Adidas Performance Men’s Powerlift 3 Trainer Shoe

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Adidas Performance Men’s Powerlift 3 Trainer Shoe Review Facts

The Adidas Performance Men’s Powerlift 3.1 Trainer Shoe is a dedicated rigid weightlifting shoe designed to enhance your Olympic lifting sessions. This shoe is designed for the serious trainer who wants a shoe with the stability and motion control to power them to new max lift numbers. To achieve this, the Powerlift 3.1 features a wide, solid base and a high-density midsole. This shoe is an entry-level model into the sole weightlifting shoe category. It is about half the price of its counterpart, the AdiPower.​

Powerlift 3.1 is not designed for non-lifting activities. It is a lifter, not a cross-trainer. The qualities that make it ideal for Olympic weightlifting make it unsuited to everything else. Those features include immobilization of the foot, a thin, unsupportive midsole for closeness to the gym floor, an inflexible upper and sole, and a heel lift which gives you a greater range of motion for squats. Though the shoe lets you spread your toes, for a wide squat platform, it is designed to fit tighter than a trainer or running sneaker because excess foot movement during Olympic lifts can cause you to lose balance or hyperextend your foot and ankle joints.


Editor's Pros & Cons

Priced and designed for beginner lifters

Raised heel not as severe as most lifting shoes

Metatarsal strap backs up, hides laces

Flexibility through forefoot, still rigid for lockdown

Anti-slip rubber outsole


EVA heel more compressive, less abrasion resistance compared to TPU


Everything about the shoe is made to maximize your ability to lift safely and continue getting stronger through progressive resistance. It starts with the heel. It is made of EVA, or ethylene-vinyl acetate, a polymer made from ethyl derivatives and vinyl acetate. Viny has a long history as a weight bench pad cover, seat material, and covering for some cement-filled dumbbells. It is durable and retains shape, and the addition of the ethyl helps the vinyl resist scuffing, scratching, and heat.

The shoe’s upper is a combination of soft leather and synthetic mesh to aid in air circulation. This helps prevent your feet from overheating, and you will not get odor or bacteria problems inside the shoe. This helps fit the shoe to low weight, high rep lifting workouts where you are moving around a lot and generating heat.

The toe box, made of the same leather and synthetic combo, is as roomy as it can be, letting you spread your toes although you can’t flex or wiggle them a lot. The toebox has vent holes to aid in heat transfer and sweat abatement. The shoe does require a breaking-in period as it stretches slightly to secure and conform to your foot shape.

Finally, the midfoot strap covers the tied part of the standard laces, keeping them from working loose or catching on anything. The strap is short enough that it will not ever drag on the floor during wear. It is a minor point, but still shows Adidas’s commitment to detail and response to user feedback; the shortened strap is an improvement over the previous Powerlift 2.


The Powerlift 3 has a number of features that make it perfect for lifting weight, and unacceptable for most other sports except perhaps some cross-training.

The sole of the Adidas Powerlift Trainer is completely flat, without flex grooves. This provides a perfectly flat, balanced surface to power the weight upward. The hardened EVA polymer heel is raised at a height of 15 mm. This reduces ankle strain and allows you to go deeper into the bottom of your squat with better lifting leverage. The synthetic upper is exceptionally strong and stable. The heel area is as rigid as any pair of lifters while providing a lot of comfort thanks to the padding.

The area around the heel cup is extremely secure. This will keep the foot stable, ensuring that you won’t roll your ankle when under the heavy iron. The front of the shoe is narrower than your average shoe, provides a tight fit to ensure that you feel locked down in the toe area.

The open forefoot of the Adidas Powerlift 3 gives you a flexible toe support area for enhanced comfort, and vent holes make the toe area breathable. This also adds to the flexibility making them well-suited shoes for CrossFit training. Your stance is stabilized by way of a midsole wedge, combined with the anti-slip rubber outsole.

Sport Specific Enhancements

The shoe features a single Velcro strap in addition to the laces. This keeps the foot snugly in place, preventing any lateral movement during the lift. The mesh tongue is padded to prevent any discomfort to the instep while lifting. The collar and lining of the shoe also feature air mesh, creating even more comfort and breathability. The strap of the Powerlift 3 is a little thicker than that found on the Powerlift 2. This makes for a more secure fit than the previous model. You will also appreciate the fact that you don’t have to contend with any strap overlay when you pull the strap tight.

