Finally! A pair of weightlifting shoes for under $100 bucks that don’t suck! This “cheap weightlifting shoe” actually doesn’t look or feel cheap at all, aside from the rubber heel that most lower-end shoes are adorned with. (Cutting, molding and curing wood heels adds an incredible amount to the cost of making a shoe.) Let’s take a look at what the Wei-Rui Maestro shoe, pronounced “WAY-REE”, has to offer.
As many of you can by now tell, we aren’t big fans of any of the sub one-hundred dollar shoes that are currently on the market. Most of the brands of shoes like “Wan-Hoa” are cheap Chinese made crap coming from people buying on alibaba.com. The VS athletics brand are the only thing close to a decent weightlifting shoe but we have some serious issues with their quality and design. Most of these shoes can be considered “entry-level” but unfortunately they just do not hold up to regular lifting. Suffice it to say we’ve felt there was a need for a good entry-level weightlifting shoe and we have finally found one.
Like most shoes in this price range, the Maestro shoe is made in China. It is rumored to be made at the same factory that makes Adidas footwear products. That could be the reason for the higher-than-typical quality we noted. Also, these shoes are made entirely of real leather, not vinyl or cat skin. Being a budget weightlifting shoe, the heel is made of dense rubber instead of wood. Quite honestly this is a better alternative to using cheap, pressed wood for a heel, something you see a lot of manufacturers using.
The effective heel height is the standard 0.75″ that you will find on the typical weightlifting shoe. The shoe fits like a sneaker and feels pretty tight on the foot. It will accommodate folks with average and narrow feet well, very wide footed people may want to look at other brands.
One of the more interesting things to note about the shoe is that Wei-Rui is the actual company that makes BAF shoes and the now discontinued Thunder weightlifting shoe. (Do a Google search and see for yourself) Since I’m a big believer in buying products as close to the source as possible, I recommend buying the ACTUAL Wei-Rui shoes from MaxBarbell.com. They are one of the only sites I can find that retail the newer models of the shoes, with the exception of those selling the re-badged BAF shoes. And more importantly, they are about $40 cheaper if you buy them from MaxB.
The Wei-Rui Maestro sizing should be identical to your running shoe although we have had some reports of people going one-half size down for a more snug fit. Like most shoes, the decision to get a smaller size is usually related to the width of your foot at the ball of your feet (first knuckles). The shoes come with a 30 day warranty, again standard for the industry, and the same for their return policy.
Now onto our first impressions of this shoe. In hand the shoe feels pretty good. The leather is stiff, as good leather should be, and the heel is very dense. When worn the shoes are pretty tight all around with moderate arch support and good cushion. I’m uncertain how the shoe will hold up to the rigors of an Olympic lifting training schedule. But if you are that serious about Olympic style lifting then you shouldn’t be looking at an entry-level shoe. This shoe will definitely suffice for power-lifters and those that just want a good stable shoe to perform squats, deadlifts and pressing exercises.
The only complaints I have are that the buckle loop for the strap feels cheap as if it were made of plastic or a cheap alloy. (I’ve been informed by MaxBarbell that the loop is actually a metal loop coated in plastic.) Also, the shoe is pretty heavy, most likely due to the solid rubber heel. Other than that, for $85 I don’t think there is pair of shoes anywhere in that price range that can compete with these. The guys at MaxBarbell have a really promising product in these shoes.
WHERE TO BUY:
These shoes can be purchased directly from MaxBarbell.com
- Full Ox-leather construction
- Solid rubber heel
- Sneaker-like fit
- Very well made
- The buckle loop on the strap feels cheap
- A little heavy