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Finding a shoe that can meet every demand in a CrossFit gym can be an exhausting task. We need something that is comfortable, yet performs well in lifting, gymnastics, and running. The Nike Free series is geared towards running, but Nike has made some improvements on the TR 8 to make them even more breathable, supportive, and flexible. These are a stylish shoe, with many cute color options. They will look good in the gym for light CrossFit workouts and running alike.
The pink shoe depicted above is a current color option for the TR 8.
Our Analysis and Test Results
Nike's Free TR 7 was a highly recommended shoe with great support and comfort for cross-training workouts. One of the biggest names in the CrossFit shoe market, Nike is continuously evolving with time. They took the key features of the TR 7 and made the TR 8 even better. The Free TR 8 boasts a redesigned upper that is more breathable and features a thicker midsole. This flexible and lightweight trainer is best for casual wear in the gym, but if you are looking for a model with various color options at an affordable price point, this might be it.
The Nike Free TR 8 landed in the middle of our pack for CrossFit training shoes.
The features that make the Free TR 8 a good option for running and the same that make it a poor choice for heavy weightlifting. The tri-star grooves on the bottom of this shoe compressed during our tester's three rep heavy back squat. The lateral and medial construction features Nike's EVA foam, which is a plus for comfort but makes it difficult to maintain stability under load.
We are really digging the bootie design that big names like Nike and NOBULL are featuring in their shoes, especially when it comes to comfort and wearability during running WODs. The sock-like feeling gives you one less thing to worry about when you are pounding pavement. Our testers enjoyed running and jumping in these shoes due to their support, light weight, and flexibility. We ran over two miles in these shoes during our WOD, and they felt great.
The heel of the Free TR 8 is incredibly firm, so we were interested to see what the feedback would be like once we took it out of the box and into the gym. The EVA midsole was comfortable, flexible, and cushioned through the arches. Our testers did feel this shoe pushed them anterior at points, but they were able to spread their toes and dig into the ground on all bounding and jumping movements.
The Free TR 8 got a pretty big overhaul compared to its predecessor, the TR 7. The bootie fit of the uppers and fully attached, oversized tongue help your ankle feel stable and cradled. Nike also added TPU wings on the lateral and medial sides of the shoe. These wings, in combination with the reinforced lacing system, provide the wearer with extra stability. Nike's infamous FlyWire cable technology wraps up around the midfoot in the shoe's upper for added support and stability.
Protection and Durability
Although the Free TR 8 didn't score any of our top merits when it comes to protection and durability, there are some great features that Nike added to this shoe to help it withstand the demands of CrossFit and cross-training style workouts. Although our testers found it a bit strange that it didn't cover the entire toe box, the expanded outsole lip was durable during toesy movements like burpees, push-ups, and toes to bar.
The double-layered mesh on the forefoot of the shoe is flexible and breathable, but one of our testers mentioned it feels flimsy. The midfoot of the shoe features a change of material around the ankle and arches of the shoe. The two different materials are sewn together with an exterior stitch that just didn't hold up to the abrasiveness of rope climbs. After our first workout, we saw threads pulling out.
The double mesh on the upper of the Free TR 8 provided airflow and kept our feet cool during intense workouts. The rear half of the shoe's upper is what kept the TR 8 from scoring higher on the breathability scale. This is made of a might tighter-knit mesh that seemed to keep our arches warm once we got into our WOD.
As the years pass and CrossFit evolves, so do its shoes. It can sometimes be difficult to find a shoe that is both comfortable and tough enough to handle abuse from the daily WOD. The Free TR 8 might not have topped our charts on overall performance, but these are a comfortable shoe for bodyweight and light cross-training workouts. The uppers of the bootie fit is comfortable and adaptable, and the EVA midsole offers support and cushion to keep your feet comfortable during runs. The heel cup is cushioned but took our tester a few workouts to break in.
These are a decent option if you aren't looking to spend a ton of money on gym shoes. With various colorway options and a name like Nike, you know you are going to get a great looking shoe that performs well in CrossFit outside of heavy lifting. At this price point, they are worth giving a try.
If you are looking for a cost-efficient shoe from a name brand like Nike, that will not only perform decently in the gym but look fly while doing it, you are in luck. We liked the Free TR 8 for lightweight training and running. This is a good day to day shoe that can handle bodyweight workouts, but for heavy and intense CrossFit workouts, it came up short.
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