Our verdict

We consider the Nike Savaleos a successful experiment of turning a high-heeled lifting shoe into a more versatile gym tool. Even though it loses some of its performance in the more niche activities, it is a truly unique crossover. We believe that entry-level gymgoers will benefit the most from the Savaleos. Its elevated heel mixed with a lightweight and flexible setup readily substitutes two pairs of trainers for the price of one.

Pros

  • Superb stability for moderate lifting
  • Good for non-lifting exercises
  • Very lightweight for a lifter
  • Secure lockdown
  • Flexible forefoot
  • Excellent grip
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Not for heavy weightlifting
  • Not for wide feet
  • Upper lacks durability

Audience verdict

85
Good!
  • Top 28% most popular training shoes

Who should buy

We believe that the Nike Savaleos is a great match for gymgoers who:

  • are new to weightlifting and need an entry-level shoe to get used to elevated heels
  • are not ready to spend £170-£210 on a dedicated pair of lifting shoes
  • only do lifting occasionally and are not aiming for PBs
  • want a lifting shoe that can also do some box jumps, burpees, lunges, wall push-ups, etc.

Nike Savaleos Review

Who should NOT buy

As a crossover between dedicated lifters and Crossfit trainers, we found that the Savaleos is okay for both activities but is not great at either.

If you intend to lift heavy (300+ pounds) on a regular basis, we highly recommend investing in the Nike Romaleos 4.

And if you can do without the elevated heel, go with the brand's flagship Crossfit trainer, the Nike Metcon 8. We found it to be mind-blowingly stable for lifting, even when it comes to heavy loads.

Nike Savaleos Lab test

Breathability

Lifting shoes are notorious for their lack of breathability. That's because they typically use genuine or synthetic leather for their uppers. And the Nike Savaleos is no exception.

But to our surprise, the shoe performed a little better than other lifters in our fog-machine test. Based on the amount of smoke passing through its upper, we rated it as 3 out of 5, which puts it into the breathable range.

If you despise sweaty feet, a cross-trainer like the Reebok Nano X2 (right shoe) is a better option.

In the transparency test below, we can clearly see what helps the shoe stay ventilated. There is mesh fabric on the tongue as well as perforations on the toebox.

Taking photos of the upper through our microscope, we get a better view of the shoe's ventilation holes.

Nike Savaleos Microscope 1

Nike Savaleos Microscope 2

Test results
Savaleos 3
Average 2
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Toebox durability

Our initial impression of the shoe's polyurethane upper material was not very positive. It felt somewhat cheap in hand and creased too easily as we bent the feet.

Running our wear resistance test with a Dremel, we got a confirmation - this is not the most durable upper. Based on the damage caused by applying the tool for 12 seconds, we gave the Savaleos only 3 out of 5 for its toebox durability.

The most durable lifter on our list by far is the Reebok Legacy Lifter III (a solid 5 out of 5). Its genuine leather cover is second to none.

Nike Savaleos Toebox durability comparison

The Nike Savaleos (left) vs. the Reebok Legacy Lifter III (right) after the same Dremel test.

Test results
Savaleos 3
Average 3.4
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

The padding on the Savaleos' heel collar also left us wanting.

After 4 seconds under the Dremel, the lining and foam received more damage than the other lifting shoes in our lab. We rated the durability of this part as 3 out of 5, less than the average.

But given that the Nike Savaleos is £90 cheaper than premium lifting shoes, we consider it a fair trade-off.

Test results
Savaleos 3

Outsole hardness

On a positive note, the rubber outsole on the Savaleos looks promising in our durability tests.

First of all, the Savaleos uses a pretty hard rubber compound. Pressing a durometer against it, we found that it is as hard as 89.8 HC. This is notably denser than the average of lifting shoes.

In our experience, the firmness of rubber correlates with its wear resistance.

Nike Savaleos Outsole hardness
Test results
Savaleos 89.8 HC
Average 85.0 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
79.5 HC
Outsole hardness
90.6 HC

Outsole thickness

We also discovered that the shoe's outsole is thicker than average.

Using a caliper, we measured it at 4.0 mm. For reference, the rubber on advanced lifters like the Nike Romaleos 4 and the Legacy Lifter III is a little thinner - 3.8 mm and 3.4 mm respectively.

