Nike Romaleos 3 Review: Gym Shoe Buying Guide


Shoes can be your source of power and motivation at the gym, but they can also have the opposite effect.  The wrong workout shoe might drive you back to sedentary living, or send you home with severe injuries. Could the Nike Romaleos 3 provide trainers with the safety, support, and performance they need? Let’s find out.

Everyone knows how gym shoes pose a budget dilemma. Ideally, you are supposed to have different shoes for each separate activity. In that case, you will need to have weight lifting shoes, running shoes, and gym class shoes. That’s a pretty big collection, you must admit.

What to look for in a gym shoe

When starting as a fitness enthusiast, my first gym membership cost me an arm and a leg.  After that, I had to start thinking about workout gear. The long and short of it is that by the time I was fully set to start burning calories, I was broke and unmotivated.  I learnt later that what I lacked back then was a cross fit shoe to give me the same performance in weightlifting as in aerobics.

You don’t have to go through the same. If you are budget conscious like me, here a few tips worth remembering when shopping for gym footgear:

Firm Grip

This is a must-have feature on your gym shoes. A firm grip offers enough support when you are lifting heavy weights. It protects your feet from the risk of slipping or buckling under heavy pressure. This feature also proves beneficial when running on the treadmill.

Extra support: Building upon the above, weight lifting and running alike will need you to have enough cushioning on your gym shoes. In this case, you should look for ankle support, a sturdy outsole, and a cushioned midsole or insole. A reliable closure system is a plus.  

A slightly raised heel area will serve to keep the pressure off your Achilles tendon.  On the other hand, solid and sturdy soles will improve your ability to drive the weight lifting force into the ground.  This feature might save you from many years of back pain.


Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


When burning calories on the treadmill, your feet will feel the workout too.  The right shoe should, therefore, minimize excessive sweating and save you from the menace of stinky shoes and fungal infection on your feet.

Balance and stability

It would be wise to get a shoe that keeps you stable through weight lifting, aerobics, or the impossible contortions you put your body through at the gym.  Find a shoe that has a broad base.

Sizeable forefoot

The more freely your toes can move during a workout, the more balance and stability you will be able to get. This feature will prove useful in minimizing the risk of serious injuries.

Lightweight design:  A super lightweight shoe will enhance your agility. Unlike running shoes that you use outside, you don’t need an extra thick midsole on your gym footgear. The right all-rounder gym shoe will give you adequate support and protection without being bulky.

The right fit: The right gym shoe fits snuggly; it should be neither too loose nor too tight.  Most cross fit trainers today come with a flexible upper material, and that’s a good improvement. A versatile lacing system will also help you to control how tight you want the shoe to fit. Remember that extremely loose or tight shoes can lead to severe injuries at the gym. Find an exact fit.

Nike Romaleos 3 Review

Nike Romaleos 3 follows hot on the heels of the Romaleos 2, which was weightlifting footwear.   This latest version in the series comes with updates, specifically targeting to give users more flexibility in movement. That makes the Romaleos 3 a Crossfit gym shoe.

Among the latest features on the Romaleos 3 is the strap. Whereas the Romaleos 2 had two straps, this new model uses one wide strap that covers a large area of the midfoot.  The strap is designed with tough material for durability. For a secure fit, the shoe uses Flywire cables and taut strings as well.

The Good

The Bad

Nike Romaleos 3 Review

Size and Fit

The Romaleos 3 comes in sizes 5 to 16.5 for women and 3.5 to 15 for men. You can also get half and full sizes. The shoe’s width is standard; B medium for women and D medium for men. The strap improves the lockdown of the upper, while the lacing structure will allow you to adjust the midfoot fit as you like. The upper also features synthetic leather material which adds to a comfortable and secure fit.

The upper

The upper of the Nike Romaleos 3 is distinguishable with its synthetic leather material.  It’s a robust structure that helps with durability. The inside of the upper features a smooth fabric lining to increase comfort and minimize bruising.

Perhaps the only design flaw of the upper is the unpadded thin tongue. Even so, it helps to guard the instep against the strain of the laces. The tongue is linked to the inside of the shoe by flattened straps on both sides. This design is beneficial to keep the tongue in place during movement.

The collar is lightly padded which increases the comfort of the shoe and enhances the heel grip. The height of the collar falls slightly below the ankle, a feature that facilitates extra support during free movement.

The lacing system is made up of six pairs of eyelets so you can choose the level of tightness that is most appropriate for you. The last lacing holes are high up on the upper, enabling you to achieve a snug-fitting collar as you wish. Unlike the Nike Romaleos 2 that used plastic eyelets, this new model uses metal aglets to reduce the chances of wearing out.

On the upper eyelets, Nike has used Flywire technology. The cables help to support the top while maintaining the lightweight nature of the shoe. When you tighten the laces, the Flywire material increases the hold of the Upper.

To top it off, there is strap across the upper to the midfoot. It resembles a seat belt and it is made up of sturdy material. This inclusion serves to secure the foot even more and prevent the risk of slipping and resultant injuries.


The upper is kept breathable with perforations on the forefoot section and on the midfoot. The apertures prove useful in aerating the foot and reducing the risk of fungal infections caused by excessive sweating.

The insole

The Romaleos 3 comes equipped with two removable insoles. One insole is firm for support while the other is softer for cushioning during heavy landings. These insoles take off the pressure from your foot arches when you are lifting weights or pounding the treadmill.  They reduce the risk of plantar fasciitis.

The midsole

This gym footwear has a pronounced heel and a 20-mm offset. The midsole is made of thermoplastic polyurethane plate (TPU), which is a blend of hard plastic and soft silicone. This mix of material enhances the durability and stability of midsole, which often shoulders heavy pressure when lifting weights.

The wide base and grooved out construction are valuable to reduce the weight of the shoe. The slightly raised heel targets to reduce the pressure on the Achilles tendon so that you can do those dumbbell squats without injuries.

The outsole

The Romaleos 3 outsole is made of rubber material with honeycomb tread patterns to increase stability and traction. The rubber is designed to be hardwearing.   You will also find that the thin forefoot section is flexible enough to allow natural foot movement. The under heel section features suction cups for delivering a firm stance when working out at the gym.    


Nike’s Swoosh logo stands prominently in the Romaleos 3. This branding sign has been placed on the outsole, the insole, the medial quarter and the vamp.  The Nike name and model name appear on the tongue and the strap.

Nike Romaleos 3 editions and Colorways

Gym enthusiasts have the freedom to choose a design that matches their style from an extensive list of colorways and versions.

The Viking Quest

This version of the Romaleos 3 features dark brown colors and a robust military look. The strap and the shoe’s trimming are metallic grey while the color of the insole matches the outside.

Nike Romaleos XD

This 2019 edition comes in several color options including black, somber grey, cool grey, wolf grey, and metallic platinum.  The XD trainer also features more cushioning on the upper unit.

The Americana:  This design embodies the American flag.  The footgear combines tones of red, white, and blue. The middle section has pointed stars for a complete American Flag look.

Nike Romaleos XD Patch

The XD Patch is an improvement of the lifter. The strap features a Velcro-attachable material, and the shoe comes with six emblems for users to attach as they see fit.


This is a limited edition of Nike’s Romaleos 3 gym shoe.  Freedom features deep red and blue colors plus gold colorways.  Shades, of blue, are on the heel, the rear foot, and the tongue, while the strap, the Flywire cables, and the midfoot overlay are gold. The laces feature blue, red, and white colorways.

What Others Think

Many users are drawn to the lightweight nature of the Romaleos 3, its comfort, and stability and the fact that it comes in various color designs.  Gym enthusiasts also appreciate the shoe’s breathability, which can be a lifesaver when exercising in sweltering temperatures.

Alternatives To The Nike Romaleos 3

1. Reebok Crossfit Nano 9

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As opposed to the Romaleos 3’s leather upper, the Nano Crossfit 9 uses a Flexweave material that is also stable and durable. The outsole features MetaSplit grooves for high traction and grip.  Compared to Nike’s model, this shoe has a bigger toe box that allows for more breathability, free movement, and balance when working out.

The closure system comprises of 6 eyelets designed similar to the Speed TR’s. The tongue of the Reebok Nano 9 is slightly wider, and unlike the Romaleos 3, this tongue has some padding for extra comfort and protection. The upper pair of eyelets delivers a tight-fitting collar.

The midsole combine TPU material and Eva foam, delivering a considerably higher level of cushioning than the Romaleos 3. The heel is slightly raised to facilitate extra support. Unlike the Romaleos 3, the Nano 9 leans is more of a running shoe.  

2. York Athletics the Henry Mesh

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These gender-neutral sneakers feel light but they also provide a considerable amount of support to weight lifters. The offset drop on the Henrys is high at 9 mm. The upper comprises of mesh material for breathability during aerobics.

However, the underfoot of the Henrys isn’t as supportive as the hollowed out design of the Romaleos 3.   The design of this shoe is focused on performance, whereas the Romaleos 3 focuses on support, balance, and stability.

3. New Balance Minimus 40 Trainer

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This pair of cross fit trainers is popular among fitness enthusiasts.  The shoes can withstand many days of weight lifting and treadmill running, owing to its intuitive design. For starters, the upper comprises of synthetic mesh material with enhanced breakability. However, unlike the Romaleos, the sole in this New Balance gym footwear is thin. The Vibram outsole makes this shoe feel responsive, a feature that enhances performance in HIIT training.

In a nutshell

Shoe manufacturers create amazing single function shoes, but cross fit designs often turn out disastrous or leaning more towards one physical activity.  Nike seems to have made significant improvements with the Romaleos 3. Because of its supportive design and a sturdy sole unit, the shoe delivers excellent results in weight lifting. It doesn’t compromise when it comes to aerobics either, thanks to its lightweight nature, breathable design and reliable cushioning.

Last update on 2024-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API