In the world of modern-day weightlifting shoes, it can be tough to find models that deliver wooden heels. The Velaasa Strake is one of the few weightlifting shoes that are still built with a wooden heel and not a TPU or EVA foam.
As someone who enjoyed wooden heels in weightlifting shoes, I was excited to test and put the Velaasa Strake up against the market’s best weightlifting shoes. With their higher price point, I wanted to know if these shoes are worth it.
Overall, I’ve been impressed with the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes and can see some specific use cases where they’ll work really well. Now, that’s not to say these shoes don’t come with a few cons and I’ll cover those in-depth below.
In this Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoe review, I’ll work to help you decide if these shoes are worth the investment for your training needs.
On the market for new weightlifting shoes or are you new to using weightlifting shoes? Make sure you check out my weightlifting shoes guide to learn more about this type of footwear.
Who Should Invest In the Velaasa Strake?
The Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes deliver a consistent and strong performance for both squats and weightlifting. These shoes have a wooden heel and are one of the few modern-day lifting shoes offering this construction detail.
I think if you’re a lifter that prioritizes having a wooden heel for ground feedback purposes, then you may want to explore the Velaasa Strake lifting shoes. This shoe’s heel is highly responsive for clean and jerks and stable for squats.
On top of delivering a stable wooden heel, this model should also resonate well with lifters with narrower and neutral-width feet. For these foot anatomies, this shoe should fit like a glove and feel more natural on the feet.
That being said, this model, while being consistent, does run a little more costly and it has areas where it falls short so it won’t be for everyone. For example, this model’s toe box runs a little more narrow and the upper of the Strake isn’t the most breathable.
- Athletes That Love Wood Heels
- Narrow Feet
- For Wide Feet
- For Cost-Efficiency
Velaasa Strake Pros
Over the course of multiple lifting and squat sessions, I’ve found a few pros to really enjoy with the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes.
- Wooden Heel Provides Nice Feedback
- Good Stability for Squats and Heavy Training
- Great Option for Narrower Feet
The first thing to like about the Velaasa Strake is its wooden heel. Truthfully, I think this is the Velaasa Strake’s main claim to fame and the one construction feature that differentiates it from the pack of other modern-day weightlifting shoes.
If you’ve ever used wooden heels in weightlifting shoes and like their construction, then I think you’ll enjoy this detail of the Strake. The heel in this model provides a good level of ground feedback when catching cleans and snatches.
Wooden heels provide a slightly different feel when training which some athletes love. If you’ve never used a wooden heel in a weightlifting shoe and want an example of what “feels” different with them, let me try to explain.
Imagine (or literally try this) grabbing a piece of wood and a solid piece of plastic then hitting each material on something solid. You’ll likely notice that the wood gives you “more” back when it comes to the feeling in your hand.
This is kind of similar to what a wooden heel feels like when training (as similar as I can give you without physically being with you to show you what I mean, LOL). It’s a sharper feeling on the foot that gives you “more” from floor contact when catching cleans and snatches.
The second perk of the Velaasa Strake is its stability for heavy training and squats. This model should provide ample stability for squats and your heaviest sessions due to its firm outsole and wooden heel.
If you prioritize having stable and balanced shoes for heavy squats, then I think you’ll enjoy the Strake’s performance. This model has a nice “locked-down” feeling when training.
I also like the mid-foot strap in this shoe and feel like it does a good job of providing a nice level of upper support and security. I do wish this shoe had a little more velcro for security purposes, but for most, what they come with should be enough.
The final aspect to like about the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoe is that it can be a great option for narrower feet. If you like a snugger shoe for training, then I think you’ll enjoy the Strake’s width and toe box construction.
This model has a width that is fairly similar to the Reebok Legacy Lifter II, so if you like the fit of this model or enjoy the fit of Reebok shoes in general, then I think you’ll enjoy the Velaasa Strake’s fit.
Velaasa Strake Cons
While I enjoy the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes, for the most part, there are a few cons to note about this model before investing in them.
- Fall Short for Wide Feet
- Upper and Mid-Foot Strap Could Be Better
- Not the Most Cost-Efficient Option
The first drawback with the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes is that they’re not going to be the best weightlifting shoes for wide feet. While this shoe should fit narrow and neutral-width feet well, they’ll likely leave wide feet feeling constricted.
The toe box on this model has a fairly aggressive taper and I felt a little restricted in this shoe when wearing thicker socks. If you’re worried about width and want more toe box room, I’d suggest looking into the TYR L-1 Lifter.
The second aspect of the Strake that I wasn’t the biggest fan of was the upper construction and the mid-foot strap. The upper on this model is a heavier leather-esque material, which takes away from this shoe’s overall breathability.
I think if Velaasa added more ventilation through the toe box and midfoot, then this should help a lot with this issue. On top of running a little hot, I also wasn’t the biggest fan of the outsole and upper at the box of the toe box.
The outsole wraps up slightly on the medial and lateral side of the toe box, and mixed with the thicker upper, I thought the break of this shoe was awkward and uncomfortable at times. It almost felt like the upper was digging into my feet when breaking these in.
Regarding the strap, I mentioned this above, but I do wish Velaasa would add a little more velcro at the base of the strap. I think this would give you more security and make this model more inclusive for a wider range of foot anatomies.
The final knock that I have against the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes is that they’re not the most budget-friendly shoe on the market. This model has a price point of $249.99 USD which puts them on the higher end for modern-day weightlifting shoes.
To be honest, if you’re not super concerned with the wooden heel or you want to save money, then you can find really strong-performing weightlifting shoes for around $100 USD including the Reebok Lifter PR II and Do-Win Weightlifting Shoes.
Regarding the performance of the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes, I’m going to cover how these shoes perform in a few key contexts. I’ll discuss their performance for squats, weightlifting, and accessory exercises.
