Reviews

Best Deadlift Shoes in 2020 – Reviewed

When working with heavyweights, you must have the right shoes. This can be the difference between a clean lift that is safe and feeling a lack of confidence which can cause you to waver. for many people, deadlift shoes are the most important purchase you can make when upping the intensity and increasing the weights on your deadlift, which is why we have taken this seriously.

After reviewing the best the market has to offer, we have compiled a list of the best deadlift shoes available. Each one would make an excellent purchase and can help to reach a new PB. With something for every budget, these are elite shoes, for serious lifters.

Quick Summary of Best Deadlift Shoes

 Editor’s Choice 
Sabo Deadlift Shoes  (review)
 Best For Grip 
ASICS Men’s Matflex 5 Wrestling Shoe  (review)
 Best Womens 
Otomix Women’s Stingray Escape Bodybuilding Weightlifting  (review)
 Best Design 
adidas Men’s Adizero Wrestling XIV-M Shoes  (review)
 Best For Various Uses 
NOBULL Men’s High-Top Trainer  (review)
 Best Slipper Design 
FitKicks Original Men’s Edition Foldable  (review)

Reviews

Editor’s Choice: Sabo Deadlift Shoes

Considered by many to the best deadlift shoes available, these tick all the right boxes to give you the stability needed for huge lifts. The anatomical design ensures they are built specifically with deadlifting in mind and have an ultra-thin feel because of the 2 – 5 mm sole that gives you a minimal range of motion so the bar doesn’t have so far to travel.

The lateral straps ensure a customizable, comfortable fit and the high uppercut materials are breathable, offering plenty of support around the ankles. The side support allows for a wider spread without compromising stability and the outsole features a tailor-made design for added grip. Made for powerlifting and deadlifts, these are a common sight around serious gyms and are available in a handful of colors.

PROS:

  • 2- 5 mm sole ideal for deadlifting
  • Lateral straps for added comfort
  • Lots of ankle support
  • Breathable design
CONS:

(none)

Best For Grip: ASICS Men’s Matflex 5 Wrestling Shoe

Ok, before anyone says it, yes these are wrestling shoes, but they are ideal for deadlifts which is why they are a common sight around the squat rack in many gyms. They feature all the attributes a deadlift shoe needs to make it perfect including a synthetic sole that has plenty of grip in the right areas, yet a thin sole.

Also, there is what Asics describe as a lace garage, which allows you to tuck the laces away so there is no risk of tripping. The gum rubber traction buds on the outsoles make them grippy and durable and there are breathable pockets in the areas that need it the most. We also like the slick design to top it all off. With a raised collar for added support, as deadlift shoes go, these are right up there with the best.

PROS:

  • Thin sole
  • Traction buds for perfect grip
  • Breathable pockets
  • Slick design
CONS:

  • They run small for some

Best Womens: Otomix Women’s Stingray Escape Bodybuilding Weightlifting

With a variety of uses, these are some of the best all-round gym shoes for women, especially deadlifts. They feature plenty of breathable meshed areas yet have a good amount of support, particularly around the ankle. The thin soles have been specially designed for added grip which is why a lot of women use them for wrestling as well as deadlifting.

The shoes themselves are best described as light as a feather and are available in half sizes to ensure anyone can find the perfect fit. With a durable feel to them, these are the go-to deadlift shoes for a lot of women.

PROS:

  • Available in half sizes
  • Lightweight design
  • Breathable
  • Lots of ankle support
CONS:

  • Some people say they are not true to size

Best Design: adidas Men’s Adizero Wrestling XIV-M Shoes

Another wrestling shoe that is so tailor-made for what you need, they may as well be deadlift shoes. There is the reputable Adidas name behind it, which explains the quality, and with lace-up closure and highly breathable fabric design, there is a lot to like about this product.

The rubberized inserts make it easy to grip during a deadlift and the flat sole ensures stability is something you never need to worry about. The high collar provides a good amount of support and although some people need to purchase a half size up if you have wide feet, these have the right amount of cushioning for deadlifting and squats, not to mention they are among the best looking shoes for deadlifts.

PROS:

  • Breathable fabric
  • Great design
  • Rubberized insert
  • Ideal cushioning
CONS:

  • Some people need to go a half size up

Best For Various Uses: NOBULL Men’s High-Top Trainer

A stylish and popular deadlift shoe, NOBULL knows a thing or two about how to make quality gym wear. The high top design ensures it offers adequate ankle support for deadlifts and there is plenty of padding to help make feet feel secure. Designed with CrossFit exercises in mind, these include deadlifts but that is the reason why the outsole is so well put together, so rope pulls and the likes do not damage the shoe.

The outsole lug pattern gives them plenty of grips and also makes them useful for different uses, increasing traction, and flexibility. The lateral and medial guards are made from high carbon so there is added protection. Because the padding is flat enough for Deadlifting, they make a suitable choice, yet there is still enough give so they can be worn for other exercises too.

PROS:

  • High top design for ankle support
  • Lots of traction
  • Flat padding
  • Quality outsole
CONS:

  • Can be a bit pricey for some

Best Slipper Design: FitKicks Original Men’s Edition Foldable

Some people like to deadlift barefoot and we’re not a massive fan of this approach but anyone looking to go for such an approach should opt for these slippers instead. Described as a minimalist shoe, a lot of people wear them for Yoga but the thin sole is what makes them a good option for deadlifting. There is minimal cushioning but that’s what you want and with a protective toe guard and pull tab it has some neat features.

