Review of the Week: Rogue Invitational Partner, GORUCK’s Rough Runners and Ballistic Trainers

October 25, 2023 by
Photo Credit: Nicky Freymond
Enjoying Morning Chalk Up? Access additional exclusive interviews, analyses, and stories with an Rx membership.

Since its beginning, the brand GORUCK has become synonymous with high quality rucking gear, weight vests and packs, boasting a lifetime guarantee and standards that surpass many of their competitors. 

GORUCK has created a culture of rucking, and has grown communities worldwide around it. The company has grown exponentially in recent years, offering not only packs and vests, but additional accessories like sandbags, apparel and a full line of footwear. 

As I’ve seen more and more of my gym friends sporting the GORUCK shoes, I’ve been anxious to try a pair or two and recently, I was able to do just that. 

Photo Credit: Nicky Freymond

Rough Runners: As an avid mountain and trail runner, I was excited to try out the trail running shoes, the Rough Runners. Living in Boise, ID, we have a mix of sandy and dirt-packed trails with some more technical surfaces available further up, at higher elevation. I’ve tried out a slew of brands over the years, on many different trails and surfaces, always looking to find the perfect pair. 

Let me first make the disclaimer that shoes are extremely personal: everyone has different needs when it comes to arch support, toe box, rigidity and cushion. I would say that my needs fit pretty closely in the middle. For trail running, I don’t want anything with extreme squish or cushion. I need support but not a ton of give. I like traction, but not so much that I can’t run on the road comfortably if needed. I can’t wear a narrow shoe, as I love being able to spread my toes and wear thick socks. Alternatively, I can’t wear a wide shoe and let my foot slide around, which gives me blisters after about eight miles. 

The Rough Runners fit the bill for a shoe that has a moderately sized toe box, lots of firm arch support, and not much give. For me, this was absolutely perfect. Some other bonuses that I enjoyed was their weight. While having knobby traction, they’re very light, and the 10 mm heel to toe drop works perfectly for my running gait. I battle a nagging achilles injury, and this drop allowed for a perfect cadence. A lot of trail and ultra races involve water crossings, and although I haven’t encountered any while wearing the Rough Runners yet, the mesh upper is very lightweight and seems like it would dry very quickly while running. 

Photo Credit: Nicky Freymond

Ballistic Trainers: I ran the trainers through a few metcons that involved some weightlifting, gymnastics, as well as a little grunt work. What I loved about them is that while they offered a lot of support, and held my foot securely in place, they didn’t squish and move with me. This was most noticeable on some weighted box step-ups, as I can often feel minor aches and pains in my feet as I step down with each rep. (These would be the best footwear I could imagine if you’re tackling the Hero WOD Chad next month.) I also tried them out on some toe-to-bar, expecting them to feel a little clunky and heavy, which they definitely did not. 

Compared to the runners, the heel to toe drop is less, only 8 mm, which makes sense, as one would want perhaps a more neutral drop than when running fast on uneven surfaces. They’re marketed as having the stability of a boot, and I would completely agree with that comparison, however, because of the nylon upper, they feel much more pliable. 

What’s great about both of the shoes is their versatility. They can be worn running and lifting weights for sure, but they’re also built for rucking, with their arch and heel support and stability but are great for long treks, and standing for extended periods of time. 

Photo Credit: Nicky Freymond

Also, for those that care, they are very cute. I purposely chose the white runners and the gray trainers so that if needed, I could wear them to and fro with leggings or jeans. I travel frequently, and it’s always great to find a shoe that I can wear through an airport, to a CrossFit event, out to dinner, and to the gym, as opposed to packing multiple pairs.  

Visit GORUCK and read about the different shoes offered in their lineup, and see which one best meets your needs. Everything including their packs, clothes, and accessories, is guaranteed for life and all orders include free shipping and free returns. 

Get the Newsletter

For a daily digest of all things CrossFit. Community, Competitions, Athletes, Tips, Recipes, Deals and more.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.