Gear, Reviews

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Review – Ongoing and Updated

I love training. Specifically, I love CrossFit training. It has always been a major component in my preparation for GORUCK events and a while back I wrote a post about the intersection of CrossFit and GORUCK in my life.

In addition to using CrossFit in my own life, I am also a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer, coaching at CrossFit Addict in Richmond VA.

All that to say, when I heard that GORUCK was working on a true “trainer,” I was beyond excited.

Well, the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers are finally here and I’ve got a review for you.

(tl;dr – They are fan-freakin-tastic).

Like all my reviews, I will attempt to update it over time to provide an ongoing look at the lifecycle of the product and my experience with it.

GORUCK Ballistic Trainer Review Video

Here’s a video review I put together after my first few days training in the shoes.

GOURCK Ballistic Trainers for HIIT

While I haven’t put these shoes through every possible movement, I’ve given them a really good initial go. From burpees, to assault bikes, to jump rope, to 800m runs, whatever I’ve thrown at the shoes has felt great.

The flexible toe area is perfect for all your jumping movements and gives nicely when out on running intervals.

The heal area has an amazing base and provides all the stability you could ever want for anything involving a barbell or sandbag.

I’ve worn Nike Metcons every day in the gym for 6+ years. The new GORUCK Ballistic Trainers totally matched them in performance, fit, and feel in every way.

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for Weighlifting

Since my shoes arrived I’ve been able to clean and squat in them and I’ve been extremely happy with the results.

Obviously, when performing Olympic lifts or squatting, a nice solid base is critical and the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers provide it masterfully.

The first day I had them, heavy squat cleans were programmed. I was able to hit my current PR (215) and everything felt great. As I was deep in the bottom, the shoes were incredible stable and provide the platform I needed to drive out and make the lift.

If I were to really think about it, I believe that they probably even felt more stable than my Nike Metcons.

In addition to hitting some cleans, I did some light/moderate back squatting in them. Again, they felt great. Feet were solid on the ground and provided the stability I want to allow me to focus on the lift.

In all, great experience lifting in these so far.

GORUCK Ballistic Trainers for Running and Rucking

These are not running shoes, but you can totally run in them.

On day two of wearing them we had a workout that had an 800M buy-in and cash-out. I was able to knock them out in 3 and change and the shoes felt just fine.

However, just like my Metcons, I wouldn’t grab these shoes if I was “going for a run.” I’d grab my Brooks for that. But, when you gotta run, these will do just fine.

As for rucking, I’d say it is a lot like running in this regard. I’m not going to be reaching for these when I go for a ruck. But, If I’m at the gym and someone wants to put in some miles before or after a workout, I wouldn’t have any issue keeping these on.


I wear a size 10 in the MACV1’s, a 10 in Nike Metcons, and a 10 in the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers.

Buying shoes online sucks. Sizing is just gonna be a gamble. Good luck with that.

Initial Overall Impression

I really like the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers. Like, A LOT. They look great, feel great, and perform great.

I have no reservations about hanging up my Metcons (after 6+ years of brand loyalty) and making this switch to these as my daily gym shoes.

If you’re a CrossFitter looking for some gym shoes, these are L-E-G-I-T. If you’ve got a home gym and your lifting and maybe doing the GORUCK Sandbag and Ruck training, I think these are a great fit for that too.

Hands down, the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers are the real deal.

Video from GORUCK

Here’s a great 3 minute video from GORUCK about the Ballistic Trainers. Totally worth watching.


Got any questions, drop them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.

9 Replies to GORUCK Ballistic Trainers Review – Ongoing and Updated

    1. I/O Cross Trainers feel much bulkier and more like a rucking shoe. I wouldn’t wear the I/Os in the gym, though I could. Likewise, I wouldn’t wear the BT’s to ruck, but I can. As for size, I found that the I/Os were a half size down from MACVs. So, for me, my I/Os are 9.5and my BT is 10. Hope that helps.

    2. I might add that if most of your “training” is done in the grass or sand, then the I/O is probably a better shoe. If you’re in a garage or gym, BT is the way to go.

  1. My heel slips really bad in Metcons, any heel slip with the BTs? I have no problem with my heel slipping in Nanos of Inov8s.

    1. Very slight. But, they have an extra eyelet that allows you to lock it down, which is nice. Pretty sure I mention it in the video.

    1. They are a really flat bottom shoe designed to give you maximum stability while lifting for things like CrossFit or SRT. You can certainly ruck in them, I just think running shoes or boots are more built for rucking.

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