The GORUCK Ballistic Trainers are a cross-training shoe designed for tackling a variety of training settings. GORUCK is a company that was founded in 2008 and specializes in creating durable equipment and gear. Basically, their gear is designed to withstand and last through most tasks that you could throw at them, and this is why I find the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers so intriguing.
Since GORUCK focuses so heavily on rucking equipment and hardcore training gear, I was curious to see how the Ballistic Trainers would match their brand. Over the course of my testing, I’ve really enjoyed training in my GORUCK Ballistic Trainers and I find myself constantly reaching for them for my lifting sessions. However, there are a couple of cons to note which I’ll discuss below.
In this GORUCK Ballistic Trainers review, I’m going to discuss a variety of topics to help you decide if the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers are a good choice for you.
As always, I’ve also put together a GORUCK Ballistic Trainers video review to accompany this article. Find your perfect pair of cross-training shoes with the TF2 cross-training shoe calculator!
Who Should Invest In the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers?
If you’re looking for a training shoe that is stable with a slightly higher heel-to-toe drop (this model has 8mm), then I think you’ll enjoy opting for the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers. This shoe’s dual-gradient midsole and rubber outsole provide plenty of stability for CrossFit workouts, barbell training, and even heavy accessory work on machines.
In CrossFit settings, this shoe works well and I think it will be a good choice for most recreational CrossFit athletes that are most concerned with durability and stability. This shoe’s upper construction is durable for things like rope climbs and the midsole has enough responsiveness to not beat the feet up too much when doing a lot of plyometrics.
Essentially, if you’re a lifter or CrossFit athlete that wants a stable cross-training shoe that they can also wear on a daily basis, then I think you’ll enjoy the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers
- Heavier Training
- Versatile Workouts
- Day-to-Day Wear
- Shorter Runs
- For Longer Runs
- For Agility Training
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Pros
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers but I had four key pros that I really like.
- Stable for Heavy Training and Lifting
- Upper Construction Is Durable
- Good Fit and Comfortable for Daily Wear
The first callout that deserves attention for this model is just how stable the midsole (and outsole) are. The GORUCK Ballistic Trainers feature a gradient density midsole that uses two types of EVA to create this shoe’s stability. Throughout the entirety of the shoe, you’ll feel stable under heavy loads and the outsole provides a nice flat base to ground the feet with.
I really like the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for heavier barbell work, accessories, and machine work. They’re a solid model for recreational lifters and anyone that has a bias in their training for strength and hypertrophy. I’ve squatted 365 lbs and have deadlifted over 455 lbs in this shoe and have had little issues with stability.
Another thing to like about this model is the upper construction. The forefoot features a warp knit material that provides a decent amount of breathability and maneuverability. The mid-foot and heel are wrapped in a CORDURA Nylon which is a durable material for resisting abrasion and friction. I thought this material was fitting when you consider GORUCK’s brand.
The CORDURA nylon does a good job at preventing breakdown from rope climbs and its fairly easy to clean. This feature is why I also like the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for daily wear. They’re a good hybrid shoe that you can wear on a daily basis without worries of breakdown, then to the gym.
Another perk of this shoe that I like is the slightly higher heel-to-toe drop that this shoe offers. Instead of the traditional 2mm and 4mm used in most cross-training shoes, this model comes with an 8mm heel-to-toe drop. If you like training and lifting on slightly higher drops in your training shoes, then this is a good stable cross-training shoe to look into.
I also like that this shoe comes with two different insoles. One insole has a flatter construction while the other has some natural arch support built-in which fits with the last of the shoe. This is great for anyone that wants variety and to select an insole that fits best based on their preferences.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Cons
As of right now, I haven’t found too many cons that come along with the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers, but there are two nitpicks I could see other lifters potentially having.
- Longer Break-In Period
- Can Feel Heavy At Times
The first potential drawback is that this model does take a couple of weeks to break in. It’s not the biggest deal by any means, but it’s worth mentioning that this model took me about 6 workouts (just about 2 weeks) to break in. This model has a thicker midsole construction so it makes sense that it takes a bit of time to truly break them in.
Another potential drawback to this model is that they can feel heavy during longer training sessions. For my size 10 model, this shoe has a weight of 14.4 oz. If you’re tackling longer training sessions or more athletic-focused work where you’re primarily focused on speed and power activities, then you may notice this a little bit more.
