Nike Romaleo

This Model Has Been Discontinued and Replaced with the New Nike Romaleo 2.


The Nike Romaleo Weightlifting Shoe was released in 2008 as a direct competitor to the Adidas AdiStar model. Both models of shoes were released to coincide with the 2008 Summer Olympics, however; Adidas clearly won the marketing battle as we saw many more lifters sports the AdiStars than the Romaleos. That should come as no surprise since Adidas was clearly the market leader, having made shoes for Olympic weightlifting since the 1970’s, and the Romaleo is technically Nike’s freshman model of oly shoes. With that said, the Romaleo was a formidable alternative to other models of shoes.

For starters, the Nike has a different fit than Adidas models with a wider, more square shaped toe box. For those of us that can’t wear narrower shoes due to wide feet, this makes the Romaleo a suitable alternative. The heel of the Romaleo is also proportional to the length of the shoe, a feature currently shared only by Risto brand shoes. I personally think that heel proportionality is a major feature that ALL Olympic lifting shoes should include since it helps ensure proper knee angle for each lifter, regardless of height.

As for durability, the Romaleo feature a synthetic upper that is extremely durable yet very soft and pliable. The result is a near zero break-in period required for these shoes. I have friends that have put more than 500+ training sessions on their Nike’s and they still shoe no signs of noticeable wear. Some questions have arisen with regards to the longevity of the sole of the shoes. I’ve received reports from lifters who say they’ve trained 4-5 times a week for over three years and the rubber soles are still very much intact and don’t appear to need replacing anytime soon.

The actual heel of the Romaleo is made of TPU and features the unique “Power Bridge” technology developed by Nike. Again, the heel is proportional to the shoe size and the inside sole of the shoe has a nice contoured heel cup that allows you foot to really sink into the shoe. The shoes also ship with two different inserts, one being a softer version for everyday training and the other a “competition” version that is extra rigid. I personally did not find the training insert very useful as it was totally flat and only functioned as a 1/8″ piece of cushion. While the Power Bridge is touted as a “lightweight alternative to wooden heels” we didn’t really find this to be the case. The Romaleos were noticeably heavier than a same size Adidas Ironwork and AdiStar model and weighed in slightly heavier than the Risto Series 2 model. I think Nike could do better in terms of designing the midsole and heel.

While the Romaleos weight may be a setback, this can possibly be overlooked when you realize the comfort and extreme stability this shoe provides. The double meta-tarsal straps didn’t really do much for me though and appear to be located in the wrong spot across the instep. Tightening them down does you really lock you into place and provide great lateral stability but I found that the top strap impeded my ankle flexibility some given its high placement on the instep. You can’t deny the stability the shoe has when squatting though, its to the point where you almost feel as if you are wearing magnetic boots when lifting. Given the heel cup and wide toe box, people with mid to high arches should be able to wear these shoes without issue or need for orthotic inserts. And the pliability of the upper material leaves no weird feeling seams or uncomfortable creases when plantar flexing.

A unfortunate problem area for this shoe is in the design of the toebox and sole. The forefoot area is extremely stiff and requires a lot of use to loosen up to an agreeable level or resistance. This could be problematic for lifters that already have issue keeping their heels up when performing a split jerk and certainly isn’t necessary for the toe-box to be that stiff.

Last but not least, the Nike Romaleo is one of the better looking model of weight lifting shoes on the market right now. Originally available in numerous different color variations, you are now pretty much limited to the white with black accent or solid black models. Although, I have seen a few stores still carry the anthracite and gold colors as well.


We recommend getting your Nike Romaleos from VS Athletics as they tend to have the shoes in stock more often then other retailers and their customer services rocks.

Overall, I’d say this is a good shoe but due to its excessive weight and lack of flexibility at the toe box you would be better off spending the extra $10 to get a pair of AdiStars.


  • Great stability
  • Wider fit
  • Well made


  • Too heavy
  • Inflexible forefoot area
  • Straps are a bit long
  • One of the more expensive models

40 thoughts on “Nike Romaleo”

  1. I tried the Romaleos. The quality of materials and construction is top notch. The plastic heel wraps around and gives amazing support but it digs into my arch quite severely, in fact painfully. If they fit me better I would have kept them but I'll stick with the 2010 Pendlays for now.

  2. I heard these fit almost exactly like Nike Frees so I went and sized myself up and ordered some size 10 Romaleos. The Frees were just a bit more snug than the Romaleos, but they (Romaleos) fit perfect. My thoughts pretty much mirror what vvtli808 posted, but they don't dig into my arch. No comment on the durability since I just recieved my shoes yesterday, but I'm confident in them. The shoe is absolutely perfect for me. If you like the styling of the Nikes and are willing to shell out a cool $200 I highly recommend them.

