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TYR CXT-1 Performance Review: Powerful Stability

Arune Singh
TYR CXT-1 Trainer

Over the past year or so, we’ve gotten multiple calls to review the TYR CXT-1 Trainer. Up to this point we viewed TYR as a swimming brand. And then the hype around the TYR CXT-1 continued to grow.

Everyone responds to hype differently. Some become more interested because of the buzz and others find themselves more skeptical, judging even more severely than normal.

It’s difficult to look at TYR, possibly THE hottest rising brand in CrossFit, and not be affected by the hype. We tend to be pretty open-minded reviewers here at WearTesters, but it was hard for us not to wonder if TYR was the real deal or if the buzz around their shoes was more a sign of how much the market is looking for something, anything, new.

This is also the year where Reebok kicked things off by offering what just might be their best Nano ever in the X4 (check out the review), so any training shoe we review this year must compete with an absolute beast that raised the bar.

Lucky for us, TYR is confident in its signature CXT-1 training shoe and sent us pairs to test. Please note that while TYR sent these to us, they had no involvement in this review, didn’t receive an advance look at it, and have not attempted to influence it.

UPDATE: The TYR CXT-1 earned a spot on our list of the best gym, best cross-training, best cross-fit, and best jumping, for 2024.


Price: $140

Drop: 9mm

Fit: True to size

How do the Authors Train?

Arune Singh (age 42, 5’11”, 220lbs): Trains daily with functional fitness programming from Deadboys Fitness, founded by Colby “Seth Rollins” Lopez and Josh Gallegos, along with logging 30-40 miles of running per week. He also has a medical history of Sleep Apnea and Myasthenia Gravis, meaning Arune’s focus is on lean muscle mass.

Drew Whitcomb (age 42, 6’6″ 195lbs): Trains daily with a focus on running, strength training, and mobility. He writes the majority of our running shoe reviews and runs a lot of miles due to testing needs and his growing affinity for long-distance races. His strength training and mobility regimen center around maintaining flexibility and lifting heavy to build power as a counterbalance to all the running he’s doing. His number one focus is staying injury-free so he can keep up the sweet gig of reviewing shoes.

TYR CXT-1 lateral side view

What is the TYR CXT-1?

TYR describes it as:

Powered from the ground up, the CXT-1 Trainer from TYR is designed to take on the most rigorous competitions and training regiments. Athletes will have the ultimate base for any movement, with responsive and durable support that reacts to the energy you put in.

TYR CXT-1 outsole


Arune: We’ve mentioned the Reebok Nano X4 up top, but it’s also the first thing that came to mind when I pulled this black on black pair of TYR CXT-1.

Certainly that’s not a bad thing – the Nano X4 has been an early contender for Training Shoe of The Year – but it did immediately set the stage for an impossible comparison.

But let me be clear – the TYR  CXT-1 didn’t just meet the challenge, it raised the bar beyond my wildest dreams,

Okay, Drew, what do you remember about 90s boy bands?

Drew: Can I veto whatever schtick you have in mind? Our reviews don’t need to be any longer.

Arune: C’mon Boss, have some fun (Editor’s Note: oh boy, stand by for Arune’s definition of “fun”).

The Reebok Nano X4 is the Backstreet Boys – they’ve got the dance moves, the harmonies and the hits. “I Want It That Way” is going to be playing on the radio until the end of time and, truly, I do want it that way.

But the TYR CXT-1 is N’Sync. Sure, they seem similar at first but then you see the dancing is just a bit better, JC might just be the most underrated boy band member, and they changed the game with “Bye Bye Bye” (though I’m an “It’s Gonna be Me” stan).

(Under Armour is 98 Degrees, woefully underrated and more muscular than their peers).

The Nano X4 remains an achievement, but the CXT-1 seems to do everything just a bit better – or at least differently in a way that I’ve never experienced from a training shoe.

Let’s start with the stability, which is absolutely the very best I’ve experienced in a training shoe – I never felt anything but securely connected to the ground (even with a 9mm drop that I never noticed) in every kind of lift. I knocked out the very best AND heaviest single leg RDLs of my life, never once thinking about my foot placement. My foot sank into the SurgeNRG foam midsole and I felt more stable on one leg than I feel on two legs with other shoes.

