Ryka Tenacity High Top Cross Trainer Reviewed

9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.0) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = (WalkJogRun) score (9.0)/10

Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 1 user ratings
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The Tenacity Cross Trainer from Ryka is packed full of features to keep women on their feet in the dance studio comfortably and in style. If you’re not a dancer, that’s okay! Your womanly feet will still appreciate all of the fine details put into these shoes, and not just those that provide you with the things you need, like comfort, stability, flexibility, breathabilty, and durability. The Tenacity Cross Trainer comes in many different colors and patterns, all stunning and you’re sure to find the perfect style for the woman in you.

The Tenacity Cross Trainer comes with a high top (shaft measures approximately 4” from the arch) to support the ankle and a lace up front that includes a Velcro strap for additional security, adjustability, and comfort. The mesh upper will leave your feet happy, dry, and cool due to the breathability factor. Fabric lining and a cushioned footbed will keep your feet comfortable while you dance away; wicking up sweat along the way. The rubber outsole with pivot point design are great for dancers. You get the traction you need without sacrificing the freedom to move the way you need to be able to when dancing. The heel and platform are each 0.75 inches. Fitness instructors and training enthusiastics have agreed that the Ryka Tenacity is an efficient shoe for the studio.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Shock absorbent
  • Good traction
  • Cushioning
  • Ankle Support
  • Durable
  • Not offered in wide 
  • Runs 1/2-1 size small


Ryka brand was founded by Sheri Poe in 1987. She created her brand because she wanted to design an athletic shoe with a better fit for women. The brand also offers athletic apparel specifically for women. Individuality is a thing to be celebrated, and Sheri has done just that for over 30 years with footwear exclusively crafted for the unique shape, muscle movement, and build of a woman’s foot.

In 1997, Ryka merged with Global Sports, who then sold it in 1999 to American Sporting Goods Corporation. In 2011, the company was bought by Brown Shoe, who is the current owner of the brand. In 2015, Brown Shoe changed its name to Caleres. Caleres comes from a long background of perseverance and commitment to quality products for its consumers. The company has survived since 1878, making it through the Great Depression, bankruptcy, and a lot of change.

As of 2017, Caleres products were offered in 1,055 stores under Famous Footwear in the United States and Guam. There were also 153 Naturalizer stores in Cananda, Guam, the United States, and China. After 141 years and many trials and tribulations, the company is still going, and getting stronger, as a $2.6 billion footwear company.


There are a plethora of reviews submitted on this shoe, and most of them have high praises to give. Those who are extremely active and hard on shoes rave about the durability of the Tenacity Cross Trainer. They say the shoes can take quite a beating without breaking or causing a lot of pain and discomfort to the person wearing them. The velcro strap is a huge hit because it adds another level of customization to the shoe. Dancers can enjoy a more secure fit with the strap, as well as keeping their laces tied and out of the way during practices and routines. The rounded toe is perfect for dancers because it allows a lot more room for your toes to naturally sit and to move more freely during vigorous activity. The insole, midsole, and outsole construction provides maximum stability and support so that you can twist and twirl and jump and tap your way across the room for hours and hours.

A few consumers have reported that they needed the shoe to be narrower or wider, bigger or smaller, but none have argued the quality, aesthetics, comfort, breathability, flexibility, or durability. All agree that this shoe meets the needs for dancers and can be used to casual use as well.


A woman’s foot is very different from a man’s in terms of shape, muscle movement, and build. Ryka knows all of this. The anatomical relationship between the hip and knee is called the “Q-angle”. It measures 5-7 degrees greater for women than men, so women are more prone to shifting their weight to the outside of their feet, causing instability when you step and a higher risk of injury. Ryka prides itself as being one of the most researched, women-specific fits in the industry with their design philosophy and technologies. Ryka offers a footwear solution customized for women, with a roomier forefoot, narrower heel, increased instep volume, and a more secure footbed. The extreme attention paid to the needs of a woman results in providing an unparalleled fit, cushioning, comfort, and control.

Specific to the Tenacity Cross Trainer, there are many features that affect the fit of the shoe. The high top design provides optimal ankle support, while the laces and velcro strap across the top of the foot allow for a customizable fit. Wide and narrow feet alike can find a comfortable snugness in these shoes. The velcro also helps the laces stay tied and out of the way while you’re dancing (or walking). The insole is removable so that those who need them can insert their own orthotic insoles. If the insole is left in place, it is made with Re-Zorb technology, providing exceptional comfort and shock absorption. This shoe is offered in half sizes so that everyone can find a size perfect for their feet. Consumers have reported that this shoe runs true to size, however there were a couple that claimed they run a half size too small. The Tenacity Cross Trainer is classified as a “neutral” fit. This means that if you’ve got high arches and need cushioning, these shoes are right for you. Neutral shoes comfort each step and protect your feet by letting your feet do what they naturally do.


