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Since their release, the Adipower and the Romaleos series have satisfied millions of professional and recreational lifters. Today, we’ll discuss the two latest iterations: Adipower 2 vs. Romaleos 4.
So is the Adipower or Romaleo better for lifting? The Romaleos 4 beats out the Adipower 2 for powerlifting. The thick upper and the heavy build ensure better stability under the heaviest loads. Since the Adipower 2 feature a lighter build, they should be ideal for weightlifters and CrossFitters, but not powerlifters.
Want to know the rest of the differences, keep reading!
Before we delve into the details, let’s start by taking a quick look at both models.
Adidas Adipower 2
Adidas released the first pair of Adipower back in 2012, just before the Olympic games. They released two new colors in 2014 without any upgrades on the actual features. The second version came out in 2019 with major revamps to fit more dynamic workouts. Good for cleans, snatches, and Crossfit movements (box jumps, burpees, etc.).
- Clean, more professional design
- More flexible
- They don’t weigh down your feet
- The light build may not provide enough support depending on the type of lifting
- They feature only one support strap
Nike Romaleos 4
Nike started the Romaleos series in 2008. However, the actual start was also in 2012, when they released the second version. The fourth and latest version is best known for the beefier support and heavier build. Good for heavy squats.
- Equipped with double support straps
- They come in fresh, cool designs
- Equipped with thick heel support
- A bit expensive
- Some lifters complain about frequent heel slippage.
Adipower vs Romaleos: Face-To-Face Comparison
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the specifics.
I always like to start any comparison between lifting shoes by discussing the heel height. I won’t be exaggerating if I say that this attribute can make or break your exercise.
For instance, if you prefer low bar squats, wearing flat shoes guarantees ideal support. On the other hand, high bar squats need a high heel to achieve a sufficient squatting depth.
And it’s not only about the preferred bar position. Things like your ankle mobility, pelvis flexibility, and femur length may have a say in the heel height choice. I’ve discussed the ins and outs of heel vs. flat shoes in a separate article, so make sure to check that out!
For the purpose of consistency, Adidas chose to build the Adipower 2 with the same heel height of the Adipower 1 — 0.79 inches (20.1 mm).
Just like Adidas, Nike preferred to err on the side of caution. The Romaleos 4 comes with a 0.75-inch heel, which equates to 20 mm. This is the same height that the Romaleos 3 offered.
The Winner: Tie
Lucky for you, there’s nothing to think about here. The 0.04-inch difference between these shoes is hardly noticeable.
Throughout my training experience, I’ve always thought that this height is the ideal middle ground since you can get heel heights between 0.6-1-inches. It’s not too high for beginners, yet it’s high enough for a flawless professional performance.
Let’s dissect the upper construction of both shoes to see how much support they can give.
The Adipower 2 features a full textile woven upper. There are no reinforcements with leather or any similar material, making the shoes feel extremely flexible, unlike any typical weightlifting pair.
When compared to the previous Adipower, this design is a surprising downgrade. Adipower 1 had a full leather construction with a bunch of mesh inserts around the tongue and heel.
At first glance, it appears that Nike made the same absurd mistake of Adidas: They built the Romaleos 4 with a woven fabric upper, replacing the rigid leather of the Romaleos 3.
However, I’m happy to say that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Nike’s fabric has a higher density with thicker stitching.
Plus, Nike didn’t entirely ditch the leather. They added thick pieces of leather around the heels to provide extra support for super heavy loads.
The Winner: Romaleos 4
Dedicated powerlifters should obviously choose the Romaleos 4. You need a rigid upper to brace your legs whenever you lift heavy loads.
Does this mean that the Adipower 2 sucks? Well, not really. This comes down to your intended use. If you’re a recreational lifter, the Adipower 2 may actually suit you better.
Their flexibility will allow you to perform a broader range of movements. You can use them for workouts like snatches, cleans, box jumps with little to no discomfort — this is something that the Romaleos 4 can’t do.
Now that we’ve covered the overall secureness, let’s zoom in to discuss the support over the midfoot area.
Just like the majority of weightlifting shoes, the Adipower 2 features a single support strap over the midfoot area. And again, this is a feature that Adidas copied from the original version.
The strap features a full fabric construction without any leather reinforcements. Nevertheless, I didn’t stumble upon any user complaining about poor durability.
Much to my disappointment, the strap buckle doesn’t have a roller. I know that this isn’t a major flaw. However, with the roller in place, the strap glides effortlessly, letting you achieve the maximum tightness possible.
The Romaleos 4 comes with two support straps: the first sits over the midfoot, while the other braces the metatarsal area. Each strap is built thinner and shorter than the average so as to fit comfortably next to each other.
I like that Nike added metal rollers to both buckles. Not only do they facilitate the tightening, but they also prolong the lifespan of the shoes.
The Winner: Romaleos 4
It’s an obvious call, right? Having two straps skyrockets the secureness. Plus, you can easily fine-tune the tightness to your liking. For instance, you can loosen the metatarsal area to splay your toes better. Meanwhile, you can keep the midfoot area as hard as a rock to prevent sprains.
Midsole Construction and Weight
After analyzing the upper, it’s time to do the same with the midsole. This will give you a better idea about the actual weight of the shoes.
