Going for a walk or march with a backpack full of gear, also known as rucking, found its origins as a military hobby but has become a popular form of exercise in general as it burns calories and increases your aerobic endurance.
However, without the right footwear, it can quickly lead to battered, blistered feet, as the weight of your equipment weighs you down and increases the pressure put on your poor tootsies.
So - what are the best boots for rucking?
We’ve made it really easy and picked out five of the best boots for a comfortable rucking experience every time, built to withstand even the roughest of hiking environments, with a variety of customers and budgets in mind.
Want to make a more informed choice?
We salute you! Instead of wasting your time scouring the web for a trustworthy source, simply consult our thoroughly researched Buyer’s Guide, which breaks down all the features of a quality rucking boot.
Hovering over the buy button but still having reservations? Any lingering doubts or concerns may be alleviated by the Frequently Asked Questions section, where we’ve answered common queries from would-be ruckers seeking new books too.
Ready To Ruck And Roll? Here’s Our Top Picks On The Best Boots For Rucking:
OUR TOP PICK
Having been a popular manufacturer of military-grade footwear for years, how could we not select this beautiful pair from Under Armour as our number one choice for customers in a hurry? And at that price, it’s even more obvious!
Constructed from 100% DWR treated leather, with a 900 dernier nylon textile upper, they’re incredibly supple and sturdy yet breathable boots, with a minimalist design that’s stylish and quick drying when exposed to wet weather.
Molding perfectly to your feet, the midsole has a reinforced TPU shank to offer additional protection and support during vigorous activity, so they’re perfect for protecting your feet when out rucking.
A thick but low-profile rubber lug sole also offers arch support, whilst protecting your feet from protrusions and absorbing impact as your feet hit the ground - light enough to really move in, but keep you safe as well. You can even polish the toes!
Anti-odor technology has been applied to the inbuilt molded Ortholite sockliner, which is proven to prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes and minimise your risk of developing Athlete’s Foot and other podiatry ailments.
- Thick, solid leather design
- Breathable thanks to nylon coating and molded internal sock
- Reputable brand with years of experience
- Heavy-duty AND budget friendly
- Advertised as for men only
Composed of leather with a synthetic sole, these light assault boots from Oakley are a camo-colored dream, perfect for your next rucking excursion, built with both mobility and protection in mind.
Lightweight Cordura fabric and a breathable synthetic upper mean that these boots will keep your feet fresh and sweat-free, even in the hottest and dampest of conditions, and you won’t stink at the end of the day either!
Thanks to the EVA midsole and outsole, the shoes move naturally with your feet, providing a plush shock absorption that protects the arches and prevents repetitive strain injury, even though they weigh less than a pound - but they still feel sturdy.
A self-cleaning tread pattern naturally expels any clogged mud and dirt; made from high durability carbon rubber to provide long-term endurance and keep you rucking all day long, you won’t waste hours cleaning them when you get home.
Complete with rugged nylon laces that can withstand the toughest of wear, you won’t find yourself frustratedly tying them up for the fifth time in five minutes, nor will you have to replace them with a fresh set anytime soon as they won’t fray or snag.
- Beautiful leather boots with breathable nylon upper
- Reinforced with padded insole
- Self-cleaning tread
- Four attractive colors to choose from
- No reinforcement in the toe
Although these boots are on the pricier end of our list, the Quest 4D 3 GTX boots from Salomon are absolutely worth the investment if you have the budget and are committed to long-term rucking.
Though they’re 100% synthetic, they’ve been designed for maximum traction on mixed terrain, featuring their patented 4D advanced chassis, which guides the foot as you walk and reduces strain to prevent pain.
Lightweight and cushioned using adapted running-shoe technology to make a hybrid boot that’s supportive enough for rigorous activities and the rubber sole, updated with Contagrip technology, offers ample traction whether on or off the beaten track.
Allowing you to customise the fit of your lower foot, these boots offer an impressive lacing system with four lower and four upper eyelets to secure your laces tightly whilst allowing your ankle to flex adequately when on the move.
