Rucking is a great way to keep active and active, whether you’re a beginner and looking for something different and less taxing than running, or if you’re a veteran and like heavy rucksacks and long treks through the wilderness.
Rucking is great for building fitness, endurance, and perseverance in a person. It burns calories, it’s simple – requiring only a rucksack, some weight, and some sturdy boots.
So picking the best boots for rucking is of the utmost importance. Generally, ruckers like to go somewhere out in the wilderness if they can, traversing difficult steep terrain, taking in nature as they exercise.
Because of this, it’s vital that you get boots that cover a variety of requirements. You need something strong, something sturdy, something that will stand the test of time, and all of the different terrains, climates, and weather conditions you might come across.
But one look online or in a store is enough to tell you that there is an overwhelming amount of choices. Picking the wrong ones could leave you with shin splints or blisters, so how can you be sure that you’re making the right purchase for yourself?
It’s all good – choosing the right boots for rucking doesn’t need to be as difficult as rucking itself. That’s why we’ve created a guide to explore the best boots for rucking on the market right now, with pros and cons lists at the end of each pair to break it down for you.
Also included is a neat buyers guide to explain what to look out for when searching for boots, as well as an FAQ section to answer any questions you may have.
Best Boots For Rucking Reviews
It’s clear that a lot of time, thought and effort went into designing these boots. Named after ally guerilla warfare teams during World War 2, these boots are inspired by intense mission requirements and 1940s combat boot style.
They’re made from deception canvas, a type of recycled polyester woven to create a tight material that looks vintage. If the word canvas made you frown, don’t worry, this material is a lot more high-tech and tough!
The material of these boots has three key features. Deception Canvas is a material that performs under extreme stress, dries faster than boots, and also retains shape no matter where you take it and what it grows through.
These boots have been designed with this material but have used the design on the classic rucking boots MACV-1, with a lightweight midsole made for traversing awkward terrain.
Jedburgh Rucking boots also have 3x support to cover each part of the arches in your feet. It’s clear that these boots were designed with this thought in mind. As well as this, these boots have been tested out in difficult endurance events and athletes swear by them.
We recommend these boots mostly for long rucking trips in harsh landscapes. They’re not as slick and shapely as other shoes on this list, but they are as durable as boots come and would be perfect for endurance rucking events or trips where you push yourself at a steady speed.
We’ve included these Jinta Shoes Snow Boots on the list for those who live in snowy areas. Snow can be a real pain to traverse, especially if it’s melting and the ground/pavements are getting slippery.
If you find yourself wanting to go out rucking, but are coming back with soaking feet – or even worse, finding yourself slipping over – then these boots from Jinta are the ones for you!
They are anti-slip and wear-resistant with a mid-sole designed to be durable and strong. The rubber sole has been made to help stop slips, especially on rough ground.
Jinta Shoes have also designed them to be waterproof, and these boots have a membrane that does not allow water molecules to seep through the shoe, but that allows vapor to pass freely.
The idea here is to keep your feet dry whilst also allowing them to breathe, and giving them the support you need during long rucks through the snow.
One thing we really liked about these shoes is the slick design alongside their size. They’re not big boots and don’t look clunky when worn, and the selection of colors you can choose from keeps them stylish without losing any of their protection or utility.
Something to note here, is whilst we’ve written that these have been designed for rucking in snowy terrain, you’d also be fine to wear these in other environments.
These boots are a great middle-ground for ruckers. If you’re looking for something that is both lightweight and also provides great support in harsh conditions and terrains, Salomon have you covered.
These boots are built to support carrying heavy loads in hostile environments, with great traction and protection from heat or wet.
We found the most impressive thing about these boots was their versatility. They are designed to be both strong and flexible. You won’t struggle to drop to your knees or sprint in these. They fit tightly and have great options for tightening and loosening.
We were also impressed by the sole of the shoe which has great traction.
These would be perfect for harsh trail rucking, for when your feet need extra protection and support.
Here are a pair of rucking boots made for the harshest of conditions. The Khyber series are made primarily for military use, but they’re also designed for fieldwork, riding, hiking, or general rucking.
They are highly breathable on their upper layer, made from cattle hide leather and nylon fabric – this is to keep your feet cool in hot weather.
They also have a rubber Vibram Ibex outsole which is flexible and allows for easy movement no matter the terrain.
We found ourselves amazed at just how strong and durable these boots are, but also how well they fit. With the right fit, they’re certainly shapely enough to run in for short periods.
These are some of the studiest boots you’ll find and are perfect for the long rucking sessions through difficult terrain.
We recommend them if you’re going to be rucking out in the wilderness, they might not be necessary if you’re rucking through a city though!
We wanted to add one product that classifies more like shoes, rather than boots, just in case you’re searching for something for Urban Rucking. Salomon’s make great shoes, but these lightweight trail running shoes are some of the best they’ve ever designed.
