Our verdict

The Adidas Powerlift 5 is one of the best entry-level weightlifting shoes we've tested! We can affirm that its minimal heel elevation (0.6 in/15 mm) is perfect for getting started on your lifting journey. In our training, we concluded that the shoe packs a lot of stability and support into a moderately priced and lightweight package.

Pros

  • Stable base for moderate lifting
  • Good for accessory exercises
  • Solid bite on gym floors
  • Secure foothold
  • Supportive Velcro strap
  • Reasonably priced
  • Contains sustainable materials

Cons

  • Lacks breathability
  • Upper is not very durable
  • Tongue shifts

Audience verdict

91
Superb!

Who should buy

Having tried and tested the Adidas Powerlift 5, we are sure that it will be an excellent match for the following:

  • entry-level athletes who are just starting out with lifting
  • gymgoers who only lift occasionally (i.e. once a week)
  • people with limited budgets who want great value for money

Adidas Powerlift 5 review

Who should NOT buy

The Powerlift 5 has an unforgivably narrow toebox and it also runs short length-wise.

You will definitely have to go at least half a size up or consider a slightly roomier Nike Savaleos. The latter also has the advantage of being more breathable.

Adidas Powerlift 5 lab test

Breathability

You would think that a fabric upper would be more breathable than a leather one, right? Well, not in the case of the Powerlift 5, unfortunately.

Using a smoke-pumping machine to test the upper's breathability, we saw that the smoke could barely escape from the shoe! If it wasn't for the mesh-lined tongue and large eyelets, there would've been zero ventilation in the Powerlift 5. Thus, the shoe earned 2 out of 5 for breathability. 

Even the Nike Savaleos, with its perforated leather upper, is doing better with a breathability score of 3/5.

As you can see from the video below, there is absolutely no transparency in the upper and we cannot see a single ventilation hole.

Finally, we turned to our microscope to give you an even better understanding of the upper material. 

Adidas Powerlift 5 microscope

A fusion of canvas and mesh formed an extra-tight weave for this Adidas shoe. It kind of looks like a winter sweater but even that one has some breathability loops!

Adidas Powerlift 5 microscope upper

Test results
Powerlift 5 2
Average 2
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Quite often we would see a trade-off between breathability and durability. But the Powerlifter 5 was less than impressive in our durability tests.

Its fabric upper didn't do so well in our Dremel challenge, getting torn quite significantly after 12 seconds of drilling.

Because it wasn't a see-through hole, the shoe escaped the lowest score and got a 2 out of 5 from us.

Perhaps it could be justified at the shoe's price point. Because when we put it next to a premium shoe like the Reebok Legacy Lifter III (£230), it becomes clear why the latter costs £110 more.

Adidas Powerlift 5 vs Reebok Legacy Lifter III toebox durability

Adidas Powerlift 5 vs Reebok Legacy Lifter III

We applied the Dremel with the same force (3.2N) and speed (10K RPM) for 12 seconds to both shoes.

Test results
Powerlift 5 2
Average 3.5
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Applying the Dremel to the shoe's heel padding for 4 seconds resulted in considerable wear and tear as well.

This is one of the worst results that we've seen in weightlifting shoes. We had to rate the Powerlift 5 as low as 1 out of 5 in this parameter.

Adidas Powerlift 5 vs Reebok Legacy Lifter III heel padding durability

Test results
Powerlift 5 1
Average 3.6
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

Another major contributor to the shoe's longevity is the hardness of its outsole.

Pressing a durometer against the rubber, we got a reading of 84.5 HC. This is the same level of hardness as the average of our weightlifting shoes.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Outsole hardness
Test results
Powerlift 5 84.5 HC
Average 85.1 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
79.5 HC
Outsole hardness
90.6 HC

Outsole durability

To predict how durable the shoe's outsole is going to be, we drilled it with a Dremel for as long as 22 seconds.

