The Adidas Powerlift 5 is a solid entry-level lifting shoe. It’s ideal for beginners, budget shoppers, and anyone looking for a lower heel. With a midfoot strap and an EVA midsole, it provides good support without being overly rigid. It has a fairly narrow toe box and runs about a half-size small.
Who It’s Right For
Things to Consider
The Adidas Powerlift 5’s are considered some of the best beginner weightlifting shoes on the market. Now in their 5th iteration, these shoes have been around for over a decade, making them the longest-running lifting shoe in the Adidas lineup.
One might think that a shoe named “Powerlifts” is built exclusively for powerlifting.
Well, not quite.
It’s true that this shoe is geared more toward powerlifting because of its lower heel and overall performance. However, it remains one of the most versatile lifting shoes for the same reason.
I frequently use these in my everyday training, including powerlifting, bodybuilding, and general strength workouts.
Compared to previous models, the Powerlift 5’s include a new canvas upper with improved breathability and workability.
Otherwise, they remain largely the same, including a narrower toe box that some won’t love.
In this review, we’ll take a close look at the Adidas Powerlift 5’s. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare them to the Reebok Lifter PR 3’s and the higher-end Adidas Adipower 3’s.
Let’s dig in.
Adidas Powerlift 5 Weightlifting Shoes
The Powerlift 5’s may not match the performance of more expensive lifters, but they still pack a punch for a budget option.
I’m impressed with the overall performance of these shoes but find them better for powerlifting and general fitness than Olympic lifting.
These shoes are ultra-lightweight, decently breathable, and more versatile than taller-heeled shoes.
However, peak performance lags behind premium lifters because of the EVA midsole and 16mm height.
Let’s have a look at the specs and jump into the review.
- Heel Height: 16mm (0.63″)
- Weight: 14 oz (size 10)
- Straps: Single
- Heel Type: EVA
- Removable Insole: Yes
- Outsole: Full Rubber
- Toebox Width: Narrow/Neutral
- Sizing: Runs 1/2 Size Small
- Colorways: 5
Although the Powerlift 5 construction isn’t as robust as some pricier shoes, the overall build quality is good. The material selection is consistent with other shoes in this class, and I’m pleased with the consistency from heel to toe. I also appreciate Adidas’s commitment to sustainability across their weightlifting shoe lineup.
That said, there are some design elements that I’m not a fan of, which I’ll detail below.
These shoes are built with a fairly thick canvas upper that moves well and conforms to the foot nicely. On its own, I don’t think it’s as breathable as some, but the mesh inserts, perforated tongue, and large eyelets help tremendously. Thsi is the biggest improvement over the prior Powerlift generations.
There’s quite a lot of cushion wrapping the back half of this shoe, making it one of the most comfortable I’ve tried in this class. The tongue is also comfortable, but because it’s so pliable, it can more easily roll and get into awkward positions. I noticed this more with dynamic movements than with fixed-foot exercises like squats.
Like the Adipower 3’s, the Powerlift 5 uppers are made with at least 50% recycled materials.
Midsole and Heel
The midsole is where you’ll find the biggest differences relative to higher-end shoes.
First, this shoe uses Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) in the midsole, which is very common in the budget class. EVA is durable and supportive, but it’s not as firm as the TPU material in more expensive shoes. In other words, you can expect more compression in these shoes when lifting heavy.
That said, the Powerlift 5 offers a fairly rigid midsole experience, especially in the forefoot. Compared to TPU shoes, I found the break-in period was longer with the Powerlifts.
Second, the 16mm heel height is lower than the 20-22mm heels on premium weightlifting shoes. Higher heels are often associated with better positioning and performance, but they’re not for everyone. For instance, powerlifters who squat with a low-bar position may prefer the lower height.
Additionally, a lower heel can actually increase versatility, making this a better option for recreational lifters.
The Powerlift 5’s have a full rubber outsole with two primary textures: honeycomb and something similar to pebble grain.
It’s a reasonably grippy outsole, but I don’t care for the honeycomb sections. Not only are they less grippy, but they end on the edge of the shoe, creating a sloppy-looking finish.
Adidas seems to like this design since they continue to carry it over from previous versions, but I’m hoping for something different going forward.
Like most weightlifting shoes, the Adidas Powerlift 5’s have a midfoot strap for extra security. I’m very impressed with the overall velcro coverage. Unlike most shoes that offer a few inches of velcro, these straps are fully covered.
I also like the reinforcement measures, including Box-X stitching at the end and double-stitched seams throughout.
One of my favorite features across the Adidas lineup is the rear finger loop. I’m not sure why more shoe manufacturers omit this, but it’s a helpful feature for slipping the shoes on easily.
In my experience, the Powerlift 5’s are ideally suited for beginners, recreational lifters, and some powerlifters. While their performance is good overall, they struggle to compete with the top-dollar offerings.
As someone who prefers a higher heel, the 16mm height on these shoes feels a bit underwhelming. I enjoy squat variations with them but tend to gravitate toward higher models for primary squats. That said, 16mm is actually on the higher end of shoes in this class. Compared to those, I find the Powerlift 5’s better performers.
The EVA foam does compress more than TPU, but you likely won’t experience a dramatic difference unless you’re lifting 500+ lbs.
