Can a Cross Training Shoe Actually Take You From Weights to Plyos to the Treadmill?


Athletes today are far more multifaceted than ever before. Runners lift weights. Lifters hit the pavement. Men and women are stepping outside of their go-to discipline—be it baseball, basketball, soccer—and reaping the benefits of challenging new skill sets and muscle groups. You probably do the same thing in the gym—blasting out a weighted strength and conditioning circuit before hopping on a treadmill to log some miles. (Or, you know, complete the grueling CrossFit WOD Murph.)

The problem is finding a shoe that can keep up with you—that has enough stability and support for weight lifting, plus the comfort and cushioning for running. The newly released Nike Free Train Force Flyknit can truly do it all.

“It’s designed so athletes can lift, run, jump, and cut in multiple environments,” says Drew Conant, Nike’s men’s training footwear product director. 

Like the LunarEpic Flyknit, Nike’s other latest installment, the Free Train Force Flyknit is a mid-cut shoe that offers support through the ankle for a snug fit. You can see the linear design on the sides of the shoe. Some of that detailing has Flywire technology—which serves kind of like cables on a suspension bridge—running through it at the instep to lock down your foot for lateral movements like cutting, stopping, braking, or jumping. “We’re shooting for stability in the upper,” Conant says. “There’s not as much stretch in the upper like the LunarEpic, but there’s a heel counter to keep your foot on the platform of the shoe, rather than rolling off, creating instability.” The shoe also boasts a wide, flat bottom heel and foam underfoot that’s flexible and comfortable but firm, which is exactly what you need when you’re squatting 300 pounds, doing a lateral lunge, or landing from a box jump. 

As for running, that’s where one of the shoe’s most impressive advancements comes in, solving what was arguably one of the running shoe industry’s biggest problems. When you run, your foot expands in length and width, so while the Free Train Force Flyknit locks your foot in place, the updated “Free” technology (that you can see in the outsole) accommodates the need to splay in the toe box by using a dual-density system. Basically, the materials can stretch in all different directions to accommodate your foot as it “grows” while you run. You’ll get the feel of barefoot running with the protection of traditional footwear. Note that this shoe is intended for shorter runs like 5Ks and sprints rather than distance running like a marathon. (For that, you could pick up the LunarEpic instead.)

Want to try the Free Train Force Flyknit for yourself? Shop the do-everything shoe for $150 at

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