We then measured the depth of the dent with a tread gauge. It showed 1.1 mm which is exactly the same as what we got in other lifting shoes.

Adidas Powerlift 5 outsole durability test

Of course, weightlifting shoes are not worn on abrasive surfaces outside. That way, the outsole usually remains intact and the upper is the first one to wear out.

Adidas Powerlift 5 outsole durability

Test results
Powerlift 5 1.1 mm

Outsole thickness

Another reassuring fact is that the outsole of the Powerlift 5 is a whole millimetre thicker than the average.

At 5 mm, it is by far the thickest outsole among our lab-tested lifters.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Outsole thickness
Test results
Powerlift 5 5.0 mm
Average 3.6 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
2.1 mm
Outsole thickness
5.0 mm

Weight

With a lower platform and less sturdy materials involved, the Adidas Powerlift 5 turns out to be a lighter shoe as well.

With a weight of 15 oz (425g), the shoe is a whole 3.7 oz lighter than lifting shoes on average!

Actually, some athletes do prefer weightier shoes on their feet for strength training. But the Powerlift 5 offers the advantage of being a bit more walkable and accommodating for accessory exercise lunges, box jumps, wall sits, and more.

Test results
Powerlift 5 14.99 oz (425g)
Average 17.53 oz (497g)
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
11.53 oz (327g)
Weight
22.12 oz (627g)

Platform

Heel stack

Using a calliper, we measured the shoe's heel stack height at 30 mm. This turns out to be lower than the officially stated 34 mm, but doesn't seem to affect the effective heel height, or drop, as much (more on that below).

Adidas Powerlift 5 Heel stack
Test results
Powerlift 5 30.0 mm
Average 28.3 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
12.5 mm
Heel stack
34.6 mm

Forefoot stack

We also found that the forefoot sits lower than stated. Based on our calliper measurement, it is 14.8 mm whereas Adidas claims it to be 18 mm.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Forefoot stack
Test results
Powerlift 5 14.8 mm
Average 12.9 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
10.9 mm
Forefoot stack
14.8 mm

Drop

Interestingly enough, the heel-to-toe drop is only 0.8 mm away from the official stats (16 mm). Our own measurements show that the drop is 15.2 mm.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Drop

This is the lowest possible heel drop in weightlifting shoes. It is perfect for entry-level athletes who are only getting used to the heel elevation. It is also a bit more versatile, allowing you to do more gym exercises aside from squatting and lifting.

Test results
Powerlift 5 15.2 mm
Average 15.4 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Drop
20.9 mm

Platform firmness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The platform of the Powerlift 5 is made of high-density EVA foam. It does feel very firm underfoot but still nowhere near the hard and incompressible TPU.

We do not recommend lifting over 350 pounds in this Adidas lifter as the power transfer becomes less efficient. As you can see, there is still a little bit of give there.

To put it into numbers, our durometer shows a reading of 51 HA when pressed against the shoe's platform. This is 47% softer than our tested lifters on average! There is a good reason why advanced athletes choose the Reebok Legacy Lifter. The firmness of these platforms shows 96-97 HA!

Adidas Powerlift 5 Midsole softness
Test results
Powerlift 5 51.0 HA
Average 69.2 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
36.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
97.0 HA

Insole thickness

A padded insole protects the foot from the shoe's firm platform. Based on our calliper measurement, it is 5.3 mm thick.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Insole thickness
Test results
Powerlift 5 5.3 mm
Average 5.9 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
3.6 mm
Insole thickness
8.3 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Adidas Poiwerlift 5 is a stable shoe... for its kind.

As you can see, there is a little bit of "jump" in the shoe's platform as we shift our ankles side-to-side. But this is still within the normal range for a shoe of this stack height and weight.

Torsional rigidity

The torsional rigidity of the Powerlift 5 is at the highest level! We rated it with a solid 5 out of 5 as there is absolutely no give to the shoe when we try to twist it.

