TYR CX1-T and L-1 Trainers, Tested: Making a Splash in CrossFit Shoes

After the brand's impressive run at this year's CrossFit Games, we wanted to see if the shoes were as capable when not on the grandest training stage.

tyr cxt 1 trainer and tyr l 1 lifter shoes next to each other
Ben Emminger

CrossFit shoes have long been dominated by big brands such as Nike and Reebok, boasting effective, performance-ready silhouettes designed to give your WODs the footing they need. Sure, there have been other entries, like Nobull and R.A.D., that have climbed the ranks as of late, but no kick has left quite an impact like TYR.

At this year's CrossFit Games, six of the top 10 male competitors earned their respective rankings while donning TYR's new CXT-1 Trainer, subsequently setting the CrossFit community ablaze as fans and athletes searched for these impressive new sneakers. For a brand that's more known for swimming gear, this overthrow of the leaderboard was quite the statement — there's a new shoe worthy of the leader's jersey.

While the CXT-1s definitely made their presence known this past August, the brand also has a complementary lifting clog as part of its new footwear stable, the L-1 Lifter. It seems TYR has gotten out of the pool and dove headfirst into the CrossFit box, but would these sneakers perform as well for the everyday gym-goer as they did on the sport's biggest stage?

To find out, I secured a pair of both the CXT-1s and L-1s — an impressive feat in its own right — and took to the gym to test their merit. Across multiple exercises and sessions, I noted each silhouette's performance, fit and functionality in comparison to mainstays in the gym shoe realm. Additionally, I also wore the CXT-1s around the house to test their versatility when my schedule called for more recovery and relaxation. Here's what I found.

TYR CXT-1 Trainer

thewodlife.com
$200.00
$129.99 (35% off)

  • Surge NRG foam midsole gives these trainers excellent responsiveness for plyometrics and other dynamic movements
  • Breathable mesh upper cloaks your foot in a secure fashion while offering optimal air flow

  • 9mm heel-to-toe drop might be too aggressive for some
  • The shoe can feel stiff at first, requiring an initial break-in period

TYR L-1 Lifter

thewodlife.com
$24.70

  • Wide toe box provides ample room for natural toe splaying during static lifts
  • The outsole gives these lifters excellent grip, particularly on rubberized floors and wooden lifting platforms

  • Wider fit can feel too roomy during dynamic lifts like clean and jerks
  • Hook-and-loop straps can fall over the shoe, potentially getting caught underfoot

What's Good About TYR's Training-Focused Footwear?

The CXT-1 features a breathable mesh upper offering up plenty of security and air flow.

CrossFit shoes are designed to withstand the rigors of intense training, using multi-layered mesh across the upper to take on any jumps, lifts, strides and other exercises included in your regimen. While this can be a benefit in terms of durability, it can leave your feet sweat-ridden rather quickly. It appears TYR has found that happy medium with the CXT-1's breathable mesh upper, however.

Whether pushing through box jumps or getting under a heavy squat, my feet felt secure and protected across the top. Additionally, I didn't get that pooling feeling of sweat-soaked socks toward the end of my workouts like I've experienced in other CrossFit-specific trainers. While I'm curious to see how well the softer mesh holds up over extended use, I'm happy with the performance thus far — and my feet are very appreciative of the increased air flow.

tyr cxt 1 shoes
Ben Emminger

A patent-pending Stability Platform in the CXT-1 keeps workouts grounded.

When you're moving big totals, you want your footing to be secure so you can maintain that rigid frame for optimal form and execution. Thanks to the patent-pending Stability Platform built into the CXT-1s, it was easy to achieve that grounded feeling in a number of exercises. I was able to lock in and brace without hesitation, and never felt a sense of wobbliness once I began to push or pull.

While this Stability Platform definitely made for more secure stances, I didn't feel the shoes were overly rigid when walking around or running. The midsole still carries a bit of flexibility, allowing for a more natural foot function that wasn't uncomfortable. I wouldn't call these running shoes by any means, but if your WOD features a handful of short sprints, the CXT-1s are more than capable of a quality effort.

The L-1's toe box is plenty wide for optimal toe splaying.

If you've ever lifted in lifting clogs, you understand how tight and form-fitting they are. This is so your feet stay in a locked position, minimizing movement as you push off the platform to achieve a proper lockout. Still, though, this snug fit limits natural toe splaying and can make for a less comfortable push-off if you're not already used to the fit and feel.

