Rucking is quickly catching on as the latest fitness trend in the west. Aside from running, you can also do rucking. It is perfect for people who are not in the habit of going to a gym and working out like professional athletes. You can ruck alone or with a loved one or a group of friends, and the result is the same.
It was founded by Special Forces veteran Jason McCarthy. His wife gave him the idea when he made a survival kit for her while they were together in a conflict zone.
Other people began asking about these survival kits, and Jason decided to turn it into a business. From here, the term "rucking" caught on, and it became a fitness activity that has taken the world by storm.
What is Rucking?
Do you know how to ruck? Rucking is simply the exercise of walking with a weight on your back. It originated in the US Army Special Forces training regimen to get commandos used to carrying heavy loads through rough terrain.
It was brought to civilians by former Green Beret Jason McCarthy while he was trying to figure out how to transition back to daily life after retiring from combat.
You can walk with any weight that you feel comfortable with, that doesn't pull you down to the ground as soon as you put it on. You can start small with around 20 pounds and aim to walk about a mile in 15 minutes.
However, the pace is yours to set, and you can even have a friendly competition with your training buddies.
If you are looking for great boots for rucking, read this.
7 Top Rated Boots for Rucking
Belleville One Xero C320 - Ultra Light
These lightweight shoes are a great option for rucking. They are eight inches high, and they are made of pure cattlehide leather and nylon fabric.
The midsole is highly cushioned with UL235 ULTRA-LITE, absorbing most of the shock effectively. The outsole is made of 100% rubber Exclusive Vibram Incisor, which provides great traction while on the go.
At approximately 20 ounces per half pair, the athletic strobel-stitch construction makes these boots ideal for rucking in any environment.
What do buyers say?
People who bought these boots for rucking were extremely happy with the comfort and lightness that they experienced while on the move. The fit is perfect with plenty of wiggle room in the toe area.
The material of the shoe also provides great ventilation, keeping the feet cool and preventing the build-up of athlete's foot which results to foul odor.
A few buyers complained that the bottom sole of the boots fell out after a few days of training. This seems to be a very rare occurrence and can be avoided by buying from a store that offers some kind of warranty.
Bottom soles might fall out
Belleville One Xero 320 - Vibram sole
At the military standard of eight inches high, these boots are great for a rucking adventure in the city or the wild.
Made from pure cattlehide leather, they are extremely lightweight and comfortable, making them a dream to wear while out on the trails.
The UL235 ULTRA-LITE absorbs shock very effectively, protecting your ankles and your knees from any damage they might sustain, especially when rucking on roads.
The pure rubber Exclusive Vibram Incisor outsole provides all the traction you will need to maneuver any kind of terrain.
What Do Buyers Say?
Buyers of the One Xero 320s were very satisfied with the durability of these boots. Combined with the lightweight build and high-quality fabric, they are a brilliant choice for rucking in any environment. The fabric is breathable, thus keeping your feet cool and dry during long rucks, and the wiggle room around the toes provides an added measure of comfort.
A few people who bought these boots had complaints about the sole being too loose, but these kinds of complaints are rare.
Ankle and Knee Protection
Sole might be loose
Garmont T8 - Breathable Footbed
This multi-terrain tactical boot offers unsurpassed comfort and protection under the heaviest of loads, making them a fine choice for rucking.
The Vibram sole offers maximum traction, stability and shock reduction, a must-have when rucking with heavy weights.
The upper construction of the shoes offer great ventilation to prevent the feet from smelling, and they are also made from quick-drying materials for use in damp weather or even if you have to cross a stream.
Recommended by soldiers, these shoes are fantastic for rucking even across long distances. They are very lightweight and durable, able to withstand pack weights of over 35kg.
They break in very easily, and they don't lose grip even on muddy and slippery surfaces. They are super comfortable and can endure the harshest weather conditions.
What Customers Say
A few customers had an issue with the fact that they were not designed for people with flat feet. This may be the case, but it can be avoided by going to the store and trying on the rucking shoes for yourself before buying them.
Not suitable for flat feet
Rocky RKC050 - Dri-Lex Lining
This is another great option.
These combat tested boots are famous for being comfortable while standing up to extreme weather conditions.
They are made with leather and 100-denier Cordura that are flash resistant, water-resistant, and flame resistant.
They are also equipped with drainage vents made with advanced S2V Sieve technology to effectively circulate air and water, enabling your feet to dry quickly and avoid getting athlete's foot.
Roll-stop ankle stability helps reduce ankle injuries, and the stretch Lycra tongue hugs your foot for a secure but comfortable fit. The Rocky RKC050's have held up on 12-mile rucks through rocky and uneven terrain, swamps, and all kinds of harsh environments.
They are slightly heavier than other shoes of this type but offer amazing ankle support and traction.
The fit that these shoes provide is comfortable without being too tight, increasing mobility and agility for those heavy rucks.
