Best Shoes for Deadlifts

If you’re looking to build muscles in your lower body and back, deadlifts are one of the best exercises to do so. Deadlifts refer to lifting dead weights or lifting weight without any momentum such as a weight lying on the ground.

It is unlike other weight training exercises as the repetitions begin with the dead weight. The majority of other lifts have an eccentric phase where you lower the weight after a concentric stage in which you lift the weight.

The technique is vital when doing deadlifts. You must reduce the range of motion as much as you can. You can suffer serious muscle strain and back injuries if you don’t take proper care when performing a deadlift.

One of the most important aspects of a deadlift technique is to keep your feet as close to the ground as possible when lifting. This is where you’ll need minimalistic shoes.

Finding the right pair of deadlift shoes can benefit your lifting sessions almost immediately. Finding a shoe that feels comfortable and stable will allow you to get into a good position for your deadlift. 

The best deadlift shoes will keep your body balanced, protect your ankles, and ensure your footing is completely stable without any risk of slipping.

Finding the right deadlift shoes can be a tricky and time-consuming task. You are spoilt for choice out there but that is where we step in. 

We have compiled a list of the best 8 shoes for deadlifts with in-depth reviews on each product. We will weigh up the pros and cons of each to help you decide if they are the right choice for you.

As well as that, we have included a helpful buyer’s guide and some FAQs to help you understand what to look for in good quality deadlift shoes to help make that final decision.

Have you got a deadlifting session coming up and you need to know our top pick straight away? Here it is:

OUR TOP PICK

Next up are stylish shoes that are perfect for deadlifting and wearing casually. Converse shoes are surprisingly very good for deadlifting. This is due to their flat soles and high ankle support.

The flat sole helps the lifter stay closer to the ground reducing an overall range of motion and increasing balance. As the ankle moves under the heavy weight, Converse’s high ankle support provides another layer of stability and protection.

If you have a budget in mind, Chuck Taylors are an excellent choice. They have been the leader in budget footwear for lifters over many years. As we stated, Chuck Taylors are very comfortable to wear as they can be used casually as well as in the gym.

Not only are they slick to look at but they have many of the requirements needed for deadlift shoes such as cushioning to support your feet throughout the whole range of motions.

Chuck Taylors should last you years thanks to the durable and rigid flat soles. This helps distribute weights far more evenly than curved soles. This is due to the rubber construction which provides little compression when lifting heavy weights.

The canvas material on these shoes is highly flexible for an easy range of movements but doesn’t give the best support compared to some deadlift shoes with straps.

You can combat this by tying your laces tightly around the high ankle straps for added support. The support these shoes offer is more than enough for safe deadlifting and are an ideal choice if you are on a budget.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly - A relatively small price tag makes these a more accessible option for many deadlifters
  • Multi-purpose - The simple yet stylish design can be used for casual occasions as well as deadlifts
  • Great ankle support - High-top models include a supportive ankle collar to give your ankles extra support and stability when lifting
  • Help your feet stay connected to the ground - The super-flat sole and no toe drop helps your feet stay close to the ground throughout the exercise
  • Flexible - Very comfortable to wear and allows your feet to move without constriction

Cons

  • Canvas material is not as durable as some materials so could tear after some use

EDITORS CHOICE

Next up are stylish shoes that are perfect for deadlifting and wearing casually. Converse shoes are surprisingly very good for deadlifting. This is due to their flat soles and high ankle support.

The flat sole helps the lifter stay closer to the ground reducing an overall range of motion and increasing balance. As the ankle moves under the heavy weight, Converse’s high ankle support provides another layer of stability and protection.

If you have a budget in mind, Chuck Taylors are an excellent choice. They have been the leader in budget footwear for lifters over many years. As we stated, Chuck Taylors are very comfortable to wear as they can be used casually as well as in the gym.

Not only are they slick to look at but they have many of the requirements needed for deadlift shoes such as cushioning to support your feet throughout the whole range of motions.