    1. No, Rogue will not send me a review pair so I guess I'll have to wait until I find someone that is willing to lend me their shoes for a weekend… which is sorta an odd thing to ask for. Haha. As far the shoes go, I haven't heard a lot about them from anyone. A few guys at my gym wear them and they've all commented that they feel a little heavier then they would like, but that's about it. A trainer there worn his for about 2 weeks and then I saw him wearing Kanamas. I asked him why he switched; if he was just testing the Kanamas out or what, and he said he preferred them over the Nikes. My guess would be looking at the shape of the Nikes, they fit wider feet better whereas the Kanamas appear to narrow slightly at the toes.

  3. Where do i buy these, are they going to be available in May 2011, or am i too late…. I really need a good pair of weightlifting shoes, and NIKE is a name i trust. I can't beleive these are not in foot locker or something.

    1. These are usually made in small batches and available in limited quantity. You have to realize how SMALL a market weightlifting shoes are. All the research and development that goes into designing and testing a new shoe costs lots of money. And with a shoe like this, made for a specific purpose and used in activities that could cause serious harm if the shoe were to fail, they must make sure every pair is well inspected before leaving the factory. I'm surprised Nike even made a shoe since Adidas has been the leader in the WL shoe market since the 70's.

  4.  I currently have the old adidas adistar (silver,black, and blue) lifting shoes and I'm looking to get a new pair because they are worn out. I was thinking about the Nikes but I'm just not sure. Any opinions or suggestions? 

    1. You are more than welcome to leave your own review here as a comment. Unfortunately we've been unable to find a retailer that will supply a "review sample" for our use. $200 is a lot to drop on a pair of shoes that I will just turn around and resale on Ebay at a 50% loss!

  5. Rogue has the black-colored version in stock right now. I haven't heard much about the shoe besides the concern of a plastic heel and high price.

  6. I bought the Romaleos about a month ago.  Here is my quick and dirty take:
    Pros:  Solid feel, plenty of room in the toe box (I have wider feet), feels well made, and the grip is strong and no worries on snatches, hang-cleans, or high-pulls.

    Cons:  I have to keep retying the shoe because it feels like my heel is coming out.  the shoe needs one more pair of eyelets.  The problem, as I see it, is that the leather is extremely stiff and unforgiving, so as I lift, it feels like the lace is giving rather than the shoe.  

    I've been planning to send in a full review with pics, but work just keeps getting in the way.

  7. I would be willing to go in with "Buyweightliftingshoes" on a pair of all black Nike's from Rogue if you wear a size 13. You can test drive them as much as you need and I'll take over from there. :) … Otherwise, I'll probably bite the bullet and order a pair in September. Nikes have always fit my foot better than Adidas hence my decision on my next shoe. I currently have the Rogue Do-Wins 2009 and have to say I scored on this shoe — No cracks or splits.    

    1. Thanks, but we're going to be buying a few shoes at the end of the summer to setup side-by-side reviews.

    2. These shoes work for me so far, takes a bout 2 days to break in but they definitely work much better than the previous ones I had .. the heel height are proportionate to the the rest of the length of the shoe as well as the size of the shoe.

  8. I started the sport of weightlifting in 2008 with a pair of VS, which worked fine at that time. I switched to the Pendlay Do-Wins which were returned because of the poor build quality. Out of the 5 pairs order in our gym, 4 had issue within the first 3 workouts (stitching coming undone, wood heel splitting, and rubber sole separating). Some of the other lifters experienced the same thing with the Risto's they ordered.

    Due to the issues mentioned above, I decided to try the Kanama's which turned out to be excellent shoes. They have lasted (still useable) almost 2 years. I have wide feet and they fit like a glove. The wood heel just started cracking. I would highly recommend them….great lifting shoe.

    I decided to try the Power Perfect II's but have been greatly disappointed. The Adidas fit my wide feet (this why I decided to try them), but feel very unstable. No matter whether I was catching a lift, squatting, pulling, or pressing, I always felt off balance. The bottoms seem to be not level… there is a hump in the middle. As soon as the Nike went on sale, me and another guy decided to try them. We could not be happier with the Nikes. Great build quality and unbelievable stability. The weight difference between the other shoes and the NIkes is negligible in my opinion. The Nike's are a little stiffer in the forefoot than the Kanamas but does not seem to affect my lifts. I am disappointed I did not try these earlier and wasted money on the Power Perfects.

    I highly recommend the Nikes. If they are outside your price range, I would seriously consider the Kanama's.

    1. Where were you able to find the Kanama shoes in the US? I've only been able to find Canadian retailers.

  9. Got mine dirt cheap from a Nike Rep at the NSCA Convention. Width is good and the shoes fits true to my regular size with Nikes. The only problem ive had is with the heel height. Ive had trouble on the front squat and deadlift with these shoes. Is this just a technique flaw that is coming out with these shoes or is it all in my head. Any feedback would be great.

