Adidas Powerlift 2.0: 1 year review
The Adidas Powerlift 2.0 is a shoe which I have been using for a year now. I have the older version, but the 2.0 Update is just an optical one, making it available in more colours and the strap more fancy. All in all this is a great shoe for someone starting out with weightlifting who is not doing the volume, high load or does not have the money to justify a purchase of an Adipower or Nike Romaleo shoe.
Why a lifting shoe in the first place ?
Street shoes are not allowed in the gym, so they are not really an option and I also would not recommend to lift in your leather business shoes, although that would be possible (and maybe even better than runners). What you want is a shoe with a solid sole to base you on the ground. Average runners are not designed for that purpose. The usual running shoe you have at home has been designed to absorb the shock your feet and body gets when you are running when hitting the ground. This is established by having springs, sponges, foams, special plastics or combinations of these materials in the shoe.
While this is desirable for running (your feet and knees hurt less) this leads to challenges for lifting. If you have ever attempted to deadlift more than 100kg / 225 pounds in a running shoe you will have an idea of what I talk about. It is a bit like standing on a ball which has been pumped up half way with air or standing on a piece of soap which is slightly moving while you are pulling the weight. This does not help for optimum performance and protecting yourself against injury. In addition weightlifting shoes also tilt your feet slightly forward whilst keeping them secure to help you with your ankle mobility. Good ankle mobility also translates into more weight lifted. In a nutshell weightlifting shoes help you to get a "stronger footing" to perform your lifts.
When to get a lifting shoe
If you are in the gym and usually use machines, only do cardio and support that training with mainly dumbbell work there is no need to get a lifting shoe. A lifting shoe comes into play when you start to get serious using a barbell in the free weight section of your local gym. The most beneficial movements you can perform with a barbell to build strength are
- Bench Press
- Clean & Jerk
- (the list could be prolonged but let's stick with the core powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting lifts)
How comfortable are they ?
The Adidas Powerlift 2.0 are not really designed to comfort. If you wear them longer than an hour you most likely will feel pressure to the side of your feet as they are a very tight fit. If you are looking for comfort a weightlifting shoe is not the route to travel down. Apart from that the strap works good to get the shoe tight and snug before a lift.
Do you have to break them in ?
Some people say that you have to and I think it makes sense to break them in if you have very broad feet which would struggle to get into the tight fit of these shoes. For me personally, I got them delivered, got them out of the box, went to the gym and was good to go. It is just like with every other shoe, if you get the right size the first 2 - 3 days might be a bit uncomfortable, but after that you are fine.
What do they cost ?
I paid a bit over a 100€ for them a year ago (2014). The good news is that it seems that due to the crossfit craze over in the states which is slowly making its way to Europe prices have dropped or I just did not enough research back then. You can grab the Adidas Powerlift 2.0 for 78€ or 79.50USD at time of writing. You would pay the same if you were to replace your runners, unless you go one segment up in the weightlifting world and look at the Romaleos or Adipowers which come in at 150 - 180 USD or 120 - 150€.
Can you wash them ?
It seems like most lifters do not really wash them. Yes I know we are disgusting. Moving on from this I would not recommend to wash them in the machine as this might impale their stiffness, ruin the velcro or even lead to ripping of the strap altogether. If you wash them, be nice to your little babies and maybe tell Mom, if you are a teenager getting these, that you will rather wash them yourself.
Which size to get?
I stuck with my usual size and was fine. I personally have pretty narrow feet, so if I had bigger feet and usually get a size up in normal shoes because of that, consider the same for the powerlifting shoes, as they are a tight fit.
Which other options are there ?
Apart from the Adidas powerlift 2.0 there are many other options in the market. Questions is: What is the right option for you. In my opinion if you only powerlift you do not necessarily have to get the more expensive options from Nike and Adidas. If you get a lot of Olympic lifts in your training during a week, which in my opnion would be 3 - 4 sessions a week with high load, consider getting the more expensive shoes. If you are a crossfitter who works in the low load, high repetition world of Olympic lifting, I personally think you are best off with one of the newer hybrid shoes which have specially been designed for crossfit. Also if you are a crossfitter for the money you spend on one high end weightlifting shoe, you can actually roughly get a pair of the Adidas powerlift shoes and a crossfit hybrid, which I personally think better fits your overall needs.
What do you like about the shoe ?
What I like about them is that the Adidas Powerlift is a no nonsense shoe designed to fulfill a purpose for a reasonable price. I walked several miles in them to the gym and back and they still go strong. After a year of use the laces did not rip ( which usually manage after 3 -4 months on any shoe I get), the strap is still on and the shoe almost looks like when I got them. I have tossed them in my gym bag, never washed them, dropped a piece of chalk on them, spilled water on them and many things more. I use them 4 days a week. Great value for money and super low maintenance, which in my book is all you can ask of a powerlifting shoe.
What do you not like about the shoe ?
The only thing not to like about the Adidas powerlift 2.0 is that there is a bigger brother out there to be had, the Adipower. For the amount of training I do it might have been the better investment to get those ones directly, because If i get the Adipowers now, the Adidas powerlifts are basically retired. I can still do my son a favour and pass them on, but in this scenario it is a 100€ wasted (apart from making my son very happy, which is very rewarding in itself as he started to go to the gym more regurlarly).
As with all Equipment you will ever buy, first think about for what you will use it and how often you will use it to make a decision for your purchase. Crossfitters with a passion for heavy lifting and people starting to build strength with a program like Stronglifts 5x5 or Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 who train 2 - 3 times a week will find a great shoe in the Adidas Powerlift 2.0. Anyone who will go heavy on Olympic lifts 3 - 4 days a week or gets into high load back squats might want to consider high end products for high end lifting instead of the Adidas Powerlift 2.0.
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