Home » 7 Best Deadlift Shoes 2022 | Picks for Powerlifting, Wide Feet, and More

7 Best Deadlift Shoes 2022 | Picks for Powerlifting, Wide Feet, and More

When we’re talking about exercises like squats and deadlifts, footwear selection matters. Deadlift shoes can make a big difference when your goal is building a strong deadlift and trying to maximize your performance. When discussing the best deadlift shoes, we have to ask the question, “Best for what?”

When discussing topics like the best deadlift shoes, I like to take the approach that breaks shoe round-ups into certain categories. For example, a recreational lifter or beginner doesn’t necessarily need a pair of more expensive dedicated deadlift shoes that a powerlifter would wear for their sport.

Now, this doesn’t mean that they (beginners and recreational lifters) shouldn’t pay attention to what shoes they’re wearing for deadlifts, more so, that there are other options that would likely fit their needs better and be more versatile/useful for other styles of training. Below, I’m going to break the best deadlift shoes into seven specific categories.

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for the Gym

When talking about the best deadlift shoes for the gym, I’m referencing shoes that will be best for recreational lifters. These are lifters that deadlift regularly but don’t necessarily plan to compete.

For this lifter, often a pair of deadlift shoes that can be worn for deadlifts and other exercises will be best. This way you’re not spending money excessively on a pair of shoes that you may not necessarily need.

Top Choice: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

Hands down the best and my favorite shoe for deadlifting is the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. If we’re talking about deadlift-specific training, then shoes like Converse and Vans will only go so far. Don’t get me wrong, Converse and Vans are a great choice for beginner and intermediate lifters, but their stack height leaves them limited in function and a good pair of barefoot shoes will fair much better.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii lifting

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III has a stack height of 5mm and a full rubber sole. Compare this to something like a Converse or Vans that has a stack height of at least an inch and it’s easy to see how a solid pair of barefoot shoes top one of these models when we’re really trying to optimize performance.

On top of having a super-thin sole, the sockliner in this model is also removable which gets you even closer to the ground to replicate a true barefoot feeling. The last perk of this model is that their toe box is super wide so you can really spread the toes and grip the floor below you produce power.

  • Best For: Maximizing Deadlift Performance and Barefoot Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 8.85 ounces (size 10 high-top model)
  • Read More: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

$145.00

vivobarefoot primus lite 3
4.8
Stability
4.9
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Heavy Weight Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Workouts
  • Lighter Runs and Athletic Training

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Longer Barefoot-Style Running Workouts

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for Powerlifting

For my powerlifting-specific friends, you likely already have your preferred deadlift shoes that you like to compete and train in. Whether that’s a pair of Converse, Sabo Deadlift Shoes, or a pair of deadlift slippers, what’s most important is that your footwear matches your performance goals best.

For powerlifters, what’s most important is that you’re wearing a shoe you’re confident lifting AND are competition approved. Always check your federation’s guidelines before investing in a new pair of deadlift shoes.

Top Choice: Sabo Deadlift Shoes

Sabo Deadlift Shoes are continuing to grow in popularity due to their durable and deadlift-focused construction. I like this model’s high-top construction and the additional support it provides when pulling. The top strap is velcro so it provides an adequate range of motion and never feels limiting.

The sole is fully rubber with traction geared towards maximizing ground contact in both conventional and sumo deadlifts. If you’re a sumo deadlift-focused athlete, this shoe grips the floor well and there’s never a chance of the lateral side of the shoe folding over when spreading the floor.

  • Best For: Deadlift-Focused Goals and Powerlifting Athletes
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 14.3 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Read More: Sabo Deadlift Shoe Review

SABO Deadlift Shoes

$89.99

SABO Deadlift Shoe
4.7
Stability
4.9
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.8

Best For

  • Conventional Deadlifts
  • Sumo Deadlifts
  • Powerlifting

Falls Short

  • For Anything That Isn’t Deadlifts!

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for Beginners

Similar to the recreational lifting section above, the best deadlift shoes for beginners will be a footwear option that is relatively low on the financial and commitment side.

