The NOBULL Lifters are the first model in NOBULL’s weightlifting shoe line. They were released last year to the surprise of many NOBULL fans. Before this release, they made cross training shoes, which have grown in popularity for their design and performance.
NOBULL Lifters have similar features to most bigger companies lifting shoes, but offer a few key differences as well. Of these differences include the upper shoe construction, make of the heel, and how they’re made. Their upper shoe construction is made with SuperFabric®, which is a highly flexible and durable material. The heel of the shoe is made of stacked leather, which give them their “old school” look and feel. Plus, every NOBULL Lifter is handcrafted by experienced leather craftsmen.
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How do the NOBULL Lifters stack up against other hybrid models and Olympic lifting specific shoes?
How Much Do the NOBULL Lifters Weigh?
The NOBULL Lifters are on the lighter side of lifters due to their SuperFabric and leather heel. They weigh around 15.7 oz, which makes them a little heavier than the Nike Romaleos 3s, but lighter than the Reebok Legacy Lifters.
With a weight of just under 16 oz, the NOBULL Lifters can be used in hybrid style training without them feeling too heavy on the feet. The SuperFabric and stacked leather heel are the two design features that give this shoe its lightweight feeling. I personally like the weight of this shoe, because it’s an in-between of the light hybrid specific lifters and heavier lifters, which make it a great shoe for a variety of activities.
Conversely, if you’re someone who likes and wants a really heavy shoe, then this may not be your best option. Also, for lifters who want the lightest shoe possible for functional fitness workouts, then they may reach for a different option as well. In terms of foot turnover, I don’t see this shoe’s weight being problematic with turnover for slower footed athletes. Athletes who have trouble planting their feet firmly may also like this shoe’s weight.
NOBULL Lifters Effective Heel Height
The effective heel height of the NOBULL Lifters is .73 inches or 18.5 millimeters, which puts this model in the .75″ category.
Most modern lifters have an effective heel height in the .75″ category, which works for a plethora of lifters. In a lot of cases, a .75″ heel will work with most lifter’s anthropometrics and lifting styles. In addition, the heel drop of this shoe is less dramatic than other .75″ models, so they feel a little more like a typical athletic styled shoe. This heel height will help most lifters achieve the depth they require to hit proper Olympic lifts and squats. It’s also a decent heel height for a variety of movements, so those undergoing WODs won’t experience a lot of discomfort using them.
One issue that comes with .75″ heels is the scenario when athletes need a very specific fit to enhance their lifting. Powerlifters will typically reach for lower heels to provide support, but not shift them forward for low-bar squatting. On the opposing side, weightlifters who need a 1″ heel for their lifting style may find that .75″ isn’t high enough for them.
The NOBULL Lifters heel is constructed with a stacked premium leather, which is hand crafted by teams of expert level leather craftsmen.
The construction of the NOBULL Lifters heel is what makes them unique in comparison to other modern shoes. This shoe utilizes a stacked leather heel that is said to be constructed by hand by leather craftsman. I like that each shoe is handmade, as it adds a level of genuineness you won’t get from a mass produced model.
Also, I like the old school appearance, but the actual material somewhat worries me. Since this shoe’s model is new as of last year, it’s hard to gauge how this heel will hold up over a prolonged time.
On first impressions, you’ll notice the heel can be a depressed to a small extent around the edges, but as a whole it stays pretty solid. You can’t feel the depression during heavy lifts, yet it’s still a factor that’s somewhat troubling. From NOBULL’s site, they state that the leather is hand selected and is individually stacked, waxed, and buffed. They say that each shoe takes roughly 2-3 hours when crafting the heel and outsole.
Upper Shoe Material
Another factor that separates the NOBULL Lifters from other lifting shoes is the upper shoe construction. This model is created with SuperFabric, which is the same material they use in their cross training models. I like the SuperFabric because it’s lightweight, flexible, and breathable. The Nike Romaleos 3s use Nike’s Flywire, so I thought this was a solid comparison in terms of functionality by NOBULL. It gives the shoe a different feeling than most, plus it cuts down the “breaking them in” period.
The SuperFabric feels durable, too, which is a comforting feeling since this shoe is pretty flexible. One issue I could see lifters running into with the SuperFabric is how lightweight it is. If you want a stiffer shoe, then this material won’t be your best bet. Also, this material has never been used on lifters, so I’m curious to see how it holds up over a prolonged period of time. They’ve had success with this material and their cross trainers, but it’s hard to give a completely even comparison for two different purposes.
The NOBULL Lifters offer one strap that sits on the top of the tongue near the ankle. This is a common strapping spot because it helps provide extra security for the ankle. In addition, a lot of lifters prefer their strap higher than lower to prevent excessive ankle flexion. The strap is a leather make and has additional NOBULL branding on the inside, which reads “No Excuses”.
