After teaming up with Under Armour last year to release a training shoe, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is back at it with a new version. Dubbed Project Rock 2 (or PR2), these eye-catching sneakers come in one color (we hope you like blood orange) and feature the Rock’s favorite motto—“blood, sweat, respect”—alongside halo gray trim and a gold bull horns logo. (Classic Dwayne.) And, unlike the high-top we saw in version one, you’re now working with a lower cut and a narrower toe box.
They look sleeker, but how do they fare in the gym? We battle-tested a pair to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice after slipping your feet into a pair of PR2s is the sock-like upper covering that grips your ankle and the anatomical bootie that keeps the fit nice and snug. Once laced up, the shoes feel secure and ready for action. The sole is made with Under Armour’s HOVR technology, which is meant to put a spring in your step and reduce impact during high-impact movements. Bouncing around the gym, I liked the springy platform, finding it to be comfortable and responsive.
To really put these shoes to the test, I went through a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) warm-up that involved lots of quick movements, including burpees, squat jacks, dumbbell step-ups, and renegade rows. At 10.9-ounces, the shoes are heavier than my usual Nikes, but they still felt light on my feet, allowing me to move quickly between exercises.
I followed that up with some deadlifts and barbell squats to see how the shoes performed under heavier loads. Driving through the ground, they provided a cushioned, stable base through the heels to keep me locked into the lift. The heel cup minimized side-to-side movement and the multi-directional tread on the sole curtailed any slippage. The heel drop is a modest eight millimeters, two to three times less than a traditional weightlifting shoe. But these are versatile trainers built for more than Olympic weightlifting.
I’ve worn featherweight, minimal sneakers for years, and I still like the barely-there feel they provide, whether I’m working out or walking to lunch. I might stick with my current pair for HIIT and other circuit-based training. But after an hour with the PR2s, I began to reconsider my footwear when lifting weights, as it’s difficult to dismiss the stability and cushion they provide through the heel.
Meet the PR2. With just the right amount of stability + flexibility, our new #ProjectRock training shoe from @TheRock is about to become your go-to. Get yours now. https://t.co/4vo8B2G2kM pic.twitter.com/90oPnTyZaM
— Under Armour (@UnderArmour) June 27, 2019