Monday, February 13, 2012

Nike Romaleos 2

A few months back I saw the need for a weightlifting shoe. My go to footwear the last few years has been a thin and flat shoe [Tai Chi from Asics] or lifting barefoot. It was great for deadlifts however not the Olympic lifts. I was spending more effort in balance and coordination than necessary.

As a result I went to work researching shoes and, thanks to the magical power of Google, I concluded the Nike Romaleos would suit me. During my search I also learned it was being updated. I wasn't in a rush to order and decided to wait to purchase the newer model.

Because these are my first pair of weightlifting shoes, I can't compare them to other shoes in the market. After two sessions here's how they held up.
  • SN/CL: Pitching my weight forward while maintaining a deep knee bend is much simpler than before. I drop under the bar with ease and receive it in a very solid squat.
  • SPLIT JERK: My feet felt glued to the floor in the split jerk. Recovering to a stand was a smooth transition.
  • SN DROP: No problem at all - I could sink fairly quick without balance or ankle flexibility being an issue.
  • SQ: I could care less for shoes to squat in but I did try front and back squats. I was able to keep my torso more upright. That makes sense because of the heel.
  • The heel runs proportional to the shoe size. Many shoes are made with a set heel height. (The other exception is Risto)
  • The double straps run in opposite directions to better secure the foot and they do it very well. A single strap is commonly found on most shoes and shoes with double straps have them run in the same direction.
  • It comes with two insoles. Pictured below is the bottom view but the tops are actually covered with the same material as the inside lining of the shoes.
    - TOP: The flat thin and soft insoles are for regular training which gives the shoe a more sneaker-like feel.
    - BOTTOM: The harder and thicker insoles are meant to be worn in meets. It's composed of a hard rubber material (or plastic, not sure) and offers arch support.

Click to enlarge


  • The new training insoles are different compared to the previous model. It's a flat piece of material whereas before it had more contours to it. Also, the insoles are not labeled to distinguish which is for training and which is for competition.

    *JULY 2012 UPDATE: I've been using the shoes roughly three times a week for five months. The most apparent flaw of the Romaleos is the training insoles. The current flat insoles cause the the shoe to be slightly loose. The previous model's insoles gave the shoe a much better fit but due to the material it becomes flatter after its initial wear. The competition insoles don't suffer from these problems.
  • Currently this and the Adidas adiPower are the most expensive weightlifting shoes available.
  • The TPU heel might not suit those who prefer a traditional wood heel.
  • Apparently advice was taken from Crossfit athletes. This can be a bit unsettling since Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting are not the same. Although the only changes made were a more flexible forefoot area and making the shoe lighter by 50 grams.
  • Only two colors are available to choose from, but a Nike rep has stated more colors will be released around August.


  • As I walked around between sets, my toes had enough space in the front of the shoe. The sides were a tight fit and give arch support. It felt a bit loose around the back of the foot but no problems yet.
  • It's a large shoe yet surprisingly light.
  • The competition insoles should be worn in training sessions prior to a meet to become accustomed to them.
  • For any type of exercise footwear the inside tends to gets warm. If odor is a concern, stick a dryer sheet in each shoe to keep them smelling fresh.
Aside from that I also had a few personal reasons for selecting the Romaleos.
  • I've predominantly worn Nike shoes and have had no complaints with the brand.
  • I wanted a proportional heel and wider toe box area. The former seemed logical and narrow shoes tend to restrict my toes.
  • Throughout my online search I couldn't find negative feedback. It seemed like a good sign that it was a quality product.
From my initial assessment the shoes are definitely good and I'm happy with my purchase. How they hold up after years of training sessions is another story.

Above all else though it's important to understand that the weightlifting shoes do not make the lifter. Straps, a belt, and other lifting gear are useless if not used in the correct manner.

Related articles,
- - - - -
Websites to order the Nike Romaleos 2 and other links of interest,
*Runs true to size and similar to Nike running shoe sizing*


  1. Thanks for the excellent review. I am trying to purchase a pair, but they seem to be sold out everywhere online. I doubt there's much of a chance finding them at a local sporting goods store.

    I had a chat with a associate and she informed me the shoe has been discontinued. No chance of getting any for 2013.

    Say whu...? That's what she said.

    Hmmm... I guess it's the AdiStars then.

  2. Sam I checked the sellers and the Kanama HP website lists the Romaleos available. Have they said they're sold out?

    If you still can't find the Romaleos I suggest checking out the Kanama weightlifting shoes. They're about a 1-inch heel, wide toe box, leather, and have a wooden heel. During my online research it had a lot of positive reviews and I think it would be a good alternative to Nike.

  3. I think the chat agent was terribly misinformed... I have heard from an online retailer that they expect 2013s to arrive in November.

    I just ordered a 2012 white pair from Kanama. Great experience speaking with the owner himself. Looking forward to dialing in my squat form with these.


  4. That's great. I got my pair from Kanama and Hani provides excellent service.

  5. Does anyone know what the heel height is on these? I've read that is it proportional but i've also seen some forums say it is 1" standard. BTW, great write up on the shoes Niel. I found another review on this site, it makes a nice companion read. Let me know if anyone figures out about the heel. I have ankle flexibility issues and need a rather high heel so it's either these or the Ristos for me.

  6. I have seen the heel height written as proportional, 1", and 0.75" as well. Honestly I don't have a definite answer and your best bet is to directly contact the vendor. If I'm measuring mine correctly, then it's a 1" heel.

  7. i just got these shoes today. in your picture of the insoles, the upper sole feels a lot harder in my hands than the lower one. is the upper sole not the competition one?

  8. Eric, it's definitely not the competition insole. A check with other reviews on the web confirm this. Both are dense, but the competition insole is thicker.


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