Viktos PTFX Core 2 Athletic Shoe: Get Fit or Die Trying

Recently redesigned, the PTFX Core 2 by Viktos was released in late 2019 as the company’s renewed approach to footwear in cross-fitness or everyday wear. The Core 2 gives the wearer a large area of application on improved surfaces from the gym, to the range, and in their daily lives.

Made from a main chassis of mesh nylon, the Core 2 balances its lightweight materials while providing athletic support and breathability.  It includes a moderate heel collar that allows for a secure fit around the ankle.

Various synthetic sections at the toe, laces, and sides of the Core 2 provide for lateral stability in dynamic movements of the foot, as well as reinforce primary wear areas common in athletic footwear.

Laces on the Core 2 are a flattened nylon weave that allows for strength when tied, while reducing any accidental slippage when worn. Each lace is tipped in a laminate wrap.


Unlike other Viktos daily or field footwear, such as the Strife (Mid) or Johnny Ops Combat Boot, the Core 2 has a slightly tapered and angled athletic toe box that cradles the foot while still providing for some toe splay during heavy lifts.

The sole is a single, flat design with a minimal space trusstic on the insole for some dynamic grip on suspended rope climbs or other obstacles. With its 4mm heel-to-toe drop and gel cushioning in the heel, the sole in the Core 2 provides for cushioning in daily cardio use while maintaining a solid grip.


  • 600D nylon mesh chassis
  • Synthetic leather overlays
  • 1-year workmanship & materials warranty

The PTFX Core 2 is available in Ranger (featured) and Nightfall, and in sizes from 6 to 15.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostAverage (3/5): At an MSRP of $100 the PTFX Core 2 has a dominant material of mesh nylon that keeps it lightweight and breathable, and synthetic leather for added durability. This balanced design approach is common to athletic shoes as it gives the wearer the most applicability in athletic footwear. Market alternatives include 5 Minimus Prevail CSP ($119) by New Balance, 5.11’s ABR Athletic Trainer ($119) or its ATLAS Trainer ($129), the Lalo’s Grinder ($130), and the Salomon’s Speedcross 4 ($85). This diversity in cost often comes down to material (and where it is sourced), amount of reinforcement, and overall product placement and at its current cost. Thus, the Core 2 is near the upper market spectrum of cost giving its price an appropriate (or average) average scoring.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): As an athletic shoe the Core 2 had a good level of comfort in the toe box for more dynamic movements, while the heel collar kept the foot very secure and prevented any excess movement. The flat shoelaces allowed for the Core 2 to be tightened easily for light cardio work or loosened for weight training. During daily wear, the monolithic sole ensured no slippage on prepared surfaces; pavement, sidewalks, and linoleum, while performed adequately on flattened earth. However, the low angle support of the Core 2 made it better suited for the daily hustle of life or as gym shoes than on the loose gravel or rocks commonly found on ranges or the field.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): Over the course of 30-days wear; as a daily shoe, during workouts (before and during the COVID-19 lockdown), and on the range the PTFX Core 2 held good level of observed durability to resist wear and abrasion. Bartack IMG_8496stitching was noted at key stress points along the tongue, heel collar, and at points mating the synthetic leather components to the nylon chassis for added strength. The tread pattern did minimally wear as expected for a pair of cross training shoes with the friction from cardio having the largest impact to the bottom material. The only negative noted during the evaluation for durability was a popped stitch along the top of the tongue that would need to be trimmed or risk further compromising the overall stitch line. It could not be determined if the stitch’s failure was the result of wear (grabbing the tongue to don the shoe) or the fault of the material, and something for Viktos to potentially consider strengthening in the future.
  • Functionality Excellent (5/5): Functionally the role of the Core 2 was determined by its athletic design, specifically the sole. The flat, wide design made for excellent traction on improved surfaces under dynamic movements. But the sole’s 4mm rise/run angle and lack of supportive trusstic through the overall arch lent itself more to daily or light use, and/or cross training, but not long distance running. Consumers should be aware of the features that delineate cross training athletic footwear, such as the Core 2, and dedicated running shoes. The flat nylon laces were excellent in keeping a solid lock and regularly maintained tie. The tapered toe box did allow for some splay by the toes, but the secure fit to the ankle and heel prevented any excess movement by the overall foot. The light weight and weave of the nylon chassis ensured breathability, especially in the toe box so the foot never became swampy or pruned. Overall as an athletic trainer shoe or for daily life, the Core 2 performed excellently.
  • Weight Good (4/5): At 12.6 ounces (per shoe, size men’s 11), or just over 24 ounces for the pair, the lightweight nylon material helped keep the necessitating weight of the footwear to a minimum. In comparison to market alternatives in cross training athletic footwear; the Minimus Prevail CSP (11.1 ounces @ $119) by New Balance, 5.11’s ABR Athletic Trainer (11 ounces @ $119) or its ATLAS Trainer (12 ounces @ $129), the Lalo’s Grinder (17 ounces @ $130), and the Salomon’s Speedcross 4 (11 ounces @ $85) all demonstrate that the PTFX Core 2 is at a good weight for its $100 price point given that lighters shoes (as if an ounce makes that much of a difference) are more expensive, or that more inexpensive shoes lack the additional reinforcement materials or stitching.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

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