Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Adidas Adipower 2 and the Adidas Powerlift 4 are both highly anticipated successors to two lines of great-performing weightlifting shoes. But when it comes down to making a purchase, which lifting shoe wins?
Whether you’re a professional or a casual lifter, this article is here to help you. Today, I’ll dive deep into the latest iterations: Adipower 2 vs Powerlift 4.
So is the Adipower 2 or the Powerlift 4 better for lifting? The Powerlift 4 comes out on top compared to the Adipower2. Although the upper construction on both shoes is similar, the Powerlift 4 is more sturdy rather than flexible which means better stability under heavier loads. This, in addition to the foam lining and lower heel height, gives the Powerlift 4 the edge over the Adipower 2.
A Quick Overview
Before we move on to the detailed comparison, let’s have a brief look at each model.
Back in 2012, Adidas launched the first generation in the Adipower line of weightlifting shoes. This happened just before the Olympic games in London, and it ended up being worn by the Olympic weightlifting participants.
In 2014, the company released two new colors but the actual features had no upgrades to show off. It wasn’t until 2019 that Adidas came out with a second version. The Adipower 2 offers major tweaks and revamps to cover more dynamic workouts, good for snatches, cleans, and Crossfit training (burpees, box jumps, etc.).
- The design is more professional with clean lines
- Improved flexibility and maneuverability
- The TPU heel and heel are consistent with the Adipower
- They don’t weigh down your feet
- Great for Olympic weightlifting
- The shoes can be a bit too flexible for heavier lifts
- There’s only one support strap
Also released in 2019, the Adidas Powerlift 4 is the newest member of the Powerlift weightlifting shoe family, with the Powerlift 3.1 launching back in 2016. The newer version shares many shape features with its older sibling, but the Powerlift 3.1 has a simpler, more low-key upper design.
The Powerlift 4, however, features an entirely new upper material that provides a tab more flexibility while being just as tough. This model ditched the previously used leather and included canvas fabric instead to boost breathability. It also carries a heel loop so you can swiftly slip on the shoes.
- An excellent balance between sturdiness and flexibility
- There’s a newly added heel loop for easy wearing
- The heel is incompressible
- Available at a more affordable price
- Great for Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and Crossfit
- Once laced tightly, the upper fabric may bunch up
- Some Olympic weightlifters prefer more flexibility
Adipower 2 vs Powerlift 4: Face-To-Face Showdown
Now that we have the basics covered, it’s time we get into the details and how the differences can affect your performance.
Whenever I’m comparing lifting shoes, I prefer to always start by discussing the heel height. It may not seem like it, but this particular feature of a shoe can make your lifting phenomenal or disastrous – it depends on you making the right choice.
For example, flat shoes offer better support in the case of low bar squats, while shoes with a higher heel will give you enough squatting depth for high bar squats. But it’s not just about your bar position, other factors such as pelvis flexibility, ankle mobility, and femur length can affect your choice.
The effective heel height of the Adipower 2 is 0.79 inches (20.1 mm). You may notice that it’s the same heights Adidas built on the Adipower 1. So, if you’re a fan of consistency in your lifting shoes, the Adipower 2 got your back in the heel height department.
The Adidas Powerlift 4 has an effective heel height of 0.6 inches (15 mm). Once again, this height is the same as in the Powerlift 3.1, which is good for consistency purposes.
The Winner: Powerlift 4
There’s a reason why 0.75-inch shoes are the traditional choice for weightlifting; they’re simply not too high for beginners yet high enough to support a professional performance. So is it better to go 0.04 inches higher or 0.15 inches lower?
Generally speaking, an 0.6-inch heel height is ideal for transitioning from a flatter shoe (such as a Converse) to a more specialized weightlifting shoe. It’s also a better introduction to the lifting world for beginners since it’s not too high that walking around becomes awkward.
What’s more, lifters are much more likely to settle right into squatting with an 0.6-inch heel, whereas something as high as 0.79 inches can take some time to adapt to. While there’s no right or wrong here, I have to give this one to the Powerlift 4.
Now that we’re done with the heel height, let’s discuss its build.
Taking after the previous Adipower, the Adipower 2 features a solid TPU heel. The way it’s constructed, however, is a bit different as the Adipower 2 no longer uses the visible pillars. Instead, the design is more streamlined with a flatter outer profile and as always, a heel loop.
