Under Armour Project Rock 1 Training Shoe Review

The Rock – The most electrifying man in entertainment, is back again with his second signature shoe brought to you by Under Armour.

One of the biggest disappointments in my life was finding out that the Rock’s first signature shoe, the Rock Delta’s, were based off of a running shoe. Sure, you could work out in them, but when it came to actually lifting weights (something you do in training), they were sub-par.  I feel like that was a giant oversight, seeing as how the Rock probably didn’t get to look the way he does, by running.

I can say with a Brahma bull sized sigh of relief, that the Project Rock 1’s are a true training shoe this time around.

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Build Quality/Construction:

In my experience, I’ve found Under Armour gear to have generally higher end build quality, especially given some of their price points. Unlike the Rock Delta, while the Project Rock 1’s may borrow from other shoes in UA’s line-up, it’s not just a palate swap from another shoe. It’s appearance isn’t radically different from the Architech shoes, but there are a few differences with The Rock’s spin, not only cosmetic but also functional. The PR1’s definitely look like a shoe designed for gym use, but I actually think they have a cool style to them. The colorway is an eyecatching shade of blue with gold and orange accents with the Rock’s signature Brahma bull logo found on the rear of the shoe.

The PR1’s sport a fully knit upper with synthetic overlays for that is thick, but flexible and moves with the foot very well. The fabric feels nicer than the shoe’s price point and the overlays do a pretty good job adding structure to the upper of the PR1; it is slightly elastic so it does give you a sock-like feel. Unfortunately, the PR1’s knit upper lacks breathability and can get very hot; which is an issue that I almost never have an issue with.

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At the rear of the shoe, you’ll find a sizable TPU heel counter to stabilize the foot. The lacing system is probably the biggest difference from the Architech shoes since the PR1’s actually have full length lacing. You can get a customized fit from it, but if you lace the shoes tight, the upper ends up bunching up under the laces; at least with my skinny-ish feet.

Thank god, Under Armour went with a platform that’s actually designed for training purposes this time. The PR1’s are outfitted with a full length Micro-G midsole, which is the same as on their Architech Reach and Futurist model shoes. To add more stability to the shoe, there’s a TPU wedge that extends from the rear to the midfoot, similar to what you’d find on an Oly shoe, only slightly less rigid. Under the shoe there’s a rubber outsole with a really interesting knob tread pattern; weird looking but it works.

The drop is 6mm and the weight is 11.96oz.

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Fit:

The PR1’s fit like a proper training shoe should, wide and flat, albeit a little bit long in length. As I mentioned earlier, the knit upper has a bit of elasticity to it so you get that almost sock feel; it’s not a stretchy as Primeknit or even Flyknit though. If you’ve got skinny, narrow feet, you might want to think about sizing down by half. Average feet could probably go with normal size, but you’ll have a bit of space left inside the shoe which is better than being too tight. Wide footers will feel right at home with their normal size. The length for me is pretty much spot on with a size 10, but like I mentioned earlier, when I lace the shoes up tight the upper bunches up at the top of my foot. I think sizing down would make the length too short so it’s just something I’ll have to deal with.

While the Rock Delta’s were a mid cut, I’d say the PR1’s are “kind of” a mid-cut. The ankle collar covers the ankle but since it’s a knit material, it doesn’t offer the same kind of support, if that’s what you were looking for. Personally, I like my training shoes low cut, but the rise of the collar doesn’t bother me much since it’s pretty flexible. Another benefit of having a higher ankle collar is that it naturally combats any kind of heel slip.

My sizing for reference:

  • Nano – 10
  • Metcon – 10
  • UA Charged Legend – 10
  • UA HOVR Phantom/Sonic – 10.5
  • UA Threadborne Slingflex – 10.5
  • Rock Delta’s – 9.5
  • NoBull – 10

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Flexibility/Comfort:

Surprisingly, despite the PR1’s bulky nature, they’re fairly flexible! Running and plyometric work felt comfortable enough to do in the PR1’s. While an actual running shoe the Rock Delta’s were, the PR1’s are a real training shoe that you can do short runs in comfortably.

UA’s Micro-G midsole shows its versatility in adding some level of comfort while still remaining stable. I wouldn’t be doing any marathon races in the PR1’s but, they should be comfortable for distances up to a couple miles if you wanted to run in them, despite the shoes feeling a little wide and bulky. They are indeed an all encompassing training shoe this time around. I’d probably stay away from speed for because of the heft and size of the shoe, but the shoes will perform okay if you’re in a pinch.

Even though the shoes have a knit upper, there is an area at the top of the toebox where you can feel the creasing of the upper due to the placement of the synthetic overlay. It’s not uncomfortable, but it’s a little distracting when doing burpees or double unders where you’re mainly on the balls of your feet.

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Stability:

The Project Rock 1’s are my first shoe with Micro-G cushioning, and I have to say that I’m very impressed by how well it performs. While not the most absolute stable of shoes for everything you could possibly do, they offer an impressive blend of stability and comfort for most of the things people are going to do in them.

Power delivery and response feel immediate when doing any kind of slow lifts. The added structure from the TPU heel wedge really gives you a solid platform for squatting and even deadlifting; if you don’t mind the 6mm drop. I had no issues squatting, deadlifting or pressing in the PR1’s, but truth be told, I wouldn’t be using these shoes if I was looking to max out just because I have more stable shoes. That doesn’t mean I don’t think they wouldn’t do well if the PR1’s were your only option though. For slow lifts, the PR1’s are rock solid.

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Traction from the knobbed outsole proved to be excellent on the surfaces that I tested it with: asphalt, rubber, and treadmill. The pattern itself is more of a turf training style but works well in any situation. It’s naturally multi-directional so you don’t have to worry about it getting caught on anything, while not losing out on control where you want it. The PR1’s are wide in general, but the forefoot is where you’ll notice it the most, lateral stability is excellent because of the sheer size of the base. Explosive movements also benefit from having the added contact area against the ground, just make sure you don’t have a barbell in your hands.

Where the PR1’s suffered a bit in were the more dynamic lifts. You can perform Olympic lifts in them, but I never really felt that much in control in my landings. I noticed this the most in push presses and push jerks where I’d be rocking a lot back and forth when I’d receive the bar overhead. Because of that, I never bothered with snatching because of the high precision of the movement. Could you snatch in them? I don’t see why not, I wouldn’t if I had other options though. Cleaning wasn’t as problematic, but I did still notice myself more forward lean in the catch than with some of my other flatter shoes.

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Value:

Honestly, I’m quite shocked that Under Armour is only charging $120 for the Project Rock 1’s. If you’re just a fan of the Rock, that price is a small amount to pay for his signature shoe especially considering the Rock Delta’s costed $20 more! The fact that the PR1’s are actually a great training shoe just sweetens the deal. Are they the absolute best training shoe? Definitely not. Are they one of the coolest training shoes, with stellar branding that still function well for training? Most definitely.

All things considered, the Project Rock 1’s are a HUGE upgrade over the Rock Delta’s in terms of training performance and I can easily recommend them if you wanted something a little different from the norm, or you just liked the Rock. What’s even more exciting about the shoe is that we’re also seeing a more serious attempt from Under Armour at a real training shoe. Maybe we’ll even see a true functional fitness shoe soon…

Get your Project Rock 1’s here (6/28)

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