Cross-training shoes are a heated debate topic among group fitness enthusiasts. Fitness instructors (hopefully) preach the importance of a proper cross-trainers, most participants claim their 5 year-old runners work just fine, and then we see the falls/slips/bum knees/shin splints.
What's the biggest difference between cross-trainers and runners? The majority of running shoes are designed with stability on the side of the heel, plenty of traction for good grip on the road/trails, and often a great drop height than trainers. These are all great... for running shoes. Running is [mostly] a forward motion.
That's not the case in crossfit, the weight room, or a group fitness class, though. Big jumps, side-to-side movements, backward movements, standing weight lifts are all common in the gym. A heavy weighted heel could cause poor form, overly grippy shoes could cause you to hurt your knee while doing a slide or a skater, and too much drop while lifting can throw off balance and weight the muscles oddly.
If you're spending as much time cross-training and lifting as you are with your cardio, it's important to invest in it.
The COR features an elasticized center gore and a secure hook-loop strap. Ideally this makes it slip on and off easily. I have not found that to be the case. The opening for your foot is snug, in a good way. it means your feel can move around freely in the wise toe-box without feeling like they are slipping forward.
Not everyone is a fan of a no-lace style shoe, but I am thrilled with it. It sucks to be in the middle of plyometric work or lifting, and feel like you have to stop to tie your shoe. No laces as a fitness instructor means one less wardrobe malfunction.
The Midsole (Stability/motion-control)
There's not much to say about this midsole. It's a zero-drop shoe with a lower stack height so the motion-control is minimal. It's all about having a responsive shoe in the gym when you need it. It bends with your foot, has a LOT of give (especially in the upper mesh), and doesn't stabilize so that your movements are exactly as they should be: however the heck you want them.
The outsole matches that of the Topo ST-2 platform, giving you some rubber where you need it, and not where you don't. This keeps it light and reactive to your movements. Yes, that means it can most certainly be used as a runner if you like the bare minimum. I don't find that the top breathes as much as the ST-2, however. So if your feet over heat while running (no? Just me then?), I don't suggest it for anything longer than a 40 minute run.
It's important to not have much traction in a gym/cross-training shoe. Quick, HIIT moves, jumps, sliding side to side, etc need to be doable without the shoe seizing on the ground and tweaking your knees. This outsole is fantastic for those movements. Zumba, BodyCombat, Body Attack, R.I.P.P.E.D., Crossfit are all great examples of groupX classes that this shoe would thrive in.
The colors? I got nothing on this shoe. I'm crazy about EVERYTHING. I love the grey, I want the black, and would LOVE to see it in some crazy neon colors as well. I have owned two other cross-trainers by Topo Athletic and this one has kept me from ever reaching for those, although I should. Just like with running shoes, the more you rotate your shoes, the longer they last and the happier your feet will be.