2016 adidas Leistung Weightlifting Shoe Review
Adidas has been making weightlifting shoes since the early 1970’s when Tommy Kono was sought out by adidas to help collaborate and change the design of weightlifting shoes going forward. Tommy Kono had lunch with Adi Dassler and went over shoe design and flaws in some sample footwear. At the time high top, Soviet designed boots were the standard. Adidas took input from one of the great weightlifters of that time to make a shoe that improved lifter safety by making a low cut design that improved ankle mobility. Since then adidas has been a leader in designing and manufacturing weightlifting shoes for some of the world’s greatest Olympic Weightlifters.
This year adidas brought to the table the 2016 Leistung Weightlifting shoe, leading into the 2016 Rio games. The name “Leistung” translates to “Power” and this shoe definitely does that. I recently picked up a pair and thought I’d do my own review of this shoe. I’ll add this disclaimer that I am a rep for the adidas brand, but my critique of this shoe is my own with both the good and bad.
When photos first leaked online, most people hated the design, including myself. I actually saw them in person a few months the photos were leaked and there were some changes that came in the actual manufacturing of the shoe. The first thing is the “triaxle” design which really looks more like a bunch of Star of David branded all over the shoe. I think most weightlifters like a more traditional look, so just having a smooth texture to the upper would have been fine. The infrared color around the collar is another I was not fond of, which looks more of a bright pinkish color. I don’t remember it being that color on the initial design. Had the heal liner been black; I think it would have added a better dimension to the shoe. And last flaw I initially felt with this shoe is the BOA lacing system. But really the only flaw in the BOA lacing system is aesthetics of it, not the way it actually functions, which I’ll get to later. It looks futuristic, and I think most would have just preferred the look of a traditional lace and strap system.
The Leistung has a higher heel than its predecessors. This model has a 24.8 mm offset as opposed to the adipower’s which has a 20 mm offset. It’s even higher than the Nike Romaleos 2, which had one of the biggest pitches; unfortunately I don’t have the exact offset of them. The heal is definitely noticeable as soon as you put them on. Anyone that has any sort of ankle mobility issues, this is very much welcomed. As someone who has struggled with mobility, I did love how much easier it was getting to the bottom position on the lifts. For squats it almost felt as if I had a cheat code to get in and out of the hole. Now I did find that on snatches, it took me awhile to get use the position off the floor as this shoe made me want to get on my toes early. The same goes for catching a clean. More experienced lifters with better body awareness than I, might be able to adjust a little bit easier and stay back with relative ease. The heal is made out of TPU with injected polymer, for reinforced strength without adding weight. I do like the clear plastic design of it.
The BOA lacing system provides tightness securely to the foot, with the turn of the dial. I did love how the tightness was evenly spread over my foot. With a lace and strap system, everyone once in awhile I’d have to retie my shoes and play with it to get the right feel. The tongue has some nice padding to it so there is a next level of comfort in this shoe compared to others. And for any concerns about durability issues from the BOA lacing system, it does have a lifetime warranty by BOA Technology.
The upper is a new synthetic material. It doesn’t have as much give as the adipower, so be aware with sizing because it likely won’t stretch or break in as much with time. However I had no issues with sizing compared to my adipower. There are breathable mesh inserts on the upper helping keep your feet cool during longer training sessions. This was very welcomed from a guy who lives and trains in South Florida where it’s brutally hot and humid.
I went from initially hating this shoe to now loving it. The look of the shoe took awhile to get use to, but it has grown on me. I’m sure the same will happen to others when they see some of the worlds greatest use them on the biggest platform next month in Rio. The features and performance are all a positive, which should be a given being that the retail cost of this shoe is $225. Is it something you need to go out and buy right away? No, simply put. If you have a quality pair of the adipower or Nike Romaleos in good shape then it’d be hard to justify spending money on a pair of lifting shoes right now. If you are in the need of new shoes, then it is one you’d want to consider. Or if you’re like me you go out and buy another pair to rotate through, problems of being a sneaker head. Plus seeing Aleksey Torokhtiy do a 180kg Snatch complex in person in these, and recently doing a 245 Power Jerk in the Leistung give me hope they’ll make me a better lifter. Realistically they probably won’t.