Nike Romaleos 4 Review | The Worst Weightlifting Shoes Ever?

Nike Romaleos 4 weightlifting shoes
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Nike has established itself as a key player in the Strength Sports market with its Romaleos Weightlifting Shoes.

The Nike Romaleos 4 is, as you could probably guess, the fourth iteration of this design and continue where the Romaleos 3 left off as a solid option for those interested in investing in a good pair of Weightlifting Shoes.

The Nike Romaleos 4 offers several great features, however, there are some very glaring issues overall, which cause this shoe to fall short of its hefty price tag.

In particular, the heel design does not hold the heel in the shoe at all, with some very noticeable heel slip issues. This made it very difficult to complete most lifts without feelings of instability, which unfortunately was a very fundamental issue that I could not get past, despite some other great features present.

If you haven’t heard of Nike before, where have you been? Nike has long established itself as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, athletic shoes and apparel suppliers in the world. With their instantly recognizable swoosh logo, they’re hard to miss in the sporting world.

Founded in the 1960s as Blue Ribbon Sports, it wasn’t until 1971 that they changed their name to Nike, and history was made. Although Nike does offer other shoes aimed at strength sports, the Romaleos are arguably their most popular when it comes to Powerlifting.

Nike Romaleos 4 General Review

Quick Stats

The following dimensions are based on a US size 10.

  • Weight – 592g
  • Length – 302mm
  • Max Width – 114mm
  • Width at Heel – 93mm
  • Sole Thickness – 47mm

Looks

Ok, so first impressions, I’m not overly enthused by the look of the Nike Romaleos 4. I don’t hate them either though.

They do have a lot of unique design features, such as the heel cup design which features a translucent sidewall. There is also a gap in the material under the midfoot where the lower strap passes through.

I do like the white color variant in general, but the overall shoe doesn’t strike me as one cohesive design, but rather lots of individually designed parts thrown together. I also can’t get over the fact that it looks like a Soccer boot has been glued onto a Weightlifting Heel.

Still, the Romaleos 4 is by no means a bad looking weightlifting shoe, but I would have expected better for what is meant to be a premium weightlifting shoe.

Rating – 5/10

Fit

Regarding the fit of the Romaleos, these are particularly narrow and tight weightlifting shoes.

This was particularly noticeable in the toe box where I didn’t feel I was able to spread my toes effectively, some with a narrower foot may prefer this, but for me, it was bordering on being just too uncomfortable.

Of course, given time its entirely possible that the shoes will break in and this will become less of an issue.

The opposite could be said for the fit at the heel though, and the Romaleos lost a lot of points here.

My heel was not secure at all and actually felt like it was only halfway in the shoe. Even just standing still, my heel felt like it was hanging out, and moving around there was a lot of slip.

Overall very disappointing from a top tier weightlifting shoe.

Another thing to note is that the arch support is on the higher side, for me this was ideal, however, if you have flatter feet this is very likely to be uncomfortable.

Ignoring the obvious issues, the Romaleos sizing was pretty true, so I would stick with your usual shoe size, no need to size up or down.

Overall, the Romaleos were not the best weightlifting shoes when it comes to fit. The toes were just a bit too tight and the heel fit was a pretty unforgivable flaw. Not at all what I would expect for the price.

Rating – 3/10

Comfort

Off the bat, the Nike Romaleos 4 are a noticeably heavy weightlifting shoe, definitely one of the heaviest I have experienced, some will prefer this, some don’t.

I do lean more towards the heavier weightlifting shoe as it always signifies to me a better build quality and more sturdy construction. Of course, this can prove to be pretty cumbersome for some.

Also because I am predominantly a Powerlifter, I don’t really move about in the shoe during my lifts, whereas an Olympic lifter may find them less usable.

Beyond this, comfort of the Romaleos is ok. It’s hard to feel comfortable in a shoe where your heel is hanging out and your toes are pretty tightly packed together though.

One positive of the Romaleos 4 is that they do have plenty of breathability, and there were no uncomfortable pressure points.

The padded material conforms nicely against your foot and the arch support is just right for me, as mentioned though, I would anticipate that flat-footed individuals will hate this shoe because the arch is very high.

Rating – 5/10

Straps & Lacing

The Romaleos 4 goes back to the double strap design which was missing from the Romaleos 3, it definitely feels more secure over the midfoot this way.

One curious feature on the lower strap is that it loops through a hole in the TPU material under the shoe.

It may just be paranoia on my part but I do wonder if over time that hole may become a weak point and flex under the weight of the bar.

I think I would have preferred the reassurance of that particular area being completely filled with the TPU material, but that said, I don’t notice anything when I use them so, as I said, probably just paranoia.

Incidentally, this feature means that the strap is one solid piece of material so is much more likely to withstand wear and tear over time as opposed to most designs, which tend to be two separate pieces stitched into either side of the shoe, which is the case for the upper strap.

The laces are of good construction and the eyelets don’t feel like they will wear down over time. It was quite hard to adjust the tightness effectively though, primarily due to how stiff the shoe was so it almost became pointless even having laces at all.

Rating – 7/10

Grip/Traction

Due to the Romaleos heavy weight and very wide, flat sole, grip is very good and as a result, the Nike Romaleos 4 scored an impressive 0.95 in the Powerlifting Perfection Grip Test.

You can check out how they compare to other powerlifting and weightlifting shoes in the Powerlifting Perfection Grip Test.

Rating – 8/10

Nike Romaleos for Squats

Naturally, the Squat is the lift where you would expect a shoe such as the Romaleos to shine.

The raised heel works very well in providing the support and stability for the Squat and speaking of stability, the wide outsole really cements this shoe as probably the most stable I’ve ever experienced.

I particularly liked the weightiness of the Romaleos 4 for the Squat, it really helped with the overall impression of being rooted to the ground and just general stability.

I’ve tried lighter weightlifting shoes in the past and I definitely feel my performance is better with the heavier shoe. As well as this, the double strap further gives the feeling of security and stability as compared to a weightlifting shoe with only the one strap.

As mentioned earlier in the article though, there are some pretty big heel slip issues.

Once I’m actually Squatting the heel issues don’t really factor in much at all, however unracking and the walkout are a bit awkward.

For this reason, I don’t feel at all comfortable with the idea of squatting anywhere near my max, the walkout would have been too risky.

The toe box was also a problem, it was just too tight to utilize any toe spread effectively.

Overall, the Romaleos aren’t bad when Squatting but they could really use some tweaks in key areas to make them worth their hefty price tag, namely improving the heel design and opening up the toe box.

Nike Romaleos for the Bench Press

Focusing now on the Bench Press. I would say this lift is where I rate the Romaleos 4 the highest.

Everything just really clicked for me and some of the issues I touched on previously actually felt more like positives here.

As someone of shorter stature who tries to stick with IPF rules where possible, I’ve always liked a raised heel as it allows my stumpy legs to reach the floor a bit easier!

I really like the stiff TPU base as I can drive my feet into the floor and there’s virtually no flex to speak of, allowing me to really take advantage of that leg drive.

I previously said that the toe box was a problem for me with the Squat, but the opposite is true here.

I’ve found that with a lot of shoes, my feet shift forward during the Bench Press due to driving through my heels, however, the narrower construction here really helps prevent this.

Whether this is the double strap or the tight toe box (or both) was hard for me to tell but regardless, my foot was rooted nicely in place.

The weirdly open heel didn’t cause me any obvious issues in this lift either so overall, no real complaints!

Nike Romaleos for Olympic Weightlifting

It wouldn’t be a Weightlifting Shoe review without considering the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk.

Here, the issues with the heel of the Romaleos become much more glaring. Added to this, the weight of the shoe and overall stiffness, I just did not feel strong in either lift at all.

Everything was great when my feet weren’t moving as the Romaleos are incredibly stable, but with every single movement I made (which let’s face it is pretty often in the Olympic Lifts) I was losing my heel and having to overcorrect for this and the tight toe box prevented me from using my toes effectively which caused even further issues with balance and correcting myself.

Overall, it was not a good time.

Wrapping up performance, the Nike Romaleos 4 really don’t stack up well.

Maybe they would work for someone with a different foot shape than myself but for me, the issues with the heel and toe were just too large to ignore.

The only lift I would give the Romaleos 4 a positive score on is the Bench Press.

Rating – 4/10

Price

Finally, the price and its more bad news for Nike unfortunately.

The Romaleos have historically been considered a premium Weightlifting Shoe and the price naturally reflects that.

The Romaleos 4 are no different and are about as expensive a Weightlifting Shoe as you will find. Prices are forever changing though, so I would recommend checking at Rogue Fitness for the latest price.

By now you’ve probably gathered that I’m not a huge fan of the Nike Romaleos 4. If they were a cheap shoe, I could perhaps forgive them for their shortcomings but at the price they are, I just think they are very bad value for money, unfortunately.

Rating – 4/10

Final Thoughts on the Nike Romaleos 4 Weightlifting Shoes

I wanted to like the Nike Romaleos 4, but unfortunately, there’s just too much that Nike has gotten wrong to make this a good Weightlifting Shoe.

They do have some good features, such as the double strap system, and the wide outsole is one of the best designs I’ve tried when it comes to stability.

The toe design and especially the heel design are a problem, however, and made for an overall disappointing experience. Add in the high price point and I just can’t recommend this shoe at all.

As an alternative, I would highly recommend checking out the Reebok Legacy Lifter 2, which is an overall much better premium weightlifting shoe.

For an alternative on a budget, the Adidas Power Perfect 3 is also a great choice.

Overall Rating – 5.4/10

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