Best Deadlift Shoes For Sumo: Buying Guide & Reviews (2020)

Sumo deadlifting is a physically demanding exercise. So, you always need to pay attention to the aspects that affect your workout, such as the deadlift shoes you’re going to wear.

Although it can be more comfortable for some, it’s easier to slip while deadlifting in a sumo stance. Additionally, you need to find a shoe that will keep your range of motion at minimal levels.

For these reasons, I pick Sabo Deadlift Shoes (click for availability and today’s price on Amazon) as the best deadlift shoes for sumo pulling. Read on, if you want to find out more about the process of choosing a good sumo deadlifting shoe.


Why Sumo Pullers Need Special Shoes

Specialized deadlift shoes for sumo

While there’s a lot of differences between conventional and sumo deadlifts, they also share some similarities. For example, the shoes you’re going to wear can have a massive impact on the stability of your entire lower body.

Here’s a quick rundown of all the reasons that make a sumo puller need special footwear while deadlifting.

Easier to Slip

One of the main differences between conventional and sumo deadlifts is the stance. In sumo deadlifting, the lifters usually stand with their feet outside the width of their shoulders.

Additionally, the sumo position recruits more quads pressure. While the wider stance might be more comfortable depending on your hip structure, you’ll still need a lot of stability to maintain your deadlift.

A wide stance will make you more prone to slipping laterally, which is one of the worst things that can happen when you’re pulling almost twice as much weight as your body.

You need a shoe that can provide you with maximum stability and grip. That’s where sumo deadlift shoes shine. They have a slip-resisting sole that’s designed to provide your stance with as much grip to the ground as possible.

Ankle Protection

Whether you’re going sumo or conventional, your ankle joint will contribute massively to your deadlifts.

The ankle should have minimal upward movement while being able to bend backward and retract the feet.

Another difference between conventional and sumo stance is how you angle your body while in the starting position.

While performing a sumo deadlift, the wider stance will also put a lot of additional stress at the level of the ankles. That’s why you need to ensure even more security and balance in the ankle region.

Reduce Range of Motion

To put it in the simplest way possible, every inch you add to your shoe is an extra inch that you need to pull off the ground. When your feet have a free range of motion, you’re giving them a larger opportunity to wobble, causing you to fail the rep.

For that reason, it’s crucial that you deadlift in shoes that have a sole that’s as thin as possible. In fact, that’s why a lot of people might deadlift barefooted. But more on that later.

One of the reasons that drive deadlifters to lift in the sumo position is the reduced range of motion.

The wider distance between your feet reduces the range of motion by 20 to 25% when compared with a conventional deadlift. It wouldn’t make sense for a sumo puller to cancel the benefit of the stance by deadlifting in a shoe that isn’t minimalistic.

This is why you should not be deadlifting in squat shoes.

5 Best Deadlift Shoes For Sumo

As you can see, for a shoe to be fit for deadlifts, it needs a lot of special characteristics. Sumo deadlifting requires even more strict measures, so you can make the best out of the stance.

To shortcut the long road of finding the best deadlift shoes for sumo, here’s a review of the best options you may come across in the market.

1. Sabo Deadlift Shoes

Because this was my number one pick, I wrote a full review of the Sabo Deadlift Shoe.

Sabo Deadlift Shoes is one of the best deadlift shoes that you can find in the market. While there are many options on the market that meet the deadlift requirements, this one is specifically designed for deadlifting.

Sabo deadlift shoes have almost everything you’re looking for in deadlift shoes. The shoes are made of fabric that keeps your feet stable while staying a bit comfortable to wear during deadlifting.

Additionally, the shoes come with thin soles that are only about 2 mm in most areas. However, in the midfoot area, the sole rises to about 5 mm. This creates a little arch support all the while keeping the sole as flat as possible.

The thin soles are great at minimizing your feet’s range of motion, which is ideal to make the most out of the sumo stance. Yet, they’re also rigid enough to keep your foot supported while deadlifting.

As you know, the wide stance puts huge pressure on the ankle area. This is one of the main reasons Sabo Deadlift shoes are among the most ideal ones for sumo deadlifts.

The shoes are high collared to support the ankle while training. Not only that, but you can also support the ankle even more with the powerful ankle straps. Besides ankle straps, the shoes also have a metatarsal strap to support your midfoot too!

The shoes are also available in 5 different colors, so you can choose the one that matches your taste and workout gear.

