Do you want a better distribution of weight during your deadlift training? Is your current weightlifting technique in dire need of some traction? If so, you need to consider getting yourself a decent deadlift slipper pair. Not only will they help you to get a decent grip on the ground, but they also ensure that your feet are secure throughout the entire exercise.
But how do you sift through all the options and decide which pair of slippers is right for you? Don’t they all serve pretty much the same purpose? Not necessarily – even the best deadlift slippers have some features that set them apart from the rest.
- 1 In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
- 2 Why You Should Trust Us
- 3 Who Is This Guide For?
- 4 How We Picked the Best Products
- 5 How We Compared Each Product
- 6 The Best Deadlift Slippers to Buy in 2023
- 6.1 LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers – Best Overall
- 6.2 LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers
- 6.3 FitKicks Original Minimalist Shoes – Most Reasonable Price Range
- 6.4 FitKicks Original Minimalist Shoes
- 6.5 Joomra Minimalist Barefoot Shoes – Best for Wide Feet
- 6.6 Joomra Minimalist Barefoot Shoes
- 6.7 Max2 Deadlift Slippers – Excellent Grip Feature
- 6.8 Max2 Deadlift Slippers
- 6.9 MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers – The Most Comfortable Shoe
- 6.10 MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers
- 7 The Buying Guide
- 8 FAQ
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
|Product's name||Best Overall|
LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers Powerlifting...
|Most Reasonable Price Range|
FITKICKS Men's Active Lifestyle Footwear, Foldable Shoes,...
|Best for Wide Feet|
Joomra Mens Yoga Shoes Barefoot Black Size 11 Minimalist...
|Excellent Grip Feature|
MAX² Deadlift Slippers - Water Shoes (numeric_11)
|Most Comfortable Shoe
MANUEKLEAR Deadlift Shoes - Weight Lifting Shoes for Men...
|Final Thought||The two lateral straps on the LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slipper have high-arched designs that go over the mid-foot area for a more secure fit, which is a common feature in shoes with ankle straps.||The FlexForm cushioned sole technology is the main selling point of these specialized shoes for deadlifts.||The stretch knit fabric that makes up most of the upper portion of these collared shoes is the main highlight of the Joomra Minimalist Barefoot model.||The PU leather base of the Max2 Deadlift Slipper pair is synonymous with quality materials and durable construction.||Often referred to as the ultimate powerlifting shoes due to their sturdy yet feather-light construction quality, the MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers offer superior grip and comfort while effectively minimizing the risk of injury.|
|Sole Material||PU with Rubber Insole||Synthetic PU with Rubber Sole||PU with Rubber Outsole||PU leather with Thicker Sole||Rubber-Like Compound with Mesh Accents|
|Size Range||4 - 14||S - XL||6 - 14||6 - 12||6 - 12|
|Style of Ankle Strap||Velcro side straps with a lateral form||Thick elastic material||Stretch knit fabric||Side straps with a lateral form rubber grip||Double nylon velcro tape|
|Color Range||Black||Black, Grey, Navy Blue||Brown, Grey, Black, Blue, Green, Olive||Black||Black|
|Learn more||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon|
Why You Should Trust Us
Behind the wheel of Boxlife’s well-oiled machine is a team of experienced lifters and gym-goers who’ve had their fair share of fitness experiences. We’ve tested hundreds of products – including clothing, accessories, and nutrition – over the years, in traditional gyms, CrossFit boxes, and even in our own homes.
The wealth of first-hand knowledge and expertise that we’ve accumulated throughout our endeavors has been invaluable in determining which weightlifting shoes tick the most boxes. We’re also adamant about safety and overall stability, particularly when lifting weights since this can easily turn into a dangerous situation if overlooked.
Not to mention the financial constraints many of us face when buying workout gear. Even though we want the best for our feet and for our wallets, we invariably have to make sacrifices in one area or another. As such, we want to provide you with the best deadlift slippers that are both affordable and of decent quality.
Who Is This Guide For?
