The CrossFit Games begin today, and all the athletes will be decked out in their Nobull apparel— except for the kicks. You're likely to see a variety of footwear navigating the field during this year's competition, but the newest to enter the arena are the R.A.D Ones. These performance-ready sneakers debuted earlier this year, boosted by the co-signs of Games veterans Danielle Brandon and Laura Horvath.
R.A.D. stands for Rally Against Destruction, and with a name like that, you can imagine they carry a bit of a chip on their shoulder, especially as the founder’s roots are based in skate and surf subculture. R.A.D. is proud to be a bit more alternative, and definitely shows it in the branding (it’s a cool look). Founder Ben Massey was a CrossFit affiliate owner — as well as a 2017 Games team competition athlete — so you could say he has done his homework and it shows in these shoes.
What’s Good About the R.A.D. Ones
Comfort and construction is surprisingly on-par with CrossFit staples.
We are big fans of Reebok’s Nanos here at GP, and I have been a loyal Metcon wearer for years. With that being said, right off the bat, I can tell you that R.A.D.’s sneakers are more cushioned and comfortable than any Metcon. If I read that sentence prior to testing these, I would be a bit skeptical of the shoe’s versatility. Typically, a firm shoe is preferred for Olympic or powerlifting movements, which are common in functional fitness workouts. What's even more impressive is that the R.A.D. Ones win out in the support category as well.
I put these shoes through a wide variety of work. I ran a sprint workout, did some Olympic lifting and also completed some general HIIT workouts. The brand’s Swell Foam sole proved to be responsive on short runs yet firm and supportive in lifting scenarios. They have a 6mm offset, which may not be the biggest help for those with poor ankle mobility, but it keeps you close enough to the ground for stability. The herringbone outsole comes up pretty high on the shoe, providing substantial structure as well as a grip that was notable during agility movements.
The shoes feature a mesh upper with a suede-like material around the edges. My initial thoughts on the suede were a bit cautious, but then I thought back to my Vans Old Skools that also have a suede toe. Those have proven themselves worthy with everything I've put them through, which helped curbed my R.A.D. reservations. While I am interested to see how the mesh textile holds up against rope climbs, I do appreciate the breathability.
The R.A.D. Ones bring an unmatched sense of style to the CrossFit box.
These sneakers look good, plain and simple. They tote a bit more of an athleisure look than competitors, which is appreciated. There isn't a huge in-your-face logo, just a small mark on the outside of the heel. It honestly reminds me of a well-placed tattoo that fits the flow of the shoe.
Other functional fitness kicks on the market are not known for their show-stopping style. They serve their purpose as trainers, but as the trending athleisure market continues to grow, the shoes need to keep up, and R.A.D. definitely does in my opinion. Wearing them to the grocery store after a quick WOD did not make me feel like a wild tryhard, and honestly, I thought highly of the daily wear comfort they provided.
What's Less Than Ideal About the R.A.D Ones
Limited releases make getting a pair an RPE 10
R.A.D. is a brand still in its infancy, having had its first release in January with five additional drops since. Once they sell out of a colorway, they proudly do not restock it, though, which can make it difficult to snag a pair for training.
While this sense of exclusivity adds to the appeal for some, it can be a bit frustrating when you just want to buy the shoes in your favorite color and call it a day. So, if you follow the brand and see a color release approaching, I recommend getting on the notification list so you can buy while the stock is, well, stocked.
The R.A.D. One: The Verdict
The shoes are available exclusively on the brand's website for $150, which can be seen as a hefty investment, but honestly, it’s not too far off from the competitors. While they aren’t Hokas, the well-cushioned design provides enough to do some running. The stability is great for lifts, but I doubt the more serious lifters will be ditching their Romaleos any time soon. With all this, though, the R.A.D. Ones have certainly raised the standard for your “jack of all trades” trainers.