The Adipower 2 features a TPU midsole, which excels in terms of rigidity. This material is hands-down the gold standard of weightlifting shoes because it doesn’t compress under the heaviest weights.
The original Adipower 1 had a similar TPU construction. However, the two versions differ in the external finish. The first version had outer pillars that embody exceptional strength and support. Some lifters told me that this design enhanced their connection to the floor, which drastically improved their performance.
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. It’s not smooth, though; Adidas added a prominent knurling texture that complements the wavy fabric upper.
All in all, size 11 of the Adipower 2 weighs about 18 ounces.
Just like the Adipower 2, the Romaleos 4 features a sturdy TPU midsole. However, Nike’s designers chose to keep things more interesting.
When you lay your feet inside the Romaleos 4, you should feel the midsole cradling your feet from both sides. As it approaches the outsole, the TPU narrows down into a polygonal shape. If you upend the shoes, you’ll see that transparent shape right underneath the heel.
I can’t express how much I like this design. Because the TPU contacts the ground, you’ll be able to feel the floor much better, which is mandatory if you want to lift heavier weights. No wonder this design goes by the name of “Powerbridge”!
All in all, size 11 of the Romaleos 4 weighs around 22 ounces.
The Winner: Tie
When you’re considering the shoes’ weight, there is no right or wrong. The choice depends on the nature of your exercise.
If you’re mostly interested in powerlifting, the Romaleos 4 should be your best bet. The extra ounces will literally “cement” your feet to the ground, which is more than ideal for squats and deadlifts.
On the other hand, folks who occasionally perform weightlifting or CrossFit workouts will benefit from the Adipower 2. The light build won’t drag you down during the dynamic snatches, cleans, box jumps, thrusters, etc.
Sizing and Fit
As you might already know, most weightlifting shoes run big; I usually have to go down half a size to get a secure fit. But as it turns out, both Adidas and Nike decided to break that rule.
Most lifters who bought the Adipower 2 reported that they run small. Once you hold these shoes in your hand, you’ll instantly realize that the forefoot is exceptionally narrower than usual.
But due to the upper flexibility, the Adipower 2 will break in before you know it. So I think you should just go up half a size.
The Romaleos 4 are among the few true-to-size powerlifting shoes. You can wear your normal size without encountering any problems whatsoever.
Romaleos 4 SE
To satisfy more customers, Nike decided to release the Romaleos 4 SE — an alternative version for lifters who have wide feet.
The Winner: Tie
Comfort is a strikingly relative subject; what feels comfortable for me might be infernally painful for you, and vice versa.
However, most lifters agree that the pliable fabric of the Adipower 2 goes easy on feet. Then again, softness isn’t really something you’d want from a powerlifting pair.
Luckily, I haven’t seen any lifters complaining about premature tears or rips. Both shoes do live up to the huge reputation of their manufacturers.
However, we must keep in mind that Nike released the Romaleos 4 in April 2020; It may be a bit too early to judge their durability.
Both the Adipower 2 and Romaleos 4 will cost between $180-$200.
While you can certainly find cheaper lifting shoes (check out my article on the best lifting shoes under $100), any high quality professional lifting shoe will cost around $200.
In Summary, What’s Unique About These Shoes?
Still can’t make up your mind? Check out the following summary to know what makes each series stand out.
The Adipower 2
- Higher flexibility: The full mesh construction allows for fully flexible performance. These shoes will be comfortable enough to perform more versatile movements, which is ideal for weightlifters and CrossFitters.
- Lighter midsole: The TPU midsole is designed in a way that dials down the weight without compromising on the firmness. This suits lifters who like to perform dynamic workouts from time to time.
- Heel loop: The small loop located on the back of these shoes facilitates wearing them to a great extent.
The Romaleos 4
- Heftier support: Thanks to the dense fabric construction, these shoes provide impeccable support. The presence of leather reinforcements around the heel should keep unfortunate injuries at bay.
- Powerbridge: The TPU midsole contacts the ground by extending to the outsole. This enhances your feeling of the floor, thereby allowing you to lift larger loads.
- Double support straps: Why settle for one when you can have two? Nike’s generous offer opens the door for a whole new level of bracing.
- Accurate sizing: Forget about guesswork. You can pick your regular shoe size since this version is true-to-size.
The Final Word
As you saw, each pair of shoes has its pros and cons. So I can’t really pick a winner between Adipower 2 vs. Romaleos 4. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, check the following recap.
Use the Adidas Adipower 2 if:
- You’re a female lifter who dislikes the typical firmness of weightlifting shoes.
- You like to vary your routine with dynamic weightlifting and CrossFit workouts.
- You want a more affordable pair.
- You have narrow feet.
Use the Nike Romaleos 4 if:
- You favor support over comfort.
- You want exceptional heel bracing.
- You want a true-to-size pair.
- You have wide feet (get the SD version).
- You want a fresh, trendy design.
Do you currently own a pair of Romaleos 3? Check out my full comparison between Nike Romaleos 3 vs. 4 to know if you should upgrade! Want to learn more about Adidas squat shoes? Check out my comparison between the Adipower 2 vs Powerlift 4.