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There is a range of specialized deadlift shoes that you can pick from. But another option is to wear deadlift slippers, minimalist shoes with only a thin piece of polyester material between your foot and the ground. As the name suggests, they are not traditional shoes with laces and ankle support but rather slippers.
So are deadlift slippers worth it? Deadlift slippers are best for conventional deadlifting as they offer the least distance between your foot and the surface you’re pushing against. This reduces the range you have to lift the barbell and optimizes the force transfer into the ground. But I would not wear deadlift slippers for sumo deadlifting.
As the Head Coach for Team Canada Powerlifting, I’m tasked with giving my athletes the best recommendations for their gear. In this article, I’ll outline the 7 benefits of wearing deadlifting slippers and explain why I think they’re worth it. I’ll also explain situations where I think deadlift slippers don’t work.
Let’s get started!
Top 3 Deadlift Slipper Recommendations
If you’re in a hurry and want my quick deadlift slipper recommendations, check out these models:
Why Should You Trust Us?
PowerliftingTechnique comprises a team of powerlifters and coaches who are passionate about health and fitness. We have years of experience training and coaching at the highest levels in various training styles, including powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and CrossFit.
With our professional knowledge and personal experience, we can provide expert opinions on which fitness products are the best on the market.
How We Chose and Tested the Best Deadlift Slippers
We have tested a wide range of deadlift slippers and compared each one against a set of criteria to identify the best products for you. We either own these slippers ourselves or use them during our training or coaching sessions.
When creating this list of the best deadlift footwear, we looked at several factors contributing to the quality and functionality of deadlift slippers, including the materials, price, size range, and color options.
The Best 6 Deadlift Slippers
|Product||Material||Size Range||Colors||Check Price|
|LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers||Rubber||4 - 14||Black||Buy Now|
|FitKicks Deadlift Slippers||Rubber||S - XL||Black, grey, navy blue||Buy Now|
|Sabo Deadlift Shoes||Rubber||-||Black||Buy Now|
|Max2 Deadlift Slippers||Rubber||6 - 12||Black||Buy Now|
|MANUEKLEAR Deadlifting Slippers||Rubber||6.5 - 12.5||Black, red, yellow, beige||Buy Now|
|Lara Star Deadlift Slippers||Rubber||6.5 - 12.5||Black||Buy Now|
Read more: The Best Deadlift Shoes This Year
- Straps to secure your feet in place
- Ideal for lifters with wider feet and extensive size range
- One-year warranty
- Only available in one color
There have been a few companies in recent years that have put out a version of the deadlift slipper, but the LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slipper has always been the original choice for powerlifters.
The key feature for these ground lock deadlift slippers is the two straps that go over the mid-foot, which help lock the foot into place. Sometimes when you wear deadlift slippers, the material is somewhat loose on the foot, which doesn’t feel secure.
With the LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slipper, you can adjust the tightness accordingly with the help of the two straps.
What I also like about these deadlifting slippers is that they have a very thin rubber outsole that prevents your foot from slipping on the floor as you pull on the barbell.
The slippers come with a 4mm insert; however, it’s removable, and many powerlifters simply remove it to get closer to the floor (we’ll discuss why this is a benefit later on).
If, for whatever reason, the deadlift slippers don’t work out for you, LiftingLarge has a 1-year warranty. With that said, no one I’ve talked to said they’ve had any issues with their slippers.
Lastly, if you have a wide foot, this deadlift slipper may be a good option for you.
- Thin outer rubber sole for good lateral grip
- Affordable price
- Not always true to size
I’ve recommended FitKicks a few times when lifters are looking for a deadlift slipper for cheap.
The FitKicks slipper is not actually a manufacturer of powerlifting gear. Their slipper is designed for yoga and can double as water shoes (yes, they’re waterproof too).
This is why the FitKicks slipper lacks the same deadlift-specific features you’d see in the LiftingLarge slipper.
Most notably, you don’t get the dual strap system to lock the foot into place. Instead, you get a thick elastic material stretching over the mid-foot. It’s a good feature to keep the foot secure, but not as good as the straps in my opinion.
Otherwise, FitKicks fit all the other qualities of being a deadlift slipper, including a minimalist design and a thin rubber outsole to prevent slippage.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks and want something that works, these deadlifting slippers are a good option. Every lifter I’ve recommended FitKicks to have had no complaints.
