Romaleos vs. Adistars

*I worked with my athlete Miles Klingenberg on this post. We tested out the shoes, comparing and contrasting what we liked and what was left to be desired. He wrote up the following review for me.

When lifting, the disparity between using weightlifting shoes and lifting without is unbelievable. We’re not talking about bicep curls, bench, or shoulder press. What we’re referring to when we say “lift” is first and foremost the squat followed by any Olympic inspired exercises. Also, it should be noted that in no way shape or form should these be considered for anything outside the platform, such as cycling, stretching, or cardio (although I am not sure what that last one means). So, we are here to compare the Nike Romaleos 2’s to the Adidas Adistar and come to a conclusion on which shoe is better.

The Comparison

After training in both the Nikes and the Adidas it is easy to tell the Adistar is a much narrower shoe, so if you have flat wide feet you might want to consider the Nikes purely for comfort. Although, if Dmitry Klokov can fit his feet in them then I am sure most of us have nothing to worry about. That being said the Adidas are tighter and the strap extends from one side of foot to the other, whereas the Nikes have two straps but neither extends as far as the Adidas. And, another problem with the Nikes are the fact that after you have tightened the top strap there is a little too much slack leaving the rest of the strap to rub the floor. An interesting component to the two straps on the Nikes is the fact that they tighten in opposite directions given a balanced feeling of tightness.

The Heel

The heel is the deciding factor for me between these two shoes, the Nikes have a noticeably higher heel than the Adidas, the benefits will be addressed in the conclusion. Adidas Adistar has the traditional wooden heel which has now been replaced by the polymer in the new Adipowers which I cannot attest to. The Nikes have always constructed their shoes with polymer and have managed to shave 50 grams of weight off since the first series of Romaleos. I don’t find this particularly important as they are weightlifting shoes and the only place you might notice this is in the split jerk. One feature I really appreciated about the Nikes was the fact that I could feel the cup of the heel whereas the Adistars felt flat which made my ankle stability suffer. In addition, I found that sometimes my heal would feel as though it was slipping out of the shoe with the Adidas, whereas the Nikes I haven’t encountered this problem.


After reading reviews online before I bought my Romaleos I found some reviews suggesting that the Romaleos were too stiff in the forefoot. However, it only took me about one session to break them in which is far less than it took me with the Adistars. Another main difference that helps with mobility and stability between the two is that Nike has the entire sole of the foot resting on the floor whereas the Adidas have a split in the middle. This allows a little more flexibility in the forefoot of the Adidas, but I don’t think it is considerably noticeable compared to the Nikes. I also like the fact that all of the sole is on the floor with the Nikes. Another main difference between the Nikes and Adidas is the fact that the forefoot of the Adidas is patent leather, whereas the Nike has soft leather. I would argue that the Adidas were less flexible near the toe of the forefoot.


After having my Adistars for about four months and my Romaleos for about three I can honestly say I like the Nikes better. They are far more comfortable, not as though this was my first priority but it is definitely a plus. But, I really like the higher heel of the Nike which gives me the ability to go deeper in my squats. This higher heel is also cupped, as I mentioned which is huge, as it gives me better stability. Adidas might have fixed this in their new Adistars but I haven’t tried them nor have I read any reviews. I also like the fact that my entire foot is on the ground in the Nikes, nothing noticeable, just a mental thing. The only thing I would have them change with the Nikes would be for the first higher strap to go from one side of the foot to the other. Nevertheless, I assume that anything that is good enough for team China is good enough for me.

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