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Weightlifting Shoes

Every lifter knows, power comes from the ground up. Whether snatching, cleaning, or even bench pressing with a proper bridge technique, solid footwear is important. This is particularly true with the Olympic lifts, which require a dynamic series of rapid movements. Almost the opposite of a basketball player’s needs which require a higher heel, the weightlifter and powerlifter really want to stay close to the ground with plenty of padding. Weightlifting shoes also feature protective straps across the lacing to ensure a tight fit and lockdown of the midfoot. Rolling an ankle while power cleaning 315 pounds would be an instant injury. When performing the deadlift properly, lifters roll back onto their heels, and that motion alone requires solid midsole. Also keep in mind when hoisting a barbell up off the ground, that the higher the heel, the further you have to bring the bar up. Just like any sport, be it running or jumping in orient, serious lifting means special shoes.

 

 

 

Best Overall

Adidas Powerlift 4 – Tokyo

Rating: 94%

Winning Weightlifting Shoes

Model

Rating

Heel height

Strap system

Brand

Pricing

Reviews

Olympic Design
Adidas Powerlift 4 – Tokyo
Medal Worthy
Adidas AdiPower Weightlifting II Shoe
Lift for Legacy
Reebok Legacy Lifter II
Reebok Lifter PR II
Nike Romaleos 4

94%

15mm

Hook-and-loop

Adidas

92%

20.1mm

Strap-and-laces

Adidas

87%

22mm

Lockdown Straps

Reebok

85%

22mm

Hook-and-loop

Reebok

84%

20mm

Straps

Nike

Why Weightlifting Shoes?

Whether specialized shoes are right for you really depends on why you’re lifting and at what level. But there’s no question, if you’re interested in practicing the Olympic lifts with any significant weight then covered laces are a big benefit. To perform a dynamic movement like the power clean or any of the overhead movements, the feet move quickly and loose laces are a game-ender. The shoe itself has to be maintain a tight fit throughout the entire movement, otherwise an ankle or instep roll are very likely. Breaking a lower foot bone isn’t difficult when hundreds of pounds are moving overhead. Another key is the heel height. It’s something of a trick to construct a shoe with sufficient padding to handle the force of overhead lifts while keeping it low enough to the ground to avoid ankle rolls. Powerlifters likewise prefer a lower heel with plenty of stability, particularly when it comes to deadlift. In all cases, the higher the heel, the taller the lifter is ultimately, and this requires an extra inch or two to lift the bar. And when you’re lifting for competition, every inch matters.

Downsides

The only real downside to investing in good weightlifting shoes is that everything that makes them great for one sport poses a challenge to another. For CrossFit competitors or anyone who cross-trains, one look at these shoes will raise questions about their fit for distance running. There’s no question they can easily handle sprints and short distances, and would be great for box jumps depending on the floor. But remember, they’re really not built for heel and Achilles Tendon support over long distances of banging and slapping onto the ground as one does mile after mile. The foot bones actually lengthen during longer runs and this will undoubtedly stretch out the shoe and shorten its lifespan for the lifting side.

Verdict

Competitive lifters should definitely try on a pair of weightlifting shoes and get a feel for the real. Most hard-core lifters tend to avoid distance running anyway, and if you’re limiting your cardio to rowers and treadmills than these will work just fine. CrossFit athletes can definitely benefit from them as long as they remember to protect them from overuse in terms of sprints and running. All of the manufacturers have done a great job in making an attractive product and they’ll brighten up the gym for sure.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why special weightlifting shoes?
A: Lifters need strapped shoes and special heel height.
Q: Can I lift barefoot?
A: It's risky. Consider the stress and impact for explosive movements.
Q: Why is the tight lacing important?
A: The lacing will loosen during explosive lifts.

1. Adidas Powerlift 4 – Tokyo

A special edition of the Adidas Powerlift 4 Weightlifting Shoe, this model commemorates the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo with a nod to the 1964 Games also hosted there. A regular fit, this shoe features a raised heel of 15 millimeters (0.591 inch) for ground-level action, with a high-density die-cut midsole wedge. Constructed with a very durable lightweight canvas upper with reinforcement, the shoe has an open forefoot construction and flexible toe. A secure, tight fit is offered by way of an extra wide hook-and-loop instep strap and lace closure system. Slip resistant rubber makes up the outsole. As a commemorative shoe, Japanese lettering checks the lower side and the shoe is offered in either Royal Blue, white, and gold, or Japan Red, white, and gold.

Pros

Olympic-level design
Great heel height
Great price

Cons

Limited colors
Not good for cross-training
Extra wide feet might be problematic

2. Adidas AdiPower Weightlifting II Shoe

The latest edition of the weightlifting shoe originally designed for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, the AdiPower II features a specifically configured heel height of 20.1 millimeters (0.791 inch), which is great for the Olympic snatch, clean and jerk movements. A strap-and-laces closing system provides a true lock-down of the midfoot, and is augmented by an updated TPU midsole, reinforced heel and forefoot and padded rearfoot. Designed to fit universal feet, this means either wide or narrow bone structure. With a rubber outsole and strong structured woven upper, the shoe was designed for serious lifters at the highest levels of competition.

Pros

Olympic-level design
Great heel height
Designed for universal feet

Cons

Not good for running
Sizing may vary from street shoes
Color options vary by size online

3. Reebok Legacy Lifter II

Being “snatched” off the racks by competitive lifters all the world over, the Reebok Legacy Lifter II brings a novel design to the gym. Featuring an anatomical shape with more natural contours, the shoe offers support and power off a 22 millimeter (0.86 inch) heel. Constructed with a textile upper, the shoe does breathe. A TPU clip and grip rubber outsole are also included with an anti-microbial sock liner, ETC lined collar and Achilles pad. Lockdown straps help prevent the shoe from slipping off or laces coming loose during dynamic movements, whether it be the Olympic lifts or bridging an arch while bench pressing in powerlifting.

Pros

More anatomical shape
Great strapping system
Extra padding

Cons

Slightly higher heel
Limited color options
Pricey

4. Reebok Lifter PR II

The Reebok Lifter PR II brings a low-cut design to the weightlifting platform, with a 22 millimeter (0.86 inch) heel and total heel-to-toe drop of 16 millimeters (0.63 inches). This heel-to-toe drop makes the shoe unique in its feel. Constructed with a breathable textile upper, the Reeebok Lifter PR II has an EVA foam midsole and rubber outsole for cushioning on the inside and traction on the outside. A lockdown hook-and-loop strap closure system provides a secure wrap and tight fit. As with all shoes, be sure to get a good fit as your foot will expand and contract while performing and each shoe company sizes just a bit differently.

Pros

Great heel-to-toe drop
Price
Breathable textile upper

Cons

Ankle support
Limited color options
Questionable for cross-training

5. Nike Romaleos 4

Built with a slightly wider heel, the Nike Romaleos 4 is designed to offer a stable foundation while performing maximal heavy lifts and explosive movements. The heel height comes in at 20 millimeters (0.791 inch), fairly common for the species weightlifting shoes, but the extra width, atop rubber treads is unique. The Nike Romaleos features a hollowed out sole filled with clear rubber, making for a little more springing support during dynamic lifts. With a substantial heel-to-toe drop affords greater ankle flexion. The upper portion of the shoe narrows out quite a bit from the wider base, and lifters are advised to consider at least half a size larger than their normal street shoe. Adjustable wide straps cover the laces for lockdown security.

Pros

Great heel-to-toe drop
Great rubber treads
Great wide base

Cons

Price
Straps
Narrower toe
 
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