David Barton (owner of New York’s David Barton gyms, where Anderson Cooper works out) told Racked that he likes to work out in Converse sneakers, mostly citing fashion as his reason (“They are the coolest looking sneakers. I don’t want to look like I play professional basketball at the gym; I’d rather look like I’m in the Ramones.”). But he also mentions “proprioception,” vaguely suggesting that a pair of Chucks is more beneficial for training than a pair of Air Jordans:
Because they have thinner soles, they’re actually really good for your feet and proprioception. Shoes were a great step forward for fashion, but a huge step in the wrong direction for human evolution.
Still stuck on proprioception? Us too. And we already googled it. According to dictionary.com, proprioception is “perception governed by proprioceptors, as awareness of the position of one’s body.” Uhm. We doubt even David Barton could decode that definition. Thank god there’s always About.com to put it in layman’s terms: “The term proprioception refers to a sense of joint position.” So… balance. Proprioception is a really fancy way of talking about balance.
While Barton’s proving he can throw around big words, we’re not so sure that Converse are the key to a better workout. If you’re really worried about your spatial awareness and balance, you could try yoga*–no shoes, no stability support–but unless you’re exclusively lifting weights from a seated position on a bench, we’d wager a bet that you could get some serious blisters (and worse) from working out in a pair of sweaty, flat-soled sneakers.
*Warning: Barefoot yoga could make you look a little more Dave Matthews Band than Ramones.