5 Best Deadlift Shoes on the Market Today in 2019
Why do you need the best deadlift shoes? There are many reasons to use a good pair of shoes:
- The deadlift is one of the most powerful full body compound exercises.
- But, it also carries a higher risk of injury because of the potential weight lifted and load on the spine.
- Therefore, deadlifting demands the best stability, balance, and form possible.
- The best deadlift shoes improve your ‘connection' with the floor.
- This allows you to effectively drive against the floor to power your lift.
- The right shoes reduce the ‘wiggle/squishy' factor found in most ‘comfortable' running/gym shoes.
- Great deadlift shoes will keep you as low as possible to the floor.
- This reduces the distance you need to deadlift the barbell to a standing position.
Nowadays though, it is not unusual to see people squat and deadlift without shoes at all. There are three primary reasons for deadlifting barefoot, with deadlift slippers or in socks only:
- Be as close to the ground as possible
- This reduces the distance the bar must travel
- Feel as grounded and connected to the floor as possible
- This helps you maximize your push against the floor to power the deadlift
But, not wearing shoes is unsafe because of a lack of traction, and protection for the foot itself. In addition, most gyms and powerlifting/weightlifting competitions require shoes.
Therefore, a great pair of shoes will simulate deadlifting barefoot, while providing all the benefits of a shoe. Such as; better grip, support, and stability.
Why Wear Shoes Specifically Designed for Deadlifts?
Today, there are excellent athletic shoes designed for a variety of sports. For example; wrestling, CrossFit, soccer, rope climbing, and hand to hand combat, they all have recommended footwear. Similarly, there are shoes which can help you with deadlifting.
The features most critical for learning, injury prevention and mastering the deadlift are:
- Lightweight construction with a thin, flat sole
- Great grip and connection to the floor
Typical running or athletic shoes have a cushioned construction that is not suitable for lifting. Their comfortable design does not give you the stability you need for strong deadlift support and performance.
In addition, running or athletic shoes do not have a flat, thin sole like deadlift shoes. A flat sole helps you connect best to the floor and feel grounded. You must push against the ground to power your deadlift as if you are doing a vertical or reverse leg press.
Instead, running shoes keep absorbing the force you exert against the floor. In turn, that limits your potential deadlift performance.
On the other hand, the thin and hard rubber sole of a deadlift shoe solves this problem. A good deadlift shoe provides a great grip and connection to the floor. Proper deadlift footwear will also 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 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 important deadlift shoes are for beginners.
Here are some of the best deadlift shoes on the market today in 2019:
Sabo Deadlift Shoes are designed specifically for deadlifting. But, they can also be used for all types of weight lifting as well. 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 help you pull better. This is because you are firmly planted to the floor ensuring better foot drive to get the weight moving.
One feature they have that others do not are the metatarsal straps. These two horizontal straps allow you to achieve a solid fit for your foot, ankles, and heels. The design helps your foot become sucked into the shoe creating a tightness that allows more weight to be pulled. Also, you have little capability of moving your foot inward and outward.
This solidifies your ankle support.
And, there is extra side support for the outer sole of the shoe. This gives greater traction as opposed to deadlift slippers, especially 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. This maximizes balance and stability for both the conventional and sumo deadlift.
The Adidas Performance Men’s Powerlift.2 Trainer is a training shoe that can be used for deadlifts as well. These Adidas shoes are made out of 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 rear foot power support. These shoes are an asset to those who want to become more serious about powerlifting.
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 deadlift shoes 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.
Adidas Performance Men’s Powerlift.2 Trainer can be found in a variety of different colors and retail for 80 to 160 dollars.
PS – The Adidas Adipower is also a noteworthy deadlifting shoe. However, because of it's more narrow toe box and raised heel, they are more suitable for squats. But, there are lifters who like deadlifting in these as well.
My favorite deadlift shoes are the Nike Metcon 4 Premium Cross-Training shoes. They were initially created for CrossFit and functional fitness in mind but not specifically powerlifting.
Nevertheless, powerlifters eventually recognized their value for both squats and deadlifts. As a result, they have achieved a wider audience in the powerlifting community as Nike deadlift shoes. They are great for beginner to advanced lifters.
