This review is based on my 20 years of competitive International experience in the sport of Weightlifting and my last 2.5 years training for the Tokyo Olympics in my Velaasa Strake shoes.
The Velaasa Strake Weightlifting shoe is a new player in the market. Nike and Adidas don’t have such a dominant hold on the Weightlifting shoe market any longer with more companies getting in on the action with their own versions.
This has been spurred on by the previous rapid growth of CrossFit with more athletes outside of the competitive Weightlifter opting for “lifters” for their Weightlifting and strength training.
Velaasa is a unique addition the vast array of Weightlifting shoes available being one of the only shoes with a wood heel. The company itself is purely focused on developing footwear, apparel, and training gear for Olympic sport athletes.
So, let’s dive into what makes the Velaasa Strake so unique compared to other Weightlifting shoes.
Get the Velaasa Strake Weightlifting Shoes at a 15% discount with my code PRETORIUS15
Velaasa Strake Features
No information is readily available regarding the weight of these shoes so I weighed them myself. Both shoes together came to 900 g (31.7 oz) or 450 g (15.9 oz) separately which are similar to the Nike Romaleos and Adidas Adipowers.
Compared to my second pair of Weightlifting shoes, Inov8 Fastlift 370 BOA, Velaasa are quite a bit heavier. Inov8s are only 500 g (17.6 oz) for both shoes or 250 g (8.8 oz) each shoe which are the lightest I’ve ever used.
These weights correspond to a US size 6.5/8 men’s and women.
This weight difference doesn’t bother me however. The extra weight just makes me feel more solid.
The standard heel height for Olympic Weightlifting shoes is usually around 0.75”. Velaasa Strake have a slightly higher heel at 0.86”. A higher heel allows you to load the quads through a greater range of motion at the knee while minimizing the need for extended ankle mobility.
For those of you that have ankle mobility restrictions and struggle to maintain good upright postures during the lifts, then these shoes are a perfect fit to address these needs.
Taller lifters will also benefit from these Weightlifting shoes as longer femurs mean greater range of motion at the ankle is needed. A higher heel will instantly fix these issues.
Velaasa Strake Weightlifting shoes are one of the very few with wooden heels. Asics TOW 727 are another pair that come to mind and many of the old-style shoes which are no longer in production.
Wooden heels are known to take some of the impact when performing Weightlifting movements as compared to plastic heels. Those of you who are older may benefit from a wooden heel to minimize these impacts.
Under the wooden heel is a thin layer of rubber so you have good grip with the platform. They are engraved with a diamond pattern for extra friction and grip when performing the lifts.
The main material used for the upper part of the shoe is the synthetic leather. This leather is thick and provides ample support for all Weightlifting movements.
Once you get to the ankle, the material is a softer fabric for comfort and the tongue is a soft mesh which is great as it’s not noticeably in the way.
The stitching is robust and there’s no way they’ll start to come apart. The way the sole is glued to the upper shoe leaves no gaps to start falling apart.
They also bend really nicely through the toe area so there is no stiffness when performing a split jerk like the old Nike Romaleo one’s which were stiff as hell.
The shoe is so snug that I don’t even use the foot strap. The one strap is there over the mid-foot just in case you need it.
Unfortunately, one of my Velcro straps is coming away from the synthetic leather material so perhaps upgrading how the Velcro is attached can be a future upgrade.
If you are after fancy colors, you may be slightly disappointed. They only come in black or white. There are limited red versions as well.
Every now and then they will come out with amazing designs that no other shoe manufacturer has come close to.
Velaasa Strake Build Quality
I’ve put these shoes through an absolute beating throughout my 2.5 years of competitive Weightlifting. Double day trainings, International travel with them in my hand luggage, and competing on the International stage.
They have held up just as well as any other Weightlifting shoe. There are no cracks in the wood and none of the stitching or glued areas are showing any signs of falling apart. The laces are still in great condition.
The only part that is not doing so well is one of the Velcro foot straps detaching from the synthetic leather. However, this doesn’t affect the shoes performance or function.
My Velaasa Strake’s are my normal shoe size. However, they run a little small. I have recently ordered new Velaasa Strake’s a whole size up. These fit perfectly.
I would recommend buying a whole size bigger than your normal shoe size.
Comfort And Fit
While constructed with solid material, these shoes are very comfortable. They fit very snug around my skinny feet which has been perfect for me.
If you have wide feet, then I would recommend a different shoe as these can run a little thin around the toe box.
Velaasa Strake Price
Velaasa Strake’s are slightly more expensive than top of the line Nike and Adidas shoes at around $220.
However, using my discount code PRETORIUS15, you save 15% and they become much cheaper. $33 cheaper in fact with a final price of $187.
So for price, these are a no brainer for the wooden heel alone.
My Thoughts As An International Weightlifting Athlete
Velaasa Strake Summary
Overall, these shoes are great. The retro wooden feel in a modern Weightlifting shoe is a unique feature that you can’t readily find.
I would highly recommend this shoe if you’re looking for something different outside of the typical Nike and Adidas models. Velaasa have Olympic athletes in mind and regardless of your level, you can benefit from this high level craftmanship.
Velaasa Strake Weightlifting Shoes
15% Discount Code = PRETORIUS15