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The 7 Best Deadlift Shoes of 2024, Tested for Over 500 lbs

Expert Verified By: Austin Current, CSCS, CISSN, Author and Strength Coach

It’s 2024 and the days of using generic shoes for big deadlifts are over. Deadlift shoes can make a big difference when your goal is building a strong deadlift and trying to maximize your performance.

When discussing deadlift shoes, we have to ask the question, “Best for what?” In my coaching opinion, this question is key for truly assessing which deadlift shoes will be best for your individual training needs.

Far too often, I see lifters and other review sites (they don’t even lift, tbh) recommend sub-par deadlift shoe picks because it’s what’s popular. To add depth to my round-up, I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs in every shoe below to truly vet their performance.

Below, I’m going to cover my favorite deadlift shoes for a variety of performance categories. As a powerlifter and strength coach, I know how important it is to make sure you have the right deadlift shoes for your training needs.

My Favorite Deadlift Shoes 2024

For the Record

  • I’ve been a strength coach for 12 years, and I have an MS in Sports Science, a BS in Exercise Science, and a CSCS. Why is this relevant? Deadlift shoes can play a significant role in biomechanics and performance output. I use my education and coaching background to make picks for this list. Most reviewers couldn’t even tell you why heel-to-toe drop matters for deadlifts.
  • The deadlift is my all-time favorite lift. My current max is 585 lbs at 178 lbs bodyweight. I’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed every single shoe in this list. As in, I’ve deadlifted well over 500 lbs in every single one of these shoes. This list isn’t composed of “popular” picks just to drive affiliate clicks. Every shoe here is vetted and strategically curated.
  • I compete in powerlifting and understand how important shoes can be for performance. Shoes can be the difference between setting a new PR and missing a lift during a meet-winning pull.
Testing the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF for Working Out
Deadlifting 545 lbs in the Motus Strength @ 180 lbs bodyweight

Best for the Gym

How I Chose for This Section: When talking about 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, a pair of 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: Tolos Archetype 2.0

  • Pros: Low stack height promotes ground feet, grippy outsole has good traction, wide toe box
  • Cons: High-volume feet can find these uncomfortable, not the best breathability
  • Preferred Deadlift Style In These: Either!
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 570 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 8.85 ounces (size 10 high-top model)
  • Sizing: True to size
  • Read More: Tolos Archetype 2.0 Review

Tolos Archetype 2.0

$120

Tolos Archetype 2.0 Product Image
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.9
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.8

Best For

  • Casual Wear
  • Cross-Training
  • Athletic Workouts
  • Strength Training
  • Sprints

Falls Short

  • For Breathability
  • For Longer Runs

Why I Chose the Archetype 2.0 Here

The Tolos Archetype 2.0 is taking my top pick as the best overall shoe for the gym. When it comes to selecting my favorite all-around deadlift shoe I’m most concerned with performance and how the shoe supports my goals.

Tolos 2.0 for Daily Wear

For deadlifts, I like the Tolos Archetype 2.0 for three key reasons. First, this shoe’s 5.5mm stack height is awesome for getting you close to the ground and providing you with a nice level of ground feedback.

Second, the width of the Tolos Archetype 2.0’s toe box is solid for accommodating toe splay and different foot anatomies. This shoe’s width rivals the width of Vivobarefoot shoes, so I don’t think you’ll need to stress toe splay in this model.

Third and lastly, the outsole tread in this shoe gives you a little more grip than comparable minimalist shoes, so they can be great for different surfaces and deadlift styles. As a bonus, I also like the Tolos Archetype 2.0’s appearance as you can wear them for big deadlifts and out and about for daily wear.

Tolos Archetype 2.0 for Deadlifts

Don’t Buy the Tolos Archetype 2.0 If…

  • You want maximal breathability. If you’re big on shoes that breathe well for training outside of deadlifts, then you may want to explore options like the Primus Lite III below.
  • You want as much grip as possible. If you’re huge on outsole traction and that’s your driving decision factor, I’d opt for the Apex Power 1.5 below.
  • Runner-Up Option: AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 Review
  • Second Runner-Up Option: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review

Best for Powerlifting

How I Chose for Powerlifting: For my powerlifting-specific friends, you likely already have the preferred deadlift shoes that you like to compete and train in.

