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September 12, 2021 9 min read

In the world of weightlifting, there’s a large range of specialized shoes that you can buy that can help you with a variety of lifts. One of those shoes is known as the deadlift slipper. They’re a very minimalist shoe and lack things like laces and proper ankle support. In this article, we’ll go over how these shoes help with deadlifting and if you should buy yourself a pair.

What Are Deadlift Slippers? 

As we just said, deadlift slippers are a type of specialized shoe that aims to make deadlifting easier. They don’t have laces or any ankle support and they only have a thin piece of material between your feet and the ground. The point of this is to offer the least amount of resistance possible when you’re driving the weight off the ground during a  deadlift.

performing deadlift man powerlifter competition powerlifting

In essence, you won’t have to move the barbell as much while wearing deadlift shoes. Now that you know more about the shoes, it’s time to go over the benefits of using them. After that, we’ll go over the reasons that deadlift shoes might not be for you.

Deadlift Slipper Pros

1. The minimalist design of deadlift slippers is what some people to using them. If you’re someone who deadlifts a lot or is learning more about the lift itself, it’s possible you’ve been told to wear flat-footed shoes, use deadlift socks, or even go barefoot, during a deadlift. The deadlift slipper is essentially a healthy in-between of these two recommendations. 

Even with a flat-footed type of shoe, they might have a thick sole. A thick-soled shoe will ultimately cause your deadlift to be harder. Remember, the more distance the barbell has to travel as you drive it up, the more work will be involved. Deadlift slippers, to contrast a typical flat sole or flat foot shoe, don’t have a sole at all.

What they do have is a very thin layer of some sort of comfortable material, like polyester or rubber. This is in place to make sure you don’t slip up during your deadlift and make sure you have enough friction to stay in place.

2. As we mentioned, plenty of people actually prefer to deadlift barefoot. The big benefit to going barefoot is that you’re as close to the ground as you possibly can be, meaning your deadlift will be that much easier to complete.

That being said, deadlifting barefoot might be dangerous as you could slip. Moreover, many gyms and competitive settings won’t allow it because of sanitary reasons or general rules. Therefore, deadlift slippers are the best of both worlds. You’ll experience the same benefits of deadlifting barefoot without the risk of slipping, or being banned from competing or going to your gym!

3. Another benefit of using deadlift slippers is that it helps keep your center of mass from shifting, unlike other types of shoes. Specifically, some shoes will have a heel-to-toe drop. This is when a shoe has its heel higher than its toe. You’ll see this more commonly in specialized squat shoes but many general sports shoes also have this feature.

The problem with this type of shoe is that it throws off your center of balance. When this happens, your form will suffer and it will ultimately make it harder for you to complete the lift. With deadlift slippers, you won’t have this problem. Everything will be properly aligned so that you can practice perfect form.

4. Deadlift slippers are the best option for someone who performs conventional deadlifts. If you’re a powerlifter or just someone who likes to exclusively do conventional deadlifts then these specialized shoes are absolutely something you should invest in. Not only are they approved for powerlifting, but they’re also some of the cheapest shoes for deadlifting that you can buy.

Even if you’re a lifter who doesn’t compete, they’re definitely something you should consider. As many pairs of specialized shoes can be very expensive they can be offputting to typical lifters. Deadlift slippers are usually on the cheaper side because they don’t require a lot of materials to put together. You can usually get them for about $20.

5. If you’re someone who has a big  gym bag that’s chock full of all sorts of accessories and you’re worried about space, then these slippers are perfect for you. Deadlift slippers are extremely lightweight and also very flexible. You can basically shove them anywhere in your gym bag and they’ll fit right in.

6. Another big benefit of wearing deadlift slippers is that they’re slip-resistant. Slipping while doing a deadlift can seriously injure you, so it’s very important to have something that can support you during the entirety of the deadlift. That being said, it’s important to 

Deadlift Slipper Cons

1. The biggest drawback of deadlift slippers is that they’re just not suitable for the sumo deadlift. The problem with deadlift slippers is that, while they are slip-resistant, they don’t provide as much support as some other specialized shoes. When you’re doing a sumo deadlift, you need to have as much grip as you can since your essentially pushing your feet apart during the lift.

On top of that, the sumo deadlift is very stressful on the ankles. This is due to the angle your ankles will be at due to the wide stance of this exercise. Unfortunately, deadlift slippers simply do not provide the necessary ankle support for a good sumo deadlift. If you don’t have proper support while doing a  sumo deadlift, you can seriously injure your ankles due to overextension.

Instead, you’ll need to look at some sort of high-top shoe, preferably with some sort of ankle laces or straps. There are acceptable ways to do sumo deadlifts in slippers, which is done by not having an extremely wide stance. However, this is the exception, not the rule. If you are doing sumo deadlifts, it is highly recommended that you get a shoe with plenty of ankle support. 

2. This next con is more of a personal preference problem. That being said, it’s still worth talking about. Many people prefer to have shoes that fit tightly around their feet and ankles as it provides them with support and comfort. While deadlift slippers can certainly be comfortable, they don’t provide a very tight fit.

However, there are some specialized deadlift slippers that do come with extra straps. These straps do end up giving you the nice, tight fit that you might be looking for. The only problem here is that they’ll cost a little extra, compared to a normal deadlift slipper.