Continuing down the path of the Adidas Powerlift 3.1, the heel of Powerlift 4 is made out of high-density EVA. This is one aspect where both shoes are unique from most lifters on the market.
There’s a cosmetic difference between the siblings though – the Powerlift 4 lacks ridges, which do not affect how the shoe performs. Additionally, the Powerlift 4 carries a heel loop that helps you put the shoes on more easily and switch shoes between exercises more quickly all without crushing the heel cup.
The Winner: Tie
There’s a trade-off with each model, which in the end, boils down to a tie. Allow me to explain: First, when it comes to the material of the heel, TPU has a slight advantage over EVA. While both materials are durable and lightweight, EVA isn’t quite as resistant to abrasions as TPU.
TPU is more rigid whereas EVA slightly compresses, so under extreme heavyweight, lifters may be a bit thrown off using the latter. Still, EVA heels are far more suited for hybrid shoes to do cross-training.
Second, when it comes to convenience, having a heel-loop coupled with a tougher upper can be a true blessing. This small structure saves you a lot of hassle that usually accompanies putting on such shoes.
The materials used in building the upper can have a direct effect on your performance. As you’ll see, Adidas stepped up their upper construction game across both models.
The design of the Adipower 2 is leaning towards the basic, minimalist side, which is in sharp contrast to its predecessor. The simple, clean look is highlighted by the use of a monochromatic color palette.
The signature three stripes are enlarged to emphasize the branding but not in an “in your face” way. Putting this shoe and the Powerlift 4 side-by-side, I can’t help but notice how similar their styles are.
Material-wise, Adidas has been following a pattern of replacing synthetic leather with textile whenever possible. The trend is still alive with the Adipower 2 where you can notice a new all-textile upper instead of the old leather one.
The goal of this change is to give users a flexible fit that mimics a sock for more comfort. The Adipower 2 also presents enhanced breathability thanks to the wide pores on the tongue and the 6 extra ventilation holes on the toe box.
As I mentioned above, the upper construction of the Adipower 2 and the Powerlift 4 pretty similar. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when I tell you that the upper here is also made using textile instead of leather.
The textile featured in the Powerlift 4 is canvas, which is a plain-woven fabric. It’s highly durable and rugged, designed to keep your foot locked in place. Not to mention, it offers good breathability to prevent the interior from heating up too much during workouts.
The Powerlift 4 also sports the signature three-stripe logo on the side of the shoe. What’s really different about this shoe is the foam that lines the collar and the tongue.
This lining serves to keep your food secure in place as well as helps prevent chafing or blistering of the skin on the instep and the ankle.
The Winner: Powerlift 4
While it’s true that both uppers are made using textile, the canvas on the Powerlift is more sturdy to provide lifters with better stability as opposed to the increased flexibility of the Adipower 2 which is not exactly ideal for weightlifting.
Time to analyze the midsole construction so you can get a better sense of the actual weight of the shoes.
Similar to the original Adipower 1, the midsole of the Adipower 2 is made of TPU, which delivers excellent rigidity for weightlifting purposes because it doesn’t compress under the heaviest of weights.
The difference between both versions, however, is the outer finish. The original version featured external pillars to represent outstanding strength and support. Some lifters even reported that this design enhanced their connection to the floor, which improved their performance dramatically.
On the other hand, the Adipower 2 went with a much simpler route. The design here is basic and solid, kind of resembling the construction of Nordic Powerlifting Shoes.
In the Adipower 2, Adidas chose a much simpler approach. They went for a basic, solid construction that looks somewhat similar to the Nordic Powerlifting Shoes.
Adidas also added a prominent knurling texture that nicely complements the wavy upper fabric, so don’t expect a smooth feel.
All in all, size 11 of the Adipower 2 weighs approximately 17 ounces.
The Adidas Powerlift 4 has a rigid midsole, much like most weightlifting footwear out there. It’s made out of high-density EVA foam, crafted to resist compression when lifting the heaviest of weights.
The elevation at the back section of the shoe helps you squat without applying too much strain on the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon.
All in all, size 11 of the Powerlift 4 weighs around 15 ounces
The Winner: Tie
When you’re considering the weight of your weightlifting shoes, there’s no one right answer. The decision simply depends on the type of workout.