- Thin, flat sole with traction pads for better floor grip
- Available in several colors
- Designed to force barbell load through mid-foot
- Lack of ankle support
As you can see, the Sabo Deadlift Shoe is not a deadlift slipper.
However, it was chosen as my top deadlift shoe out of the 8 models I tested, including traditional deadlift slippers. If you’re interested, you can read my full review of the Sabo Deadlift Shoe.
So, it’s worth mentioning that if you want the best deadlift shoe, regardless if it’s a slipper or not, then the Sabo Deadlift Shoe is your go-to option.
While not as cheap as a deadlift slipper, the Sabo Deadlift Shoe has a specially designed sole that forces the load of the barbell directly onto the mid-foot. This is the optimal line of force to deadlift from to maximize your strength.
It also has a super-thin flat sole, an ankle collar with metatarsal and ankle straps, and multiple traction pods on the outside for maximum grip. It is available in several sizes and colors.
In addition, if you deadlift using the sumo-style, traditional deadlift slippers won’t be beneficial because of the lack of ankle support. Therefore, the Sabo Deadlift Shoe is more versatile as it can be used for both conventional and sumo deadlifts.
4. Max2 Deadlift Slippers – Best for Grip
- Durable but thin rubber roles for a strong grip
- Lightweight and portable
- High-quality, breathable fabric
- Limited size range and only available in black
The Max2 deadlifting slippers are made with breathable PU leather that is comfortable yet supportive. The slippers have a barefoot feel with lateral velcro straps and rubber grips on the sides, enabling you to get the best grip on the floor for heavy pulling. They have no heel rise so they will be suitable for conventional deadlifting.
The size range runs between a US size 6 and 12), which might be limiting for female lifters, and the brand recommends that women purchase a size lower than usual. The shoes are only available in black.
- Comfortable and easy to put on
- Available in four different colors
- Sturdy rubber soles
- The size range might not be suitable for all female lifters
These deadlift slippers from MANUEKLEAR weigh just 230 grams. Their lightweight, comfortable feel is almost unmatched, and they mold perfectly to your feet. The sturdy rubber soles give you a solid grip on the ground for maximum support during heavy deadlifting.
They’re available in black, red, beige, and yellow sizes between 6.5 and 12.5, which may be too large for some female lifters. However, if they stock your size, I recommend investing in these deadlift slippers.
- Double lateral straps for extra support and stability around the ankles
- Completely flat heel for a barefoot feel
- Soft, sock-like material
- Sizing runs large
If you’re looking for deadlift footwear that offers maximum stability and support for your ankles, while still maintaining a barefoot feel, the Lara Star deadlift slippers are a great choice. They have double lateral straps and aggressive rubber grips that wrap around the sides of the slippers. There’s no heel raise, so you can keep your feet flat on the ground.
My only complaint with these slippers is that the sizing runs large, so you may need to size down, especially if you’re female.
7 Benefits of Deadlift Slippers
Now that you know the LiftingLarge Deadlift Slipper is my top pick, let’s dive into the several benefits of using slippers for deadlifts.
1. It Has A Minimalistic Design
Any competition-approved shoe that you use for deadlifting needs to have a minimalist design.
This means you are as close to the floor as possible by reducing the separation between your foot and the ground.
This is because the greater the separation between your foot and the ground, the more distance you have to pull the barbell to finish the lift. The greater the distance, the more work you have to perform, and the harder the lift will be.
In other words, you DO NOT want to have a thick sole but still want great overall shoe strength. Having a minimalist shoe means reducing the sole as much as functionally possible.
Deadlifting slippers don’t have any soles, with the exception of an extremely thin rubber material to prevent slippage.
2. It’s The Closest Thing You Can Get To Barefoot Deadlifting
Many people prefer to deadlift barefoot.
Trust me, even I like deadlifting barefoot from time-to-time.
If you’re deadlifting barefoot, you’re literally as close to the ground as possible, thereby maximally reducing the distance the barbell needs to travel to complete the lift.
However, there are some drawbacks to deadlifting barefoot.
- Unless you train at home, most gyms won’t allow you to deadlift barefoot because of sanitary reasons.
