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Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Review | Good for HIIT and Classes?

The Nike Air Zoom TR 1 is designed to be a versatile training shoe that heavily utilizes Nike’s Air Zoom technology. As opposed to shoes like the Nike Zoom Metcon Turbo 2, this model’s air unit extends the entirety of the sole.

Going into my review process, I was most curious how the Air Zoom TR 1 differed from other versatility and HIIT-focused models like the Nike Free Metcon 5.

After multiple strength sessions and HIIT workouts, I’ve narrowed down some things to like and appreciate with the Air Zoom TR 1, and some areas where this shoe falls short.

Report Card: Get the Quick Facts

Nike Air Zoom TR 1

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Pros and Cons
  • Price: $130
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Width: Medium/Standard
  • Comparable To: Nike Free Metcon 5

Zoom Air TR 1 Performance Assessment

  • Lifting: 3.4 (max lifts: 235 lb squat, 315 lb deadlift)
  • Cross-Training: 3.8/5
  • HIIT: 4.3
  • Running: 4.1/5
  • Walking: 3.9/5

Pros

  1. The Air Zoom unit feels bouncy for HIIT and plyometrics which is great for classes, circuits, and jump rope workouts.
  2. The rubber outsole has a good grip on turf and various surfaces which gives this shoe a nice range of contexts where it excels.
  3. This model can work well for short runs where you’re doing intervals and fast-paced bouts in classes and circuit training sessions.

Cons

  1. This shoe’s toe box can feel limiting and narrow for wider feet. There’s an aggressive taper so wide feet should pass on this model.
  2. The midsole compresses pretty easily in this shoe making it fall short for moderate to heavy strength workouts.
  3. The Air Zoom unit may be offputting for some because it can squish when lifting and trying to stabilize which may decrease balance in certain contexts.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Review

Who Should Buy the Nike Air Zoom TR 1?

The Nike Air Zoom TR 1 is interesting and find them to almost be a bridge training shoe for very specific niches. Below are some scenarios where I think this shoe makes a lot of sense.

1. You Want a Shoe for Athletic Workouts

If you train more “athletically” then the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 should work well for you. When I say “athletically”, I mean workouts that include plyometrics, multi-directional exercises, light to moderate strength work, and power exercises.

For example, if you regularly do circuits and HIIT then I think you’ll enjoy how the Air Zoom TR 1 performs. This shoe is a solid pick for this type of performance context and it’s more forgiving than the more dense and stable Nike Metcon models.

Using the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for HIIT

I also think you’ll enjoy this shoe if you like a little more structure to your athletic shoes. The lateral and medial sidewalls give you good lateral support and the boot has enough structure to lock down the heel.

2. You Like to Train On Turf A Lot

If your gym has a variety of surfaces and you train a lot on turf then I think you’ll enjoy the Air Zoom TR 1s. Not every training shoe works well on turf, but these have been exceptional.

This model features a full rubber outsole and there are lugs through the forefoot and midfoot that have a nice level of bite to them. I also like that the lugs aren’t so aggressive that they take away from grip on wood and rubber gym floors.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Outsole

For multi-directional exercises and digging hard into the forefoot on turf, I have yet to have slip or traction issues with the Nike Air Zoom TR 1s. This is nice for turf-focused individuals who don’t feel like buying a “turf-only” shoe.

3. You Love Training Shoes With More “Bounce”

In your training shoes, if you like a lot of “bounce” and responsiveness then you’ll appreciate this shoe’s EVA midsole and air zoom unit. The air unit in this model extends the entirety of this shoe’s sole.

I noticed this feature right away when doing explosive work and work where I was on the forefoot a lot like jumping rope. If you’re a fan of training in running shoes then I think you’ll resonate with this shoe’s feeling.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Air Zoom Unit

It gives a running shoe vibe regarding its thicker sole and poppiness without as much compression as your traditional running shoe. This is why I also like this model more for athletic workouts over running shoes.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1

$130

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Product Image
4.0
Stability
3.7
Versatility
4.1
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.9

Best For

  • HIIT Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Sessions
  • Short Runs
  • Jump Rope

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Strength Work
  • For CrossFit
  • For Wide Feet

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Nike Air Zoom TR 1?

Before investing in the Nike Air Zoom TR 1, you’ll want to make sure you align with this shoe’s niche construction. I don’t think it will be a good training shoe for everyone.

1. You Need a Shoe for Heavy Strength Work

The Nike Air Zoom TR 1 can work for strength work to an extent, but its lack of stability will be problematic past certain strength thresholds. For heavy barbell lifts and machine work, this model will be sub-par at best.

