Even though I live a mile away from the gym (and I kinda hate driving), the run-to-workout strategy has always felt somewhat unattainable. Why? What I look for in running shoes—even for a short distance—is almost exactly the opposite from what I look for in shoes to lift weights or take a HIIT class.
Like many runners, I love a high stack of foam to cushion my ride (rocker bottom? even better!). But the idea of lifting a single weight in such a shoe is enough to make most trainers cringe: For strength training, you usually want minimal cushion and a flat bottom for stability, plus a wide toe-box so your toes can splay and ground into the floor when lifting.
Sure, brands have released plenty of shoes over the years aimed to be versatile enough to take you from running to cross-training. But only one thus far has me jogging to my local gym for BODYPUMP, jogging home, then squeezing in another mile or two because I don’t feel like stopping. That’s Saucony’s new Freedom Crossport ($150), a shoe designed for both the roads and the gym.
Widths: Medium only
Heel-to-toe drop: 4 mm
Weight: 7.4 oz
Sustainability: This model is vegan, and made with recycled materials
- Versatile designs allows for running and strength training
- Responsive, with a subtle rebound
- Snug, secure fit
- Wide, stable toe box
- Not a lot of cushion
- Not as stable as traditional training shoes
What Saucony’s Freedom Crossport feels like to run in
No, the Freedom Crossports don’t have the cushy, running-on-clouds feeling that I usually love in a shoe. Though they do have a thin stack of the PWRRUN PB (the same foam that makes Saucony’s racing shoes so bouncy), I don’t really feel it. Instead the shoe feels quite firm and responsive, with a very subtle rebound.
I probably wouldn’t want to tackle a long distance without a bit more cushion, but I don’t mind the low stack and 4mm heel-to-toe offset for the shorter distances that I’ve been running in these shoes—mostly two miles round-trip to the gym, or on easy three- to four-mile runs. (On the softer surface of a treadmill, I notice the firmness of the shoe even less). Plus, it’s probably a good thing for a cushion-loving runner like me to have a more minimalist shoe in the rotation, since most podiatrists agree that variety is good for your feet.
I wasn’t sure how the shoe’s added stability for cross-training purposes (it has both lateral and medial guardrails) would feel on the run, but the Freedom Crossport is indeed a neutral shoe and feels like it.
Other features I appreciated on the run: The shoes are relatively lightweight at 7.4 ounces (light for a running shoe and very light for a cross-training shoe), and I found the upper’s mesh to be super breathable, and the sock-like fit to be snug and secure.
Testing the Freedom Crossports at the gym
In addition to trying the shoes at several BODYPUMP classes (which involve a high number of repetitions with medium-to-light weights), I also tried the shoes at dance cardio classes at AKT, which have sections of weighted work as well as stepping and jumping up and down from a box. (I didn’t have the chance to go to Barry’s or Orangetheory in the shoes, but I think they’d excel in those treadmill-to-strength style classes.)
For the most part, I felt stable and supported in the Freedom Crossports during both of these types of workouts, with the wider platform offering a more solid base than a typical running shoe. The shoe really shined in plyometric work and explosive movement where I felt the responsive foam giving me that extra energy return.
In certain types of movement, though, the Freedom Crossport still felt very much like a running shoe: I wobbled a bit more than I’d have liked during balance exercises, for instance. And since the shoe still has a bit of curvature at the toe, it doesn’t allow for that sensation of pressing your toes into the floor that more serious weight lifters probably want.
Who the Freedom Crossports are right for
If you’re looking for a traditional running shoe or a traditional training shoe, you might want to look elsewhere. While the Freedom Crossport works just fine for both types of activities, the compromises it makes to be so versatile means it’s not quite perfect at either.
But if you’re like me and often find yourself in need of a shoe that can transition from running to other kinds of workouts, or you’re a casual runner/gym-goer and don’t want to invest in two separate shoes, the Freedom Crossports more than suffice.