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NOBULL makes a wide range of shoes and the NOBULL Lifter is their signature weightlifting shoe that has remained relatively unchanged since its arrival into the strength sports world.
As an athlete and coach on the never-ending quest of finding the best weightlifting shoes, I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a pair of the NOBULL Lifters. I was curious how they compare to other shoes for their high price point.
In my NOBULL Lifter review, I’ll cover who should and shouldn’t buy the NOBULL Lifter, their pros/cons, how to size them, and how they perform in the gym.
NOBULL Lifter Quick Take: If you want a weightlifting shoe that has an old-school vibe then the NOBULL Lifter can be a good option to explore. This shoe is stable and its stacked leather heel has a “timely” feel to it.
- The NOBULL Lifter’s stacked leather feels lively and gives a nice level of ground feedback when lifting on wooden platforms.
- The leather upper provides a solid level of security and the rigid forefoot upper does a good job with long-term durability.
- There’s limited toe spring in this shoe so it gives a nice flat and stable base to lift on.
- At a price of $299 USD, the price of this shoe is fairly high for what it is.
- The stacked leather sole runs a little stiffer and if you like more flexible toe boxes, then you may want to pass on this shoe.
- While the upper is durable, it runs pretty hot and if you’re prone to sweaty feet then you’ll likely find this shoe to feel exceptionally warm.
Are you new to weightlifting shoes? Make sure you check out my weightlifting shoes guide to learn the why and when behind this style of footwear for your training.
Who Should Buy the NOBULL Lifter?
The NOBULL Lifter is a weightlifting shoe that will be a little more polarizing regarding who it’s best for. This polarization revolves around this shoe’s feel when lifting, fit, and of course, its price.
For starters, if you love weightlifting shoes that have a high level of platform feedback, then you’ll likely enjoy the snappy feel that comes along with the NOBULL Lifter. This is an area where I think the stacked leather heel and sole excel.
In addition, if you have narrower feet, then you’ll likely enjoy the fit of the NOBULL Lifter. For this foot anatomy, this shoe should fit like a glove and feel very natural on the feet.
I also see this shoe working well for NOBULL fans that want a weightlifting shoe for their squat and Olympic lifting-focused training sessions. In this context, this shoe should last a while and be plenty durable for your needs.
To add more context for NOBULL fans, this model delivers some consistencies with NOBULL Trainers like its forefoot and midfoot upper construction. This could be a perk for those that love consistency across their shoes.
Who Shouldn’t Buy the NOBULL Lifter?
Outside of the contexts above, I don’t think the NOBULL Lifter delivers a strong enough performance to warrant its $300 USD price point. I know there’s craftsmanship that goes into this shoe, but for the recreational lifter, I don’t think that really matters.
For example, if you’re just getting into weightlifting shoes and you don’t want to drop a ton of money, there are a lot of great options that will perform similarly to this shoe and cost around $100 USD.
Another area where the NOBULL Lifter falls short is its width. I have a medium to wider foot width and I found this shoe to run really snugly through the toe box, especially when wearing my athletic socks that have a normal thickness.
If you have a wider foot or find yourself constantly battling toe boxes in weightlifting shoes, then you’ll want to pass on this model. Otherwise, you’ll be dropping a lot of money just to likely return them due to their width restrictions.
- Narrow Footed Athletes
- Old School Weightlifting Shoe Fans
- For Budget-Friendliness
- For Wide Feet
- For Toe Box Flexibility
NOBULL Lifter Pros
Over the course of my testing and experiences with the NOBULL Lifter, I found a few pros that I enjoy with this unique weightlifting shoe.
- Stacked Leather Sole Grows On You
- Good Upper Security for Different Training Styles
- Great Pick for Narrow Foot Widths
The first thing to like about the NOBULL Lifter is its stacked leather sole construction. Most modern-day weightlifting shoes come with rubber, TPU, or high-density EVA foam soles and heels.
The NOBULL Lifter’s sole and heel are built with waxed, cut, and finished leather layers. This construction feature gave this shoe a feel that I thought felt similar to wooden heels in old-school weightlifting shoes.
To elaborate more on this, I feel like you get a nice level of ground feedback with this shoe as in, there’s a shaper feel when catching weight in this model compared to weightlifting shoes with EVA midsole and heel constructions.
Another aspect to like about the NOBULL Lifter is its upper security. The thicker upper blended with the midfoot strap provide a nice level of security to lock the feet down when training and I never experienced any heel slip issues in this shoe.
When catching cleans, I never experienced any form of foot overhang, and when getting up on my toes during the second pull of my cleans and snatches, I found this shoe to do a good job at promoting my foot security.
