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VIKTOS Core 2 Review | Great Trainer for Thicker Feet?

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The VIKTOS Core 2 is a cross-training shoe designed and inspired by US Veterans. The Core 2 is the second iteration to debut in the VIKTOS Core training shoe line and features a few significant upgrades.

When I bought this shoe for my review, I didn’t know what to expect regarding its performance and I was stoked to see it would compare to other strong workout shoes. More specifically, I wanted to know how stable and versatile the Core 2 is for lifting and CrossFit.

After multiple strength sessions, HIIT workouts, and WODs, I’ve built this review to share my thoughts on the VIKTOS Core 2’s performance.

The VIKTOS Core 2 delivers a spacious fit which makes it a great pick for lifters and athletes with wide, flat, and thicker feet. This shoe performs exceptionally well for lifting and cross-training.

VIKTOS Core 2 Training Shoe Review
VIKTOS Core 2 Training Shoe Review

VIKTOS Core 2 Overview

The VIKTOS Core 2 is unique in that it’s a shoe designed and developed by US veterans. I personally love this and think it adds depth to VIKTOS’ mission and brand.

The Core 2 comes with a 1-year workmanship and materials warranty, which is also a nice feature for those who may be tentative about going into this shoe if they’re new to VIKTOS and their brand.

In the realm of performance, the Core 2 is marketed as a shoe that can work for a little bit of everything. Whether you’re lifting, cross-training, or running, the Core 2 should be there to support you — and that’s how I tested and reviewed this shoe.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 4mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Width: Wide


VIKTOS Core 2 Product Image

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Thicker and Flatter Feet

Falls Short

  • For Narrow Feet
  • For Hybrid Workouts

VIKTOS Core 2 Pros

There’s a lot to like about the VIKTOS Core 2 and after week two of training in this model, I started to nail down some pros and things to appreciate with this shoe.

Pro 1: Great for Thicker Feet

Something that stood out to me right away with the VIKTOS Core 2 is this shoe’s upper volume. Most modern-day cross-training shoes tend to run more on the athletic and lower-volume side of things.

The Core 2’s upper has a ton of space, and if you’re constantly battling shoes that feel far too snug through the midfoot and forefoot, then I think you’ll appreciate this about this shoe.

VIKTOS Core 2 Upper Volume

For context, I have a medium-volume foot and find this model to feel a little spacious when it’s not tightened and laced adequately. To get a secure fit, I have to crank the laces pretty tight — however, this is a good thing for my thicker-footed friends.

Pro 2: Good Versatility In the Gym

Another aspect to like about the VIKTOS Core 2 is its versatility. This shoe features a medium-density foam midsole that has a good amount of stability and responsiveness for different training styles.

Whether I was squatting 365 lbs or deadlifting 455 lbs, I never had glaring stability issues in this model and it felt responsive enough for things like jump rope, box jumps, and burpees.

Using the VIKTOS Core 2 for Deadlifts
Using the VIKTOS Core 2 for Deadlifts (455 lbs)

I also like the outsole construction of this shoe and how the tread provides a nice bite on different surfaces. The grip of this shoe was solid on wooden platforms, rubber gym floors, and turf.

If you’ve been looking for a cross-training shoe for lifting, doing versatile workouts, and hitting CrossFit WODs, then I think you’ll enjoy the range of performance that you get with the Core 2.

Pro 3: Nice Pick for Flatter Feet

Flatter feet, rejoice. The VIKTOS Core 2 is one of the better cross-training shoe options that I’ve tried for flatter feet. This shoe has exceptional width through its forefoot and midfoot.

There’s also not an aggressive arch in this shoe so I see it as a really good pick for lifters and athletes with flatter feet. For example, and I mean this in a good way, if you have blocky feet then you’ll enjoy this shoe’s fit.

VIKTOS Core 2 Width Assessment

The lack of an aggressive toe box taper is also a perk of this shoe’s fit. To be fair, this is one of the few cross-training shoes that I think will really deliver comfort for flatter feet.

VIKTOS Core 2 Cons

While the VIKTOS Core 2 has been a strong-performing shoe in the gym, there are a couple of cons to keep in mind with this shoe.