With the consistent deadlift slipper vs shoe debate raging on, it’s easy to get lost in the fray. This guide is thus tailored towards fitness fanatics and athletes who want to get efficient and safe results from their weightlifting exercises.
If you do conventional deadlifts, then a pair of slippers may be a more suitable option to make up for the lack of traction you would otherwise have with regular shoes. Since you’re starting off in a 5-10% more forward position than you would with a sumo version, your feet need as much protection as possible in order to prevent slippage. The shorter distance between your feet and the platform you’re pushing against is the driving force behind this kind of gear.
But if you’re more inclined towards sumo deadlifts, which require you to have a wider stance and more upright torso, then you may want to opt for a pair of shoes for deadlifts. Even if you’re going with a narrower stance, having more ankle and heel support will provide a more secure lift – especially when it comes to heavy lifting and muscle building for sumo deadlifters. There’s an inherent increase in foot stability and a decent grip pattern for easier handling.
How We Picked the Best Products
Putting aside our own personal experiences, we had to look into the average weight trainee pool across social platforms like Reddit and Quora. In these bubbling communities, users are more than willing to share their thoughts on certain products and brands, as well as offer advice when it comes to purchasing gear.
Not only does this provide a no-nonsense approach to product comparisons and reviews, but it also enabled us to pick up on some of the finer details that many manufacturers tend to overlook. More often than not, these tiny details are the difference between a good and a great pair of deadlift slippers.
We also had to take into consideration user reviews from popular e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Rogue Fitness, and Titan, which gave us an even broader view of product performance properties. This broad scope helped us to identify certain trends, as well as the more common complaints and praises when it comes to specific brands.
How We Compared Each Product
When we had enough data and user reviews to draw up a shortlist of shoes for deadlifts, we were tasked with comparing each product side by side. While they may differ in terms of materials and features, there’s no denying that the underlying functionality should be consistent for all models. With this in mind, we drew up a list of features that we believed to be important when assessing performance.
- Comfort and Performance Properties – Having comfortable movement when dealing with heavy loads shouldn’t be underestimated. Sure, your body posture and proper form will be the real determining factor, but having a stable and comfortable base for your feet will make a massive difference in how efficient and safe your lifts are. You’re immediately in a more mechanically advantageous position when you have optimal ankle support and foot stability.
- Decent Grip and Traction – With today’s modern technological advances and top-of-the-range materials, it’s not enough to have a decent grip to lift heavy weights. Being able to add inches to your performance without slipping and sliding can be the deciding factor between success and failure. This common feature is criminally underrated, with many gym-goers and strength-focused lifters opting for cheaper models with questionable traction.
- Breathability – Soft breathable materials are always preferred when it comes to exercise gear, but they should also be able to handle copious amounts of sweat and moisture. This is especially true with a pair of deadlift slippers, which tend to be used over longer periods of time. Not replacing them regularly can lead to bacterial build-up and skin irritations.
- Construction Quality and Durability – Doing any form of heavy lifting has imminent risks for both your body and gear, so having a category of shoe design that can withstand the pressure and strain is paramount. It has to maintain its original shape and structure, even after months of use. But this doesn’t mean that it has to feel super rigid or uncomfortable throughout the deadlift movement.
The Best Deadlift Slippers to Buy in 2023
Each pair of deadlift slippers was put through rigorous testing and comparison in order to identify which ones satisfied our criteria. While some models didn’t make the cut, others had what it takes to be considered the best in their respective categories.
LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers – Best Overall
LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers
The two lateral straps on the LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slipper have high-arched designs that go over the mid-foot area for a more secure fit, which is a common feature in shoes with ankle straps.
The first contender on the list is considered a part of the Olympic weightlifting shoes category since it’s been competition approved by a wide range of organizations, including the IPF, USPA, and IPL. Its robust rubber bottom and lightweight upper provide an optimal balance of both convenience and performance properties. It comes with 4mm inserts that add just enough cushioning to give you the edge during heavy loads.
