We are going head-to-head with two of the most popular Weightlifting shoes. The Velaasa Strakes vs. the TYR L-1 Lifters. I've spent time lifting in both shoes with heavy squats, pulls, and various Olympic lifts.
Here's my breakdown and who I believe is best suited for each shoe.
Table of Contents
Velaasa Strake vs. TYR L-1 Lifter Weightlifting Shoes
Material & Construction
Both shoes are constructed with synthetic leather with a breathable mesh tongue. But where they differentiate is the heel construction. Velaasa uses a firm retro wooden heel giving you the satisfying feeling of hearing the “crack” of wood on wood.
We can use a durometer gauge to show how firm the heel and sole are. As you see, the wood reads 97. The durometer rating is a scale of 100, with a higher number meaning a harder surface.
On the other hand, TYR lifters are significantly softer. Based on basic physics, a firmer surface allows more force to be generated vertically. Take the crude example of squatting on a Bosu ball or the floor.
The flat hard surface allows maximum force transfer, whereas the Bosu ball dissipates force in different directions to maintain balance.
I’m not saying the TYR L-1 Lifters are like Bosu balls. I’m saying if your goal is to lift the most weight possible and take every advantage possible on the platform, go with a harder heel.
The construction for both shoes is top-notch with secure stitching.
Velaasa Strakes and TYR L-1 Lifters are identical in weight, coming in at 1.2 kg (2.65 lbs) for both shoes. This is for my size 10.5 US shoes.
Neither is lightweight and 100 – 400 g heavier per shoe than more budget models like Reebok PR Lifters and Nike Saveleos.
Velaasa has a slightly higher heel at 22 mm (0.86”) than the TYR L-1 Lifters with a 21 mm (0.82”). It's the slightest difference, but I can feel it when wearing one of each shoe. The slightly higher heel will help you hit depth easier.
If you have a history of knee pain, you may want a lower heel to reduce how far your knees track forward.
Toe Box Width
The TYR L-1 Lifter was made specifically to have the widest toe box of all Weightlifting shoes. They partnered with Squat University to solve a problem global foot problem people have from wearing narrow shoes all day for work.
Since you’re wearing Weightlifting shoes 1 – 2 hours a day (if that), it’s not a problem to worry about. But fear is a great selling tactic.
But I digress. For performance, you don't want an extremely wide shoe. You want a shoe that fits snugly, helping generate as much force vertically as possible.
But I also understand some shoes are too narrow for wide feet individuals. Myself included. I can’t get my feet into super narrow Adidas Adipowers. Nike Romaleo 2’s were my favorite shoe for my wide feet until they wore out.
Velaasa Strakes are not known to be a wide shoe, but it fits my wide feet perfectly. So if you had to go with Nike because of wide feet, know Velaasa Strakes will fit you perfectly.
If you're super heavy or have abnormally wide feet, there is a case to go with the TYR L-1 Lifters.
The TYR L-1 Lifters have two foot straps, and Velaasa has one. Since Velaasa is a snug fit, you don't need to use the foot strap. I've performed heavy Olympic lifts and squats without the strap, and my feet don't move.
With the TYRs, using the foot straps can provide a more secure feeling because there's a lot of space inside the shoe.
TYR has more unique designs, with some specifically for men and women—for example, their floral design for the women's L-1 lifters. Velaasa's designs are basic, with either a black or white base and red, blue, navy blue, or grey trimmings.
Design is not something I'm fussed about, as I only care how the shoe fits and performs, but if you're after a fancy design, TYR has you covered.
Comfort & Fit
Regarding fit, Velaasa Strakes feel more secure, which I like when lifting heavy. If you're after pure comfort, TYR L-1 Lifters are more comfortable since there’s so much room inside. I have both shoes in size 10.5 US, and they fit well.
I range between size 10 – 11, depending on the shoe brand. It is advised to size up ½ a size for the Velaasa Strakes as they run slightly small. My wife Mona had to do this for her Velaasa Strakes she competes internationally with.
Velaasa Strakes are premium Weightlifting shoes, so they charge a premium price of $249.99. However, you may find them on sale if they are clearing stock.
Further, clicking the link at the bottom on this page will take you to Velaasa and automatically add a 15% discount to your cart, making it $212.50.
TYR L-1 Lifters are cheaper at $199.99. After the Velaasa discount, there's little between them. In my opinion, the extra $12 is worth it for the wood heel are firmer soles.
Who Is Each Weightlifting Shoe For?
In my experience, the Velaasa Strakes are for serious competitive lifters who love the feel of a wooden heel and want a high-performing shoe. It's the best option if you're seeking every kilo from your lifts.
It's why we've ranked Velaasa the best Olympic Weightlifting shoes.
TYR L-1 Lifters are for the lifter that doesn’t mind a softer sole and wants the comfort of a spacious toe box. That's not to say you can't wear TYRs as a serious competitive lifter. But I believe there are better options like the Velaasa Strakes.
You can also read our full breakdown in our Velaasa Strake review.
If you come from a premium Weightlifting shoe like the Nike Romaleo’s or Adidas Adipowers, you’ll want to get your feet into Velaasa Strakes. TYR L-1 Lifters will disappoint if you’re used to these shoes.
If you’re coming from CrossFit style Weightlifting shoes like Reeboks or Nobulls, TYR’s will feel similar except for the extra space in the toe box. However, if you’re after a performance Weightlifting shoe, Velaasa Strakes are the best choice.