Con 1: Tongue Can Be Uncomfortable

The first knock that I have on the Core 2 is its tongue construction. This shoe features a padded mesh tongue with a fairly aggressive liner which can cause a little friction on the top of the foot.

I noticed that this started to subside after about two weeks of tough workouts and at about the 15-20 miles of walking threshold. The tongue has never caused performance to suffer, but it is a knock on this shoe’s general comfort.

VIKTOS Core 2 Tongue Construction

I think if you have lower-volume feet then you’ll notice and pick up on this pretty quickly. My advice is to wear longer socks during the break-in process with this shoe to avoid blisters and friction.

Con 2: Narrow Feet, Be Warned

Here’s the thing, the fit is one of the best things about the VIKTOS Core 2 but I also see it as one of the most polarizing features of this shoe. If you have narrow and low-volume feet then you’ll want to steer clear of the Core 2.

I have E-width feet and what I would describe as being moderate-volume and this shoe can feel big on me at times. When training, this is a shoe that I have to actively lace tightly to avoid sliding around.

If your feet are narrower than an E-width or you typically find that you have a ton of room in your shoes, then I think you’ll want to pass on the Core 2 or at least buy them with the intention of potentially needing to return them.

Performance Assessment

To accurately assess the VIKTOS Core 2’s performance, I pushed this shoe in multiple training verticals. I tested this shoe for lifting, cross-training, short runs, and daily wear.

Testing the VIKTOS Core 2 for Lifting

  • Top Strength Sets In This Shoe to Date
    • Deadlift: 455 x 6
    • Hatfield Squat: 375 x 6

In the context of lifting, the VIKTOS Core 2 has been a strong performer. This shoe’s midsole should be stable enough for most in the context of pushing heavier weights.

Using the VIKTOS Core 2 for Leg Day

I’ve deadlifted well over 400 lbs in this shoe and didn’t have issues. I like that the midsole has an even density throughout. When it comes to midsole feel, this shoe reminds me of the Reebok Nano 2.0.

The width of this shoe is also a perk for lifting and it’s an easy shoe to splay the toes in. If you’re big on finding training shoes for lifting that allow your feet to move naturally within them then these can be a good pick.

The outsole of this shoe is also a nice feature for supporting lifting performance. This outsole feels super flat — almost like a skate shoe — but with a good level of mobility so they don’t feel super clunky.

Testing the VIKTOS Core 2 for Squats

All that said, if you’re buying this shoe for general strength sessions then I think you’ll like this model, especially if you’re a fan of training shoes that are a little simpler with their construction and features.

Testing the VIKTOS Core 2 for Cross-Training

For versatile training including things like HIIT, plyometrics, and athletic-style sessions, I’ve enjoyed the VIKTOS Core 2. I like it because you don’t notice it when cross-training — which is a good thing.

The mesh upper and its synthetic leather overlays do a good job of providing you with security during different exercises. When doing broad jumps, I wasn’t sliding too much in this shoe, and when doing skate strides this model’s lateral support is also good.

Testing the VIKTOS Core 2 for Cross Training

The mobility bottom unit is also a nice perk of this shoe when doing exercises that require more explosiveness through the forefoot. For example, I like how this shoe felt for my dumbbell snatches, jump rope, and box jumps.

I will say, that while I didn’t have any security issues in this shoe, I do have to crank the laces pretty tight in this model to get a secure fit. This then causes an overlap of material at the bottom of the midfoot which is something that happens in wider training shoes.

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet, for wide, flat, and thicker feet, you’ll enjoy this shoe for cross-training and versatile workouts. Narrow feet, tread lightly when investing in this model.

Testing the VIKTOS Core 2 for Lateral Exercises

Testing the VIKTOS Core 2 for Short Runs and Daily Wear

For running, I find that the VIKTOS Core 2 works well for shorter runs, but I wouldn’t use them for longer distances. To add context, when I was tackling intervals that were 600 meters in a hybrid workout this shoe felt fine.

They feel similar to training shoes like the Born Primitive Savage 1 in that they’ll work for running. However, they’re not going to be the plushest or most comfortable for longer runs.

While I haven’t done a ton of rucking in the Core 2 yet, I also think they’ll excel in this vertical. They should be comfortable enough with this ask and the width and its volume is awesome for comfort during longer workouts.

