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GORUCK Rough Runners Review | Good for Rucking, Too?

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The GORUCK Rough Runners are the first ever running shoe to be produced by GORUCK. This model has a few construction features that are somewhat similar to GORUCK’s bread and butter the Ballistic Trainer.

As a long-time fan of the Ballistic Trainer, I was super excited to put the Rough Runners to the test. I was interested to see what type of spin GORUCK would put on their debut running shoe.

Quick Take: The GORUCK Rough Runners can be a good running shoe for the outdoor-focused recreational runner. I think the Rough Runners can also be great for individuals that routinely carry more muscle and weight on their frame.

GORUCK Rough Runners

$140

GORUCK Rough Runner Product Shot
4.1
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.0
Quality
4.2

Best For

  • Outdoor Running
  • Rucking
  • Short to Mid-Range Runs
  • Medium Width Feet
  • Bodyweight Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Lightweight Shoe Lovers
  • For Notably Wide Feet

On the market for new cross-training shoes, too? Make sure you try out my Training Shoe Finder. I built this calculator to pair you with the best shoes for your needs.

GORUCK Rough Runners Review

Who Should Buy the GORUCK Rough Runners?

Overall, I’ve enjoyed running and training in the GORUCK Rough Runners, below are a few contexts where I think they’ll excel.

1. You’re a Recreational Runner Wanting a Model for All Settings

For beginners and runners that are much more recreational with their running, I think the Rough Runners can be a great fit for your needs. This model has a nice range to its construction regarding its running surface versatility.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Working Out

For example, this shoe can work fine on treadmills, roads, and even light trails due to its outsole design and construction. The two different types of rubbers used give the outsole a durable feel and it’s fairly aggressive with its tread.

The gradient-density midsole is also a perk of this shoe’s versatility. The midsole is responsive and “poppy” enough for pick-up sprints and fast 5ks and it’s soft enough to accommodate longer runs.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Runs

This running shoe also works well for rucking and that has to do with its outsole and how its midsole provides a little more support than other models and I’ll discuss that more in my point below.

2. You Want a Running Shoe With a Little More Support

Another context where I think the GORUCK Rough Runners make sense is for lifters that carry more weight on their frame. For heavier individuals, not every running shoe is created equal and this person will typically want a little more support with their running shoes.

The gradient-density midsole is nice because it has a range of a more plush forefoot and a slightly more dense midfoot and heel. This is awesome for giving you a more robust base to run on that doesn’t compress a ton.

GORUCK Rough Runners Midsole

If you typically like more support for your foot’s arches, I think you’ll like this shoe’s fit. I also see this as a perk for outdoor and trail running contexts where you don’t want a ton of plushness for stability and balance reasons.

3. You Enjoy GORUCK’s Products and Their Mission

The third context is for individuals that like GORUCK’s mission and what their brand stands for. I think one area where GORUCK has a leg up on some of its competition is its brand and mission.

Like other GORUCK shoes and workout apparel, the GORUCK Rough Runners are covered by their SCARS Lifetime Guarantee. Essentially, if you run into any issues with your Rough Runners, GORUCK will typically replace them.

GORUCK Rough Runners Outsole

This is great for runners that plan to beat their shoes up and who will be more likely to run into durability and manufacturing-related mishaps. Note, the SCARS guarantee is context-dependent, but I like that GORUCK always stands behind their gear for life.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the GORUCK Rough Runners?

Despite enjoying and liking the Rough Runners, there are a couple of contexts where I think these running shoes may be a miss.

1. You Have Notably Wide and Flat Feet

If you’re someone who is constantly struggling to find “wide enough” shoes, then you may want to pass on the GORUCK Rough Runners. I feel like they’ll work for most foot anatomies but notably wide and flat feet give me pause with them.

GORUCK Rough Runners Width

I’m not convinced the toe box will be wide enough for feet that are EE-width or wider, and I could see this model’s arch bothering those with flat feet that want a wider midfoot and base.

