Risto Weightlifting Shoes Review 2018
updated December 1, 2018
In the past 5 years Risto Sports has gone from a non-entity to occupying a prominent position in the world of Olympic weightlifting shoes. The founders of Risto believe you can produce an affordable, world-class lifting shoe while still paying the people that make them a living wage. They also believe in the power of quality materials assembled by hand and in that sense they’re taking a page out of the Asics 727 book. Sounds good to us. But do the shoes actually deliver? That’s what we’ll find out in this Risto weightlifting shoes review.
Risto Weightlifting Shoes Review
Because they’re such newcomers to the world of weightlifting footwear the Risto weightlifting shoes product line has gone through some rapid changes in the past few years. This is to be expected as they take the pulse of the market and figure out what people want and what will work. But it can be a little confusing. So just to be clear here are recently discontinued Risto models that we won’t be reviewing here:
- Risto Trainer
- Risto Sports Series 2
- Risto Olympic Lifting Shoe Series I and II
The Risto Tiburon II is fast becoming the weightlifting shoe of choice for value conscious lifters who care about how the products they buy are produced. Handmade in Ecuador it’s hard to believe these shoes are really only around $115. Surely there’s something wrong, right? Nope. The Tiburon II provides solid support and the non-compressible raised heel serious lifters require while swaddling your feet in comfortable, handcrafted luxury. The Tiburon II features:
- Bare wooden heel
- Real leather upper
- Forefoot flexibility for added control
- Sleek, no-nonsense design
- Attractive price point
In just a few short years the Rio has entered the ‘best Olympic weightlifting shoe’ debate and has been garnering praise for its performance and durability. At $150 it will set you back more than the Tiburon but functional and stylistic enhancements make it worth the stretch. Once you try the Risto Rio you may never go back to more expensive weightlifting shoes again. The Rio features:
- Improved strap design
- Direct sole-to-body attachment
- Leather upper that conforms beautifully to the foot
- Same genuine materials as the Tiburon
- Minimal weight of 439g per shoe
- Sewn-on outsole
The Olimpico is a high performance shoe for serious weightlifters which also demonstrates the intention of Risto weightlifting shoes to take on the market masters in the styling arena. But that’s not all. They’ve also implemented performance-related changes in the newest Olimpico, notably raising the heel to 2.23 centimeters (which research shows is the optimal height) and moving the eyelets to the inside of the shoe, thus helping them maintain proper positioning over the long haul. Other features include:
- Reinforced strap anchors
- Natural rubber sole for optimal grip
- Sleek contemporary design
- High degree of comfort and performance
Risto Sports Shoe Alternatives
The Risto range of gym shoes return to old school with wooden heels and rigid construction. However if those don't suit you well, here is a range of high spec alternatives that make worthy substitutes.
The Adidas Performance Powerlift 3 weightlifting shoe has a durable synthetic leather upper, which is very lightweight and provides tons of structural support. It features mesh throughout, making it extremely breathable. It also features both a lace up tongue and an extremely sturdy strap. This shoe has comfortable fabric lining on the inside and a removable foam insole.
The Adidas Performance Powerlift 3 has a weight distribution plate, and a weightlifting specific high density die cut, with insole wedge to keep your feet nice and steady. On the reverse, you get a non-marking anti-slip rubber outsole. There is also a very wide toe box to allow your feet to spread. The shoe comes in a range of stylish colors.
- Very lightweight
- Durable synthetic leather upper
- Weight distribution plate
- Lower heel height than Olympic shoes
The Innovate Men’s Fastlift 325 comes in at just 325 grams. It has a Powertruss heel system, along with cylinders with suction cups on the bottom to provide you with an extremely strong hold to the floor. The external heel cage also provides a lot of lateral stability while lifting. A Met cradle lacing system and strap provide secure lockdown on your foot.
The Innovate Men’s Fastlift 325 features a unique herringbone outsole pattern combined with sticky rubber surface. These provide a very secure grounding position. Metaflex technology in the front part of the shoe makes it easy to transition from weight based to cardio type moves. This is the lightest weightlifting shoe in the world.
