You need the best deadlift shoes for three primary reasons:
#1. Deadlifts are one of the most transformational full-body exercises you will ever do. But, they pose a higher risk of injury because of the load on the spine. As a result, safe deadlifting requires rock-solid stability, balance, and form.
An excellent pair of deadlift shoes will improve your stability by solidifying your connection to the floor. A stable connection allows you to exert maximum force against the floor to power your lift.
#2. The right shoes reduce the wiggle/squishy factor found in most running or gym shoes.
#3. Proper footwear will keep you as low as possible to the floor. And staying low to the ground reduces the distance you need to deadlift the barbell to a standing position.
These are the reasons for deadlifting in:
- squat and deadlift shoes, or
- with deadlift slippers,
- or in socks only
Nowadays, though, it is also not unusual to see people train squat and deadlift barefoot, without shoes at all. But, not wearing shoes is unsafe because of a lack of traction and protection for the foot itself.
Also, powerlifting shoes are mandatory in competitions to promote safety and hygiene.
Therefore, a great pair of shoes will simulate deadlifting barefoot while providing all the benefits of using footwear, such as; better grip, support, and stability.
Note: all IPF approved deadlift shoes must have an elevated heel height less than 5cm.
What are the most important features of good deadlift shoes?
The features most critical for learning, injury prevention, and mastering the deadlift are:
- Lightweight construction with a thin, flat sole
- Excellent grip and connection to the floor
Typical running shoes have a cushioned structure that is not suitable for lifting. Their compressible design does not give you the stability you need for strong deadlift support and performance.
Also, running shoes do not have a flat, thin sole like deadlift shoes. A flat bottom helps you connect best to the floor and feel grounded. You must push against the ground to power your lift as if you are doing a vertical leg press.
Instead, running shoes absorb the force you exert against the floor, and that limits your deadlift performance.
On the other hand, the thin and hard rubber sole of a deadlift shoe solves this problem. The perfect deadlift shoe provides an excellent grip on the floor. Therefore, the best deadlift footwear will help reduce knee or ankle injuries.
If you want to master the deadlift, you have to train safe and smart.
For these reasons, completely flat shoes for the deadlift are the only way to go.
Watch the video below from Strongman Alan Thrall on how to deadlift. In it, you will see that the very first issue he addresses for the novice lifter, is proper shoes for deadlifting. That’s how vital deadlift shoes are for beginners.
The Best Deadlift Shoes on the Market in 2020
Here are the best deadlift shoes on the market today for 2020:
1. Sabo Deadlift Shoes
Sabo Deadlift Shoes are specifically for deadlifting. They are very light and get your feet as close to the floor as possible, almost like you are indeed barefoot.
The soles of these shoes are ultra-thin, between 2 and 5 mm. As a result of such a thin sole, you will feel grounded to the floor.
The flat sole alone will improve your deadlift because your feet are firmly planted to the floor, ensuring a stronger foot drive to get the weight moving.
One feature Sabo has that others do not are the metatarsal straps. These two horizontal straps allow you to achieve a stable fit for your foot, ankles, and heels. The design helps your foot become sucked into the shoe, creating a tightness that allows you to deadlift or squat more weight. Also, you have little capability of moving your foot inward and outward, which solidifies your ankle support.
And, there is extra side support for the outer sole of the shoe, which gives you more excellent traction as opposed to deadlift slippers, primarily when you ‘spread the floor’ to power a squat.
The soles are of high-quality and durable material. The inner soles are super thin, and the shoe support lessens your chances of slipping. As a result, these shoes provide excellent traction and ankle support, which maximizes balance and stability for both the conventional and sumo deadlift.
Pairs currently retail for 80 to 90 dollars. All in all, Sabo Deadlift Shoes are one of the best you can purchase and use today.
2. Adidas Men’s HVC Wrestling Shoe
The Adidas Men’s HVC Wrestling Shoe is a training shoe that can be used for deadlifts as well. These Adidas deadlift shoes feature synthetic leather, which guarantees toughness and durability. They have a 1.5 cm raised heel and rubber soles for a better grip on the floor. Even though this goes against the flat sole rule, they have excellent support, stability, and durability.
They also have the metatarsal strap to provide rearfoot power support.
A good recommendation is to not wear these shoes outside and strictly only for the lifts you perform. They are generally sought after for squats but can be well-used for deadlifting as well. Why would squat shoes help the deadlift? Because a slight raise in the heel takes some tension off the hamstrings and places more onto the quadriceps starting the pull.
The elevated heel is also helpful to reach greater depth in the squat and front squat while maintaining an upright chest which translates to better technique.
You can find Adidas Men’s HVC Wrestling Shoe in a variety of different colors and retail for 80 to 160 dollars.
3. Nike Metcon 4 Cross Trainer Shoes
Nike developed the Metcon 4 Cross-Trainer Shoe for CrossFit and functional fitness.
However, powerlifters eventually recognized Metcon 4 as one of the best shoes for deadlifting. As a result, the powerlifting community refers to them as Nike deadlift shoes.
The base of the shoe has a slight heel-to-toe drop of 4 mm, well within the 5cm IPF raised heel limit. As a result, these CrossFit shoes are perfect for deadlifts.