I purposely tested this shoe for deadlifts, squats, and heavy single-leg exercises to assess when the midsole compresses. For deadlifts, this happened around 315 lbs, and for squats, I noticed the air unit rocking me forward around 225 lbs.

Using the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Leg Day

If you’re keeping your strength work under these thresholds then you’ll be fine, but if you want a Nike training shoe for going heavy then I’d suggest investing in the Nike Metcon 9.

2. You Want a Shoe That Feels More Minimalist

For my minimalist lovers, you’ll also want to pass on this shoe. This shoe’s thicker midsole and air unit give it a higher stack height and “bouncier” feel than other Nike training shoes.

That said, if you love more ground feel or shoes with a lot more articulation like the Nike Free Metcon 5 and 4, then you may want to pass on the Air Zoom TR 1.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1

To add more depth here, if you’re doing sprints and plyometrics and you like a sharper “feeling” when exploding through the forefoot then I could see the air unit being a little offputting for your needs.

3. You Need a Shoe for CrossFit

If you’re looking at Nike shoes for CrossFit then I’d suggest passing on this model. Of the Nike training shoe line-up, this will not be your best Nike shoe for CrossFit.

Even for CrossFit WODs that are a little more versatile regarding their exercises, I think you’d be better suited opting for models like the Nike Metcon 8 and Nike Metcon 9.

This shoe’s upper construction isn’t optimized to resist abrasion and their lack of stability could be problematic for WODs that blend things like strength work, rope climbs, and burpees.

On the market for new cross-training shoes? Make sure you try out my training shoe finder. This calculator pairs you with the best training shoes for your workout needs.

Performance Assessment

To assess the performance of the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 in this review, I put this model through a wide range of workouts. I tested this shoe for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Lifting

For lifting, the Air Zoom TR 1 should work for more recreational strength sessions. More specifically, if your primary ask with this shoe is for HIIT but you like to sprinkle in some strength work then you should be okay with this model.

To assess this shoe’s stability, I brought them through multiple lower-body workouts. For deadlifts, I started to notice the midsole and air unit compress at around 315-365 lbs. These will not be the best shoes for deadlifts.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Deadlifts

For squats and single-leg exercises like lunges and split squats, this shoe works for light to moderate strength work. In squats, the midsole is stable enough to accommodate lifts up to about 225 lbs before it is noticeably compressive.

That said, if you need a shoe for pushing heavy single, doubles, and triples with your barbell lifts and your lifts exceed the above numbers, or you want to tackle heavy machine work then you’ll want to look into models like the Nike Metcon 8 and 9.

I think if you buy the Air Zoom TR 1 for lifting you’ll want to make sure you understand it will have some limitations. It should be okay for casual strength work and beginners, but it’s not the best training shoe for lifting by any means.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Strength Workouts

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Versatile Training

For versatile training including things like classes and HIIT workouts, the Air Zoom TR 1 has done a good job. This shoe has an air unit that extends the entirety of its sole and you do notice it during HIIT sessions.

For example, when doing box jumps and jump rope, you can feel the air under the feet adding a little bit to the bounce of this shoe. I think if you’re a fan of having more “bounce” in your shoes then you’ll appreciate this.

The outsole in this model also does a good job with traction on different surfaces. The forefoot lugs have a nice bite to them for turf workouts which gave this shoe a nice edge for explosive work on turf.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Jump Rope

The lateral support and sidewalls of this shoe are also pretty clutch for lateral work if you like additional support. For skater strides where I like having more lateral support, this shoe provided a nice “locked-down” feeling.

My only gripe with this shoe for versatile training is that the thicker midsole and air unit can be a little too plush if you like shoes that provide more ground feel. For example, if you like more “minimalist-feeling” shoes for versatility, steer clear of these.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Short Runs and Daily Wear

The Nike Air Zoom TR 1 does an okay job for short runs if you want a training shoe for tacking on a couple of miles pre or post-workout. They also work for short interval runs if you’re tackling hybrid-style workouts.

For example, in one of my tests, I used this shoe for an EMOM where I was performing Russian kettlebell swings, farmer’s carries, and 400-meter runs and they were responsive and comfortable enough for distance.

Testing the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 for Walking

If you want a shoe for running more than 3 miles then you may want to pass on this shoe and look for something that’s a little more dialed for running. I could see this shoe’s air unit feeling odd for longer cardio sessions.

In the context of daily wear, this shoe is an okay pick if you want a model for training and walking here and there. For example, this shoe can work for running errands and then tackling a workout and it should be moderately comfortable.