Personally, I think a great pair of deadlift shoes for beginners are a pair of shoes that can be worn for other lifting activities, daily life, and not break the bank in doing so.

Top Choice: Vans Sk8-Hi

The Vans Sk8-Hi model is similar to the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star in regard to it being a tried and true classic. I feel like most lifters who are interested in powerlifting start with either Vans or Converse and for good reason. The Vans Sk8-Hi offers a flat 0mm heel-to-toe drop and can hold its own with heavy loading.

vans sk8 hi for lifting

In addition, the toe box has okay width so most lifters will find them plenty comfortable for accommodating full toe splay and gripping the floor. Plus, the vulcanized rubber sole and rubber waffle outsole provide a nice level of traction and stability on a variety of surfaces. Outside of being fantastic for static strength work, the Vans Sk8-Hi has a classic and simplistic look for daily wear.

  • Best For: Deadlift-Focused Goals and Beginner Lifters
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: No
  • Weight: 15.7 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Read More: Vans Sk8-Hi Review

Vans Sk8-Hi

$70

vans sk8 hi
4.7
Stability
4.8
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Barbell Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Squats and Deadlifts
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Breathability
  • For Versatile Training

 

Runner Up: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

The Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is a tried and true classic for general strength work. They’re not the most optimized or absolute best shoe for deadlift — hence why they’re my runner-up — but for beginners and intermediates, they can be quality cost-efficient options.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars offer a 0mm drop which provides your foot with a flat and grounded feeling. In addition to their 0mm drop construction, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star shoes also offer non-compressive soles which are fantastic for heavier lifts.

converse chuck taylor all star high top for lifting

I like this shoe for recreational lifters because it provides the 0mm drop and stability we’re after with deadlifts shoes and they can be worn for other lifts and on a casual basis. This makes the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star much more dynamic in nature compared to other more specific deadlift shoes.

  • Best For: Recreational Lifting and Casual Deadlifting
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 14.3 ounces (size 10 high-top model)
  • Read More: Converse Vs Vans

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

$60

Converse Taylor All-Star
4.3
Stability
4.7
Versatility
3.8
Durability
4.0

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Heavier Strength Training
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Deadlifting

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • Long-Term Durability

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for Wide Feet

If you have wide feet, then the last thing you want is your foot to feel cramped in your shoe’s toe box when deadlifting. The ability to splay the toes fully and utilize your wider base will be an asset for strong pulls.

For wider footed individuals, one of the best options to look into is barefoot shoes which are also shoes that could technically fulfill any of the sections in this list.

Top Choice: Xero Shoes Prio

The Xero Shoes Prio is a no-frills barefoot shoe designed to tackle gym-focused work. This model has a grippy rubber sole and a removable insole to get even closer to the ground. For deadlift-focused athletes, this is a huge perk to create a high level of connection with the ground when rooting the feet.

Xero Shoes Prio Review

The Prio is also a nice model because if you’re wanting to get into barefoot shoes or barefoot training it’s a great intro model. It can hold its own on a deadlift platform and also serve as a solid barefoot shoe for other realms of lifting and training.

In addition, this model’s toe box is plenty wide even for the widest feet and the overall upper is lightweight and breathable. The Prio also has a fair price point of $89.99 USD, which is much less than other barefoot shoe competitors on the market.

  • Best For: Deadlift-Focused Goals and General Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 9.4 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Read More: Xero Shoes Prio Review

Xero Shoes Prio

$89.99

4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Heavy Barbell Work
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Casual Runs
  • Barefoot Shoe Newbies
  • Cost Efficiency

Falls Short

  • For Dedicated Barefoot Runners

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for Budget

If you’re trying to save on a pair of shoes for deadlifts, then I would highly suggest actually looking at something like a deadlift slipper. Wait, slippers, what? Yup!

Deadlift slippers are fantastic because they replicate a more barefoot feel and they’re fairly cost-efficient. Plus, if you only wear them for training, then they should last you a while as well.

Top Choice: Lifting Large Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers

The Lifting Large Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers are great because they come at a cost-efficient price and are approved for pretty much every federation’s equipment standards for deadlifting. They replicate a barefoot feeling and their toe box is plenty wide for those with wider feet.