Deadlift Slipper FAQs

1. Do deadlift slippers really make that much of a difference? 

Yes, they do! While it might seem like a really simple change, switching to footwear that’s designed for deadlifts will easily help you add extra weight onto your total max. If you’re used to wearing tennis shoes or other generic sports shoes, you’ll notice a difference almost instantly. You might even notice that you’ll be able to lift more overnight!

2. Are there any other alternatives to deadlift slippers? 

There aren’t really any good substitutes for deadlift slippers. As they stand, the slippers are already specialized equipment and there aren’t many sports that require something like them. That being said, the only other alternative we can recommend is wrestling shoes. They have a similar design to deadlift slippers but the key difference is that that these shoes actually have good ankle support.

Vintage leather shoes for wrestling

At the end of the day, you can deadlift just fine with either the slippers or wrestling shoes. It’s up to personal preference. We will also say that wrestling shoes are excellent for sumo deadlifts because of the extra support. These shoes can sometimes be cheaper than sumo deadlift shoes as well.

3. Are deadlift slippers the only accessory I should use? 

When it comes to the deadlift, there are a few other accessories out there that can really help in terms of stability and injury prevention. If you’re looking to really make the deadlift as safe as it can be, especially when doing a heavy set, you should invest in a weightlifting belt and wrist wraps.

A weightlifting belt makes sure that your lower back stays straight and that your core is supported. This is a very helpful tool to have when working with heavy weight as it reduces the chances of getting injured and helps keep you in good form while supporting your body.

Wrist wraps are more for people who do not have a lot of grip  strength. They ensure that you’ll be able to hold onto the barbell even when you feel like you can’t anymore.

Deadlift Slipper Recommendations

Now that you’ve seen what deadlift slippers can do for you, you’re likely pretty interested in buying a pair. The only problem is that there’s a lot of different deadlift slippers made by different brands on the market. Luckily for you, we’ve got some IPF approved recommendations that can all be easily found on Amazon.

1. LiftingLarge Ground Lock Deadlift Slippers

These deadlift slippers by LiftingLarge are an absolute classic. They’re favored by many lifters and for good reason. Probably the most appealing factor to these slippers is the strap that comes across the middle of the foot.

This is something we talked about a little earlier in the article. This slipper, unlike many of its kind, provides a tight, snug fit which helps to make your foot feel secure. These velcro straps are adjustable so you can mess with how tight they are to fit your needs and comfort. Speaking of comfort, these slippers are very comfortable.

You definitely won’t feel bothered by these at all. It’s practically like wearing a second foot. For added comfort, the slippers also come with a 4mm removable insert insole. Some people like to feel as close to the ground as possible when doing a deadlift, after all.

Also, with these slippers, you will never have to worry about slipping during a deadlift. The thin rubber outsole of these slippers makes sure they live up to their namesake of being locked to the ground as they're very grippy. With these slippers on, your deadlifts will be a lot easier. If you plan on going to a competition soon, you'll definitely want to put these on your wishlist!. 

2. LiftingLarge Deadlift Slippers

Here we have another prime choice that’s also by LiftingLarge. These are essentially a toned-down version of the previous slippers. That being said, they’re still a perfect choice for someone who’s looking for some deadlift slippers. They’re extremely comfortable but will fit loosely on your feet as they don’t have the straps like on the Ground Lock slippers.

The rubber treading of these slippers will ensure that every deadlift you perform is smooth and slip-free. On top of that, you’ll find that the high-quality material that these are made of to be very comfortable as well. It’s very breathable and ensures maximum comfort during a lift. They’re also easy to put on and take off because they don’t have the straps like the Ground Lock ones have.

Additionally, these are some slippers that are on the cheaper side without sacrificing quality. It’s a great deal from a very recognized brand.

3. FitKicks Deadlift Slippers

Speaking of great prices, these next slippers are what you should look for if you’re lifting on a budget. Fun fact about this particular brand: They’re not actually a powerlifting brand! These shoes are actually designed to be used for yoga and are even able to be used as water shoes.

That being said, these provide all of the necessary features that a good deadlift slipper should have. The rubber outsole provides good grip and the elastic material that it’s made of tends to provide a pretty tight fit without the assistance of any straps. Additionally, these are very easy to put on and take off because of the elastic material that they’re made out of.

Honestly, because of the price and functionality, these are slippers we highly recommend for people who are on a budget or for less serious lifters. You won’t have to shell out a lot of money on some of the bigger brands when you don’t plan on competing, or don’t deadlift all that often.

The Final Verdict

Now, let’s answer the question that you’re looking for the answer for: Should you use deadlift slippers? The answer won’t be as straightforward as you think. Firstly, if you don’t plan on competing and don’t do deadlifts that often, it’s probably more economical to use some sort of flat-footed shoe that you have lying around.

Many people favor Converse shoes for the deadlift for this very reason. However, if you’d like the maximum amount of support for doing a deadlift, then it’s wise to get a cheaper pair of deadlift slippers. If you are going to compete in a  powerlifting competition, or just deadlift a lot, then it would be very smart of you to get yourself a pair of deadlift slippers.

You’ll want something that has a lot of grip to reduce the chance of slipping and be sure that they’re legal for your competitions. There are other weightlifting shoes on the market but these are generally very expensive.