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10.1 oz. (286 g) for a US M9
Stack height unavailable (10 mm drop)
Bouncy daily miles
Engineered mesh upper, supercritical midsole, 2 mm thick outsole
MICHAEL: A little while ago, Robbe reviewed the Runner+, a new foray into the performance running shoe market from CrossFit/gym brand NoBull. As it turns out, the shoe was actually really great for running and garnered praise for its characteristic simplicity and a ride that’s similar to the beloved Saucony Endorphin Speed. Similar to NoBull, TYR has begun branching out its brand over the past few years. While it’s still a prominent player in the performance swimming area and sponsoring incredible athletes like Katie Ledecky, TYR really got in the gym during COVID and now offers a strong (pun intended) portfolio of lifting and CrossFit-style footwear and apparel.
Continuing their unorthodox evolution from the pool and now into the gym, TYR is moving on to the performance running space with the launch of several new models. The RD-1X, in particular, is TYR’s attempt at a good ol’ do-it-all daily trainer (think Brooks Ghost), with a little spice from a supercritical midsole thrown in. Will TYR’s first attempt make a splash in a wildly competitive market? Read on to find out.
KALEB: “Isn’t that a swimsuit company?” Yes. Before we go a step further, yes. The only time many runners will have seen the name TYR is on their goggles. In the past few years, the brand has also started branching out into gym wear, so road shoes aren’t their first experiment outside the pool, but the average runner still won’t have seen many TYR products in their lifetime.
Watching a company try something new can be exciting; remember when you first found out Crayola made gummy candy? Or that Beanie Babies was a drug front? Okay, that second one’s not true, but you get the point: new products can spice up a company. On the other hand, it can also be a little annoying because the first few attempts at a wildly new product are often weird at best and downright trash at worst. But hey, that’s what Michael and I are here to decide: diamond in the rough, or just rough.
A brand’s lineup is only as strong as its daily trainer, so the TYR RD-1X has to tackle the demands of an everyday shoe in an age where the average trainer is made of high-rebound, high-performance foam as often as not. Can newly entering competitors hope to survive in such a competitive market? I won’t spoil the entire review, but I’d say they can!
MICHAEL: Despite being new to the game, the RD-1X feels like an old friend on the roads. As you’ll see throughout this section, I make more than enough references to the Brooks Ghost, a tried and true favorite of my high school xc days.
Starting with the upper, TYR went with a two-piece engineered mesh and gusseted tongue, with plenty of cushioning throughout to boost comfort. The step-in feel is soft without feeling overly plush, a great balance for a daily trainer. Down below is TYR’s Surge NRG+ foam, a supercritical material with a similar feel to that of Skechers OG HyperBurst or Brooks DNA Loft v3. This midsole doesn’t have the zing or pop of a super trainer, but the soft, responsive feel really does liven up what would otherwise be a boring shoe had it been manufactured with standard EVA. While I was unable to get a measurement of the stack height, I would put the cushioning level right at that of the Brooks Ghost. Plush in the heel, with the 10 mm heel/toe drop leaving the forefoot pretty close to the ground.
Basically, this shoe takes the midsole foam from a Brooks Glycerin and combines it with the stack height of the Ghost and boom, great shoe. Additionally, the support wings on the medial and lateral sides really do add some welcomed support, even for someone who typically opts for neutral shoes. Once again, I’ll drop a Brooks comparison here – these are undoubtedly similar to the GuideRails (as Brooks calls them) in their lineup of support models. Simply put, the midsole is the star of the show here. I was able to put in 30 miles in the RD-1X and really enjoyed every mile. Despite being a lower-stack shoe, my feet felt protected, comfortable, and supported.
One last great thing about the TYR RD-1X I must mention, and that’s durability. Between a generous helping of rubber on the outsole and the supercritical midsole, I have no doubt these trainers could easily last 500 miles. And when you consider the $140 price tag, that’s a pretty awesome deal these days.
KALEB: I’ve never run in the Ghost or Glycerin, so I don’t have to draw any Brooks comparisons. I’ve also never run with butter on my feet, but suck it up, I’m gonna use that as my comparison instead. It’s a little difficult to describe the RD-1X’s midsole; there’s softness and liveliness that seem to contradict each other. Don’t misread me: this ain’t More V4 squish, nor is it ZoomX bounce. It’s a firmer kind of cushion and a more subtle type of bounce that keeps the legs moving, and my best description for it is buttery because it all works together really well, almost unnoticeably. A little bit of cush, a little bit of zing, even a little bit of roll from the slight rocker up front, but none of these things in excess.
Some would call that a weakness since it doesn’t crank these positive traits to the max, but I think it works perfectly for the type of trainer the RD-1X is. You can roll off easy miles, you can pick up the pace, you can just walk around town in ‘em: it’s a do-it-all daily trainer. Sure, it’s not going to come close to competing with specialized shoes in these categories, but it’s going to handle everything you throw at it fairly well. “A jack of all trades, master of none, is oftentimes better than a master of one,” and all that.
Despite the entire ATV’s worth of rubber strapped to the bottom of this shoe, it comes across as lighter on the run than it does on paper. So not only will you get heaps of miles on this trainer, but you won’t get bogged down while doing it.
