Deadlift Shoes Roundup: Our 2018 Buying Guide

Mihai Voinea
Medically reviewed by Mihai Voinea Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) — Research analysis by Adam Pius

Lifting weights isn’t as simple as it seems, and as you’ve probably learned firsthand, wearing the right deadlift shoes is a must—putting on ordinary running shoes just won’t cut it anymore.

Deadlift shoes are the best option for lifters who want stability, comfort, and endurance. Given the seemingly countless options available out there, we decided to come up with a list featuring only the finest pairs.

Best Deadlift Shoes Comparison Table

A Quick Look at the Best Deadlift Shoes

This is mostly made of leather, has a rubber sole, and equipped with a heel overlay to improve weight stability. The top is coated with polyurethane, which guarantees both support and comfort for a lifter.

This one’s popular for its narrow fit that improves balance, but the high-density midsole helps a lot as well. It’s primarily made of synthetic materials, including the sole.

The Romaleos 3 comes in a variety of attractive colors and, like some other shoes on this list, it’s composed of synthetic material. It has features suited for intense weight training.

Sabo’s offering is mostly made of leather, though it has a rubber sole—there’s also the adjustable hooks, loops, and Velcro straps for better support. It has a winter-tire pattern that keeps you in place.

The CrossFit Lifter is a low-top shoe with a heel that measures 1.25 inches, which definitely adds to stability. It also comes with hook and loop strap locks for that custom-fit feel.

Reviews of the Best Deadlift Shoes

This seemingly conventional footwear is a popular choice among powerlifters due to its durability, comfort, and quality. Also, it has enough flexibility to support most workouts (not limiting your range of motion).

Adidas Adipower Weightlift Shoes

Things We Liked

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    Leather top with rubber sole
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    Tough exterior but still comfortable
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    Durable (lasts for years even if regularly used)
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    Elevated heel that helps achieve the perfect squat form
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    Supports heavy squats and bench presses

Things We Didn't Like

  • Limited color choices
  • Reports of the metal eyelets suddenly falling off
  • Not that suitable for wide-footed users due to its narrow toe box
Adidas Powerlift.3.1 Cross Trainer

The Adidas Powerlift provides good stability and has a secure fit. Its lining, tongue, and collar are all made from some sort of mesh design that greatly helps improve breathability.

Things We Liked

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    Open forefoot style for added comfort
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    Snug upper is suited for most weight lifting routines
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    Gives enough stability despite being lightweight
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    Quality manufacturing improves durability

Things We Didn't Like

  • Sizing isn’t too accurate due to narrow shape
  • Insole may feel a bit too soft to some people

This weightlifting shoe comes in a variety of colors and has a stylish design. Despite being made by a top sportswear brand though, the Romaleos 3 isn’t as durable as the other entries in this list.

Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Shoes

Things We Liked

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    Very comfortable to wear
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    Made of lightweight materials
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    Has breathable construction
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    Cushioned collar for ankle support

Things We Didn't Like

  • Inconvenient seatbelt-like strap
  • High price for a low-quality product
Sabo Deadlift Shoes

The newest design features a tighter fit, remodeled eyelet construction, and improved breathability. It’s specifically designed to withstand the most intense routines, and it’s very similar to deadlift slippers.

Things We Liked

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    Flat soles are made of high density material for traction
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    Pattern on the outsole prevents slipping incidents
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    Tighter fit improves force transfer
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    Properly supports ankle stability

Things We Didn't Like

  • Ankle strap doesn’t have a good fit
  • Velcro straps are made of cheap material
  • Laces are short for those with wide feet or thick ankles

This cross-trainer shoe’s locked-in hook and loop adds to stability. The heel clip is a welcome addition, but the Velcro doesn’t seem to be set in the ideal position, making it difficult to adjust the overall fit.

Reebok CrossFit Lifter Training Shoes

Things We Liked

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    Suited for conventional deadlift routines
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    Flexible platforms for CrossFit movements
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    Breathability is great though not the best

Things We Didn't Like

  • The heel is a bit too high
  • Shoe lace loops don’t seem sturdy enough

Don’t be deceived by impressive aesthetics and cheap prices. What you’ll have to go for is a pair that excels in providing stability and comfort, especially since these factors affect your endurance.

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Things to Consider in Choosing Deadlift Shoes

Here’s a list of things you must pay attention to while shopping for the ideal powerlifting shoes:

  • Heel

    Your shoes need to have sturdy heels to support your movement as well as the weight that’s put on them. In most cases, you’ll have to go for heels that are as flat as possible, so as not to affect your leverage.