- Two wide lateral straps on the top of the shoe to lock your feet in place
- Flat rubber soles that provide superior grip and stability
- Extremely light with a low-profile design
- Generous one-year warranty to cover any manufacturing defects
- The size range runs a bit small, especially for users with wide feet
- Only one color option is available
|Sole Material||PU with Rubber Insole|
|Size Range||4 – 14|
|Style of Ankle Strap||Velcro side straps with a lateral form|
Why It’s Great
The two lateral straps on the LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slipper have high-arched designs that go over the mid-foot area for a more secure fit, which is a common feature in shoes with ankle straps. The tightness can easily be adjusted with the help of three-dimensional webbing and dedicated pull tabs. This provides a well-rounded distribution of weight, regardless of your deadlift style, form, or body type.
The flat rubber outsole also acts as a great buffer between your feet and the ground, reducing any vibrations and preventing unwanted slips. Additionally, the 4mm inserts provide just enough cushioning while still keeping your feet close to the ground for a better center of gravity. These slips are removable though, so it’s always nice to have the option of customizing your fit.
In terms of comfort, the elastic material used for the upper portion is supremely breathable and feels soft to the touch. The majority of lifters will likely experience zero chafing and irritation, even after extended wear. Its cross-weave pattern helps to disperse moisture and keeps your feet dry even after long bouts, which is something even the average weight trainee will appreciate.
If for some reason, this pair doesn’t suit your deadlift style and end up being unsatisfactory, you’re still covered by the generous one-year warranty that covers any manufacturing defects. Given the common issues associated with this type of gear, having a lengthy grace period should give you some peace of mind.
FitKicks Original Minimalist Shoes – Most Reasonable Price Range
Most Reasonable Price Range
FitKicks Original Minimalist Shoes
The FlexForm cushioned sole technology is the main selling point of these specialized shoes for deadlifts.
A casual deadlifter may make the rookie mistake of dismissing affordable or mid-range shoes as part of their body fitness program, but this decent all-purpose gym shoe has a lot to offer. It’s actually not specifically designed for heavy deadlifts, as its original purpose was to be used as everyday shoes for yoga or as even water-based gear and wrestling shoes.
However, its reliable and solid construction quality comes with a range of features that have propelled this pair of shoes for deadlifts to a class of its own, serving as a decent runner-up option. It’s quite a popular shoe among strength-focused lifters and deadlift shoe connoisseurs.
- Flexible soles with a roomy toe guard for added comfort
- Can be folded and tucked away for easy storage
- Anti-microbial, water-resistant material that can be machine-washed
- Squishy foam-like material to reduce the load on the feet
- Sizes can be a bit larger than expected
- Not deadlift-specific shoes, so you may not get the same results
|Sole Material||Synthetic PU with Rubber Sole|
|Size Range||S – XL|
|Style of Ankle Strap||Thick elastic material|
|Color Range||Black, Grey, Navy Blue|
Why It’s Great
The FlexForm cushioned sole technology is the main selling point of these specialized shoes for deadlifts. The dense sole provides optimal ankle support and encourages natural foot stability and comfortable movement like most padded shoes do, while the roomy toe guard takes away any potential discomfort.
The flat sole is also designed to bend and flex with your feet, so you can be sure that your range of motion won’t be compromised in any way. Once you’re done with it, you can easily fold up the shoes and tuck them away until your next workout. This is quite convenient for cross trainers or deadlift shoe connoisseurs who are short on space.
The material used for the upper portion is also a common feature among mid-range shoes. It’s made of a special fabric blend that’s water-resistant and anti-microbial, so it’s suitable for any weather conditions. It keeps your ankle joint secure without being obstructive or irritating.
Since it can be submerged in water and machine-washed, you can rest assured that any sweat or grime won’t be sticking around for too long. Moreover, the fabric has a squishy foam-like texture to it that makes it comfortable enough for your feet, even after extended hours.
Unlike other specialized shoes with ankle straps, the FitKicks has a simple, yet effective diagonal elastic band that stretches across the mid-foot region. This allows you to choose how tight or loose you want them to be, in order to minimize the likelihood of injury. It’s quite resilient too, with double-stitched seams that maintain a decent grip and don’t fray easily, which is a bonus feature for many deadlift-specific shoes.
