What do I mean by “budget” weightlifting shoe? Well, these are about 1/2 the price of the premium weightlifting shoes – like the Adipower II, the Nike Romaleos 4, or the Reebok Legacy Lifter.
All these shoes ran the gauntlet in our quest for the best weightlifting shoe for 2020.
But what’s the real difference besides the price tag?
That’s what we’ll deep dive into in this review.
Here’s the shoes we’ll be looking at in-depth:
Adidas Power Perfect 3 Versus Adidas Powerlift 4 YouTube Review
Why read when you can watch?
Here’s a hands-on review from our YouTube channel: (be sure to subscribe for other great shoe reviews).
Adidas Powerlift 4 Overview
First, let’s look at the Adidas Powerlift 4 weightlifting shoe.
This is the true budget option for an Oly lifter – as it is typically about $100 – or less.
But, you can see it has what you need in a lifter.
There’s a very solid heel.
That means as you drive the weight up, and apply force to the floor through the shoes there’s no power lost.
But it’s also a raised heel (or it has what we call a lot of “heel to toe drop”)
This will help you get deep in the squat with ease – because of the reduced ankle flexibility needed.
But this shoe in particular has a minimal heel raise (for a weightlifting shoe) – as it is only about .6″ or 15mm.
There’s very few other lifters that offer that minimal lift – so this is a good option if that’s what you want – and remember it still has that solid heel too.
The upper on these is made from a durable canvas. It is both light-weight and comfortable.
The simple upper and minimum of heel is what helps to make this a light-weight shoe. A Men’s Size 11 only weights about 16 ounces – that’s light for a weight lifting shoe.
But, the flip side of that is there isn’t much lateral support in the shoe. That soft, pliable canvas isn’t as supportive side to side – or anywhere else in the shoe.
The Powerlift 4 runs true to size – a Men’s Size 11 is my normal size and fits me fine.
(That’s the same size that I wear in running shoes.)
I will say if you have wide feet these will be tight – and only in that case should you go 1/2 size up.
Overall I like these – they get the job done, and they are a nice minimalist shoe that just works.
And, they are one of the least expensive options around.
Let’s look now at the Power Perfect 3.
Adidas Power Perfect 3 Overview
Here’s the Adidas Power Perfect 3 – another budget weightlifting shoe.
This one is more expensive, but it’s noticeably sturdier than the Powerlift 4.
Starting with the outsole – it looks similar – and that’s because it is made from that same hard-wearing “AdiWear” material as used in the other shoe.
The outsole gives good grip, and does seem like it will last a long time.
But here’s where the differences start – there’s a lot more heel on this shoe.
It has a heel to toe drop of .75″ (or 19mm). This is more inline with other weightlifting shoes.
The other factor here is that the upper utilizes what is known as “Derby” style construction and there’s some heavierweight materials that make this shoe noticeably more supportive.
That also makes it heavier – but we expect an Oly lifter to be heavy – that’s the nature of the shoe.
Perhaps the best thing about the Power Perfect 3 – If you shop around a bit, you can often find these for $100 or less.
The Power Perfect 3 fits true to size, at least for me. A Men’s Size 11, which is my normal running shoe size, fits fine in length and width.
It’s a comfortable shoe and it does what you need it to – a firm heel, heel raise, and a midfoot strap to keep everything locked down.
Let’s see what the big $$$ shoes bring to the table…
Versus the Adidas Adipower II weightlifting shoe
Adidas’ premium weightlifting shoe for 2020 is the Adipower Weightlifting Shoe II – or the Adipower 2 – as we’ll call it here.
This shoe has a 20 mm heel to toe drop and it is super-flexible – especially in the forefoot.
Some lifters prefer this flexbility, but the downside to this is this shoe does not feel very supportive.
The entire upper is just not enough materials – and they are very pliable.
The other issue with this shoe is that it runs crazy narrow – I’m not even sure what to tell you for sizing advice because it is both narrow and LONG – so if you go up a size for width , you may have too much length.
My last beef with the Adipower is the fact that it’s very expensive – and doesn’t really provide the stability and “rooted to the ground” feel that I prefer.
It is a comfortable shoe though – that soft and pliable upper almost feels like a running shoe.
(Of course there’s little to no cushion in the midsole though – but the upper itself does feel nice.
To be honest, if you like that soft, pliable upper you might want to consider the Powerlift 4 instead.
The only downside to that is that the Powerlift 4 will give up 5 mm of heel to toe drop.
Versus the Nike Romaleos 4
I’ll state right up front that the Romaleos 4 is my favorite Oly lifter for 2020.
It packs a 20mm heel to toe drop, two midfoot straps for a secure, locked-in fit, and it’s wide and very supportive laterally.
That’s a lot to unpack – but here’s the bottom line with this shoe – it delivers the stability and support I expect from a lifter.
The width of the heel and the layered materials in the upper mean lateral support is a notch above that of any other shoe for 2020.
The Romaleos 4 does run a bit cramped in the toe box area though – I had to go 1/2 size up to get enough width for comfort.
The other issue with these is they are LOUD – much louder than any other Oly lifter.
Whether you are walking or lifting – they make a lot more high-pitched noise.
(All lifters make a clip-clop sort of sound as you walk – but these are especially noisy).
Why? My theory is the plastic-y midsole that has thin edges is the root cause of it.
All that said – I love these shoes – I think they look good too – but looks can be polarizing.
Some people don’t like the big, obnoxious swoosh – but I have no issue with it.
They are also expensive, at $200 US.
In comparison, our two Adidas shoes really don’t measure up in the stability (especially lateral) or looks – at least to me.
Versus the Reebok Legacy Lifter
How about the Reebok Legacy Lifter? This is Reebok’s premium weightlifting shoe for 2020.
The Legacy Lifter has a nice, wide heel and it’s heavy clocking in at 23 ounces for a Men’s Size 11 shoe.
The heel to toe drop is 22mm – so this is the shoe you want for maximum heel raise.
It also has two straps – which I personally prefer over the single strap of the Adidas shoes.
Two straps work better – because you can vary the tightness at the top and the bottom – individually.
The other thing here is that nice wide heel makes these feel more stable side to side.
It’s not as much as the Romaleos 4 – but it’s not bad either.
AND – the Reebok Legacy Lifter is comparatively quiet compared to the Romaleos 4.
It makes a nice, solid “thud” rather than a high-pitched clattering when you walk or pull with it.
It’s also expensive, at $200 US.
Adidas Power Perfect 3 Versus Adidas Powerlift 4 – In Summary
The Adidas Power Perfect 3 and Powerlift 4 are some of the most affordable Olympic weightlifting shoes you can buy in 2020.
And they aren’t just cheap – they are good too.
They provide the solid heel, heel raise, and midfoot strap you expect on a weightlifting shoe.
The big dollar shoes might look a little nicer, and they do have some improvements, but these budget options will work for most people.
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Tim is the founder of FitAtMidlife.com – an avid gym rat for 30+ years, he’s a reviewer of many, many shoes – and founder of the Speed Bag Gathering – the world’s only gathering of speed bag punching enthusiasts. See more gym reviews at Tim’s YouTube channel.