Assessing the VIKTOS Core 2 Fit for Walking

For walking, I’ve enjoyed the Core 2 more than I thought I would. I think a lot of this has to do with the flexibility of the sole once this shoe breaks in and how it never feels restrictive.

The width is also great for folks who will be on their feet all day and don’t want a shoe that feels like it’s hugging the sides of the feet at all points during the day.

VIKTOS Core 2 Performance Overview

  • This shoe has good stability for barbell lifts over 400 lbs and works well on machines like leg presses and hack squats.
  • For CrossFit, the Core 2 has held up well and I have yet to have any glaring durability issues.
  • This shoe’s midsole is bouncy for most cross-training and plyometric workouts.
  • If you’re running under a mile, then this shoe can work for running. Pass on them for long runs.
  • For walking and all-day wear, this shoe is moderately comfortable due to its width and upper.

VIKTOS Core 2 Sizing

  • VIKTOS Core 2 Sizing Thoughts: True to size for wide and flat feet. If you have narrower feet, size down a half-size.

The VIKTOS Core 2’s sizing is interesting and I think it will vary from lifter to lifter. For context, VIKTOS mentions on their site that the Core 2 sizes a little larger per their sizing scale.

Assessing the VIKTOS Core 2 Sizing

I have an E-width foot and went true to size in this shoe and I’ve been happy with my choice for the most part. When loose, I do swim a little bit in this shoe due to its upper but when laced tightly this model feels secure and comfortable.

For wide and flat feet, I’d go true to size in this model and think it should fit your feet well. This goes the same for athletes and lifters with thicker and high-volume feet.

My One Sizing Concern…

For narrow feet, I’d suggest sizing down a half-size in this shoe and keeping in mind that they may be too spacious for your feet even if you do size down in them.

VIKTOS Core 2 Insole

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the VIKTOS Core 2, drop a comment below with your current shoe and size and I can help you out.

VIKTOS Core 2 Construction Breakdown

Midsole and Outsole

The Core 2 has a full rubber outsole with a mobility bottom unit to promote this shoe’s flexibility and grip. I found this shoe’s flexibility to feel the best after about two weeks of tough workouts.

The midsole is built with a medium-density foam that feels stable under heavy weight with a nice bounce for plyometrics. You can compress this midsole with the fingers if you try so it’s not so dense that you feel like you’re walking on cinderblocks.

VIKTOS Core 2 Outsole and Midsole


This shoe’s upper is built with mesh and synthetic leather overlays. I like the placement of the overlays because they help give the vulnerable points of this shoe a little more protection and structure.

For example, I found the toe wrap to do a good job of preventing scuffing from burpees and it gives you a thicker wall to drive into when doing broad jumps and forward/backward training.

VIKTOS Core 2 Outsole and Mesh Upper

Other Features

  • Padded Mesh Tongue
  • Gusseted Tongue
  • 5 Core Eyelets

Who Should Buy the VIKTOS Core 2?

  1. Athletes and lifters that have thicker, flatter, and wider feet. This is one of the most spacious training shoes on the market.
  2. Anyone who wants a well-rounded training shoe for lifting, cross-training, and CrossFit.
  3. Lifters who love training shoes with simplistic constructions and limited tech features (think older cross-training shoes).

VIKTOS Core 2 Sole Flexibility

Who Shouldn’t Buy the VIKTOS Core 2?

  1. Athletes and lifters with narrow and low-volume feet, you’ll probably want to pass on this shoe.
  2. If you want a shoe for runs longer than a couple of miles then you may want to explore more comfortable options.


VIKTOS Core 2 Product Image

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • Cross-Training
  • CrossFit
  • Thicker and Flatter Feet

Falls Short

  • For Narrow Feet
  • For Hybrid Workouts

Closing Remarks

The VIKTOS Core 2 has been a subtle and nice surprise. This shoe’s performance has exceeded my expectations in the gym and I appreciate its unique sizing and fit.

If you’re constantly battling training shoes that fit too snuggly and narrow then I’d highly suggest looking into the VIKTOS Core 2. This is one of the most spacious cross-training shoes I’ve ever worn.

If you have additional questions on the Core 2, 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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