490 users: 4.2 / 5
2 experts: 80 / 100
Weight: Men 9.9oz
Update: Nike Varsity Compete TR 3
Use: Workout / Gym / Cross-training
Width: Normal, Wide, X-Wide / Normal

Verdict from 5.8 hours of research from the internet

6 reasons to buy

  • Many users confirm that the shoe is excellent for HIIT, weightlifting, treadmill, and other gym activities.
  • It is described as a comfortable training shoe by the majority of wearers.
  • A good number of buyers find this model visually appealing.
  • Its lightweight construction makes the shoe very easy on the foot, based on multiple reviews.
  • More than a few purchasers consider it a budget-friendly trainer.
  • Several testers admire the shoe’s breathable nature.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A couple of users state that the trainer fits a bit stiff initially and requires a break-in time.
  • One wearer gripes about the thin tongue as it lacks padding and digs into the foot.

Bottom line

The Varsity Compete TR 2 appears to be a comfortable all-around training shoe from Nike. It is ready to take on a variety of activities at the gym without being heavy on the wallet.

Tip: see the best training shoes.

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The well-loved Varsity Compete Trainer receives a new life with the release of its second iteration. Still intended as a men’s daily workout shoe, the Nike Varsity Compete TR 2 employs the same outsole and midsole units as its predecessor.

The aggressive tread pattern on the outsole still makes the trainer efficient on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. The moderately firm midsole creates a balance of shock absorption and stability to accommodate both weightlifting and agility drills.

Stay protected. The bottom of the platform is lined with a one-piece rubber compound. This material is crafted to withstand the wear-and-tear associated with explosive jumps and repetitive movements. The rubber extends upwards at the front and back of the trainer to provide an additional shield for these high-wear areas. 

Grip the ground. The arrow-shaped lugs are placed throughout the unit to help the shoe grip the ground. The size of these lugs varies depending on the part of the outsole. The larger treads are placed in the heel area and on the sides of the forefoot, where traction is most needed. However, they get smaller and shallower closer to the center to let the wearer slide the foot when needed.   

Train anywhere. The robust nature of the rubber, as well as the use of a tread pattern, makes the Varsity Compete TR 2 quite versatile in terms of training surface. It can be sported on both rubber and wooden gym floors as well as on concrete or grass. However, it should be noted that this rubber is not described as non-marking, so there is a chance of it leaving scuff marks on smooth indoor floors.

Be sure-footed. When lifting weights at the gym, the last thing of want to experience is the feeling of a squishy platform under your foot. That’s why a typical pair of training shoes is usually made of a moderately firm foam component. And the EVA midsole of Nike Varsity Compete TR 2 is no exception. Of course, it would not replace the solid platform of a dedicated Nike Romaleos lifter, but it is still meant to provide the minimal amount of stability needed for an average-weight workout.

Feel cushioned. Given the somewhat firm nature of the shoe’s midsole, it still leaves some room for impact protection. Whether the wearer goes on a short run, does some jumping cardio exercises, or works on speed and agility, the foam is designed to ensure proper shock absorption.

Enjoy the embrace. The trainer makes use of a tightly-woven mesh fabric as its primary upper material. Combined with a breathable mesh lining on the inside, it intends to create a cozy and snug in-shoe experience. Synthetic overlays around the heel and the forefoot add structure to the upper and provide additional protection to the fabric in these areas. 

Stay supported. The most apparent add-ons that contribute to the lateral support of the foot are the large, sturdy fabric straps. There are two of them placed on both sides of the midfoot, forming eyelet “tunnels” for the laces to go through. That way, when the laces are cinched, the straps brace the foot even tighter.

  • The heel collar visibly extends up to cover the Achilles area. It serves to prevent the heel from slipping out of the footwear during the workout. 
  • There is also a fabric pull tab attached at the back. It helps the wearer in putting the trainer and pulling it up the ankle.

Size and fit

True to size based on 294 user votes
Small (17%)
True to size (83%)
Large (0%)
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Same sizing as Nike Varsity Compete TR 3.

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How Varsity Compete TR 2 compares

This shoe: 87
All shoes average: 84
58 97
This shoe: $70
All shoes average: $87
$30 $300
This shoe: 9.9oz
All shoes average: 10.3oz
3.9oz 16oz
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, Bodybuilding.com, 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.