The term rucking is rarely used in ordinary conversation, unless it’s among outdoor enthusiasts, or military personnel. It’s a term used among Special Forces in reference to a marching maneuver for long distances with heavy backpacks for tens of miles.
Rucking is aimed at building strength, toughness, and high endurance among soldiers through the most unforgiving terrains. As a high intensity workout, it’s fast gaining popularity among civilians looking to boost their stamina, willpower, and endurance.
During a rucking exercise, your feet undergoes tremendous punishment. All the weight from the backpack containing essential gear is born by the foot gait. Without the best boots for rucking, you’ll complete the workout, but with blistered and swollen feet.
Typically, combat boots have been the go to footwear for rucking over the past couple of years. However, there exists alternatives which offer similar or even better support, and comfort.
- 1 Top 6 Best Boots For Rucking in 2020
- 1.1 1.Columbia Newton Ridge plus Waterproof Boot
- 1.2 2. Bates 8″ Tactical Sport Side Zip
- 1.3 3. Under Armour Stellar Military and Tactical Boot
- 1.4 4. Martens Men’s Combs Nylon Combat Boot
- 1.5 5. Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GORE-TEX Men’s Hiking Boots
- 1.6 6. Reebok Work Rapid Response Rucking Boot
- 2 How to Choose the Best Boots for Rucking
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Conclusion
Top 6 Best Boots For Rucking in 2020
Primarily a hiking shoe, the Columbia Ridge Plus water proof boot is one of the best alternative to combats boots for rucking enthusiasts. The pair is lightweight, well cushioned, high energy return, and durable. All these are some of the features you’ll be looking for in the best boots for rucking.
Constructed from a high endurance mesh and leather, this boot is both comfortable and waterproof. When you have been on a rucking trail before, then you will understand how essential waterproofing is. Keeping your feet dry and happy from soggy, treacherous mountainous terrains goes a long way in motivating you to go back.
Another excellent feature is the Omni-Grip advanced traction technology. Tailor-made for the outdoors, the multi-zone treaded patterns on the sole ensures an assured footing on surfaces such as snow and ice. At the same time, the non-marking sole is great for indoor use, even you fancy such. A high energy cushioning midsole comforts your foot through tough trails.
One handy feature is the meshed tongue. As the workout intensity increases, your foot warms up, necessitating air flow in and out of the shoe. Also, an adjustable lace-up closure system creates just the right fit for you. When looking for your size, it’s advisable to size up by about 0.5 if you are to get that perfect fit.
Bates has been manufacturing uniform footwear for both the military and civilian police for quite some time now. Their footwear options are suited for the vigorous training our special forces go through. As such, the Bates 8” tactical sports Side zip boot is a pair you can opt for when you intend on going rucking.
Crafted from 30% nylon and 70% leather, this tactical boot is both comfy and easy on your feet during extreme workouts. While leather adds flexibility and breathability to the shoe, nylon reinforces the shoe upper, ensuring it lasts long. The problem with a boot of this style is taking it off. Worry not, the pair is fitted with YKK side zips for quick on an off.
Intensive workout often cause sweating as the body works overboard to cool itself down. Inside the boots is a soft fabric lining that does three things. First, it has excellent moisture wicking properties, drawing out formed sweat. Secondly, it’s meshed in a way to make the shoe inhale and exhale air as you exercise. Lastly, the lining is for comfort.
The YKK side zips also serve a cooling purpose. When it gets too hot, unzip it a little way down to boost the airflow. For the rugged rucking terrains, a pattern rubber outsole does an amazing job guaranteeing a trip-free exercise. Lightweight and cushioned, an EVA midsole creates a soft layer for your feet to rest on.
In case your feet heat up fast and sweat a lot, I would suggest you check out this pair of Rucking boots from Under Armour. It is made from 100% leather and a textile lined upper which makes the shoe expand in high temperatures to accommodate your foot. At the same time, the textile lining makes the interior breathable, a relief after a rucking expedition.
