“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
In sports these days, manufacturers are constantly trying to one up their competitors by coming out with new space age fabrics and cutting edge technology for their products, namely their shoes. Most of it sounds like some mumbo jumbo you’d hear in a sci-fi B-movie. I’m sure it’s all done in good conscience and I get it, they’re trying to get you to ditch your “old” shoes for a shiny new, more technologically advanced pair. Adidas has come out with a couple new weightlifting shoes within the last few years, but if you look at the top weightlifters, they’re still using AdiPowers. Some even are clinging to their 2008 AdiStar’s, which are still one of the most sought after pairs of weightlifting shoes.
What’s the secret? They just work.
So what makes the 2008 AdiStar’s such a popular shoe if they’re generations old? Full grain leather, a wooden heel, and rubber. There were some technological advances over the 2004 model, but for the most part the bread and butter remained the same. Another insanely popular shoe that’s still being used in competition today are the Asics 727 Tiger’s, that are the staple shoe for the DPRK. Once again, nothing fancy, not even a medial strap and those dudes are lifting the shit out of things.
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, Position looks to take what’s worked for centuries and bring it back with their Blue Suede Shoes.
Construction & Looks:
As if I haven’t already said enough about this, but the Blue Suede Shoes are finely crafted from what all shoes used to be made of. The leather upper is soft and has a suede look to it. Obviously there’s only one colorway, but the shade of my blue suede shoes is a lot lighter looking that the ones you’ll find on the website’s description; there’s a disclaimer explaining why this is so. Each pair of shoes is handmade so no two shoes are going to be identical, but rest assured that the level of craftsmanship remains excellent in the Blue Suede Shoes. You can see minor imperfections here and there, but I think it adds character to the shoe.
Imagine you cooked a burger fresh off the grill at your own backyard boogie versus getting a burger from McDonalds™. Both look like burgers, but one has a unique, fresh look to it while you already knew what the McDonalds™ burger was going to look like. The former is unique and almost always tastes better because of that love that you put into making it (and because it’s not McDonalds™). That’s kind of what you’re getting with the Blue Suede Shoes compared to mass produced shoes.
Yes, I just compared weightlifting shoes to burgers.
Position’s BSS are some of the most generous fitting oly shoes that I’ve ever put on. If you’ve got wide feet, these are the shoes for you. Usually I have an issue with the toe boxes of oly shoes being a bit narrow, but with the BSS have a nice wide vamp area making them very comfortable to wear in between lifts. Since the leather upper is so soft, there’s also virtually no “break-in” period with these shoes. Just lace em up and let er’ rip. Keep in mind that leather uppers do break in after time and getting your “true” size might not be the best idea. I have a pair of size 9.5’s, but I should have gotten 9’s as the leather has stretched a little with wear. Thankfully you do have a medial strap that allows you to really lock the shoes down
Not saying the shoes of today are incompetent lifting shoes, but lifting with the BSS really feels special. It’s gives you a sense of raw-ness, since this is the platform that weightlifting evolved from. TPU heels for weightlifting are a relatively new thing, afterall. Since wood is in-compressible, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting maximum power output with every drive. The effective heel height of the BSS is slightly taller than the more commonly produced shoes, at .875″ compared to the standard .75″. Total heel height is 1.25″. Not quite as tall as the Leistung’s I tested earlier in the year (effective 1″, total 1.5″), but to me that’s a good thing as I found the Leistung’s to be a little too tall. Theoretically, having a higher heel will lead to a more upright torso, which can be a problem area for those with bad mobility.
While the Blue Suede Shoes have a slightly higher heel, it’s almost undetectable yet every landing still feels as solid as a rock. Those familiar with a raised heel should have no problems getting used to the added .1″ and those that needed the extra bit for mobility reasons will relish in the added height. Though my hip/ankle mobility is pretty good, my upper back’s is not, so the more upright I catch, the less internally rotated I am, and my shoulders will thank me down the line. Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sure lifting in any oly’s as I do in the Blue Suede Shoes.
Comfort, style, workmanship and performance don’t come cheap with the Blue Suede Shoes. They retail for
$190 $140 (Since the release of the 2.1’s, the 2.0’s have dropped significantly) and don’t really go on sale, though you can find some coupon codes from sponsored athletes online. Another huge benefit to having some “old school” shoes, is that you’re going to be able to repair them if they somehow fail you. Since the materials are pretty basic, any competent shoe cobbler is going to be able to doctor them up. That’s probably not going to be the same with synthetic materials or TPU heels.
Also, the shoes are not without their faults. A couple small gripes I have are that the shoes have very long shoe laces and the insoles are kind of cheapo. Not a big deal either way, I could always switch the laces out and the insoles are removable anyways. Another area that could have used a little more attention is the outsole rubber, as I don’t find it as grippy as other shoes I’ve tested.
$190 sounds steep, but if you’re serious about oly lifting and you wanted to set yourself apart from the mainstream, the Position USA Blue Suede Shoes are definitely the way to go. They combine performance with style in a timeless aesthetic and that will certainly not go unnoticed in your lifts or in the gym.