Adidas Leistung 2 Review

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The Adidas Leistung 16 Rio was one of the most asked about weightlifting shoes on the market last year for many reasons. First was that they were the “Official” shoe of the 2016 Rio Olympics, second was that they had the BOA dial enclosure system, third was that they were fairly ugly, and last but not least, no one could seem to figure out what the effective heel height was.  I think it was mainly the latter that created the most confusion about the shoe because most sites didn’t have any concrete information. When I did my review, I had to do a bit of looking around, but I found the Adidas Specialty Sports store which had both the total and effective heel heights. Even still, a bunch of people questioned my source’s authenticity.

I’m not going to lie, the Leistung’s were not my favorite weightlifting shoe. Besides the convenient BOA dial system, there weren’t a ton of redeeming features to me. I was a huge fan of the Adipowers and the Leistung’s just didn’t produce the same magic that the Adipowers did for me. I’m usually a fan of crazy designs, but the upper pattern was just not pleasant to look at and the color wasn’t doing it any kind of favors. The real drawback to me was the heel height, they were my first 1″ heeled shoes and I just couldn’t get used to them. Personally, I don’t have hip or ankle mobility issues and my femurs aren’t long, but my lat mobility isn’t the greatest; slow elbows with the higher heel hindered my performance with the Leistung. Even once narrowly missing destroying my wrist on a clean that was too forward.

Newly refreshed for 2017, we’ve got the updated Leistung 2. While it boasts an updated look and new features, the Leistung at its core, remains the same.

Looks/Construction/Fit:

With the Leistung 2, you get a brand new upper design and material; these shoes look WAY better in comparison to the original Leistung. Carbon fiber in look, the new upper is actually woven synthetic material throughout most of the shoe, that not only looks good, but flexes much better. The TPU heel is basically the same exact thing as it was in the original model, but now is frosted white in color so you don’t get the pink “bleed through” color from the upper. Materials on Adidas shoes are always pretty good and they’re probably only going to get better due to the surge in both training and Adidas as a brand. Both shoes are consistent as far as construction goes and don’t have any odd issues I can complain about.

The BOA enclosure system returns, but with a different purpose this time; now all it just tightens the medial strap versus before when it was the actual lacing system. Shoelaces make their return to the Leistung 2 which in conjunction with the medial strap, make it much easier to get a tighter fit. While much better than the original Leistung, I haven’t quite figured out a way to get a fit where I don’t get any kind of heel slip. Sure, you have to tie your laces now and there’s no where to tuck them in, but I prefer the new/old lacing system to the previous model’s. Those using them for just “squat shoes”, could still probably get away with taking the laces out and just using the BOA dial.

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After having the Leistung 16 in a size 9 and finding the toebox to be on the small side, I decided to get the 2’s in a 9.5. The fit this time around is much nicer and gives my toes plenty of room to splay, without being too big so that my feet would slide around. The midfoot isn’t narrow by any means, but it can be if you need it to be because of the BOA dial medial strap. I recommend getting these shoes in your normal training shoe size. For reference, here are my sizes:

  • AdiPower – 9.5
  • Romaleos 2/3 – 9.5
  • CF Lifters/Legacy – 9
  • Position USA – 9
  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Chucks – 9
  • Ultraboost/NMD – 9.5 or 10

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Performance:

This area is going to be extremely YMMV. I know that there are high level weightlifters that can use the Adidas Leistungs (see – Aleksey Torokhtiy), but personally, I could just not get used to these shoes for Olympic weightlifting. Since the heel construction is the EXACT same as the Leistung Rio 16, performance is pretty much identical. The effective heel height is 1″/24.8mm and the TOTAL heel height is 1.5″/37.8mm. That extra .25″ compared to most Oly shoes makes a huge difference for me. I’m not the fastest under the bar so I’m typically finding myself missing things in front of me when I snatch. On the flip side, when I do make it under in time, I receive the bar in a much more upright torso position. For cleans, my lat mobility isn’t amazing and my elbows are on the slower side, making me catch with low elbows. These are all technical errors on my part and not the shoes being defective. In my opinion, in order to use these shoes to 100% effectiveness, you should be a highly skilled weightlifter.

That added heel height could help you out if your ankle mobility was bad, giving you more angle for your shins, or if you had longer femurs, or even both! When it comes to squatting, high bar requires a little bit more concentration to keep your chest up; if you’re low bar squatting and needed the shoes for mobility, you should be plenty fine. The shape of the outsole and the material Adidas used make the Leistung’s very stable shoes during a squat. Power output while squatting is excellent because that TPU isn’t compressing anytime soon, but since the shoe is so tall, you feel a little disconnected for Olympic lifts. I had a lot of trouble trying to find a balance inside the shoe, being either too far forward or too much on my heels with my toes off the ground. The 1″ heel to toe drop is just too steep in the Leistung for me, compared to the more usable, gradual drop of the Position USA lifters.

