GORUCK teased the Ballistic Trainers back in July, 2020 with a bunch of pictures showing the shoes in action. Jump forward to November, 2020 and GORUCK has just released their new shoes.
GORUCK is no longer a stranger to creating footwear. So far they have released two versions (and two heights) of MACV-1 boots (in multiple colors and materials) as well as two versions of their I/O Cross Trainers. The Ballistic Trainers mark their third major foray into designing and creating shoes for fitness.
The Specs You Probably Care About
Here’s the quick list of specs on these new shoes because I know some people base their footwear decisions directly off of these:
- 8mm heel-to-toe drop
- Weight (size 9): 0.675 lbs (10.8 ounces)
- Built in Vietnam
There’s a bunch of other specs on the product page but, from my experience, most people care about heel-to-toe drop, weight, and where it’s built the most. Beyond that it’s getting the shoes in hand and feeling how they fit and work on your feet.
The Colors & Sizes
GORUCK initial shoe release features four different color options: Lunar Rock (aka White), Black + Gum, Black + Teal, and Black. It’s worth noting that not all colors are available in all sizes.
- Lunar Rock: M4/W6 – M15/W17 (All Sizes)
- Black + Gum: M4/W6 – M15/W17 (All Sizes)
- Black + Teal: M4/W6 – M8/W10
- Black: M6/W8 – M15/W17
It appears that the main difference between the Black and Black + Teal is the color on the tongue of the shoes. Obviously the laces are different too but you can always replace laces.
On to the features!
The shoes use both engineered knit and 1680D Cordura material in the upper.
The above picture shoes both materials in the same shot. You can see the Cordura on the left which houses in the eyelets and the engineered knit on the right.
The midsole is made of Gradient Density EVA and is designed to have a flexible and cushioned forefoot with a firm and stable heel. That flexible and cushioned forefoot should allow you to get on your tip toes like with the above picture.
The outsole is designed for what appears to be everything. PT in the sand, climbing ropes in the gym, and running on the pavement. GORUCK calls this a Triple Compound Rubber Outsole which consists of a grippy, high-traction forefoot, hardened midfoot for rope climbs, and dense, durable heel for pavement pounding. Overall it sounds very exciting and I can’t wait to see how it actually performs.
The sole of the Ballistic Trainers looks very similar to the earlier MACV-1 boots. GORUCK ended up ditching that initial design for something with more grip which ended up working a lot better in slick conditions. Because of this I’m intrigued at how these will perform in wet conditions. I don’t think I’ll have to wait long to figure that out since the Pacific Northwest weather has brought quite a bit of rain this Fall.
Paul Litchfield (previous podcast guest and legend in the shoe world) says that “(t)he versatility and performance of the Ballistic Trainers is unlike any other product out the market — with the science to prove it.” Those are big words coming from him which makes me even more excited to try these shoes out. I’ve got them on order and will be writing about them as soon as I can. Have you picked them up? Would love to hear why (or why not) in the comments below!
Travis Albea says
What are the key differences between the ballistic trainers and the I/O cross trainers?
Brian ADR says
The big ones seem to be weight, materials, and drop:
1) The Ballistic Trainers are lighter (2.2 oz for size 9).
2) The I/O Cross Trainers are Cordura + Leather where these are Cordura + Engineered Knit (which is more like traditional running/fitness shoes).
3) I/O Cross Trainers are 10mm heel to toe drop while the Ballistic Trainers are 8 mm.
The outsole is also different but I’ll have more details when my pair shoes up and I can compare them directly to the new I/O Cross Trainers. Hope that helps!