What Buyers Say
A few buyers of this product claimed that the break-in period with these shoes was extremely difficult, causing great pain to the ankles and Achilles tendons. Breaking in a pair of combat shoes is always tough, but it is best avoided by visiting a store to try them on before you buy them.
Ideal for Extreme Weather
Water and Flame Resistant
Great Air Circulation
Good Ankle Stability and Support
Difficult to Break-in
5.11 - Oil-Resistant Outsole
These military shoes boast exceptional breathability and lightweight performance in extreme heat conditions like deserts and tropical climates.
They are made from rugged 1200D corduroy nylon and suede. These shoes are also fitted with air mesh panels, side vents, and perforated ankle padding along with an antibacterial and moisture-wicking lining that will keep your feet clean, dry, and free from foul-smelling odors.
They also come with a TPU ankle stabilizer and a CMEVA midsole that helps keep you stable. The rope thread, multi-directional traction lugs, and an oil and slip-resistant outsole provide great traction for increased mobility and agility.
How about the reviews?
Customers found these shoes to be light, comfortable, and cool, the perfect combination for rucking through the great outdoors. The break-in period is very mild and lasts only a couple of days at most, making these shoes a must-have for civilian ruckers. They are also good for rucking in the rain due to the water-resistant lining.
A few buyers had an issue with the upper sole falling apart after a few days. Faulty or fake products are unfortunately a reality, so it is best to buy these kinds of shoes from a store.
Ideal for Hot Climates
Upper sole might fall apart
Danner Tachyon - 100% Fabric
These minimalistic military boots weigh less but do more in terms of enhancing agility and preventing injuries.
The upper portion is made synthetically and provides the added benefit of ultra-fast drying times for rucking through swampy areas or rainy weather.
The outsole is made of true rubber, which increases its resistance to abrasion and boosts traction. The EVA midsole provides effective shock absorption, protecting your knees and ankles for injuries due to wear and tear. The insole is made of open-cell polyurethane, which provides ventilation for your feet while maintaining maximum durability.
What Buyers Say
Buyers of the Danner Tachyon combat shoes were thrilled with the lightness of these shoes - some even claimed that it felt like the box was empty even though the shoes were inside. They are also very comfortable to wear, an ideal feature for shoes that are meant for rucking across very long distances.
A few critics of this product complained of extreme foot pain caused by these shoes, but this problem can be prevented by buying the shoes from a store after trying them on.
Smith & Wesson Breach - Side Zip
These classic army boots are famous for their superior quality and attention to detail.
They are made using a combination of leather and nylon that provide full protection to your feet while remaining supremely comfortable. They are fitted with an EVA midsole that provides lightweight comfort and support to the arches of your feet.
The outsole is made of rubber that minimizes traction loss and keeps you on your feet even on the most slippery surfaces. These boots are also waterproof, making them ideal for rucking in any kind of weather conditions.
The durability of these boots is what has made most customers happy. They last for years without showing signs of damage while maintaining the same level of comfort as a new pair of Smith & Wesson boots do.
The sole of the boots is tough and wear and tear-resistant. However, it does not compromise on the comfort of your feet.
What Do Buyer's Say?
A few buyers complained that the shoes fell apart after a few months of use, but this issue can be prevented.
Great Arch Support
Wear and Tear-resistant
Not that Durable
Buyer's Guide: Boots for Rucking
Since rucking involves walking with weights, your shoes will need to have the ability to endure that added pressure.
Even regular walking takes a toll on whatever shoes you wear, so if you are planning to walk with weights, especially heavier ones, then you will need to consider the durability of the shoes.
Regular walking shoes will probably not cut it. Military shoes are built for soldiers who carry heavy loads through battle. Including weapons, ammunition, and supplies, these loads can measure up to 50 kilograms in total.
That is why we recommend combat boots for rucking.
For a pair of shoes to last long in an activity like rucking, it will have to be constructed well. This means that it will have to be tough and strong to endure the added weight, but it will also have to be light and tactile to make it easier for you to navigate tricky terrain.
Let me tell you this.
The boots that soldiers use are built with this consideration in mind. Soldiers must be able to move quickly under heavy loads to avoid getting shot in the line of duty.
If even one of these factors is not up to the mark, then it might spell doom for the soldier who is wearing faulty shoes. A well-constructed pair of combat boots are perfect for the activity of rucking.
The material of the boot goes a long way in determining the efficacy of a pair of shoes when it comes to rucking.
Most of the boots on this list are made from either pure leather or a composite of leather and nylon. Both have their pros and cons, but either way, they provide the necessary features for a long and strenuous physical activity like rucking.
Pure leather is the toughest material out there. It can last for years without even taking a slight dent through thousands of hours of rucking. But it can weigh down on the feet over time.
Nylon composites make it possible to reduce the weight of the shoes while maintaining the same toughness as pure leather.
The shaft height of combat boots is meant to add an extra layer of support by gripping the ankles in the same way that the shoe hugs the foot.
With this added support, it becomes easier to handle tricky terrains like rocks and snow. The shaft ensures that the shoe doesn't slip around when you have to turn your ankle to balance your weight on precarious positions.
In rucking, the shaft of the boots helps increase your agility while you walk with a weight on your back.
If you are planning to go rucking in the great outdoors, especially over terrain that is uneven and rocky, you will need shoes that protect your feet from the hazards of the wild.
Regular shoes will not protect your feet from sharp objects that will pierce your feet if you step on them. Combat boots, however, are built to prevent such accidents.
Here's a fact.
In the wild, there is also the problem of venomous snakes. Army boots are built to prevent the fangs of snakes from getting through to your skin.
Since you will be carrying a weight on your back while you walk, slip resistance becomes very important in the shoes that you wear. If you fall with a weight on your back, you increase the chances of sustaining a serious injury.
This is why combat boots are perfect for rucking. They are engineered with slip resistance in the soles. These can prevent soldiers from falling over due to the weight of their packs. This works equally well for the activity of rucking.
Even when you walk normally, you are putting your ankles and knees through a minuscule shock with each step. These causes wear and tear to your joints throughout your life.
With weight on your back, this shock is significantly increased. So a good pair of shoes for rucking will efficiently absorb the shock and relieve the strain on your ankles and knees.
Military boots are designed to absorb higher levels of shock to protect soldiers from accidental leg injuries during battle. This is why we recommend combat boots for rucking.
The highest quality combat boots typically come with mid-sized heels because they provide better support to the arches of your foot than regular heels. They are also more stable in terms of the distribution of your body weight on your feet.
Army boots generally come with heels that are half an inch to one inch thick. This range is perfect for rucking in any environment, whether it is urban or remote.
Thickness of socks
This is not usually considered when buying any pair of shoes, let alone rucking boots. But the thickness of your socks plays a very important role in the comfort of your feet while walking.
If you wear socks that are too thick, you might cause your boots to fit more tightly around your feet, maybe even too tight even though the boots are the correct size for you.
Similarly, socks that are too thin may cause your boots to feel slightly loose around your feet, and this may cause your feet to slip around while you walk.
Either scenario is not ideal for rucking or hiking or any exercise of a similar nature.
The insole is the part of the boots that come in direct contact with the sole of your feet.
If the insole is of low quality, then it will cause your feet to hurt or feel sore, which will make a ten-mile ruck feel like twenty.
A good insole complements the curvature of your foot, especially around the arch. This is the main thing that provides comfort to your feet even when you are lugging a 50-kilogram backpack over the Rocky Mountains.
Often overlooked when buying shoes, ventilation allows your feet to breathe, keeping them cool and dry.
There are two reasons why this is important, particularly while rucking. If your feet get sweaty while you are out on the trails, they will start to slip around in your shoes. This will increase your chances of falling or twisting an ankle or at least compel you to spend more energy on staying on your feet.
The other reason is to prevent athlete's foot. When your feet can't breathe, the sweat builds up because it has nowhere to go. It then mixes with anaerobic bacteria, which leads to the foul-smelling odor that we know as athlete's foot.
Knowing this, it is of paramount importance that you invest in a pair of rucking boots that provide proper ventilation to your feet.
If you are planning to ruck through wet terrains like swamps or streams, or if you are planning to ruck through the rain, then you will want to consider looking for a pair of waterproof boots.
If water gets into your shoes when you are in the middle of a ruck, this could spell doom for your feet and ankles, Your feet will slip around in your shoes, and even if you don't fall over and twist your ankles, you will end your day with sore and hurting feet.
If you are going to be walking around with a weight on your back, then it only makes sense that you would want to reduce the weight on your feet.
A good lightweight pair of boots goes a long way in making your ruck a whole lot easier and more rewarding than a pair of shoes that you have to drag along with your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Brands Offer Minimalist Designs?
One of the most famous brands of combat boots, Belleville, is famous for designing high-quality combat boots with very minimalistic designs. Belleville is popular among both soldiers and civilians alike and is an excellent choice for ruck marches.
Can These Boots be Used for Hiking?
Absolutely! Hiking is merely rucking without the added weight, so if a pair of boots are designed for rucking, then it will be useful for hiking.
What is Best for Ruck Marching?
All the boots in this article are perfect for ruck marching, but if we had to pick one, then it would have to be the Danner Tachyons. They are lightweight, durable, and provide the agility and mobility that you would need to navigate any kind of terrain.
If you are planning to jump into the rucking lifestyle, then you're going to need a good solid pair of boots to withstand the journey.
If you don't know how to start looking for your pair of rucking boots, then try one from this list. We are sure that you will not be disappointed!