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The Nike Retaliation trainer receives a design shakeup in the 2019 “Renew” iteration. Even though it takes a step away from the previous models in terms of design, it still belongs to the brand’s budget-friendly line of workout shoes.

The trainer is most suitable for workouts that involve running and high-impact jumping exercises. It can also withstand the abrasion from rope climbing with its durable mesh and side panels. Its cushiony and flexible midsole could also make it a good choice for all-day wear.

Targeted grip. Is that LEGO at the bottom? Not really. These oddly-shaped rubber elements on the forefoot and the heel are added for traction. They prevent the foot from slipping and help the wearer feel sure-footed when he is walking or training. In addition, the rubber pod at the front also serves as a toe guard – it keeps the toe area safe during accidental toe-dragging or bumping into hard objects.

Springy platform. The Renew Retaliation TR employs an EVA foam midsole for cushioning. Nike describes this unit as stable and resilient. It is meant to keep the foot protected throughout the workout. The foam is soft enough to absorb the shock from hard pounding but is not as plush as the one found in running shoes. Yet, it’s more compressible than the midsole found in specialized CrossFit trainers.

Enhanced durability. This version of the Retaliation trainer introduces a new type of mesh. Compared to the previous models, it has smaller pores and a sturdier weave to offer more durable coverage. Additional synthetic skins on the high-wear areas also contribute to wear-resistance. This revamp makes the trainer better equipped for such an abrasive activity as rope climbing. Even though it doesn’t provide the same level of protection as the flagship Metcon 5, it is meant to perform well for its price. 

Side support. The shoe swapped the exposed Flywire cables on the sides for the sturdier synthetic bands. They have a firmer nature and are integrated with the lacing system to lock the foot down. That way, when the laces are cinched, the foot does not slide around inside the shoe.

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo

Nick is a powerlifter who believes cardio comes in the form of more heavy ass squats. Based on over 1.5 million lifts done at competitions, his PRs place him as an elite level powerlifter. His PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Forbes,, Elite Daily and the like. Collaborating along the way with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.