The base of the shoe has a slight heel-to-toe drop of 4 mm. As a result, these flat shoes are perfect for squats and deadlifts.
In addition, the elastic outsole material gives phenomenal footing. It's a steady shoe as the Metcons achieve a strong 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 solid and grounded.
I know, because Nike Metcon 4 are the shoes I wear for squats and deadlifts. Switching from running shoes to deadlift shoes eliminated the knee pain I was experiencing on squats and deadlifts. This is why Nike Metcon 4 are great shoes for squats and deadlifts. I highly recommend them.
They are among the most popular workout shoes on the market and comes in a wide variety of color options. Nike Metcon 4 Premium Cross-Training shoes retail for 60 to 140 dollars.
A shoe similar to the Sabo pair is called the Asics JB Elite V2.0 Wrestling Shoe. Intended mainly for the sport of wrestling, this type of footwear is great for deadlifting in as well. The rubber sole keeps you firmly planted and flat against the floor. They are lightweight at 6.8 oz and offer a good, 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 great range of colors. This will make no difference to the 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.
The tried and true, good old fashioned Chuck Taylor. The shoes started off as gear for football but soon found their popularity in deadlifting. This brand is mentioned so often by powerlifters that it would be out of place not to include them in this deadlift shoe review. In fact, some of the best lifters swear these are the best deadlifting shoes for them.
These shoes may not seem like an obvious choice at first. But, the truth is that they actually share many of the same characteristics as modern deadlift shoes. And they are not as expensive as the more specialized and technical lifting shoes.
Because they are more comfortable than deadlift shoes, you can wear them all the time, even when not deadlifting.
There are no special features designed for sports and nothing that makes them excessively expensive. They are just well-built, flat shoes with a strong grip and 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.
Converse Chuck Taylors are one of the best deadlift shoes to have around. They don’t require much extra care for those who just want to have one pair of shoes for lifts.
They can be used for every type of lift and are flat soled with no cushion support.
By far the most popular type of shoe for performing deadlifts. The best part about them is that Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops are durable and very affordable ranging from 20 to 60 dollars in low and high top designs.
Just be aware that if you have a high top model, you may want to leave the top unlaced for greater freedom of movement.
This video will give you more insight into the importance of proper footwear. In addition, it is an excellent tutorial on the essential deadlift fundamentals you must know:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions regarding deadlift shoes:
1. Are weightlifting shoes good for deadlifts?
You can use weightlifting shoes for deadlifts. However, make sure that they have flat, thin soles for all the reasons explained above.
2. Can you deadlift 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.
3. Can you squat in deadlift shoes?
Yes, I use Nike Metcon 4 for both squats and deadlifts for the reasons mentioned above. Flat deadlift shoes are great for squats, especially to prevent the squishy wiggle lateral movement of running shoes. Comfortable running shoes are great for running but dangerous for the squat, especially as the load increases. You want your legs and knees to have the strongest, most solid support possible.
4. Should Oly shoes be used for deadlifting?
Olympic weightlifting shoes are designed for Olympic style weightlifting, which is sometimes referred to as Oly-lifting. There are 2 powerful lifts performed in Olympic weightlifting:
- The Snatch
- The Clean and Jerk
Oly-shoes are designed with a higher heel which puts you into a better position for these lifts. Deadlifting in heeled shoes is not a good idea for a few reasons:
- A heeled shoe is more likely to cause balance issues especially if you are a beginner.
- The raised heel compromises your foot stability. This increases the chances of injury.
- A higher heel increases the distance you have to pull the weight.
Is there any reason to make the deadlift harder than it already is?
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. That's right, you can even injure your elbow deadlifting. I know, because I did.
So, there is little room for error when deadlifting. You can improve your deadlift form by using the best gear. And when it comes to deadlifting, a great pair of deadlift shoes is a critical piece of equipment.
You will perform the deadlift more efficiently with any of the deadlift shoes reviewed above. The type that you want really depends on which shoes are most comfortable for you. I give you my recommendation, the Nike Metcon 4 Premium Cross-Training shoes.
Deadlifts are already a great exercise to perform for your body regardless if for strength, muscle, or even both. The shoes just make them a bit easier to perform especially as the resistance gets heavier. Execute the exercise safer with this great variety of deadlift shoes to choose from.
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