Weightlifting Magazine recently asked me to write an article reviewing weightlifting shoes that are trendy right now. They sent me two pairs of popular weightlifting shoes, the Adidas Leistung 16’s and the  Position USA P2.1 Blue Suede Shoes. My task was to try them out and write my honest review of them. Here is the result.


I used to wear dress shoes during weightlifting practice. It was at the very beginning of my weightlifting career. The shoes covered my feet and had a heel. I didn’t need anything fancier… in fact, I was the snazziest guy at the gym.

As I began to progress and gain a passion for the sport, my coach Lev told me that it was time for me to invest in real weightlifting shoes, so I got myself a pair of Adidas Adistar 2000s.

They were great shoes, but after a few years of training in a grimy (and great) garage gym, they became worn down, ripped up, and dirty. This didn’t affect my lifting, but I felt it was time for another upgrade. I told Lev I wanted to buy some new weightlifting shoes like the other guys had at our gym.

“You don’t deserve them,” he said.

On the drive home from training that day, Lev told me that I could get new shoes when I reached the rank of “Candidate for Master of Sport.” I felt a bit hurt, but all the more hungry to achieve the CMS rank. Within a few months, I got my new shoes.

Since then, every pair of weightlifting shoes that I bought, I earned.

✓    Attained the rank of Master of Sport Adidas Adistar 2008s
✓    Medaled at Senior Nationals Nike Romaleos
✓    Set New England records Adidas Adipower


The next time you earn yourself a new pair of weightlifting shoes, you’ll have many shoes to choose from. Over the past three months, I’ve tested the most popular shoes in my weightlifting community: the Adidas Leistung 16’s and the Position USA P2.1 Blue Suede Shoes.

I was eager to try each of these shoes when I took them out of their boxes. I’ve heard great things about both and wanted to jump right into testing them.

I wore each pair for at least one full month and took notes throughout. A month of training in each pair seemed like a sufficient amount of time to understand how they felt brand new, and also a decent amount worn-in.

Adidas Leistung 16’s

I started the first month of testing wearing the Adidas Leistung 16’s. From the first day and for the entire month after that, they were a perfect fit. They look cool and futuristic. They’re super light, comfortable, bend well, and there’s no restriction when I jump.

The material on the vertical inside of the heel is smooth when you slide your foot in, and rough when you pull the heel out. This makes it easy to put the shoe on and it keeps the heel from separating from the sole while lifting. This, along with a very bendable forefoot, keeps the shoes very snug.

There is one major negative with the Adidas, and that’s the boa tie. While it allowed me to take the shoes off and slide them on easily, the boa tie loosened very quickly. After every 2-5 sets or simply after walking in them for a few minutes, the boa tie came loose, and my foot would start drifting. It got annoying to retighten them before every other set.

Are shoe laces too old-fashioned or something?

Position USA P2.1 Blue Suede Shoes

The Position USA P2.1 Blue Suede Shoes are a throwback to the good ole days of weightlifting. They are handmade, have a wooden heel, and look timeless. But in terms of performance, they were amatuer.

For the first few weeks of wearing them, the forefoot was too wide, which made my foot slide around diagonally within the shoe while lifting. Because of this, I was hesitant to try them at heavier weights. Since suede stretches, I assumed that the midfoot would stretch and I’d be able to tie them in a way that restricted this diagonal movement once the midfoot width matched the forefoot.

A few weeks later, they did stretch, and I was able to secure my foot snugly… But by this point, the rubber ridges on the bottom of the shoe started to wear out, and my foot started to slide during the jerk.

Another noticeable shortcoming, especially when compared to the Adidas, was that my heel would lift away from the sole of the shoe when my heel was raised. This would happen when walking, and when doing the split jerk. The cause was the width of the heel, and the forefoot being stiff,  restricting the bend in the shoe. After a month of wearing these shoes, the forefoot didn’t become more flexible, and the problem remained.

The heel height felt about the same in both shoes, and squats felt good in both. After a month of wearing each shoe, they still look brand new. Overall, I definitely prefer the Adidas Leistung 16’s, but they need to fix their loosening boa tie.   


Shoes don’t make a weightlifter, and they won’t improve the lifts. As long as they don’t get in the way of your lifting, most shoes will be nearly the same. Many weightlifters treat shoes like a key to being a respectable weightlifter. They aren’t. Respect is earned with dedication and hard work.


Yasha Kahn
Weightlifter, coach and now: blogger. I've traveled around the world sharing my weightlifting knowledge and experiences. I look forward to the next adventure.
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