The Shoes I Wear to Lift

One question I get a lot is about the shoes I wear when I share photos of my garage gym. You can see the ones in question right here:


As you can see, I use them specifically for power lifts – squat, clean and deadlifts. So, to paraphrase you all on Instagram and Facebook, what the hell are they?

These are the Adidas Powerlift 3. I like ’em! I’m not sure I’m in position to give a full-on review, since they’re really my first official “powerlifting” shoe (unless you count Chuck Taylors, of which I’ve had three pair) or my bare feet (of which I’ve had one pair).

Here is what Adidas boasts about the Powerlift 3, and how I feel those claims hold up after about a year of use:

  • Synthetic leather upper – Provides optimal support and comfort – Yeah, that is a legit claim. A squat, deadlift or clean really is made more difficult with lousy support around the ankle and instep. These fit snugly and are definitely comfortable on me. One note – I have fairly narrow feet with high arches, so if you’re Fred Flinstone, your mileage may vary.
  • Air Mesh – In the collar, tongue and heel lining to provide good breathability and durability. – I don’t know if I notice the “breathability”; my feet get pretty warm when I lift and there’s nothing in this shoe that would make me feel like I could go without socks. That’s not something I’m trying to do, anyway, though. On the durability front, my Powerlift 3s are still in great shape with heavy use – no breaking down anywhere.
  • Wide Velco Strap – Easily adjustable fastening. – This is a fact. The low-mid height of the shoe means this strap sucks in right below where your foot meets your ankle, so it’s not interfering with your mobility as you squat over your feet. Compare that to trying to squat in a high-top Chuck or basketball shoe – strap or no strap, it would be a pain.
  • High-Density Die-Cut Wedge – Offering a stable base to support weight increase. Here’s the big thing about the Powerlift (and most other lifting shoes) – the flat sole that keeps you from going up on your toes. Especially helpful during squats and deadlifts, where movement forward onto the balls of your feet can mean a clattering barbell coming down over your head if you’re not careful. This is the highlight of the shoe for me.
  • Anti-Slip Rubber – Offering maximum grip and stability mid workout. Also a good point – weird traction abounds under running shoes or cross-trainers, because they’re meant for trails and tracks. The soles on the Powerlift aren’t just flat, but also pretty tacky – you can spread the floor hard without worrying about slipping outward, which is a major benefit when performing power movements.

With CrossFit and powerlifting growing in popularity, so too is the availability of choice when it comes to appropriate lifting shoes. Reebok in particular has been a reputable brand for weightlifting, but if you check out the reviews on most of Adidas’ models, you’ll see that they are just as well-regarded. The Powerlifter series has improved with each iteration; I love my 3s and have no need to upgrade right now at all. I got my PR squat in these shoes and my next one will come in them, too.

I can recommend them to you so you can buy with confidence, if you are in the market for a lifting shoe and need to be nudged in one direction or the other.

Buy on Amazon:

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