And despite ranking at the lower end of the price range scale, this pair of deadlift shoes have a decent size range to cover the majority of lifters of varying backgrounds. Each option does get a bit large though, so they may not be the best choice if you’re in between sizes. Take a closer look at the size chart and foot measurement range accordingly to minimize the likelihood of injury and make the most out of your routine and this excellent deadlift shoe.
Joomra Minimalist Barefoot Shoes – Best for Wide Feet
Best for Wide Feet
Joomra Minimalist Barefoot Shoes
The stretch knit fabric that makes up most of the upper portion of these collared shoes is the main highlight of the Joomra Minimalist Barefoot model.
Another decent all-purpose gym shoe with a fairly reasonable price range is the Joomra Minimalist Barefoot shoes. As the name implies, they feature a minimalistic design with no frills or unnecessary decorations to get in the way of your workout, catering to a range of activities and cross-trainer exercises for both regular and sumo pullers, serving as an excellent deadlift shoe on both occasions.
This includes bench presses, jogging, and biking can even be used as squat shoes or wrestling shoes. As such, this 2-in-1 shoe is a superb option for strength-focused lifters who struggle to find a category of shoe design with the right width and stability, with a natural and barefoot-like feel.
- Roomy and flexible design that mimics barefoot lifting
- Excellent grip pattern on the dense sole to help you maintain balance
- Solid construction quality with eco-friendly materials and no adhesives
- Available in multiple color options for both regular and sumo deadlifters
- Slightly thicker sole that may compromise the range of motion and performance properties
- Not specifically designed for heavy lifts as part of a body fitness program
|Sole Material||PU with Rubber Outsole|
|Size Range||6 – 14|
|Style of Ankle Strap||Stretch knit fabric|
|Color Range||Brown, Grey, Black, Blue, Green, Olive|
Why It’s Great
The stretch knit fabric that makes up most of the upper portion of these collared shoes is the main highlight of the Joomra Minimalist Barefoot model. It’s incredibly flexible and slightly stretchy, so it can conform to your foot shape and provide a snug and natural fit. When paired with the flat rubber soles, you get a pair of deadlift shoes that don’t squeak or move around when you’re lifting.
The excellent grip pattern on the bottom is a common feature among this category of shoe, but the Joomra shoes take it one step further. With a diamond pattern that extends beyond the heel area and wraps around toward the toes, they offer plenty of grip that keeps your feet in place and doesn’t compromise your stability. There’s certainly no lack of flexibility either, as it can be neatly folded up in a roll, with minimal bulk or thickness.
Plus, the environmentally-friendly and solid construction quality means that it’s made up of mainly natural materials, with no adhesives or chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This makes them last longer and more durable than the majority of shoes in this category, with a generous size range to accommodate most foot shapes. And since they come in multiple color options, you can easily pick the one that suits your style.
However, some users report experiencing a wobbly ankle feel when going with a wide stance, due to the slightly thicker sole design and lack of ankle support. This isn’t surprising in the slightest though, since they’re not like other specialized shoes with ankle straps that have been specifically designed for weight-lifting. Even though they might be sufficiently cushioned and textured for heavy lifts, they can’t always guarantee maximum comfort and stability like other eligible shoes.
Max2 Deadlift Slippers – Excellent Grip Feature
Excellent Grip Feature
Max2 Deadlift Slippers
The PU leather base of the Max2 Deadlift Slipper pair is synonymous with quality materials and durable construction.
When it comes to the most supportive and stable deadlift performance, the Max2 Deadlift Slipper option can definitely live up to your training expectations. With an excellent grip feature on the thicker sole that keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground, they provide the utmost stability and traction while you’re performing heavier lifts. The robust rubber-like material on the sides of the shoe also helps prevent your foot from sliding around and keeps you in a more upright posture.
