Risto Olympic Lifting Shoe

Reviewed on March 23rd 2010
Updated on March 21st 2014

UPDATE: 11/19/2010

The series 1 Risto has been discontinued and will no longer be made. Risto’s newest shoe, the Series 2 will now be their flagship product. It will be available in Early December and come in White/Black, White/Pink and White/Blue models respectively called White Thunder, Pink Thunder and Linea Blanca.


One of the most under-rated weight lifting shoes in 2010, the Risto Sports Olympic Lifting Shoe is almost all you could ask for in a shoe. The Ristos meet all the requirements of a good weightlifting shoe and you won’t need to break the bank to own a pair.

Firstly, a little background about the shoe’s creators. Ristos are designed by world class weightlifting coach Ivan Rojas, a two time Olympian weightlifter and the man responsible for training several Gold metal winning athletes. The shoes are co-designed (and thoroughly lab tested) by his MIT Aero-Astro engineer wife, and weightlifting competitor, Gwen. As far as shoe resumes go, I don’t think it gets any better than having an Olympian and an Astro Engineer behind your design!

Another VERY important aspect is that these shoes are not run-of-the-mill, assembly line shoes; they are actually HANDMADE in South America by true craftsmen. This translates into a shoe that is of superior quality to anything else on the market.

Some of the features in design that really showcase the quality of these shoes are solid grain leather, an extra padded insole, sturdy molded leather interior, double stitching and a solid wood heel that is proportional to the size of the shoe.

As far as fit, the high quality, supple leather doesn’t require much time to break the shoe in. The toe box on the shoes is wider and taller than average allowing room for the toes to move up and down. This gives a “work boot” like fit and also accommodates high arches very well. The toe area is also very wide, accommodating people with wide feet and issues such as bunions. For those of you with narrower feet, the mid-sole section allows you to really tighten down the shoe so you do not have to worry about the ball of your foot sliding, which is an issue in other wide shoes. The heel is proportional, with heel height being higher on larger shoes and lower on smaller shoes. The effective height of a size 9 (Risto size 40) Men’s shoe is around 0.9″.

The only bad thing we have to say about these shoes is that the styling falls a little flat. For instance, the white and gray shoes are nice, but the silver foil looking accent is a bit much. We have similar issues with the pink model. The shoestrings on the white model also have the silver foil intertwined through the lace, making the shoe laces feel somewhat “cheap”. These are, however, the first generation of Ristos so I’m sure they will improve with newer models. So far they are definitely on to something with these shoes.

A final note, we’re heard through the “grapevine” that Risto is working on a new model for later in the year that will update the look but cost significantly more and compete directly with Adidas. You might want to get a pair while the “gettin is good!”


Sizing is difficult for these shoes and it is best to actually measure your foot as instructed on the Risto Sizing chart found on the Risto Sports Website.


Risto Sports retails their shoes directly to the public and ships internationally via UPS. You can purchase them directly at RistoSports.com


  • Handmade by shoe artisans
  • Real grain leather, solid wood heel
  • Work boot-like fit
  • Proportional heel height
  • Designed by real weightlifters and engineers
  • Fits great on wide or narrow feet


  • Styling is a bit limited, may not appeal to everyone
  • Production problems have made availability an issue


  • ¹ Shoe weight is calculated using a men's size 9 US or equivalent shoe.
  • ² Shoe width is measured at the widest point of the toe box and taken from a men's size 9 US or equivalent shoe.
  1. Stephanie
    26 May 10, 5:59pm

    Received my shoes today. They are great. Very nicely made. The deep toe box is perfect for me.

    If I had gone by the sizing chart I would have ordered a size too large. My Nike trainers are Ladies 10. I ordered size 40. I may need to wear an extra sock once they stretch out a bit and they will cause they are leather – they have that new leather shoe smell! Can't wait to try them out!

