Skip to Content

Push-Ups & Shoes: 5 Quick Answers (For Beginners)

I may receive a commission for purchases made through product links on this page, but I always stand by my opinions and endorsements!

Trying to get the most out of each exercise is key for reaching your fitness goals.

Even small changes can make a huge difference, so it’s vital to look into every aspect of your exercise to see if there are ways you can make it even more effective.

When it comes to push-ups, one thing you might not have even thought about is whether you could get more benefits from them by changing what you wear on your feet.

Well, that’s exactly what we’re looking into in this article.

We discuss whether your footwear can impact the difficulty, the safety, and the effectiveness of your push-ups.

We also look at some shoes that could be good to wear when doing push-ups.

Woman doing a push up in a crossfit gym

Does Wearing Shoes Affect The Difficulty of Push-Ups?

In some ways, doing push-ups barefoot can be harder than if you’re wearing shoes. This is mainly because of the added stress placed on your feet (particularly your toes).

When you’re wearing shoes to do push-ups, your feet have an extra layer of protection.

Your shoes act as a barrier between your feet and the floor, so you tend to feel more comfortable wearing shoes.

However, there aren’t many reasons why you can’t do push-ups barefoot. In fact, many people do barefoot push-ups on a regular basis and achieve some great results from them.

The movement itself will be the same whether you’re wearing shoes or not, the difference comes in how much pressure, stress, and discomfort are placed on your feet.

All of this can add to the overall difficulty of the exercise.

It might also be that you find it harder to keep yourself stable and balanced without shoes on.

All of these things need to be taken into consideration.

It makes sense that wearing shoes when doing push-ups can make the exercise slightly less challenging as you’re more comfortable when doing them.

However, the same muscle groups will be working whether you’re wearing shoes or not. So, any change in difficulty will be due to how comfortable you feel rather than the exercise itself being any harder than normal.

Does Wearing Shoes Affect The Safety of Push-Ups?

A road with the words Safety First painted on in yellow paint next to double yellow lines

Without wearing shoes, your feet are more exposed to the potential dangers found in a gym environment. 

When doing push-ups without wearing shoes, your toes have less protection and will be placed under greater stress during the exercise.

That being said, there aren’t too many differences in the safety level of push-ups whether you wear shoes or not.

Once you get used to doing push-ups barefoot, your feet will be better accustomed to them and you could end up feeling as comfortable and as safe as you do when doing them with shoes on.

You’ll need to weigh up the risks of being barefoot in your training area before deciding whether it’s safe to do push-ups without shoes on or not.

Does Wearing Shoes Affect The Effectiveness of Push-Ups?

Wearing shoes (or not) during push-ups won’t have much of an impact on how effective your push-ups are.

The working muscles are the same regardless of if you’re wearing shoes or not.

Your chest, shoulders, arms, and all the other upper body muscles will be working equally as hard no matter what you choose to wear on your feet.

The main way wearing shoes can affect the effectiveness of your push-ups is by how comfortable they make you feel.

If you feel more comfortable doing push-ups in shoes, then you might be able to push yourself a little harder and do a few more reps.

Does Wearing Shoes Affect How You Should Do Push-Ups?

Not really. Your body position will be pretty much identical whether you’re wearing shoes or not.

You might need to think about the position of your feet a little bit more to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the exercise, but your footwear shouldn’t affect how you do push-ups in any way.

3 Best Shoes For Push-Ups

Vibram FiveFingers V-Train 2.0 Fitness Shoes

Vibram FiveFingers V Train Black Shoe

Click to see on Amazon

The Vibram FiveFingers V-Train 2.0 Fitness Shoes are pretty much as close as you can get to doing push-ups barefoot while still wearing shoes.

They might be a bit pricey but they’re some great shoes for push-ups (and exercise in general).

Check price and read more reviews of Vibram FiveFingers V-Train 2.0 Fitness Shoes on Amazon.

Reebok Nano X2 Cross Trainer

Reebok Nano X2 Cross Trainers

Click to see on Amazon

The Nano X2 Cross Trainer shoe is lightweight, breathable, and very flexible. This makes it a great choice of footwear for push-ups.

Check price and read more reviews of the Reebok Nano X2 Cross Trainer on Amazon.

Nike Metcon 7

Nike Metcon 7

Click to see on Amazon

Nike Metcon 7 are very versatile shoes that are well suited to most gym sessions as well as being more than capable of giving you all the support you need during push-ups.

Check price and read more reviews of the Nike Metcon 7 on Amazon.