If you’re trying to save money and want an absolute no-frills option and you don’t care about having a physical shoe, then I’d say go with the Lifting Large Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers. They also have additional straps for security for both conventional and sumo deadlifts.

Lifting Large Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers

$29.99

4.3
Stability
4.8
Versatility
3.8
Durability
4.0

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Deadlift-Focused Goals
  • Budget-Friendliness

Falls Short

  • Anything Other Than Deadlifting (lol)

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for Sumo Deadlifts

For my sumo-focused friends, when finding a perfect pair of deadlift shoes for your pulling style, you’ll want to consider the sole of the shoe and lateral upper and sole construction.

Most deadlift shoes will work for sumo, however, you have to keep an eye out for some of the more flimsy options which can actually have the upper roll under when pulling and spreading the floor (I’ve had this happen wearing slippers before).

Top Choice: Xero Shoes 360

If you want a fantastic option for sumo deadlifts, then I’d highly suggest checking out the Xero Shoes 360. This model is designed for cross-training, however, I really like the extended sole wrap on the lateral side. Hence why I’m including this model as my top pick for sumo deadlifts.

Xero Shoes 360 Upper

Like the Xero Shoes Prio, you can remove the insole in the 360 and get super close to the ground. With the full rubber sole and breathable upper, I think most will enjoy deadlifting and training in this model as it does provide a good level of versatility. In regard to sumo deadlifts, the Sabo Deadlift Shoes are also a good option.

Outside of deadlifting, this model is also a good shoe for general barefoot training and can work in a variety of settings. These could be worn for cross-training, recreational lifting, and even to powerlifting competitions which makes them a nice dynamic shoe for deadlifts.

  • Best For: Deadlift-Focused Goals and Cross-Training
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Read More: Xero Shoes 360 Review

Xero Shoes 360

$119.99

Xero Shoes 360
4.5
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.3

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • Functional Fitness Workouts
  • Short Runs and Sprints
  • Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Long-Term Durability

 

Best Deadlift Shoes for Versatile Training

When talking about the best deadlift shoes for versatile training, I’m concerned with which training shoes work best for pulling heavyweight and can also tackle things like functional fitness workouts.

If you’re a functional fitness athlete that wants a pair of shoes to support deadlifts, then make sure you also check out the best cross-training shoes for deadlifts article.

Top Choice: R.A.D ONE

The R.A.D ONE is a fantastic cross-training shoe for tackling heavy deadlifts. This model features a 6mm heel-to-toe drop which seems counterintuitive for picking a shoe that is optimized for deadlift performance, but the heel-to-toe drop in this model won’t be an issue for most athletes, in my opinion.

R.A.D ONE Training Shoes for crossfit and lifting

I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs in this model and really enjoyed their performance and how stable the Swell Foam midsole is in them. Plus, this model has a full rubber outsole around the entirety of the shoe so they have ample traction in a variety of settings and contexts. In addition, I like the construction feature for long-term durability.

If you’re a CrossFit athlete or recreational lifter that wants a really solid pair of cross-training shoes that can hold their own with heavy deadlifts and perform well in a variety of settings, then the R.A.D ONE is a good shoe to look into.

  • Best For: Heavy Lifting, CrossFit, and HIIT Workouts
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: 12.7 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: R.A.D recommends going up a half size, I went true and they fit fine (more on that in my review article)
  • Read My ReviewR.A.D ONE Review

R.A.D ONE

$150

RAD ONE Training Shoes
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Heavy Lifting
  • CrossFit Workouts
  • Recreational Lifting
  • HIIT Training
  • Athletic-Focused Training

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency

 

Deadlift Shoe FAQs

Before investing in deadlift shoes, you may want to explore some of the most commonly asked questions that I field about this style of footwear. This can help you better answer the questions of which shoes you should go for and if they’re worth it.

Are Deadlift Shoes Worth It?

