R.A.D One Review: Lives Up To The Hype

It’s outrageous for a CrossFit shoe to look this good, and it isn’t a case of style over substance

R.A.D One
(Image: © Harry Bullmore / Future)

Our Verdict

R.A.D isn’t just turning up the heat on established brands with this shoe, it’s launching an assault on the CrossFit space. The R.A.D One is an impressive all-rounder offering unparalleled comfort during any metcon workout and a classy aesthetic that is hard to find in bona fide CrossFit footwear.


  • Comfortable
  • Best-looking CrossFit shoe
  • Cushioned for explosive exercises


  • Could be more stable for lifting

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The CrossFit box I train at is like a R.A.D One showroom. Everywhere you turn there’s a new colorway; one coach owns seven pairs. The community has voted with its feet, so I decided it was time to get in on the action and test a pair. I wasn’t disappointed. 

The shoe was immediately comfortable and, although I found it didn’t match the stability around the heel of the Nike Metcon 9 or Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 for lifting, it more than made up for this during metcons with its springy and supportive SwellFoam midsole. Given WODs are (arguably) the defining feature of CrossFit training—and I think this shoe handles them better than any other—there’s a strong case to be made for saying this is the best CrossFit shoe

R.A.D One: Price And Availability

If you’re buying from the brand’s website, the shoe costs $150 in the US and £130 in the UK. It’s also available from Rogue Fitness. To my knowledge, the shoe is rarely discounted, but it’s built to last so you could argue it’s a long-term investment. 

Long-time owners I’ve spoken to have had no problems with wear and tear, with the knit-like mesh upper, midfoot bumpers and TPU midsole wrap standing up to the rigors of rope climbs and whatever other new movements Adrian Bozman pops in the next CrossFit Open (see: wall walks). 

How I Tested This Shoe

R.A.D One

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

I wore this shoe for all my CrossFit training over the course of two months: five to six times a week, 90 minutes per session. These sessions tended to feature a strength and/or Olympic weightlifting element, gymnastic skill work, a WOD and accessory lifts. 

Design And Fit

The first thing to make clear is that, in my eyes, the R.A.D One is a beautiful shoe. It’s designed to hold its own in the gym and on the street, and does so on both counts—especially when you consider the functional but undeniably clunky look of rivals like the Nike Metcon 9

It’s not a case of style over substance. The construction of the shoe is based around three principles: performance, plyometrics and lifting. The SwellFoam EVA midsole is lightweight, springy and supportive, making it a welcome metcon companion when tackling high-volume burpee box jumps. 

R.A.D One

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

There’s also a TPU “stability cage” that flares around the outsole to provide firm foundations when lifting and protect the shoe from damage during rope climbs. The knit-like mesh used for the upper promises to be breathable and durable, and the sole features herringbone grooves for grip on gym floors. 

I tested a US 11, which is my regular size. I found it ran slightly small, which was fine for me but may be worth considering if you’re close to the boundary between sizes.

Is The R.A.D One Good For WODs?

During CrossFit WODs and any other HIIT-like training, the R.A.D One truly comes into its own. It’s lightweight and breathable, and helped me feel nimble transitioning from shuttle runs and machine work to weighted exercises like devil press and dumbbell snatches

The springy SwellFoam midsole adds to this, providing a welcome layer of cushioning during box jumps without being so thick that stability is sacrificed. The comfort meant it was easy to forget I was wearing shoes at all, with no unwanted movement of the shoe throughout the varied workouts I subjected it to. 

If you’re after a new shoe for the next CrossFit Open or an upcoming competition, I think this (or the TYR CXT-1, if you have narrow feet like me) should be at the top of your list.

Is The R.A.D One Good For Resistance Training?

R.A.D One

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

Making a CrossFit shoe can be like mixing a cocktail. Ingredients include the ability to support wearers through lifting heavy, running short distances and doing any number of exercises mid-metcon. The thing is, the thick midsole stack on running shoes will make these shoes bad for lifting. On the other hand, the unforgiving sole of a dedicated weightlifting shoe is going to feel unpleasant during even a slow-paced jog.

The features oppose one another, and striking a compromise is hard. That’s why the R.A.D One can fail to be the best CrossFit shoe for lifting but still be the best CrossFit shoe overall for most people. To be clear, it’s still a fine shoe for shifting heavy weights; I was able to squat, clean, snatch, jerk and deadlift happily while wearing it thanks to the flared “stability cage” around the outsole and its modest-yet-effective midsole cushioning.

I’ve found other CrossFit shoes like the Nike Metcon 9 or Inov-8 F-Lite G 300 have been built with more of a lifting bias. Their wider outsoles and firmer heels offer superior stability when catching a snatch. However, I found these competitors provided a much firmer ride during WODs, which could feel clunky during high-intensity workouts. 

Is The R.A.D One Good For Running?

A CrossFit shoe caveat: I don’t think any should be worn for distances of 5km and above. That’s what the best running shoes are for (a market the newer R.A.D R-1 is currently targeting, if you’re on the hunt for a chic new pair). 

What I would expect from a CrossFit shoe is for it to keep me comfortable during short efforts that crop up during CrossFit workouts—I’d see the two one-mile efforts at either end of the hero WOD “Murph” as the upper limit for distance here. And to that end, the R.A.D One performed excellently. 

R.A.D One

(Image credit: Harry Bullmore / Future)

As with the high-intensity workouts, I found the midsole delivered a surprising amount of support and bounce which belied how thin it is. The upper offered a sock-like fit that never threatened to cause pinch points or rubbing, and the breathable mesh-like material kept my feet cool. 

I was impressed by how well the shoe locked my heel down. This is something that has let me down on shoes like the Nike Metcon 9 and Under Armour Tribase Reign 5. Wearing both shoes, I felt some unwanted movement around the heel when running and rowing.

Is The R.A.D One Worth It?

The R.A.D One isn’t a cheap shoe, but it is a very good one. And, considering that after a few months of use the only signs of wear are some scuffs around the toe, I’d say they’re built to last. 

That’s why, if you’re a true CrossFitter, I think it’s worth investing in a pair. Hell, even if you’re a cardio-curious bodybuilder or general gym-goer looking for a stylish, versatile shoe, it’s probably worth it. The only exceptions are those whose training has a heavy running bias (the On Cloud X 3 may serve you better), dedicated weightlifters or long-time metcon fans. 

These last two groups will want either a purpose-built weightlifting shoe or a CrossFit sneaker that leans further towards stability than mid-WOD support, such as the Nike Metcon 9 or Inov-8 F-Lite G 300.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.