Personally, I didn’t notice this until tackling a 30-minute conditioning session where I had a full-body circuit and a bunch of plyometrics-focused work programmed. Towards the end of my conditioning session when my fatigue was kicking in I started to notice that the shoes felt a tad heavy when jumping or doing single-leg work.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Performance
Across the board, I thought the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers performed fairly well in the tests I put them through. Check out their rating below using the TF2 scale and more detailed explanations below.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for CrossFit and Lifting
In regard to lifting, I really enjoy this model’s stability under a variety of loads. I think GORUCK did a solid job at designing the midsole and outsole to accommodate a variety of lifts. I never had issues with compression or stability and I even did some speed trap deadlift at 405 lbs, which will usually highlight stability issues in shoes if there are any
On top of their stability, I like the 8mm heel-to-toe drop in this shoe. I think it provides a nice amount of heel elevation for lower body movements without making you feel as though your full momentum is being pushed forward.
For CrossFit, these shoes work well in regard to being stable and durable, but there are a few key performance indicators to note. While the CORDURA upper is abrasion-resistant, it doesn’t provide a ton of grip for things like rope climbs where you may be using your feet and this could be a drawback for some CrossFit athletes.
Additionally, this shoe can feel a tad heavy at times and this could be particularly problematic for WODs with more running or plyometrics programmed. This may not be an issue for some athletes, but if you’re used to training in super light CrossFit shoes, then you may find it more apparent.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for Classes, Agility, and Plyometrics
Overall, I think this model does a pretty good job at tackling the tasks of agility and plyometrics. If I was in school, I would give this model a B/B+ for this style of training. The outsole has a nice amount of traction for multi-directional activity and the midsole provides an okay level of responsiveness for casual plyometrics.
If you’re tackling training sessions where you’re lifting and adding in athletic-focused, then I think you’ll enjoy this shoe’s range. The dual-gradient midsole does an exceptional job at being a good performer in a variety of tasks.
My only two faults with this model, which I discussed above, are that the Ballistic Trainers do take a bit of time to break in and they can feel heavy. These shoes will definitely take a few sessions to get feeling super seamless and if you have workouts where you’re only tackling power and agility-focused work, then you may find these to feel a tad clunky.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for Day-to-Day Wear and Running
On a day-to-day basis, I like the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers a lot. I don’t always prefer to wear my cross-training shoes on a daily basis, but this model is one of my exceptions. The dual-gradient midsole offers a nice level of support for standing and walking and it’s also comfortable enough for all-day wear.
The best perk of this shoe for daily wear is that it’s durable and easy to clean. There have been multiple occasions where I’ve gotten the upper pretty dirty in my Ballistic Trainers and they were super easy to wipe down and spot clean. The midsole and outsole are also durable from the weather which is nice for anyone wearing these outdoors on a day-to-day basis or for rucking.
When it comes to running, I think this model does an okay job between the 400m – 1-2 mile range. If you plan to run longer amounts, then you may find that these are a bit uncomfortable. Plus, with the weight of this model, you’ll likely find them a tad heavy if you’re running longer mileage.
Sizing and Fit
As per the sizing and fit for the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers, I think most lifters and athletes will be safe going true-to-size. The toe box offers a good amount of width for folks with wider/flatter feet and the length of the shoe is true for their sizing.
- GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Sizing Thoughts: Go true-to-size.
Plus, this model comes with two different inserts. One insert provides a bit more arch support through the foot’s three arches, and the second insert is flatter, so you even have more customization with how you want this model to fit.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Low Vs Mid
The GORUCK Ballistic Trainers’ low and mid shoes are both fairly similar when it comes to their core construction. Both models feature a dual-gradient midsole, have similar outsole construction, and their upper are virtually identical sans the mid obviously having a higher boot construction.
This is nice because each model has similar levels of stability, versatility, and durability, so from a consumer perspective it’s really more of a question of personal preference in regard to style and fit.
I personally really like the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers mid shoe for daily wear and lifting, but don’t use them as much for cross-training and CrossFit. The upper looks stylish, however, it can be a tad limiting at times, so for cross-training, I’ll reach for the low model.