Thanks to an anti-odor technology, the Ortholite sock liner expels bacteria from inside the shoe. Preventing these microbes from growing inside the shoe keeps the shoe smelling fresh. This is a great feature, especially if you sweat a lot, or wade through wet terrains. 900D nylon and DWR treated leather are welded together, resulting in an abrasion-resistant boots.
As you ruck over long distances, a molded Ethyl vinyl acetate midsole provides the required flexibility. Resultantly, your feet can move freely. Moreover, I like the reinforced TPU shank, adding to the supportive and protective nature of the shoe to your arches. Besides the amazing feel it gives the shoe, you are free from accidental strains.
Overall, these boots are great for rucking in rugged hills and mountains. However, if you regularly ruck in rocky paths, then the low profile outsole might cause some discomfort. Again, this boot isn’t waterproof, which leaves me disappointed since they cost as much as some waterproof options.
Renowned for their stylish boots, Dr. Marten’s boots are some of the options to consider for outdoor workouts. Whereas the Men’s combs nylon combat boots lack steel toes to protect from falling object, these boots compensate for this in other areas. When not being used as industrial boots, the Combs act as great rucking boots, thanks to a host of features.
Dr Marten’s boasts of a unique Goodyear welted construction. It’s a design system whereby the shoe upper and the sole and joined together in a heat-sealed type of stitch. This z-welt stitch sewing technique keeps the two parts together, for excellent durability regardless of usage conditions. That’s not all, the stitches are distinctively yellow, for a stylish appeal.
An iconic AirWair synthetic Sole suits whatever terrain you may traverse in the course of your exercising routines. Carefully patterned and treaded, the sole is resistant to both fats and oils. This particular feature make the shoe a great choice for industrial boots. Notwithstanding, the sole handles almost all terrains.
A signature heel loop lessens the burden of storage space after a round of rucking. Combine the loop with the lug sole, then you have a solid boot for rucking in dry terrains. This pair of boot consists of a leather and nylon construction to cut on the weight and make the interior breathable. A 7” shaft snugly fits around your ankles while retaining the ability to be folded down.
The Salomon X Ultra 3 hiking boots are an excellent choice for water proof rucking boots. In fact, it is one of the best boots for rucking currently available. The reason for its impressive performance is the Gore-Tex membrane. Although this membrane is water proof, it’s still breathable, allowing water vapor to pass through the pores.
The problem with boots containing a water-repelling membrane is that they don’t drain well after being submerged in water. So, if you are sure your rucking won’t end up in you being rained on the whole time or your feet being in water, then these boots would be an ideal choice. Still, these boots are slightly heavier than those with no waterproofing layer.
On the sole of these boots are strategically placed rubber, for a more intense grip on surfaces. Of special interest is the special patterning on the heel area for an aggressive grabbing of terrains. In case you encounter muddy trails, a protective mudguard placed at the base and a debris-repellant upper mesh keeps debris from getting lodged between foot bed and foot.
Motion control is essential when you have close to 100 pounds on your back. An advanced chassis on the boots in between the midsole and outsole stabilizes rides for better stability. In addition, EnergyCells within the midsole attenuates shocks generated by the sole. These boots have laces ensures an even, customized fit all round the foot.
The Reebok Work Rucking Boot is a lightweight entrant into the list of great rucking boots. Drawing from the fashion footwear Reebok is known for, this rucking boot features the same comfort found in normal Reebok sneakers. However, its rugged nature sets it apart from the rest of everyday footwear.
An XTR composite toe cap is just what you need to shield your susceptible toes from external impacts. In addition to protection, the steel cap adds more room for your toes. To ease your concerns, the steel conducts neither heat nor cold or even electricity. This feature is of essence when rucking in cold places and you need to keep your toes warm.
Part of the reason for the popularity of this pair of boots is the athletic insole built-in. This dual density polyurethane insole cradles a rucker’s foot, cushioning it from external shock. What is more, a heel pad and polyurethane ball minimizes the intensity of shocks. These are then covered in a moisture absorbing fabric.
