Is there intrinsic value in being driven in fitness? My opinion is yes, there definitely is. The value you personally gain from being driven in fitness is relative to ...
Deadlift Shoes | Improving Your Deadlift with Accessories
Is there a real reason to have “deadlift shoes?”
What will accessories, such as deadlift shoes, do to improve your deadlift?
Well, the truth is, using tools or accessories in almost any discipline can give you an edge.
This is more so true when the accessory or tool is specifically made for that discipline or task.
For example, you can twist a screw in with your fingers, but why not use a screwdriver to optimize the task?
The same could be said for optimizing your workouts.
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of deadlift shoes, the benefits you can attain from them and how other accessories will further assist in your deadlifting routine.
Does Footwear Really Matter for Deadlifts?
Why People Choose Specific Deadlift Shoes
The biggest reason to use deadlift shoes over any other regular sneaker is that they are crafted with the exercise in mind.
Think about an activity like rock climbing.
You could rock climb in basketball sneakers or boots, but bouldering shoes were made to optimize your climbing abilities specifically for the sport.
The same applies to deadlift shoes — this is why some companies who make average flat bottom sole sneakers are marketing towards deadlifting as well — because there is a market for them.
In reality, you can deadlift in any kind of shoes you want, there are some that will help certain people, but proper form still reigns supreme.
For a long time, and still to this day, Converse All-Star high-tops have been the standard.
Many lifters swear by these shoes — they’re cheap, flat, hard bottoms, lace up high and are sturdy.
But, where there is a market, there are innovators.
More recently, deadlift shoes have been created to specifically cater to the sport.
Usually, these deadlift shoes will have a very thin sole that doesn’t compress, a flat bottom, high tops for stability, and adequate lacing or additional straps.
The thin sole constitutes being closer to the ground, which means less range to pull your deadlift.
The flat bottom allows you to not shift left or right, nor forward and back — it also makes it easier to keep your heels planted.
Lastly, being high tops that have plenty of lace holes and straps will make tightening and loosening to your preferences much easier and secure.
The Negative Effects of Other Types of Shoes
The reason lifters seek out specific shoes for deadlifting is because some shoes are bad for deadlifting.
For example, basketball shoes and running shoes usually have tons of cushion and angled heels.
Furthermore, these heels are soft, or at least very responsive, making them not optimal for static, planted positions.
What can occur when deadlifting in sneakers as such is forward learn, which can be dangerous.
Other problems would be ankle rolling and tilting to the left and right while trying to pull.
When deadlifting exceptionally heavy weight, this can be detrimental to your health.
Most lifters in the gym deadlifting huge numbers aren’t wearing the newest Nike or Adidas running shoes.
The reason behind that is because they simply aren’t optimal.
Deadlifting in Socks or Barefoot
The alternative to using deadlift shoes is by deadlifting barefoot or in socks.
Your benefit in doing so is that your feet are extremely planted to the ground.
Being barefoot gives you the least amount of range to pull from the ground since you aren’t elevated from a heel.
Furthermore, having your bare feet on the ground gives you tons of stability and control over your weight distribution.
However, the reason most people who prefer deadlifting in this manner are seen in their socks is that it isn’t well received to deadlift barefoot in a commercial gym.
Having on your socks gives essentially the same feeling as being barefoot would give or take some grip differences.
As long as your socks aren’t causing you to slip or slide while you pull your deadlift, then it could be something you benefit from.
Related: Tip: Deadlift Barefoot. Here’s Why.
Other Accessories that Help with Deadlifts
Incorporating a Weightlifting Belt
What this will do is assist with your form, posture, and the ability to safely deadlift large amounts of weight.
Dark Iron Fitness provides one of the best genuine leather weightlifting belts on the market.
You should definitely consider using a belt if you are wanting to optimize your lifts in all aspects possible.
Along with some solid deadlift shoes, whether specific to the sport or just a tried and true pair, a high-quality weight belt will go a long way.
Related: Can Deadlifts Help Lower Back Pain?
Utilizing Lifting Straps for Deadlifts
Here at Dark Iron Fitness, we also supply lifters with very durable suede lifting straps.
For those times you want to hit a PR set or a 1RM, these lifting straps come in handy.
