Let’s face it – not everyone is willing (or able) to drop $100+ dollars on a pair of shoes JUST for lifting weights. But given the relatively small market for weightlifting shoes, your options for quality shoes under the $100 mark have been limited – until recently.
Many manufacturers have introduced “budget friendly” shoes including Adidas with the PL Trainer, VS Athletics and various no-name brands that are all vying for a piece of the lifting shoe market. Unfortunately, through reviewing most of these shoes we’ve found fault with just about all of them in some way or another.
For instance, while we like the Power Lift Trainers, they really aren’t meant for serious lifters or people moving heavy weight due to their EVA heel. The VS shoes are ok, but the heel is too high for most people and the overall durability is lower than average. And the “no-name” brands are all just wholesalers buying shoes from China and re-labeling them with a new brand name. Most of these shoes are below average in build quality which is reflected in the (usually) lower price.
Given the previous disappointments with cheap weightlifting shoes, I was excited to receive an email from MaxBarbell letting us know they had a new model Wei-Rui shoe available called the Warrior. If you recall, their Wei-Rui Maestro model actually faired pretty well in our review, but that was almost two years ago and the competition has increased.
The Wei-Rui Warrior shoe from Maxbarbell has a very attractive price tag of only $69 – making it one of the cheapest weight lifting shoes on the market. Naturally a price that low immediately makes you question the quality of the shoe. So I was quite surprised to open the box and see that the quality of this shoe is better than many models that cost $50 more!
The Warrior features an all leather upper made of actual leather, not synthetic “pleather” or suede like Pendlay and others use. The stitching, cuts and pieces were all clean with no tattered edges or crooked lines and there was no glue residue around the heel.
The Warrior features a reinforced heel cup and a medium-wide toe box, so it accommodates most wider feet. The shoe has a single hook and loop velcro strap across the upper instep and exhibited decent ventilation via perforations at the sides and front of the shoe.
The shoe features a set .75″ solid rubber heel that has a nice grip. Like most solid rubber heels, it adds considerable weight to the shoe making the shoe heavier than more expensive models. The only other negative I could find was that the heel is made as one piece of rubber with no sole attached to the bottom. This would mean that once the grip has worn from the bottom of the shoe, you would need to have a cobbler make an entirely new sole. This wouldn’t cost much, but is something to keep a watch on as a slick sole is dangerous in the gym.
The Warrior is only available in men’s sizing and tends to run a half size large. Again, the toe area is slightly wider than a standard width shoe so they are comfortable on moderately wide feet.
WHERE TO BUY:
The Wei-Rui shoes are only available through MaxBarbell.com. At the time of this review, the Warrior model was out of stock but is expected to be back in all size by the end of May 2012.
Some of you may have noticed that the Warrior looks very similar to the black and white BAF weightlifting shoe that retails for around $90. Well, the reason for this is that Wei-Rui actually makes the BAF shoe (another example of a Chinese company re-labeling shoes for a company). If you look at the back of the BAF shoe it will have a W.R. imprinted, signifying the true manufacturer. And if you didn’t catch it, the Warrior is the SAME shoe but almost $20 less!
ADDITIONAL SHOE FEATURES: