Nike Romaleos 4
It’s a great option for the 3 big powerlifting moves - bench presses, deadlifts, and squats. I found that the high-end stability features of this shoe make it shine on the squat rack. It offers insane lockdown with dual stabilization straps and locks your ankles in place for incredibly strong and confident squats.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all of the features that make the Nike Romaleos 4 one of the best (and best looking) powerlifting shoes that money can buy.
High 20 mm stack height
Dual velcro straps for tuned-in lockdown
Boast a slightly flexible toe box
Grippy rubber outsole grounds you to the platform
Rigid midsole allows you to drive up through your central chain
Flared outsole prevents ankles from hyperextending
If you love light and fluffy midsoles that wrap your feet in clouds of comfort, you might want to move on. If I could describe the midsole of this shoe in one word, that word would be ‘rigid’. While it’s not the most comfortable shoe out there, the rigid design of this midsole is made to help you drive up through your heels on those heavy compound lifts to help you generate more power. Cushioned midsoles are nice, but won’t do you any favors on the platform.
This midsole is designed to give you some areas of comfort, however. The heel counter is slightly curved to cup your heels in place. This curved design not only feels more natural, but it also helps you to really drive up through your central chain without hyperextending your ankles (this is especially beneficial when squatting heavyweights). Plus, the impressive 20 mm plastic stack height gives you plenty of lift up through your ankles for more power.
The rigid outsole and impressive stack height don’t mean much if you are anchored to the ground. What I love about the design of this shoe is that the outsole is composed of tacky rubber that roots you to the ground. You become one solid structure when stepping onto the platform, and it allows you to dig through your heels. It is composed of a very thin layer of rubber (to reduce its overall weight) and subtle treads that grip the ground under your feet.
The outsole is also flared along the sides. While it may seem like an aesthetic choice, this flared design helps to boost stabilization. When digging into heavy lifts, your feet sometimes want to naturally roll outward or inwards under heavyweights. The flared outsole design helps to lock your feet in place to prevent hyperextension and keeps your ankles locked in place as well.
A good powerlifting shoe needs to have an upper that is strong and secure but offers a little bit of flex in key areas. The Nike Romaleos 4 walks that line better than any dedicated powerlifting shoe I have worn. The Adidas Powerlift is great, but the upper of this design is just a little too stiff for many users. This design has a strong and stable upper with just a little bit of extra flex in the toe box for more natural movements. It also makes walking up to the platform just a little bit easier as well.
The upper of this design is composed of a blend of engineered mesh that helps to keep your feet cool and dry, as well as synthetic overlays to help lock your feet in place. It also hosts dual straps along the top of the foot to allow users to tinker and toy with the overall fit of this shoe. One of the things that I love most about this shoe is that the top strap runs under the foot to offer 360 degrees of enchanted lockdown unlike any other shoe out there on the market.
It’s very important to note that this is a dedicated powerlifting shoe, and nothing else. Many options in the Nike lineup, such as the Metcon series, offer users a more hybrid approach to lifting. The Metcon is designed for heavy lifts, but it can also be worn for cross-training as well. This design is incredibly heavy and is designed to anchor your feet to the ground when engaging in heavy lifts. If powerlifting is your main jam, this shoe is worth every penny.
It’s also important to note that this serious powerlifting shoe isn’t something that you can exactly wear while waltzing into the gym. The high stack height, heavy design, and very stiff upper make walking a little difficult. This is a shoe that you pack into your gym bag and change into once you are ready to hit the weight rack.
Overall, this shoe runs slightly narrow. If you wear a size 11 in other Nike training shoes, I would recommend opting for a half size larger than you would normally wear. The toe box is also slightly on the tight side, so opting for a half size up will provide a little extra room to allow your toes to naturally splay inside of the shoe. Some users also note that the shallow heel counter is prone to slipping, however, I haven’t run into any issues.
The Nike Romaleos 4 doesn’t fit quite like your standard training shoe, so I would recommend heading to your local shoe store to give them a try before you buy them. If you can’t make it to a shoe store, be sure to take ample measurements of your feet and compare those measurements to Nikes sizing chart to ensure that you get the right fit for your feet.
Nike often walks the line between sleek style and performance, and the same can be said when it comes to the Romaleos 4. I was initially drawn to the unique styling of this shoe that looks more like a work of art than a powerlifting shoe. It is offered in neutral shades (such as black and white) and the special edition is available in bright and poppy color options that are bound to generate a few envious glances at the weight rack.
One of the things that I love most about the style of this shoe lies in the velcro straps. This design boasts two sets of straps along the forefoot and closer to the toe box for excellent lockdown. The strap that runs along the top of the foot has a cut out in the outsole that runs underneath the shoe. This gives the shoe a unique look and also helps to deliver 360 degrees of lockdown.
If you feel that this shoe seems a little too good to be true, you haven’t looked at the price tag. Overall, this is one of the most expensive powerlifting shoes that money can buy. If you can swing the higher price point, I feel that these shoes are worth every penny.
The stylish design, enhanced performance features, and strong stability features make this one of the best powerlifting shoes currently out there on the market. It may be expensive, but it’s worth it!
Comparisons to Previous Versions
The biggest change that I noticed in the design of this shoe is the addition of the second strap along the forefoot. Nike struck gold when they designed this strap to cut into the outsole and run underfoot. Not only does this design look incredibly cool, but it also helps to wrap your foot in 360 degrees of locked-in protection and stability. Plus, the never design is slightly more breathable and versatile than the previous options out there on the market.
It may cost quite a bit more than other dedicated powerlifting shoes out there on the market, but I feel that the updated design of this shoe is well worth every penny!