If you’re looking for something light but still protective and supportive, then the Xa Pro 3D Trail Running Shoes are going to be an easy recommendation from us.
These shoes have a flexible sole that has good traction for trails. Salomon has also employed their 3D chassis design here which accounts for great stability and movement. Salomon has improved this model by adding a softer tongue which means a softer and more comfortable fit.
When it comes to rucking in these shoes, they’re going to be most suited for lower weights in your backpack and less extreme terrain.
These would be great for rucking trails or out on city pavements – though not so great if you’re looking to go off-road and into the wilderness with extremely rocky terrain.
They’re also synthetic and don’t use any animal leather if you’re a vegetarian or vegan!
When looking at different rucking boots, it can be really hard to work out what is suitable for rucking and what is not. Some boots cater just for trails, others for military or manual work, others for specific weather conditions and environments.
To remedy this, we’ve created this in-depth buyers guide which will help explain our choices above, but also helps you if you want to branch out and look for different boots yourself.
Why Are There So Few Boots Specifically For Rucking?
It’s important to note here – just because a shoe says ‘for trails’ or ‘for military use’ doesn’t mean that you can’t use them for rucking. Boots specifically for rucking are still a new thing so you often have to look elsewhere to find the right product.
The weight of a shoe doesn’t just necessarily refer to how much it weighs, but rather how heavy it feels when it’s on your feet. For example, we found that the Salomen pro-3D trail running shoes were heavy when held in your hands, but deceptively lightweight when worn.
Generally the heavier the shoe the more support and protection it’s likely to offer your feet, but the less likely it is to be flexible and easy to move around in.
When you’re rucking, you probably want a mixture of both depending on how fast you move, where you are, and the kind of weight you’re carrying in your rucksack.
Weight can also refer to how a shoe feels to wear. Does it feel tight to your foot? Or are they clunky and overbearing? You must remember to try boots on before committing to a purchase. Have a walk around in them, bend your foot to make sure they’re not too heavy for you.
Before you decide what boots you want to buy, you must consider where you’ll be rucking. If you live in a city and will be primarily urban rucking, then buying gigantic combat boots might not be the best bet for flat pavements and terrain.
But if you’re going out into the middle of nowhere, then something with extra support might come in handy.
It’s also worth keeping in mind the kind of load you’ll be carrying whilst rucking. If you’re new to rucking, then it’s best to go with something light so as not to over-exert yourself, but as you get more comfortable in your training, you might want to start adding weight, and then it’s important to consider shoes.
The heavier the weight on your back, the more support your feet will need to carry it. Considering the weight you’ll be carrying is very important when selecting shoes.
Boots can be made of a variety of different materials, and boots for rucking are no different.
For lighterboots more suited to trails and urban rucking, you’re more likely to come across breathable materials such as nylon mesh and polyester. These allow your feet more room to breathe and make the shoe more comfortable.
For the soles of your boots, it’s very important to ensure your boots are built with tough material so that your feet will be protected from stones, sticks, and roots.
Soles & Traction
Have you noticed that different boots have different patterns at the bottom? When it comes to boots that you wear for fashion, it doesn’t matter all that much what their traction is like, but when selecting the best boots for rucking you must check the underside.
Outersoles of rucking, trail, and snow boots tend to have much heavier rivets to allow for extra traction. We recommend not only checking the pattern but also checking how it interacts with the ground, especially more uneven terrain.
For rucking, flexibility can be really important. If you’re rucking on trails then you’ll want something that has a lot more flexibility than if you’re on flat ground.
If your boots don’t have flexibility, you can end up with problems with your feet and legs including blisters and shin splints.
Flexibility is usually determined by the material used for a shoe as well as its design. Some shoe companies have genius designs that can make even the bulkiest of boots flexible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here is are some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to selecting the best boots for rucking. Hopefully these answer any difficult questions you may still have.
Is It Bad To Ruck In Running Shoes?
Generally, if you’re out somewhere with difficult terrain, running shoes might not offer you the support your feet need when rucking.
That said, if you’re on lighter terrain or urban rucking, as long as you have good running shoes they should be alright to run in, though they may not be as comfortable as some of the boots listed above.
Are Heavy Boots Better For Rucking?
This entirely depends on where you’ll be rucking, as well as the weight you’ll be carrying. Heavy boots can sometimes be detrimental for rucking, especially if you wear a pair that doesn’t have a lot of flexibility.
Ideally, for rucking you want a pair of boots that have a balance between flexibility and protection, depending on the terrain you’ll be traversing.
What Material Are Rucking Boots Made Of?
There is a variety of materials used to make boots for rucking, which span from leather to synthetics. Generally, boots suitable for rucking will have soft, flexible material mixed with hard material in the places where your feet most need support.
Is Rucking Better Than Running?
Generally, rucking burns more calories than walking but less than running. Rucking can be superior to running however as it is less taxing on your shins, knees, and joints providing you are carrying the right amount of weight and are wearing supportive boots/equipment.