adidas AdiPower Weightlifting Shoes$200, adidas.com
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Weightlifting shoes are specifically built to provide a firm foundation, which is huge when engaging in heavy lifts like squats, cleans and jerks. Most shoes have an energy- (aka shock) absorbing midsole, but lifting shoes have a hard midsole designed to transfer force without any loss of energy. Those hard plastic soles retain that energy to move weight, while the wide outsole adds stability (no shaky ankles), and the elevated heel gives you more ankle flexibility, so you can squat lower.
Before CrossFit entered the mainstream, weightlifting shoes, with their firm midsoles and wide footprint were used mainly by the aspiring bodybuilder or Olympian. But thanks in part to CrossFit’s competitive nature, habitual stat tracking, and emphasis on a slow, steady increase of weight, weightlifting shoes are kicking their way into the mainstream.
After lifting in crosstraining shoes for decades, we decided to give Adidas’ AdiPower lifting shoes a shot, and the difference was felt immediately. They sport a hard, polymer wedge heel with 20mm of lift from the heel to the toe. The wedge ends just before the ball of the foot, so the shoes are fairly mobile.
But, man - that heel isn’t going anywhere. It’s weird to walk around in them at first, but I adjusted fairly quickly. If your WOD has a lot of lifting involved, you might be able to get away with wearing these. I did a WOD with push jerks, box jumps and doubleunders without issue. But for God’s sake, don’t run in them.
On heavy front squats, my feet were solid as rocks - no movement whatsoever. And my heels felt so stable that I could keep my weight back on them with confidence, and the 20mm heel lift allows for a deeper squat without leaning forward, which is a huge deal when you’re doing front squats.
Same story with cleans and jerks - the polymer wedge doesn’t give at all. You get a solid POP when you clean weight, and push jerksthe confidence to sit back on your heels is apparent every time I swap out the everyday trainers for the AdiPowers.
When they first arrived, I maxed out at a 255lb front squat. At the end of the testing period, I maxed out at 285lb in a competition. I’m sure the extra 30lbs was mostly due to training and nutrition, but the shoes definitely gave me a firm foundation to work from.
At $200 a pop, these aren’t for the casual lifter, but if you’re getting serious about moving heavy weight, they’d be a solid investment. Any time you’re standing upright, your feet are your foundation. And if you’ve got 405 pounds on your back, you’re going to want a damn firm foundation to keep you upright, and the AdiPowers deliver.