To tell you the truth, both the Adipower 2 and the Powerlift 4 fall in the lightweight category. The former does weigh slightly more, so it’ll give you an extra “cementing” feel that makes the Adipower 2 good squat shoes.
On the other hand, if you perform weightlifting or Crossfit from time to time, the lighter construction of the Powerlift 4 will better eliminate the drag you might experience with heavier shows during cleans, dynamic, snatches, thruster, etc.
Support Straps and Laces
After covering the midsole construction, let’s take a look at the structures supporting the midfoot area.
As with the majority of weightlifting shoes, the Adipower 2 has only one support strap over the midfoot section. This is another feature it shares with the original version.
The strap bears a full fabric construction free of any leather reinforcements. It’s a hook-and-loop mechanism where the strap runs through a steel loop.
There seem to be no issues with durability in this department and the length of the strap is just right so it’s comfortable to tie without dragging on the floor when pulled to the tightest.
The closure system of the Powerlift 4 consists of both a medial strap and a lacing system. The foot strap on this model is made out of canvas and is placed in the same position as the older versions.
Thanks to the canvas constructions, the straps do feel a bit more lightweight than the leather strap on the Powerlift 3.1 and a tad more durable than that of the Adipower 2. In terms of security, this strap delivers plenty of stability for lifters.
The Winner: Tie
Since both models feature a single medial strap with a lacing system, neither has any major advantage over the other so I’d have to say it’s a tie.
Sizing and Fit
If you often shop for weightlifting shoes, then you might already know that most of these shoes tend to run big. Personally, I usually opt for a ½ size down to achieve a snug and secure fit. However, both models of these Adidas shoes didn’t stick to that rule.
Most lifters who tried the Adipower 2 reported that they run small. In fact, once you get a hold of these shoes in your hands, you’ll see right away how they’re distinctly narrower than usual.
No worries though, the Adipower 2 won’t take much time to break in thanks to the flexibility of the upper. Still, you should probably go a ½ size up.
The Powerlift 4 is one of the few true-to-size weightlifting shoes on the market. This means you can safely wear them in your normal size without any fitting issues.
The Winner: Tie
Comfort is a highly relative matter; what I feel comfortable wearing might be incredibly painful for you, and the other way around.
However, most lifters agree that the canvas fabric of the Powerlift 4 hits the sweet spot between tough and flexible, which translates into exceptional comfort. The Adipower 2 does go easy on feet, but the softness it offers may not be great for powerlifters.
The Adipower 2 is slightly more expensive than the Powerlift 4.
In Summary, What’s Unique About These Shoes?
If you still can’t make up your mind, check out the following summary to see what features stand out in each model.
- Higher flexibility: The full mesh construction allows for a highly flexible performance that suits performing versatile movements, which is ideal for weightlifters and CrossFitters.
- 0.79-inch heel height: This height is very close to the traditional heel height choice for weightlifting. It’s not too high for beginners but still high enough for advanced lifters.
- Canvas upper: The plain-woven fabric brings the perfect amount of toughness, flexibility, and breathability. This makes for top-notch lifting performance.
- Lighter midsole: The EVA midsole cuts down on the weight without compromising on the firmness. This is excellent for lifters who like to perform dynamic workouts from time to time.
- 0.6-inch heel height: this height is ideal for transitioning from a flatter shoe as well as getting into the lifting world. It can also help lifters quickly get used to performing squats.
Each pair of shoes has its pros and cons, so picking a winner between Adipower 2 vs Powerlift 4 isn’t easy. If you haven’t decided yet, here’s a quick recap to help you choose:
Use the Adidas Adipower 2 if:
- You’re a lifter who dislikes the typical firmness of weightlifting shoes.
- You like to include dynamic weightlifting and CrossFit workouts in your routine.
- You have narrow feet.
Use the Adidas Powerlift 4 if:
- You favor support over softness.
- You’re new to weightlifting or looking for a shorter heeled shoe.
- You like to do powerlifting workouts, or lift heavy squats
- You want a true-to-size pair.
Considering the Nike Romaleos 4? Check out my full comparison between Adidas Adipower 2 vs Nike Romaleos to know if you should switch!