Adidas Leistung 16 II (2018) Review

New year, same name, incremental update.

Adidas’ Leistung series has never been my favorite in the past, but I’ve learned to accept them since their launch in 2016. They’re not a bad shoe by any stretch of the term, the heel height was just not my thing. Personal mobility and strength issues didn’t make them a very balanced shoe for me; but they’ve been used by plenty of other much higher level lifters than myself, with tons of success.

It’s been a little over a year since the Leistung 2 released and this model sees an fairly sizable update with surprisingly no change to the name. If it’s 2018, why do these shoes still have 16 after them? I get that it’s the year they came out, but that’s confusing. Anyways, the real question is: Is the update worth plunking down $225 when you can still get last years model for sometimes around $100?

Short review: No.

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Build Quality/Construction:

The biggest difference between the previous model and this years is that it comes with a new mesh upper. Initially when I saw it, I thought it was some kind of knit material, which led to questions about structure, so I’m kind of relieved to find out that it’s not. Visually, I always thought the Leistung was a really good looking weightlifting shoe and this year is no different. The details are a bit more refined, with nicer looking materials from the leather bits to the actual mesh making the shoe stand out more. I opted for the Ash Silver colorway because it was a bit different looking, but mainly because it was the only one I could get off the website. Despite being called silver, it’s more teal than anything.

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There are a few minor quality of life changes that I noticed: There’s a bit more cushioning around the ankle collar as well as the tongue. The laces have been beefed up compared to last years functional, but flimsy laces. The medial part of the shoe which had mesh over the logo, is now just a leather piece and the lateral logo is just an overlay now. The polyurethane coating around the rims of the shoe looks a little different because of the material it’s laid on, but feels like it’s the same. Footbed feels like it’s a touch softer, but I could just be going crazy about that.

Everything else, lacing system, medial strap, heel height and material are exactly the same. 24.5mm heel lift (1″ drop), 37.5mm total heel height.

Fit:

With last year’s model I was in between sizes. The woven material made 9.5’s feel too constricting and the 10’s had a little bit more space than I’d want in a weightlifting shoe. The sizing of the updated model doesn’t seem to have changed, but the new mesh upper makes 9.5’s feel usable albeit fitting without much room left in the toe area. If you’re new to the way that Leistung II’s work, the BOA dial now acts to tighten the medial strap of the shoe like other weightlifting shoe’s velcro counterparts. You’ll still have to lace the shoes up unlike the first model. Leistung’s aren’t particularly wide shoes, so keep that in mind if you have issues in that area. Unless you have a wide foot, I would suggest going with your normal weightlifting shoe size. For me, that’s half a size down (9.5) from my training shoe size (10).

My sizes for reference:

  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 10
  • Adipower – 9.5
  • Leistung 2 – 10
  • Legacy – 10
  • Romaleos 2/3 – 9.5
  • Power Perfect 3 – 9.5

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Comfort/Flexibility:

Back to the mesh upper – last years model was a woven upper that looked really clean, but flexibility was just okay and it didn’t breathe that well. It was comfortable enough for lifting, but it made sizing the shoe a pain because it didn’t stretch much. The updated Leistung’s mesh is one of the more flexible and comfortable uppers found on a weightlifting shoe that isn’t made from leather, all while still having enough structure so that your feet don’t go sliding every which way. To the touch, the mesh like a taut yarn, not soft like most knit materials but still conforms to the foot well for added comfort. Breathability surprisingly doesn’t see much of a change, even due to the more open looking mesh.

Even though the change is most definitely welcome, the difference feels incremental when comparing last years shoe to this years; similar to how the Metcon 3/4 changed. The upper is indeed a little bit more comfortable, but it’s nothing to write home about.

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Stability:

I’ve always thought the Leistung was a stable shoe with a nice and wide base – which I’m happy to say it still is, because nothing is different down low (pretty much). Adidas slapped the same exact TPU heel construction from all the previous models onto the newest version. Which I can’t fault them for, it was fine, if you liked the effective 1″ heel height that is. A welcome change is that the outsole rubber definitely feels more sticky than the previous models did. I’ve had instances where my feet have slipped during a movement lifting on rubber floor tiles in the older model, an issue I haven’t run into with the update.

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Whether or not the 1″ heel is for you is subjective. Benefits from having it are that you’ll get increased ankle/hip range of motion if that’s an issue for you. Another benefit is that you’ll get increased activation from quadriceps from the more elevated heel. Personally, the slightly higher heel just pitches me more forward for cleans due to my lack of lat mobility; though I do catch in a nice vertical position for snatching. The change in foot balance makes it harder for me to drive during jumping motions because my posterior chain has grown to be far stronger than my anterior.

If that doesn’t sound like you then you should lift well in the Leistung 2’s, any of them really.

Value:

The retail price for the Leistung 2’s is $225, which is what they’ve always been throughout history. Earlier this year, Adidas had some crazy sales and we saw last year’s model for as little as $100. I’m sure most of you reading this review already copped on those deals and for you, I’m going to tell you that the difference in price is not worth the upgrade. If you weren’t able to get one of those deals, I’m still going to tell you the difference in price is not worth it and you should just buy last years model because they can still be found for a lot less than the 2018 ones. If you don’t care about any real changes in performance and you just want the latest model because it looks cool, then go for it.

There’s no denying that the updated Leistung is a great shoe, it’s just not worth the price over what you can get last years for. If you’re a first time Leistung buyer test drive them from Adidas so you can be sure you’re going to benefit from the increased heel height.

Get your 2018 Adidas Leistung 2 here!

Or…

Save money and get the 2017 Leistung here!

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