- Unique grip pattern on the cushioned sole that increases stability
- Decent metatarsal strap to keep your ankles in place
- Soft and breathable upper fabric that molds to foot shape
- Sufficient ankle plantarflexion with the flexible soles
- The price range is quite high compared to other padded shoes
- A limited number of available sizes on eligible shoes
|Sole Material||PU leather with Thicker Sole|
|Size Range||6 – 12|
|Style of Ankle Strap||Side straps with a lateral form rubber grip|
Why It’s Great
The PU leather base of the Max2 Deadlift Slipper pair is synonymous with quality materials and durable construction. It provides reliable traction on the ground, with rubberized sides that have textured indents that cover from the toe all the way up to the ankle area. This helps keep your feet firmly grounded and keeps you balanced during heavier lifts, without prompting any unnatural or unnecessary movement.
Despite their somewhat bulky or thick feel, these flat shoes are surprisingly light and flexible. Their cushioning system provides optimal ankle support, with dedicated metatarsal straps with a lateral form that wraps around your foot shape for a secure yet non-restrictive fit. Plus, the breathable upper fabric helps keep your feet properly ventilated and well-cushioned during lifts, with a mesh-like design that doesn’t make your feet too hot.
The ergonomic features are rounded off with a sturdy yet elegant design that mimics barefoot lifting. Despite not having elevated heels or additional ankle straps with a lateral form, the Max2 Deadlift Slipper pair still manages to provide ample support and balance during even the most demanding workouts. Their innovative and solid construction quality also makes them an excellent value for money, with a long-lasting durability that can easily outlive cheaper models.
However, one notable downside is their limited size range, which only offers options for medium and larger feet. Given their slightly higher price tag, you’d expect greater size options, with several color choices to go along with it. But if you’re willing to look past the simple yet elegant black design and their lack of versatility in terms of size, then these are easily some of the most reliable deadlift shoes for the money.
MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers – The Most Comfortable Shoe
The Most Comfortable Shoe
MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers
Often referred to as the ultimate powerlifting shoes due to their sturdy yet feather-light construction quality, the MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers offer superior grip and comfort while effectively minimizing the risk of injury.
The average weight trainee will no doubt benefit from the airy build of the MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers that weigh just 230 grams. Despite their lightweight and minimalistic design, these specialized shoes provide excellent arch support and decent cushioning that molds around your foot and follow the grooves and crevices of your skin for a truly custom fit. The breathable upper fabric and airy midsole also make them incredibly comfy during lifts, even when you’re doing heavier sets with free weights.
- Easy to slip on and off thanks to their cushioned sole and stretchy upper fabric
- Ultra-lightweight and simplistic design for an unrestricted feel and comfortable movement
- Effective heel height and arch support that locks your foot in place during lifts
- Excellent breathability and flexible soles that provide superior grip
- The forefoot might be a bit loose for those with narrower feet
- The size range could be more extensive
|Sole Material||Rubber-like compound with mesh Accents|
|Size Range||6 – 12|
|Style of Ankle Strap||Double nylon velcro tape|
Why It’s Great
Often referred to as the ultimate powerlifting shoes due to their sturdy yet feather-light construction quality, the MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers offer superior grip and comfort while effectively minimizing the risk of injury by mitigating unnecessary weight shifts, foot and ankle rolling, as well as any instability that a common shoe model could provide.
Their unique dense sole design uses a series of hexagonal textured grooves combined with a reinforced heel tab to provide maximum traction on the ground, with ridges and curves that allow your feet to flex naturally as you move. When combined with the lightweight and airy upper fabric, these collared shoes make even the most demanding workout sessions and deadlift style lifts seem effortless.
Their build quality inherently facilitates a proper deadlift setup position – by reducing the impact of the cushioned shoe on the ground and shortening the time required to bounce back from a heavier lift. The pressure and weight are evenly distributed on all areas of the foot, with a reinforced toe box that effectively prevents worn-down fabric and premature tearing.
Moreover, the heel support pad on this deadlift slipper pair offers more than average ankle mobility, with an adjustable strap that can be loosened and tightened to your exact preference. It imminently meets the need for a wide range of comfortable movement exercises and activities, from running, walking and strength training exercises. Plus, there’s an admirable level of torsional resistance, which is great when you need to stabilize and control your position during your workout.