If you’re unsure which to go with, I’d suggest going with the model that aligns best with your training bias. If you’re primarily going to use these shoes for CrossFit and cross-training, then you’ll probably want to go with the low model. Conversely, if you’re like me and like mid-top shoes for lifting and daily wear, then go with the mid version.
As for the price of this model, you can expect to pay around $125.00 USD. This model is not the most cost-efficient on the market, but it is $5 less than other popular cross-trainers if that matters for you.
Overall, I think the price is fair for this model especially if you plan to use them for lifting and daily wear. With their durable upper construction, I could see this model going the distance for your investment.
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers
- Heavier Training
- Versatile Workouts
- Day-to-Day Wear
- Shorter Runs
- For Longer Runs
- For Agility Training
For the specs and material breakdown of this model, I’ve provided the details for the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers from GORUCK’s site. If you want a visual construction breakdown, then skip to 7:15 in my Ballistic Trainers review video above.
- Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8mm
- Weight: 14.4 oz (for my size 10 model)
- Removable Insole: Yes (two options)
- Upper materials: Engineered Knit, 1680D CORDURA®
- Gradient Density™ EVA Midsole
- Triple Compound Rubber Outsole
- Lace-Lock eyelets
If you have additional questions on the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers and their construction, drop a comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:Are the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers good for CrossFit?
Q:Are the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers good for running?
Overall, I’m a fan of the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers and I think they do a really good job in the context of lifting, CrossFit, and casual daily wear. Their midsole and outsole are stable and their upper construction offers a nice level of durability.
They fall a bit short for power-focused training and running, but if you understand this context and where they come up short and go into this shoe understanding where they perform the best and use them as so, then I think you’ll enjoy this model.
If you have any questions about the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).
I personally test every product featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training gear. I buy the gear I test and may earn commissions on sales made through links on my site.
Hello, awesome site, I’ve enjoyed reading your shoe reviews. I’m an average joe crossfitter with a 300 lb back squat. I’m also 40, 175lbs, and dealing with some plantar fasciitis, and pereformis syndrome. I currently wear metcon 6’s for lifting and flite 235 v2’s I think. I’ve been looking at either the flite 260 v3s, g300’s, or the go ruck ballistic trainers. If you were to pick one for more plyo/runners which one would it be? From your reviews they all sound good.
Hey Nate! Thanks for rocking with me and reaching out. The 260 V2s would be a good bet in this context, the G 300 is also solid, but if I had to choose between them — I’d go 260 V2. The Ballistic Trainers are not great for plyos/running.
Shout if you have additional questions or if you need additional models to check! I have content up on all of these models on the site, too!
Well, i believe this reviews (not only for the ballistic trainer but for every shoe i’ve researched) are some of the most comprehensive and thorough, i’m just starting in crossfit, i recently joined a local Box and i’m only scratching the surface of the sport, the current pair of shoes i wear are a couple years old and on it’s last leg, so i’m on the hunt for a new pair. I’ve set my eyes on this ballistic trainers and i’m wondering how does it compare to the nano X (i’m from mexico so both pair would be an import and a hassle so i’d like to have the best perspective i can before pulling the trigger), i’m by no means a runner, 6 foot tall and about 220 pounds, my foot is i’d say between normal and wide, and looking to compare with the nano X because it seems those were the last pair made specifically for crossfit, as for price i’ve encountered the nano x between 110 and 120 bucks so basically in line. which would you recommend between those models) (or if you have a better suggestion).
Hey Joseph! I appreciate that feedback. That’s awesome, stoked for you to start your journey in CF. That being said, I like the Ballistic Trainer, but I’d say go for the Nano X if you can find them for a good deal. They’re a really solid CrossFit shoe and I think they’re a good option for a newer lifter because their durability is solid across the board so they should last you a while. The Ballistic Trainers will be around for a while if you ever choose to make the switch to them, but stock on the Nano X is depleting since they’re not being made anymore. They’re a good safe bet, IMO.
Where is the 2023 update?
Hey brother, whenever I update my content the updates are usually fleshed out in the pros, cons, and performance section. They generally revolve around long-term durability or additional performance thoughts.
In this article, my updates included adding more beef to those sections. You bring up a good point, though, which is adding more context as to where exactly I’m adding my updates. I’ll start making author notes at the bottom of the content I update sharing what exactly I’ve added beef to — I think that would be a cool addition. Thanks for the ask and for checking out the review!