From the Mat to the Rack: The Best Wrestling Shoes for Deadlifts

What kind of shoes do you wear when you deadlift? Do you use good, old Chucks or go barefoot? When you’re lifting weights that are easily over twice your own body weight, does your choice in footwear even matter?

Please, please don’t even tell me you’re wearing running shoes while lifting.

You might think that your choice of footwear does not matter in the area of weight training but you could not be more wrong. As with other forms of exercise and training, lifting requires more than throwing on just any pair of rubber shoes you could get your hands on and running shoes, with their nice cushy and comfy soles are the worst choices of footwear for deadlifting.

Honestly, you’re better off going barefoot.

So what are the best shoes for deadlifting?

This may come as a surprise to you but wrestling shoes are amongst some of the best choices of footwear for deadlifting. With their flat soles with none of that springy give of running shoes, these enable you to exert energy directly into the ground and helps you to lift heavier weights. This specific characteristic of wrestling shoes also means that the weights are higher off the ground in relation to your height.

Aside from that, they provide great traction and keep you from slipping, as well as provide ankle support.

Are you ready to try out wrestling shoes in your next weight training session? This article lists the best wrestling shoes for deadlifts you might want to try out!

Best Wrestling Shoes for Deadlifts

Wrestling shoes, like Chuck Taylors, are a popular choice of footwear among weightlifters due to their flat soles. Designed to mimic the foot, these shoes keep you as close to the ground as possible, minimize cushioning, and provide more traction to keep your feet solidly planted on the ground.

If you are looking at wrestling shoes for your deadlifting activities, these shoes are an ideal investment for your next purchase.

1. ASICS Men’s JB Elite V2.0 Wrestling Shoes

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When talking about wrestling shoes for deadlifts or any wrestling shoes for that matter, ASICS is one of those brands you cannot avoid talking about in a discussion.

ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase “Anima Sana in Corpore Sano”, which translates to “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body” in English. This is the core belief of the company’s founder, Kihachiro Onitsuka, whose company was earlier known for making basketball shoes.

These shoes were designed with the specifications of the two-time world and Olympic wrestling champion, Jordan Burroughs, but have garnered fans from lifters as well.

These are made of a breathable synthetic material with a lace garage. It has a special split-sole design made to increase traction on grappling and wrestling mats. They also provide great ankle support, which is an added bonus.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Flat soles with good traction
  • Synthetic, well-ventilated material
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    Fits like a sock
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    Has a lace garage

Cons

  • Split-sole
  • Not for those with wide feet

2. Adidas Men’s Combat Speed 4 Wrestling Shoes

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Like ASICS, Adidas is one of those brands that dominate the arena of wrestling shoes. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and type “wrestling shoes” in the Amazon search box and see what you come up with. There are hardly any other brands that focused on wrestling as much as the two of these have.

These shoes boast a fit like a sock and are created to be ultra-lightweight. Their features, including the single layer mesh body and the TPU 3-stripes, teamed with an integrated side panel, are all supposed to reinforce that sock-like fit.

The outsoles are also made of split-suede leather to reinforce the grip. Like the previous shoes, the Adidas Combat Speed 4 Wrestling Shoes also have a split-sole design.

Wrestling shoes are made to fit like a second skin and most consumers often have problems with the fit, especially when purchasing online. To remedy this situation, the company recommends getting a pair that is at least a half size larger than your usual street or running shoes.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Flat soles with good traction
  • Ultra-lightweight and made of breathable material
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    Specifically made to fit like a sock
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    Split-suede leather outsole overlays to reinforce grip

Cons

  • Split-sole design
  • Sizes run a bit small, especially for those with wider feet
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    Attract dirt like crazy and can be a little tough to clean

3. Chuck Taylors

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I shit you not, lifters love their Chuck Taylors.

Technically, these are not wrestling shoes but you cannot talk deadlifting footwear choices without mentioning Chucks.

If you are looking for a new lifting shoe while on a tight budget, this one is definitely the first that comes to mind. Originally made for the basketball scene, this footwear has emerged from as far back as 1917 and is still popular today without much change in its design. It’s a classic.

As for its lifting attributes, Converse sneakers have a flat sole that keeps you ridiculously close to the ground that you might as well be going barefoot and you know that going as barefooted as you can is great for those deadlifts. The flat sole allows you to exert energy into the ground and as there is basically no heel cup in a pair of Chuck Taylor’s, you can exert all that energy straight to the ground to help you lift astronomical weights.

