Are Heavy Shoes Bad for You? (Beware!)

Shoes are important for our well-being, but most of the time, we don’t think about what is best for our feet based on our weight, requirements and posture.

So, are heavy shoes bad for you? The answer is both yes and no. It depends on the type of footwear and the purpose for which you’re wearing them. People wear heavy boots or shoes to help them gain stability and a better sense of balance to protect their arch. If you have to stand all day on hard and uneven surfaces, such as ladder rungs or metal bars, you need heavy thick sole shoes with a metal shank so that those hard surfaces do not kill your arches. Heavy shoes are not good for you in other conditions, such as working in a clean office, having a flat surface like a warehouse, or for a normal walk.

How Much Do Shoes Weigh?

The weight of shoes ranges from 7oz to 20oz, depending on the type of footwear you’re looking for. Not that the weight is based on one shoe, not the whole pair. Low-top casual sneakers like Vans or Keds weigh around 0.7 pounds or 11oz. On the other hand, safety shoes can weigh more than 17oz, and hiking shoes can weigh up to 14oz.

The weight of a shoe depends on several factors. Some shoes are heavier than others because they have more padding, and some shoes can be made from heavier materials. The thickness of the soles, heel heights, and how air damps the inside all affect the weight as well. Sizes vary from shoe to shoe, as does the material they’re made from. Leather shoes are going to be heavier than rubber clogs. Shoes with a high heel will be heavier than those without a heel.

Why Are Safety Shoes So Heavy?

Safety shoes are heavy due to their strong structural components like steel toe cap, steel shank, and a very thick sole for protection. However, companies are trying to make safety shoes lightweight by incorporating a composite or fiberglass toe cap, which has more strength lesser weight than steel. However, the price of those safety shoes is much higher, due to which people hold on wearing those typical heavy safety shoes.

The other reason for a heavy safety shoe is its rigid heel counter. The heel counter must be of sufficient thickness to absorb the impact. If the heel counter is too thin, it will not provide the necessary protection. Furthermore, the rigid heel counter of safety shoes provides stability, a secure fit, and prevents the rolling of ankles.

The next heavy part of safety shoes is the puncture-resistant midsole. Sharp and jagged objects, like loose nails or screws, can be dangerous because they could penetrate through the sole of your regular shoe and wound up scratching or cutting you as well as possibly infecting you. Safety shoes include steel or composite plate positioned within the midsole to protect from such injuries as stepping on sharp and treacherous debris.

Here are some of my recommendations of safety shoes that are heavy but comfortable for your feet.

Safety ShoesWeight Per Shoe (g)
KEEN Utility Men’s Atlanta Cool 2 (Blend of leather and mesh with a steel toe cap and TPU shank)611
Timberland PRO Men’s Powertrain (Alloy toe cap, great comfort; but not as durable as KEEN shoes)450
New Balance Men’s 412 V1 (Alloy toe, great for people with wide feet. Eva insert is not so comfortable. You have to use Dr. Scholl Gel insert.433

Are Heavy Shoes Good for Training Before Running?

Yes, heavy shoes do some great homework to train you before you actually jump into running with your lightweight shoes. However, by the term “heavy”, I don’t mean just that they are just more in weight. In fact, those shoes should be heavy training shoes like Reebok Nanos.

Running engages your glutes and your calves as well as your quads and your hamstrings as you violently thrust your legs forward. The leg muscles will be engaged, as will the muscles of your back as you lean forward and put your body into motion.

A lot of enthusiasm and self-discipline is required if one is to run. People who jump straight into running with their lightweight shoes never last very long. They get injured or just give up because they can’t handle the higher intensity.

Training with heavy racing flats is a powerful thing. It can help you get stronger, and it can also help you get better at things you enjoy. If your ankle is not yet strong enough for jumping into the sport with lightweight shoes you can check the level of weight in your heavy shoes to determine what weight you will need to use when you start running and training. If you do this, it will feel much easier when you’re wearing the shoes you’re used to. It will also save you time and energy later on in the long run.

Do Heavy Shoes Slow Down the Running?

The short answer is yes. A shoe weight is 5 times important as your body weight. If you choose to wear heavy shoes for actual running, you can’t go for high speed over long distances. The one second per ounce per mile rule is applied to one shoe, not both shoes of a pair, while determining your running speed and the time it will take for you to cover a specific distance.

Furthermore, while heavy running shoes like Brooks Beast can also lead to higher metabolic costs than lightweight shoes like Brooks Adrenaline, the weight also affects the stability, support, and shock absorption. The reason for the high weight of Brooks Beast is that they are a more cushioned and supportive outsole with a broader base.

With Brooks Beast, although you’re get more cushioning, but your oxygen consumption will also increase, and your running speed will decrease. Recent studies have shown that adding 100g of weight to shoe drops the speed by approximately 1.27%.

E C Frederick, a researcher in Nike Sports Laboratory, studied ergonomic factors in running shoes design. He found that adding 100g of weight per shoe increased the oxygen consumption by 1%. So, with the addition of weight, your running economy will decrease. That’s why shoe brands are researching developing lightweight midsole materials that could provide more cushioning per unit weight.

Due to this reason, it is important for runners to improve the strength of muscles by joining training sessions that are short and high-intensity in nature. In this way, you won’t need a heavier shoe with more cushioning for running. However, don’t overlook biomechanical needs to your feet, while selecting your running shoes. Some structural elements in running shoes also add weight. So, you have to compromise a bit between weight and stability.

What Is the Point of Heavy Shoes for Hiking?

The point of wearing heavy shoes for hiking is to help you stay on top of slippery surfaces, so you don’t slip. A thick sole adds additional friction and will help your boots grip better. Hiking shoes feature full-length stiff shanks that are rigid to support your weight when you are edging up rocky surfaces.

Heavy weight of hiking shoes = Increased support, protection, durability and comfort

Heavy hiking shoes can also cushion your foot when ascending down steep inclines because the extra weight helps absorb shocks from running over rocks or roots at high speed. Furthermore, due to increased stiffness in the polyurethane sole or dual-density EVA sole of hiking shoes (which means prolonged lifetime), hikers can prevent torsional strain on ankles and have a reduced pressure on their feet and knees while traversing rocky or uneven terrains.

Here are my recommendations for hiking shoes with great support and durability.

Hiking ShoesWeight Per Shoe (g)
Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX (Salomon’s exclusive EnergyCell midsole)380
Vasque Men’s Breeze (Dual-density EVA midsole)357
ALTRA Lone Peak (Altra EGO midsole has superior cushioning with excellent durability318

Are Heavy Shoes Bad for Your Back?

Heavy shoes are not suitable for long-distance walking. Heavy shoes are something you need for special activities like hiking, working in factory places, or training for high-strength muscles. For everyday long-distance walking, heavy shoes can put excessive strain on your back. It would be best if you had lightweight shoes like Skechers Gowalk that weigh only 212 grams. So, I’d advise you to wear only those walking shoes that weigh under 250 grams to avoid strain on your lower back.