2. You Like Lower Heel-to-Toe Drops

Another context in which you may want to pass on the Rough Runners if you like running shoes with lower heel-toe drops. In the context of running shoes, heel-to-toe drop preferences can vary pretty greatly.

I personally like rotating shoes with different drops based on how I’m training and running but I know not everyone is like that. If you love lower drops then the Rough Runners 10mm heel-to-toe drop may be offputting for you.

GORUCK Rough Runners Heel to Toe Drop

This is also an area that I think turns some lifters off of the Ballistic Trainers which have an 8mm heel-to-toe drop. It’s not a bad thing regarding performance. However, it’s a preferential construction spec that I don’t think everyone will align with.

3. You Like a Low-Profile Boot

Something else that I could see bothering some runners with the Rough Runners is their boot construction. This shoe’s boot can feel a little harsh on the ankles, especially during the break-in process.

GORUCK Rough Runners Boot

I think if you’re someone who loves a low-profile boot in your running shoe or a boot that has more pliability then you may want to look into other options.

GORUCK Rough Runners Pros and Cons

Over the course of my testing process with the GORUCK Rough Runners, I’ve found a few pros and cons to keep in mind about this model before investing in them.

Report Card: Get the Quick Facts

GORUCK Rough Runners

GORUCK Rough Runners Quick Facts Pros and Cons
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10mm
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: True to Size
  • Width: Medium

Pros

  1. Strong running shoe for the recreational runner that wants a model for a wide range of running styles on different surfaces.
  2. These can be good running shoes for those that want a model for rucking and taking on light to moderate trails and then transitioning to road runs.
  3. If you carry more weight on your frame then I think this shoe’s midsole and support should align with your anatomical needs and asks.

Cons

  1. Wide and flat feet may not align with this shoe’s last construction and may find the toe box too snug and arch offputting.
  2. If you like lower heel-to-toe drops with your running shoes then you may want to look into shoes from companies like Altra.
  3. The outsole thickness and weight of this shoe dink its performance for sprint-specific workouts, especially if you like lightweight models for this training vertical.

If you’ve trained in the GORUCK Rough Runners and have additional pros and cons that you’ve found with this shoe, let me know in the comments below.

Performance Assessment

To break down the performance of the GORUCK Rough Runners, I tested this model in a few different training contexts. I’ll discuss this shoe’s performance for short runs, mid-range runs, trail runs, and walking.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Short and Mid-Range Runs

For short runs, I’ve enjoyed the performance of the GORUCK Rough Runners and they’ve become one of my go-to shoes for casual 5ks that I’m running on the road and on light trails.

The thicker outsole provides additional traction, and if you regularly tackle surfaces covered in dirt, rocks, and sticks, the grip of this shoe’s outsole should be plenty fine.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Short Runs

I also like how responsive the midsole feels for this running context. This model is comfortable overall and the Gradient Density EVA midsole and higher heel-to-toe drop can be nice for runners like me that heel strike a bit more at slower paces.

For mid-range runs (4-6 miles), the Rough Runners have also performed pretty well. The midsole feels a little more sturdy as fatigue sets in with this shoe and that’s I also like this model for lifters, athletes, and runners that carry around a little more weight.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Mid Range Runs

My only gripe with this shoe for this running setting is that they can feel a little heavy at times. Also, if you want the plushest feeling shoe then you may not align with this model’s EVA midsole.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Rucking and Walking

For rucking, I’ve tested this model for two 5k sessions in the woods near my family’s Michigan home where I brought my backpack filled with 20 lbs of weight (in the form of books and other odds and ends I had with me while traveling).

I thought this shoe did a pretty good job and I like the level of support the midsole and upper provided. I never felt like I was sliding around in this shoe or like I was lacking security which I enjoyed.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners Outsole Tread

For avid ruck-focused athletes that want a running shoe for this training style, I think the GORUCK Rough Runners should align with your needs. They have an undertone of construction features that I think feeds well into this training context.

The Rough Runners have also performed well when it comes to walking. They’re comfortable enough for longer periods of wear, and the full rubber outsole is nice from a durability point of view.