Since this model is more expensive than other weightlifting shoes, it’s important to make sure you’re investing in the right model per your means and training needs.
Testing the Velaasa Strake for Squats
For squats, the Velaasa Strake is a strong-performing weightlifting shoe that should deliver a good performance for most strength levels. This shoe has two key features that I enjoy regarding their performance for squats.
First, this shoe’s stability is really good and the sole and heel have a nice balanced feeling to them. The heel of this shoe is a little more “blocky” in nature which helps give this shoe an anchored feeling when squatting.
If you find yourself constantly having your heels come off the ground or internally rotate inward when squatting, then I think you’ll resonate with the heel shape and construction of the Velaasa Strake for squats.
Second, the outsole on this model provides a nice level of traction for squatting on different surfaces. Whether you squat on rubber gym floors or wooden platforms, I don’t think you’ll notice slippage or feel unstable in these shoes whatsoever.
My only knock on the Strake regarding their squat performance is that I wish their toe box was wider. A little more width would be nice for giving the toe more room to splay and grip the floor.
Testing the Velaasa Strake for Weightlifting
For weightlifting, the Velaasa Strake delivered a strong performance, in my opinion. The wooden heel is the star player for the Velaasa Strake in the context of weightlifting and how it feels when snatching and clean & jerking.
Of all of the weightlifting shoes that I’ve worn and tried, the Velaasa Strake’s ground feedback and feel are among some of the top performers. I like the snappiness of these shoes and how they feel when catching weight.
The upper security and mid-foot strap also do a good job of promoting overall security when training. I think most athletes and lifters will enjoy the secure feeling these shoes come with for weightlifting.
Despite enjoying these shoes for weightlifting, I do have two complaints regarding their performance. First, the upper can be a little warm for longer sessions where you’re doing things like front squats, cleans, and accessory work.
Second, I think the lack of toe box width will be frustrating for some lifters, especially since there are options on the market that come with more width. Buyers should be forewarned if they have wide feet.
Testing the Velaasa Strake for Accessory Exercises
When it comes to using the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes for accessory exercises, they do okay but they’re not my favorite lifters on the market for this training context.
For example, if you’re using these shoes for machine work leg presses and hack squats, then I think you’ll be plenty fine in them. However, I would limit their use to static strength work regarding accessory exercise use.
To expand on this, I’m not the biggest fan of the toe box break in the Strake when doing movements like quad-biased split squats and lunges and I find them a little uncomfortable due to the upper and outsole interaction at the base of the toe box.
Essentially, any exercise where you’re getting a ton of toe flexion then you may find them to run a little more uncomfortable. On top of this, their warmer upper construction can also be a knock on their performance for accessory exercises.
Velaasa Strake Sizing
For the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes, sizing can be a little all over the place. On their site, Velaasa recommends sizing up a half-size in this model compared to your normal cross-training and weightlifting shoes.
I went true to size to see just how small this model runs and overall, I can wear them pretty comfortably with thin no-show socks. However, they do feel pretty snug with thicker socks.
That being said, I think if you have narrow feet going true to size is a safe call if you like a snugger fit and up a half-size would be a good call for additional room. For neutral-width feet, going up a half-size would be a must for overall comfort.
- Velaasa Strake Sizing Thoughts: Most should go up a half-size.
Again, if you have wide feet, I’d tread lightly when thinking about investing in the Velaasa Strake. They do have a 30-day return or exchange policy, though, so if you did want to try them you do get a little grace period for returning them.
If you’re thinking about investing in the Velaasa Strake and have additional sizing and fit questions, drop a comment below and I can try to help you out accordingly.
For the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes, you can expect to pay $249.99 USD. This price point is higher than other more premium weightlifting shoes like the Reebok Legacy Lifter II and Nike Romaleos 4 which cost around $199.99 USD.
I think if you’re wanting a weightlifting shoe with a wooden heel and plan to use these should primarily for squats and weightlifting training, then the price could be justified for these shoes.
On top of this training context, these shoes should also fit really well for narrow feet and neutral-width feet, so if you’ve been hard-pressed to find shoes that fit this context well, I think you’ll like them.
If you don’t fall into the above contexts or you just want to save money, then you can definitely find weightlifting shoes that have better price points. I’d suggest exploring models like the Adidas Powerlift 5 and Nike Savaleos, to name a few.
- Athletes That Love Wood Heels
- Narrow Feet
- For Wide Feet
- For Cost-Efficiency
The Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes come with a few construction details worth noting. Below are some of the key construction details worth noting about the Velaasa Strake.
- Effective Heel Height: 22mm/.86 inches
- Weight: 18.95 oz (for my size 10 model)
- Removable Insole: Yes
- Wooden Heel
- Full Rubber Outsole
- Mesh and Synthetic Upper
- External TPU Heel Cage
- Velcro Midfoot Strap
- Padded Mesh Tongue
- 5 Core Eyelets
Regarding these shoes and their construction, I do wish Velaasa provided official details on the Strake’s product page. If you have additional construction-related questions about the Strake, drop a comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:What is the effective heel height of the Velaasa Strake?
Q:Are the Velaasa Strake true to size?
Q:Are the Velaasa good for squats?
I’ve enjoyed training in the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes and I see a few specific contexts where I think these shoes will excel. They’re consistent with their performance and should work well for most strength and expertise levels.
I like the wooden heel and I think Velaasa is onto something for the most part with the construction of the Strake. After a couple of more upgrades, the Strake could even be a stronger performer.
For example, I think the toe box could be reworked in this shoe and the upper could use a little more breathability as a whole.
If you have additional questions about the Velaasa Strake weightlifting shoes, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).
I personally test every product featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training gear. I buy the gear I test and may earn commissions on sales made through links on my site.