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

7 Best Deadlift Shoes (2022 Update) | 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?” In this article, I break the best deadlift shoes into multiple performance categories based on different training wants and needs.

For example, I’ll discuss my favorite deadlift shoes overall, my top deadlift shoes for powerlifting, wide feet, and this list goes on. When it comes to finding footwear for specific goals and things like deadlifts, there’s no one-size-fits-all.

In this best deadlift shoes round-up, I’m going to cover some of my favorite deadlift shoes for a wide range range of activities and training contexts.

 

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: Tolos Archetype 1.0

The Tolos Archetype 1.0 is taking my top pick as the best overall shoe for deadlifts. 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 Archetype 1.0 workout review

For deadlifts, I like the Tolos Archetype 1.0 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 1.0’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.

Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for deadlifts

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 1.0’s appearance as you can wear them for big deadlifts and out and about for daily wear.

Tolos Archetype 1.0

$115

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Product Shot
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Daily/Casual Wear
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Athletic Training
  • All-Around Performance for the Price

Falls Short

  • For Custom Insoles

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 ankle 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.

SABO Deadlift Shoes Performance

For athletes that want a deadlift-specific shoe for competition that also has a nice level of ankle support, the SABO Deadlift Shoes can be a great pick. Note, they’re not the most versatile shoes, but for competitive powerlifters wanting a shoe only for deadlifts, they work really well.

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, and daily life, and not break the bank in doing so.

Top Choice: Nike Blazer Mid 77′ Vintage

The Nike Blazer Mid 77′ Vintage is taking my top pick as the best deadlift shoe for beginners. This model works really well for deadlifts, and general strength training and they have a really strong appearance/style to them.

Testing the Nike Blazer Mid 77 for deadlifts

If you’ve ever been to a commercial gym, then you’ve likely seen lifters wearing Nike Blazer shoes, and this is for two reasons. First, they look good and deliver that classic Nike vibe. Second, they can be good shoes for recreational lifting.

In the context of deadlifts, I enjoy the stability that you get from the Nike Blazer Mid 77′ Vintage (and comparable Blazer models). Stability shouldn’t be an issue with this shoe and its dense midsole construction doesn’t compress under heavy pulls.

Testing the Nike Blazer Mid 77 for deadlifting

I also like the herringbone tread pattern on the outsole of this shoe as it provides a nice level of grip on different surfaces for both conventional and sumo deadlifts 

Nike Blazer Mid '77 Vintage

$100

Nike Blazer Mid 77 Vintage
4.5
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.5

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Barbell Training
  • Daily and Casual Wear

Falls Short

  • For Versatile Training
  • For Breathability

Best Deadlift Shoes 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 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.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii lifting

Don’t get me wrong, Converse and Vans are great choices 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.

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III has a stack height of 5mm and an entire 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.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for Men

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 its toe box is super wide so you can really spread the toes and grip the floor below you to produce power.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

$160

vivobarefoot primus lite 3
4.8
Stability
4.8
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 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, they should also last you a while.

Top Choice: 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, 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 USD and for a high-top $65 USD. 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.

Reviewing Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star for Powerlifting

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.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star

$65

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

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: Adidas The Total

The Adidas The Total is taking my top pick as the best deadlift shoes for sumo deadlifts. The Total is a great option to explore for sumo deadlifts for three key reasons.

Testing the Adidas The Total for sumo 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.

Adidas The Total

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

$100

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

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. This shoe walks a fine line between being stable and responsive which I really appreciate for athletic and cross-training contexts.

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.

Testing the RAD ONE for HIIT workouts

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
  • Max Deadlift In This Shoe (thus far!): 525 lbs
  • 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
  • Runner-Up Option: Nike Metcon 8
  • Second Runner-Up: STR/KE MVMNT Haze Trainer 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 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. This way you’re getting a quality shoes 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.

Using the Nike Metcon 8 for Deadlifting

First, 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. 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?

Testing the Adidas The Total for deadlifting

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, a 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 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 or @that_fit_friend).

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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