Adidas has one of the longest histories of any manufacturer when it comes to weightlifting shoes. Just watch some of the top weightlifters in the world and you’ll probably see them wearing the hugely popular, but now defunct AdiStars. Then came the Power Perfect 2’s, followed by the also immensely popular AdiPowers which is still very much a staple in the CrossFit community today. The AdiPowers were Adidas’ major departure from your tried and true weightlifting shoe design, featuring a new TPU heel and just a more contemporary design overall. Not too long ago, Adidas almost silently released their first BOA dial shoe, the Drehkraft, which combined the new lacing system with an upper that blended the AdiPower and Power Perfect shoes. Something about it prevented that shoe from ever really getting popular (it’s kind of ugly), but if you’ve ever used anything with the BOA dial system, you’d know that it’s insanely convenient. Adidas has just dropped the Leistung, their official shoe for the 2016 Rio Olympics, also their most technically advanced shoe yet; but does technical mean they’re any good?
Visually, the Leistung’s are interesting to say the least. The upper is a new synthetic material coupled with some mesh ventilation spots towards the front of the shoe. I’m not a hipster weightlifter that needs leather, but what can be great about synthetic uppers can also be slightly problematic for some, as they tend to not stretch out very much. You can end up with a really locked down fitting shoe, or an overly tight shoe depending on who you are (more on this later). The quality of the material is excellent and construction is top notch, they definitely feel like a $225 piece of equipment. As with the AdiPowers, you only have one colorway to choose from as of right now; returning is the solar red color. The only breaks you get from it are the clear TPU heel, black BOA dial and white stripes. It’s loud and some people are going to have issues with this, but personally I like loud. What really makes the Leistung’s stand out though, is the “triaxial design” which is really just Star of David patterning that goes literally all around the shoe, even the heel is half a hexagon shaped. Maybe it’s lost on me because I’m not religious, but I do think it’s kind of weird. I think if you saw the shoes from afar, you’d think they’re actually pretty sweet looking shoes.
Following suit of the AdiPowers, the Leistungs have a non traditional TPU heel. I guess by today’s standards that might be traditional though. However, unlike the former, the Leistungs have a 24.8mm/.97″ heel height. I knew right away that the heel was higher just by looking at the shoe and preliminary use. For me, the .75″ heel height of the AdiPowers is fine and that’s what I’m used to and I never got comfortable with the higher heel of the Leistungs. Power delivery from the TPU heel is excellent, as there is absolutely no give. Snatching felt fine, but for me, I noticed myself catching cleans on my toes. Subjectively, having such a high heel might be beneficial to you if you’ve got terrible mobility, but personally it was more of a detriment for me. Again, I find this interesting because I assume the majority of athletes competing in the Olympics to have stellar mobility.
Sizing of the Leistung’s should be the same as your AdiPowers. However, I found the Leistung’s to be slightly more narrow at the front toe box area. Once again, don’t expect that to loose up all that much due to the synthetic upper. I can’t actually recommend sizing up too much either because you wouldn’t want your toes sliding around in the shoe. Again, the BOA dial system is uber convenient, and I think this is the lacing system of the the future, it does have it’s caveats though. The “micro-adjustments” only really go one way, if you over tighten, you’ll have to reset the dial completely by pulling it out and re-tightening. Not a huge detriment, but it’s worth noting the dial only goes one way. Since it’s a competition shoe, the fitment should be snug all around, but probably where the Leistung’s falter the most is that there’s a bit of heel slip. It could be due to the heel being overly tall, but I noticed my heel starting to lift out of the shoe even from just walking around and it even pulls my ankle socks down. Just imagine what it feels like to split jerk and have you heel feel like its coming out of the shoe; not pleasant. One thing I must say of the synthetic upper is that it is extremely flexible. Not to mention that it manages to be even lighter than the Romaleos; mine are a size 9 and they’re 16.54 ounces.
Adidas made some interesting decisions with the overall design of the Leistungs; I know this whole review sounds like a lot of nitpicking, but that’s how it has to be. The AdiPowers are a fantastic shoe to follow, not to mention the competition has excellent shoes out there as well. Depending on mobility for the most part, the Adidas Leistung’s could be a very good shoe for you, subjectively. You could tell that I’m not particularly in love with the Leistung’s, but I don’t think they’re without a purpose. Even higher level weightlifters could benefit from the above average heel height, but I’m writing this from a functional fitnesser’s perspective, who at the same time, tries to not rely on weightlifting shoes. Even still, I don’t believe the Leistung’s are worthy of an upgrade if you already own AdiPowers or Romaleos. The heel height can be a double edged sword, but the heel slippage is unforgivable especially considering this shoe is going to be used on the biggest world stage.
My advice to you if you plan to try them out still is to find a place with a really good return policy.