Additionally, the bionic technology used in the midsole provides ample arch support and maintains an optimal posture while lifting. This is then reflected in the overall balance and foot stability that can be achieved with these shoes, giving you a better chance of completing those heavier sets with relative ease. In other words, it turns the energy of each rep into a highly efficient thrusting motion and optimal ankle cushioning.
The Buying Guide
While no one can deny the benefits of eligible shoes for deadlifts, you’d still need to be very specific about which elements matter the most to your individual style and workout goals. Therefore, before you decide which pair of shoes you want, consider the following criteria:
Sole thickness refers to the bottom layer of your cross-training shoes that comes into contact with the ground. It’s generally divided into three parts, based on the amount of cushioning they provide and the way they absorb shock. This is a common feature that’s highly sought after by deadlift shoe connoisseurs.
First up, the insole is located inside the cushioned shoe and is responsible for cushioning your feet. It’s usually made up of materials like EVA foam, memory foam, or airbag technology, and depending on your preference, it can be more or less thick. Some models have removable insoles, while others have them sewn in.
Then, the midsole is what connects the insole to the outsole and consists of a variety of materials, like EVA foam, rubber, or TPU. This is the part that offers cushioning and arch support, as well as a torsional resistance against twisting or turning motions. The type of material used in this layer is what ultimately determines the level of padding and protection it can provide. It’s sometimes fully integrated into the outer layer of a dense sole as a single unit, while other times it stands as an independent component.
Finally, there’s the outsole which is usually made of rubber or a combination of rubber-like compound materials, depending on the type of environment you’ll be exercising in. Deadlift slipper models come in two types – those with a full sole, and those with half soles. The latter has no lack of flexibility and portability, while the former helps to sustain more heavy-duty loading and offers greater durability.
In terms of the sole material, two key aspects distinguish eligible shoes from the rest – plenty of grip and density. The first factor is largely influenced by any slits or other patterns engraved into the dense sole, as these contribute to a superior grip while performing the ground-to-lockout deadlift movement. As for density, it describes how soft or hard the material feels underfoot – obviously, the softer it is, the more comfortable you’ll be during your lifts.
If you look at it from a different angle, denser soles tend to last longer and provide more overall stability. But there’s a fine line between dense and rigid – a sole that’s too hard may not give you the required amount of flexibility, leading to foot fatigue during the deadlift movement. Fortunately, the majority of shoes have struck a solid balance between the rigidity vs. flexibility variables.
If you want to get into specifics on the build of the outsole material, rubber is usually tougher, while TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is somewhat thinner but has greater shock absorption and flexibility. However, these are often blended together to achieve the desired overall feel, with a wide range of combinations in terms of hardness or softness, high-density or low-density, and so on. If you want more flexible soles, you should opt for rubber models or those with a rubber-like material.
You can also find a pair of shoes with Ethylene-vinyl acetate as the midsole material, which is slightly firmer than EVA foam and great for heavy lifting. It’s commonly found in Crocs, as well as some of the more expensive models. The only downside is that it gets softer over time and may lose its cushioning properties after a few months.
Next up, sumo deadlifters may benefit from wooden soles which are made from either beech wood or birch wood and offer superior traction. They’re naturally quite rigid but have some level of mobility that allows you to move your feet as needed. You probably won’t be able to make any uncontrolled movements with wooden soles, but they do provide enough cushioning to reduce the risk of injury and prevent dangerous ankle movements.
Finally, having a plastic-based sole isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth noting that they don’t provide great traction on smooth surfaces. They’re not exactly a luxury option either, but they do come in handy if you’re looking for a light pair with a reasonable price that you can wear while working out.
The plastic compound gets the job done, but not in the same way as the more expensive brands. But if you’re keen on flexible soles, you might want to look elsewhere for a better deal at a reasonable price.
Ankle Support and Foot Stability
There’s a lot of talk about keeping your ankle joint secure when maneuvering the weight of a deadlift, but it all starts with having the right kind of support. The majority of shoes come with some form of ankle cuff or elongated collar or both. They essentially keep your foot region in the right position and prevent any unnecessary movements that might compromise your workout and lead to ankle-based injuries.
