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Saucony Freedom Crossport: Train All the Ways
By Contributor Ryan Flugaur

Shoe companies are beginning to focus on designing new footwear for the average gym-goer who partakes in both running and strength training classes. These shoes offer stability and versatility for a wide range of gym activities, but they may not be the best for running. Some popular shoes in this gym/running hybrid category are the Reebok Nano, Hoka Kawana, Saucony Freedom, Inov-8 -Lite G300 and Nike Metcon.

As a former bodybuilder who has transitioned to running, I have found that these shoes have both pros and cons, and none of them are exceptional for all gym-related tasks. Hence, I am eager to try the new Saucony Freedom Crossport to see if it can surpass the others and perform well in all aspects.

Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse
Weight: 8.6 oz, 243 g (men's size 9), 7.4 oz, 211 g  (women's size 8)
Stack Height: 27 mm, 23 mm (per Saucony)
Drop: 4mm
Classification: Crosstrainer


The Saucony Freedom line as of the recent version targeted individuals in need of a shoe for cardio, strength training, HIIT, and running. However, this year, Saucony has pivoted on this with the release of the Freedom Crossport, which boasts several significant improvements over its predecessor. The Crossport features an updated PEBA-based midsole (PWRRUN PB) and a considerably wider toe box, addressing a major issue I had with the Freedom 5, which had limited space for my toes to splay during weight lifting and squatting. While still primarily targeting gym-goers, the updated version now offers a more comfortable option for walking and everyday athletic activities, as well as better performance during running tasks.

Similar shoes: Reebok Nano, Hoka Kawana


The Saucony Freedom Crossport shoe is a great option for both workouts and everyday wear, thanks to its comfortable fit. The shoe features a widened toe box and midfoot, providing ample space for the foot to splay during lifting and making it comfortable enough to wear all day long. I found that I had no issues wearing the Crossport for a 10-hour day on my feet and enjoyed it. The wider fit is similar to other gym/running hybrid shoes, such as the Reebok Nano, and the shoe's length fits true to size in my men's size 9.

The midfoot of the Crossport is slightly wider than the average running shoe, which adds stability and structure to the shoe. The sidewalls keep the foot planted on the insole, and the upper is made of a synthetic woven material that doesn't stretch much, providing the shoe with structure during cutting and jumping tasks. The tongue is gusseted and stays in place well, even during dynamic tasks. However, during high-speed cutting tasks, my foot did slip slightly over the footbed, which is common in all hybrid shoes with a wider toe box.

The shoe's heel counter wraps around the back, providing support for lateral tasks, but I would have preferred it to extend further into the midfoot to offer more guidance to the foot. Although the heel counter is wrapped with synthetic leather that doesn't stretch much, my foot seemed to slip during cutting, as the lateral and medial heel counter failed to secure my heel. However, the shoe performed well during static lifting, such as squats, strength training, walking, and running.

Overall, the Crossport offers a high level of comfort, and many people will appreciate the widened toe box and midfoot as an improvement over the Saucony Freedom 5. However, the shoe could benefit from further improvements in the heel counter for better lateral support during cutting tasks.


Compared to your regular running shoes, many people may find the Saucony Freedom Crossport to be more stable for gym activities. There are several reasons for this. First, the shoe's wider platform offers a more stable surface for jumping, landing, and pushing through the floor. Second, the upper part of the shoe is less flexible, which helps keep the midfoot securely in place over the insole. Third, the shoe has sidewalls that line both sides, providing support and structure in both the medial and lateral directions. While the structure worked well during running and jumping without feeling restrictive, it could be improved for cutting tasks, which will be discussed later.

Furthermore, external stability components built into a running shoe may work well for some people when running, but they are typically not necessary when lifting on a stable surface. For example, a medial post or other structure designed to provide guidance to the inside of the shoe may benefit runners, but these components can feel too rigid when squatting and lifting. Therefore, many lifters choose to wear shoes like Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars that lack structural support, as they allow for better use of the foot to push into the floor.


The Saucony Freedom Crossport is a gym/running hybrid shoe designed to withstand running, jumping, cutting, and HIIT exercises. To see how well it performs against some of today's top hybrid sneakers, I put it to the test.

Jumping / Plyometrics
Jumping in the Freedom Crossport is a comfortable experience thanks to the PWRRUN PB midsole that does an excellent job of providing a soft landing. During my workouts, which includes box jumps, small hurdles, and split squat jumps, the PWRRUN PB and outsole kept my feet planted firmly on the ground during landings. Additionally, the Crossport's flexible forefoot allowed my toes to extend easily within the shoe, providing the necessary motion for forceful jumps. This flexibility also proved helpful for other gym tasks, such as calf raises and push-ups. Overall, I feel that the Crossport works well for plyometric tasks and can easily be incorporated into jumping types of workouts.

