Nike Romaleos - All You Need To Know

The Nike Romaleos - A Brief History

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In short, the Nike Romaleos are THE Nike Weightlifting Shoe. The Romaleos 1 was released in 2009 to remake Nike as a player in the weightlifting market. Nike then, (through a third party) entered into partnerships with National Weightlifting Federations to grow their presence within the sport. This was a key factor, but fundamentally Nike had nailed it, and great shoes like the Romaleos would go on to sell themselves. Nike now releases a new weightlifting shoe to roughly coincide with an olympic cycle. 


Nike Romaleos 1

Nike Romaleos 1
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Released circa 2009, but good luck finding a picture of these dinosaurs anywhere! Luckily for us, we don’t have to feel left out as these were somewhat short lived, and not particularly pervasive. Improvements were quickly made to bring the release of the Romaleos 2. The Romaleos 1 was aesthetically very similar to the two, just (allegedly) heavier and less robust on the quality. The following shoe is the one that cemented the legacy:

Nike Romaleos 2

Nike Romaleos 2

Source: Google Images

Albeit not Genesis, this is the shoe responsible for giving us the necessary competition in the Weightlifting shoe category. Released in January 2012, this is where the Romaleos staked their claim to the weightlifting connoisseur. 
Made from sturdy faux leather, combined with a two strap design, the Romaleos 2 had stability covered. The buckles on the edge of the velcro straps were also metal, so when left undone, would allow you to make a noise reminiscent of a cowboy whilst prowling the weight room.

The sturdy upper material was combined with a rigid TPU heel for maximum stability (with a 1.9mm heel raise). Importantly, a large factor for the Romaleos 2s continued popularity and cult status is that Nike did not shy away from keeping some weight to this shoe. 
The lack of weight shedding only added to the stability and reassurance that these shoes gave. This went hand with the bulky look of this shoe. The Nike Romaleos 2 sizing was popular as it was generous, if not wide fit.


Nike Romaleos 3

Source: WIT Fitness
The Romaleos 2 was so successful that Nike didn’t rush out their replacement, which was obviously the Romaleos 3, released in January 2017. Although their predecessor boasted a range of colour schemes, it was with this third model that Nike finally began to release more frequent colourways. These often came in sync with similar colourways in other Nike shoes in the training line-up such as the Nike Metcon. This added vibrance is not to be overlooked as an improvement to the Romaleos franchise.

On the other hand, there were stark differences to the new model. Firstly there was somewhat of a dramatic shift aesthetically. The Romaleos 3 took on a more streamlined, less conservative silhouette, which did polarise existing fans. The real question is, did this affect the performance of the shoe? Well, let's look at the features:
  • Yes, the Romaleos 3 lost a strap. The inclusion of only one strap was new, but it was also much wider than on the previous model, and still did a good job of supporting the foot.
  • Another consideration is the sole, and heel height. Like the Romaleos 2, the new model was made from a honeycomb TPU sole unit, with an increased heel height, now 20mm. This new sole was however mildly narrower than its predecessor, and considerably lighter.
  • Having said that, the shoe was lighter than the Romaleos 2, but not as dramatically as was reported. The main difference was in the shape, and thus, the fit. The new guy was narrower, and tapered a great deal more in the toe box. This shoe therefore didn’t fit as many people.
  • Nike attempted a soft update, The Nike Romaleos 3.5, or to use its actual name, the Nike Romaleos 3XD. Were they more durable than the 3’s? Well yes they were, as they were now made from a synthetic leather, similar to the 2’s. The big improvement was the thicker tongue, and the more traditional leather look.

Why were the Romaleos 2 so popular?

As previously alluded to, heres your pros list:
  • Traditional ‘leather look’.
  • Wide stable base. And rigid TPU sole.
  • Secure double strap system.
  • Generous fit, suitable for a wide range of feet.
  • 19mm heel raise, which appears to be in that ‘mobility sweet spot’ for most people.

Are the Romaleos 4 the heir to the 2’s throne?

Nike Romaleos 4

Well, basically, yes. The latest iteration of the Nike Romaleos is the Nike Romaloes 4. Nike have reverted to a very similar style and fit to the popular Romaleos 2 with this version of the shoe. You can learn more about this version in our article ‘All You Need To Know About Romaleos 4’


Why Should You Get The Romaleos 4?

Firstly, if you still love the look of an older model, you will struggle to find Nike Romaleos 2 for sale, considering they were replaced four years ago. Even though people still consider this.
Secondly, there is no point, because the Nike Romaleos 4 are fantastic for the following reasons:
  • Wide stable base. And rigid TPU sole.
  • Secure double strap system.
  • More generous fit, suitable for a wide range of feet.
  • 20mm heel raise.
  • Increased weight. This makes them feel more stable, and makes them feel subconsciously more reassuring. 
  • Frequent new colours come out all the time, so you can finally match your lifter to your outfit.

Check out our full Romaleos 4 collection here to upgrade your weightlifting. 



It's a safe investment to buy the Romaleos 4 over the Romaleos 2. Performance wise, they are an improvement. They also look similar and are less polarising aesthetically. The only reason that you could justify buying the Nike Romaleos 2 now that the Romaleos 4 has been released is to be different, but if that's your raison d'etre, good luck finding a pair!
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