Michael and I disagree a little on the upper of the RD-1X (probably because of some sizing differences I’ll touch on later), but I thought it was well done. The double-layered mesh wraps the foot nicely without cutting off circulation, and breathability is superb. There’s plenty of cushion where it’s needed around the collar, but not so much as to feel heavy or stifling to the foot. It seems that in all aspects of the shoe, the RD-1X strikes a sweet balance between extremes. This makes for an experience that, while not exhilarating, is reliable and comfortable for almost every workout.
MICHAEL: While there is much to appreciate about the RD-1X, a few manufacturing mishaps with the upper do suggest that TYR has some work to do in version two. First, there’s a noticeable bunching of the lacing chain. To get the lockdown sorted, I had to pull both sides of the eyelet chain within a centimeter of each other. Second, the heel counter sits very high, and its rigid construction could result in significant Achilles irritation for some runners. Despite an admirable effort from the cushioning tabs on some of my ankle socks, they got caught up in the friction and pulled down off my heel.
Both of these issues boil down to the heel counter, medial wrap, and toe box all sitting noticeably higher on the foot than any shoe I’ve worn in the past few years. Basically, the upper is too tall. That being said, neither consequence of the lofty upper actually bothered me, but they could be a dealbreaker for some. I still had good lockdown through the midfoot, and most of the socks I have are crew height anyway.
KALEB: I didn’t experience any of the chafing that Michael did, but I did have the lacing troubles. I’d blame it less on the upper and more on the laces themselves: they’re weird and feel like vegan spaghetti, constantly stretching out further and undoing any tension you tied the shoe with, forcing you to crank even tighter.
Note: I recognize that almost all spaghetti is already vegan, but I mean that the laces feel how you might imagine spaghetti to feel if it were specifically made by a vegan food company.
Editor’s note on top of Kaleb’s note: It’s true that most dried, packaged pasta is vegan. However, most fresh pasta (the kind that would be stretchy like Kaleb described) is typically not vegan as it contains eggs.
Alright, just trust me: the laces are goofy, okay? Gosh.
Perhaps one of the reasons I didn’t experience the “too big/too tall” effect that Michael did was because my pair arrived very nearly too small. The RD-1X in my typical US M9 almost felt like an M8.5. Since I’m on the smaller end of an M9, it all worked out fine and didn’t cause any issues, but if you typically wear your shoes close to the toe, size up a half step.
One last thing: I almost never care about what my shoes look like (I wore Topos to school for a bit, for Pete’s sake), but the RD-1X ain’t sexy by any standards. It looks like something sixth-grade me would wear and be annoyed at because it doesn’t light up when I stomp. Maybe it’s the fact that it runs a little stubby, maybe it’s the weird silhouette of the shoe itself, maybe it’s the Black/Reflective/White/LiterallyEveryDadShoeEver colorway I received, or maybe it’s some combination of ’em all, but I just think its kinda ugly. Like, if you’re going to roll out “Always In Front” as your company slogan, you should make sure everyone training in your gear looks at least a little bit more grown-up than someone who binges episodes of Ben 10.
MICHAEL: With all the developments in technology throughout the industry, it’s really hard to find a truly bad shoe these days. Go into any running store, blindfold yourself, and walk to the wall with an outstretched hand, and you’ll probably find a model that will work well for most runs. The TYR RD-1X is no exception. Between the plush midsole, comfortable upper, and smooth ride, this shoe’s performance is right on par with similar offerings like the Brooks Glycerin GTS and Ghost. So if you want to change it up from the Ghost (honestly an upgrade from the Ghost), or if you are a gym rat or swimmer looking to get in some cardio, the TYR RD-1X is a fantastic option for getting in those daily miles.
KALEB: Despite laying into the looks of the shoe (and honestly, I think almost every other colorway looks pretty sleek), I was pleasantly surprised by how nice a daily trainer the RD-1X is. For those runners who are still (rightly) content to log all their different types of miles in one shoe, this is an awesome option. At $140, it sits right below the average daily trainer in cost while still having some of the higher quality features of pricier shoes, such as supercritical foam and a cushy upper.
More importantly, the RD-1X is a solid opening move by TYR, which bodes well for any future things they start to cook up outside the realm of the pool and the gym. “Always In Front” may not have applied to TYR on the roads in the past, but if I had to wager a guess, they’re going to quickly find themselves up with the pack, ready to make that slogan a reality.
You can pick up the TYR RD-1X for $140 directly from TYR using the buttons below.
An engineer living with his wife and cat in Birmingham, Ala., Michael loves chill morning runs in the neighborhood, but especially enjoys soaking up long miles of technical southeast singletrack. Occasionally, he’ll get a racing itch and actually string together some “organized” training for a trail race or FKT. In his free time, Michael enjoys books, backpacking, and hanging out with friends.More from Michael
Kaleb is one of the younger, “both of my knees still work” reviewers on the BITR team. As a high school cross country, track and field, and road racing athlete in Pennsylvania, Kaleb loves hearing about the latest endurance-athletics studies and seeing how everything out there can fit into a well-rounded training program. If you don’t see him drinking a weird health concoction or doing some strange warmup technique, he’s probably already started the race.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Ride 14, Nike ZoomX DragonflyMore from Kaleb