  10. Are these shoes worth it?
    I need a pair for my three big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) well four if you include the press.
    Can these shoes actually help?!

    1. A good pair of stable shoes will certainly help in all your lifts, although you may need to train with them a few times before you notice improvement simply because they will require you to alter your bio-mechanics (form) some.

    2. That will depend on your personal preference. Each brand/model has its own strengths and weaknesses as well as styling. You need to try a few and determine what you like and don't like.

    3. Yeah, I I noticed that. Why are some shoes great for some lifts, but not others?
      I just what a shoe that kicks ass in every lift! =)

  11. Hey I have problems with a lower lumbar curve with my squats, aka, butt wink. Will these oly shoes help me shift more weight on my heels and also engage the hamstrings while squatting and help get rid of the curve?

    Also, when is the review of the Romaleos 2 coming out?(i just ordered a pair from APS)

    1. I have issues with the "butt-wink" as well and no shoes have helped this. It isn't a knee angle or calf flexibility issue so shoes won't really affect it. It is mainly a lower back and or hip-flexor issue OR if your knees are bowing inward. Try doing a lot of box squats to build the muscle control you need in your lower lumbar region.

  12. I just got a pair of Air Romaleo 2s from RogueFitness. I generally wear EE width shoes, and these were just a little too snug. I thought I could get away with it because it wasn't like I was going to be wearing them for more than maybe 45 minutes at a time, but after about half an hour my feet were starting to go a little numb. Unlike normal shoes that get worn daily, I have no idea how long or even if they ever would have loosened up enough to be comfortable.

    1. I have the exact same problem. I have EE width feet and don't normally fit into Nike shoes. I was hoping b/c this review says they are a wider fit that wouldn't be a problem, I guess not though.
      Can you update us if the shoes have broken in at all? Or other shoe's you're considering for your wide feet? Thanks!

    2. I experienced the same problem and ended up selling mine on Ebay. I ended buying a pair of Ristos on a recommendation from a friend at my box. They were pretty tight as well but they felt better on my feet. It's been over a month and they're still uncomfortable but they have given in some.

    3. Which model of Ristos did you buy? Can anyone else comment on what shoes are working for them with wider than average feet?

    1. Not this year. The Romaleo 2 is only available in 3 color variations – Black with Grey "Swoosh", White with Red, an White with Grey.

  13. Hey, I’ve been following your reviews for quite sometime and really appreciate all of them. You are taking a lot of the guess work and trial and error out of the weightlifting and athletic shoe game. It has saved me $. Just wanted to say that your link to VS Athletics no longer carries any WL shoe other than their own VS brand. If you have another vendor that carries the Romas you should update for future viewers interested in them.

    1. No one carries the Romaleo anymore, it is an out of production shoe. The Romaleo 2 is available from only a select few sources at the current time and since I haven’t reviewed it yet, I haven’t linked to any new vendors.

  14. How are the Nike Romaleo’s for deadlifts as I am unsure how the heel lift wil affect this?I normally perform deadlifts barefoot. I am more or less looking for a shoe which will perform well for Squats, Front Squats and Deadlifts as I am more of a bodybuilder rather than a Olympic lifter.

    I was also considering the Otomix Stingrays.

    Any feedback is appreciated.

    1. Most people don’t like pulling deads with a heel, it tends to kick you forward. Oly lifters perform their deads in heeled shoes because they are going to be using them for their lifts so that is the way to train. It is much more of a benefit to them to have a heel for the catch and the split jerk than it is to NOT have a heel in pull. I mainly powerlift, having previously used chucks and vans for squats, I would never go back. The heel really helps with depth and maintaining an upright torso in squats and I even like it for the bench because I can actually get my heels down. The final piece of the puzzle is the overall increased stability of an Oly shoe. They fit tight and aren’t that comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, but you feel locked-in to the ground with them on.

      If you are more into bodybuilding, you might try looking into the Reebok Oly. It’s a much more versatile shoe (you can do walking lunges and calf raises in them) so long as your aren’t lifting massive weight.

  15. I appreciate any input.

    I am looking for a weight lifting shoe to use for kettlebell sport. I perform kettlebell snatches and do long cycle, which is a clean and then jerk of kettlebell. I perform a high number of reps as kettlebell sport is really a strength endurance type of sport (complete as many reps as possible in a ten minute time frame with the weight never touching the ground). With that said, I know weight lifting shoes are used in kettlebell sport, but I don’t want to experience super tight shoes if I’m going to be doing training sessions for approximately an hour, and my impression is a heel is useful for jerks. I do also do deadlifts and squats as accessory exercises and using the same shoe would be ideal (or I can DL and squat barefoot).

    What do you recommend for this inspiring female kettlebell sport athlete?

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