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: AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5

  • Pros: Low stack height helps with ROM, grippy outsole has great traction, wide midfoot and forefoot
  • Cons: Can lack versatility for things outside of deadlifts and powerlifting 
  • Preferred Deadlift Style In These: Either, but these are awesome for sumo deadlifts
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 545 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 11.45 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Sizing: True to size for most
  • Read More: AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 Review

AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5

$99

AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 Product Image
4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.6

Best For

  • Powerlifting
  • Sumo Deadlifts
  • General Strength Training
  • Wide Feet
  • Athletic Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Narrow Feet
  • For Daily Wear
  • For Running

My Rationale Behind the Apex Power 1.5 Here

The AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 is my top pick as the best deadlift shoe for powerlifters. This model was quite literally built and inspired by powerlifters so it has a lot of powerlifting-friendly features.

AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 for Deadlifts

For example, the Viziun outsole tread in this shoe is aggressive which is awesome for all types of deadlifts. Whether you’re pulling sumo with a wide stance or conventional, you shouldn’t have slip issues in this model even on a meet’s competition carpet.

This model also has a relatively low stack height sitting around ~6mm and it has a removable insole to get even closer to the ground. If you love a lot of ground feel for heavy pulls then you’ll enjoy this construction feature.

In the context of width, this shoe also has a nice wide toe box and the shoe itself has an athletic fit. I like this a lot because it gives this shoe a nice feel and range outside of powerlifting so these can double as your general training shoes as well.

AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 Tread

Don’t Buy the AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 If…

  • You want a shoe for versatile training, too. The Apex Power 1.5’s performance is best served for the big three and general strength training. It’s not the most versatile shoe on the market.
  • You want more breathability. If you’re huge on breathability with your shoes then I’d suggest looking into something like the Primus Lite III. Its mesh breathes a bit better.
  • Runner-Up Option: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review
  • Second Runner-Up: Tolos Archetype 2.0 Review

Best for Beginners

How I Chose This Section: 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.

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

Top Choice: Adidas The Total

  • Pros: Good beginner-friendly powerlifting shoe, stable and dense midsole, midfoot strap provides extra security
  • Cons: Not the lowest stack height, versatility can be lacking at times
  • Preferred Pulling Style In These: Either!
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 540 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 12.1 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Sizing: True to size for wide feet, narrow feet size down a half-size
  • Read More: Adidas The Total Review

Adidas The Total

Adidas The Total Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Powerlifters and Strength Athletes
  • Recreational Lifters
  • Flat and Wide Feet
  • Zero Drop Lovers

Falls Short

  • Cross-Training/CrossFit
  • HIIT, Running, and Plyos

My Rationale for Choosing the Adidas The Total Here

The Adidas The Total is taking my top pick as one the market’s strongest deadlift shoes for beginners. In my coaching opinion, The Total is a great option to explore for beginner deadlifters for three key reasons.

Testing the Adidas The Total for deadlifting

First, this shoe’s outsole tread does a good job of providing a nice level of grip on different surfaces. Whether you’re training on rubber gym floors, wood platforms, or the carpet used in competition, you shouldn’t have slip issues in this model.

Second, the additional midfoot strap is awesome for locking down the foot and preventing any form of rolling that could influence one’s balance when pulling. The lower stack height, midfoot strap, and 0mm heel-to-toe drop give this shoe a slipper-like feeling.

Third and lastly, the toe box in this model has a wider and more anatomical shape to it. If you have wide feet or you’re nervous about having a shoe for toe splay, I don’t think that will be a concern in the Adidas The Total.

Adidas The Total

Don’t Buy the Adidas The Total If…

  • You want as much ground feel as possible. The Total has a bit of a stack height and if you want as much ground feedback as possible then I’d suggest looking into a barefoot shoe like the Archetype 2.0 below.
  • You want a shoe for versatile training. If you’re after a shoe that excels for deadlifts and cross-training then you’ll want to explore hybrid-style barefoot shoes like the Xero Shoes Zelen.
  • Runner-Up Option: Tolos Archetype 2.0
  • Second Runner-Up Option: Xero Shoes Zelen

Best for Wide Feet

How I Chose for Wide Feet: If you have wide feet, then the last thing you want is for 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: Vivobarefoot Motus Strength

  • Pros: Outsole has good traction, sidewalls promote additional lateral support, wide toe box
  • Cons: Expensive price point, not the most breathable
  • Preferred Deadlift Style In These: Either.
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 570 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 8.85 ounces (size 10 high-top model)
  • Sizing: True to size for most
  • Read More: Vivobarefoot Motus Strength Review

Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF

$200

Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF Barefoot Shoes Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.7
Quality
4.8

Best For

  • Lifting
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit WODs
  • Short Runs
  • Athletic Sessions

Falls Short

  • For Cost Efficiency
  • For Longer Runs

Why I Chose the Motus Strength for Wide Feet

The Vivobarefoot Motus Strength has become one of my favorite shoes for deadlifting when you have wider feet. This model is designed to be great for pretty much everything in the gym and it excels exceptionally well for deadlifts.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF for deadlifts

Unlike other Vivobarefoot shoes used for training like the Primus Lite III and Primus Lite Knit, the Motus Strength has a much more aggressive tread pattern and a heavier upper construction.

