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When shopping for the best home gym equipment, many choose to start with the essentials, like a squat rack, barbell, adjustable bench, and dumbbells. However, once you’ve reached a point in your training career where you have access to all the equipment you need and you’re ready for the next step, a pair of lifting shoes can truly take your workouts to the next level. 

Specialized lifting shoes come in a few different varieties, including flat-soled deadlift shoes, high-heeled weightlifting shoes, and powerlifting shoes, which fall somewhere in the middle. As a fitness coach with over 12 years of experience, I’ve spent countless hours on gym floors, performing different types of exercises in all sorts of footwear, so I understand the pros and cons of different types of shoes. 

In this adidas Powerlift 5 review, I’m going to share my honest thoughts after one month of regularly wearing these powerlifting shoes in both a commercial gym and my garage gym. I’ve taken these shoes through all sorts of workouts, and I’m ready to help you decide if these are the next shoes you should order.

Honest Testing From a Team of Experts

Every review we write here at Garage Gym Reviews is based on hands-on testing from our team of expert product testers, including certified personal trainers, gym owners, CrossFit enthusiasts, and even an Olympian. 

Not only have I worn the adidas Powerlift 5 shoes for a month, but I’ve owned the adidas Powerlift 2 shoes for six years, and still own them. As with any weightlifting shoe review, I made sure to carefully score the shoes based on our equipment testing methodology, which looks at the most important features of the shoe, including:

  • Appearance and Design: Nobody likes wearing ugly shoes, so we award a higher score to shoes that function well AND look good.
  • Durability: How long will these shoes last? Are these a long-term investment, or will you be replacing them in a few months?
  • Stability and Performance: Stability matters, especially in a performance shoe. I’ll let you know exactly how these shoes feel when you’re wearing them.

adidas Powerlift 5

Adidas Powerlift 5

GGR Score: 4.08 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 16mm heel lift
  • Durable construction that provides stability and grip
  • Excellent choice for beginners who want to try weightlifting shoes
  • Narrow toe box may require some to go up half a size

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Good entry-level lifting shoe at only $130
  • 16mm effective heel height
  • Sturdy construction with a minimalist design

Cons

  • Toe box may be too narrow for some
  • Canvas upper isn't very breathable
  • Not meant for cross-training or running

Bottom Line

The Adidas Powerlift 5 is a great choice for those who want to try a weightlifting shoe without breaking the bank, and is very reasonably priced compared to many Olympic lifting shoes.

A Quick Look at the adidas Powerlift 5

In the world of fitness apparel, adidas has become a household name, and when it comes to adidas shoes, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Along with general athletic shoes, or specific shoes for various sports, adidas has joined the likes of Nike and Reebok, and now offers gym-specific shoes, including the adidas Adipower weightlifting shoes, a variety of cross-training shoes, the adidas Powerlift 5.

Powerlifting shoes generally feature a very hard, flat sole designed to anchor your foot to the ground, a mid-foot strap, and a raised heel, though not as high as the heel raise you’d find on shoes designed for Olympic weightlifting. Similar to the last model, the Powerlift 4, this is a great entry-level option for those who want to try lifting shoes.

For those who have never trained in shoes with a heel lift, the raised heel typically allows users to squat lower, even if they have reduced ankle mobility.

I asked Caine Wilkes, OLY, USAW-L1, a weightlifter who has competed in the Olympics, to explain the benefits of weightlifting shoes, and the differences between weightlifting shoes with a higher heel, and powerlifting shoes with a lower heel, like the adidas Powerlift 5.

Caine said, “A raised heel in strength training is great for squats and Olympic lifts, where you’ll want a more upright torso while in a squatting position. The raised heel will help shift your hips forward a bit, allowing for a more upright and balanced torso, although it can put more stress on the knees while in a deep squat.

Flat shoes or lower heels might be used more by powerlifters who prefer less stress on the knees, or for deadlifts. A flatter, shorter shoe will keep you lower to the ground, requiring less distance to travel with the barbell while also keeping you grounded to the floor.”

