the 7 benefits. The heel lift can actually make any lift from the ground less effective.
Let’s say that you are trying to deadlift your personal record, if you are wearing a heel lifted crock, the bar would need to be lifted from a lower range making it more difficult to complete.
Not to mention, this coupled with the spongy inner sole can just sabotage your lifting efforts.
4. Limited Exercise Selection
The foot security of the crocs limits the exercises that you could do in them. I do not really see anyone getting the best out of exercises that include some type of movement.
So, this could include squat jumps, fireman’s carry, sled pushes, or any form of cardiovascular exercise.
Learn more about Using Basketball Shoes for Lifting and Squatting
The crocs are probably not the best choice for lifting. They are probably as good as running shoes, and we never really recommend those for lifting.
Nevertheless, according to our examination of the crocs, there are a total of 7 benefits and only 4 drawbacks.
All in all, this means that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, which may help you decide whether you want to give them a go for lifting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Olympic style weightlifting takes on a lot of movement. The crocs are too spongy and not secure enough for weightlifting to be safe and effective.
If I had to choose the crocs, it would be for the squat, due to the heel lift. The heel lift can put you into a better position to hit the quadricep muscles. Any heeled shoes used to the deadlift can be disadvantageous from having to pull the bar through more height.
So for the barbell squat I would suggest the weightlifting shoe. The weightlifting shoe has a good heel lift, solid inner sole and non-slip outer sole. This hits the quads with strong energy transfer.
Anything flat with a non-slip outer sole. You could opt for wrestling boots, canvas shoes, barefoot etc. Flat shoes have a good force transfer with less range for the bar to be pulled up from.
Sinclair, J., McCarthy, D., Bentley, I., et al. ‘The influence of different footwear on 3-D kinematics and muscle activation during the barbell back squat in males’ European Journal Of Sport Science. 2014; 15 (7): 583–590