Aside from that, they’re made of canvas so they fit like a sock and are well-ventilated so your tootsies can breathe a little. You can also lace them up higher so you get the added ankle support you need.

Pros

  • Really, ridiculously affordable compared to other lifting shoes
  • Canvas material is light, breathable, and fits like a sock
  • High-top design provides ankle support
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    Flat-soles and no heel cup allow you to exert energy into the ground for lifting
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    Unisoles provide more traction
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    Looks great in and out of the gym

Cons

  • A foam lining cushioning the soles in the design of the All-Star Chuck II make it a bit more difficult to exert energy into the ground

4. Otomix Stingray Escape

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From the mat to the rack, the people behind Otomix bring their expertise to craft a shoe that can win a lifter’s heart.

These shoes promise to be super light and provide great stability while ensuring an impressive range of motion so you can basically take them to the mat for some wrestling and grappling action then back out to the rack, where their thin soles and traction let you exert energy easily to the ground as you lift.

The Otomix Stingray Escape shoes are made of both leather and synthetic materials. They are designed to be both lightweight and durable while providing ankle support, but it is the thin soles of these shoes that make it great for deadlifting, too. This allows the lifter to feel more planted to the ground and helps in lifting heavier weights.

These shoes also come with a unisole design so it gives you more traction and keeps you from slipping while lifting, which could result in injuries and even be extremely dangerous for lifters.

Pros

  • Made of both leather and synthetic materials
  • Light and comfortable
  • Provides great support and stability
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    Thin soles that allow you to exert energy to the ground easily
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    Unisole design provides greater traction and minimizes slipping

Cons

  • Expensive
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    Can be a bit warm

5. SABO Deadlift Shoes

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For the dead serious lifters out there—pun intended—you might want to level up from your Chuck Taylors and wrestling shoes and get a pair of shoes that are designed specifically for what you do. Whether you are looking towards deadlifting competitively or not, you want your shoes to be geared specifically for your needs.

Enter the SABO Deadlift Shoes.

These shoes are specialized for deadlifting and they mean serious business. These shoes are made of both fabric and leather and have thin soles so you are closer to the ground, making the pulling distance shorter and allowing for greater weights to be lifted.

Another added benefit of wearing specialized footwear that is especially geared towards deadlifting is the protection they offer when it comes to injuries related to heavy lifting The special design of these shoes also prevent a condition called platypodia, in which the lifter’s foot arches flatten.

Aside from that, the unisole design, as well as the pattern of the sole and the side support on the outsole, are meant to minimize slipping, which could be extremely dangerous for an athlete lifting heavy weights.

Pros

  • Specialized shoes for deadlifting
  • Made of fabric and leather
  • Very thin soles at 2 mm and 5 mm
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    Unisole design
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    Side support on the outsole
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    Provides protection against platypodia
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    Great fit

Cons

  • Reports of the shoelaces being too long or too short. Remedy this by getting an extra pair of shoelaces
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    Top strap can be a bit short especially for those with bigger ankles

Wrestling Shoes and Deadlifting

From the Mat to the Rack: The Best Wrestling Shoes for Deadlifts

Like most specialized sportswear, wrestling shoes are possessed of some qualities that are invaluable to deadlifting. These shoes, while not primarily geared towards lifters, are specifically designed to imitate the foot, while providing enough traction and ankle support for wrestlers.

As a result, they are quite light and flexible so you get the movement you want. Most of them also come with a high top design to provide the necessary ankle support.

Because they are flat-soled and keep your feet solidly on the ground with much stability, they are quite popular among those who deadlift. Flat soles keep the feet as close to the ground as possible with no give or cushion, which is helpful in ensuring good posture and position. Good posture and position are the basics in lifting and are even more important than the weight you lift or the shoes you wear.

In deadlifting, another important thing to remember is that your feet will be the only point of contact you have with the ground so a good, solid foundation is necessary. Slippery soles can be dangerous for a lifter. Wrestling shoes come with added traction, providing the necessary friction between you and the floor so that you can maintain your balance and focus on maintaining your form and hefting those weights.