Chuck Taylors should last you years thanks to the durable and rigid flat soles. This helps distribute weights far more evenly than curved soles. This is due to the rubber construction which provides little compression when lifting heavy weights.

The canvas material on these shoes is highly flexible for an easy range of movements but doesn’t give the best support compared to some deadlift shoes with straps.

You can combat this by tying your laces tightly around the high ankle straps for added support. The support these shoes offer is more than enough for safe deadlifting and are an ideal choice if you are on a budget.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly - A relatively small price tag makes these a more accessible option for many deadlifters
  • Multi-purpose - The simple yet stylish design can be used for casual occasions as well as deadlifts
  • Great ankle support - High-top models include a supportive ankle collar to give your ankles extra support and stability when lifting
  • Help your feet stay connected to the ground - The super-flat sole and no toe drop helps your feet stay close to the ground throughout the exercise
  • Flexible - Very comfortable to wear and allows your feet to move without constriction

Cons

  • Canvas material is not as durable as some materials so could tear after some use

BEST VALUE

At number three we have the highly impressive Nordic Lifting Powerlifting Shoes. These are so good for lifting, they mentioned the term twice in the name!

However, even though this name suggests they are made specifically for deadlifting, they are actually made for squatting. Thankfully, they are just as good for deadlifts.

The design of these shoes allows for some serious weightlifting. If you’re looking to improve your performances and personal bests, Nordic’s powerlifting shoes could help you in that journey. These shoes provide superb foot support helping you through powerful workouts and a range of powerlifting exercises.

Even under immense stress, these shoes are built to last. They are built with a sturdy velcro strap for easy adjustability. The stitching and lacing are of top quality for long-lasting use. 

Nordic Lifting Powerlifting shoes can help your posture with a specially designed heightened heel of 1.4-inches. This will ensure the correct lifting position and is extremely beneficial for all stages of a deadlift exercise.  

The open forefront with cotton mesh allows for easy breathability for your feet when working out so the inside is well ventilated at all times.

These are available in all common sizes with a choice of back and blue to suit your style. Although there is an absence of ankle support, Nordic Powerlifting shoes are a great choice if you’re starting out with deadlifting.

Pros

  • Helps improve lifting performance - Excellent foot support help your feet stay grounded to lift heavier weights
  • Anti-slip sole - Your feet will stay secure and safe without the risk of slipping and potential injuries
  • Tight-fitting - The velcro straps can be fastened tightly to secure and protect your feet
  • 1-year warranty - Manufacturer offers warranty so you are covered in case of damage or tears
  • Highly durable - Top-quality stitching and lacing help the shoes stay intact even under immense pressure over time

Cons

  • Offers no ankle support for added stability and protection
  • Made specifically for squatting and not powerlifting

RUNNER UP

Many folks who deadlift like to use wrestling shoes for their stability and flat soles. One of the favorite shoes in the deadlifting community has been ASICS Men’s Matflex 5 Wrestling shoes.

These have all the requirements and characteristics that make up a good deadlifting shoe. You can use these shoes for other exercises too, especially squats for which these are ideal.

Some characteristics that make ASICS wrestling shoes perfect for deadlifting include their rubber soles. This sole offers excellent levels of durability against compression, especially when lifting heavyweights.

The soles are relatively flat for added connection to the ground. The lack of any heel design will prevent you from losing balance and ensure the barbell is on you throughout the entire deadlift.

Deadlift shoes are always made with traction buds on their outsoles to stop any risk of slipping and losing balance. ASICS wrestling shoes also include these providing wonderful traction and grip.

Your ankle will be fully supported thanks to a high raised ankle collar. This can be laced up tightly for added support while deadlifting.

The 5mm thick soles are considerably thinner than some other deadlift shoes making these shoes ideal for heavier weights and different weight lifting exercises.