Pros

  • Ultra-flat sole with tiny arch support for comfort
  • Features both ankle and metatarsal straps for optimum support
  • Available in multiple sizes and colors

Cons

  • Designed exclusively for deadlifts, so it’s uncomfortable for casual use

2. Sabo GoodLift Shoes

Another shoe for Sabo, which shows the level of quality they offer when it comes to deadlift-friendly athletic shoes.

The Sabo GoodLift Shoe is the latest addition to Sabo’s arsenal of lifting shoes. This one is made specifically for lifters who are looking for a shoe without a heel. This is one of the reasons that makes it ideal for deadlifts in general.

The shoe has a classic upper construction that adds to the element of elegance. Additionally, the natural leather provides the shoes with durability and helps it to stand the test of time.

The Sabo GoodLift features a thin outsole that stays flat heel to toe. The flat nature helps in keeping all the critical points on your feet in contact with the ground throughout the lift.

The sole has a constant thickness of about 5 mm. This helps in minimizing the range of motion as much as possible while pulling the heavy loads of the ground.

In addition to being flat, the outsole is made of high-quality rubber, which ensures excellent resistance to slipping while deadlifting. The rubber is also designed in a special pattern that provides maximum grip to the floor.

The raised collar on the shoe is also ideal for sumo deadlifting. Although the shoe doesn’t offer an ankle strap, you can tighten the shoelaces to stabilize your ankle while lifting.

However, the GoodLift has a lateral metatarsal strap to secure the midfoot region. This 30 mm strap is an improved version of the Sabo Deadlift Shoes, offering a more durable and secure fit.

Pros

  • The lateral strap provides excellent midfoot support and stabilization
  • The raised ankle collar is ideal for sumo stance
  • Rubber outsoles that resist slipping
  • Durable and elegant leather construction

Cons

  • The grab taps are ripped easily with intense pulling

3. Adidas HVC Wrestling Shoes

You might wonder that a sumo deadlift list has wrestling shoes in it. However, a lot of pros have been relying on wrestling shoes while deadlifting for a while now. In addition to deadlifting, They’re also great for squats!

As you know, there are some aspects that make a shoe fit for deadlifting. The Adidas HVC Wrestling Shoes have got a lot of these points right.

For example, the outsoles are less than 5 mm thick throughout the shoes. It also has minimal arch support to keep your feet comfortable while deadlifting.

The 1-mm elevation in the middle portion is too little to impact your stability, but enough to keep your feet in a more stable position.

Additionally, the ankle has a powerful strap that fortifies the ankle and allows it to handle the added ankle stress that comes with the sumo stance.

Adidas is known for its excellent quality that usually comes at a premium price. Surprisingly enough, despite the rugged construction, this one comes at a highly reasonable price. This makes it a great value for money as well!

The only downside of the Adidas HVS wrestling shoes is that it’s currently limited to a black and white design. However, it’s a neutral color that suits all tastes, so it shouldn’t be a problem for many people.

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Lightweight but durable construction
  • Excellent ankle support with powerful velcro straps

Cons

  • The shoes have a raised toe angle

4. Asics Matflex Wrestling Shoe

Another wrestling shoe that has a lot of characteristics that are fit for deadlifting is the Asics Matflex Wrestling Shoe.

The shoes are noticeably lightweight and comfortable to wear for a longer time. The Asics Matflex is made of highly breathable fabric while maintaining a good level of durability.

The soles on the shoes are made of synthetic rubber. The pattern on the outsole is fitted with multiple traction pods that provide further slip resistance. This is ideal for sumo deadlifts, as you’re more likely to slip laterally due to the wide stance.

The soles are also 5 mm thick, which is thin enough to keep the range of motion minimized.

One of the things that make the Asics Matflex suitable is the tremendous level of ankle support it offers. First, the shoe has a raised collar to support your ankle while deadlifting in general.

Moreover, the ankle region has minimal padding to stabilize your foot. You can also tighten up the laces to further support the ankle.

The Asics Matflex wrestling shoes are also available in 3 different designs to choose from. This is great news for those who enjoy matching their outfits while workout out.

Although the shoes are offered in multiple size options, some users complained that the sizing chart is a bit off.

Pros

  • Comes with traction pods that prevent slipping
  • Thin and relatively flat soles
  • The raised collar is ideal for sumo deadlifting when laced tightly

Cons

  • Some users reported sizing problems.

5. Otomix Wrestling Shoe

If you’re looking for a deadlifting shoe that’s highly versatile and works for many purposes, the Otomix Wrestling shoe should be on your radar.

