Though overall, I liked the Position USA Blue Suede Shoes, there were a bunch of little annoyances I had with them. Position fixed most of these things inthe Eastwood/Redfords and while they’re still not perfect, they’re some of my favorite shoes to lift in.
Are they technically the best? No. They’re shoes with a little more character than most and they’re still great performers.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
It seems like just yesterday I was writing the review for one of my favorite pairs of WL shoes of the year, the Position USA Blue Suede Shoes. I loved them, they worked well for me and I really had no issues lifting in them except that the pair I got was a bit too big for me. Most of all, they were arguably the coolest pair of weightlifting shoes on the market. Just as I put out that review, Position announced the Blue Suede Shoe 2.1, a version of their shoe that was slightly updated. Enhancements included a slightly higher heel, a more fitted feel, and a Vibram outsole. Being a big fan of the 2.0’s, I was skeptical about just how much better they could make their shoe. There has been a ton of requests for this review and it’s taken me 6 months to get my hands on a pair, but they’re finally here, so let’s get started.
Despite the changes, the main points that distinguish the Blue Suedes are still here: suede-leather upper construction, hand carved wood heel, and the sexy blue color scheme. To the untrained eye, you wouldn’t even be able to visibly tell the difference between the two former and latter. The entire shoe remains the same in appearance with the only major changes being on the medial strap and the heel being stained a darker color. I have absolutely no issues with this, the looks were probably the main selling point of the original shoes and they still remain one of the strongest points of the Blue Suedes. The inclusion of a darker stained heel makes for an even classier look. For those looking for a not so “out there” color scheme, Position is releasing their “Redford” and “Eastwood” models in January.
From the wood heels being carved and stained to the uppers being sewn together, each pair is hand crafted and takes over a day’s work of labor to finish. Since the Blue Suedes are made in smaller batches versus your commercially mass produced shoes, there’s a story behind each one. You’ll notice this in how not often certain sizes are in stock, but unfortunately also in the construction of the shoe, maybe the person that was making my shoes was just having a bad day. There are hot spots inside of the shoe where the metatarsal joints are, both on top and under the insole. On top it comes from where the tongue meets the toe box area, and on bottom it feels like its from the upper being stitched under the insole. I usually have issues with my right foot rubbing in this area since I have a bunion, but with the P2.1’s it’s in the left shoe. Oddly enough the majority of the fit issues are in my left shoe, though the right shoe suffers the same to some degree.
Other issues include the logo already fraying and becoming un-stitched from the tongue, the loop for the medial strap not staying in place only on the right shoe, and the straps and laces being much longer than they need to be. The most alarming issue is that it feels like the heels are coming loose. I noticed this straight away when going to remove my left shoe, which once again is worse than my right shoe. You could alleviate this issue by not pulling your shoes off by the heels (totally normal to do though), but this shouldn’t be happening; I’ve never run into an issue like this with any of my lifters and I don’t remember it happening with the P2.0’s. It doesn’t feel like the heels are going to fall off anytime soon, but that’s not a good sign for lasting durability.
Like all Olympic lifting shoes, you’re going to want to make sure you size down half from your normal training shoes. While the P2.1’s have a slightly narrower fit than the P2.0s, I wouldn’t say that it’s enough to warrant going half a size up. The suede they use is fairly supple and should stretch a little bit over time. When I tried these on at the CrossFit Games I was worried they’d be too snug, but the pair that I have fits well, aside from the hot spots. Make sure you lace up tightly because you might get a bit of heel lift otherwise.
Fit and construction issues aside, the P2.1’s remain one of my preferred pairs of lifting shoes. Picking weight up has never been as fun as it is in the Position’s. Having just reviewed the Legacy Lifters, anything feels like a feather compared to them (20.03oz). According to my scale, the Positions weigh in at 16.37oz, only slightly higher than the leading shoes in weightlifting, the Nike Romaleos and Adidas AdiPowers. Moving your feet isn’t an issue, and the forefoot flexibility is actually much better than the popular picks probably because of the supple suede.
The greatest change to the P2.1’s is the decision to go from a .85″ heel to a 1″ effective heel; the majority of the weightlifting shoes fall into the 3/4″ category, .85″ included. The only other shoe I’ve tested with as high a heel was the Adidas Leistung’s, in which I wasn’t a huge fan of for cleaning because I felt the tendency to catch forward in them. Something about the way the heel to toe drop is more gradual in the P2.1’s makes me not have this issue to the same degree as the Adidas shoes. Cleans always feel more forward in shoes with a heel but front squats felt as right they do in other Olympic lifting shoes. I typically receive snatches in a very upright torso position to compensate for my shoddy thoracic mobility, and the P2.1’s one inch heel increases my ability to do so, which helps me out big time. Heel height is subjective and very debatable, but I haven’t had any issues with the 1″ heel of the P2.1’s. Typically, I would recommend a higher heel for those with longer femurs and/or crappy ankle dorsiflexion.