Cutting and Running
While the Saucony Crossport makes for a better running option than other hybrid shoes, when it comes to cutting and pivoting, it falls short. While running, the shoe's beveled heel provides a smooth feel, but its low drop and flatter profile lack the rocker commonly found in modern shoes. This can make the Crossport feel a bit flat without a snappy toe off. This is especially true for those accustomed to rocker bottom shoes that assists with this process. The Crossport also performs best at slower speeds. Running intervals or hard workout runs felt challenging and really should be kept to dedicated running shoes. However, despite these instances, it's still the best hybrid gym/running shoe I've used. One aspect worth mentioning is the outsole grip, which isn't as effective on outdoor, and gravel surfaces due to the lack of deeper grooves. This makes it better suited for flat and dry indoor surfaces, such as a treadmill or dry blacktop roads.

I would also suggest reserving the Freedom Crossport mainly for low mileage treadmill runs and days when you plan to engage in various activities at the gym. However, if your plan involves heavy lifting or running with speed or increased distance, it's always better to use a dedicated shoe for those specific activities. Such shoes will perform better and provide you with the necessary support and comfort needed for the task.

Regarding cutting, the Crossport's sidewalls and wider forefoot offer some stability. However, the upper fails to secure the foot over the insole without a medial and lateral structure. In contrast, the Reebok Nano X2 has a plastic clip that extends over both sides of the shoe, providing better stability for cutting activities. Without any true stability structures, the Crossport is may be less stable for certain high-performance tasks

Strength Training

The Crossport is an excellent shoe for general strength-related gym activities. Its wider base and low 4 mm drop make it a great choice for exercises like squatting and deadlifting. When performing heavy squats, pushing through the floor feels good, and the PWRRUN pb midsole does an excellent job of keeping the foot planted on the ground. While the Nano may offer a better lifting platform for those who prioritize it, the Crossport excels in its running approach, providing a significantly better experience for those who want a shoe that can perform well for both running and lifting.

Thoughts as a DPT: PEBA for Strength Training?
By Ryan Flugaur

PEBA (Polyether Block Amide), a type of thermoplastic elastomer, is commonly utilized in the production of shoe midsoles. This material has been implemented in a variety of running shoes and is now being integrated into cross-training and casual footwear. So, what sets PEBA apart as a superior midsole material for cross-training shoes? To answer this question, we will delve into the material's unique properties.

When it comes to weightlifting, a good midsole foam should provide certain qualities that enhance stability and support during lifting movements. Here are some of the key qualities that a PEBA-based midsole foam should possess to make it good for these tasks.

Stability: A high-quality midsole foam is crucial for providing stability to the foot during lifting, as weightlifting requires a stable base to maintain proper form and reduce the risk of injury. This kind of stability or guidance is different from what we typically look for in running shoes. Specifically, it is particularly crucial during static tasks that involve pushing through the floor, especially when lifting heavy weights.

Durability: Weightlifting shoes are often subjected to significant wear and tear due to the high-intensity nature of the sport. A durable PEBA midsole foam helps the shoe last for longer periods of time.

Shock absorption: In addition to lifting weights, it is important to protect the feet from impact during weightlifting. A high-quality midsole foam should offer adequate shock absorption, especially during jumping and plyometric exercises. PEBA-based foams are excellent in this regard, providing a softer and more supportive landing without collapsing.

Lightweight: Weightlifting shoes need to be lightweight to ensure that the lifter can move quickly and efficiently. A Peba-based midsole helps reduce the overall weight of the shoe while still providing the necessary support and stability.

Overall, a PEBA-based midsole foam that possesses these qualities can provide the necessary support, stability, and comfort for weightlifting movements, making it an excellent choice for running and lifting shoes alike.


The Saucony Freedom Crossport is a great option for cross-training, but it could benefit from improved lateral support during performance related tasks. Adding medial and lateral structure to the shoe could enhance its stability when performing quick feet and cutting movements. Saucony has already incorporated a technique in the Guide 16 that involves placing a thick fabric band over both sides of the shoe, with the laces running through the band. When the shoe is tied, the band tightens and adds structure to the shoe. This same technique could easily be applied to the Crossport and significantly improve the midfoot structure.


The Saucony Freedom Crossport is a versatile shoe that can be used for running, gym activities, and daily wear. It strikes a balance between comfort and performance, offering a comfortable fit for daily use while providing the potential for high-level performance during physical activities. Compared to other shoes in its category, the Crossport stands out for its ability to offer both comfort and function. For runners who seek a shoe that offers a bit more structure than their regular running shoes for gym activities, the Saucony Freedom Crossport is a worthy option to consider.


Fit: A- (Expanding the midfoot and toe box width of the Crossport contributes to its overall comfort for various daily tasks)
B (One of the best cross training shoes for running and single plane movements. Lateral motions can feel unstable at high speeds)
Stability: B+ (Neutral running shoe but offers a stable platform for static exercises or single leg stance.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (PWRRUN PB is a variable option for the hybrid cross training shoe.)
Personal: B (While I enjoyed my time in the Crossport, I frequently found myself reaching for 2 different sets of shoes when going to the gym, one for lifting and one for running.)
Overall: B/B+


Saucony Freedom Crossport
Price: $149.95 at Running Warehouse

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your
local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Saucony for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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