My foot is wider at the top, and I tend to have problems with a lot of strength training shoes pinching at the little toe. There was enough room in the toe box here though, and my feet felt able to spread out, both during movement and when stationary. This shoe is also slightly higher in the back, which helps keep the heel stable, before dipping and curving around the side of the ankle. It makes for a flattering silhouette—an added bonus in training shoes.
At $128, the Strongfeels are a bit pricier than most other gym day shoes on the market, but I have to say, they also do feel a little more luxe than the others. The shoe feels sturdy at the base and cushiony soft along the top by the ankle, but it was the tongue that stuck out for me: It has the same buttery soft feel that Lululemon leggings are known for.
Standing in the shoes feels comfortable yet non-obtrusive—it’s not like standing in pillowy soft running shoes where you feel like you’re on a cloud. It’s more like, you feel ready and raring to go crush your workout, without having to worry about any uncomfortableness with your shoes. Basically, it allows you to not think about your shoes, which I consider a plus when working out.
How Your Body Feels
When you’re lifting heavy weights at the gym, footwear becomes important for safety as well as for comfort. Try to squat in running shoes with a barbell on your back, and you’ll likely feel yourself teetering, unable to drive through your heels to create a stable base. With these shoes, though, I found myself able to maintain good contact with the floor. I felt steady and strong during the lifts where stability is key. Plus, I felt like I was able to drive through my heels to really engage my glutes.
The Strongfeels performed well both when my feet remained planted for the duration of the moves—say, squats, deadlifts, and good morning exercises—as well as those that were more dynamic, like reverse lunges and step-ups. For the latter, I didn’t experience any shifting with the shoe, and it really seemed to move as one with my foot. I was able to focus on my exercises and the specific muscles working, by pretty much taking any worry about the shoes out of the equation. And then after my workouts, I didn’t notice any blistering, abrasions, or hotspots due to rubbing.
I also wore these shoes during upper-body workouts, and I again felt the benefit of stability in exercises where maintaining a solid base is key, such as heavy rows and standing shoulder presses. In fact, although I was mainly interested in testing these for lower-body days—where stability is even more important—I found myself reaching for these for any strength-training workout, simply because they made me feel better in them.
Finally, I also took these shoes with me on an out-of-town trip to visit family, which included a lot of walking and a couple of sessions on the hotel gym elliptical. I wouldn’t say these were the most comfortable shoe to get in a lot of walking, but they definitely held up for a mile or two at a time (and again, no blistering after). They also felt surprisingly stable yet flexible on the elliptical.
The reason I took these shoes with me on the trip? I loved the way they looked! Usually, I relegate my exercise shoes to the activity at hand, but these have a timeless, casual look that pairs well with everyday activity. So I definitely have been wearing this pair of off-white sneakers outside of the gym.
Company Return Policy
Lululemon offers a 30-day trial for their shoes, meaning you can test them out in real-world conditions (read: at the gym, not just in your living room) to see if the fit is right. You can lift in them for 30 days, and if they’re not doing it for you during that time period, you can return them for a full refund. (Lightly worn shoes will be resold on their Like New resale site.)
Should You Buy It?
I was testing these shoes out with the hope that they would perform during heavy lower-body strength workouts—that they’d keep me stable, secure, and help me hit the PRs I was striving for—and the Strongfeels definitely delivered. On the first day I tested them, I was able to hit my benchmark weight deadlifting, something I hadn’t done lately since I had been training for a half marathon. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the lift felt, and that set the stage for a really pleasant testing experience.
If you’re looking for strength training-specific shoes—and if you are lifting heavy, you really should be, both for safety and comfort’s sake—the Lululemon Strongfeel would be a great addition to your gear closet. You might just find yourself picking them for other workouts (and non-workouts) too!