Having a stiff platform to lift off adds a lot of confidence when picking up a loaded barbell.

Test results
Powerlift 5 5
Average 4.3
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

In addition, a stiff heel counter made sure that our ankle wasn't rolling anywhere.

Giving it a good squeeze confirmed our perceived heel clutch. The Powerlift 5 gets the highest 5 out of 5 rating for its heel stiffness as well.

Test results
Powerlift 5 5
Average 4.8
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The shoe's platform is not among the widest but it was to be expected. As an entry-level lifter, it is made wide enough to only handle the moderate weight it is intended for.

In the widest part of the forefoot, our calliper shows 103.1 mm of width. This is a few millimetres narrower than average.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Powerlift 5 103.1 mm
Average 107.7 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
102.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
116.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

The Powerlift 5 is also not super wide in the heel. At 77.1 mm, it is a whole centimetre narrower than the average.

But as we've mentioned before, this allows the shoe to be lighter and more versatile as a gym shoe.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Powerlift 5 77.1 mm
Average 86.7 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
77.1 mm
Midsole width in the heel
94.2 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

The Powerlift 5 is not as flexible as some might expect.

Turning to a force gauge tool, we found that it took 24.3N to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. This is about the same as it takes most lifters in our catalogue.

However, we found that it does get more forgiving with use. It takes some time for its stiff canvas/mesh upper to stretch out.

Test results
Powerlift 5 24.3N
Average 23.5N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
10.7N
Stiffness
40.4N

Grip / Traction

The Powerlift 5 has quite an effective grip on all kinds of lifting surfaces. 

Adidas Powerlift 5 grip

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

WARNING: major toe squeezer!

Adidas Powerlift 5 fit

The fit of the Powerlift 5 is nowhere near accommodating. Even for our average-volume feet, this was a tight disaster. What's more, the shoe also runs shorter than expected. So, getting at least half a size larger is strongly recommended.

For reference, we measured the widest part of the toebox at 95.2 mm. This is a whole 3.7 mm narrower than average!

Adidas Powerlift 5 Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Powerlift 5 95.2 mm
Average 99.9 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
95.2 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
104.9 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

As the shoe gets narrower toward the toes, we also measured the width at the big-toe point. At 72.1 mm, it's not that bad, actually. Only one millimetre less than average.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Toebox width at the big toe

Toebox feel

The Powerlift 5 is also not super wide in the heel. At 77.1 mm, it is a whole centimetre narrower than the average.

But as we've mentioned before, this allows the shoe to be lighter and more versatile as a gym shoe.

Test results
Powerlift 5 Medium

Tongue: gusset type

Even though it is considered a budget-friendly lifter, we believe that the Powerlift 5 would benefit a lot from a gusseted tongue.

The problem is that its non-attached tongue has a tendency to slide, roll, and bunch up especially as we started moving more actively in the shoe.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Powerlift 5 None

Velcro strap

Good news for the folks who often struggle with Velcro straps. There is a full-length attachment which means that you can tune in the fit as much as you need.

Adidas Powerlift 5 velcro

Comfort

Tongue padding

There is a good amount of tongue padding that doesn't feel like an overkill. Using a calliper, we measured its thickness at a good 4.7 mm.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Tongue padding
Test results
Powerlift 5 4.7 mm
Average 5.0 mm
Compared to 6 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1.9 mm
Tongue padding
7.4 mm

Heel tab

A handy finger loop is attached at the back of the Powerlift 5. It really helps to get the shoe on and off quicker, especially when you bring two pairs of shoes to the gym. 

Adidas Powerlift 5 Heel tab
Test results
Powerlift 5 Pull tab

Removable insole

Adidas Powerlift 5 Removable insole

Misc

Sustainable materials

Last but not least, the brand claims using sustainably sourced materials to make the shoe's upper. According to Adidas, at least 50% of the shoe's upper is made of recycled content.

Adidas Powerlift 5 upper