That said, it’s not the best model in the context of looking casual but if you’re rocking workout clothes then they’ll be plenty fine. The upper is moderately breathable and shouldn’t feel too excessively hot for longer walks, too. 

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Vs Nike Free Metcon 5

I think one of my biggest asks when going into the Nike Air Zoom TR 1 was, “How is it actually different than the Nike Free Metcon 5 for versatile training and HIIT?”

The major differences between these shoes revolve around their sole construction and how they “feel” when training. The Nike Free Metcon 5 is the stronger shoe for anyone blending strength work with their HIIT.

Nike Free Metcon 5 Construction Review

I also think it does a better job in the context of sole articulation which could help suggest which model you should go with. The Zoom Air TR 1 has more of a “running shoe” feel compared to the Nike Free Metcon 5.

  • If you want a shoe for both HIIT and strength training: Nike Free Metcon 5
  • If you want a bouncier shoe for HIIT and light strength: Nike Air Zoom TR 1

Nike Free Metcon 5

$120

Nike Free Metcon 5 Product Shot
4.5
Stability
4.3
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • HIIT
  • Class Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Training
  • Short Runs (3 miles)

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Lifting (225+ lbs)
  • For CrossFit

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Vs Nike Metcon 9

The Nike Metcon 9 versus Air Zoom TR 1 is a little easier to navigate since these shoes are so starkly different from one another regarding their construction and performance.

If you’re primarily doing CrossFit and you want a training shoe for heavier strength training then you’ll want to go with the Nike Metcon 9 over the Air Zoom TR 1.

Me Testing the Nike Metcon 9 for Deadlifting

The density of the Nike Metcon 9’s dual-density midsole feels a lot firmer compared to the midsole used in the Air Zoom TR 1. If you like plusher training shoes then you’ll want to consider this.

  • If you want a shoe for CrossFit and strength training: Nike Metcon 9
  • If you want a bouncier shoe for HIIT and light strength: Nike Air Zoom TR 1

Nike Metcon 9

$150

Nike Metcon 9 Product Shot
4.0
Stability
4.1
Versatility
4.0
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.8

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Athletic Focused Training

Falls Short

  • For Running
  • For Overpronators

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Sizing

For the Nike Air Zoom TR 1, most individuals should be safe going true to size with this shoe. This shoe’s sizing is similar to other Nike training and HIIT-focused shoes.

Regarding width, I would describe this shoe as being standard or medium and it has a fairly aggressive toe box taper. This is relatively consistent with other Nike training shoes like the Legends Essential and Nike Free Metcon models.

This shoe fits similarly to models like the Nike Free Metcon 4 and Nike Metcon 8 as in it has an athletic fit with its last and its toe box is pretty tapered.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Try On and Sizing

I have E-width feet and found these to run a little snug. I think if you have wider feet than E-width feet then you’ll want to consider passing on this model and going for wider training shoes.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Size Breakdown

  • Narrow Feet: True to size:
  • Medium-Width Feet: True to size.
  • Wide Feet (EE-width and wider): Pass on this shoe.

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the Nike Air Zoom TR 1, drop a comment below and I can help you accordingly.

Nike Air Zoom TR 1

$130

Nike Air Zoom TR 1 Product Image
4.0
Stability
3.7
Versatility
4.1
Durability
4.0
Quality
3.9

Best For

  • HIIT Workouts
  • Light to Moderate Strength Sessions
  • Short Runs
  • Jump Rope

Falls Short

  • For Heavy Strength Work
  • For CrossFit
  • For Wide Feet

Construction Analysis

Below are some of the key construction details that I think everyone should know before investing in the Nike Air Zoom TR 1.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A
  • Weight: 10.6 oz (for my size 10)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Mesh and Textile Upper
  • Medium-Density Foam Midsole
  • Full Rubber Outsole
  • Air Zoom Unit
  • Gusseted Tongue
  • Padded Mesh Tongue
  • 6 Core Eyelets With a 7th for Lace-Lock

Final Thoughts

The Nike Air Zoom TR 1 is an interesting training shoe that I don’t think will resonate with everyone. It works exceptionally well but in a limited range of training scenarios.

For example, if you’re someone who is looking for a training shoe that has a plusher and bouncier that can be used for strength training, too, then the Air Zoom TR 1 makes a lot of sense.

Outside of that scenario, though, I think you’d better off opting for the Free Metcon 5 for HIIT and the Metcon 9 for strength workouts.

If you have additional questions about my Nike Air Zoom TR 1 review, drop a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

 
Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

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