If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from years of hiking and hunting, it’s that a poor-quality pair of boots can determine whether you have a good event or not. This is true for rucking as well, something I enjoy doing to help maintain strength in the back and shoulders. There are many more advantages to rucking as well. It’s an important exercise for military service members at home and in deployments.
To define it, rucking is hiking with a filled backpack. The extra weight that transfers to the feet requires boots that are well made at the soles and tread while avoiding rigidity at the same time. Below are reviews showing ten of the best boots for this practice, along with buying information to help you decide on the foremost choice for your individual needs.
Rucking Boots that are Durable and Long Lasting
|Product Name||Material||Waterproof||Weight (pair)||Height||Protective Toe Cap||Sole||Insulation|
|Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 Tactical Side Zip Boots|
|Leather / Synthetic||No||1 lbs 6 oz||9''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||No|
|Danner Tachyon Duty BootsEditor's Choice||Synthetic||No||1 lbs 10 oz||8''||Abrasion toe cap||Rubber outsole||No|
|Magnum Elite Spider 8.0 Boots||Leather||No||1 lbs 5 oz||8''||No, plain toe||Vibram||No|
|Oakley Light Assault Boots||Leather / Nylon||No||1 lbs 2 oz||8''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||No|
|Original SWAT Classic Side Zip Work Boots||Leather||No||1 lbs 6 oz||9''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||No|
|Danner Lookout 8'' Military and Tactical boots||Leather / Nylon||Yes||1 lbs 12 oz||8''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||800 g Thinsulate|
|Under Armour Valsetz RTS Military and Tactical Boots||Textile / Synthetic Leather||No||1 lbs 10 oz||7''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||No|
|Bates Ultra Lites Tactical Sport Side Zip Boots||70% Leather / 30% Nylon||No||1 lbs 3 oz||8''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||No|
|Rocky RKC 50 Military and Tactical Boots||Leather / Nylon||No||1 lbs 5 oz||8''||No, plain toe||Rubber outsole||No|
|Lowa Renegade GTX Mid||Leather and Nubuck||GORE-TEX||1 lbs 4 oz||3''||No, plain toe||Vibram Vialta||No|
As you probably know already, Smith and Wesson is a brand name that’s famous for producing firearms. But they also make great footwear as well. The Breach 2.0 is the go-to boots for either the beginner or serious ruck hiker. While the may look identical to most steel-toe boots sold on the market, there are good things that make them unique.
And all portions are very flexible, giving the wearer outstanding control during short or long periods of walking that won’t cause pain when finished with the workout.
The Danner Tachyon Boots are were made for rucking. They are extremely lightweight, tight in all the right places, and very easy on the ankles. When you put them on, you’ll barely notice any weight being added to your upper feet along the shaft.
The Magnum Elite Spider 8.0 is beige and has a very strong tread with good slip resistance. Although it’s advertised at a men’s pair of boots, the stockier build could work for some women that could be turned off by the other pairs on the list shown.
Ankle support also makes it well worth a purchase, so long as you’re not the type that wears down the treat and soles too quickly. Still, it’s suitable for most rucking tracks in nearly all weather climates.
The Oakley Light Assault Boots is not only beautifully designed but properly aligned for rucking in areas that receive lots of rainfall. It manages to keep water out of the boots but remains breathable, a combination that’s not often seen in footwear in this category. There’s no stiffness in the ankles or toes to speak of, but the area around the shaft would be better if there was a tad more support. Regardless, it’s the ideal boots for wet and/or muddy environments.
If you want ruck boots that won’t show signs of wear within weeks or months after they’ve been purchased, then the S.W.A.T. Classic Zip Boots is for you. They are designed to be used for work but have enough flex for outdoor fitness.
The Danner Lookout is another dark-colored boot that’s geared for people that are carrying large loads in their rucksack. The sole and rubber bottom is very strong and won’t wear away quickly, a common problem among thinner boots.
For hotter climates, you may have trouble with sweating, but not too profusely. Although there is breathing room in the interior, the boots are best for people that specifically need something with a low-temperature setting.
The Under Armour Valsetz RTS nearly look like something one would wear on a basketball court but are formulated for rucking. The smaller weight and width along the shaft makes it good for anyone that finds those with higher tops uncomfortable. As a result, you could break out into a short jog with your rucksack on without causing any pain in the feet. And the zipper on the side also makes them easy to take off whenever you’re ready to stop.
The Bates Ultra-Lites are tactical boots with plenty of durability along the toes and tread. They will be well-served in places with rough or unpredictable terrain. The soles can also be removed if you wish and replaced with something better, if what’s given won’t suffice for you.
Another midweight boot, the Rocky Rkc050 is a military-compliant boot with a very flexible exterior and rubber sole. Ankle protection is key here and will help you avoid strain when you’re several miles into your ruck. Width is stellar and will do wonders for people with fat feet that expand when walking for long distances. But the sole could erode fairly quickly for a short time period.