ASICS wrestling shoes provide great performance for a very affordable price and when you wear these, you will understand why they have been so popular with deadlifters for many years.

Pros

  • Offer superb stability - The thin soles help you with a minimal range of movements when deadlifting
  • Raised ankle collar supports - Your ankles will be protected and supported sufficiently 
  • Anti-slip - Traction buds on the outsoles prevent slipping and losing balance
  • High-levels of compression - The flat soles offers great compression when lifting very heavy weights
  • Multi-purpose - Ideal for other exercises, especially squats

Cons

  • Soles are not completely flat like shoes made specifically for deadlifts but are more than adequate

RUNNER UP


Not many shoes are specifically designed for deadlift but there are many engineered in a way that is ideal for the exercise. One style is the boxing shoe.

These have the desired specifications that deadlift shoes require. Otomix Stingray Boxing shoes are very popular among deadlifters for their stability and comfort while in motion.

Otomix Stingray shoes are ideal for deadlifters for numerous reasons. One of the main reasons is its full ankle coverage. The elongated tall ankle collar provides supreme ankle support when lifting heavy weights. Not only is the ankle support perfect for deadlifts but if you are doing squats, your heels will benefit from this protection too.

Unlike many boxing shoes, Otomix Stingray shoes have a thinner and flatter sole. These allow for added stability when in the ring and, of course, when lifting heavy weights. Any heavy compression is supported excellently with the rubber design which offers high-levels of durability.

The lightweight nature of these shoes is also very unique. Deadlift shoes don’t always need to be light but heavier types can be uncomfortable on the feet over time.

Otomix Stingray Boxing shoes truly are multifunctional. You can use them for an array of sports such as boxing, MMA, martial arts, and powerlifting. If you like to mix things up in the gym, these will [provide secure support throughout.

Pros

  • Provide superior ankle support - The hi-top ankle collar design protects your ankle through all the range of motion
  • Lightweight - Very comfortable on the feet and flexible for easy maneuverability when needed
  • Highly durable - Leather and synthetic materials are high-quality for long-lasting use
  • Multi-purpose - Suitable for an array of exercises and sports including boxing, MMA, and martial arts
  • Offer extreme stability - The thin and flat soles provide stability as well as a minimal range of movement when lifting heavy weights

Cons

  • No arch or midfoot support to protect the whole foot constantly in deadlifts

RUNNER UP

If you’re looking for shoes that can be worn for casual wear as well as hard work in the gym, then NOBULL’s High-Top trainers could be ideal for you.

Not only are they amazingly stylish and chic, but they are also made from high-quality material that is durable so you can wear them time and time again.

NOBULL High-Top trainers are made with SuperFabric Guard plates on their mesh base layer. This adds extra support for heavier loads over time. This material is highly flexible and comfortable creating a 360-degree shield from various exercises such as rope climbs. 

A high-top collar design supports your ankles to a fantastic standard by stabilizing your joint with very little movement when holding and lifting the barbell. You will feel the benefit with a stable balance and added focus on lifting the weight to your fullest potential.

If you want shoes that stand up to hard work while being extremely comfortable, NOBULL High-Top trainers would be a worthy choice. Even with a relatively thicker sole, you should feel benefit almost immediately when you wear these for your next deadlift.

Pros

  • Secure fit for every direction - The high-top collar provides sufficient padding for a minimal range of movement during deadlifts
  • Added protection - High carbon lateral and medial guards offer extra security on the sidewalls
  • Superb ankle support - The high-top collar supports the ankles through the heavy lifting of weights
  • Highly durable - The SuperFabric Guard plates provide extra flexibility for long-lasting use
  • Multi-environment usage - The outside lug pattern allows for these trainers to be used in many different situations and sports

Cons

  • The soles are quite thick and not as supportive for your feet in deadlifts compared to thinner soles

RUNNER UP

These weightlifting shoes are highly durable and of great quality. You will have no complaints when using Adidas Men’s Adipower shoes with hard flat soles that are more like a traditional Olympic shoe with raised heels.