This shoe’s lugs grip the floor well when pulling heavy deadlifts and I don’t think you’ll have issues with sumo or conventional tugs in this model. I’ve pulled 570 lbs in this shoe and never had slip issues whatsoever.

I also like the fit and width of this shoe. I have an E-width foot and have plenty of room to splay my toes in this model and the reinforced sidewalls are great for promoting additional foot security.

Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF Sole Construction

Don’t Buy the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength If…

  • You want a more cost-efficient shoe. The Motus Strength is pretty pricey and if you want to spend considerably less for a good shoe for deadlifting opt for the Xero Shoes Prio.
  • You want a model optimized for powerlifting. If you have wide feet and compete then you can’t go wrong with the AVANCUS Apex Power 1,5 below. 
  • Runner-Up Option: Xero Shoes Prio
  • Second Runner-Up: AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5

Best for Budget

How I Chose for This Section: If you’re trying to save on a pair of shoes for deadlifts, then I would also highly suggest 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. However, if you’re not into deadlift slippers and want a traditional shoe then my picks below can be great options.

Top Choice: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

  • Pros: Cost-efficient shoe for training, decently stable midsole, high-top and low-top options
  • Cons: Even the wide option isn’t that wide, not the lowest stack height on the market
  • Preferred Deadlift Style In These: Conventional. Sumo is fine until the outsole fades.
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 565 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Weight: 14.3 ounces (size 10 high-top model)
  • Sizing: Size down a half-size for most.
  • Read More: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Review

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star
4.4
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Weight Training
  • Beginner Lifters
  • Powerlifting
  • Casual and Daily Wear

Falls Short

  • For Wider Feet
  • For Versatile Training

Why I Chose the Chuck Taylor All-Stay Here

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, but for budget-conscious shoppers, the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star is a good option.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star for Lifting

For a Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star low-top you can expect to pay $60 and for a high-top $65. This is a pretty fair price point for shoes that typically last a while. Plus, you can opt for more or less ankle support based on your preferences.

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.

I like this shoe for recreational lifters because it provides the 0mm drop and stability we’re after with deadlift 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 compared to other more specific deadlift shoes.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Review

Don’t Buy the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star If…

  • You want to get as close to the ground as possible. Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars have a fair amount of stack height and if you want a more optimized shoe then explore the Xero Shoes Prio below.
  • You need a wider fitting shoe. If you want a cheap wide shoe for deadlifting, then may want to look into the WHITIN Barefoot Sneakers below. They’re surprisingly great for deadlifts and only cost $40-60.
  • Runner-Up Option: Xero Shoes Prio
  • Second Runner-Up Option: WHITIN Baefoot Sneakers

Best for Sumo Deadlifts

How I Chose This Section: For my sumo-focused friends, when finding a perfect pair of 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: AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5

  • Pros: Outsole has a ton of bite, low stack height, and plenty of forefoot width
  • Cons: Tongue can be uncomfortable, not the best for cross-training
  • Preferred Deadlift Style In These: Either, but these are great for sumo deads.
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 545 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 11.45 ounces (size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to size
  • Read More: AVANCUS Apex Power Review

If your main concern is traction and grip then you can’t beat the AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5. This barefoot shoe is optimized and built for deadlifts and powerlifting and features Viziun Grip Tech.

My Rationale for Choosing the Apex Power 1.5

The AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 is my top pick for sumo deadlifts. A great deadlift shoe for sumo deadlifts needs to have an aggressive tread to prevent spinning out and slippage.

AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 Review

Sumo deadlift mechanics can vary a lot from lifter to lifter so you’ll want a shoe that will work no matter what for your sumo pulling mechanics and the AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 is one of the few shoes I feel confident recommending for most in this context.

The tread grips all surfaces pretty well and if you’re a competitive powerlifter then you won’t have to stress your shoes slipping on the carpet your powerlifting federation is using. The medial and lateral side walls are awesome additions here, too.

This model’s wide toe box and beefier ankle are also perks for this shoe being stellar in the context of sumo deadlifts. I also like that the Apex Power has a nice range to its performance and can work for accessories as well outside of sumo tugs.

AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 Barefoot Shoes

Don’t Buy the AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 If…

  • You want a shoe for contexts outside of sumo deadlifts. If you want a little more range with your shoes while crushing sumo deadlifts, I’d look into either of my picks below.
  • You need a shoe that sizes better for medium-width feet. If you like snugger-fitting shoes for sumo deadlifts, then you may be better suited opting for a Tolos Archetype 2.0.
  • Runner-Up Option: Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Review
  • Second Runner-Up: Tolos Archetype 2.0 Review

Best for Versatile Training

How I Chose This Section: When talking about the best deadlift shoes for versatile training, I’m concerned with which training shoes work best for pulling heavy weights and can also tackle things like functional fitness workouts.

Top Choice: Born Primitive Savage 1

  • Pros: Outsole has good traction, midsole is dense and table, good toe box width
  • Cons: Tongue can press into the top of the foot
  • Preferred Deadlift Style In These: Either
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 485 lbs
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to size for most.
  • Read My Review: Born Primitive Savage 1

Born Primitive Savage 1

$130

Born Primitive Savage 1 Product Shot
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8
Quality
4.8

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • CrossFit
  • Cross-Training
  • “Minimalist” Trainer Lovers
  • Wide(r) Feet

Falls Short

  • For Running

My Rationale for the Choosing the Savage 1

The Born Primitive Savage 1 is an awesome training shoe for heavy deadlifts and functional fitness. In the context of cross-training shoes, this model has been one of my favorites of recent years to tug heavily in.

Testing the Born Primitive Savage 1 for Deadlifts

The Savage 1 features a dual-density midsole which is stable to begin with but it also has a lower stack height. For deadlifts, this is great because it cuts down your range of motion and limits midsole compression.

In this shoe, I’ve deadlifted up to 485 lbs with no compression issues whatsoever and the outsole did a great job of providing grip on different surfaces. I also like how this shoe performs for CrossFit and general lifting sessions.

Another perk of the Born Primitive Savage 1 is that it’s built with an anatomical toe box which is great for promoting toe splay when deadlifting. If you have wider feet and want to pull heavy, this can be an awesome training shoe to explore.

Born Primitive Savage 1 Sizing and Fit

Don’t Buy the Born Primitive Savage 1 If…

  • You want a shoe for big deadlifts and daily wear. If you like having a shoe that is stable but functional and casual for walking then I’d suggest exploring the Haze Trainer below.
  • You have a narrow foot width. If you have narrower feet then you’ll want to look into the RAD ONE below. This shoe sizes a little more snug in the toe box compared to the Savage 1.
  • Runner-Up Option: STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer Review
  • Second Runner-Up: R.A.D ONE Review

Coach Jake’s Buying Tips

Buying Tip 1 — Establish Your Stack Height and Deadlift Specific Needs

Two construction features that you want to explore regarding a shoe’s ability to perform well for deadlifts are a shoe’s stack height and outsole tread. Being low to the ground with a good grip is vital for big deadlifts.

*Stack height entails the amount of material that separates the feet from the floor. Lower stack heights are better for deadlifts.

When searching for deadlift shoes based on your needs, I’d suggest keeping in mind how specific you want to get. For example, do you want shoes solely for deadlifts or for other contexts as well? This can influence what type of shoe you use as versatility can also help influence your picks.

Buying Tip 2 — Grip Matters for Your Deadlift Style

The way you deadlift can influence which deadlift shoes will work best for your performance needs. For example, if you pull sumo then you’ll want a shoe with exceptional grip and reinforced sidewalls since you’ll be pushing harder into the lateral parts of your shoe.

To hedge your bets regarding outsole traction, try to look for shoes with lugs or grip patterns that are a little more aggressive. Flatter treads can be more prone to sliding on different surfaces.

Are Deadlift Shoes Worth It?

Deadlift shoes or shoes that excel for deadlifts 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.

are deadlift shoes worth it

This way you’re getting quality shoes for deadlifts that are more dynamic in nature so you can also wear them for other activities.

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 .5″ in the toe box, and select options that align with your foot’s overall width.

how should deadlift shoes fit

For example, if you have wider feet, then you may not want to opt for something like Converse as these shoes have a slightly narrower build.

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, pushing into and spreading the floor can become an issue.

Deadlift Shoes Vs. Deadlift Slippers

Deadlift shoes versus deadlift slippers generally come down to personal preference. Would you rather deadlift in a more traditional feeling shoe that has more structure, or do you prefer pulling in something that feels similar to a sock and water/swim bootie?

what are deadlift slippers

Performance Will Be Similar (For the Most Part)

In most cases, you’ll get similar performances from deadlift slippers and deadlift shoes. They’re both minimalist styles of footwear, which will help cut down the range of motion in the deadlift while increasing ground feel, which can be useful for power production and balance.

