Asics Lift Master Lite WL Shoe Review

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Asics is one of the oldest and well known names in shoes. While popular for their running shoes and fashion sneakers, Asics or Onitsuka have never really been known for their training gear.  It seems as if they’re starting to take the “cross-training” segment a little bit more serious with the releases of the Fortius, and earlier this year the Met-Conviction. Since weightlifting is such a huge component of cross-training nowadays, it would only make sense to come out with a “hybrid” Olympic lifting shoe as well.

One of the most sought after pairs of weightlifting shoes are the Asics 727 Tiger’s; you’ll mainly see the North Korean team still wearing them.  The allure of the 727’s are the tried and true materials they’re constructed with: leather and wood. That’s also probably why they’re so expensive and scarce. Most companies nowadays have already shifted towards more modern materials, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a bad thing; it’s just different. We’re probably not getting the 727’s anytime soon, so Asics has taken their know how and created the Lift Master Lite’s.

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Looks/Construction:

Most weightlifters will probably scoff at the Lift Master Lite’s upon first glance.  They’re made with a synthetic leather upper, TPU heel, and in no way other than the Asics stripes, resemble the ever so famous 727’s. They resemble the original Reebok CrossFit Oly Lifters more than anything because of the heel and that the Asics logo kind of looks like the Reebok logo. I think the LML’s are a bit better looking because of the single piece upper construction and while I don’t think they’re ugly, but they’re definitely not as cool looking as the 727’s. I’d take leather and wood any day, but modern materials serve a purpose in not only keeping costs down, but keeping weight down as well. The Lift Master Lite’s only weigh in at 16.8 oz for a men’s 9, which put’s it right on par with the Nike Romaleos 2’s and Adipowers.

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Performance/Fit:

Asics seems to be marketing this shoe (what marketing?) as a hybrid training/weightlifting shoe, but to me they’re more of just the latter. Anything with an incompressible heel is going to be better suited for use on the platform and less for a WOD. The TPU heel found on the Lift Master Lite’s is just that, it’s made of solid TPU with rubber lining the bottom of the outsole; you can count on getting the most power out of every lift with the LML’s on. Comparing them to Nike Romaleos, the Asics aren’t quite as wide in the mid-foot area, but still provide excellent stability and grip during landings and squats. Superior to the Romaleos, is the spacious toe box; unlike the Nike’s, my toes don’t get all bunched up in the front. Probably the only thing that makes the Asics more of a hybrid shoe is that the toe area is much more flexible than your standard weightlifting shoe.

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Like the majority of the weightlifting shoes out there, the heel height is roughly .75″. I say roughly because on their US website, Asics rates the heel at .75″, but on foreign websites it states it as 17.5mm, or .69″.  To me, I don’t notice a difference unless I put a shoe of each height on each foot. What I definitely do notice is that the drop seems much more gradual in the Lift Masters than it does in the Romaleos. There isn’t any fancy lacing system, but the single medial strap does a great job locking the foot into place. The interior lining of the shoe is well padded and smooth so there isn’t any friction inside of the shoe. Overall, the Lift Master’s are a very comfortable pair of lifters.

Sizing stays true compared to most weightlifting shoes. Size half a size down from your normal training shoes if this is going to be your first pair. Basically size them as you would size your Converse Chuck Taylors. Weightlifting shoes should always be slightly tighter than your training shoes. For reference, these are my sizes:

  • 9.5 – Nike Metcon
  • 9 – Nike Romaleos
  • 10 – Reebok CF Nanos
  • 9 – Converse Chuck Taylors
  • 9 – Asics Lift Master Lite

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Asics has the Lift Master Lite’s at an MSRP of $140 and currently you can only find them on select shoe online resellers; on Amazon I’ve seen them as low as $100 though. For the MSRP, there’s a lot of tough competition seeing as how you can typically find Adipowers and Romaleos 2’s much cheaper than their MSRP’s nowadays. It’s going to be a hard sell since the Romaleos and Adipowers are the standards in weightlifting shoes. For $100, they’re far superior than anything else selling for that price point and it would be a no brainer.

The Lift Master Lite’s are excellent performing shoes and I think the worst part about them is the marketing Asics is doing. Most weightlifters are going to dismiss the shoe for being in the style of a hybrid shoe, whereas most crossfitters will dismiss it for not being Reebok, Nike or Adidas. It’s a shame that the Lift Master Lite’s probably won’t be used by more people because at the end of the day, they’re actually a very good performing pair of weightlifting shoes. If you’re looking for something a little different, or you just like the Asics name, you won’t be disappointed by the Lift Master Lite’s.

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