EDIT: Trying on multiple pairs of weightlifting shoes side by side and finding that the Postitions feel lower, prompted me to go back and actually go measure the difference between the toe and the heel of the P2.1’s. What I came back with interestingly is that the difference is actually 16mm or .63″. The actual heel itself is 1″ or the stated 2.54cm. Theres no real way to measure accurately, but according to these approximate measurements, there is no way the shoes can be an effective 1″ heel. This is probably why I was able to lift proficiently in the Positions compared to most shoes with a 1″ heel.
Since the heel is also elevated more than normal Oly shoes, I have an easier time keeping my toes down throughout my extension; rocking back to my heels is a bad habit I have. Jumping feels natural and since the shoes are so responsive, I can move my feet with ease. The Vibram rubber outsole is extremely dense and paired with the wooden heel, should give you perfect power delivery with every lift. I was very excited to hear that one of the upgrades was the Vibram outsole, but there’s no pattern to it so the grip isn’t a huge upgrade over previous P2.0 – bummer. The insoles are also pretty anemic, as they are on most oly shoes, but at least they’re removable so you can swap them out with any orthotics.
While weightlifting is a joy in the P2.1’s, I recommend that’s what you stick to in the Blue Suedes. Just to test, I did a WOD which consisted of heavy power cleans and ring dips. While the shoes performed excellent during the ring dips, I had issues quickly setting myself into a low enough position to rep out the power cleans, so I ended up using my back for a lot of them. That and while the shoes are flexible, they aren’t flexible enough to be doing WOD’s in, so the plantar fascia burn was real. Stick to weightlifting and squats where you can set yourself up better, in the P2.1’s.
Did I mention the P2.1’s make the absolute most bad ass sound when you stomp?!
At $190, the P2.1’s fall in line with pretty much every pair of good weightlifting shoes out there. You really have to ask yourself if the style is for you, and if you would benefit from a 1″ heel. With a bit of practice, the 1″ heel could definitely be your ally; just look at the Chinese weightlifting team. Even if blue isn’t your color, you now have the option to go with a black/red or white/black color scheme. I’ve asked what other differences there were between the shoes and it’s just the color and some materials used, otherwise they’re all the same.
You could always opt for a mass produced technologically advanced lifting shoe like everyone else, but Position USA created the Blue Suede Shoes for those that march to the beat of their own drum. With that in mind, they’ve created something that actually feels special to wear, though I’m not getting rid of my Legacy’s anytime soon. Construction shortcomings aside, the Blue Suede Shoes are still one of my favorite pairs to lift in, because there’s just an undeniable badassery you attain from having them on.
The calendar of training shoe releases every year hasn’t changed much over the past couple years. Not that it’s a bad thing, but we’ve been stuck with the same ol’ line ups without anything totally new being released. Though, once in a blue moon something comes out of no where and makes you go “holy s****. We’ve been expecting an update to the Reebok CrossFit Lifters for some time now, but nothing really prepared us for the announcement of a completely redesigned, dedicated weightlifting shoe from Reebok:
The Legacy Lifters
The release of these shoes to me honestly comes as a surprise, sort of. While I’ve always thought the Reebok Lifter Plus 2.0’s were totally competent weightlifting shoes, they’ll always have the stigma of being “CrossFit” shoes. A shame that something so fickle would discourage people to use a great shoe, but that’s the reality of it. Nike and Adidas pretty much have the Olympic lifting shoe market on lockdown, with only a minority straying from the two giants. It’s not that others don’t make great shoes, there are TON’s of excellent lifters that could be platform ready on the market, those are just the tried and true. Using their know how from the CrossFit Lifters, Reebok is looking to cement their legacy (see what I did there?), into the weightlifting world by bringing out one of the best alternatives to the giants, to ever be released.
Reebok’s Legacy lifters are a brand new weightlifting shoe that improves upon much without straying too far from the formula that makes a great oly shoe. At first glance, the shoe looks like a much evolved Lifter Plus, more so like the original than the 2.0. Like most advanced weightlifting shoes, the Legacy’s have a TPU heel rather than wood or leather. The major benefit to this is that TPU is in-compressible, while remaining more lightweight and durable than wood. Two metatarsal straps are met with another “strap” that the laces join together and completes the foot wrap upper. This provides fitment superior to any other weightlifting shoe. Quite possibly my favorite “feature” of the Legacy lifters is the gap in the velcro in the top medial strap, making it easy to tuck your tied laces in without ripping them to all hell. Such a simple thing that no one has thought to correct, until now.
The materials used for the Legacy Lifters are top quality. The foot wraps are a synthetic material akin to the Lifter series, while the quarter and vamp of the shoe are full grain leather, providing excellent comfort within the shoe. There are no hot spots that rub anywhere inside the shoe. Reebok has added an outside TPU counter to lock your heel in and prevent slippage. The removable insole is minimal, yet very dense that contours to your foot much like the competition insoles provided with the Romaleos. They’re aren’t padded at all, but I’ve never found the Legacy’s to be uncomfortable during pure lifting sessions.