Also, the elastic outsole material gives phenomenal footing. It’s a steady shoe as the Metcons achieve a secure fit around the foot because of Nike’s Flywire feature. The Flywire thread, composed of Vectran or nylon, minimizes weight and maximizes support.
This Flywire, along with the binding framework, helps keep your foot secure and locked into place. Even though they do not have metatarsal straps, they still feel stable and grounded.
Nike Metcon 4 are the shoes I wear for squats and deadlifts. I eliminated constant knee pain on squats and deadlifts once I switched from running shoes to Nike Metcon 4, which is why I highly recommend Nike Metcon 4.
They are among the most popular workout shoes on the market and come in a wide variety of color options. Nike Metcon 4 Premium Cross-Training shoes retail for 60 to 140 dollars.
4. Asics JB Elite V2.0 Wrestling Shoes
The Asics JB Elite V2.0 Wrestling Shoe is similar to the Sabo. Intended mainly for the sport of wrestling, this type of footwear is excellent for deadlifting, as well.
The rubber sole keeps you firmly planted and flat against the floor. They are lightweight at 6.8 oz and offer a comfortable, supportive fit. And they are easy to use for basic weight training as well.
However, they are missing the metatarsal strap, which some do prefer not to have attached since they do not use it.
Asics JB Elite V2.0 Wrestling Shoes come in a vast range of colors, which makes no difference to performance, but there is nothing wrong with looking good in the gym. You can find this type of deadlift shoe for 60 to 100 dollars.
5. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Top
This classic footgear started for football but soon found its popularity in deadlifting. Chuck Taylors are mentioned so often by powerlifters that it would be out of place not to include them in this deadlift shoe review. Some of the best lifters swear these are the best lifting shoes for them.
These shoes may not seem like an obvious choice at first. But, the truth is that they share many of the same characteristics as modern deadlifting shoes. And they are not as expensive as the more specialized and technical lifting shoes.
And, because they are more comfortable than deadlifting shoes, you can wear them all the time, even when not lifting.
Chuck Taylors are well-built, flat-soled shoes with a firm grip, no cushion support, and, therefore, a stable base. Some people criticize these shoes for their lack of side support and cushioning, but this is an advantage for deadlifting. The canvas uppers are light and adaptable, more so than some training shoes.
They are one of the best shoes to have around because you can wear them for every type of weight training.
By far, Chuck Taylors are the most popular type of shoe for performing deadlifts. The best part about them is that they are durable and affordable, ranging from 20 to 60 dollars in low and high top designs. If you have a high top model, you may want to leave the top unlaced for greater freedom of movement.
#1. Are weightlifting shoes good for deadlifts?
Yes, you can use weightlifting shoes to deadlift. However, make sure that they have flat, thin soles, as explained above.
#2. What about deadlifting in Oly shoes?
Olympic weightlifting shoes are for Olympic style weightlifting, which is also known as Oly-lifting. There are two lifts performed in Olympic weightlifting:
- clean and jerk
An Olympic shoe has a higher heel, which puts you into a better position for these lifts. But, deadlifting in heeled lifting shoes is not a good idea for a few reasons:
- An elevated heel increases the distance you have to pull the weight.
- The raised heel compromises your foot stability, which increases the chances of injury.
- A heeled shoe is more likely to cause balance issues, especially if you are a beginner.
#3. Deadlifting in squat shoes
You can use squat shoes for deadlifting because they have a stable sole. But, similar to Oly-shoes, the raised heel of a squat shoe is of no benefit for deadlifting. Except in the case where you want more stress on your quadriceps than on your hamstrings.
Generally speaking, squat shoes are best for squats, which require more ankle flexion and mobility. For deadlifting, it is ideal you get shoes that have a flat sole.
However, you can wear one pair of shoes for squats and deadlifts. See the 5 best shoes for squats and deadlifts on the market today in 2020 with ratings for each exercise.
#4. Can you squat in deadlift shoes?
Yes, for example, you can use Nike Metcon 4 for both squats and deadlifts. Flat soles are essential for squats, mainly to prevent the lateral movement of running shoes. Comfortable running shoes are excellent for running but dangerous for the squat, especially as the load increases. You want your legs and knees to have the most robust support possible.
This video will give you more insight into the importance of proper footwear:
Today’s Best Deadlift Shoes – Final Thoughts
The deadlift is an incredibly powerful movement to transform your body. But, it has one of the highest risks of injuries if not done correctly. A slight mishap in balance can result in a leg, knee, elbow, or back injury.
So, there is little room for error when deadlifting. You can improve your form by using the best gear. And when it comes to deadlifting, a great pair of shoes is a critical piece of equipment.
You will perform the deadlift more efficiently with any of the shoes reviewed above. The type that you want depends on which shoes are most comfortable for you.
Deadlifts are already a great exercise to perform for your body regardless if for strength, muscle, or even both. The shoes make them a bit easier to deadlift, especially as the resistance gets heavier. Execute these exercises safer with this great variety of deadlift shoes.
If you need to lose weight before starting a deadlift program, use this free guide to lose 20 pounds in 3 months. And now that you have the best deadlift shoes, all you need is an excellent pair of deadlift shin guards, and a great beginner deadlift workout routine to get started.
Last but not least, you can wear one pair of shoes for squats and deadlifts. To that end, see the 5 best shoes for squats and deadlifts on the market today in 2020 with how the shoes rate for squats or deadlifts.
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