Choosing the right pair of shoes is always a challenge, regardless of sport. Even choosing the right shoes for casual wear can be an overwhelming decision, with so many different options available.
Choosing the best shoes for deadlifting can be equally daunting so in this article, I’ve decided to make the decision that little bit easier by listing 5 of my top shoe choices for the deadlift (and an extra choice for good measure).
If you’re looking for the ideal shoe to take your deadlifting to the next level then you really can’t go wrong with any of the choices listed below!
Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here are my choices listed for convenience:
- Best Deadlift Shoes – Vibram FiveFingers or Sabo Deadlift Shoes (I couldn’t pick just one!)
- Most Comfortable Deadlift Shoes – Otomix Stingray
- Most Versatile Deadlift Shoes – Converse All Star High Tops
- Most Affordable Deadlift Shoes – Adidas HVC 2
- Honorable Mention – Vans Old Skool
For more information on shoe choice concerning deadlifting, check out my article on Powerlifting Shoes for the Deadlift. You can also check out my Beginner’s Guide to the Conventional vs Sumo Deadlift.
Best Deadlift Shoes
The best shoes for deadlifting overall is… actually 2 different pairs! I thought long and hard to decide which I preferred but ultimately I couldn’t pick a winner so have decided to crown both as the winner instead.
It may seem like a strange choice when you consider what the Vibram FiveFingers are and what they were designed for, but don’t let that fool you, they are a very, very good shoe when it comes to deadlifting! If you can get past their unique looks, they’re well worth the investment.
Firstly, their minimalist design provides a very thin sole, bringing your feet closer to the floor. This will help shorten the range of motion that the bar will have to travel, ultimately making the lift easier.
Staying with the sole, the outsole of the Vibram FiveFingers is incredibly grippy! In fact, of all the shoes tested in the Powerlifting Perfection Grip Test, The Vibrams are the clear winner. This makes them ideal for sumo deadlifts especially, no matter how much lateral force you put through these shoes, your feet are going nowhere!
The only negative I can find with the Vibram FiveFingers (aside from their looks!) is that there is no ankle support, which can be helpful for stability, but this is a minor inconvenience in what is an overall excellent deadlift shoe.
Vibram FiveFingers latest pricing can be checked at Amazon.
Check out my in-depth review of the Vibram FiveFingers for more information.
- Thin sole brings you close to the floor.
- The outsole is incredibly grippy.
- Unique looks won’t appeal to many.
- No ankle support.
Sabo Deadlift Shoe
It’s not at all surprising that the Sabo Deadlift Shoes would make a good shoe choice for deadlifting, they do have deadlift in the name after all!
Indeed, a shoe that was specifically manufactured with this lift in mind has pretty much all the key features you would want to see.
The sole is thin, keeping you close to the floor whilst the outsole grips well to ensure your feet never slip out of position.
The Sabo Deadlift Shoe has the added benefit of both metatarsal and ankle straps, adding an extra layer of security and stability.
I really struggled to find many negatives with this shoe, however, the ankle strap could definitely be improved. Unlike the metatarsal strap, the ankle strap is elasticated, so control of tightness isn’t really there and I often feel like I need a bit more out of it.
Sabo Deadlift latest pricing can be checked at Amazon.
Check out my in-depth review of the Sabo Deadlift Shoe for more information.
- Their low profile makes lifting easier.
- Straps provide good support and stability.
- The ankle strap is elasticated, which restricts tightening.
Most Comfortable Deadlift Shoes
The winner of the most comfortable category is the Otomix Stingray.
Otomix, as a company, is one of a handful of shoe manufacturers that specialize in the strength sports industry, which makes them well placed to get shoes for the deadlift right.
One of my favorite features of the Otomix Stingray is just how comfortable they are! the entirety of the shoe is padded and makes your feet feel very snug when wearing them. They actually remind me of snow boots quite a lot because of how thick and comfortable they are!
Comfort aside, this doesn’t detract from performance. The Otomix Stingray is still low to the floor and provides plenty of grip and the padding provides great support around your foot, making them great for deadlifting among other lifts in the gym.
One major negative of the Otomix Stingray is its insole, which features a gel-like material under the heel. This can detract from performance slightly due to the loss of energy transfer to the bar. They can also be quite pricey compared to the other shoes mentioned in this article.
Otomix Stingray latest pricing can be checked at Amazon.
Check out my in-depth review of the Otomix Stingray for more information.
- Padding provides great comfort and support.
- Their low profile is ideal for deadlifting.
- Not the most affordable.
- The insole is softer than alternatives.
Most Versatile Deadlift Shoes
I have chosen the Converse All Star as the most versatile deadlift shoe, specifically the high top variant, due to their popularity outside of strength sports.
Unlike the other shoes mentioned so far, these are perhaps the only ones that wouldn’t look out of place outside of the gym and are also very accessible for beginner’s looking to get into lifting but don’t want to commit to a bespoke pair of shoes.
As a deadlift shoe, the Converse All Star has a surprisingly strong history in the industry, particularly in the sport of Powerlifting, and has been a very popular choice not only for deadlifts but also for squats for many years!
Converse All Star does, unfortunately, suffer from having a thicker sole than the other options here, which is their most notable con but otherwise, you really can’t go wrong with Converse All Star when it comes to the deadlift.
Converse All Star latest pricing can be checked at Amazon.
- Versatility, they have many uses outside of deadlifts.
- Accessibility, they are easy to get a hold of.
- Not the best sole thickness.
- Not specifically designed for strength sports.
Most Affordable Deadlift Shoes
The Adidas HVC 2 is far and away the most affordable shoes you could possibly find which are also great for deadlifting in. Originally intended for Wrestling, the Adidas HVC 2 is extremely lightweight and minimalistic, which allows them to be super cheap.
Don’t let their price fool you though, the Adidas HVC 2 is a very capable shoe for deadlifting and, if you’re on a budget, or just want to experiment with something different without breaking the bank, I highly recommend them!
Adidas HVC 2 latest pricing can be checked at Amazon.
Read my in-depth review of the Adidas HVC 2 for more information.
- Priced at less than half of some of the alternatives.
- Solid overall performance.
- Not the hardest wearing.
- Not as supportive as other alternatives.
It would be unfair to mention the Converse All Star without also talking about the Vans Old Skool.
Both shoes are extremely similar and depending on your persuasion, you may favor one over the other.
It’s worth noting though that the Vans Old Skool is a low top only, however, the ankle does receive some support as the shoe is padded around this joint.
Vans Old Skool latest pricing can be checked at Amazon.
See my in-depth review of the Vans Old Skool for more information.
- Accessibility and versatility on par with Converse All Star
- Popular design.
- No high top variant for added support.
- Not specifically designed for strength training.
The deadlift is one of the best compound exercises that can be done for building overall strength, and choosing the right shoe can be the difference between a good training session and a bad one.
Hopefully, now, you will have a good indication of some of the best shoes for deadlifting and will be able to be more informed when buying your next pair!