Nike Savaleos Outsole thickness
Test results
Savaleos 4.0 mm
Average 3.9 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
3.2 mm
Outsole thickness
5.0 mm

Weight

The Nike Savaleos is one of the lightest weightlifting shoes we've ever seen!

Because it is built as a lifter-trainer hybrid, the shoe cuts down on the bulk of traditional lifting shoes. It tips the scale at only 14.8 oz (420g), while its older sibling, the Romaleos 4 weighs in at 20.1 oz (571g).

Its lightness makes the Savaleos more suitable for jumps and other agile exercises from the WOD, which is not the case for traditional lifters.

Test results
Savaleos 14.82 oz (420g)
Average 18.73 oz (531g)
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
14.82 oz (420g)
Weight
22.12 oz (627g)

Platform

Heel stack

For a semi-lifter, we expected the Nike Savaleos to have a lower stack height than the average lifting shoe. To be capable of performing exercises other than lifting, you need to feel closer to the ground.

Thus, we weren't surprised when our caliper showed only 26 mm of heel height. Interestingly enough, it is about the same as the average heel height of cross-training shoes (25 mm).

The Savaleos indeed felt low to the ground during our training sessions.

Nike Savaleos Heel stack
Test results
Savaleos 26.0 mm
Average 31.4 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
26.0 mm
Heel stack
34.6 mm

Forefoot stack

In the forefoot, we measured the shoe's stack height at 10.9 mm. Also lower than the average.

We found that it definitely helps to feel planted for exercises like box jumps, where you need to be in control of the landings.

But on the downside, that thinner forefoot provided too little impact protection when we tried rope jumping in the Savaleos.

Nike Savaleos Forefoot stack
Test results
Savaleos 10.9 mm
Average 13.0 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
10.9 mm
Forefoot stack
14.8 mm

Drop

The difference in stack measurements gave us a heel-to-toe drop of 0.6 inches (15.1 mm) in the Nike Savaleos.

Nike Savaleos Drop

We have seen the same offset in entry-level lifters like the Adidas Powerlift 5. It places the heels higher compared to cross-trainers and puts your ankles, knees, and hips in a more ergonomic position to perform under heavy loads. With an elevated heel, you are able to achieve deeper squats with a more upright torso which, in turn, allows you to lift more efficiently and avoid injuries.

You can learn more about the benefits of heel elevation in our extensive guide on weightlifting shoes.

Advanced athletes choose lifters with an offset of 20+ mm for added benefit. The Nike Romaleos 4 (drop: 20.5 mm) is one such option.

Test results
Savaleos 15.1 mm
Average 18.4 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
15.1 mm
Drop
20.9 mm

Platform firmness

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

Compression is the last thing you want to feel underfoot when raising a hefty barbell above your head. Thus, you need a hard platform in a pair of lifters.

We use a durometer to measure how hard each shoe's platform is. Normally, we see a value of 95-97 HA in a pair of dedicated lifting shoes. However, in the case of the Savaleos, our durometer returned only 36.5 HA...Is it THAT squishy?

Nike Savaleos Midsole softness

No!

Of course, being 50% softer than a typical lifting shoe, we wouldn't trust the Savaleos to handle anything more than 300 pounds. However, it still feels nice and firm underfoot, especially since the foam is locked inside a sturdy TPU cage.

To give you more context, the Nike Metcon 8 trainer has a durometer reading of 28.8 HA but we found it quite firm and incompressible when lifting heavy.

Nike Savaleos Platform

We can see the benefit of softer material in the Nike Savaleos. It helps to keep the shoe's weight down while making it more versatile for exercises outside of lifting.

Test results
Savaleos 36.5 HA
Average 75.0 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
36.5 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
97.0 HA

Insole thickness

The Savaleos comes with a thinner-than-average insole. But we never felt like something was lacking in the shoe. At 4.8 mm, the insole provides just enough underfoot padding.

Nike Savaleos Insole thickness
Test results
Savaleos 4.8 mm
Average 6.4 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
4.8 mm
Insole thickness
8.3 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

Assessing how steady the Nike Savaleos is by actively shifting our ankles, we can tell that it is quite stable but definitely not as planted as the big boy lifting shoes.