Nylon mesh panels and a Gore-TEX inner liner are supported by an Ortholite insert that’s perfectly perforated, creating a beautifully breathable boot that allows air to circulate as well as retaining excellent water-resistance.
- Super-comfortable but incredibly protective
- More than enough padding for shock absorption
- Unique laces to keep boots firmly tied
- Three impressive designs to choose from
- The priciest boots we’ve listed
Made from rough-out layer and 1000 dernier nylon upper, the Tachyon Plain Toe Boots from Danner are a rucker’s best friend, with an open-cell polyurethane footbed to provide superior shock absorption and improved air circulation.
A lightweight EVA midsole paired with a 100% rubber Tachyon outsole offers plenty of resistance to the toughest of conditions, with pentagonal lugs that create maximum ground contact and evenly distribute your weight across the boots.
The insole is removable, so if you’d like to wear these boots for more stylish purposes - and who would blame you, they’re lovely! - you don’t have to keep that added protection in if you don’t want to.
Special hardware allows the wearer to tighten the laces from toe to top in one swift motion to create a secure, tight and long-lasting fit - you can even adjust them while you walk, so there’s no need to slow yourself down!
Accommodating as many people as possible, Danner have made this boot available in extended sizes; women can definitely wear them, but are advised to select 1.5 to 2 full sizes smaller than their usual to ensure a snug and secure fit.
- Polyurethane footbed for improved circulation and padding
- Lightweight EVA midsole cushions feet
- Synthetic, ultra light design dries ultra fast
- 100% rubber Tachyon outsole for maximum resistance
- Customers advise that they are not waterproof
Known for their outstanding quality and extra-fine attention to detail, Garmont have long been producing superb boots and the T8 Bifida Tactical pair are no different, promising you unsurpassed comfort and protection.
Zero optical refraction hardware at the instep creates flawless performance for the rucker in any environment, with plenty of slip resistance from the superior construction of the rubber outsole, with treads designed to grip the ground for you.
A durable upper is made with quick drying synthetic materials to suit even the wettest of climates, and a polyethylene breathable footwear offers padding and protection without compromising ventilation.
With small considerations like the metallic eyelets and nylon webbing, even the minute details have been thought of, which means once you lace up these boots you’re good to go all day, and there’s no need to worry about slipping.
- High quality tactical boots for high-stakes missions or every day rucking
- Comfortable, sturdy and supportive - the perfect package
- Attractive and fit true to size
- Traction aplenty from rubber sole with solid grip
- Some wearers report a pressure point in the boot’s tongue
Best Boots For Rucking - Buying Guide
Unlike your everyday favorite footwear, picking out a quality pair of rucking boots isn’t about which ones look the coolest.
If you’re committed to the hobby you need shoes you can depend on for years to come! Consider the following features:
It might sound obvious, but get a pair of boots that fit properly! One easy way to do this is by checking the reviews to see if other customers are reporting that the boots are true to size before you commit to your choice.
Too big, and you’ll either need to wear extra-thick socks (can you say sweaty feet?) or suffer the consequences of rubbing, as well as putting yourself at risk of tripping up, so you’ll have to concentrate more on how you walk than enjoying yourself.
Too small, and of course, they’ll be too tight, which is painful enough in the short term but will cause problems further down the line after continuous use, which isn’t part of your rucking plan at all!
This isn’t your average stroll in the park, and any old shoe isn’t going to protect your feet. If you want to be able to walk properly after a good rucking session, wearing comfortable shoes is your number one priority.
A snugly-fitting heel is perhaps most important - anyone who’s ever experienced the pain of breaking in a new pair of Doc Martens will tell you how terrible the friction blisters against the sensitive skill around your Achilles tendon are.
Additional padding in the insole of the boot, usually made from foam, is designed to distribute weight evenly and absorb shocks; this enables you to ruck for longer without pain, with less aching in your arches when you get home or the next day.