  2. Harold
    10 June 10, 6:39pm

    I just received my shoes today. I measured my foot from heel to big toe and added 1/2 inch to that size. The shoes are the perfect size. They are snug and comfortable. The shoes are very well made. When I tightened down the strap, I could really feel the great leverage. I can’t wait to squat in them next week. I will post again after my first training session with them.

  3. Harold
    14 June 10, 7:33pm

    Ok, I tried the shoes out on Friday during my max effort squat workout. I'm a low-bar squatter. I was able to go way past parallel with more balance and better form than I was with my previous shoes. I have worn Adidas Adistars and Inzer Pillar shoes, which both have raised heels. These Ristos feel like a far better shoe. They will give you great support from start of the lift to finish. I am glad I made the investment. I was originally going to go with the Do-Win 2010 brand. I don't think you'd be disappointed with the craftsmanship and support these shoes give…

    • Barry
      15 June 10, 5:31am

      Thanks, Harold. I was planning to buy the Pendlay's as well, but instead ordered the Risto's. The quality control on the Pendlay's concern me, while Ristos don't seem to have any negatives. Hoping my flat feet (almost perfectly so,) adapt nicely to the Risto's. Will update when I get them.

  4. Chris
    16 June 10, 2:35pm

    I never had a pair of weightlifting shoes, but I am looking for a pair. Can a person do calf exercises in these shoes?

    • James
      10 July 10, 12:31pm

      Chris, you're an idiot. These are weightlifting shoes, not bodybuilding shoes. You would be better suited for a pair of Nike Shox to compliment your cut-off T-shirt and your shaker bottle full of NO-Xplode.

    • Aaron
      14 July 10, 1:08am

      Sounds like James is an idiot, because he obviously forgot that at onetime he probably didn't know everything as he certainly does now.

      Chris, I would suggest bringing two pairs of shoes to the gym for other workouts and running. Squatting and deadlifts are what these shoes are for and the benefits are tremendous just as your no-xplode is too.

    • Joel
      16 July 10, 5:49am

      that was unnecesary. too much "juice" today? :O

    • De'John
      16 August 10, 6:24pm

      Hey im a bodybuilder and i love weightlifting shoes for my deep squats and deadlifts! i just ordered the wrestling looking shoes from another site, but i was definitely thinking about ordering some of these. what do you think the difference in those two shoes would be? and would i benefit from ordering these?

    • Jake
      25 August 10, 9:11pm

      Woah James, a little aggressive. He was simply asking a question.

      Does anyone know the heel size? 3/4 inch like normal? I need something a little bigger in heel size.

    • DT
      21 October 10, 2:35pm

      I was a bodybuilder/power lifter in the 80's. My youngest son is a top ranked crossfit competitor and as you probably know, Olympic lifting is a big part of it. He is very knowledgeable and is fairly well informed.

      Very good questions and very good answers. I wish you guys/this site would have been around when I was competing….except for James. No need to be negative.

  5. Josh
    16 July 10, 3:17am

    Just got mine today, these might be the nicest shoes I have bought….ever. I can't wait to squat in them, Im pulling tomorrow and preping for a meet next weekend but I think I'll do alittle squating tomorrow just for the hell of it.

  6. Bob Garon
    25 July 10, 5:43pm

    Are these good shoes for cleans and jerks via Kettlebells?

  7. Daemian
    28 July 10, 4:30pm

    I have been doing cleans and snatches for years with no weightlifting shoes. Subsequently I have not ever been comfortable dropping under the bar, and so my gains have been limited. I am thinking about buying these, but I am worried I will get the wrong size. Oh well, I could just exchange them I guess. My main concern in that these won't really help. Maybe I should invest in a coach instead?

  8. Liz
    11 August 10, 4:51pm

    James – AHAHAHA! Funny. :)

  9. Lee
    17 August 10, 3:50pm

    Hi there. can anyone actually give me the info on ordering a custom color in the Ristos. I can only find in-stock colors.

  10. Alfred
    20 August 10, 10:05pm

    Wow, that was great….LOL! Can't wait till someone inquires about how good they are for doing 7,7,7's on back & bi's day.

