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Best Deadlifting Shoes (2022): Footwear to Enhance Your Deadlift, Not Hinder Your Hinge

Shoes for Deadlifting with Garage Gym Reviews watermark

We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Table of Contents

Not all fitness shoes are created equal. There are shoes designed for running, plyometrics, CrossFit, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, and functional fitness (just to name a few). With so many training shoes to choose from, what reigns supreme when it comes to deadlifts?

The best footwear option for deadlifts—a compound, hip-dominant, barbell movement—are flat shoes that do not have an elevated heel. Your footwear creates the foundation of your movement, no matter what kind of movement you intend to do. You will get the most drive and the best body mechanics during a deadlift from a firm, flat shoe.

If you’re curious about deadlifting in weightlifting shoes (aka “lifters”), keep reading. It’s time to understand how the legs gain more pulling power with the heel stapled to the floor.

6 Best Deadlifting Shoes in 2022


Best Deadlift Shoe Overall:

Best Deadlift Shoe Overall
Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars
Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars

You’ll like wearing Converse for deadlifts plus all your deadlift variations and accessories.

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars Specifications
Upper Material Canvas upper with rubber toe cap
Midsole Material Rubber
Outsole Material Rubber
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

Pros:

  • Flat, no heel drop
  • No compression or squish with sturdy rubber construction
  • Now offered in wide and standard fit

Cons:

  • Traditionally a very narrow shoe
  • Not ideal for cross-training or running
  • 30-day return policy

Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers are the ultimate powerlifting shoes for a reason: They give your feet a flat, sturdy, grounded platform to lift from. Chuck Taylors feature a zero-millimeter heel-to-toe drop and a hard rubber midsole and outsole construction to limit compression and support heavy lifts—especially the deadlift.

You not only have a huge selection of colors to choose from, but for an additional cost, you can customize the colors of the canvas upper material, rubber outsole, and rubber toe cap. Chuck Taylors (without customization) will run you $65 for the high-tops and $60 for the low tops.

The longevity of a pair of Chucks depends on how much you use them. If you are only wearing Chucks for strength training, you will see at least a year of training use. If you decide to wear them outside the gym as well, many lifters report a six month lifespan with these classic sneakers.

Best Deadlifting Shoe With Ankle Support:

Best Deadlifting Shoe With Ankle Support
NOBULL High-Top Trainers
NOBULL High-Top Trainers

You’ll like these trainers if you want comfort on the deadlift platform and in daily life.

NOBULL High-Top Trainers Specifications
Upper Material SuperFabric®
Midsole Material High-density foam
Outsole Material Carbon rubber lugs
Heel-to-Toe Drop 4 mm

Pros:

  • High-tops offer stiff ankle support
  • Durable construction
  • Fashionable enough for wear outside the gym

Cons:

  • Pricey for a minimalist shoe
  • Minimal cushioning requires adjustment period
  • Fairly narrow toe box

NOBULL High-Top Trainers are a great option if you’re looking for ankle stability, minimalist style, and a durable design. The High-Top Trainers are fairly stiff and don’t provide the type of cushioning you might get in a cross-trainer or a running shoe. That said, a lot of lifters notice NOBULL Trainers (both high-top and low options) require a significant break-in period. High-tops are great if you’re seeking a snug fit through the foot and ankle joint for extra support.

The other side to the minimal cushion and break-in period is the responsiveness to heavy lifts. In a shoe like this, you won’t get any compression or softness underfoot. This is one of the most ideal features of a good deadlift shoe.

You will pay nearly double the price of a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s for one pair of NOBULLs. However, the upper material on the NOBULL sneakers is unlike any sneaker on the market. The upper is one seamless piece of SuperFabric®—an engineered synthetic material that is durable, slash-resistant, and abrasion-resistant (it’s also used on other heavy duty items like military gear, commercial fishing gloves, and mountaineering boots).

Most Comfortable Deadlift Shoe:

Most Comfortable Deadlift Shoe
Vans Classics
Vans Classics

You’ll like this classic style for streetwear and for setting deadlift PRs.

Vans Classics Specifications
Upper Material Suede and canvas
Midsole Material Rubber
Outsole Material Rubber waffle pattern
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

Pros:

  • Comfortable for everyday wear
  • Priced well under $100
  • Non-slip soles

Cons:

  • Not versatile for cross training or running
  • No arch support
  • Not great for wide feet

It might surprise you to see that Vans made it on this list of the best deadlift shoes because they are, after all, a classic skateboarding shoe. Vans have made their way into the weight room and for good reason: They stand up to heavy weights without compression, have a flat zero-drop heel, and a non-slip rubber waffle pattern on the outsole.