One thing I like about the strap is that it’s cut well, and doesn’t hang over the side like some straps can (think Nike Romaleos 2s). An issue that comes with one strap lifters is they don’t provide the highest amount of security. If you want full shoe security from the top of the tongue to the bottom, then you should reach for double strapped shoes or BOA systems.
NOBULL Lifters Price
The NOBULL Lifter’s price makes them possibly the most expensive among modern weightlifting shoe models, starting at $299.00 on NOBULL’s site. I personally find this price to be exceptionally high, even with the free shipping NOBULL provides. Yes, the shoe is handcrafted, but we’re still unsure on the durability of prolonged use with the stacked leather heel and SuperFabric construction. For the lifter on a budget, I think this price is a little too high.
Yet, if you’re a fan of NOBULL and have the money to spend, then this model may be a good option for you.
An Athlete’s Take
While the NOBULL Lifter is relatively new, a lot of strength athletes have used them and shared their thoughts. Below are a few strength athletes’ thoughts on the model when it comes to pros, cons, and general concerns. Keep in mind, several of the athletes below work with NOBULL, or have a formal relationship with the company. Their opinions may not be unbiased.
Matt Bergeron – Weightlifter and USAW Regional Administrator Region 4
Bergeron has been known to be associated with the company NOBULL, but has expressed to us that he’s since moved on saying, “Let me preface this first, as a lot of people who may know/follow me may know that I was associated with a company called the Kinetik Collective, a wholesaler for NoBull, which I am no longer apart of.”
In addition to the above state, Bergeron pointed out that his goal is to provide an unbiased review and said, “I bought my lifters on my own dime, so my review on the shoes is impartial to sponsorship or affiliation biases.”
To give background into Bergeron’s shoe history, he told us, “I have owned a lot of pairs of shoes – from the Original Risto Weightlifting Shoe, to the 2008 Adistar, to the Pendlay DoWins, the original Nike Romaleo 2, the original AdiPowers, and the NoBull Lifters, so I can say there is no magical shoe, as I will often flip through from my Nikes to my Adidas and try out other shoes.”
Bergeron pointed out multiples pros with the NOBULL Lifters. The first point he mentioned was the comfort: “The shoes are extremely comfortable, definitely the most comfortable shoe I have ever put on my feet. The SuperFabric and pressed leather heel breaks into your foot like a glove over time of use.”
He also added that he likes the lightweight, durable nature of the shoe, “The shoes are extremely light thanks to the SuperFabric and Leather materials, adding to the comfort of the shoe itself. The SuperFabric body is extremely durable to wear and tear, as seen with the other NoBull Project Shoe lines. You will have to work hard or train hard to destroy the SuperFabric material.”
In terms on cons, Bergeron said, “Right off the bat – $300 for a pair of lifting shoes is a hefty price to pay, but, given that the Nike Romaleos 3s are only $100 less, that might not put off a lot of consumers right away.”
Also, he stated, “The Pressed Leather is not magically better or more durable, people misunderstand this. If you want to make sure it lasts, you have to practice upkeep, especially with leather shoes. There’s a reason shoe-shine stands are still popular in air ports and on wall street.”
To further the above pressed leather point, he added, “The sole of the shoe is an old school sole, similar to that of pre 2010 DoWins, nothing fancy or modern, so it may not have the best grip on the platform or training hall floor without the assistance of resin.”
Bergeron concluded his thoughts with a couple concerns to keep in mind if you want to invest in a new pair on NOBULL Lifters. He says, “Buying and trying weightlifting shoes is always an experiment (look at me, I’ve gone through 5 different brands myself over the years) so it’s going to be buyer beware no matter who you’re going with most of the time.”
His final concern expressed for the buye with the NOBULL Lifter has to do with its upkeep. He states, “Second issue is the upkeep issue; if you’re looking for a shoe to just slap on and lift in, the NoBull Lifters are not for you – they will require some upkeep, as stated in the cons, but don’t be too shocked if other brands of shoes are going to disappoint you as well. There have been plenty of complaints about the Romaleo 3’s not being durable (some falling apart in less than a month’s use) and the new Adidas Leistung has had similar complaints both due to the going with more light weight materials, which inherently has durability drawbacks.”
The NOBULL Lifters are a unique modern take on an old school weightlifting shoe. They offer a handmade stacked leather heel that provide them with a lightweight feeling. In addition, the upper shoe is constructed of SuperFabric, which give this model a durable and flexible feeling. If you’re a fan of the old school aesthetics, then this shoe may be a good modern option for you.
This shoe does fall a little short in a couple areas, the first being the price. They’re $300 and unless you live by NOBULL, then there’s nowhere to test them. That’s a big investment without actually trying them first. Also, the stacked leather heel, while light in weight, does depress a little on the outsides.
If you’re a fan of NOBULL and don’t mind spending the extra bit of money, then the NOBULL Lifters may be a good option for you.
Feature image from NOBULLproject.com.