- Stable base for moderate lifting
- Good for accessory exercises
- Solid bite on gym floors
- Secure foothold
- Supportive Velcro strap
- Reasonably priced
- Contains sustainable materials
- Lacks breathability
- Upper is not very durable
- Tongue shifts
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
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.
This Adidas lifter also takes some time to break in. If you want a shoe that feels at home from day one, have a look at the Reebok Lifter PR II.
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.
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!
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
We applied the Dremel with the same force (3.2N) and speed (10K RPM) for 12 seconds to both shoes.
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.
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.
|Powerlift 5||84.5 HC|
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.
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.
|Powerlift 5||1.1 mm|
Another reassuring fact is that the outsole of the Powerlift 5 is a whole millimeter thicker than the average.
At 5 mm, it is by far the thickest outsole among our lab-tested lifters.
|Powerlift 5||5.0 mm|
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.
|Powerlift 5||14.99 oz (425g)|
|Average||18.73 oz (531g)|
Using a caliper, 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).
|Powerlift 5||30.0 mm|
We also found that the forefoot sits lower than stated. Based on our caliper measurement, it is 14.8 mm whereas Adidas claims it to be 18 mm.
|Powerlift 5||14.8 mm|
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.
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.
|Powerlift 5||15.2 mm|
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 Adidas Adipower or the Reebok Legacy Lifter. The firmness of these platforms shows 96-97 HA!
|Powerlift 5||51.0 HA|
A padded insole protects the foot from the shoe's firm platform. Based on our caliper measurement, it is 5.3 mm thick.
|Powerlift 5||5.3 mm|
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.
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.
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.
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 caliper shows 103.1 mm of width. This is a few millimeters narrower than average.
|Powerlift 5||103.1 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 centimeter narrower than the average.
But as we've mentioned before, this allows the shoe to be lighter and more versatile as a gym shoe.
|Powerlift 5||77.1 mm|
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 catalog.
However, we found that it does get more forgiving with use. It takes some time for its stiff canvas/mesh upper to stretch out.
Grip / Traction
The Powerlift 5 has quite an effective grip on all kinds of lifting surfaces.
Size and fit
Toebox width at the widest part
WARNING: major toe squeezer!
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!
|Powerlift 5||95.2 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 millimeter less than average.
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.
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.
There is a good amount of tongue padding that doesn't feel like an overkill. Using a caliper, we measured its thickness at a good 4.7 mm.
|Powerlift 5||4.7 mm|
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.
|Powerlift 5||Pull tab|
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.