Vans Classics have different colors to choose from and are reasonably priced. They hold up, too! These shoes were originally designed for skateboarding and thrashing about, which means they will definitely hold up in the weight room and under the barbell. Although the solid rubber soles featured on Vans Classics won’t be your first choice for running, they’ll still do the trick for things like box jumps, lateral movements, and burpees.

Best Deadlift Shoe for Competitive Weightlifters:

Best Deadlift Shoe for Competitive Weightlifters
Nike Romaleos 4
Nike Romaleos 4

You’ll like these shoes for snatch and clean deadlifts specific to Olympic Weightlifting.

Nike Romaleos 4 Specifications
Upper Material Synthetic mesh
Midsole Material Thermoplastic urethane (TPU) heel clip
Outsole Material Rubber tread
Heel-to-Toe Drop 20 mm

Pros:

  • Sturdy, no compression underfoot
  • Wider toe box than previous model
  • Velcro and laces for a locked-down feel

Cons:

  • Benefits Olympic lifters only
  • Expensive price tag
  • Not versatile for cross training

Nike Romaleos are weightlifting shoes, designed with a sturdy outsole and significant heel-to-toe drop. It’s important to note that these are a great option for competitive Olympic lifters, not for the recreational lifter. It’s not uncommon for a competitive weightlifter to wear a pair of lifters for an entire lifting session—meaning their heel is lifted at 20 millimeters for every single exercise and repetition.

The heel lift becomes important when the two main lifts you train for require such a deep squat in the receiving position (the snatch and the clean and jerk). This style of shoe, with a raised heel, makes it easier to achieve the ankle flexion needed to get into a deep squat position. It’s not to say that weightlifters don’t deadlift, but their deadlifts are geared toward the sport to reinforce competitive movement patterns. Therefore, weightlifters often practice hip hinging with the snatch deadlift or the clean deadlift.

For a recreational (non-competitive) lifter who wants to do conventional deadlifts, the raised heel height of a Nike Romaleo produces too much range of motion for your ankles and pitches your knees too far forward. In a traditional deadlift, the most power comes from a vertical shin position and the ability to press into the heel and midfoot with equal pressure.

Best Deadlift Shoe for Wide Feet:

Best Deadlift Shoe for Wide Feet
UA Charged Commit 3
UA Charged Commit 3

You’ll like this pair of trainers if you need extra room for wide feet.

UA Charged Commit 3 Specifications
Upper Material Breathable mesh upper
Midsole Material Charged Cushioning®
Outsole Material Rubber with flex grooves
Heel-to-Toe Drop 8 mm

Pros:

  • Wide toe box
  • Priced under $100
  • Minimal 8 mm heel offset

Cons:

  • Cushioned midsole enables compression under heavy weights
  • Not designed specifically for heavy deadlifts
  • More of a cross-trainer

The UA Charged Commit 3 might not look like a deadlifting-specific shoe, but this pick is specifically for wide feet. If you have wide feet, you know that shoe shopping is difficult and flat, minimalist-style options like Vans, Converse, and NOBULLs don’t cut it.

When it comes to deadlifting, you’re looking for the least amount of elevation through the heel and a rigid sole. While this isn’t the perfect shoe for heavy loads, if you’ve got wide feet, know this: UA Charged Commit 3 is going to offer less compression than a running shoe or other limited styles offered in wide sizes (like 2W to 4W).

Best Budget Deadlift Shoe:

Best Budget Deadlift Shoe
Feiyue FE LO 1920
Feiyue FE LO 1920

You’ll like these sneakers for a low-profile deadlift shoe that won’t break the bank.

Feiyue FE LO 1920 Specifications
Upper Material Cotton canvas
Midsole Material Padded insoles
Outsole Material Gum rubber
Heel-to-Toe Drop 0 mm

Pros:

  • Flat, zero drop
  • Wearable in and out of the gym
  • Super affordable $25 price tag

Cons:

  • Materials are not the most durable
  • No half sizes offered
  • Longevity is questionable

Feiyue FE LO 1920 shoes are budget-friendly: This low-top trainer is priced at a reasonable $25. Feiyue is a footwear brand that started in Shanghai in 1920. The brand’s iconic canvas shoes still play tribute to classic martial arts. The qualities of a good shoe for martial arts—flat, stable, grippy, and a virtually barefoot style design—are similar to what makes good deadlift footwear.