Want to do some HIIT or plyometrics? This is an excellent option, with the aforementioned responsive midsole making quick transitions seamless.

While I haven’t had a chance to try rope climbs with these and normally wouldn’t even clock them, TYR promotes this shoe as being good for it – and there’s nothing in the construction here that looks remotely durable for doing those with any frequency.

Minor quibble aside, just go read that Nano X4 review and then imagine every bit of praise ends with “but it’s even better in the CXT-1.” I keep hitting PRs (personal records) in so many key lifts, even with a messed up left knee that should be holding me back. There’s no lift or movement that doesn’t feel BETTER in this shoe than anything else I’ve ever worn.

Drew, this shoe is absolutely perfect for me. How about you?

Drew: I’m confused, am I supposed to answer that question with N’Sync or Backstreet Boys lyrics? You’ve really outdone yourself with this pop culture comparison. Hopefully, our audience didn’t say “Bye Bye Bye” and click away when you took us back to the late 90s.

But back to the TYR CXT-1. It’s really, really good in the gym. I kept looking inside the shoe to figure out where the 9mm drop was hiding. I guess if I really concentrate when I’m sitting down, I can feel it, but when I’m moving, the CXT-1 feels natural underfoot.

The stability on my dastardly hip mobility drills, deadlifts, squats, and shoulder presses was impressive. My feet were set in stone and only personal weakness in my knees or hips could unmoor me. Even then, it was easy to catch myself and reset my position. The TYR CXT-1 quickly re-establishes a firm grip on turf, rubber, or wood making it great for any exercise that requires multiple foot positions. There’s no slippage and the energy transfer from leg muscles to feet to ground happens without interference.

While I find the Reebok Nano X4’s upper more comfortable, the TYR CXT-1 is equal or better in every other way.

TYR CXT-1 stability platform


Arune: If you’ve been reading my reviews, you know the fantastic four cardio tests: sprints, jogging, rowing, and air bike.

Unsurprisingly, like most training shoes, I’m not going to recommend any kind of sustained running in the CXT-1. You’ll be set for sprints and the SurgeNRG is good enough that your knees won’t be yelling at you.

Everywhere else, the CXT-1 is an excellent cardio performer and especially great at rowing, where it provides a stable base that led to some distance PRs for me. There’s something about the upper construction that results in the shoe folding in a more natural way than other training shoes where the material can noticeably rub or dig into my forefoot.

We’ll talk more about fit and comfort later, but the CXT-1 is built to deal with that foot swelling from cardio and seemingly always adapted to my foot instead of fighting against it after 60-90 minute cardio sessions.

Couldn’t ask for much more from a shoe that is such a high performer with every other aspect of my training. The CXT-1 makes it easier and more fun to keep moving.

Drew: While running in the TYR CXT-1 is clunky, it does most everything else well. As long as the cardio keeps you on your toes, the slim amount of SurgeNRG foam underfoot works surprisingly well.

Take jumping rope for instance. Lesser shoes start to take a toll on your forefeet after a minute or so of jumping. But with the CXT-1 I could keep jumping till failure and feel smooth the entire time. The CXT-1 is plenty responsive and the energy return was solid while the shock absorption stayed high. It’s an impressive combo for a shoe with so little foam placed under the balls of the feet.

I also found defensive slides and agility ladder work easy to handle. The responsiveness makes it easy to maintain quick feet and swiftly change directions as needed.

TYR CXT-1 view from above


Arune: It’s hard to define comfort in a shoe, as I find the firm, flat fit of the Air Jordan 1 just as comfortable as the Asics Gel Nimbus line, albeit in different ways.

But here’s what I can say with confidence – I have worn the TYR CXT-1 for hours at a time and never have I been in a rush to take them off my feet.

The engineered mesh upper is more than breathable enough for my training in either the warmth of California or cold of a Utah winter. I’ve raved enough about the midsole, but I’ll say once again that it’s great to have cushion without feeling disconnected from the ground.

But there’s one small issue.