The high-collared shoes have a snugger fit by wrapping entirely around your ankle and providing more padding. On the other hand, low-cut models have more flexible soles, which is great for those who’ve had greater experience with deadlifting, as well as shoes with ankle straps. It all boils down to what type of shoe fits your needs best, with some brands offering both options.
Having a wobbly ankle is by no means a good thing, as it increases the likelihood of errors as well as the risk of injury. To avoid any issues, make sure that your shoes have sufficient ankle and arch padding on the inside as well. It’s a good idea to look for reinforced or padded heel cups while shopping, as they significantly improve deadlift movement and support average ankle mobility.
Arguably as important as sufficient ankle support, the heel-to-toe drop refers to the difference in height between the heel and toe of your cushioned shoe. The higher it is, the more padding and amortization it provides, whereas a lower drop is better suited for those who require more agility and speed.
Generally speaking, the heavier your weights get, the more cushioning you’ll need to absorb the impact and distribute the force evenly. If your shoes don’t offer enough protection, it can lead to a bad ankle range and increase your risk of injury. Not only can this be painful, but it can also cause irreparable damage to your joints. But this isn’t necessarily a goal for deadlifting exercises.
When you have a minimal 3-5mm sole or even a zero-drop shoe, you’re basically keeping your foot parallel to the ground, which is certainly not a bad thing. This puts you in a mechanically advantageous position because it facilitates a proper form and your whole body is able to move just as it should. Not only does this give you more control over the barbell, but it keeps your feet at a stable height off the ground.
Think about it this way – you wouldn’t dare to lift weights in a pair of high-heeled boots or 5-inch platform shoes, would you? Sure, the cushioning is undoubtedly a benefit of shoes with a higher drop but it isn’t exactly what you need for deadlifting. Keeping your ankle joint secure and avoiding any unnecessary movement is far more influential on the overall success of your workout.
A heel-to-toe drop of 3-5mm is optimal in this case, as it falls within the effective heel height range that allows you to perform with the proper technique and keep your body safe from harm. Of course, this also depends on your body type and mobility, but opting out of a super elevated heel height is the first step in the right direction to finding a companion shoe for your needs.
These are the areas of the flat sole that expand slightly beyond the natural shape of your foot, acting as a buffer against the ground. The main role is to provide additional stability in the middle of your foot where you need it most when pushing off. Bear in mind that this isn’t a common shoe feature for a casual deadlifter, but it’s nonetheless worth considering. They are, however, commonly found in Olympic lifting shoes to accommodate the needs of more serious athletes.
With that said, flanges are considered to be a luxury option and a bonus feature on shoes for deadlifts, given their tendency to add a little bit of extra weight and price tag. If you’re just starting out or don’t consider yourself an avid deadlifting enthusiast, you can still benefit from them but it’s not an absolute must-have.
They’re either found on the outside of the sole or at the heel, so keep an eye out for them if you want to try out this feature. The majority of shoes come with standard soles, but you might find a pair that has some extra padding than another common shoe in deadlifting designs.
The bottom of the flat shoe sole is the foundation for a successful deadlift. While the type of grip pattern and slippage rates differ from one model to the next, the way it’s designed can make all the difference in maintaining balance and stability.
A flat sole with a textured pattern – such as bumps, ridges, or circles – is often recommended for deadlift shoes, as it provides more traction and keeps your feet grounded on the platform. Of course, having a decent all-purpose gym shoe with a more versatile sole pattern can also help you switch up your exercises, all while keeping you safe from slipping during your workout.
Even mid-range shoes have a decent construction quality that promotes foot stability and more than average ankle mobility. And, when you top it off with plenty of grip patterns, you’re sure to have all the features you need for those intense weightlifting sessions.
Metatarsal and Ankle Straps
Lastly, the two most vital strapping systems that can tackle any issue for deadlifts are the metatarsal and ankle varieties. The former is capable of immobilizing your foot from the top by locking it in place, which helps prevent any unnecessary movements that might compromise your workout and lead to ankle-based injuries.