If you’re unsure of how training with a heel lift feels, try doing a few bodyweight squats in your bare feet, and then try a few with your heels raised on a book, small weight plate, or some other object that’s around half an inch tall—you’ll feel the difference.

Side view of the adidas Powerlift 5 shoes.

The Powerlift 5 is the latest powerlifting shoe from adidas, featuring a flexible canvas upper, 16mm effective heel height, a strap and lace system, and more. Let’s take a closer look at how the shoe looks and feels when you’re using it. 

Before You Buy

  • With a 16mm effective heel height, this provides a bit of heel elevation, though not quite as much as weightlifting shoes.
  • This shoe is very durable and solid on the bottom, anchoring your foot to the ground for stationary lifting.
  • Because of the stiff, supporting nature of this shoe, it’s best for any kind of strength training, not running, jumping, or any movement that requires more agility. 

Is the adidas Powerlift 5 Worth It?

With a price tag of $130, this shoe isn’t exactly cheap, but with proper care, you should get years of use out of this shoe. That doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone, so you’ll want to make sure this shoe matches your training style before ordering a pair.

Great for:

  • Powerlifters, bodybuilders, and weightlifters who want to train with a lifting shoe
  • Those looking for a stable shoe that firmly anchors your foot to the ground 
  • Beginners looking to try their first lifting shoe

Not recommended for:

  • Anyone who wants a versatile shoe that can be used for different training styles
  • People who mix different types of training in the same workout
  • Olympic weightlifters who want a higher heel lift

adidas Powerlift 5 Specs

Price$130
Effective Heel Height16mm (0.63 inches)
Size RangeMen’s 4-16, Women’s 5-17
UpperCanvas
MidsoleHigh-density EVA foam
OutsoleRubber

Workout Experience With the adidas Powerlift 5

I’ve been wearing these shoes for about a month, training in them three to four days per week. I’ve mostly focused on bodybuilding-style strength training, using them for things like squats, leg pressing, barbell and dumbbell work, various machines, and dumbbell workouts in my garage gym.

Our tester lifting weights in the adidas Powerlift 5 shoes.

Walking around in them is enough to let me know they wouldn’t be comfortable to run in. They feel fine with just walking, but the bottom is quite stiff, and when you’re standing still, the grip and support truly make it feel like your foot is attached to the ground, so these are best for any sort of stationary lift. 

RELATED: Best Gym Shoes for Men

The forefoot is 18mm and the heel is 34mm, so the total heel-to-toe drop is 16mm. The insole is comfortable, with a bit of cushioning for comfort, but not so much that the shoe feels unstable.

As for the actual training, these shoes make a huge difference, especially on any sort of leg workout for me. I can squat deeper without my heels lifting from the ground, and this carries over perfectly to the hack squat and leg press. The heel lift is enough to help me get quite low while feeling stable, but not so much that it makes me feel like I’m falling forward, the way weightlifting shoes do.

Overall, I think these shoes are great for general lifters who want to try a shoe with a heel lift without breaking the bank. Olympic weightlifters may prefer something a bit more high-end with a steeper heel lift, but for the price and overall workout experience, these shoes are a great purchase for anyone who wants to get more out of their leg workouts.

RELATED: 10 Best Leg Exercises

Appearance and Design

When it comes to the overall look and design of the Powerlift 5s, I’m going to give them a solid 5-out-of-5 rating. I ordered the core black colorway, and I love the clean design. The white stripes and font on the side are easy to see and really pop against the black canvas, and I like the printed text on the side detailing the heel height of the shoe—as a sneakerhead, that small detail reminds me a bit of text you see on Off-White shoes. 

Durability and Construction

For durability and construction, I’ll award these shoes a 4-out-of-5 rating. Everything feels extremely durable and stable, and your foot is really locked into the ground. 

Back of the adidas Powerlift shoes.