In the video below, you can see how the same movement is notably more limited in the Nike Romaleos 4.

Torsional rigidity

If you have flat feet or overpronation, we wouldn't be worried about rolling the ankle in the Nike Savaleos. Its torsional rigidity is on par with all the other lifting shoes we've tested.

A solid 5 out of 5!

Test results
Savaleos 5
Average 5
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

Squeezing the heel counter, we were also pleasantly surprised with its stiffness, both in hand and around the ankle.

We gave it the highest (5/5) rating, feeling the benefits of its secure heel clutch.

Test results
Savaleos 5
Average 5
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

For a shoe that is not intended for lifting only, the Nike Savaleos has an impressively wide platform.

It features diamond-shaped outriggers, similar to the Romaleos, to provide stability without being too bulky.

At the widest part of the forefoot, our caliper shows 116 mm. Significantly wider than the average of lifting shoes!

Nike Savaleos Midsole width in the forefoot
Test results
Savaleos 116.0 mm
Average 107.1 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
102.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
116.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

Wide outriggers are present in the heel too.

Measuring in at 94.3 mm between the widest points of the heel, we found it to be wider than average.

We felt incredibly surefooted pushing off such a wide base!

Nike Savaleos Midsole width in the heel
Test results
Savaleos 94.2 mm
Average 87.1 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
77.1 mm
Midsole width in the heel
94.2 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

As a training shoe that's supposed to "do it all," we expected the Savaleos to have a good flex in the forefoot.

And it does!

It only took 21.3N of force to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. For comparison, it took 40.4N (or significantly more force) in the Romaleos 4.

The flexibility level of the Nike Savaleos is about the same as that of the Reebok Nanos. We were able to go into lunges and squat during burpees with ease.

Test results
Savaleos 21.3N
Average 26.0N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
18.8N
Stiffness
40.4N

Grip / Traction

Slipping is not an option in the Nike Savaleos. The grip is simply amazing!

Nike Savaleos Outsole

We haven't had any issues moving around the gym floors...or walls for that matter.

Yes, there is a handy lip at the back of the shoe that allowed our heels to glide on the wall during handstand pushups.

Nike Savaleos Heel tab

Size and fit

Toebox width at the widest part

Measuring the widest part of the shoe's toebox (102.7 mm), we found it to be a few millimeters wider than average.

However, because of the thick polyurethane upper, it feels a bit more restricting than it appears to be based on the measurements.

But for medium and narrow feet, there is nothing to worry about the Nike Savaleos' fit.

Nike Savaleos Toebox width at the widest part
Test results
Savaleos 102.7 mm
Average 98.9 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
95.2 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
102.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

The Savaleos gets a little more pointy towards the toes. A few millimeters more than the average actually.

This also makes the fit a little tighter than expected but still appropriate for medium width.

However, for athletes with wide feet, we recommend going half-size up in the Nike Savaleos.

Nike Savaleos Toebox width at the big toe

Midfoot feel

Overall, we've had no complaints about the way the Nike Savaleos fits.

Nike Savaleos Fit

However, we are concerned that the Velcro piece is not full-length but is located only at the end of the strap. This could make it a problem for people with high arches to customize the fit.

Nike Savaleos Velcro strap

Test results
Savaleos Normal

Tongue: gusset type

We love gusseted tongues! Even if they are semi-gusseted.

They make us feel so much more confident and locked in when moving, especially side-to-side. And should we add that the tongue never ended up shifting in the Savaleos?

Nike Savaleos Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Savaleos Both sides (semi)

Comfort

Tongue padding

The in-shoe padding is just right in the Nike Savaleos. We measured the tongue thickness at 4.5 mm. It is a little thinner than average but never took away from the overall comfort.

Nike Savaleos Tongue padding

The shoe is also amply padded around the ankle collar.

Test results
Savaleos 4.5 mm
Average 5.6 mm
Compared to 5 weightlifting training shoes
Number of shoes
4.5 mm
Tongue padding
7.4 mm

Heel tab

Nike Savaleos Heel tab

Removable insole

Nike Savaleos Removable insole