Things to Look for in Wrestling Shoes to be Used for Deadlifts

From the Mat to the Rack: The Best Wrestling Shoes for Deadlifts

Almost any shoe with flat soles can be used for deadlifting. Wrestling shoes are a popular choice among lifters due to this single characteristic and the fact that they provide added traction. Although these shoes are made primarily for wrestlers on the mat, there are several things you should look into if you want to choose a pair for your deadlifting activities.

1. Soles

The flat soles of wrestling shoes are the key characteristic that makes them ideal for deadlifting. However, one must keep in mind that wrestling shoes have two kinds of designs for their soles.

Split Soles

Wrestling shoes with split soles have soles made out of two separate pieces of rubber instead of one solid piece all throughout. One piece supports the ball of the foot and the other piece supports the heel. These shoes provide a great deal of flexibility for the wrestler but for lifters who keep their feet mostly on the platform, this design is not recommended.

Unisoles

Contrary to split soles, wrestling shoes with unisoles have only a single piece of rubber running along the entire length of the shoe. This type of sole keeps the weight of the wearer evenly distributed on the ground. These shoes are designed with the heavyweight wrestler in mind, who must keep his feet firmly planted on the mat. For those who deadlift, these are the type of wrestling shoes you should be going for.

2. Traction

As mentioned previously, slippery shoes can be dangerous for lifters, especially for those who deadlift. Your feet are the only point of contact you have with the ground so it is important that you maintain as much friction between your feet and the platform you are standing on.

Wrestling shoes also come with different patterns, depending on the type of wrestler. As a lifter who needs his feet firmly planted on the ground, go for the footwear that heavyweight wrestlers would prefer and that would be wrestling shoes with tacky rubber soles with V-shaped ridges. This type of shoes has a greater tendency to hold on to the ground and prevent slipping.

3. Material

From the Mat to the Rack: The Best Wrestling Shoes for Deadlifts

Designed to mimic the bare foot, it is no wonder that those who deadlift would find wrestling shoes a good choice of footwear. Wrestling shoes are generally made of a lightweight, breathable material that can accommodate the flexibility necessary for throws and pins on the mat. For lifters, this means that your shoes have the added perks of prevention of icky sweat buildup in your feet.

Another thing to consider is the quality of the material of your shoes. You can’t have shoes falling apart on you on competitions, right?

Most wrestling shoes are made either of nylon or leather. Nylon shoes generally cost less than leather shoes are more suited to lightweight wrestlers who utilize quick movements. They are mostly geared toward those who plan to advance to other shoes soon or by younger wrestlers who will outgrow footwear quickly.

On the other hand, leather wrestling shoes might cost more and might take a bit more time to break into. They are generally stronger and more durable than their nylon counterparts and are much preferred by more experienced wrestlers.

If you are planning to use your shoes for a long time and don’t show any signs of changing your shoe sizes anytime soon, leather wrestling shoes are much more recommended. Do not use new leather shoes so close to competition day, though, as they could be bit uncomfortable the first few times you wear them.

4. Fit

From the Mat to the Rack: The Best Wrestling Shoes for Deadlifts

All the other things mentioned previously—flat soles, ankle support, traction, material, or whatever—they are useless if you are stuck with shoes that are a poor fit.

Wrestling shoes are meant to fit kind of like a sock. Some athletes even buy shoes that are a half-size smaller to allow some space for the stretch after the break-in period.

Although a snug fit is not particularly necessary for deadlifts, your wrestling shoes should at least fit well and your feet should not move around much within your footwear. If your feet move around in your shoes too much, this could impair the stability that is necessary for deadlifting and can be dangerous to the lifter.

Besides, loosely fitting shoes are more of a pain to walk around in than proper fitting ones.

Conclusion

Aside from the popular Converse sneakers, wrestling shoes are also a popular choice of footwear even for serious lifters and of these, the ASICS JB Elite V2.0 Wrestling Shoes is certainly one of the best choices you can take from the mat to the rack.

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The flat soles of these shoes allow you to lift heavier weights as you easily exert more energy into the ground as you lift while providing good ankle support. They are also pretty comfortable and well-ventilated. Although it has a split-sole design, it provides adequate traction to keep you from slipping and injuring yourself.

Aside from that, it also fits like a sock, which is a highly desirable quality not only in wrestling shoes but in deadlift shoes as well.

Do you also use wrestling shoes for deadlifts? Or do you prefer Chuck Taylors or specialized deadlift shoes? What other recommendations for shoes can you give for those who are into deadlifting? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends!

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