Nike Romaleos 2 Weightlifting Shoes Review: The Best Lifting Shoe Around?
Introducing the Nike Romaleos 2
Released in 2012 for the Olympic Games in London, the Nike Romaleos 2 is an upgrade upon what is arguably one of the best weightlifting shoes of all time — the Nike Romaleos. Although the original Nike Romaleos served as the official weightlifting shoe for the US, Chinese and Ukraine Olympic weightlifting teams in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nike needed to improve upon their flagship model in 2012 to prevent the new Adidas Adipower from stealing the market. By addressing flaws in the original Romaleos with the revamped Nike Romaleos 2, not only was Nike able to secure its place alongside Adidas as one of the two go-to weightlifting shoes brands for the 2012 Olympic Games, but the Nike Romaleos 2 are still one of the most popular shoes in weightlifting, powerlifting and Crossfit today.
While the original Nike Romaleos were one of the best weightlifting shoes around, many lifters felt they were clunky and heavier than other shoes in the market. To alleviate this concern, Nike was able to reduce the weight of the Nike Romaleos 2 by fifty grams. That may not sound like much, but that is actually a 23% decrease in weight! To do this, Nike created a contoured heel wedge made out of Thermo Polyurethane (TPU) — a new age plastic best known for its strength, light weight and flexibility. Undoubtedly impressed with their own work, Nike dubbed their TPU heel wedge the “Power Bridge”. When compared to the previous model, the Nike Romaleos 2 are notably lighter thanks to the Power Bridge. In addition to being lighter, stronger and more flexible than the traditional wooden heel used in Olympic weightlifting shoes, the Power Bridge allows for greater consistency as well. With a wood heel, it is fairly common to see changes in forward pitch from the shoe when comparing shoe sizes. This means that a person with a bigger shoe could be pitched forward more from their lifting shoes than someone wearing smaller size. Because of the Power Bridge, this isn’t a problem with the Nike Romaleos 2.
The Power Bridge may be a key feature to the Nike Romaleos 2, but it is hardly the only quality that separates Nike from the rest of the pack. Since the Nike Romaleos 2 are designed by such a giant in the shoe industry , you can rest assured that quality control isn’t an issue. The Nike Romaleos 2 are also some of the most beautiful shoes out there and come in a variety of rather striking color combinations. This definitely a shoe that catches the eye. Personally, my favorite color scheme is Obsidian/Sport Red/White, but you truly can’t go wrong with any choice.
Practically all Olympic weightlifting shoes come with a metatarsal strap for added stability and a perfect fit; however, the Nike Romaleos 2 come with two. Admittedly, this may be overkill, but when squatting 600 pounds, I don’t think there is such a thing as too much stability. The Nike Romaleos 2 also come with two insoles. One is useful for training as it is lighter, flexible and more comfortable whereas the other is best suited for competitions or max attempts.
Just like the Adidas AdiPowers , the Nike Romaleos 2 come with a 3/4″ heel lift. This is fairly commonly sized heel lift. For those who don’t know, they are many benefits to having a shoe with a raised heel. Perhaps most importantly, is that it improves our lower body mechanics by reducing flexibility requirements. By changing the angle of our feet so that our heels are slightly elevated, the need for ankle flexibility is reduced. For those who have issues hitting depth on squat, this can make a huge difference! Additionally, the Power Bridge heel makes it easier to sink under your Olympic lifts and can even eliminate knee cave on lower body lifts!
Even though the Nike Romaleos 2 are lighter than their predecessor, this is still a heavy shoe. This does make the Nike Romaleos a poor shoe to run or cross train in (you could even damage the shoe), but this weight does carry an extremely desirable quality — stability. Anyone who has worn the Nike Romaleos 2 can testify to how stable you feel in these shoes. When I squatted in the Nike Romaleos 2, I felt like I was actually connected to the ground because of how stable I was! In fact, I would go so far to say that the Nike Romaleos 2 blow practically every lifting shoe out of the water in this category. The Crossfit Lite TR does an excellent job of this as well, but it’s really hard to beat the Nike Romaleos in this category. For our review on the Crossfit Lite TR, click here. The grip on the Nike Romaleos 2 is also of impeccable quality thanks to the design of the sole and wide toe box which increases contact area with the ground. The wide toe box also comes in handy for people with fat feet such as myself. If you also fall into this category, you may have trouble with the Adidas AdiPower, which is a narrow shoe.
Overall, there aren’t many concerns with this shoe. The Nike Romaleos 2 were designed for elite weightlifters and they live up to the hype in this regard. As a powerlifter or Olympic weightlifter, you won’t be disappointed in the slightest with this shoe.
If I had to pick something about the design to quibble over, it would be the length of the metatarsal straps. For whatever reason, these always seem to be too long with Olympic weightlifting shoes and the Nike Romaleos are no exception. I am always afraid that the end of the strap will get caught under the bottom of the shoe and will cause me to trip, but luckily that never happened. I have yet to hear of it happening to anyone else as well, but it is a cause for concern. This is easily fixed by cutting the excess length of the straps, but I know that most people don’t want to tarnish their $200 shoes by such an act.
The price of the Nike Romaleos will inevitably scare some potential buyers away. At $200+, I understand. This isn’t a purchase anyone should make lightly, but I still recommend it. Yes, this is an expensive shoe, but you are getting the best available with your hard-earned cash. If you take your lifting seriously, investing in the best gear around is a solid plan. For your money, you will have a pair of shoes that will last just as long as your lifting career.
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