The upper of the Ryka Tenacity Cross Trainer is made of synthetic leather and mesh material that includes Flex-Foil and Direct-Fuse layers that work the give you extra skeletal support without weighing you down. What’s great about this shoe is that it is made from both synthetic leather and mesh, giving you the best of both worlds.

Synthetic leather is found in a lot of shoes designed for rigorous activity. You typically find it lining the toe box, heel cup, and holes for the laces, due to its strength and durability. These parts of the shoe are the most likely to endure pulling, impact, or scuffing that cause wear and tear. Where the synthetic leather is placed you will have added protection from debris, roots, and rocks. If you’re wearing these shoes just for studio work, you won’t have to worry about that so much, but it can still come in handy. Synthetic leather does not breathe well, so it is usually only covering high impact areas and the spaces in between are filled with a more breathable material, such as mesh.

Mesh is found along the top of the toe box and on the sides of the shoes, providing breathability for the dancer’s foot, keeping the weight of the shoe down, and offering enough durability for hours upon hours in the studio.


The midsole of the Tenacity Cross Trainer is made from dual foam with EVA cushioning. EVA stands for ethylene vinyl acetate, which is a combination of two types of plastics and is the most common insole/midsole material. It is impressively elastic material that can be made to form a porous material that is similar to rubber, but that has a lot of toughness. Dual foam means that the midsole has two different densities of material, with the denser foam being strategically placed where the foot would usually tend to roll. The extra cushioning placed at your forefoot pressure points will provide your foot with added comfort and protection.


These shoes feature a rubber traction outsole with pivot point design. The pivot point is designed to make your transitions more smooth during studio-based fitness workouts. It offers increased control and no-slip traction. There are many benefits that come from having a shoe with a rubber outsole. Rubber soles are exponentially more flexible and comfortable than those made of leather. Rubber soles also offer a great deal more traction than synthetic or leather soles. While rubber soles may not be able to breathe at all, the uppers of this shoe are made partially of breathable mesh, so your feet won’t suffer because of this.

Generally speaking, the common characteristics to look for in the material a sole is made of are water resistance, wear resistance, oil resistance, heat resistance, impact resistance, pressure resistance, elasticity, fit, and resistance to deformity after shaping. Natural rubber is soft, elastic, and comfortable-making for great athletic shoes. And it has great traction and waterproofing. But, since it is less wear resistant than synthetic materials, it is best for indoor sports, such as dancing in the studio.


If you spend a lot of your time at the studio or in the gym, you should consider looking into the Ryka Tenacity Cross Trainer. They are designed to take a beating and keep you comfortable while doing it. The tongue and collar of the shoe are padded, there is a Precise-Return insole for extra cushioning, a molded heel reinforcement, an adjustable hook and look instep strap for the perfect fit, soft fabric lining, a padded ReZorb footbed, and rounded toe that gives your toes room to breathe and shift with your feet. ReZorb is a proprietary foam compounded that is created for optimal comfort and cushioning, as well as shock absorption.

The only possible downside when it comes to comfort with these shoes is that high tops can cause irritation to the skin, especially if you’re not used to wearing them. Make sure you wear socks that are high and thick enough to protect your skin from any irritation that comes from the shoe rubbing against skin that isn’t used to having something doing so. Make sure you lace them tight enough that they don’t bounce around, but not too tight that they leave indentations in your skin. You will find the right fit for yourself after some trial and error.


It is clear to see that the Ryka Tenacity Cross Trainer was designed with studio dancers in mind. Not only do high tops support your ankles, they look good while doing it. There is something so classic and attractive about a high top sneaker. The velcro strap across the top adds a burst of flavor, along with the contrast between the different colored synthetic leather stripes and the patterned, sometimes brightly colored mesh upper material. A favorite option of consumers is the orange leopard mesh with black leather, and it’s no wonder! Sometimes it’s hard to rock such a loud choice in style, but these shoes look amazing. They’re loud enough that people notice them, but subtle enough that people fall in love with them.

Bottom Line

Ryka nailed it with the Tenacity Cross Trainer! They successfully put a shoe on the market that appeals to the specific crowd of studio dancers (along with anyone else who sees them and HAS to have them!) by offering exceptional style, support, comfort, breathability, durability, flexibility, ease of movement, and affordability. Dancers have been raving about how these shoes have stood up to hours and hours of high impact wear. And how their feet have survived just as well thanks to all of the measures in place to prevent you from pain, discomfort, and fatigue. You don’t have to be a dancer, or super active for that matter, to sport these trainers. You can wear them around the house, to the mailbox, around the block, to work, to the gym, to dinner, you name it. These sneakers are so trendy they deserve to be out in the world in as many environments as possible. You can wear them with skinny jeans, leggings, or shorts and look like they were designed for that purpose. These shoes deliver in every way a dancer could hope for, so if they sound right for you, they could be your next training shoes.