Nike's fourth iteration of the Romaleos received a warm welcome from the weightlifting community. Coming from the brand’s elite series of lifting shoes, this version does not disappoint. With top-notch quality from the outside and a secure and stable shoe feel from the inside, it’s hard to go wrong with this lifter.
- Phenomenal stability
- Sturdy platform and sole
- Better lockdown with two straps
- Comfortable for a lifting shoe
- True to size
- Efficient traction
- Appealing looks
- Upper lacks durability
- Not for narrow ankles
- Not breathable
Who should buy the Nike Romaleos 4
The Romaleos is the flagship series of weightlifting shoes from Nike. It is most recommended for intermediate and professional athletes who lift heavy regularly.
It is one of the best options on the market for Olympic weightlifting exercises: squats, cleans, jerks, and snatches.
Who should NOT buy the lifter
This lifting shoe won’t make you happy if you:
- have narrow ankles (try Adidas Adipower 2 instead)
- are a beginner in weightlifting (try Adidas Power Perfect 3 instead)
- hope to do other gym exercises apart from lifting (in this case, it’s better to choose from dedicated CrossFit shoes or consider Nike Savaleos)
As a premium weightlifting shoe, surefootedness is the Romaleos' second name. A great number of athletes have expressed their excitement over the adequately stiff and wide sole of the shoe.
The platform hardness of the Romaleos 4 is through the roof! It is the hardest of all the lifting shoes we've tested. Using a durometer, we found it to be 20% firmer than lifters on average. Compression is just not happening here.
Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement four times and calculate the average excluding the outliers. The photo above shows just one of the measurements.
Regarding the width of its platform, it can be enough to just look at all those side flanges at the bottom. Measuring the widest parts of the forefoot (111.5 mm) and the heel (91.3 mm) with a pair of calipers proved that the Romaleos 4 is a few millimeters ahead of other lifters too.
Completing the ensemble is the shoe's strong heel hold courtesy of the extended TPU walls and the extra-stiff heel counter.
The stiffness of the heel counter receives 5 out of 5 in our manual assessment. It is unforgiving.
All these components make sure that the ankle is not rolling anywhere as you lift the bar to your next PB.
NOTE: The Romaleos may not be the best bet for athletes with narrower ankles. More than a few individuals have experienced slight heel slippage when doing squats. You can also see a bit of wiggle room in the collar area in the video below.
One expert suggests that getting socks with padded heels might help the situation.
Heel elevation keeps your posture upright
According to the product description, the heel elevation in the Romaleos 4 is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm).
We can (almost) confirm this statement by measuring the shoe's heel (33.5 mm) and forefoot (13 mm) stack height. Our calipers show that the heel-to-toe drop is 0.81 inches (20.5 mm) - just a tiny bit taller than stated.
Durable but not in the upper
A lot of reviewers applaud the shoe's excellent quality of materials and craftsmanship. No serious durability issues have been reported by the wearers.
Enter the Dremel test. After 12 seconds of drilling the toebox mesh, we found that the material did get a see-through hole. This did not happen to lifters with leather uppers (be they genuine or synthetic).
The photo below demonstrates the results of the same test performed on the Reebok Legacy Lifter II (right shoe). So if you are concerned with the upper durability on your lifting shoes, opt for a leather upper instead.
Adding a microscope shot into the equation, we can also see how soft the shoe's threads are.
On the bright side, the wedge and the outsole of the Nike Romaleos 4 appear to be indestructible.
We measured the shoe's rubber thickness at a good 3.8 mm, which is the average for weightlifting shoes.
Judging by the hardness of that rubber, its durability also looks quite promising. The Romaleos 4 outperforms the Legacy Lifters by a few points here.
Quite comfy for a lifter
The Romaleos 4 is as comfortable as a weightlifting shoe can get. The upper is amply padded and creates a pleasant foot-hugging sensation according to wearers.
Some of the testers also say that it doesn’t feel like a brick if you spend some time walking around the gym in it.
But don't expect it to bend that easily.
By far, this is the stiffest weightlifting shoe that we've tested. In a manual assessment, we gave its longitudinal flexibility 4 out of 5 (5 being the stiffest). For reference, the average is 2.5.
But the torsional flex (assessed when twisting the shoe) has a maximum 5 out of 5 stiffness, just like all the other lifters. This is essential for stability.
Confirming the statement above with a gauge test, we found that the Romaleos 4 is 53% stiffer than the average lifter.
Two straps to double the foothold
Having two Velcro straps instead of one allows wearers to have a bit more adjustability. The fact that they face opposite directions also contributes to more secure support.
The Romaleos can get stuffy
Despite using a textile upper, the Nike Romaleos 4 is not doing so well in the breathability department. Hot gyms are definitely not where this shoe shines.
Assing the amount of smoke passing through the shoe's upper, we rated it as 2 out of 5 (where 1 is the least breathable).
True to size but toebox could be tight
Length-wise, the Romaleos 4 hasn't received any complaints from the athletes. However, some of them found the toebox somewhat restricting. They described it as tight, narrow, and shallow, and also having thick material inside. Thus, it is general advice to go half a size up in this Nike lifter if you have wide feet.
We measured the toebox in both its widest part (101.5 mm) and around the big toe (74.2 mm). It turns out that the Romaleos 4 is not even narrower than lifting shoes on average (99.8 mm and 73.2 mm, respectively).
Quite a few testers have reported that the shoe provides efficient traction on gym floors.
Nike doesn’t sacrifice style with the Romaleos
Many buyers love the pair's design and look. One expert goes as far as saying that it is the most good-looking weightlifting shoe on the market.