Sizing of the Legacy’s is dead on to all of the Olympic lifting shoes I’ve ever used in the past. I got a size 9, that fits me like a glove and was immediately comfortable out of the box. This is the same size that I got my AdiPowers and Romaleos in, but with those two shoes there was a break in period where the toe-box had to loosen up. The Legacy’s shape resembles the Romaleos more, but your toes don’t get bunched up in the front of the shoe and the heel-toe drop feels more gradual, though it is greater. Once again, the Legacy’s are very comfortable for lifting and just cruising around the gym, though they are just as clunky to walk in as any lifting shoe.
Keep in mind that these are performance shoes! When wearing them, there should not be any space in the front of the shoe; your toes shouldn’t be jammed together either. The last thing you want is your foot sliding around inside of them during a lift. If this is the first weightlifting shoe you’ve ever looked into, a good rule of thumb is to get them the same size you’d get your Converse Chuck Taylors or just half a size down from your standard training shoes.
Besides fitment, the most important part of a weightlifting shoe is the effective height of their heel. The benefits of having a raised heel is so that you can catch in a more vertical torso position, you can correct errors, and you can keep your toes down better throughout extension. Height of the heel is subjective, some prefer higher, some lower, but most can agree that around 3/4″ is the safest choice for most people. On the contrary to the current popular picks and from what they’ve produced in the past, Reebok has chosen to go with a 22mm drop, which equates to .86″, though most sites say 3/4″ effective heel height. It definitely feels slightly higher than the shoes with a 19mm/3/4″ heel, but that’s too close to call and to most people it will probably just feel the same. I can tell you is that the heel for me feels perfect, just as this height did on the Position 2.0’s. Catching cleans forward was a big problem I had with the Adidas Leistung’s 1″ heel, which isn’t an issue in the Legacy lifters.
Response in the Legacy lifters is excellent. Due to the nature of the hard TPU heel, you can count on perfect power delivery throughout your lifts, whether it’s just squatting or snatching. The TPU heel does have a taper in it probably to reduce a bit of weight, but extends out to a full 82mm at it’s widest point. The width and density of the outsole paired with the locked down fit the full foot wrap upper provides one of the most stable lifting experiences ever on a shoe, definitely any shoe I’ve used. The platform is easy to maintain balance throughout the foot with, and you’ll never feel like you’re going to tip over in any direction. The Exoframe does a great job keeping your heel seated. Inside the shoe, the insoles have a bit of arch support that you can really push into to squeeze out a bit more energy. They are indeed removable if you wanted to insert custom orthotics.
Adding on to the stability of the Legacy’s is just the sheer heft of the shoe. They’re about 20.3 oz per shoe, which makes them quite possibly the heaviest oly shoe at the moment. They’re bricks compared to the Romaleos (16.8 oz) and AdiPower’s (15.7 oz). Touching down in these gravity boots feels like someone poured cement in your shoes, you really don’t move around much after landing. Beware that the weight is substantial enough so that it could affect the ability to move your feet and is definitely going to be an issue if you’re looking to do a WOD in these shoes. Not to mention that these are some pretty stiff shoes, granted mine are not even close to broken in. My first WOD in these shoes was just lifting, but even still, my feet got pretty achy after a few minutes in. I couldn’t see it going well for you doing box jumps, running or double unders in the Legacy’s.
The outsole of the shoe is nothing special and I would say is the other weakest area of the shoe. My platform at home sucks and is riddled with dust, it can make the most grippiest outsoles lose traction. I had some issues slipping around at home, but you shouldn’t have any issue on a legit platform and even the rubber diamond cut flooring I have at my gym performed okay. This could be an issue with the bottoms not being worn in at all, so take this with a grain of salt.
Reebok has really hit the nail in the head with the Legacy lifters as a serious weightlifting shoe. These are no doubt, the most stable pair of lifting shoes available on the market, that also don’t look like they’re from the early 1900’s. At $200, they’re meant to contend directly with the other big name weightlifting shoes (though you can usually find any of those on sale for much less), and they trump many of them in almost every way. I’m sure the Legacy’s will see much use in the competitive weightlifting scene and might actually come to be a staple shoe.
Doing so many reviews, I’ve come to find out that there is no such thing as the perfect shoe and the Legacy’s might not be for everyone. In this case, the sheer heft of the shoe is it’s double edged sword. If you’re good about moving your feet, then the Legacy’s will no doubt reward you with amazing stability and balance. If you’re one of those lifters that kind of drags their feet and isn’t quite there technique wise, you might struggle a little bit at first, but if you keep grinding through, you’ll have one of the best pairs of weightlifting shoes out there. Remember that while you can WOD in these shoes, I wouldn’t recommend it; they’re just not agile enough to stay comfortable with a bunch of movements.
Should you buy the Legacy lifters?
If you’re a weightlifter, there’s no question in my mind that you’ll love the Legacy’s. If you’re a novice lifter looking for your first pair of oly shoes, you might want to stick with one of the CrossFit lifters until you get your technique down. By the time you’re due for an upgrade, the probably lighter Legacy 2’s just might be out already.