Launching a new workout shoe in this day and age is ballsy, especially when the market is already saturated by big brand names, from Nike to Nobull. Enter the RAD Ones, the newest cross-training shoe to step into the arena.
The shoe was created by Ben Massey, a two-time CrossFit Games competitor, and has been worn by the likes of CrossFit athletes, Laura Horvath and Danielle Brandon. You’d therefore like to think Ben knows a thing or two about what’s required in a functional cross-training shoe.
I’ve been testing the R.A.D Ones for the past two weeks and, I’ll confess, they’re now one of my favourite workout shoes. Not to mention it’s probably the best looking cross-training shoe I’ve seen, which I’ve been wearing with confidence in and out of the gym. Want to know more about how well they perform? Continue reading for my full in-depth review.
R.A.D One review: price and availability
The R.A.D One is available to buy now directly from R.A.D UK/ R.A.D US for a recommended retail price of £130/$150. The R.A.D One’s also come in a variety of really cool colours, however, the brand uses a drop model, so they only release small quantities of each shoe, so when they’re gone, they’re gone! Their shoe sizing is also unisex ranging from 3.5 to 12.
R.A.D One review: design and construction
I think the R.A.D One’s look really cool and have a very different design to regular cross-training shoes, which often have a lot going on. The upper materials are made from a blend of mesh and synthetic suede, which I think instantly makes this shoe more aesthetically pleasing than your typical all-over mesh cross-training shoe. RAD describes it as a shoe that can “seamlessly transition from training to the street” and I think they’re right, I don’t think anyone would take issue wearing these in and out of the gym.
The midsole is made from R.A.D’s responsibly sourced ‘swell foam’ which uses a 30/70 sugar cane/fossil composition. Although the brand says they’re working hard to bring this up to 100% bio-based ASAP. In general, RAD comes across as a very environmentally-conscious company with their 1% For the Planet certification and says they’re working hard to become a B Corporation too.
The sole of the shoes have a full-length herringbone traction pattern, which runs up pretty high onto the midsole of the shoe. Herringbone is renowned for providing excellent grip, particularly for multidirectional training. Another bonus is that it doesn’t really pick up debris either (I’ve been wearing mine solidly for the three weeks and I think they still look great).
R.A.D One review: fit and workout performance
I wore the R.A.D One’s for a variety of strength training sessions, HIIT workouts, Olympic lifts and even running. They’re not my favourite for the latter (more on that later) but, overall, I had a great time training in them and they’re now a shoe I reach for daily to train in and chill.
When it came to performing heavy squats and deadlifts, my foot felt secure, stable and the herringbone traction really does provide 10/10 grip. They have a 6mm offset, which isn’t the best if you have poor ankle mobility, but I’d still say they’re a solid shoe for lifting in. I also had my first Olympic lifting lesson in them too and they were top notch, plus, they make a really satisfying ‘BANG’ as you slam your feet to the floor.
Transitioning over to an AMRAP or EMOM at the end of my workout felt flawless. The swell foam cushioning provides a responsive, yet stable base for plyometric movements (like burpees and box jumps), albeit not enough for running. I ran five kilometres on the treadmill and while they weren’t uncomfortable, I didn't feel there was quite enough bounce for this distance. I think for sprints they’d be perfectly fine, but for longer distances you’re best sticking to a pair of running shoes.
In terms of fit, I think the R.A.D One’s are very true to size and are probably the most comfortable cross-training shoes I own, taking over my Metcon 8s and 9s. The toe box isn’t very wide though, so if your feet are on the wider side, or just like lots of room for toe splay, these probably aren’t for you.
R.A.D One review: verdict
Despite being relatively new to the market, I think R.A.D have created an excellent all-round cross-training shoe. The R.A.D One’s perform well in a lot of different training environments and it’s that type of shoe that you can put on and not have to think too hard about what it is you’ll be training, because the shoe will be able to handle it.
They look good too, good enough to wear daily, which I don’t think the same can be said for a lot of other cross-training shoes. When you think of it like that, you’re basically getting two shoes in one.
I think the main gripe for a lot of people with this shoe is its price, as it’s a new brand and there’s cheaper cross-training shoes out there. While this may be the case, the R.A.D Ones are a good quality product and perform exceptionally well.
If you want something more affordable there’s other options out there (take a look at our suggestions below). But if you like the look of the R.A.D Ones, I can safely say it’s a workout shoe that you won’t be disappointed with.
R.A.D One review: also consider
A longtime staple in the cross-training shoe scene are the Nike Metcons and their latest drop – the Metcon 9s – are the best of the bunch. You’ll be more than likely to get your hands on a pair for less than £100 in the sale now. They’re extremely functional, equipped with a large rope guard, a hyperlift plate in the heel for lifting and can be thrown in the washing machine when dirty. Albeit, they’re not as versatile, in terms of style, as the R.A.D Ones.
Another trusty cross-training shoe is the Reebok Nano X3. These are a bit better for running in, compared to the Metcon 9s and the R.A.D Ones. They feature Reebok’s new Lift and Run Chassis system, where the heel has been crafted with special technology so that it's stable enough for performing heavy lifts, but then softens when you push off it. Obviously for very long distances you’ll still want to stick to your trusty running shoes, but if your workouts contain a bit of running and dynamic movements, these will do.