- If you compete in powerlifting, you can’t deadlift barefoot in competition. The rules say you must have some sort of “sole on your foot.”
- Deadlifting barefoot might cause your feet to slip on the floor, which is a major concern in terms of being weak off the floor in the deadlift or risking injury.
Therefore, wearing deadlifting slippers for powerlifting is the ‘next best thing’ to lifting without shoes. You can virtually get the same benefits of deadlifting barefoot without the drawbacks I just mentioned.
That said, if you have flat feet, you probably want to have some arch support with your deadlift footwear. For high-arched lifters, the opposite is true. If that's you, check out my article on the 5 Best Deadlift Shoes For Flat Feet.
3. There’s No Heel-To-Toe Drop
Some deadlift shoes meant for lifting have a heel-to-toe drop, which isn’t ideal for deadlifting.
A heel-to-toe drop is where the shoe's outsole places the heel higher than the toe.
This feature is common in squat shoes, as there are some advantages to a heel-to-toe drop while squatting (I won’t discuss these here).
However, the big drawback to having a heel-to-toe drop while deadlifting is that your center of mass will shift forward on the front part of your foot.
If you start with your body weight too far forward in the deadlift, it can cause all sorts of technique issues, including:
- Having your hips rise too fast
- Having greater potential for the barbell to break contact with your body
- Placing greater loading demand on your quads vs glutes
- Generally feeling like you’re off balance
Powerlifting slippers don’t have a heel-to-toe drop built into the sole. The sole will mimic the surface you’re standing on. So if you’re standing on a flat surface, your foot will be flat while deadlifting.
4. It’s The Cheapest Deadlift Shoe You Can Buy
Out of all the deadlift shoes that I would recommend. The prices range from $60-$110.
This can be expensive for a shoe you’ll only wear for deadlifting.
It’s important to note that every competitive powerlifter, even at the local level, will have a shoe specifically for deadlifting. Even lifters who don’t compete, but want to maximize their deadlifting performance, usually purchase a deadlift shoe.
The cheapest deadlift shoe you can buy will be a deadlift slipper.
Deadlift slippers will range from $20-35, which is a lot more budget-friendly when compared with other brands of deadlift shoes (Sabo, Converse, Otomix, Asics, Adidas).
5. It’s Approved For Powerlifting Competition
If you compete in powerlifting or are considering competing, there are specific rules around the powerlifting competition gear.
As I mentioned earlier, you cannot deadlift barefoot in competition. You must have some sort of sole on your foot that is competition approved.
In addition, shoes for competition:
- Cannot have an underside higher than 5cm
- Must have a flat underside
- Cannot include any ‘outdoor’ style, such as hiking boots
Weightlifting slippers fit all of the shoe specifications required for competition.
Also, unlike other pieces of equipment for competition that require you to buy a certain brand, shoes don’t need brand approval. Meaning you can buy any deadlift slipper brand you want.
6. It’s Slip Resistant
It’s important that you find a deadlift shoe that is slip-resistant.
Most deadlift slippers will now come with a very thin rubber outsole for this purpose.
It used to be the case that deadlift slippers didn’t have this feature and lifters would find their feet slipping quite easily. This is because, in a powerlifting competition, you’re usually deadlifting on brand-new plywood.
Without some sort of grip on the underside of your shoe, you are more prone to slipping.
So if you find a deadlift slipper that is super cheap, just make sure that it has the slip-resistant rubber on the underside. You typically can’t find a deadlift slipper under $20 that doesn’t have this feature.
7. It’s Lightweight & Flexible
One concern for lifters is that if they are going to be carrying several pairs of shoes around in their gym bag, they want their shoes to be lightweight.
Deadlift slippers are extremely lightweight and flexible, so you can fold them up easily and place them in your gym bag without taking up much room.
This isn’t necessarily a concern for me. If a shoe is going to increase my performance, I don’t care if it’s heavy or not. But, each to their own.
3 Cons of Deadlift Slippers
While I do praise deadlift slippers for their benefits and recommend them to several lifters, there are also some cons that may make you consider a different type of shoe for deadlifts.
Let’s go over those reasons now.
1. They’re Not Good For Sumo Deadlifting
If you deadlift sumo, you should not wear deadlift slippers.
