Hands-on Gear Review
Adidas Adipowers Review
Cons: Not ideal for dynamic movements or accessory work.
When I put the Adidas Adipowers on my feet the feel and flex of the shoe was immediately noticeable in only the best ways. The first thing I noticed was the comfort. The sole of the shoe was just right, the arches were not too high like in the Nike Romaleos, and the black and red looks pretty awesome. There is no doubt why so many high level weightlifters wear these shoes not only for training but for the highest level competition as well. Turn on highlights from the 2012 Summer Olympics…notice what shoes these athletes are wearing. You definitely see some Nike's mixed in, but I want to say the majority are the Adidas Adipower.
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
My absolute favorite lifts. The "snatch" and "clean and jerk" are amazing feats of athleticism and strength and so it is only common sense that proper gear to support such heavy loads in the required positions is required. At a body weight of 140 lbs, I put on the Adipowers and set a personal record on my snatch at 180 lbs. The heel raise on this shoe is absolutely perfect. The amount of support in the bottom position of not only the overhead squat when receiving the snatch, but the front squat when receiving the clean, clearly makes these shoes stand out. Although the exaggerated heel raise can take some time to get used to, it really is an advantage having that extra height in these specific lifts. I also felt protected while doing a split jerk that requires a pretty violent slam of the front heel into the ground.
Although these are not specific powerlifting shoes, they do just fine for most of these lifts. If I was going for a max effort back squat, I would put on my Adipowers. While a flatter shoe is better for deadlifting, there is no reason why the Adipowers can't sustain a few sets of deads. The heel on this shoe makes it slightly more difficult to drive power through that part of the foot, thus making this a lower scoring metric. I would have no problem wearing the Adipowers for a couple sets of deadlifts, but would not wear them for a max effort deadlift. Any type of squatting is made easier when done with heels raised (just watch any adult kneel down, they will immediately go up onto their toes to perform the squat), thus making these shoes perfect for that purpose.
This is where Reebok and Inov-8 fall off and Adidas Adipowers start to shine. Weightlifting requires an ungodly amount of aggression and explosiveness. This means your feet are going to hit the ground with not only your own body weight, but sometimes hundreds of additional pounds. A soft shoe is not ideal for this metric, thus eliminating the Reebok Lifter as well as the Inov-8s. The Adidas Adipowers are absolutely stable. My foot does not move around in the shoe (they run true to size; ladies don't be afraid to order a men's size) and I feel very little impact when slamming my front foot into the ground during a split jerk. The Adidas provide enough medial support that my ankles feel stable and strong during heavy squatting, cleaning, etc. The neoprene backing on the tongue ensures that it stays in place and the "slightly narrower" fit keeps the foot in a solid position.
The Adipowers are comfortable shoe, maybe not as comfortable as the soft, flexible Inov-8, but I spent hours training in these shoes without any complaints. I wouldn't recommend taking an afternoon stroll in them, the high heel is a bit awkward to walk around in, but for lifting on the platform and resting on the bench in between lifts they are perfect.
Flexibility in the forefront of a lifting shoe can make or break many lifts. The Adidas Adipowers have a 4mm fore foot which is just right. I love snatching and cleaning in my Adipowers simply because I can feel the weight transfer in my feet. The "triple extension" position where the hips come all the way forward and the heels come off the ground, feels natural and even exaggerated because the difference in the heel and forefoot of the shoe. They didn't need much breaking in and I have yet to experience any sort of wear and tear even after hours and hours of training. The sole of the shoe seems to be immaculately attached.
Synthetic polymer materials make up things ranging from silicone breast implants to PVC pipe and silly putty. So there's no surprise that such a malleable material is used for the lightweight plastic heel of Adipowers. This makes the shoe superior to its previous models because of the weight difference. The last thing that any weightlifter needs is something inhibiting quick foot movement, so a light shoe is paramount. Jon North, a highly decorated Olympic weightlifter, emphasizes the importance of "Ali feet" in both the snatch and the clean and jerk. Therefore, a lighter shoe such as the Adidas Adipower (which he can almost always be seen wearing) will encourage faster foot movement.
The best applications for the Adidas Adipower are Olympic lifts. The snatch and clean and jerk require stability and heel raise that the other shoes tested don't provide. The higher heel and narrow sole keep the foot stable and secure for few reps at heavier weights. As a competitive CrossFitter I would wear these shoes for anything from power snatches to pistols and wall balls. The extra height provides assistance in the squat and these shoes are perfect for doing heavy squatting or overhead work because of the stability. These shoes are great for almost anything that requires a barbell besides deadlifting. As a somewhat smaller athlete lifting well above my body weight, any extra support during lifts is a big plus.
This is a testy subject for many people when they see the $200 price tag. Some will argue that you should have the mobility and flexibility to perform these lifts without any added support or heel raise; others will argue that lifting in any type of athletic shoe would be like playing soccer without cleats. Here's my take: if you are a beginner lifting no more than your body weight then you do not need to spend $200 on a pair of lifting shoes. However, if you are competing, training tirelessly and hitting plateaus on your lifts, then these are absolutely necessary. I tried lifting in Reebok CrossFit lifters for about a year until I got myself into a pair of "big girl" weightlifting shoes and I don't think I'll ever go back. I never leave home without them and am not afraid to be the person constantly changing their shoes in between workouts to get the full benefit of using these.
In conclusion, investing $200 on a pair of the Adidas Adipowers is 100 percent a good idea. They are the best weightlifting shoe in the game and that is why you will see the majority of weightlifters and experienced CrossFit athletes wearing them. If you are a female, make sure to size appropriately because they only come in men's sizes, then prepare to be flabbergasted at the difference you'll feel when lifting in them.
— Kate Brierley
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: October 30, 2014
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