Although the raised heel isn’t ideal for deadlifts, many users love the feel of the shoes on their feet and use them for other exercises such as squats.

If you don’t mind a raised sole during deadlifts, these Adidas shoes could be perfect for your deadlifting journey. These shoes have a weightlifting-specific design to give you added support when lifting heavy loads.

The leather upper with a mesh tongue and collar provides a good amount of support through a deadlift. A power strap across the laces helps lock your foot down to reduce any movements when you lift.

You will have a secure foothold wearing these shoes thanks to a well-engineered chassis with a leather upper and a durable instep strap. If you are more advanced in the weightlifting game, Adidas Adipower trainers are ideal. It may take some time to get used to the raised heel for deadlifting but eventually, they should become your go-to pair.

With three different colors to choose from (red, black, and white), Adidas Adipower trainers should suit your preferred style. You will feel stylish but also confident you are performing at your best.

Pros

  • Superb quality - Designed with durable materials that are favored by many professional athletes
  • Suitable for overall weightlifting - Great support for a variety of weightlifting exercises
  • Fit securely - Power strap across the laces keep your foot in place with minimal movement through deadlifts
  • Choice of colors - 3 different colors to choose from to suit your style

Cons

  • These are currently only made and available for men
  • The heel is a little more raised than most deadlift shoes providing a little less stability

RUNNER UP

Over the last few years, some manufacturers have looked to combine barefoot deadlifting with shoes. Barefoot deadlifting isn’t the most practical way of doing the exercise but many prefer the grounding this gives.

Barefoot-style running shoes such as Merrel’s Vapor Glove 2 could be a unique alternative to other deadlift shoes on the market as well as going barefoot.

The soles on Merrel Vapor Glove 2 shoes are very thin. These make them ideal for deadlifts especially as the surface is completely flat across the whole foot with no toe drops.

Your feet will feel stable on the ground throughout your deadlifts for you to have the best balance possible. For added stability, the outsoles of these shoes have the best level of slip-resistant material when doing heavy deadlifts.

A breathable mesh lining lets air enter and leave your feet sufficiently so they can ventilate enough to keep you comfortable. You will have the utmost confidence in your feet when wearing these shoes with their unmatched durability and high-performance rubber soles.

If you like the idea of doing barefoot deadlifts but are a little hesitant in not using any form of footwear, Merrell’s vapor Glove 2 shoes are the best choice for you. Its glove-like fitting for your feet with minimalist construction will give you the most natural feel next to wearing no shoes whatsoever.

Pros

  • Barefoot like - Natural comfort with a minimalistic design offering a glove-like fit for your feet
  • Ideal for deadlifts - Very thin and flat soles offer the best balance for your feet when doing deadlifts
  • Offers maximum support - Zero cushioning allows your feet to stay stable and minimize any range of movements
  • Easy to maintain - Material can be washed and maintained easily over time
  • Vegan-friendly - These use 0% animal products in the design

Cons

  • No ankle support for heavy lifting
  • A narrow design which may be uncomfortable for those with wider feet

Best Shoes for Deadlifts Buying Guide

As you can see, the best deadlift shoes come with an array of designs and specifications. Although the designs vary, the best deadlift shoes typically have the same requirements and many specs in common. 

There are many factors to consider when choosing deadlift shoes. As you know, there are no shortcuts in progressing in sports, especially deadlifts. Deadlifts, as with most sports, require dedication, consistency, and the right equipment to help you progress.

In order to find the best shoes for deadlifting, you need to know the most important aspects that make them top quality. To help you make your final decision, we have listed the main factors below so you can shop in complete confidence going forward.

Flat and solid soles

Deadlift shoes need to have flatter soles than most regular shoes or trainers. The flatter the sole is, the easier it is for your feet to keep contact with the ground throughout your deadlift.