This is primarily for two reasons:
- First, while the grips on the underside of the deadlift slipper are adequate, it’s probably not as durable and grippy as other types of ‘gripping technology’ that you would find on different deadlift shoes.
For sumo deadlifts, you want the maximum gripping potential possible. This is because you are both pushing your feet down into the floor, but you’re also cueing your feet to “spread apart” in order to maintain proper knee tracking.
- Second, sumo deadlifting is a lot more stressful on the ankle because of the angle that’s required to set up the deadlift in a wide stance.
In order to increase your ankle stability, you should have a high-top shoe that you can either lace around your ankle or has ankle straps.
You may see some deadlift slippers advertise that they are ‘sumo deadlift friendly’, but this is just a marketing play. I don’t believe deadlift slippers should be used for sumo.
Read my complete review of the Best Shoes For Sumo Deadlifting
2. It’s Hard To Get A Snug Fit
Because there are no laces on deadlift slippers, and the material is somewhat loose and flexible, it’s hard to get a snug fit.
When you first slide your foot into a deadlift shoe, it might feel like there’s extra material around your foot, or that your foot isn’t ‘strapped in’ properly.
This was a big complaint for many people wearing deadlift slippers back in the day. However, when LiftingLarge came out with the dual strapping system where you can Velcro your foot into place, this issue wasn’t a concern anymore.
I would spend the extra money on getting a deadlift slipper with strap supports around the mid-foot.
3. They Look Goofy
You might get some odd looks putting on a pair of slippers in a commercial gym.
For me, I don’t care what other people think, especially if the shoe is going to increase my performance (which it will).
However, if you’re already feeling self-conscious in the gym, then perhaps you want to get a shoe that’s more mainstream.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other frequently asked questions I get about deadlift slippers:
Are Deadlift Slippers Better Than Going Barefoot?
Deadlift slippers are better than going barefoot because they offer a thin rubber outsole that provides more grip than being barefoot. Deadlift slippers are around 2mm higher than going barefoot. However, commercial gyms won’t allow you to deadlift barefoot, and it’s not allowed in a powerlifting competition. So having some sort of sole over your foot will ensure you’re following the rules, while still achieving the most minimal shoe design possible.
Are Deadlift Slippers Better Than Wrestling Shoes?
Wrestling shoes are often used for deadlifting because they have a minimalistic design, just like deadlift slippers. If you deadlift sumo, wrestling shoes are better because they offer ankle support. However, if you deadlift conventional, they are neither better nor worse. However, deadlift slippers are cheaper than wrestling shoes, which may play into some people’s decisions.
Are Deadlift Slippers Better Than Deadlift Shoes?
A deadlift slipper has a thinner rubber sole than a deadlift shoe, enabling you to feel the ground better with your feet. Deadlift slippers are also better than running shoes for this reason. Wearing slippers with side straps is also better than deadlifting barefoot, as they provide comfort, support, and stability for your feet and ankles.
Are Deadlift Slippers Worth It?
Deadlift slippers are great when you find deadlifting with bare feet uncomfortable. Wearing deadlift slippers improves your stance and grip on the floor and creates more lateral support for your feet and ankles to achieve great deadlift form and technique.
Can You Squat In Deadlift Slippers?
I wouldn’t recommend squatting in deadlift slippers if you have poor ankle mobility, as they have very flat, thin rubber soles that won't support your ankles or improve your squat depth. Wearing squat shoes that have elevated heels will be a better option. However, if you have a great ankle range of motion, you may be able to wear deadlift slippers with a rubber bottom for grip for conventional squats while maintaining good form.
Check out my full article on Are Wrestling Shoes Good For Deadlifts?
Final Thoughts: Why I Use Deadlift Slippers
I would use deadlift slippers if you’re looking for a cheap option for a deadlift-specific shoe.
The main feature in a deadlift shoe that you want is a minimalistic sole without a heel-to-toe drop. The deadlift slipper fits these requirements, which is why it’s a popular choice among many powerlifters.
If you don’t care how they look when you wear them in the gym, I wouldn’t think twice about getting a pair.
My only recommendation is that you get the kind of deadlift slipper that has either 1-2 Velcro straps over the mid-foot in order to have a more secure and snug fit.