The final product is the Lowa Renegade GTX Hiking Boot. As the name implies, the boots are tailored for long hikes but can also be great assets to anyone’s rucking routine. The shaft is pretty low though, and the lack of ankle support could cause discomfort when used for rucking with 20 or more pounds. But aging doesn’t come quickly and is great for those who plan on doing more than rucking in the same setting in which the workout is performed.
If you’ve never been rucking before, the most important rule, as far as footwear, is to ensure that you’re equipped with good-quality boots. If not, walking with a backpack on could get irritating very quickly, and possibly even cause injuries. Knowing this, you should familiarize yourself with the qualities that make such products best for your feet. Here’s what you should before making your final purchase.
Make Sure that the Boots Breathe
No matter the place you plan on rucking, chances are high that you’re feet will heat up after a few miles of walking. When this happens in a pair of boots that don’t breathe well, that heat has nowhere to go. Irritation is likely to occur next, then sweating and the odors that go along with it later. The best way to avoid these issues it to make sure that you have footwear that has decent to good breathability. Unfortunately, not all boots are made to prevent this, especially those that are waterproof. Look at the materials that line the sides of the footwear you intend to buy. If you this water protection isn’t necessary for you during your rucking, you should definitely stick to those that are made from materials that will help air escape.
Toes and Width
This one is a little more difficult to get down due to the constraints of not being able to physically try on the boots at a brick and mortar store. When searching for ruck boots, you’ll want to purchase a size that, when worn, will have your heels touching the shaft, and close to 1/2 of an inch room in the front near the toes. Walking with a heavy backpack will cause pains in the front if you’re wearing boots that don’t give the toes much room to move around during the exercise. Width also comes into play. Depending on the size of your feet (detailed further later), remember to get a pair that’ll leave some space in the center area of the sole. That way, the pain that’s commonly associated with completing a long ruck will be reduced.
Know your Feet and Ankle Size
As mentioned, you’ll want to measure your feet well before you settle on one of the boots that were reviewed. Measure the length and width of your foot, making sure to give yourself a little wiggle room for the boots. The boots should give you lots of space to work with near the lower portion of the laces while fitting slightly snug along the ankles. When combined with a brand that has good breathing material and toe/heel room, you’ll find that rucking is a lot like walking with nothing over your shoulders at all.
All about Flexibility
The room around the toes and width will be useless if you end up with boots that are stiff in construction. In this case, rucking will make you feel as if there are concrete blocks on your legs, and intense pain could spring up once you’re done. Most of the boots that were reviewed rely on a combination of rubber and other synthetic materials. Leather and nylon could also be used but are oftentimes of a thinner build than what’s used in normal working boots. Don’t take this the wrong way, however. The lighter standard is what keeps everything from wearing down too quickly (or wearing your feet down to early in the ruck). In short, flexible boots are highly suggested.
Weather and Terrain
So far, I have gone over how size and materials should make a top priority in your buying decision for your next pair of ruck boots. But for some people, the weather must precede all the issues shown. For instance, If you reside in a location that receives a significant portion of rainfall for most of the year, such as the Pacific Northwest, getting footwear that can at least some sort of water protection would be well served for not only your feet but the lifespan on your boots as a whole. Or maybe you stay in a setting that’s muddy or anticipate rucking in a heavily wooded area. Whatever the case, check to see if the footwear in question will absorb through the material or bead off as you walk. And pay attention to the tread thickness, particularly if you’re anticipating a ruck over rocky ground.
Most people who ruck will walk with their backpacks on for several miles before finishing. Doing this in heavy boots, as shown, could lead wreak big havoc on your toes and even cause blisters. Sometimes, it’s nearly impossible to prevent this from happening. Outside of the boots you pick, use only socks that have been worn and washed a few times. Make sure they aren’t too thick but not thin enough to cause tears around the heels. But before you do that, check out the weight of your boots that you’re considering. Walk in them for a few hours so that they break in. While doing this, make a mental note on how well you think your feet will adjust to the weight, and if they could cause irritation for you after several hours of use outdoors. These are small precautions to take that will ensure you’ll end your ruck without needing to take off from work the next day due to pain!
There are lots of different ruck boots sold online. Some of them are nearly perfect while others simply don’t work, even if you’re not walking outdoors with a backpack on. But out of those that were reviewed in the list shown above, the top two picks are the Smith and Wesson Breach 2.0 and the Tachyon. Having outstanding flexibility that doesn’t sacrifice movement for fitting properly, these are boots for the serious rucking and will last a long time after the initial purchasing date. As for the others, don’t abandon them either. They are best for those needing specific advantages that might not appear on the winners. Just know that whatever pair of the reviewed boots you end up with, you won’t have to worry about your feet to the same degree as the rucksack that’s carried on your shoulders!