The patent-pending anatomical toe box of the L-1s, I'll admit, looked a little obnoxious, especially when compared to my normal clogs, but this tech is definitely based on function rather than form. The extra room around my digits created a more grounded setup as my toes splayed for a wider footprint within the shoe. This provided a comfortable feel that I've only achieved in canvas shoes, like the Converse Chuck Taylor. And when I was in the middle of a lift, I didn't feel my foot sliding off the midsole or spilling over the edge, either.

tyr l 1 lifter shoes
Ben Emminger

The L-1's underfoot grip is great for rubber gym floors and wooden platforms.

Of course, you want your shoes to have a little bit of tackiness when you're in the middle of your stance, but some surfaces, like wooden lifting platforms, can be a little trickier to navigate. Across rubberized gym floors, concrete-poured basements and wooden platforms, I never felt my footing to be compromised. The grip and traction was easy to maintain throughout multiple workouts, even when I began to pour sweat.

What's Less Than Ideal About TYR's CrossFit Shoes?

There is a break-in period with the CXT-1s.

I'll be honest, while I appreciated the flexibility and responsiveness of the CXT-1's midsole, it wasn't an immediate attraction. I did experience some rigidity and clunkiness on the first few wears, and only after a week did these trainers begin to open up for more dynamic training. The stiffness wasn't too much of a factor in my normal static exercises, but for that first week, I opted to forego any box jumps or plyometrics to give the shoes a chance to fully break in.

To help the break-in process, I'd recommend wearing the CXT-1s around the house for a little during that first week. This will help mold the midsole to your footprint and bend the outsole as you step through your daily regimen. I don't claim these as a good shoe for daily wear, but this can be a quick and simple way to get these kicks ready for the gym sooner rather than later.

While the wider fit of the L-1 is nice for static lifts, it might be more a detriment for dynamic modalities.

The wide toe box can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to the L-1s. I've already praised the build for its effectiveness during static lifts like squats and other exercises, but when taking on Olympic lifts like snatches and clean and jerks, I did experience some spillover when hopping into the catch position. There was just a little too much room to accommodate the motion, so I think I'll save these clogs for static lifting routines.

Additionally, the wide toe box is something to think of if you have a narrower footprint. You'll need to really cinch down the laces and straps to achieve a locked in setup, and even still, it may be too roomy for proper push-off.

These shoes are very hard to come by.

I stated before that the TYR Trainers had a massive coming out party at this year's CrossFit Games, drastically increasing their popularity practically overnight. While this is a testament to the CrossFit community's intrigue and faith in the all-new sneakers, it has left casual purchases in the dust. Currently, both the CXT-1s and L-1s are made in small batches that sell out quickly, and third-party retailers are only able to offer pre-order capabilities. Thankfully, though, TYR does have a footwear access newsletter that can keep you in the know for when these impressive silhouettes come back in stock. I highly recommend registering for this newsletter, at least until supply levels can better match demand.

TYR Training Footwear: The Verdict

After training in both the CXT-1s and L-1s for a few weeks, it's clear to see that the all-new silhouettes live up to the hype. I was thoroughly impressed with the stability features of both footwear options, and think they've carved out a well-deserved spot in my gym shoe rotation. Plus, the simple aesthetics look fantastic, and while that's not an absolute dealbreaker for shoes built on performance, it does give any workout wardrobe some nice flair.

tyr cxt 1 shoes
Ben Emminger
tyr l 1 shoes
Ben Emminger

Both the CXT-1 and L-1 silhouettes are available for pre-order at roughly $140 and $200 respectively, placing them right in-line with other competing footwear options. It's not everyday that a brand just dives into footwear, but in the case of TYR's footwear picks, this is one dive that was executed flawlessly.

TYR CXT-1 Trainer

thewodlife.com
$200.00
$129.99 (35% off)

  • Surge NRG foam midsole gives these trainers excellent responsiveness for plyometrics and other dynamic movements
  • Breathable mesh upper cloaks your foot in a secure fashion while offering optimal air flow

  • 9mm heel-to-toe drop might be too aggressive for some
  • The shoe can feel stiff at first, requiring an initial break-in period

TYR L-1 Lifter

thewodlife.com
$24.70

  • Wide toe box provides ample room for natural toe splaying during static lifts
  • The outsole gives these lifters excellent grip, particularly on rubberized floors and wooden lifting platforms

  • Wider fit can feel too roomy during dynamic lifts like clean and jerks
  • Hook-and-loop straps can fall over the shoe, potentially getting caught underfoot
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