Basically, lifting straps will help improve your grip on the bar and lessen the chance of slippage or dropping of the weight.
However, lifting straps aren’t only beneficial for deadlifts.
You can keep your lifting straps around your wrists for the duration of your workout and will find yourself utilizing them constantly.
But, there’s no doubt that they work great for improving deadlifts.
Wearing Wrist Wraps for Deadlifting
If you were blessed with thick, meaty, and sturdy wrists — maybe they aren’t necessary.
However, implementing the use of wrist wraps will keep your awesome wrists in great shape for the longevity of your fitness journey.
But, even more so for beginners, those with injured wrists or anyone who often has wrist pain, wrist wraps can change the game for you.
For any exercises that pertain to grip and heavy weight, you’ll benefit from keeping your wrists tight and secure.
Our genuine suede wrist wraps are perfectly designed to stay on tight, comfortable, and exceptionally secure.
When you go to pull that deadlift, you’ll have no reservations about your grip or wrists causing problems.
Whether it be traditional grip, reverse grip or mixed grip — you’ll optimize your deadlift with a pair of wrist wraps.
What to Expect when Using Accessories for Deadlifts
Will Deadlift Shoes and Other Accessories Really Change Anything?
Answering this is a mixed bag.
In the end, it honestly comes down to preference.
I actually know people who deadlift in running sneakers — in fact, they squat in them, too.
Maybe they have never tried any kind of deadlift shoes that will optimize the movement and the feel, but they seem content with what they already use.
The biggest thing here is to test what is available to you.
You may not think these accessories are beneficial, important or going to improve anything if you’ve never even given them a try.
While, on the other side of the spectrum, many lifters will swear by their accessories — especially their deadlift shoes.
If someone wears running sneakers to the gym on chest day and then consciously decides to use Converse All-Stars on leg day, then they know the benefit of these styles of sneakers.
These are one of the tried and true deadlift shoes.
As far as the other accessories I’ve listed, these are also optional and will vary in benefit based on your preferences.
However, they will assist in your form and in preserving your health.
Like a helmet, kneepads, and elbow pads help during extreme biking and skateboarding, so will these accessories while deadlifting.
Should I Invest in these Accessories as a Beginner?
I would never say you need to buy something or invest in something.
This is especially true if you don’t have the means to do so.
However, it wouldn’t hurt to have these accessories as a beginner.
In my opinion, a beginner should always focus on form first, then worry about optimization later.
But, if you want to stay safe while lifting, you can focus on form while utilizing accessories.
As far as deadlift shoes, you may not need to invest in a pair made for the sport from the get-go.
Yet, a pair of Converse are cheap, and they can be worn outside of the gym without looking odd.
So, in that sense, why not use them as your deadlift shoes?
Maybe you can test out some All-Stars and compare them to your other daily sneaker and see if you feel the difference.
Related: Why are Deadlifts Important?
Deadlift Shoes: Final Thoughts and Other Tips
Deadlift Shoes are NOT the Most Important Thing to Think About
In my honest opinion, deadlift shoes aren’t what you should be thinking about when working out.
Wear what is comfortable, wear what you can afford, and most importantly, wear what you have when starting off.
Deadlifting should be about proper form, working towards progressive overload, and safe lifts.
Don’t let the idea of accessories and optimizing your lifts hinder you from reaching your max potential without these things.
If your form sucks, your lifts are terrible, and you don’t train in order to change those things — new deadlift shoes won’t help you, at all.
Related: How Often Should I Deadlift?
Don’t Rely on the Accessories, Let the Accessories Optimize You
As I stated above, you should be solidifying your form and foundation before worrying about accessories.
However, if you’ve reached that point, the next thing to avoid is letting the accessories define your lifting.
You should never be in a position where you end up in a gym or a place where you can deadlift but catch yourself saying, “I don’t have my deadlift shoes.”
You should not rely on your shoes, belt, wrist wraps, lifting straps or hooks.
Let all of these accessories optimize what you can already do.
At Dark Iron Fitness, we offer several weightlifting accessories that help you get to the next level, but never be a crutch for what you can achieve.
Deadlift to the best of your ability and think about the accessories later.
Once you get to the level of implementing accessories, always let them optimize and not completely take over.