I’m not overly impressed with these shoes for Olympic movements. They’re very light, which can be helpful for those with slow foot turnover, and the outsole performs well on a variety of surfaces. But the stiffer forefoot is more unresponsive. Coupled with the lower heel, advanced lifters will almost certainly prefer higher-end options.
I’m most impressed with these shoes during regular gym sessions. If you’re more into weight training than cardio and are looking for a general performance boost, these are a solid choice. I wear these often for accessory movements, including split squats, kettlebell swings, lunges, overhead presses, etc.
I even wear them on bodybuilding movements where I normally wouldn’t go with a taller, more rigid shoe. In that sense, I find the Powerlift 5’s a more versatile shoe that should resonate well with the general fitness/weight training population.
I love the classic Adidas look, especially in neutral white and black colorways. The slight contrast in the canvas/mesh upper materials creates a nice-looking profile, and I like the more reflective bridge over the midsole.
The thing I dislike the most is where the honeycomb pattern terminates on the outsole. It creates inconsistent notches on the edges that detract from an otherwise clean look.
Adidas Powerlift 5 Sizing
The Powerlift 5’s have a fairly neutral profile through the midfoot, but the toe box narrows down. I normally wear a 10 in weightlifting shoes and a 10.5 in training shoes. I ordered a 10 in the Powerlifts and feel they fit my foot well, but I recommend ordering a half-size larger if you’re on the fence.
If you have especially wide feet, I recommend skipping this model entirely and looking at something like the Reebok PR Lifter 3’s or the TYR L-1 Lifters if you have a bigger budget.
Like the Adipower 3’s, I don’t recommend going larger than a half-size up. Otherwise, the shoe will be too long, and you’ll trade comfort for poor performance.
Adidas Powerlift 5 vs. Adidas Adipower 3
Although in a different class, I think it’s important to compare the Powerlift 5’s to the Adidas Adipower 3’s. The Adipowers have been around since 2014 and are the crown jewel of the current Adidas weightlifting line.
The biggest difference between these shoes is the heel height. The Adipowers offer a 22mm heel, which is 8mm higher than the Powerlift 5s. While that may not seem significant on the surface, it’s quite noticeable when lifting weights. The higher heel encourages better squat positioning with a more open hip angle and a more upright chest.
Another big difference is that the Adipowers have a TPU midsole, which is much harder than the EVA in the Powerlift 5s. This is more noticeable for heavy lifters, but TPU can also create a “lock-down” feeling. Combined with a heavier construction, you feel more glued to the floor in the Adipowers.
Both shoes offer a single midfoot strap, rear finger loop, and a comfortable upper. However, durability is higher in the Adipowers due to the overall materials.
Price-wise, you can expect to pay over $100 more for the Adipower 3’s, not including any sales. If you’re a serious lifter, I recommend the Adipower 3’s – you’ll have a better experience and improved performance. Otherwise, you can save some money and still get solid performance in the Powerlift 5’s.
Adidas Powerlift 5 vs. Reebok PR Lifter 3
The Reebok PR Lifter 3 is in the same class as the Adidas Powerlit 5. Similarly priced, these are budget weightlifting shoes with similar specs and comparable performance.
The biggest difference between these shoes is that the PR Lifters have an 18mm heel height vs. 16 on the Powerlifts. While still not as high as some, 18mm is closer to the taller heels on more expensive shoes. If you’re an Olympic weightlifter or a high-bar squatter, you may prefer the Reeboks for this reason. However, I find them less versatile than the Powerlifts overall.
Both shoes have an EVA midsole, providing solid support for lifting. Just like Adidas has the Adipower 3’s, Reebok has the Legacy Lifter 3’s if you’re looking for a more rigid TPU midsole.
While they both include a single midfoot strap for extra security, I find the Powerlift 5’s have a higher-quality strap. It’s heavier-duty, has more velcro coverage, and includes more reinforcements. That said, I do like the number system on the Reeboks for consistent tightness.
In terms of size, the PR Lifter 3’s run fractionally longer than the Powerlift 5’s and have a slightly wider toe box. Neither are great for wide feet, but some may find the Reebok’s have a bit more room. While I recommend most buy a half-size up in the Powerlifts, going true to size on the Reebok’s will be safe, given the extra length.
Ultimately, I recommend the Reebok Lifter PR 3’s to those looking for a taller heel and feel they’re a better option for Olympic weightlifters. However, I find the Adidas Powerlift 5’s a better all-around lifting shoe, with a nicer look and increased comfort.
As a more budget-friendly shoe, the Adidas Powerlift 5’s receive more user reviews than more expensive options. Most users love the stability and performance relative to traditional cross trainers. Many commented on how comfortable they are, but the biggest criticism is the narrow toe box and that they tend to fit smaller than expected.
Pros and Cons
The Adidas Powerlift 5’s are some of the best budget weightlifting shoes you can buy.
They’re well made and spec’d compared to others in its class. I especially like the slightly taller heel and lightweight construction.
Beginners and recreational lifters will likely notice and appreciate the performance boost over cross trainers.
However, advanced and sport-specific athletes will be better off going with a higher-end shoe, even if it means saving a bit more money before buying.