Although similar to a pair of Converse, the Feiyue brand features thin soles that feel a lot more like a barefoot shoe. You won’t have much arch support, but the insole is removable in case the lack of arch support is not to your liking.

 

Benefits of Deadlift Shoes

Why should you care about the type of shoes you deadlift in? Here are three things to consider about your next deadlift shoe:

  • Joint alignment: Alignment starts with a grounded and active foot. The sturdier the shoe you deadlift in, the better, stronger foot position you achieve. Joint alignment is like a domino effect—with an active foot, the ankle is in a better position to stay aligned under the knee, keeping the hip stacked over the knee. If the feet and ankles can’t find stability, it affects the entire setup.
  • Neutral spine: For the best possible technique, you’ll want a shoe that allows you to plant your feet nearly the way you would without shoes. This means a shoe that doesn’t pitch your toes forward with a heel lift. You won’t need this kind of ankle flexion—a good deadlift requires a vertical shin and most of your weight is positioned through the heels.
  • Pulling power: You are going to get the most pulling power from the shoe option that not only fits you the best, but is the most minimal through the heel and overall outsole height.
 

How to Choose the Best Deadlifting Shoes

When you’re on the market for a deadlifting shoe, it’s important to consider the unique needs of your own two feet, including width, arch support required, and height. Some of these factors are going to make a deadlift shoe ideal for pulling but not great for all your time spent in the weight room.

Toe Box

The toe box is an individual preference but should work well for your unique feet. Converse are notoriously narrow and won’t work for everyone’s feet. If they did, this list would have just one pair of shoes. Wider toe boxes allow for more natural foot-splaying and can help you “dig” your feet into the ground when pulling.

Midsole

The midsole is not the bottommost part of the shoe where the treads are, but the space between the outsole (bottom) and the upper textile material that secures your foot in place. For a great deadlifting shoe, the midsole is neither cushioned or highly elevated off the ground.

Why don’t you want cushioning on a pair of shoes intended for deadlifting? You wouldn’t want to deadlift while standing on top of marshmallows—instead, you want to be on a hard, stable surface with no movement and minimal feedback. Additionally, the higher the midsole is constructed away from the ground, the more distance you have to pull the barbell off the floor.

Outsole

The outsole is the part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. For a deadlifting shoe, a rubber outsole is the best bet to avoid any slipping and will be even more important for sumo deadlifts.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

The most ideal deadlifting shoe for pretty much any lifter will not have any heel lift. The best shoe for the most pulling power, will be a flat sole that leaves your heel as close to the ground as possible. The more power and direct pressure you can add from the heels of your feet, the more you will drive from your hamstrings and glutes.

FAQs

It’s absolutely possible to deadlift in a pair of weightlifting shoes. However, that doesn’t mean you will have the most ideal body mechanics and pulling power from your hamstrings and glutes when your heels are elevated. The most ideal situation for your feet is a firm, flat sole. Weightlifting shoes are great for practicing clean- and snatch-grip deadlifts, though.

If you plan on competing in a powerlifting meet, yes. That said, if you’re not a competitive lifter you can try barefoot lifting (if you want). However, some gyms don’t allow members to take off their shoes. If you’re allowed to, lifting barefoot allows for a completely grounded feeling (hence why you might see competitive powerlifters wearing deadlift slippers, versus some of the other low-profile shoes on this shoe review list).

Sure! This is a personal preference and depends on your ankle mobility. As you may have noticed, the top picks for deadlifting shoes are fairly thin and pretty much flat. Your deadlifting shoes can also function as your squat shoes. However, if you are limited in your ankle mobility (or hip mobility) a shoe with a raised heel can make a big difference in your squat depth and promote proper body mechanics.

A good shoe for deadlifts is flat to allow your feet to stay grounded and keep balance between the entire foot, rather than allowing a raised heel to put more pressure into the forefoot (and literally tip your heel up off the floor). Although driving in your heel is one of the most important factors to activating your hamstrings and glutes, the balance of the whole foot is important for the strongest outcome on your deadlifts and continuing to progress.