Back when I purchased my first pair of weightlifting shoes, I had done a ton of research before landing on the original Adidas Powerlift Trainers. Honestly, what drove my decision back then was price. Weightlifting shoes don’t come cheap, but they should last you quite some time before you’ll have to replace them. Back then I didn’t see that value and I was still shocked at the $120 price tag of Nano’s (look at me now). Four years later and there is still a lack of affordable weightlifting shoes. Reebok is looking to change that with the Lifter PR’s, coming in at a solid $90 price tag, but are they a solid weightlifting shoe?
The Adidas Powerlift hasn’t changed much aside from the way it looks. It’s still got a .6″ effective heel height, EVA outsole, $90 and for some reason it’s still called the Powerlift. That being said, it’s still a great weightlifting shoe and even top level weightlifters in the Olympics were rocking them in Rio. The Reebok Lifter PR’s share pretty much everything that make the Powerlift’s so popular, but have a few thoughtful changes. Since Adidas is the parent company, it’s not surprising to see a variant of the Powerlift’s branded Reebok’s way. What is actually surprising is that it took them so long to do it.
Construction & Looks:
Though the price tag is significantly lower that most oly shoes, the Lifter PR’s are an exceptionally well built shoe. The quarter/back of the shoe is made from a synthetic leather while the vamp/toebox is made with real full grain leather. This is a huge step up from the Powerlift’s because leather tends to conform with your feet better and is also usually more flexible. Not even the Lifter 2.0’s have a leather toe box, so this is a step in the right direction. Good thing, because I found this area a little stiff to break in and also a bit narrow.
Cuts must be made to keep the cost down, so the heel’s construction is mainly EVA and rubber. There is a TPU plate connecting the upper to the outsole for a bit more stability, but I don’t think it does anything to help keep the outsole from depressing. Like the Lifter 2.0’s and the Powerlift’s, there is only a single “Thermo TPU” strap that covers the whole midfoot. It does a great job of locking your foot down, though it’s a little flimsy compared to the Lifter 2.0’s. The insole is a bit softer and thicker than on the Lifter 2.0, as U-Form also makes a welcome return. The weight of the shoe is 14.4 oz, so they’re featherweights compared to other oly shoes.
These are great looking shoes and I’m a fan of the minimalist design of the upper. They are not CrossFit branded shoes so there’s no crazy print all over them; the only logo is at the rear of the shoe and it’s not an eyesore either.At the moment, there’s only the white colorway available to buy, though Rogue has a couple more on their site that are pending release.
Reebok’s shoe fitment is all over the place and I think the Lifter PR’s are the weirdest of them all. I typically wear a size 9 in all of my oly shoes and the PR’s are still about a half inch too big in this size, whereas the Lifter Plus 2.0’s in this size fit perfectly. These shoes run abnormally long, so you might want to go a full size down. Fitment of oly shoes should be fairly snug. A few of my shoe sizes for reference:
- Nano 6.0’s – 10 (9.5 fits, but is snug)
- Metcon 2’s – 9.5
- Chucks – 9
- Speed TR – 9
- Oly’s – 9
Back when the original Powerlift’s came out, there was a bunch of talk about how an EVA outsole wouldn’t perform well for power delivery due to it being compressible. While that’s true compared to wood or TPU, it doesn’t make the outsole of the PR’s soft at all. You can depress the outside ridges of the outsole with your fingers, but the center is packed incredibly densely and does not give. Unlike wood or TPU, if land on the outside ridges of the shoe, it can depress; but unless you’re squatting over 500lbs the outsole should be plenty hard enough for you. If you were squatting over 500lb’s, you wouldn’t even be looking at an entry level shoe anyways. At the weight I’m pushing, the PR’s perform as well as any other oly shoe and I’m never at a loss of power.
Another thing that didn’t exactly wow people with the Powerlift’s was the heel height being .6″, with the majority of popular oly shoes being .75″. Those with mobility issues would benefit with a higher heel, but it’s a subjective thing, as I prefer a slightly lower heel. Comparing the two shoes side by side using stock pictures, it looks like the angle of the drop of the PR’s could be a little bit more aggressive than on the Powerlift’s. On the bottom of the left shoe, it says 22mm, which would be roughly .85″. UPDATE: The total heel height is 22mm and the drop is 15.5mm, making the effective heel height the “same thing” as the Powerlift’s at .60″. When I measured the Powerlifts, I came up with only an 11mm differential! Making them only .43″.
Compared to other model of oly’s I have on hand, it feels like:
- Lifter Plus 2.0 .75″ – PR’s feel taller, differential feels more steep.
- Romaeloes .75″ – Feels shorter.
- Position 2.0 .85″ – Feels very close, but slightly shorter.
- Inov-8 370 .65″ – Feels taller
- Adidas Leistung 1″ – Feels shorter
Sounds crazy, but with the exception of the Romaleos, all signs point towards it being actually being around .85″. That would be a huge departure from the Powerlift’s and even the Lifter 2.0’s. There’s also variances in overall shoe heights to keep in mind as well. This is not concrete information and I’m not going to give up the search to find out what it actually is, but lifting with the heel of the PR’s felt just about the same to me as it does in other shoes, excluding the Leistung.
The PR’s have a heavily emphasis towards the midfoot, so jumping feels natural and they should be okay to WOD in since they’re a lot less clunky feeling. Toe off feels comfortable, but when you shift your heels the whole front of the shoe lifts off the ground. Due to the compressible nature of the heel, you won’t feel as planted to the ground as you would with TPU or wood heels; a trade-off for a bit of mobility. You should be fine if all you’re going to do is just squat in these shoes, but they’re less stable compared (a little forward) to my current oly shoe of choice, the Position’s. I’ve had mainly positive lifting sessions in the PR’s, so I’m not that worried; it’s just something to get used to.
Let’s get something straight, I don’t think these are the best oly shoes I’ve ever worn, but for $90, they’re great. Obviously they’re not going to perform better than than shoes that cost double the price, but that doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose. Would I take them over my Position’s? Depends on what I’m doing I guess. If I have to WOD in oly’s, I’d take these any day. If I’m just lifting, I’d go with something a little more stable like the Positions or Romaleos. If you’re looking into your first pair of oly’s, don’t want to break the bank, or lifters you can WOD in, the PR’s should suffice, though I would probably do a little bit of shopping around for some discounted Lifter 2.0’s (or even Plus’).