Ventilated boots can also prove useful as this minimizes sweat and ensures any that is produced won’t linger for very long, not only keeping your feet dry but preventing irritation and blisters from rubbing.
As rucking is a more rigorous exercise, usually performed on less even ground, you need a solid pair of boots that can stand up to continuous walking and the weight of your heavy bag, with plenty of traction on the sole, too.
Material-wise, leather is popular as it’s resilient and can stand up to harsher environments, though as a result, it can be stiffer and more difficult to break in initially; it can be worth it once you soften them up a little for keen ruckers.
It’s worth bearing in mind that leather boots tend to get warmer quickly, and that means sweaty feet, which could put you at risk of Athlete’s Foot. Ensure the pair you go for has a fabric or mesh lining to absorb any moisture and keep you nice and dry.
If you’d rather a lightweight more breathable pair, nylon and other synthetic fabrics work well and are more flexible, but this does mean you’ll lose out a little on sturdiness and may end up replacing them sooner.
An abrasion-resistant outer sole that won’t be penetrated by sharp rocks is good if you plan on taking your hikes off the beaten track, and it also helps absorb some of the impact between your feet and the ground, too.
What’s the point of going out for a hike if you have to stop every five minutes to relace your boots? A high-quality pair of laces that stay tightly knotted are imperative to successful rucking; otherwise, you could always invest in a pair with a strap.
However you like to secure your shoes, it’s important that they fight snugly against your feet without being too tight if you want to be able to ruck uninterrupted; again, checking reviews from other customers will help you scope this out.
Whilst you won’t exactly be going for a stroll in the sea, a pair of weather-resistant boots that keep water out and won’t get damaged if you walk in wet conditions are a must if you’re planning on all-weather rucking.
You might not want to commit to taking a hike in the rain, but it’s good to have the option, especially if you don’t live in a sunny state, or you’re planning on taking a cross country route and it could get muddy pretty quickly.
Boots that are impervious to adverse weather conditions are also going to last longer and be much easier to clean in the long run, so even if you only plan on going out when it’s dry, it doesn’t hurt to invest in a hydro-resistant pair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do you need special shoes for rucking?
Unlike going for a normal hike, when you ruck, your feet are taking on additional pressure on top of your body weight, as the whole point of the exercise is to take a big old bag full of gear with you to increase your resilience.
It’s not enough just to wear something comfy: they need to be capable of coping with all of this weight, plus wet, muddy and potentially rocky paths, as well as being ventilated enough that you won’t start to abnormally sweat.
It’s not that you can’t go rucking if you don’t have the right shoes, rather, if you do decide to, you’ll most likely regret it very much for the following week, when your feet are torn to shreds and you’re limping around everywhere.
Is rucking bad for your knees?
As with any cardio exercise, it is possible to sustain some knee injuries when you’re marching with a full rucksack of gear if you don’t wear the correct shoes, as your joints can sustain repetitive shocks every time your feet hit the ground.
Of course, the heavier your pack, the more likely you are to cause joint pain or hurt yourself, because you’re exceeding the amount of weight that your body can cope with: make sure you don’t overfill, and try not to let your ego get in the way.
By starting with less and gradually increasing the load, not only will you encourage an increase in your endurance, but remove at least some of the risk of knee injuries caused by repetitive strain.
As we also keep saying: wearing the right shoes is only going to reduce the risk of injury or strain, so, you know, do that too!
Is rucking better than running?
This depends on who you ask! Many people dislike running as a form of exercise because of the strain and stress your body endures during, particularly your knees, which take a lot of the force of your feet slamming against the ground.
When you are also limited by flat feet or other mobility problems, running can be a no-go, as it causes tremendous joint pain. As a result, rucking can be a great alternative as you minimize strain by reducing your pace but still get a good workout.
Although better on your knees, your feet end up baring the brunt of the impact that rucking has on your body, so it’s really important to follow our guide and pick out a pair of boots that absorb some of the pressure and reduce the strain.
These are some of the best boots for rucking available and I hope you've found the right choice for you.