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RAD R-1 Performance Review


In late 2022, I reviewed the RAD One, a cross trainer from a new brand that was taking the CrossFit world by storm. Now RAD has taken their design language and ethos to running shoes. The RAD R-1 was created to jumpstart RAD’s running line and is meant to be a daily running shoe with enough cushion to go long, and enough bounce to work for speedier sessions.

Jump into the running shoe world is not an easy task and there’s insane amounts of competition. Is the RAD R-1 up to the challenge?


Release Date: Late 2023

Price: $160

Weight: 9.7 oz.

Drop: 8mm

Sizing: True to size

Buy Men's at RAD Buy Women's at RAD
  • Rundown: The RAD R-1 is a serviceable running shoe that’s stable and durable.
RAD R-1 lateral view

RAD R-1 Performance

Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up the R-1. The horse hoof outsole flares out to the sides with natural outriggers built in. That’s the start of a very stable shoe. Lifting weights in the R-1 is doable and the R-1 is perfect for WODs that involve a lot of running. The stability also makes the R-1 a good option for larger runners who know that too squishy equals annoying instability.

The outsole itself performed well in dry conditions. However, slight slippage in rainy conditions make it fairly average in the traction department. The R-1 does have plenty of rubber in all the right spots thus making durability a strong point.

The cushioning is also fairly average. RAD uses SwellFoam N2, a supercritical partially bio-based foam that is open sourced from Allbirds. The 50/50 sugar cane/fossil composition is impressive but the underfoot feel leaves plenty to be desired.

The sweet spot for this cushion setup is 1-6 miles outdoors or on the treadmill. It’s soft at first but as the miles tick by it feels firmer. It’s also not bouncy and I don’t think it equips itself well for tempo or interval work. The R-1 is a daily trainer that can transition between the roads and gym fairly easily but not one you’ll enjoy taking for a long runs or track runs.

On top of the midsole is an upper that’s nicely breathable through the toe and midfoot. It’s comfortable and plush at the heel collar and tongue. The RAD R-1’s upper can handle hot summer days whether you’re running or lifting outdoors. It has some fuse for stability in the heel and midfoot and for durability at the toe, but it’s not obtrusive or annoying.

The R-1’s upper is also accommodating and provides plenty of room for toe splay. This creates a shoe that fits true to size with enough room for many wide footers. It will feel slightly long but that’s by design so that your foot isn’t affected by the pointy toe. You might think you can go down a half size when trying them on, but don’t, that will take away the room for toe splay.

RAD R-1 outsole


  • Stability
  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Accommodating upper
  • One of the best running shoes for weightlifting
RAD R-1 heel view


  • Arch support may be too much for some runners
  • SwellFoam N2 can’t go long or fast
RAD R-1 top view wide build

Is the RAD R-1 wide foot friendly?

Yes, the RAD R-1 is wide foot friendly. It widens nicely at the toebox, enough that most wide footers will be able to go true to size.

RAD R-1 upper close up

Is the RAD R-1 worth $160?

$160 is the right price for a high end daily running shoe but the RAD R-1, due to subpar cushioning, can’t quite measure up to that price point. There are better options at $160 for going long distance. The $160 price point will only be worth it if you’re a RAD fan and need a shoe that can easily transition between the weight room and short runs.

RAD R-1 from above

RAD R-1 Summary

The RAD R-1 is a very good first running shoe from RAD. It’s ultra stable, breathable, durable, and accommodates multiple foot types. The cushion and price are drawbacks, but depending on your use case, they might not be dealbreakers. If you’re looking for a pure highly cushioned running shoe, this isn’t your best bet, but it portends good things to come for RAD.

Whenever there’s a smaller, independent brand making progress, I’m cheering them on. Brands like RAD are essential to pushing innovation forward and make a huge difference in footwear innovation. I’m excited to see what RAD does next.

How does the Author Run?

Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Runs daily with a once a week rest day. Runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and a growing affinity for long-distance races. Regularly competes in marathons, half-marathons, 10k, and 5k races.


While RAD did send a pair of the RAD R-1 to facilitate this review, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

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