This one works as deadlift shoes, wrestling shoes, and boxing shoes as well. In other words, you can wear them throughout your entire workout without having to change them between different exercises.

What makes it great for sumo deadlifts is that it has almost everything you need in a deadlift shoe.

The Otomix has a high ankle collar that you can tighten with shoelaces. The ankle support lets you retract your feet while having a minimal upward movement.

It also comes with a flat sole with a sole that supports your stance and keeps your feet as close to the ground as possible. The soles are also thin to minimize your range of motion effectively.

Unfortunately, the Otomix wrestling shoes don’t have metatarsal or ankle straps. Instead, you have to tighten the laces to have similar results.

The outsole of the shoe is made out of rubber to give it the grip you’ll need while deadlifting sumo. Not only will this protect you from slipping, but the rigid rubber also contributes to your stability, as it has minimal compression.

Pros

  • Lightweight and flexible construction
  • Highly versatile workout shoe
  • Minimal padding for comfort without affecting stability

Cons

  • Doesn’t have metatarsal and ankle straps

Can You Sumo Deadlift Barefoot?

Sumo pullers don't go barefoot while deadlifting
Sumo pullers don’t go barefoot while deadlifting

You might find a lot of people deadlifting barefoot. In fact, there are a lot of benefits that you get from barefooted deadlifting. These benefits include:

  • Extra balance through direct contact with the ground
  • Recruiting more muscle groups and balancing between hip and knee extensors
  • Minimized range of motion due to lack of elevation

While these reasons are justifiable for conventional deadlifting, sumo stance is a different story. In sumo, the stress on your ankles is much more noticeable.

You need to keep your ankles supported at all times to pull off a sumo deadlift correctly. That’s why I recommend wearing a specialized shoe for sumo deadlifting.

What to Look For in a Good Sumo Deadlift Shoe?

design for sumo deadlift shoe
Sumo deadlift shoe design

An ideal shoe for sumo deadlifts needs special features that aren’t available in many athletic shoes. Let’s have a closer look at all the aspects that you need to look for in a good deadlift shoes

High Ankle

As you know, sumo deadlifting requires more support in the ankle region. For that reason, you should always make sure that the shoe has a high ankle collar that further supports the area.

Flat Sole

A good deadlift shoe must have a completely flat sole. This keeps the sole of your feet in direct contact with the ground all the time. You should look for a shoe with little to no toe drop angle.

Straps

Straps help you adjust the shoes for a snug fit. However, they also have the added benefit of fortifying the support. For example, a metatarsal strap will give you a more compact and balanced feel while lifting.

Besides the bottom support, special deadlift footwear can have a strapped collar that supports your ankle as well.

The most important strap to look for is the ankle strap. This strap will provide your ankle with more support to overcome the higher stress on the ankle level.

There are various deadlift shoes that offer different levels of strap rigidity, so you can choose the one that feels the most comfortable for you!

Grippy Sole

Since sumo deadlifting makes you more prone to slipping, you should opt for shoes with rubber outsoles.

Rubber has an excellent level of grip, which sticks your feet to the ground and protects it for slipping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Sumo Deadlift in Heeled Shoes?

No.

Deadlifting in a sumo position needs a lot of stability. Heeled shoes will disrupt your center of gravity and puts a lot of strain on your body while pulling the weight.

As a result, you might lose your balance, causing the barbell to come off of you.

Should You Sumo Deadlift in Slippers?

No.

While slippers are usually flat, they lack all kinds of ankle support, which is crucial when you’re deadlifting in a sumo stance. Additionally, slippers are too slippery for sumo deadlifting.

Conventional deadlifting doesn’t need as much ankle support as sumo does. That’s why slippers are only used in conventional deadlifting.

Should a Beginner Invest in Deadlift Shoes?

Deadlift shoes will help you optimize your performance. If you’re a serious beginner about deadlifting, a good pair of deadlifting shoes will come in handy.

It’s always a good idea to minimize the number of variables in your training. So, if you opt for good deadlift shoes from day 1, you won’t have to adjust to a new one later.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. A complete guide with everything you need to know about choosing the best sumo deadlift shoe.

If you’re a fan of sumo deadlifting, you need a shoe that has a high ankle with powerful straps. Additionally, it should have an excellent grip to protect you from lateral slipping.

For these reasons, I recommend Sabo Deadlift Shoes as the best deadlift shoes for sumo pulling stance.

However, if you’re looking for a more versatile option, you can go for Adidas HVC Wrestling Shoes. Besides having all the qualities you need in a sumo deadlift shoe, it’s a great bang for your buck!