Gear, Reviews

GORUCK I/O Cross Trainers Review – Ongoing & Updated

This post will serve as an ongoing review of the GORUCK I/O Cross Trainers and will be updated with significant events and experiences during my ownership of these shoes.

UPDATE: The I/O Cross Trainers are now live for sale on

Initial Impression

Before we go too far, let me say that this is a good looking shoe.

Amongst my friends and family, I get very mixed reviews of my GORUCK MACV-1 Rucking Boots. However, even those who dislike my boots have said that they think the GORUCK I/O Cross Trainers look good.

Check to see more about the I/O Cross Trainers.

Second, out of the box, they feel stiff. Specifically, they feel very stiff around the ankles.

Third, I wear Brooks Ghost running shoes almost all the time. So, I’m used to a very cushioned ride. The I/O Cross Trainers are not like that. However, that’s not what they’re supposed to feel like. They feel like a very sturdy rucking shoe.

Forth, and I’ll talk more about it later, the shoelaces, specifically at the holes, are pretty uncomfortable.


A number of people that pre-ordered the I/O Cross Trainers have noted issues with sizing. Here’s my context to help you decide what to order.

I wear anything from a men’s 9.5 to a 10.5 depending on the brand. GORUCK has stated that the I/O Cross Trainers run a little big.

On their site, GORUCK states, “I/O Cross Trainers run slightly large with a wide toe box, which allows your toes to spread out over time and distance. We recommend going a half size down from what you wear in MACV-1’s or other true to size shoes to account for increased flexibility in the upper (and you might not be wearing thick wool socks like you would with MACV-1’s).”

I own a pair of MACV-1 Rucking Boots and I wear a 9.5 in those. They are basically a perfect fit.

For the I/O Cross Trainer, I decided to order 9.5 because I could actually stand to have just a little more room in my MACV-1 Rucking Boots.

For reference, here are some of my other sizes:
Vans: 9.5
Nike Metcon 3: 10
Brooks Glycerin: 10
Wolverine Boots: 9.5
Pumas: 9.5

As for fit, for me 9.5 was perfect. But, for the record, they ARE bigger than the 9.5 in my MACV-1 Rucking Boots. So, if you have MACV-1 Rucking Boots, you can base your size knowing that the I/O Cross Trainers will run a little bit bigger.

Some Quick Details

DISCLAIMER: Like a dummy, I didn’t take the pictures before spending 3 days in the shoes. I tried to clean them up for the photoshoot, but as you’ll see there is some dirt/dust on them. Sorry.

The tread on these is VERY nice.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Tread holds very well on wet terrain.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Branding on the tongue. Laces and eyelets.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Interior shot. Nice leather on the interior around the ankle and heel.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

I opted for the embossed flag on the heal. It is a nice touch. The spearhead is also on the outside of the heel, but not noticeable at distance.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Leather on the toebox.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Single drain hole.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Now, this is pretty cool. Running the length of the tongue, under the laces, is a padded neoprene strip. I guess it is to lessen the impact of the laces across the top of the foot. It seems to work and is an unexpected feature.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

This is what is on the bottom of the insert.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

Day 1 – At the Office

On the first day, I simply wore the I/O Cross Trainers to work.

They are a very simple shoe, so they blend in great with just about anything.

I work at a stand-up desk, so I was on my feet all day long. The shoes felt just fine. I had no issues. I totally plan on making these my go-to daily shoes.

Day 1 – First Ruck

My son had soccer practice, so I strapped on my Rucker with 30# and went out to put in a couple of miles.

I mixed the ruck on the pavement and off-road.

This is where I will share my two biggest gripes.

First, as I mentioned in my initial review, there is a fair amount of discomfort on the top of my foot where the laces enter the eyelets. The fact that the laces are rounded causes them to really dig into my feet, especially at the top holes.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

For day-to-day wear, I have found that loosening the laces resolves a lot of this pressure, but I like a more snug tie when I’m out rucking. My “plan” is to get some flat laces to replace the current ones. I think this will resolve the issue.

My second problem, also mentioned in the initial thoughts, is that the shoe is extremely stiff around the ankle.

When walking on flat ground, this is not a problem. However, there were several times when I was walking across an incline. The roll of the ankle towards the uphill was very painful both on the right and left foot.

Click to view the I/O Cross Trainers.

If the shoes loosen up, then I think this will be ok. It is certainly something that I will keep a close eye on.

Now, something I LOVED was the tread. While it felt perfectly fine for hard ground and concrete, it felt VERY good on the wet/muddy ground. I could really feel the tread dig in and grip the ground. I’m excited about this.

Current Conclusion

I’m optimistic.

As I said, the GORUCK I/O Cross Trainers will be a great go-to daily shoe for me. They look good and generally feel good. I’ll easily wear these every day.

While, for me, they are good for level-ground rucking, I think I will need to break them in a little bit more (and change the laces) before I take them offroad for more uneven terrain.

As one who rucks almost exclusively in running shoes, these are a much more firm alternative for someone who doesn’t want to go for boots.

I look forward to testing them further, specifically with Ruck PT.

8 Month Update

These shoes have broken in nicely. Most of the issues I had early on are gone now.

While I don’t ruck with them very often (sorry, I just can’t give up my Brooks) I do wear these shoes often and really like them. They’ve got a great look and are my “nice” shoes. I really like them a lot.

I will note that GORUCK has released a new version of the I/O trainers. While I’m not looking to drop the coin to simply test them out, I’ve heard reports that the new version addresses pretty much every complaint or issue that V1 had.

If you have any questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below. I’m happy to help.

11 Replies to GORUCK I/O Cross Trainers Review – Ongoing & Updated

  1. Sucks mine’s are too big and are looking to exchange or sell them. I heard a lot of mixed, mainly bad, comments on the initial MACV 1 soles. The new sole looks a lot more better suited for anything other than dry roughed concrete.

  2. Love the review.

    I bought mine to replace some Reebok Nanos that I’ve been using in the gym for two years or more (and they totally smell like it, even after washing).

    I love them. I bought another pair from someone on FB who was looking for a different size. I now have a pair for the gym and a pair to use as casual shoes.

    They are just subtle enough to wear just about anywhere.

  3. Completely agree that the shoes are tight around the ankle area. I had a blister from a different pair of shoes that I thought was healed up…nope. These shoes reminded quickly of the problem. Once my foot is all healed I’ll give them another go and hopefully they won’t be as tough on me.

  4. Did you end up swapping out the laces? If so, what laces did you get to replace them? I’m looking at doing the same so was curious.

  5. Size 11’s fit well, I wear an 11 Chuck Taylor and an 11 Red Wing boot. I ruck three times a week, two 5 milers and an 8 miler, 54 miles on the shoes so far. Today was the first day my heels (behind the ankle at the top of the shoe) weren’t rubbed raw, so either the shoes are broken in or my skin is turning into leather… Overall a good purchase and I believe they will wear like iron and last a long time.

    Recommendation – buy some band-aids for the break in period!

    1. Forgot – I got the plain heels, nothing against Vietnam or any other quality product made overseas and I’m not judging; my personal preference is not to put an American Flag on anything that’s not made in the United States of America.

    2. Forgot to mention – I got the plain heels, nothing against Vietnam or any other quality product made overseas and I’m not judging; my personal preference is not to put an American Flag on anything that’s not made in the United States of America.

  6. I love my version 1.0 I/Os. Goruck has since discontinued the line, sadly. Do yo have any recommendations on other brands with a similar shoe? I already own the ballistic trainers, but I don’t think they are an everyday/all-occasions shoe like the I/O.

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