Testing the GORUCK Rough Runners for Walking

My only concern with this model for walking is that it may not be the best for those that want a shoe for long walks and standing all day. The higher drop and heavier weight to them may limit their performance and comfort for these asks.

GORUCK Rough Runners Sizing

For most runners and athletes, I think going true to size will be a safe call in the GORUCK Rough Runners. This model length runs true and they have a medium width.

GORUCK Rough Runners Sizing and Fit

For narrow, medium, and slightly wider feet, I think the sizing of the Rough Runners will be fine for your needs. And as mentioned above, I think you’ll want to pass on these if you have notably wide and flat feet.

If you’re currently wearing the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers, then I’d suggest going with the same size in the Rough Runners. The last constructions have some similarities, in my opinion, so I think you’ll be safe opting for the same size in these.

  • GORUCK Rough Runners Sizing Thoughts: True to size for most.

GORUCK Rough Runners Sizing and Fit Assessment

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the GORUCK Rough Runners, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally I can help you out.

Price Breakdown

For the GORUCK Rough Runners, you can expect to pay around $140 USD. This price point can be a little hit or miss, in my opinion, and I think it makes sense in some contexts.

I think if you fit the context of someone who wants that road-to-trail shoe that can also work for rucking and heavier frames, then the price of this shoe makes a lot of sense and it will outperform its peers not as specialized.

GORUCK Rough Runners Upper

Additionally, I think if you believe in GORUCK and their brand then this shoe’s price can be easily justified. Plus, the SCARS Lifetime Guarantee can help offset some of the worrying about the price not being worth it in the event this shoe breaks down fast.

Conversely, and to play devil’s advocate, I don’t think this shoer is the best in class for sprints, short runs, and long-distance runs, so if you are very particular about your training and running shoes, then these may be too broad for your needs.

GORUCK Rough Runners

$140

GORUCK Rough Runner Product Shot
4.1
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.0
Quality
4.2

Best For

  • Outdoor Running
  • Rucking
  • Short to Mid-Range Runs
  • Medium Width Feet
  • Bodyweight Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Lightweight Shoe Lovers
  • For Notably Wide Feet

Construction Details

The GORUCK Rough Runners have a few construction features that have been inspired by the Ballistic Trainers. Below are some of the key construction details to note for this model.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 10mm
  • Weight: TBD
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Gradient Density EVA Midsole
  •  Mesh and TPU Upper
  • External Heel Loop
  • Dual Compound Rubber Outsole
  • 4 Core Eyelets With a 5th for Lace-Lock

If you want further clarification on any of the construction details about the Rough Runners, drop a comment below or check out GORUCK’s product page for more depth on their features.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are the GORUCK running shoes good for rucking?

A:
If you're tackling rucks regularly and want a running shoe that has decent grip and durability outdoors then I think the Rough Runners can be a good option to explore.

Q:
Are the GORUCK Rough Runners good for wide feet?

A:
If you have slightly wider feet then I think you'll be fine in the GORUCK Rough Runners regarding their width. However, if you have notably wide feet that are EE or wider then you'll want to pass on these.

Q:
What is the GORUCK Rough Runners offset?

A:
The GORUCK Rough Runners have a heel-to-toe drop or offset of 10mm.

Takeaway Thoughts

For a first pass at a running shoe, I think GORUCK has built something pretty cool with the Rough Runners. They’ve performed exceptionally well across the board and broke in pretty fast.

Do I think this is going to be the best specialty running shoe on the market? Not necessarily, but I think there’s a positive in this shoe’s versatility and range which could actually make them specialized for certain athletes and runners.

If you have additional questions about the GORUCK Rough Runners, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

2 thoughts on “GORUCK Rough Runners Review | Good for Rucking, Too?”

    1. I think they’d be fine! My only concern would be keeping an eye on their toe spring/heel bevel from staying grounded context. Midsole compression wise, I think you’d be okay sticking around that threshold or under!

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