- Very light
- Herringbone outsole
- Powertruss heel system
- Fit is a little too snug
The Men’s CrossFit Lifter 2 from Reebok is a hybrid between the very popular Reebok Nano weightlifting shoe and a CrossFit shoe. This makes this a great all purpose gym shoe. The heel is not overly pronounced, nor is it a stable pressing surface. However, it provides a good amount of compression and cushions when you lift. This shoe has only one securing strap, but it works very well.
The Reebok 2.0 has a wide toe and is very comfortable. It features a mesh covering over the toes for maximum breathability. You also get an anti friction lining. These shoes offer a good option for CrossFitters. However serious squatters will probably want something with a little more heel height.
- All purpose gym shoe
- Wide toe
- Very breathable
- Lacks heel height
The Reebok CrossFit Nano 6 is the very latest gym shoe from Reebok. The sole of the shoe features three different grips - the meta grip under the toe, the rope grips through the midfoot and the backing in the heel. The sides of the shoe have an exaggerated seam and extra grip for when you are rope climbing. The overall look of the upper of this shoe is very clean. It has removed many of the labels of previous versions.The mesh in the toe gives an extra level of breathability.
The Reebok CrossFit Nano 6 features extra padding in the heel. This is a very versatile shoe that will allow you to seamlessly transition from Olympic weightlifting moves to plyometrics, agility training and cardio.
- 3 sole grips
- Breathable mesh toe
- Extra heel padding
- Hard to get a snug fit
The Otomix Stingray shoe features a high top lace-up system which provides for great firmness of fit. The high top will require that when you squat you undo the top two eye-lits to allow for the flexibility of movement throughout the lower leg while performing the exercise.
Otomix Stingray shoe will allow you to perform squats and overhead lifts with confidence, it is as a deadlifting shoe that the Otomix Men’s Stingray Escape Weightlifting & Grappling Shoe really comes into its own. The very low sole keeps you as close to the floor as possible, ensuring that your connection to the floor is extremely secure. The high tops of the shoe also help to prevent the bar rubbing against your shins.
- High top lace-up system
- Prevents bar rubbing against shin
- Flexible movement
- Fit a little bit too tight
In Addition: Custom Made Weightlifting Shoes from Risto
Russian-style Weightlifting Boot
Risto weightlifting shoes are made for lifters by lifters who harbor an appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage. So it’s not surprising that they’d create a shoe that harks back to the bygone days when Soviet lifters like the legendary Vasily Alexeyev would lumber onto the platform wearing their austere, high-ankle lifting boots. Risto’s throwback Russian-style boot is available only by custom order and conforms to IWF regulations. Price is an agreeable $$$.
The Risto Power Bodybuilding Shoe
Four time Mr Universe Mike O’Hearn has officially teamed up with Risto to create what they’re calling the Risto Power Bodybuilding Shoe. Features include:
- Full leather upper
- Extra ankle support
- Extra cushioning
- Solid wood heel
- Soft leather lining
With such a high powered name on board to help design such an ambitious shoe you might imagine the price would be a little higher than Risto’s other offerings and you’d be right.
Risto’s weightlifting shoes have carved out a solid niche for themselves by embodying a simple idea: to make high quality, high performance, affordable shoes from natural materials and use socially responsible methods to do so. If they continue to increase their market share as they’ve been doing it won’t be long before Risto lifting shoes have the big boys looking over their shoulders. These are definitely powerlifting shoes, they are not like some of the other cross training shoes out there that are best for weightlifting and running. You may also want to read about Asics weightlifting shoes here to find out more about shoes that are good for your need.
If you would like to learn more about different types of weightlifting shoes currently on the market, check out this article where we do a comprehensive breakdown, I know you'll enjoy it.
My name is Jim Roose. I'm a former competitive power lifter and gym owner. I've bought millions of dollars of fitness equipment over the last 20 years. This site is my way of giving back to the fitness community that's done so much for me. Every article on here is carefully researched and written by me. Leave a comment if you have any questions.