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Ryka Focus XT weightlifting shoe review

The shoes laced tight, holding the back of my heel securely in place. I didn’t feel any slipping during any of my dynamic movements or even during the jumps like the skater hop.

Shape of the shoe

My foot is wider in the toe box and I often feel trapped with shoes that are too narrow. While I didn’t feel any pinch on the sides of the Focus XT, I didn’t have much extra space on the sides either.

The shoe has raised, padded side walls that wrap your ankle and provide more lateral support. I felt the added stability in movements like skater hops and sumo squats with a wide stance.

Heel thickness

The Focus XT is pretty flat, which is a must have for me when looking for weight training shoes. Its low profile kept me bolted to the floor and was able to maintain a solid base on one leg deadlifts, curved rows, and overhead presses. Since I haven̵

7;t returned to the gym during the pandemic, I haven’t been able to test the shoes on heavy conventional deadlifts – my gold standard for rating lifting shoes – but they kept me stable during the lighter Romanian version.

Feeling of the shoe

The Focus XT are strong shoes. They feel sturdy – they’re not lightweight shoes that feel like they’re not wearing anything at all. You definitely wouldn’t sprint in these, but they will feel solid and firm for the activity at hand.

Ryka advertises its “precise insole” which supposedly provides additional support for the heel and arch of the foot. While I have no problem with my arches, I noticed that the back end of these shoes felt very comfortable and supportive.

The shoe also feels firm – it’s definitely not the cushioning you’d expect from a pair of running shoes – but it’s not too tough to stand around and move around. I took these for a walk around my neighborhood after a workout, and they moved my foot slightly and felt comfortable during the 20 minute hike. That’s a solid added bonus for me: Often times, shoes that feel good aren’t that good for everyday movement.

How my body felt during and after the activity

I was a little concerned that the toe box would be too tight on these, but I didn’t feel any pressure points during my workout and didn’t develop blisters or pain afterward. Basically the only parts of my body that I felt during this workout were the muscles that I was actually working on – which is exactly what you are looking for with a lifting shoe.

Company’s right of return

Ryka offers a free return of unworn goods within 30 days. However, there is no actual exchange. If you need a different size or color, you must return your original product and place a new order.

Unless you’re buying directly from the brand, be sure to check the return and exchange policies of the retailer you choose.

The bottom line

If you are looking to continue your strength training – whether you are getting stronger, building muscle, or both – choosing a shoe that is safe to lift heavier on is key. You want a shoe that keeps you stable and allows you to focus all of your efforts on the lift, rather than distracting some of it, in order to keep yourself balanced. The Ryka Focus XT training shoes really help you keep that low profile and screw your feet into the ground so you can challenge yourself with heavier weights.

An added bonus is that you don’t have to take them off right away if you want to do other things after your workout. They’re easy to move around, and I wouldn’t mind lace them up for a stroll around my town. Plus they’re more attractive than most other lifting shoes – their dusty pink color gives them a little more personality and would be a fun addition to any running outfit.

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