This is because there is a wider surface area that comes in contact with your feet as there is no arch separating the two. 

Flatter soles give you more stability and help control your deadlift far more. This leads to more power and a superior force output against any resistance.

Thin soles and thick soles

As we have said, your feet must be as close to the ground as possible when doing a deadlift. Thinner soles mean your feet are always closer to the ground than those with thicker soles.

The closer your feet are to the ground, the higher the barbell will reach. This means the bar won’t have to be lifted as high up to your shins reducing the risk of various injuries. This is why you may see many deadlifters wear socks or go barefoot as there is very little or no sole to hinder their lift overall.

It is important to remember that some gyms may not allow you to go barefoot. Also, competitions will force you to wear shoes so it may be worth getting used to shoes now if that is your ultimate goal.

Tight fit

This is one of the most important aspects of deadlift shoes. You want to search for shoes with a tight fit that won’t allow any movement of your feet within the shoe.

This will give you more balance and stability and reduce your range of motion.

Ankle support

Ankle support is imperative when doing deadlifts. So much pressure is applied to this part of the body so it needs as much support as possible. The last thing you want is your foot to be lifting inside your shoe from side to side as you go for your lift. 

To combat this, high-top shoes are favored by many. These add extra support behind the ankles so your feet don’t wobble or move. This reduces the risk of your ankle turning and causing serious injury.

An added bonus is that it will give you more focus on weight lifting as you won’t be worried about the risk of any movements in your shoes.

Even when you wear high-top shoes, you still need to ensure you have enough mobility and range of motion at your ankles. If your shoes limit the ability to point your toes upwards, this could impede your leverages and overall technique.

Traction and grip

When you’re deadlifting, you want as much traction as possible. If your feet slip in the middle of a heavy lift, you could lose balance and cause serious harm to yourself.

The best deadlift shoes are designed with traction buds on the outsoles to prevent slipping and loss of balance.

Signs of bad deadlift shoes

We have pointed out what to look out for in good quality deadlift shoes but there are many signs to keep an eye out for so you don’t end up with poorer quality shoes.

Some of these signs are:

  • Spongey, air and gel-filled shoes
  • Those with poor lateral support
  • Very thick-soled shoes

Spongey, airy, or gel-filled shoes should be avoided at all costs for deadlifts. This means most running shoes are rendered useless for deadlifts.

More padded shoes are made for absorbing the impact from hitting the hard ground on sidewalks as you run. These would be far too soft for deadlifts. Stability is key to a good deadlift. Spongey soles compress very easily so your feet would move all over the place inside your shoe.

If you’re under a heavier load, this added compression can cause your feet to become uneven on the ground, leading to possible injuries in the long run.

When you perform a deadlift, there will be an extreme amount of pressure on the outside of your shoes. This pressure is helpful in preventing your knees from becoming unstable and caving inwards.

Shoes that offer poor lateral support are usually too weak and unsupportive for deadlifts and other weight-related exercises. They can’t stand up to the continuous pressure on the sidewall of the shoes and will therefore break pretty quickly.

As we said earlier, thicker soles aren’t the best for deadlifts. Even if the shoe is flat and has a solid sole, the thickness can determine how well you can lift the bar. Thicker soles mean you will have to lift the bar further up making your deadlift harder than it should be.

In the end, you will constantly be doing deficit deadlifts putting more strain on your body than needs be. The maximum thickness is around 4mm, like our second entry, the Converse Chuck Taylor shoes. Any more than this is deemed unsuitable for deadlifts.

Benefits of deadlift shoes

There are a wide range of benefits when wearing specially designed deadlift shoes. Finding the right ones will give you a generous edge compared to the wrong type.

Even if you’re just starting in your deadlift journey, you will see the difference in good quality deadlift shoes compared to styles that aren’t suited to the exercise.