Deadlift shoes or shoes that excel for deadlift can certainly be worth it for anyone who is getting serious about their deadlift training or getting into the sport of powerlifting. Deadlift shoes support performance by limiting the amount of material that separates the foot from the ground so lifters can optimize their mechanics and overall range of motion.

Not every lifter needs a pair of super-specific deadlift shoes, which is why most of the models listed above function really well for other activities outside of deadlifts. This way you’re getting a quality shoe for deadlifts that are more dynamic in nature so you can also wear them for other activities.

are deadlift shoes worth it

What I would suggest is exploring how exactly you plan to use your deadlift shoes. As mentioned above, if you’re not super focused on deadlifting, then you may want to look for more versatile options like a pair of barefoot shoes, Converse, or even cross-training shoes.

How Should Deadlift Shoes Fit?

When considering deadlift shoes, regardless of the style of shoe you go for, you’re going to want your model to fit fairly snug, but not be overly tight. A snugger fit will prevent your feet from sliding around in the shoe and help you fully connect with the ground.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want anywhere from .2″ to .4″ in the toe box and to select options that align with your foot’s overall width. For example, if you have a wider foot, then you may want to opt for something other than a Converse which has a slightly more narrow build.

how should deadlift shoes fit

A snugger deadlift shoe fit will also benefit those who pull sumo and rely on balance and traction to move weight optimally. If you’re sliding in your toe box, then pushing into and spreading the floor can become an issue.

Deadlift Shoes Vs Deadlift Slippers

Deadlift shoes and deadlift slippers are designed to do the same which is to support and optimize deadlift performance. The major difference is that slippers will have a much lighter construction overall and they may break down a tad faster compared to shoes that have thicker uppers and soles.

If you’re interested in learning more about deadlift shoe and deadlift slipper differences, then I’d highly suggest checking out my comparison video below!

 

How I Test and Review Deadlift Shoes

The testing process for deadlift shoes and shoes that excel for deadlifts is pretty straightforward. To test all of the shoes mentioned above, I deadlifted, a lot.

I’ve trained in every single shoe listed above at or above 455 lbs. This is the amount of weight that I’ll use to gauge stability and in most models, I actually end up deadlifting well over 500 lbs in them based on my training cycles. When testing deadlift shoes, I’m concerned with three key performance criteria.

First, the shoe needs to have a high level of stability. This essentially means that when you’re deadlifting heavyweight, the shoe isn’t compressing or causing you to lose balance or deviate from the strong base you’re trying to create. The best shoe for this will typically have flat soles and minimal stack height to help you get super close to the ground.

Second, I consider a shoe’s outsole and how much traction it provides on different surfaces. I’m a competitive powerlifter so I’m constantly training on three primary surfaces including wooden platforms, rubber gym floors, and the carpet you’ll use at most powerlifting meets. Can the shoe in question keep your feet locked down and prevent slippage, even if you’re pulling sumo?

Third, I consider the model’s stack height, price, and upper durability. These are smaller points of performance that can make a big deal in some contexts. Basically, if you plan to use your shoes primarily for deadlifts, then you want them to last a while and be optimized for deadlifts.

Minimal stack heights will help promote strong deadlift mechanics, durable upper will prolong your shoe’s life, and a model’s price will relate to your wants, needs, and what you’re willing to pay for a specific type of shoe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are deadlift shoes worth it?

A:
If you're serious about your deadlift training or you plan to compete in powerlifting, then deadlift shoes can definitely be worth it. They provide specific construction features to help you optimize your deadlifts and be more efficient with your pull.

Q:
Do you want flat shoes to deadlift?

A:
As a general rule of thumb, yes, you'll want flatter shoes for deadlifts. A 0mm heel-to-toe drop and smaller stack height will provide you with a flatter foot position closer to the ground which can help with balance and stability as you deadlift.

Takeaway Thoughts

When looking for new deadlift shoes, always consider the context in which you plan to use them. Does this new pair of deadlift-focused shoes align with your training style? If so, proceed and opt for the pair that will match both your deadlift and training goals best!

If you have any questions about deadlift shoes or need assistance in finding the best pair for your needs. Drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

nv-author-image

Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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