In the middle of April, 2020 GORUCK re-released their American Training Shorts. Although they looked very similar to the version that launched in 2019 there were a few differences that intrigued me. I really liked the pair from 2019 and figured what better excuse to buy another pair than to make a comparison post.
Don’t worry… there’s a full review of these shorts in the works. Hopefully this post detailing the differences will help out until that one is ready to go. Until then here’s all of the differences I found between these shorts!
When the American Training Shorts released in 2019 they retailed for $70. When GORUCK updated them for 2020 they also updated the price to $75. although not a huge price increase it’s absolutely worth mentioning. These shorts are expensive but they’re also made in the USA which is one of reasons for the higher price tag.
Overall I don’t think $5 (at this price point) will make or break the decision to purchase the shorts. I also think the upgrades in the 2020 version are worth $5 over the price of the 2019 version. That being said these are expensive shorts so any price increase isn’t ideal.
GORUCK changed up the drawstring that they used in the shorts. The 2019 version (the one that comes from the left side) features a more traditional drawstring while the 2020 version (the one that comes from the right side) is more in GORUCK’s style. More importantly, the traditional drawstring from 2019 has the plastic tip on the end while the 2020 version does not. Although it doesn’t happen often that plastic tip can sometimes rub the waist a little weird.
The newer version works just as well as the old version and feels better. I’m glad GORUCK made this change and it’s one of those things I didn’t even know I wanted until they did it.
Although not a significant change GORUCK did modify the style and placement of their Spearhead logo. The 2019 version (left) is on a piece of fabric sewn into the shorts. The 2020 version (right) is printed directly onto the shorts. In addition the placement has changed from just below the waist line to the bottom of the shorts. This was probably done to give the logo more visibility as your shirt won’t be covering it when you’re working out.
I’m a fan of the change and the newer look appears cleaner and more professional to me. I do wish the logo was on the front as opposed to the back but either way I see it as an improvement.
Zipper Pocket Location
The zipper pocket has been moved from the back of the shorts to inside the right front pocket. The above picture is the same one you just saw but this time I want to call out the zipper pocket. The 2019 version has that pocket on the back and the 2020 version does not.
Where did that zipper pocket go? It’s tucked away inside the front right pocket! That means you not only get the regular front right pocket but you also get that hidden zipper area.
I’m a fan of this update. I like to keep my phone in the zipper pocket so that it doesn’t fall out when I’m rucking. I don’t like keeping my phone in a back pocket in case I want to sit down… I don’t want to accidentally crush it. This change solves that issue while maintaining the same number of pockets. In addition it makes driving easier because you’re not sitting down on anything in your back pocket. I’ve been more than happy with this update for 2020 and am glad they did it.
I love looking over the sewing lines to see if there were any changes made. It’s not often I find anything but when I do it’s (thankfully) usually an improvement. In this case the change comes from the bottom of the shorts where GORUCK went with a stronger stitch that uses a lot more thread. From the outside it might just appear to be a second line but when you look on the inside…
… you can see just how much more thread is used. Definitely an improvement here and, although I didn’t have any issues with the sewing on my 2019 version, I’m sure I won’t have any on the 2020.
In my opinion the only downside to the 2020 version of the American Training Shorts is the increased price. Besides that everything else is an improvement and one that I’m happy to see. I’ve put hundreds of miles on both of these shorts and can’t wait to get the review done. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these shorts for either version or the comparison if you have both. If you own them already then hopefully you’re enjoying them as much as I am! If you don’t own them yet (and want to) then you can grab them from GORUCK.