Some advantages of wearing proper deadlifts shoes include:

  • They help increase your stability and balance
  • They provide added foot support
  • They provide ankle support
  • They support the middle arch of your foot
  • They reduce your range of motion
  • They help maintain a good posture
  • Protects you from injuries

Stability and balance

The last thing you want when lifting a heavy weight is to lose your balance. Thankfully, deadlift shoes are made to boost your stability through your lower body as they keep your whole foot in contact with the ground at all times.

The flat soles support and direct this contact with the floor while the hard surface of the soles provides a solid grounding for your feet to stand on. A strapped collar is also added to many deadlift shoes to help keep your ankle secured sufficiently and well balanced.

Helps protect ankles

The two most important parts of your foot when completing a deadlift are the ankle and middle. Deadlift shoes are constructed to give these two areas the most support. This allows you to focus on the heavy lifting and achieve your best results. 

The ankle joint needs to be entirely stable throughout a deadlift. Minimizing its upward movement is key in completing a successful lift. A good quality deadlift shoe needs to be secure to support this joint but also flexible enough to bend backward and let you point your toes in an upward direction.

A high-collared front strap is found in many deadlift shoe designs and these come with varying levels of support. If you use the sumo stance when deadlifting, your ankle has to be fully supported to prevent injuries.

Arch support

The middle region of your foot needs just as much protection. Made up of upper metatarsal bones and the lower arch of your foot soles, this area needs to be packed firmly when deadlifting.

This is why most deadlift shoes are engineered with a strap for the metatarsal area to stabilize the whole part without constricting any bloody supply and cause discomfort.

Range of motion

As you now know, the range of motion should be at a minimum in the foot region while doing a deadlift. Thi soles allow this as your foot is as close to the floor as possible.

If your shoe has an extra few inches on its heel, this means you will need to pull the barbell a few inches more resulting in a more strenuous deadlift. This may not sound like much but an extra 2-inches is very hard to achieve when you’re doing a max lift.

Proper posture

The best deadlift shoes keep you in the correct position for the best lift. Of course, when you start, your posture and balance may not be perfect but this can only be achieved through consistent performance.

Your stability and posture will improve with consistency and this will help your overall technique. Wearing the best deadlift shoes will help you achieve better results and improve your performance over time.

Prevents injuries

Getting injured in deadlifts can, unfortunately, happen quite easily, especially in your foot’s region. The muscles, joints, and bones here are interconnected and can easily get damaged without proper protection.

Deadlift shoes will ensure your feet are well balanced while you’re lifting helping your technique improve and reduce the chances of any injuries.

Also, the non-slip material in these shoes prevents you from slipping and falling which could lead to abductor strains or even dropping the bar or plates on your feet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to do deadlifts without shoes?

This is a matter of personal preference with many deadlifters. However, many professionals believe they work out much better without shoes, especially when doing deadlifts. This is because there is less risk of an injury when barefoot as you are typically more stable.

On the other hand, most gyms prohibit barefoot workouts due to hygiene issues and if you’re looking to compete, you will have to use shoes as part of the regulations.

If you plan to compete, it is better to get used to wearing shoes earlier rather than later. If you deadlift for fun in your home or personal space, you may find it beneficial to go barefoot.

Should you wear weightlifting shoes for deadlifts?

It is a well-known fact that weightlifting shoes help you stand higher from the ground. This means you would have to pull the bar higher.

This is known as a deficit deadlift. All professional deadlifters use the thinnest soles possible as this reduces the height they have to lift the bar. Trust us, if they could go barefoot in competitions, most of them would.

Do lifting shoes actually help your deadlift?

You will find that most weightlifting shoes have a raised heel which allows you to squat into deeper positions. This is achieved through your ankle movements increasing.

Lifting shoes will help your overall position and keep you more stable than general shoes or trainers. The benefits can be felt very quickly as you’ll find yourself with a better posture and sitting more upright during your deadlift.

Kevin Harris

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