  11. DB
    31 August 10, 9:03pm

    These shoes are very nicely made, and I think the heel height is just perfect. Very solid leather, nice and durable. They are a little on the heavy side, but that's no big deal. Very good shoe, definitely recommend them over the Chinese shoes.

    I've lifted in the shoes for about 4 months now. Around 80 workouts. Just last week I noticed the wooden heel is cracking in half. There is a huge (2 inch) crack in the wood where it's coming apart. It may not make a huge difference in my lifts, but it's just disappointing. I e-mailed Risto about the shoe. They said it was a rare problem, and just recommended I use some wood glue to hold it together. Meh. I could do that I suppose, but I'm just disappointed.

    Guess I'll have to pony up and get the Adistars. I think they're overpriced, but I do at least know a couple guys I train with that have been wearing them for over a year now with no problems.

    • KDB
      03 April 12, 9:59am

      that is sad, there is something said about standing behind a product.

  12. Trevor
    06 September 10, 7:55pm

    I've never bought a pair of weight lifting shoes before and I think I'm going to go with the Ristos. I wear 12 in most running shoes. What size would you recomend?

  13. Steve
    07 September 10, 8:23pm

    In the process of starting strength and def going to get a pair of these.. I was looking at the adistars and the other types.. going crazy over it because I didn't know what to choose and then suddenly I think I found the shoe I will be getting :)

  14. jp
    10 October 10, 5:07pm

    The gastrocs are very important for stabilizing the knee joint. Do your calf raises til you puke, brother. Aaron brings good advice.

  15. Jen
    19 October 10, 12:31pm

    James, I think you'll find the calf raise is an explosive and integral part of the brush movement in both the C&J and snatch. It gives the bar momentum and allows you to get under the bar. These shoes will be fine for calf raises. Keep taking preworkout supplements for mental focus and energy. Power to ya Chris.

  16. Jim N
    11 March 11, 10:44pm

    I'm currently using Dynamo's but they'rre a bit tight. My regular shoe size is 9.5 EE; which weight lifting shoe is made with a wide last so that it will be a better fit than the Dynamo's?

    • WLShoes
      12 March 11, 6:25pm

      Ristos were made wide, but the new series 2 has a tapered toe box which makes the fit tighter. You're going to have a hard time finding a shoe that will accommodate a EE width.

  17. Eric
    24 May 11, 8:44am

    Pretty nice shoes there got to give it a try some day.

  18. Sam
    08 July 11, 12:01am

    These are nice, I bought in mid 2010. Only complaints I have is that a couple of the lace holes came off, and the strap is too long. I hear they fix problems with the 2011 pairs though.

  19. Tick
    14 June 13, 2:41am

    I have the newer Ristos I believe. They’re pretty awesome. I squat and bench in them (I power lift) on top of doing some olympic lifts. The pocket I feel in them is phenomenal, much better than my squat boots (they, too have a heel, but don’t feel anything like the Ristos). There was a slight loosening of the sole from the front on the right shoe but other than that they are solid. Wood heel is wicked. I like them, and I hope they last a long time.

  20. Josue
    24 November 13, 4:30pm

    Where Can I Buy Risto White Thunder online?

  21. Findlay
    18 December 13, 2:46pm

    I bought a pair of Risto Olimpico shoes in October and they started falling apart inside the first month. I thought it was just a bit of breaking in but currently the wood heel is breaking down and the rubber sole started tearing away from the wood. This is pretty dangerous as when you step back for a squat this is the exact part of the heel that when torn away can start to roll and mess up your balance. I have tried emailing, FB, and twitter but have had no reply from Risto. I would never buy from them again.

    • Findlay
      19 December 13, 11:15pm

      I have had a call with Risto and while not completely satisfied with the product I am more than satisfied with the customer service provided by them. They talked with me for about 20 min and explained why the policy they have is in place, apologized, offered me discounts and product but over all the fact they took the time to reach out to me and LISTEN….just amazing. In the future are going to make efforts to change how they make certain policies.

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