Nike Romaleo II Review
Cons: High arches can be uncomfortable, first strap is long and can drag, lower heel raise.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The lifts that require the most support need a good shoe and the Nike Romaleo II is a perfect shoe for Olympic weightlifting. The heel raise and comfort make this a top choice and not surprisingly, countless weightlifters wore these shoes at the 2012 summer Olympics. The double Velcro strap provides security while the solid plastic heel is perfect for lifting on a platform. The innovative "Power Bridge," a heel wedge designed to support the foot and bear as much weight as a man can lift without any compression or give, is amazing.
The reason these shoes received a slightly higher score on this metric is because the heel is slightly lower than the Adidas Adipower, thus making them better for deadlifts. The back squat is also a lift that doesn't require a whole lot of lift, but rather support, so these shoes did just fine under load in the back squat.
The Nike Romaleo II's are a very stable shoe. The double strap on the upper part of the shoe lock the foot in place and prevent any sort of movement within the shoe, although I did not notice much difference with the bottom strap on or off. This makes for a pretty high rating in this metric. The only downside about the top strap is that it is a bit long, so when I fasten mine all the way I can feel the end of the strap hit the ground when I walk. Just a slight annoyance that would be easy to get over if you really loved these shoes. The soft synthetic that the upper is made from, albeit comfy, is a little soft and this could over time wear and take away from the stability of the shoe.
The lowest scoring metric. I put these bad boys on, hoping to immediately feel like I could clean and jerk the world, but was disappointed with the arches. The arch is high, almost intrusively high for me, and the problem is that it is built into the power bridge, which makes it irremovable. Even with the other inserts they provide (one for training and one for competition) the arch was just too high. So unless you have high arches or like a lot of arch support, this could be a deal breaker.
The Romaleo II's have a decent amount of foot flex. The upper part of the shoe is made from synthetic leather type material that is used for many athletic shoes. It moves incredibly well and mimics any other Nike shoe you might find. They actually inserted elastic into the upper forefront of the shoe to allow for easier movement when hitting that "triple extension" point.
Fifty grams lighter than the previous model, the Nike Romaleo II seems to be the lightest elite lifting shoe on the market. This has upsides and downsides. A light shoe allows quicker foot movement, but there is a fine line where too light of a shoe might sacrifice stability. These shoes are probably amazingly comfortable for someone with higher arches, and the lightweight aspect just adds to that. However, after wearing the Adidas Adipowers, these felt like I was slipping on a pair of Nike athletic shoes. It had an impact on how stable my foot felt during lateral movements as well as the impact absorption when performing split jerks.
Much like the Adidas Adipower, the best application for these shoes is Olympic weightlifting. Particularly the snatch, clean and jerk and accessory movements such as the overhead squat, front squat, push jerk, push press, etc. Because they are a bit softer than the Adidas Adipower, any sort of swift walking, CrossFit movements or longer workouts would be good in these shoes as long as the arches don't affect you.
Why did the Nike Romaleo II's win Best Buy? Their value. Originally $200, these shoes can be found for as low as $129 on some sites. So, knowing that these shoes lost Editors' Choice by such a small fraction, they are definitely the best buy in terms of bang for your buck. You get a shoe worn by countless Olympians for the cost of a Reebok Nano. You just can't beat that!
The Nike Romaleo II is an awesome shoe. It is sturdy and serves its purpose. The extra support that is needed for a weightlifting shoe is very clear. The upsides: price, color schemes and weight. The downsides: slightly lower heel and uncomfortably high arches. Do try them on before purchasing them online.
— Kate Brierley