The Powerlift 3 features an anti-slip rubber outsole that delivers maximum grip to the floor. The EVA sole compresses into the shoe more than TPU would, which may provide some unwanted lateral movement when you work with powerlifting levels of weight.

The upper of the shoe features lightweight leather complemented with synthetic mesh. As a result, the shoe breathes well so you won’t be bothered by sweat build-up or odor problems. The open toe box of the Powerlift 3 also provides a good level of flexibility to the shoe.


These aren’t sneakers, so we wouldn’t suggest leaving the gym and running errands in them. They do not have the support, are not meant for walking long distances, and are delicate enough not to ever be worn outside their limited use with the weight pile. While they are durable, there is no reason to add extra, unnecessary miles to the shoes, when you need them every time you lift heavyweight.

So while we don’t expect overall comfort or a cushioned ride, we did find the midfoot and arch are a bit more flexible than on a lot of lifting shoes. The padding, while it keeps your foot still, will also provide a measure of support as you move from one weight station to another. More than anything else, we want to note how tight the shoe is. It isn’t tight enough to pinch and cause pain, the way a too-small shoe does, but the shoe’s entire job is to hold your foot still and it shows in wear experience.

Overall Fit

The shoe fits true to size, though it will feel tight at first, especially if you are not accustomed to the tightness and snug fit of lifting shoes. With the strap, especially, the shoe closes in around your foot and gently conforms to the shape after a breaking in period. Some reviewers mentioned ordering a size up from their usual, but we caution against that as any extra room runs the risk of letting your foot move too much during squats. As we have mentioned, your toes won’t get uncomfortably close inside the shoe. Adidas left room for you to pull apart, splay, and plant your toes as part of a strong foundation for squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, and clean and jerk movements.

Style and Value

These shoes are an outstanding value. They give you everything you need to take your lifting practice from learning mode--making sure your form is correct, you know how much weight you can handle, and can avoid injury--into the lifelong practice of lifting heavier weight and focusing on strength and power. You get all this at a price that is friendly to neophyte lifters, too.

In the style box, Adidas did everything they could to make the shoes as clean and visually appealing as what you typically see at the gym. The chunky, hard soles have accent patterns, and the lines of the strap go along with space it sits in. The Adidas logo and three stripes are present, and the synthetic construction gives the shoe a sleek, almost futuristic appearance. Finally, the Powerlift 3 comes in an entire rainbow of solid colors to match anyone’s mood and aesthetic.

Effectiveness and Results

Using this shoe consistently, as you lift weights s or 4 times a week and practice proper nutrition, will definitely give you a payoff. You will find yourself able to advance to higher weights more quickly. If you have never worn lifting shoes before, just feeling them on your feet will give you more confidence. The extra heel height starts increasing your squat efficiency right away, and may even mean a slight working weight boost of 5% or so. Train hard, eat right, use these shoes, and you will get where you need to go with few setbacks and a minimal amount of pain.

The Final Word

The low price point of the Powerlift 3 makes it a great choice for those just getting into heavy lifting. It also has a heel that, while it is raised, is raised lower than the industry standard. It is another feature that helps beginners ease their way in to wearing heeled lifting shoes. The strap and laces make for a secure fit, with no slippage and a padded tongue to protect from lace pressure.

The Adidas Powerlift 3 is a great addition to the entry-level weightlifting shoe market. It is a powerful shoe with an enhanced lockdown fit that immobilizes your fit. We highly recommend the Powerlift 3 for someone who needs a specialized shoe, one they will use consistently to perform standing Olympic lifts like squats, overhead presses, and deadlifts. They will do a reliable job and are built of durable materials.

The shoe looks stylish, for what it is, and comes in an array of colors. It is comfortable but provides good rigidity throughout the foot. The heel is lowered, a standard procedure for lifting shoes that aids you in getting your quads parallel to the floor during barbell squats. If you are new to lifting, but ready to transition to a dedicated shoe that you can only use for lifting, the Powerlift 3 will meet all your needs and also save you a good bit of money over more advanced lifting and powerlifting shoes.