I’ve only had these shoes for a month, so I can’t speak to the longevity. However, I do have the adidas Powerlift 2s, and they’ve held up perfectly after six years of regular use. 

The upper material on the Powerflit 5 is made of a canvas that does seem like it may eventually wear, but as most people will be pretty stationary while wearing these shoes, I can’t imagine much side-to-side movement that would strain the sides of the shoe. Still, if any part of the shoe is going to fail, it’s probably the canvas upper, but I still think they’re very durable. 

Stability and Performance

For stability, these shoes get another 5-out-of-5 rating. The sole is very firm, and with the built-in strap, you can make these as tight as you want. I normally leave the strap relatively loose between sets, or when wearing them for upper-body training, and then I’ll tighten the strap for extra support when squatting.

The rubber outsole is also quite grippy on a variety of surfaces, including gym flooring, the platform on a leg press, and even the sidewalk when walking around. Your foot truly feels anchored to the ground when you’re wearing these. 

It’s worth calling out that for deadlifting, many prefer a very flat shoe with no heel lift at all, so you may not want to use these for deadlifts. However, I enjoy them for Romanian Deadlifts, and they work well for every other lower-body exercise. 

RELATED: Best Deadlifting Shoes

Versatility, Adjustments, and Comfort

Versatility is the first category where these shoes receive a low rating, earning a 2 out of 5. They’re great for strength training, but that’s about it. While it’s great that you can use them for multiple lifts and styles of training, you really don’t want to be running or jumping in these, and I wouldn’t wear them throughout the day, so they’re really only meant for the gym.

Out tester straps in to the adidas Powerlift 5 shoes.

If you’re going to be doing something else in the gym after your strength training, you’ll probably need to bring a different pair of running shoes to change into after you finish lifting. 

RELATED: Best CrossFit Shoes

As for adjustments and comfort, these shoes receive a 4-out-of-5 score. The built-in velcro strap is always a nice touch, as you can quickly adjust the support without having to untie your shoes, so you can really tinker with both the laces and strap to get the fit you want. 

They’re not the most comfortable to walk around in, as the heel lift and firm sole make walking feel a little strange, but that’s just part of the territory. The upper canvas isn’t very breathable, despite using mesh inserts designed for ventilation. This didn’t really bother me, but it’s worth calling out.

Some customers also report a narrow toe box, but I have wide feet and didn’t notice any issues or discomfort. If you’re concerned about the width, you can always order a half-size up, and exchange them if they don’t fit. 

Price and Value

For price and value, the adidas Powerlift 5 receives a 4-out-of-5 rating. At $130, they aren’t cheap, but I’ve seen them periodically go on sale on the adidas website or other retailers like Rogue Fitness. 

They’re more affordable than many other weightlifting shoes, and very durable, so I still think the value is high and the price is very reasonable for what you’re getting. If you’re looking to try out lifting shoes, these are budget-friendly squat shoes that are significantly cheaper than many of the best weightlifting shoes, many of which are $200 or more.

RELATED: Nike Romaleos 4 Weightlifting Shoes Review

adidas Powerlift 5 vs Nike Metcon 9

Nike Metcon 9

Nike Metcon 9

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Released August 2023
  • Versatile, durable training shoe
  • Meant for CrossFit workouts and training
  • Enhanced rope guard
  • Larger Hyperlift crash pad
  • 11 colorways available at launch

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Versatile training shoe
  • Rope guard wrap-around
  • Rigid heel great for stability
  • Multiple colorways to choose from
  • Lace locking system
  • High-traction outsole
  • Durable upper
  • Breathable woven textile upper
  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • Not great for running or WODs with longer run intervals
  • Some people may find them too rigid
  • Expensive at $150 a pair

Bottom Line

The Nike Metcon 9 training shoes were released in August 2023 and build upon the Nike Metcon 8s with an enhanced rope guar wrap-around, plus a larger and more rigid crash pad. They feature a tightly woven and durable, but breathable, upper. The patterned, grooved outsole provides great traction during most weather conditions.