A boot upper consisting of nylon and leather makes the boot resilient to abrasive forces as you work your way through unchartered paths. Similarly, the upper makes the shoe ideal for urban wear. The side zipper is stealth so as to keep out debris and create a proper wrap around your foot.
How to Choose the Best Boots for Rucking
One of the key factors to consider when evaluating on deciding between rucking boot options is how long the boot will keep performing at the level you desire. Taking into consideration the amount of pressure placed on boots during rucking, then you will appreciate how important durability is. The boot ought to stay intact while handling at the stress put on it.
But how do I determine how durable a pair of boots is? Well there are a couple of guidelines to have in mind. First, the material is often the most obvious consideration. Leather and nylon are the best, while avoiding the lines of canvas or meshed fabrics. Secondly look for vulcanized rubber soles. These are high endurance to duress during rucking.
2. Material of Construction
Just as important is the material from which the boot is made from. What’s more, the material affects a host of other boot properties such as flexibility, comfort, waterproofing, and breathability. Making the right choice here would either break or make your rucking.
Topping the list of the best materials for rucking boots is natural rubber. This could be nubuck or full grain rubber. Leather cradles into the shape of your foot with continued use, is breathable, and lasts long.
On the other hand, a bit of synthetics aren’t bad either, particularly nylon. Synthetic materials have better abrasion and heat resistance than natural fibers. The boot you opt for shouldn’t also be purely synthetic, but rather a blend of a natural material and synthetics.
3. Weather Proofing
I have a couple of diehard rucking enthusiasts. Nothing comes between them and an opportunity to build their endurance whenever time allows. No snow, ice, water, muddy terrains, light drills, or sunlight should come between you and the sport you love.
As such, waterproofing features in your boots is essential. One moment you are rucking through cities, the next you are out trotting down trails with a backpack strapped on your back. Also, you never know when you will be caught in a storm.
And in summer, your boots should also keep their cool, so that your foot doesn’t sweat. Keeping your feet dry and happy is the key to a successful rucking expedition. Separately, in summer, asphalt heat up in cities. Ensure your boot can take up all the heat.
Warm, insulated boots are best for winter. Note that the insulation should balance breathability. Even in winter your feet will still sweat is sufficient air exchange does not occur. Do this and you stay toasty and cozy.
Given how intense rucking is, your footwear should not only be comfortable, but also supportive. Therefore, the best boots for rucking needs to maintain proper foot alignment, cushion your mid foot, and maintain your joints in place.
As you have noticed, all the boots I have reviewed have either an EVA insole or a conformative midsole. These materials takes up the foot shape when worn, aiding in keeping them fresh. If need arises, you can choose a boot with removable insoles, which you can replace with more comfortable once or orthotics.
As each foot hits the ground, shock waves generated disburse up the shoe onto your foot. Without proper shock attenuation features, the shock wears down joints, leading to knee and ankle pains. As a result, choose a boot with excellent shock absorption features.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where does rucking originate from?
A: Rucking comes from rucksack, which is the type of pack carried on the back during this exercise. It can be filled with either essential gear, or sand. The weight is dependent on your expertise levels and how much you can endure
Q: Are combat and Tactical boots the same?
A: No. both work great for rucking, but have distinctions. A tactical boot is usually made of thin materials, making them soft, flexible, and left. Combat boots on the other hand as the name suggests, are meant for heavy uses in diverse climates. Also, if you are looking for waterproofing, then consider combat boots.
Q: Will I need socks for my boots?
A: Yes. Socks are a sure way of reducing friction between shoe and foot. With friction comes blisters and foot swells. Moreover, socks add to the moisture management layers of the boots of your choice. As a result, size up your boots, since the socks will take up some room in the boot.
When going or thinking of rucking, what goes on the feet is the most critical gear. It’s your foot that bears the brunt of a demanding trail, your own weight, and the backpack filled with gear. The dense, infested forest means your feet have to be protected at all times with the best footwear.
The rucking boots I have highlighted are some of the best around. However, these are just to draw your attention to the world of rucking. These have been proven among the armed forces and military police to be up to the task of you developing your stamina and endurance.