Drew: I bet you $100k it’s about the laces (Editor’s Note: my advice is not to take that bet).

Arune: Uh…yep (Editor’s Note: told you so). Maybe it’s my hobbit feet, but I definitely wish the laces were a bit longer. They’re not as short as the Nano X4 but it’d be nice to not have to tug on them so hard every time.

That’s it, no more notes, I swear!

The TYR CXT-1 is a shoe so comfortable that you want to keep moving in it, which is the highest compliment I can give.Training shoes should make you want to train.

Drew: The laces in my size 12 are great so you may not have an issue depending on your shoe size. 

I too find the multi-layered engineered mesh on the front two-thirds of the shoe very comfy but I wish it didn’t have so many layers. It just feels a tad overbuilt and unnecessary. It’s not like the extra layers will help its durability. Stuff like rope climbs will shred engineered mesh no matter how many layers it contains. 

Our colorway’s plasticized heel is conversely good for durability but feels cheap. I wish TYR had used a softer leather or synthetic leather back there. It would look better and still provide solid durability.

So the comfort is good…but it could be even better with a few tweaks.

TYR CXT-1 heel


Arune: I got these in a Men’s size 9.5 and it’s a perfect fit, hugging my feet without crushing them. There’s also no heel slippage and no issues with toe splay. 

There are also wide fits available, something incredibly rare in training shoes and a testament to how much thought TYR put into making this shoe truly inclusive.

Some useful comparisons: I wear that size in all my running shoes – except HOKA where I need a wide fit – and wear a Men’s 9 (also wide) in boots.

Drew: I find the TYR CXT-1 fits true to size lengthwise and has good room for a large portion of wide footers and those with tall feet. It’s a truly accommodating shoe. And TYR offering a wide version makes it even more so. TYR clearly cares about getting fit right and it shows.

TYR CXT-1 upper close up


Arune: I mentioned how the aesthetics of the CXT-1 made me think of the Nano X4 and I think that’s apt, even if the latter has many more welcome pops of color.

This is a sleek, straightforward, no nonsense shoe design – there’s nothing here that feels as distinctive as the rope guard of the Nike Metcon 9 or the Under Armour SlipSpeed Mega.

But that’s also a benefit, as this shoe transitions from the gym to the grocery store seamlessly.

Drew loves it when I use Los Angeles-centric terms, so think of it this way: you can go from Equinox to Erewhon (Editor’s Note: Does he just make up the names of these places? Is Erewhon a character in Lord of the Rings?) in these shoes without a second thought.

I also really like that TYR doesn’t shy away from bright or pastel colors for the CXT-1. I might just have to grab that City of Angels colorway.

Drew: While the black on black colorway TYR sent is boring, they’ve got some real bangers on the site. The CXT-1 takes color well. Several of those colorways can even be used casually without issue. You won’t have a problem rocking the CXT-1 outside the gym.

TYR CXT-1 on turf

Is the TYR CXT-1 worth $140?

Arune: When you price a training shoe below $150 (the median price these days), it always grabs my attention in a market where retail prices seem to be on the rise.

This is a training shoe that does it all and does it better than perhaps any training shoe I’ve ever worn.

Yeah, $140 is a great deal – and if you act quickly, TYR has a number of colorways on sale UNDER $100.

Drew: $140 is right in line with one of my other favorite cross trainers, the GoRuck Ballistic Trainer and, as Arune mentioned, sits below the median price point for cross trainers. 

Considering the top tier performance of the TYR CXT-1, the $140 price is justified…and that’s not even considering you may be able to grab one on sale.

TYR CXT-1 overall

TYR CXT-1 Summary

Arune: I’ll come right out and say it – the TYR CXT-1 might just be the best training shoe I’ve ever worn, performing at a high level and with unrivaled comfort.

Just buy the shoe.

And then let us know how many PRs you hit in the first week.

Drew: While I’m not ready to crown the TYR CXT-1 the best training shoe I’ve ever worn, it goes in my top tier of cross trainers and will find its way onto our lists of best cross training shoes and best weightlifting shoes. It’s one of the better cross training options on the market and deserves your consideration.

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