The weight of the Leistung 2 per shoe is 17.7oz according to my scale. They’re featherweights (anything is) compared to the Legacy’s, but significantly heavier than the Adipowers, Romaleos or even the new CrazyPower’s.  For a weightlifter or powerlifter, this really shouldn’t be an issue, for a CrossFittter trying to WOD in these shoes, it will be. Not that I would even recommend trying to do WOD’s in these shoes. Having to get set up quickly with the 1″ heel just takes too much effort to do for the weight that you’re typically lifting during a WOD.

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Value/Conclusion:

MSRP of the Leistung 2 is a little higher than most weightlifting shoes at $225. You really have to decide if that 1″ heel will suit your lifting style. Though I think most people will be fine with a more standard .75″ heel, people that need the extra bit of mobility will benefit the most from the higher heel. The 1″ heel to me, is a high risk, high reward kind of thing. It can pay off if you’re more technically sound, but if you’re not, it might be more of a hindrance. Personally, it wasn’t my thing, just like in the original Leistung. If you were a fan of the original Leistung, you’ll probably love the updated model. They’re still an excellent pair of weightlifting shoes, they’re just not for me.

Get  your Adidas Leistung 2 at Rogue Fitness

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joelxfit

CF-L1, CF Powerlifting, CrossFit 805 Owner, Tech Junkie, Fitness is Life.

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8 thoughts on “Adidas Leistung 2 Review

  1. Hey- so what if you are not that technical of a weight lifter but have horrible ankle mobility? Which would be more important in terms of the performance of the shoe?

  2. Hey- about to pull the trigger on these. I wear a 9 in Romaleo, but a 9.5 in any other shoes. I’ve tried the adipowers on and they were too narrow in the toebox(can’t remember if I tried a 9 or a 9.5 unfortunately). Any suggestions on the sizing for the Leistung? I’m sure 9 will be too narrow, but would 10 be too big?

    1. I would go with the 9.5, the full size might be too big. I did a 9 the first time around in the originals and they were super tight. The Leistungs are a slightly larger shoe than Adipowers. I also wear a 9 in Romaleos 2, 9.5 Adipower, 9 Legacy, 9.5 Metcon, 10 Nano.

      1. Hey- just wanted to do a little follow up on here with my experience so far with them.

        Sizing- I ended up getting the 9.5, and felt immediately taller and that the shoes were a good idea for me. However, the 9.5 had a ton of space, and a lot of heel slippage. I decided to order a 9 as well and see which fit better, and the 9 was a BIG improvement for me. Once I tied the laces through the top hole, the heel slippage was basically all gone. I’m returning the 9.5. The Leistung are MUCH roomier in the toebox then the adipower, and probably just a bit narrower then the Romaleos IMHO. At first they were very tight but stretched a bit almost immediately.

        I will say the heel height does make for a less comfortable shoe in the mid foot for those of us with flat feet. It almost reminds me of my problem with the Metcons, but since the usage is totally different its not that big of a deal.

        The BOA system is cool, and you can definitely get it nice and tight, but I wish they made these with just a strap and regular laces. The laces really are not possible to tie that tight, so maybe even just giving more give to that part of the shoe would help as well.

        Performance- You can really feel the extra heel height, and feel a bit taller then you do in Romaleos. I’ve cleaned in them, and did some light squats, and it really felt A LOT better for me, someone with horrid mobility. I always tell people that WL shoes are probably the most technically beneficial shoe for any sports shoe I’ve used, and these really feel super technical and purposeful in terms of what they are designed for. I really felt the difference. It felt like the first time I wore my romaleos, except I am a much better lifter so had a lot more purpose and understanding to what I was looking for. I really felt over the bar doing cleans, it was great.

        I also literally just started doing ROMWOD, one week in, when I used these yesterday for the first time really, and PR’d my clean. Chicken or the egg, but I haven’t been romwoding for that long, and I honestly smoked my clean PR and haven’t done cleans really in a few months due to an injury. For reference, mobility is really my limiting factor on cleans, and I hit a 200 lb clean probably about 6 months ago and haven’t been able to hit it since. My FS PR is 295, so you can see there’s a big gap there. I hit 205 with relative ease, and probably could have hit 215.

        I’m sure there’s a case for even some stretching programming to be a part of that, but the shoes definitely made a big difference immediately. That’s all you can ask for when spending 200 bucks on new lifters. I wholeheartedly endorse these for those of us with piss poor mobility.

  3. I figured out how to get a proper fit with no slipping forward … First over tighten the medial strap, then tighten, tie the laces, then loosen the medial strap and re tighten it where you want it. My heel stay in place and I have never slipped forward using this method.

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