I think the nuance of deadlift performance with these types of footwear comes down to your needs and deadlift style. For example, not all deadlift slippers work great for sumo deadlifts — this is why they have sumo-focused slippers.

 Deadlift ShoesDeadlift Slippers
Heel-to-Toe Drop0mm0mm
Good for SumoMost of the Time Sometimes
Good GripYesYes
Approved for CompetitionYesYes (but check with fed)

Since deadlift slippers have less rigid uppers, they can sometimes have spillover when driving the feet out in sumo deads, whereas using a shoe for deadlifts like a Tolos Archetype 2.0 or AVANCUS Apex Power 1.5 won’t struggle with this.

Outside of this specific context (and the fit difference mentioned above), both styles of footwear are similar in many ways and work great for deadlifts. When deciding between deadlift shoes and slippers, I’d consider how you deadlift and the physical fit and feel you want.

Are Shoes Necessary for Deadlifts?

Answer: Shoes are not an absolute must for deadlifts. In fact, it’s normal to see lifters deadlifting without shoes in most strength sports gyms where rules about footwear are a little more relaxed.

However, while shoes are not “necessary” to be successful with deadlifts they can be useful. This is due to shoes having rubber treads for additional traction support and upper materials that can help provide additional support when wanted.

A Few Occasions When Shoes Can Be Necessary for Deadlifts

  1. You lift in a gym where you have to wear shoes. Don’t give management trouble even if you love deadlifting barefoot. Just find a good pair of shoes for deadlifts and you’ll get the same performance.
  2. You plan to compete in powerlifting. You can’t compete barefoot in powerlifting so finding a good pair of shoes that you can wear consistently in prep and feel comfortable with can be useful for meet performance.
  3. You enjoy the “feeling” of shoes. Some lifters love the “feeling” of shoes and the proprioceptive stability they can promote. Some good examples of this are sumo deadlifters who like having a lateral sidewall to press into or lifters who enjoy deadlifting with high-top shoes for their ankle support.

Why Do People Deadlift Without Shoes?

Answer: It’s a blend of personal preference and performance reasons, generally. In the context of personal preference, some lifters (myself included at times) like “feeling” the ground more when they deadlift.

Deadlifting barefoot can give you increased ground feedback and if you love the proprioception (sensory input) that you get when training barefoot then you’ll likely find that you love deadlifting barefoot as well.

How to Deadlift Step 3 Shin Position

When it comes to performance reasons. First, deadlifting barefoot will help you cut down on the range of motion that you need to lift the weight. High stack heights can you take further away from the ground and add additional work to your deadlift.

You can’t get closer to the ground when deadlifting barefoot. This is also why I suggest barefoot shoes so often for deadlifts. Second, there’s not an upper construction that may restrict toe splay and the arches.

The last thing anyone wants is to deadlift in a snug shoe that limits the feet from doing their natural movement patterns. Deadlifting barefoot is an easy way to ensure you’re allowing the feet to do their natural thing.

Why Trust That Fit Friend Deadlift Shoe Reviews

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 in every pair featured in this list — a lot.

I’ve trained in every single shoe listed here 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.

Using the Nike Metcon 8 for Deadlifting

When testing deadlift shoes, I’m concerned with three key performance criteria.

  1. The shoe needs to have a high level of stability. This 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.
  2. Traction is key. 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.
  3. Stack height assessment and durability. 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

Testing the Adidas The Total for deadlifting

If you want to read more about my review process I’ve written an in-depth article covering how I test shoes on my site. As a powerlifter and strength coach, I blend my educational background in Exercise Science with my review brain to make the best picks.

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.

Final Verdict

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 or @that_fit_friend).

 
Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

2 thoughts on “The 7 Best Deadlift Shoes of 2024, Tested for Over 500 lbs”

  1. I love the site and than you for all of the in-depth reviews! I see in 2021 SABO Deadlift Shoes were your top pick, but now they don’t even make the list. Could you elaborate on why? Did they not hold up well over time or some other reason they are no longer recommended? Thank you!

    1. Don’t love the toe box and outsole on them. They’re fine shoes, don’t get me wrong, but their lack of versatility and fit are “meh” when you have shoes that give you more width, ground feel, and can be used for other types of training as well. My preferences have also changed in the context of recommending such a niche shoe for athletes when they could get something that performs the same if not better and give them more versatility for their money. We also didn’t have as many solid barefoot shoe options in 2021.

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