    If, however, you have problems with ankle mobility or with your posture during lifts, you should at least consider using footwear with slightly raised heels.

    Raised heels should make it easier to prevent your weight from shifting forward during a lift. The downside though, lies in the fact that you’d be putting weight on your toes.
  • Strap

    A good fit is, without a doubt, crucial—and the straps play an important role in this aspect. Look for straps that easily yet securely lock in place.

    As you look for shoes, however, you’ll probably come across those equipped with a Velcro metatarsal strap. These should be positioned just right so as to provide the right fit.

    Why bother with these straps when you already have shoelaces? Although those laces will keep your shoe firmly wrapped around your feet, the straps are what stops unnecessary movement.

    By keeping your feet from moving inside the shoe, the straps prevent both supination and pronation. With metatarsal straps, improving and maintaining your mid-foot balance shouldn’t be as hard.
  • Sole

    Every lifter wants to avoid slipping accidents, and fortunately these can be prevented by wearing shoes with the right sole. Make sure that the shoe you’re getting offers enough grip on every possible surface.

    It’s not just about slip resistance though, as you also need to check if the sole is non-compressible. You wouldn’t want to feel like you’re slowly sinking into the floor, and there’s also the issue of durability.

    Lastly, go for weight lifting shoes with a thin sole. This is a must since you need to be as close to the ground as possible for maximum balance—and besides, thick soles can mess up your leverage.

    By the way, the need for a flat sole is what makes wrestling shoes a common alternative to lifting shoes.
  • Warranty

    As they say, customer satisfaction is as important as product quality. This is definitely true, especially if you’re planning to get your deadlift shoes online.

    Find out whether you’re allowed to return the shoe if the fit feels a bit off. Also, check for guarantees regarding any issues with manufacturing and quality control.

    There’s the matter of who will handle your concerns as well. Will you be able to get help from the store you bought it from, or is contacting the manufacturer the only option?


Which Is Better: High Top or Low Top?

Lifting shoes have an effect on the squatting technique. This is why some people never go for sneaker-like pairs, believing that high-top squat shoes enable them to execute squats perfectly.

Of course, there are also those who don’t want anything to do with high-tops, claiming that these restrict their movement. So, who should you believe?

Truth be told, there is no definitive answer to this debate. What matters most is that you find something truly comfortable—and this is also why we recommend actually trying out the shoes you’ve been eyeing.

If you think that going to a nearby store and finding a particular footwear is a waste of time, just consider the time you’ll be saving once you find a pair of shoes that actually looks and feels perfect.

What’s the Ideal Material for Deadlift Shoes?

Deadlift shoes are available in different materials such as synthetic fabric, leather, and rubber. These have an effect on comfort, especially since they determine breathability.

Synthetic fabric is highly breathable and won’t keep your feeling warm and sweaty. Rubber, on the other hand, scores low on the breathability scale—and the same can be said for synthetic leather.

Genuine leather is somewhere between synthetic fabric and rubber, but there’s the issue of price—it’s the most expensive among these materials. Synthetic fabric, despite being comfortable, is also the least durable.

Remember that shoes aren’t usually just made of a single material. And that’s why it’s better to look at their ratio in relation to one another and how each is placed around the shoe.

Some footwear are almost entirely leather despite having synthetic fabric around the top. There are also those that are half synthetic fabric, allowing for better breathability—possibly sacrificing fit and tightness to an extent.

You should be able to guess what the shoe will feel like and excel in based on the how these materials are used or placed. And with that, you’ll be more capable of finding a pair that you’d definitely like.

Our Recommended Deadlift Shoes

We recommend the Adidas Adipower Weightlift Shoes for its reasonable price, excellent quality, interesting design, and good performance in the squat, bench press, and low bar.

Compared to the other shoes presented here in our review, it is mostly made of leather. As you’ve learned, this material basically guarantees extended durability.

Its added features (such as the heel overlay) provide added support for improved weight stability and foothold, which in turn should reduce your risk of getting slip-related injuries.

Still, we’d have to remind you that the Adipower isn’t as flat as some would like. So, again, before investing in this shoe (or in other deadlift shoes), don’t forget to take all your needs and preferences into account.

Image credits:

Adam Pius (Research Analysis)

My Trainer Bob was founded by Adam to supply a great resource on fitness and health and to become a trusted resource where people can come and learn how to stay fit.

Mihai Voinea (Editor)

Mihai is a medical doctor and entrepreneur with a burning obsession for performance and health. Mihai is also an IronMan, ultramarathon runner, and co-founder of Marsilian, which owns two e-learning platforms for future medical students and doctors.