The latter, on the other hand, wraps tightly around your lower leg and provides the necessary support to keep your posture upright and have plenty of grip. This reduces any dangerous ankle flexion that could lead to an unfortunate sprain or strain, all while giving you the ability to focus on a heavier lift.
If we look into metatarsal versions first, you’ll notice some key differences in terms of width, thickness, and material. Those designed for wider feet are generally regarded as the most comfortable since they evenly distribute the pressure across your foot region, while thinner ones can offer a better fit but at the cost of support.
Similarly, thinner straps are normally seen as a basic strip of fabric, while thicker versions tend to feature an inner layer of foam padding and have a more resilient and solid construction quality. It all varies from person to person, as the right choice for you will depend on how much protection and comfort are necessary for your workout.
When it comes to quality materials, nylon, and leather blends are the most common shoe features. Leather provides a longer lifespan but is relatively more expensive, while nylon gives you the same stability at an affordable cost. You can also go for some kind of synthetic blend, but these won’t be as long-lasting and will likely fray over time.
Following the same logic, getting a pair of deadlift shoes with ankle straps is an additional way to ensure a secure fit and plenty of grip on the ground. Not only do they help keep your ankle in the right position, but they also give you more control over the barbell and more power to push up. They effectively eliminate inefficient or even dangerous ankle motions on both the inside and outside during a deadlift.
But even so, they should make room for some ankle dorsiflexion, which is the essential motion that comes with performing a deadlift. It’s basically the deadlift movement that glides your toe closer to your shin as you look down, and any restriction due to a tight strap will make it harder for you to reach the complete range of motion. When you have a type of shoes that facilitates this comfortable movement, you’re closer to achieving a proper deadlift setup position.
The straps are usually made from the same material as the other parts of the shoe, with a wide range of fastening methods. The cinch strap is perhaps the most used, as it tightens with a simple pull and allows for a more customized fit. It’s made from a strip of webbing with a plastic or metal buckle that can be easily adjusted to keep your foot parallel to the ground and offer plenty of grip in the process.
Another option scraps the loop-and-buckle design altogether and instead uses a Velcro-style closure. One side of the strap is sewn to the shoe while the other features a Velcro patch, which means you get to pull it across your foot region and close it on the spot. While it doesn’t offer the same tight and secure fit as the former, it’s still more than enough for most deadlifting exercises with plenty of grip features to back it up.
Plus, if you combine it with a pair of shoes that has a dedicated lacing system, you’ll get the best of both worlds. After all, even the ultimate powerlifting shoes for a range of activities don’t have to cut off circulation completely in order to work – they just need to keep your feet right where they need to be and maintain optimal ankle movement with plenty of grip on the ground surface.
Are deadlift slippers worth it?
The majority of lifters that are determined to get the most out of their body fitness program could benefit from a pair of shoes that’s specifically designed for deadlifting and made of quality materials. Wearing regular, everyday shoes won’t provide enough support or cushioning for proper form and will likely cause unnecessary strain on your joints. This is the leading cause of ankle-based injuries, and even the casual deadlifter should take the time to pick out a good pair.
Is deadlifting barefoot better?
While deadlifting with bare feet can sometimes offer you a better feel for the floor and more control, it’s not always the best idea. The lack of ankle support and uneven distribution of weight can lead to an increase in the likelihood of injury. Of course, the foot measurement and effective heel height range play a vital role in determining the effectiveness and safety of your workout. You don’t have to go all-out with Olympic weightlifting shoes though – you can get the same effect at a more reasonable price range.
Are deadlift slippers allowed in competition?
In general, the majority of shoes are permitted in deadlifting competitions. However, open-back shoes such as flip flops and clogs are prohibited due to their lack of ankle support and dedicated lateral form. In addition, rubber or fabric sole covers should be avoided as they tend to offer little support and can increase the risk of slipping during the exercise. In any case, check the rules and requirements on eligible shoes beforehand.