The final aspect to like about the NOBULL Lifter is that it’s a good option for lifters and athletes that have narrower foot widths. If you like snugger-fitting weightlifting shoes, then you’ll enjoy this shoe’s toe box and midfoot constructions.
This shoe’s toe box kind of reminds me of the toe box width that you get in the Nike Romaleos 4. And that said, if you typically like the way your NOBULL shoes fit, then I think you’ll be okay with the NOBULL Lifter’s width.
NOBULL Lifter Cons
While there are some niche things to really enjoy with the NOBULL Lifter, I find that there are just as many potential cons that come along with this shoe.
- The Price Point Is Really High
- Sole Runs On the Stiffer Side
- Width Is Lacking and Upper Is Hot
The first drawback that I have with the NOBULL Lifter is its price point. This shoe costs $299 USD and rarely goes on sale which is a bummer for lifters and athletes on a budget. In my opinion, if you’re dropping that much coin go for the ANTA 2.
I get that there’s a craftsmanship component to this shoe which is why they cost more, however, I don’t think this will be worth it for most lifters, especially beginners and intermediates that just need a consistent weightlifting shoe for a good price.
Another knock that I have against the NOBULL Lifter is that their sole construction runs on the stiffer side. The stacked leather reminds me of the sole used in the Do-Win Classic Lifter which is also a stiff weightlifting shoe.
If you’re like me and enjoy more forefoot articulation and a toe box that has more flexibility when training, then I’d suggest looking into weightlifting shoes like the Inov-8 Fastlift Power G 380.
The final drawbacks that I have with the NOBULL Lifter which I briefly touched on above are their width and upper hotness. If you have even slightly wide feet, you’ll want to pass on this shoe.
The toe box has a pretty aggressive taper and the midfoot runs heavily on the narrow side so flat feet also will want to pass on this shoe. To be comfortable, I have to wear thin no-show socks when training in this shoe because of its width and this rarely happens for me.
I also don’t love the heavier upper construction for longer training sessions. This is also a knock I have on other NOBULL Training shoes, but if you want a shoe with more breathability then this model won’t be it.
To break down the performance of the NOBULL Lifter, I’ll cover how this shoe performs in a few key performance areas. I’ll discuss their performance for squats, weightlifting, and accessory exercises.
Since this shoe has a higher price, it’s a good idea to ensure you align with their performance regarding where they excel and where they fall short.
My Experience Squatting With This Shoe
I’d give this shoe an 8.3/10 for squats. I like its stability and the outsole has good tread, but the lack of width is really a knock on its overall comfort for accommodating toe splay and wider feet.
Here are some of the squat tests I did with them with my thoughts.
- 280 lb Front Squats: Good stability and traction.
- 275 lb Tempo Front Squats: By the 3-4 rep I noticed my feet being squeezed by the forefoot’s upper.
My Experience Weightlifting With This Shoe
For weightlifting, I’d give this shoe an 8/10. It’s a good shoe overall and the upper security and stacked leather sole give this shoe model a nice “lively” feel. My issues with it, though, revolve around its stiffness and narrowness.
Here are some of the weightlifting tests I did with them with my thoughts.
- 275 lb Clean Singles: Good for the most part. No foot overhang and flatter outsole.
- 225 lb Clean & Jerk Complex: Nice ground feedback when catching jerks.
- 265 lb Power Cleans: The lack of toe spring is a nice touch.
Testing the NOBULL Lifter for Squats
When it comes to squats, I like the NOBULL Lifter for the most part. It has all of the key details that you want in consistent weightlifting shoes for heavy squats.
For example, the stacked leather sole provided a nice level of stability when hitting front squats and back squats. I don’t think compression will be an issue whatsoever in this model for most lifters, and I didn’t experience any issues here.
I also like the rubber outsole and how it gripped different surfaces. I didn’t have slip issues at all in this shoe and I think these can be a viable option for squats on pretty much every surface in the gym that you’ll be training on.
Another perk of this shoe for squatting is its .73-inch heel elevation. I think this height is great because it will resonate with a wide range of lifters and anatomies wanting an elevated heel for squats.
My main gripe with this shoe is that its width limits its overall comfort. In this shoe, I have to wear super thin no-show socks if I want to feel like I have even a little room to let my feet move and do their thing when squatting.
Testing the NOBULL Lifter for Weightlifting
In the context of weightlifting, there are things to like with the NOBULL Lifter and things that I’d consider a knock on this shoe depending on your preferences. When it comes to what to like with this model, I like the heaviness of the upper and the midfoot security.