While I think these shoes are great for someone who’s never used lifting shoes and wants to give them a try, another good option would be the Nike Metcon 9, another shoe that I’ve owned and regularly used for months.

While the Powerlift 5s are only meant for strength training, the Metcon 9 is a bit more versatile. Both have a heel lift, but if the Powerlift 5 heel height is a bit too much for you, the Metcon 9 offers a lower heel. 

Not to mention, the Metcon 9 is designed for cross-training, so it’s much more versatile, and can be used for cross-training as well as lifting. 

Overall, the Powerlift 5 is best for those who want a pure lifting shoe, while the Metcon 9 is better for those who want one shoe that can do nearly anything. 

To read more, you can check out our full Nike Metcon 9 review.

adidas Powerlift 5Nike Metcon 9
Price$130$150
Effective Heel Height16mm (0.63 inches)4mm
Size RangeMen’s 4-16, Women’s 5-17Men’s 3.5-15, Women’s 5-12
UpperCanvasWoven Textile
MidsoleHigh-density EVA foamDual-density foam
OutsoleRubberRubber

Customer Service 

If you buy from adidas, there is a 30-day return policy for members, and creating an account is free. For footwear, your shoes must be in their original condition and in the original shoebox, so while you can try these on and return them if they don’t fit, you probably can’t wear them for multiple workouts and then return them. 

If you need to reach customer service, you can go to the adidas website to use the 24/7 chatbot, chat with an agent from 5 am to 8 pm PT, or call adidas. 

For the overall customer experience, adidas receives a 4-out-of-5 rating.

Ordering the adidas Powerlift 5

The ordering experience receives a 5-out-of-5 rating. Shipping is free, and you can finance your order with Klarna at checkout. My shoes shipped within 24 hours, so adidas ships orders quickly. 

If you join adiClub, adidas’ free rewards programming, you’ll receive unlimited free shipping and returns. 

Customer Reviews

The Powerlift 5s currently have a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on the adidas website, based on 300 reviews at the time of writing, and a 4.7 on Amazon with 196 reviews. 

Most users find these shoes very comfortable and supportive, though a few mention they’re a bit narrow in the toe box. 

Final Verdict of Our adidas Powerlift 5 Review

Overall, the adidas Powerlift 5 is a durable weightlifting shoe that would be a great fit for anyone who loves strength training and wants to try an entry-level lifting shoe. It’s significantly cheaper than many Olympic weightlifting shoes, durable enough to last for a long time, and offers significant support and stability during your training. 

These shoes may not be versatile enough for cross-training, but if your main training style focuses on strength training with barbells, dumbbells, and machines, these are a great pair of shoes to add to your collection.

Full Rating

adidas Powerlift 5

The Adidas Powerlift 5 is a great choice for those who want to try a weightlifting shoe without breaking the bank, and is very reasonably priced compared to many Olympic lifting shoes.

Product Brand: adidas

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 130

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.08

adidas Powerlift 5 Rating

Appearance and Design – 5
Construction and Durability – 4
Stability and Performance – 5
Versatility – 2
Adjustments and Comfort – 4
Price and Value – 4
Customer Review – 4.6
Customer Service – 4
Buy Now

adidas Powerlift 5: FAQs

Are adidas Powerlift 5 true to size?

Yes, though some users report that the shoes are a bit narrow in the toe box. Our tester has wide feet and didn’t have any issues, but you may want to go up half a size if you have wide feet.

What is the heel drop of Powerlift 5 weightlifting shoes?

The adidas Powerlift 5 has a 16mm heel drop.

Should I size up or down in adidas Powerlift?

The adidas Powerlift 5 is meant to be true to size, but if you have wider feet, you may want to go up half a size. adidas offers free shipping and returns for members, so you can exchange your shoes if the size is incorrect.

Are powerlifting shoes worth it?

If you regularly squat or perform lower-body exercises like the leg press or hack squat, powerlifting shoes are a great way to add stability and support, along with a heel lift that’s designed to help you squat deeper.

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