Here is part 2 of my informal weightlifting shoe review. Part 1 can be found here. This is just my impressions of various shoes, both as a lifter, a coach, and an observer, not a comprehensive or technical review. If you are interested in getting a pair of weightlifting shoes, talk to me or another coach about any limitations, such as ankle mobility, that you might have that would make you lean towards buying one brand over another.
One word of warning: most weightlifting shoes fit and size differently than other shoes, and since most of them are available only online, be sure before purchase that you can return any shoe for another size if they don’t fit correctly. If you are even mildly serious about your lifting, weightlifting shoes will improve all your lifts, and since a good pair of weightlifting shoes should last you years, you want to get them right. (A quick apology about the ridiculous spacing in this post, I just could not get it even and tight.)
The most ubiquitous weightlifting shoe in CrossFit is probably the Rogue Do-Wins. The old model (not pictured) was a well made strong shoe, but the new models (you can tell by the wood colored soles, as seen in the pic) seem to be plagued by quality issues. Tongues tear, soles rip off, heels separate, among other problems. To give Rogue credit, they have great customer service and I have seen them replace many shoes. The Rogue Do-Win is a fairly flexible weightlifting shoe with no extra heel support. If it weren’t for the quality issues, it’s a good shoe for CrossFitting. It has a fairly wide toe pocket. A mid-priced shoe.
The other most commonly seen weightlifting shoe in the CrossFit world is the VS Athletics shoe, shown here in white, but usually seen in black. The shoe is very similar to the Rogue Do-Win, perhaps a bit more clunky, but without the quality issues. The VS is one, if not the cheapest shoe on the market. The local Play It Again sports store in Soquel has the VS in stock, which is great because you can try them on.
The Nike Romaleo is the current hotshot weightlifting shoe. It is based on the weightlifting shoe Nike has made for a couple Olympics for the Chinese National Team, the world’s current best. It is very stiff and heavy with considerable plastic heel support designed to cup and hold the heel stable. I have never seen someone do a WOD comprised of more than just barbell movements in the Romaleos. Several CrossFitters I know have the Romaleos for strict lifting, and the VS or another cheap shoe for doing WODs. The Romaleo is the most expensive shoe on the market and comes in white, black, and I think red. Very fancy, very space age.
Adidas makes the popular weightlifting shoes in the world. Any picture of a top level lifter in the past 15 years, at least, will be wearing a variation of Adidas. The one pictured is their latest and last Ironwork, with the red added heel support. Adidas have a good reputation for quality and I have seen their shoes put up with a lot of abuse. They are lighter and more flexible than the Nike Romaleo, but stiffer than the VS of the Do-Wins. They are not cheap and are a close second or third to the Nikes in price. They also have a reputation as a narrow shoe with a tight toe pocket. I believe they have been discontinued, but they can still be found, often at a discount.
Just as they make a shoe for Rogue, so does Do-Win make a shoe for Glenn Pendlay’s brand. Not surprisingly, they seem very similar to the Rogues, but are not suede and come in a variety of very bright colors. I have not seen them tear or have the same problems that the Rogues do, but I also do not know that many people who have them. Honestly, most of the people who I know that have bought them admitted that they just liked the colors best. A mid-priced shoe. Sorry folks, not a lot to say here, although I have never had a good experience with Pendlay’s customer service.
Wei-Rui makes a very cheap, cheaper even than the VS depending on the website you order them from, weightlifting shoe. I have heard very good things about them for the price. They have a tighter fit than the comparable priced VS, which can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your foot, but is usually touted as a more stable shoe. They are a light flexible shoe, ok for WODs. Only 2 people I know have the Wei-Rui, and as neither of them has had to return the shoe, I can’t really comment on the quality.
The latest offering from Adidas, the Power Lift Trainer, is a multi-sport lifting shoe. It is light and flexible and fairly cheap (for an Adidas, a mid-priced shoe. It comes in several colors. That’s about all I know, as it is brand new, although it probably has the same high quality as the rest of the Adidas team of shoes.
If purchasing Adidas weightlifting shoes of the interwebs, especially their top-of-the-line Adistar model, be aware that Adidas makes very similar looking shoes for a variety of sports. The shoes pictured look exactly like the Adistar weightlifting shoe except they are made for skeet shooting, and have a soft sole and extra cushioned heel designed to dampen the kick of a shotgun. The exact opposite of what you would want in a weightlifting shoe. Still, Emmett swears by his shooting shoes and regularly reps double bodyweight back squats in them, so maybe some of his weightlifting ability and general badass mojo can be attributed to the shoes.
There are several other brands that I don’t have much direct experience with but have good reputations– the Canadian brand Kanama, Risto, and the Again Faster Talon. I know two people who have Ristos. One hated them and sent them back, and the other loves them. I also know two people who have the Talons and they both like them. Adidas is coming out in early 2012 with a new super snazzy lifting shoe that looks remarkably like the Nike Romaleo and will probably be very similar. Just as expensive too. Reebok debuted a CrossFit-specific weightlifting shoe at the recent Games that is designed to be both a lifting shoe and a workout shoe. I don’t think it is available for the general public yet, but will be very soon. Expect it to also be pricey, but if it lives up to the hype, it may be worth it for a CrossFitter.
Like most purchases, buying weightlifting shoes comes down to how much you want to spend, and what the intended use will be. If you you are just a weightlifter, then the choice is a lot easier. If you want them for CrossFitting, then be prepared to give up some pure lifting ability in exchange for all-around use.
What are your experiences with weightlifting shoes? What kind to you strap on for your next PR?
Please post, along with questions and disagreements, to Comments.
Dumbbell Thrusters 50 lbs
Kettlebell Swings 2 pood
Strict Pull Ups