What Nike Shoes Are Best For Deadlifts?

Buying Guide

Running shoes won't cut it for this strength-training exercise. Here's why deadlift-specific shoes are important for your safety and ultimately your success.

Last updated: 7 September 2022
5 min read
What Shoes Are Best For Deadlifts?

If you're looking for an effective way to add strength building into your exercise routine, deadlifting is a great exercise to try. A potential component of a full-body workout, deadlifting is also one of the exercises you'll see lifters doing in powerlifting competitions.

Deadlifting can be a powerful way to strengthen multiple muscles, while also helping to improve stability and balance. But to get the most out of this particular exercise, make sure you've got the right deadlift shoes before you hit the gym.

Work Those Muscle Groups

Deadlifts, much like squats, are an exercise that can do a lot for your body. They work muscles in your:

  • Hips
  • Glutes
  • Lower body
  • Core
  • Back

Deadlifts are one of the few common weightlifting exercises that target the back of your body. Many other exercises tend to put the load on the front of your body, especially the front of your legs. While strengthening the front of the body is important, activating the muscle groups in your back can help manage lower back pain.

In fact, squat and deadlift exercises specifically may help improve bone mineral density due to the resistance they impose on your muscles. With the right weightlifting shoes and the proper form, you'll be ready to reap these benefits.

Wearing the Right Deadlift Shoes

Because deadlifting puts a focused demand on your feet, wearing the right kind of training shoes matters. Though it may feel like any training shoe will do, that's not the case. In fact, if you head to the gym for both a little aerobic exercise and strength training, you might consider bringing more than one pair of shoes in your workout bag.

The qualities that make for a good deadlift shoe are those that address the unique position of your feet. Unlike other exercises, when you deadlift, your feet must remain still and secure while the rest of your body works. For this reason, a great deadlift shoe should have:

  • A minimalistic design without the extra cushioning and padding that other running or training sneakers often have at the bottom. You want your foot flat and as close to the ground as possible for this specific type of exercise.

  • A completely flat sole for minimal movement. Slipping while weightlifting can be very dangerous, so try to avoid shoes with an elevated heel.

  • A strapped collar for extra ankle support and additional support around the arch of your foot. You engage these two areas when you're doing a deadlift, which is different to what happens in other types of exercise.

These features tend to be unique to deadlifting shoes, which makes their appearance different to what you see along the rows of running and walking sneakers. A deadlifting shoe should easily stand out when you're on the hunt for one. To see the best Nike shoes for deadlifting, start your search with the Metcon, Romaleos and Savaleos.

Running Shoes Are Not Meant For Deadlifting

Since deadlifts stress specific points in your foot—the ankle and the arch—a good deadlift shoe should target those areas for support in ways other shoes may not. However, since running sneakers are common footwear in the gym, you may see some gym-goers switch from the treadmill to weights without swapping into their weightlifting shoes. This can be a mistake for a few reasons.
  1. 1.Running shoes can cause balance issues when deadlifting.

    This is because shoes built for running have a design meant to support forward and backward movement to accommodate the motion of running. You need a deadlift shoe to keep your feet flat on the ground and not move.

  2. 2.Running shoes have the wrong amount of cushioning for a deadlift.

    Your position is safest during a deadlift when your feet are as close to the ground as possible. Most running shoes have extra cushioning at the bottom to help absorb the impact of multiple steps. For some, this can make it more difficult to maintain balance while deadlifting.

  3. 3.Running shoes are often too light.

    Running footwear materials are often designed to be breathable and lightweight so they can accommodate mobility on the run. Deadlift-specific shoes, on the other hand, are meant to be heavier and are often made from synthetic leather with flat rubber soles. The sturdy and heavy structure helps support the extreme weight you're taking on during a deadlift.

  4. 4.Running shoes support different areas of the foot.

    This is especially true when it comes to ankle support and ankle mobility. The design of running shoes doesn't put the correct emphasis on the ankle that is needed for deadlifts to ensure you stay balanced. Without that proper ankle mobility, you may increase the risk of rep failure or injury.

  5. 5.Running shoes make the weight heavier.

    While it seems small, those extra inches of cushioning in a running shoe mean you're covering a longer distance to lift the weight up from the floor to the finished position. This may not impact you on the first rep, but after multiple reps, the strain can add up. That extra distance might make your workout just a little harder to complete.

Doing a Deadlift Properly

The tools of a deadlift are typically a barbell and weights, but anything that creates resistance can work. This includes kettlebells, dumbbells, a hexagonal barbell or a resistance band. Start with a smaller amount of weight while you perfect your stance. Then, add more weight slowly to ensure you maintain proper form every time.
To do a deadlift, stand with your feet about hip-width apart. The barbell should be on the ground. Position your toes under the bar. Keep your spine long and relax your shoulders so you can reach for the bar overhanded without any issue.

Engage your core for the actual lifting, along with your hips, legs and glutes. By the end of the lift, you should be standing upright, looking straight ahead of you.

To bring the bar down, make sure you keep it close to your body. Rest the full weight on the ground before repeating your lift.

Originally published: 31 January 2022

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