They conform to the foot and offer an ergonomic fit, which means they can help the wearer grip to a surface in comfort, without having to worry about slipping because they are barefoot. For a free range of motion, these are a good option but of course, there is no ankle support. This is one for people who like the free feel of barefoot lifting, but with added grip.

PROS:

  • Minimal cushioning
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Comfortable feel
  • Extra grip
CONS:

  • No ankle support

Deadlift Shoes Buyer’s Guide

Getting a grip on the bar is one thing, but gripping the flow is another. Quality deadlift shoes make a huge difference to technique, stance, stability, and confidence. This is why this is such an important purchase and one you do not want to get wrong. 

Regular gym shoes will not suffice when deadlifting, which is why we have created the following buyer’s guide. To make life easier when things get heavy, read on to make sure you end up with a quality pair of deadlift shoes.

What To Look For In Deadlift Shoes

Stability

This is where a heavily cushioned shoe will not suffice. The less padding there is on the outsole, the more stability there will be. A deadlift shope needs to ensure there is as little room for movement as possible for the safety of a lifter. Things like an elevated heel are important for running where the range of motion is different, and landing is vital, but not for the deadlift. An elevated hee can push the wearer forward, changing their stance for the worse. 

Support

This is usually for the angle which is why a lot of brands use a high-top design for their deadlift shoes. When you need to keep everything stable, the ankle can rock back and forth in the wrong shoes, something highly detrimental to the success of a deadlift. Also, look for support in the midfoot and arch, these areas should ideally have reinforced stability rather than simple meshing. A slightly raised arch is always good as long as the padding is minimal to zero to make them as stable as possible.

Breathability

No one wants sweaty feet in the gym, not only can it cause them to slip around in a shoe, but it is can be unhygienic. This is why pst deadlift shoes will still be made with breathable areas in the right places. A meshed design is usually the most desirable here but anything that can allow them to breathe, even when only worn for short periods.

Design

Not as high on most people’s list for a reason, safety and performance come first, but it doesn’t hurt to stand out a little if you want to. Most brands tend to make deadlift shoes in a variety of color combinations so you can show off your personality a little, or just match a gym outfit. 

Range of Motion

A free range of motion is going to be detrimental to deadlift as having the foot move around when you need stability is going to cause a headache for your stance and form. What you want is a shoe that keeps everything in place without the option of things moving around which can be dangerous. 

Hard Outsole

A soft, plush outsole is going to be too spongy which can prevent the foot from staying in place so well. Most deadlift shoes feature a flat outside with minimal padding to ensure the wearer is not only low to the ground but has increased stability. 

Support Straps

These are the sort of features one might get with wrestling shoes, but also deadlift shoes. A support strap helps to support the metatarsal and prevents over-extending. Above all, straps help to keep feet in the right position, increasing stability during a deadlift. 

Can You Wear Normal Sneakers For Deadlifts?

The short answer is no, you shouldn’t wear regular sneakers, and here’s why. The elevated heel is detrimental for a start. It is designed to cushion every step when running but for deadlifting, it changes the wearer’s posture and encourages them to lean forward. This is not good when you need stability, so only a flat shoe will suffice. 

Then, there is the free range of motion that comes with wearing sneakers and different types of trainers. When you need to keep everything stable and in place, free motion is the opposite of what you want.

What Can Happen If You Wear The Wrong Shoes For Deadlifts?

A raised heel can result in the barbell coming off the lifter, combined with lost balance, this can be dangerous, to say the least. A lot of people will find it difficult to keep increasing the weight of their max lift as there comes a point where stability is key. To compensate for the movement, the back has to work harder than it should, and this can lead to a painful injury. 

Added range of motion will always result in a more challenging lockout so any raised heel or sneaker that has too much room to move around in is bad news. Added padding on the outsole also makes each lift that little more difficult since you are lifting the weight that bit higher from the ground.

Why Do Some People Take Their Shoes Off When Deadlifting?

As an alternative to a regular gym sneaker, going barefoot has its benefits. Although we don’t recommend it as an alternative to deadlift shoes, there are some reasons why people do it. The most common include the fact that it helps to control the range of motion, moves the weight to the back, and can be better for balance compared to a lot of sneakers. If this is an approach that interests you, we recommend finding a slipper style shoe for deadlifting as it will provide better traction.

How Do Deadlift Shoes Cost?

Although these are specialist shoes that do not have a wide range of uses, they are worth investing in for any serious dead lifter. Still, for a reasonable price, you can land a quality product which is why $80 can get you a pair that will last a long time, and provide support in the right areas. The elite products tend to be closer to double that but this can land a product that has higher quality materials. 

What Are The Best Deadlift Shoes?

After reviewing various products, we found the Sabo Deadlift Shoes to be the best. With an outsole of 2 mm – 5 mm, they allow the wearer to feel confident in their form as the stability can be felt from the first use. Lateral straps help keep everything in place, and there is plenty of breathable meshing for these high-quality deadlift shoes. 

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