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I don’t think most lifters will experience foot overhang in the forefoot of this shoe when catching cleans and the boot is deep enough to lock the heel down despite it running a little narrow. I have yet to experience issues with overhang in this model.
Another to like about the NOBULL Lifter for weightlifting is its lack of toe spring makes it a little more forgiving when catching weight and being forward. I caught a few of my cleans forward in one of my sessions and because this shoe doesn’t pitch you forward a ton, I found that it was easier to recover in this model.
My gripes with this shoe revolve around its width and stiffness. If you invest in this shoe, then I’d expect a solid 2-week break-in period to get the sole a little more flexible. For context, my sole is still stiff after weeks of training in these.
The width of this shoe, which has been a complaint throughout this review, is another issue with this model when it comes to weightlifting. This model is not the most comfortable for sessions where you’re hitting a lot of clean and snatch volume and you have the shoes on for longer periods of time.
Testing the NOBULL Lifter for Accessory Exercises
For accessory exercises, the NOBULL Lifter wasn’t my favorite pair of weightlifting shoes. Note, when I say accessories, I’m discussing workouts where you may be wearing these for machines like hack squats and leg presses and free weight exercises like split squats.
When it comes to split squats and walking lunges, I found this shoe’s sole stiffness to be a turn-off. It was tough getting a nice degree of flexion through the toe box that felt natural.
For machine work, this shoe is fine and should work well for most hack squat and leg press setups. The upper outsole has a decent level of tread and if you’re more static with your exercises then these shoes should feel good.
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Outside of their lack of flexibility, another complaint that I have with these shoes for accessories is that the upper lacks breathability. If you’re tackling longer sessions where you’ll be wearing these for a while, then this can be more of an issue.
NOBULL Lifter Sizing
The NOBULL Lifter’s sizing is interesting and you’ll want to size this shoe based on your individual foot anatomy. If you have narrow feet, then you should be safe going true to size in this shoe.
If you have medium/neutral-width feet and like snugger-fitting shoes, then I’d suggest going true to size to up a half-size to play it safe. Going up should be a safe bet for this foot anatomy and fit contexts.
For wide and flat feet, I’d steer clear of this shoe. This model is going to run way too snug for thicker and wider feet and I’d suggest exploring models like the TYR L-1 Lifter if you need a little more forefoot width.
- NOBULL Lifter Sizing Thoughts: True to size for narrow feet. Go up a half-size for medium/neutral-width feet. Pass on them for wide feet.
If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the NOBULL Lifter before investing, drop a comment below and I can help you accordingly.
For the NOBULL Lifter, you can expect to pay $299 USD. This model rarely goes on sale and NOBULL doesn’t really sell these shoes through other outlets so saving on them is pretty rare.
Compared to other weightlifting shoes, the NOBULL Lifter is one of the most expensive modern-day options that you can buy. The only weightlifting shoe that costs more than these currently is the ANTA 2.
If you’re wanting to invest in the NOBULL Lifter then I’d highly suggest making sure you align with this model’s fit and some of its construction features.
On the bright side, NOBULL does offer 60 days to return and exchange their products, but you’ll want to make sure you’re not visibly damaging these shoes or the box if you plan to potentially send them back post trying them on.
- Narrow Footed Athletes
- Old School Weightlifting Shoe Fans
- For Budget-Friendliness
- For Wide Feet
- For Toe Box Flexibility
Before you invest in the NOBULL Lifter, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of this shoe’s key construction details.
- Sizing: Narrow
- Price: $299 USD
- Effective Heel Height: 18.5mm/.73-inches
- Removable Insole: Yes
- Leather Upper Around Heel
- SuperFabric Forefoot Upper
- Single Leather Midfoot Strap
- Rubber Outsole
- Stacked Leather Sole
- 6 Core Eyelets
If you have additional construction-related questions about the NOBULL Lifter, drop a comment below and I can help you out accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:What is the heel height of the NOBULL Lifter?
Q:Is the NOBULL Lifter good for squats?
Q:Is the NOBULL Lifter good for wide feet?
For its price point, I find the NOBULL Lifter to be just okay. I do think there are certain contexts and weightlifting shoe asks where this shoe makes sense.
However, for the vast majority of lifters and athletes, I’m not that impressed with this shoe especially if you’re spending well over $250 USD for them.
They run narrow, the sole is pretty stiff and takes a while to break in, and their upper doesn’t provide the best breathability.
If you have additional questions about the NOBULL Lifter and how they compare to other weightlifting shoes, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).