Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase – Hey, I need to pay the bills too! I do my best to provide a thorough and unbiased analysis in my reviews. Any opinions of a product are based on my personal analysis, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.
The Adidas PowerLift Trainer is a model designed to fit a growing market of consumers – the fitness enthusiast and athletes that have become aware of the need for proper footwear while weight training. If that describes you, keep reading this review to find out more about this particular shoe and whether it is a good choice for your needs or not.
This new shoe features a leather upper, a 0.60″ heel constructed of EVA and a very comfortable tennis shoe-like fit. The resulting product is a low cost, solid weightlifting shoe that is perfect for the beginner or light weight lifter.
To understand the impact the Power Lift Trainers will have on the market, we need to first look at the Adidas model history that precedes these shoes. In early 2011 Adidas launched the Power Perfect II, a budget Olympic lifting shoe targeted more towards non-competitive athletes.
With the Power Perfect 2 shoe on the market for Olympic weight lifters, Adidas needed to design a shoe that met the needs of recreational lifters – low cost, durable and an easy transition from other lightweight trainers. This was the driving market behind the Powerlift Trainer, gym goers that knew they needed stable shoes to lift in, but didn’t want to spend $120+ on a pair of shoes just for the gym.
Since this shoe is an almost identical twin to the Power Perfect 2 weightlifting shoe, let’s cover the differences so they aren’t confused. First off, this model is about $30 cheaper, priced right around $90. Like the Power Perfect 2, most of the shoe is made of synthetic leather but to reduce the cost even further an EVA material was used for the heel of the PowerLift model (EVA is a lightweight polymer, as dense as harder rubber soles but much lighter.) Finally, the PP2 is only available in white with red accents while the PL Trainer is available in 5 distinct colors.
The EVA material keeps the shoe light, and with a heel height of 0.6 inches, they are the exact height recommended by infamous strength training coach Mark Rippetoe for power lifting. The heel is EVA, not wood or super dense rubber, so they WILL begin to compress under very heavy weight loads. With that said, I’ve personally seen a 250lb man performing 350lb squats while wearing these and he didn’t seem to be complaining.
This model was targeted at the mainstream Crossfit and “Starting Strength” power lifting crowd who don’t really need a $150 pair of shoes just for lifting. And although the Ironwork and Power Perfect were Olympic lifting shoes, we didn’t find the PL trainers all that suited to Olympic lifts. The front of the shoe is very stiff and the design of the sole doesn’t allow a very flexible toe box. I don’t believe this will change even after the shoe breaks in. This will hinder you when going into your split. Second, the heel height is only .6″, relatively low considering most Oly shoes are fitted with .75″ – 1.5″ heels. And finally, a true Olympic lifting shoe must be extremely solid in the heel; I’m afraid the compressible nature of the heel on the Powerlift Trainers will result in an unstable base, especially when performing quick movements such as those required for oly lifts.
In the end I’d say these are best suited for beginner to intermediate power lifters or those that are just performing squats, presses, dead lifts and bench. While you could get away with light weight Oly lifts wearing these, there are better shoes on the market for that purpose. These certainly aren’t for anyone that ever intends on attempt a set of heavy double or singles.
Adidas still run a bit “tight” in the forefoot area so once again, wider feet may have more difficulty fitting into these shoes. I also found the forefront of the shoe to be pretty stiff so a few trips to the gym will be required to break them in. The sole of the shoe uses the exact same sole of the former IronWork, so grip is very good as well. Overall the styling and construction of the shoe seem very promising and many owners are already singing praises for this shoe. Only time will tell if the cut in cost leads to a reduction in durability for this shoe.
These shoes run true to size. I wear a size 9 in Reebok Zigs, and a 9 in Adidas AdiZeros and a size 9 PL Trainer fits perfect. The shoes are fairly narrow in the toe box so anything more than a moderately wide foot will probably result in an uncomfortably tight fit.
WHERE TO BUY:
I’m a huge proponent of buying directly from the source and Adidas has made this even easier by having the best prices online for this shoe AND free shipping for a limited time. Click here to check out the Official Adidas Store.
I have also seen some really good deals on Amazon for this shoe, as well as seeing the above mentioned rare colors. After paying shipping you will likely end up paying the same as if you had purchased directly from Adidas, but Amazon is still a good alternative if you can’t find the size and color combination you are looking for.
Rogue Fitness also carries these shoes but they cost more and do not come with free shipping and returns like you get from Adidas.
DETAILED VIDEO REVIEW:
ADDITIONAL SHOE FEATURES: