TYR made a splash into the CrossFit industry at the 2022 CrossFit Games. In order to product test TYR outfitted some of the world’s fittest athletes, like Tia-Clair Toomey and six of the top ten men on the elite individual side, to see if they could claim the title of the best CrossFit shoe. Flash forward about 5 months to the 2023 TYR Wodapalooza event and the proof is in the pudding on showing up as more than just a swimming brand. TYR is proving itself to be a performance focused company with significant results. We recently had the opportunity to pick up a pair of the CXT-1 training shoes and we’re going to put them to the test. Keep reading to see what we learned and if this shoe is going to be your next go-to shoe for CrossFit.
Meet The TYR CXT-1 Trainer
Stability and support is key when it comes to the TYR CXT-1 Trainer which is pretty optimal when looking for a shoe for CrossFit and functional fitness. If you’ve ever worn a TYR product, whether it be a swim suit, racing suit, glasses or otherwise, you know that they’re all about putting their product into place on your body and keeping it there, with the ultimate goal of support and streamlining performance. The CXT-1 Trainer is no different.
With a solid toe bumper on the nose of the shoe you’re protected without feeling jammed in the toe box, especially in explosive takeoffs and landings. There’s a solid guard design that wraps around the back side of the shoe which is prime for bigger lifts and pushing weights in the box. You definitely don’t feel like your feet are pushing out over the side of your shoes when squatting, which makes the side guards feel like a ‘cage’ for the foot in the best way possible.
Quality is felt from the moment you put it on, which the fit feeling snug, but not too tight, and the lace system provides both lateral and medial stability, staying right where they need to be throughout your entire workout.
A Firm Sole Shoe
With a ‘Surge NRG’ foam midsole the ankle and arch support is felt, even under the bar when pushing serious weight. The patent pending constructed design eloquently lays the Stability Platform into the shoe, which in our opinion deserves some major kudos, as this is hard to do without making the shoe feel clunky. The combination of materials are extremely responsive through the forefoot through aerobic activities like dubs and box jumps.
In addition to the stability platform in the CXT-1, the TYR go-to trainer makes a great shoe for CrossFit because the tongue is breathable and adds an additional layer for comfort and protection. There’s a multi-insert lace bite adding a nice touch for both stability and aesthetic.
In CrossFit specifically, having a supportive sole supports your ability to keep proper positioning during lifts, but you don’t want them to feel so firm that you can’t comfortably perform other movements, like running. This also allows for a greater range of use, allowing for easy transitions across materials both in and out of the gym.
Note: TYR is in no way affiliate with the brand CrossFit**
The Heel-To-Toe Drop In Shoes For CrossFit
There’s a 9mm heel drop from heel to forefoot, which to put that into perspective, is about 4mm on the Reebok Nano X. Breaking the ‘golden standard’ of CrossFit and functional fitness shoes currently available in the industry (NOBULL Trainer = 4mm as well), TYR is looking to provide more loading of the knees and hips as compared to the ankles.
For previous high level athletes, or individuals who are new to the sport/training, or who have weak ankles, this can be beneficial because it takes the load off the ankles and Achilles more, transferring the load and recruiting bigger, often more developed areas of the body, for proper movement patterns.
However, this does come down to personal preference, and some with pretty active ankle mobility might have to get used to the higher drop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad thing. Bigger quad development, anyone?
Heel-To-Toe Drop Across CrossFit Shoes:
TYR CXT-1 Trainer // 9mm
RAD ONE // 6mm
NOBULL Trainer // 4mm
NOBULL Trainer+ // 4mm
Reebok Nano X3 // 4mm
Nike Metcon 8 // 4mm
STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer // 4mm
That all being said, a lower heel-to-toe drop helps distribute your body’s weight more evenly across your foot. To put that into a different perspective, weightlifting shoe heel heights are typically 2-3x that of most running or lifting shoes. This brings the total heel to toe drop into nearly 3/4 of an inch or 19mm. TYR’s L-1 Lifter boasts a 21mm heel-to-toe drop to support depth and stability, but we’ll go to the lifter in another review. Let’s keep focusing on the CXT-1, shall we.
The shoe is pretty true to sizing, however, for myself personally I did end up going 1/2 size up for comfortability. The toe box does have space for a wider forefoot but for those of us with narrower feet it doesn’t feel like you’re slipping from side to side. If you do have wider feet, maybe up your shoe 1/2 – 1 size just to ensure that you’re not feeling squished. Unlike the TYR L-1 lifter, it is important to note that the CXT-1 was not designed intentionally with a wider toe box.
Shoes For CrossFit – Pricing
Pricing across the board ranges from $100 (or a little less if you’re swooping a previous season release from Reebok) to about $159 USD. While budget is important, so is your overall design and fit requirements. You do get what you pay for in the shoe world, and while a few years ago you could see shoes right in and under the $100 mark, the common theme is spending anywhere from $130 – $150 on average.
CrossFit Shoe Price Breakdown:
TYR CXT-1 Trainer // $129.99 USD – $159.99 USD
RAD ONE // $150.00 USD
NOBULL Trainer // $129 USD
NOBULL Trainer+ // $149.00 USD
Reebok Nano X3 // $150
Nike Metcon 8 // $130
STRIKE MVMNT Haze Trainer // $150
The TYR-CXT 1 Trainer Cons
If you’re in the market for a minimalist hell-to-toe drop then I’m going to say that this shoe might not be for you. Coming in hot on the shoe drop at 9mm, which is well over the 4-6mm average across the CrossFit shoe industry, if you’ve got the ankle mobility and strength to support your movements, you might feel like you have to adjust your mechanical patterns in these.
Rope Climbs – Durability In Question
Another potential con is the durability of the mid foot on the j hook rope climb. However, when your full body’s weight is put on the shoe, just about any shoe might have issues with the rope. However, they’re not as soft (by any means) as the Van’s Ultrarange Exo (these are terrible for rope climbs), but not as clunky and unforgiving as the lateral support seen on the NOBULL Trainers.
Not For Prolonged Daily Wear
We do feel that this shoe is designed for performance only and we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for every day use and walking. There does feel like there’s a little bit of a break-in period, but we do not feel like it is any longer than any other CrossFit shoe out there on the market. The shoe is very form fitting and will mold to your foot over the course of a couple weeks. That being said though, as far as athleisure, we do look forward to TYR coming out with a little more of a walking or daily shoe so that the brand can be repped a bit more outside of the box (or suppose that’s what the TYR RD-1 Runner could be good for, TBD).
Lastly, the only other complaint that I’ve heard about across the industry is availability. That being said, being a business owner myself, I understand that it takes time to launch products, color ways, and to get the shoe physically into the hands of the consumer.
The one approach I do respect about TYR is the ability to be humble and start with small batches, using real athletes in real time (like at the 2022 CrossFit Games) using RND to craft the shoe before launching it to the masses. Yeah, they might not be available with major retailers, sites, or with a wide variety of options (yet) and that is quite okay to me.
One of the conversations I had at WZA with a rep from the company was focused around how TYR desires to be a staple name in the industry and that they’re focused on longevity, not just launching a so-so product, being in for a couple years, then ditching back out for the pool with their suits. And that is something that I can get behind. Give it time, give the shoe a try, and watch as they emerge as one of the best CrossFit shoe brands.
TYR Is Always In Front
In some of the newer CXT-1 trainers they have adapted the outer support to be a much stronger type of support to avoid any chunks getting taken out and to provide more of a grip that have been seen in other online reviews. We do firmly believe that this is due to TYR’s willingness to regularly implement, test, fix, and retest their shoes. Since they are such a large, established company that is 100% focused on athletic performance, they do have the engineering and financial teams behind them to make swift changes, which is a breath of fresh air to the future of the sport.
The CXT-1 Trainer: Takeaway
All in all, this shoe is here to stay and is making waves here on land. After giving them a spin myself, they’re living up to the hype. If you can get your hands on a pair I definitely recommend it, but consider sizing up 1/2 size for optimal comfortability and fit. If performance is your goal then you’ll feel confident, capable, and ready to take on any metcon or WOD with the CXT-1 from TYR on your feet. Better yet? If you’re an athlete with poor ankle mobility or a history of ankle injuries (such as myself), then you’ll probably really enjoy the 9mm shoe drop to put more emphasis on the upper leg region to push weight and get in better training sessions. Save up those pennies and grab yourself a pair, you can thank us later.
Ready to get powered from the ground up with TYR footwear?
Take your performance to the next level with the TYR CXT-1 Trainer for your daily workouts, the L-1 Lifter for your most competitive OLY lifting aspirations, and don’t forget about the the RD-1 Runner for your short sprints and long jaunts.
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