Full Review on the Nike Weightlifting Shoes
I’ve been a lifter for 10 years, so that means, I’ve been following Nike on their shoes since Day 1, along the way I got side tracked, however still came back to Nike. Finally, after 5 years, Nike has decided to release the new Nike Romaleos 3. The day it came out I got a pair, and today got to try them out for myself. So the big question is, Do I buy the Romaleos 3 or keep to my Romaleos 2? Or I’m wearing something else and want an upgrade, 2’s or 3’s? Hopefully, below will help you decide on what you will be your choice. There is a huge difference, at least for me, between the 2’s and the 3’s. I will be splitting the review into 4, looks, fitting of shoe, performance and personal opinion. Again, this review is 100% my personal experience with the shoe, it may be different on you and your style of lifting.
The Romaleos 3, looks GREAT! SEXY even. I got it in All white, did not care about dirt or dust. Unboxing it was like Christmas, really cannot fault Nike for their packaging, traditional orange box, fully lined and stuffed. First looks at them, they look at lot like synthetic soccer cleats, or the feel and the material felt/looked like it. It now has one thick strap around the fore foot instead of a thinner forefoot strap and a further toe strap in the Romaleos 2. The tongue is now similar to the Nike Metcon 3, thin with a square spongey patch, I’m guessing its grip for you to pull the tongue up as you wear the shoe. The outer sole of the shoe is see through, with their “honeycomb” pattern below the heel. The heel structure starts wide at the heel base then slightly narrows mid foot, then widens again in the front foot. The honey comb patterns follow all the way through. The inside of the shoe has a removable insole and a standard wooden heel. There is also “flywire” technology on the shoe itself, for those of you new to Nike shoes, its basically, a sort of netting/webbing in the shoe, that hugs your feet in place and straps you down to your shoe, like a sock, simply put. Weight wise, it is definitely a lot lighter than the Romaleos 2, off an estimate, probably 30% lighter.
Fitting of shoe-
History of my feet, I have fat wide feet that are not very long, usually have to buy sizes up due to the fact that they are not comfortable otherwise. I wear 11.5US for Nike all round, metcons, frees, air max’s. When the Romaleos 2 was released, we were all told to go down half a size for a snug fit. My Romaleos 2 size is US 11. I have gone half size up, due to some popular reviews, however I personally think that going half a size down from your trainers and staying true to size on the Romaleos 2 is the best option. I find that there is toe room left for me at the end, at size 11 it would be snug.
Upon physically trying on the shoe, first signs were it is wide on the toe box, followed by, its very narrow on the heel, the insoles arch at the sides to form a cup around the heel, which makes it very weird, compared to the 2’s which are completely flat. Nike’s Flywire made it a little more difficult to put on the shoe, as it was stretching out as my foot was going in. The tongue is very thin and flat, as I tie the laces, it feels like I’m tying a string around my leg, slightly cutting into it as there is no tongue support. Not strapping the strap is no longer an option, because of the flywire, your feet will move around in the shoe, as Nike has left “space” for it, so the strap has to be bound which makes for a very awkward mid foot. I have wide feet, so the strap is actually slightly binding my feet together as its pull my arch in and folding the outside of my arch. (wide feet people will know what I mean).
First 5 minutes of wearing the shoe, the narrowed Nike shoe sole is annoying, upon further examination, its not narrower, its more roundly shaped. Still annoying, because of it, its forcing my Center of Gravity back onto my heels (for american style lifters, GREAT), chinese style lifters, not so great. Doing quarter dips, leans forward, toes, no arch support, CG automatically pulls me back to my heels again. First split jerk, lost balance, weight on heels again.(as a chinese style lifter, this is REALLY annoying). Really would benefit stiffer ankles and american style weightlifting. Took the shoes off after that to get back to work.
Again, please do not take this review as final, as this is only my personal opinion on the shoe, I have a chinese style in weightlifting, so everything is in front and in the fore foot most of the time. So having the Romaleos 3 do the complete opposite for me is very difficult. I wore it for 1.5hours during my first training session with the shoes, while warming up, I can feel that the shoes are very stiff on the base, the stiffness continues further to the front of the Romaleos 3 than the 2’s, and because of the honey comb shape base, the cuts on the rubber is significantly less on the 3’s to maintain the shape, therefore giving it less mobility on the front of the toe and forefoot. I was working on snatches tonight, warming up with a few empty bar hang snatches, I lost the first 2 forward because of the shoe bringing my CG to the back of my heel, causing me to sit back a lot, therefore bringing my bar forward. My toes would often come off the ground very slightly, I eventually corrected to bring my posture in front, which then because of the cut of the base, my heels would be lifted off the ground. This is caused by the heel base being too stiff. However, this would be great for American/European style lifters who start their lifts on their heels and maintain the structure all the way through. Then proceeded to load more weight and the set before working set, I felt that I could not hyper extend my ankle portion of the lift, because of the stiff heel, it did not allow me to drive up onto my toes as quickly as I needed too, therefore I could not expand 100% of my drive. Again, this would not be an issue if you are a stomper or have a stomp type drive/extension. During my working set, I could feel my heels on fire, because of the rounded cupped heel, it has trapped my back foot in place and I was putting a lot of weight on the heel base, rather than my common position of mid foot. In my starting position, all around me could see that my toes were pointing in the air, and I was sitting back on my heels, again to do with the heel structure. It is no longer a flat shoe. Unfortunately after the snatch sets, I could not take it anymore in the shoes, being heel balanced and heated, i switched back to the Romaleos 2 for the rest of my training. I will give it one more go, at another training session, maybe for clean and jerks, but I personally don’t think that it will change this review a whole lot.
Personal Opinion –
To be honest, I really wanted to LOVE the shoe, I mean, I’ve been waiting 5 years for the shoes to come out, but they were not up to my expectations and for now, will stick to my Nike Romaleos 2. It does not suit my style of lifting as there is not enough flexibility in the shoe. If you’re a different style lifter, by all means, try it out, it might suit you very well, having a stiffer heel will help the balance of it all. I think Nike has invested this shoe in the “new age functional fitness” market, and have it left Olympic Weightlifting. The shoe looks great, and is great to wear for functional fitness, however, for serious lifting and for a lifter to wear everyday, 6 to 11 trainings a week or more, I’d stick to my Nike Romaleos 2 for now.