The 7 Best Boots for Rucking

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We’re big fans of rucking.

Granted, we love CrossFit and other types of barbell work as well, but these two loves don’t always “mix” too well.

Waaaay back, during my first month or so into rucking, I was too lazy to spend a few minutes researching appropriate footwear and opted to wear some old Reebok Nanos (that I had retired from regular CrossFit use).

For some reason, I insisted on persisting through the rolled ankles, pools of muddy water in my shoes, and horrendous grip on any type of unstable surface.

Don’t make the same mistake I made; just get some good rucking boots to start with!

If my experience isn’t enough to convince you to pick up a pair, Google “rucking blisters” to get an idea of how bad things can get…but only if you have a strong stomach!

Thankfully, we have 22 options of the “right” footwear for you to choose from (if you count the 7 best shoes for rucking from our article on the topic).

🏆 Best Overall

Garmont T8 Bifada

91

Anatomically Directed Design for superior shock absorption
Standard Ortholite Insoles for max breathability
Both AR670-1 Compliant and Berry Compliant
Read more on Amazon

Best for “Pure” Rucking

GORUCK MACV2

90

Wide toe box to reduce friction and friction in the boot
Ideal 13mm heel drop/offset
“Out of the box” “Broken in”
Read more on GORUCK

Best for Speed Rucking

Oakley Light Assault 2

87

Lightweight with high flex outsoles
Flat, smooth sole to maximize speed
Cordura construction combines reliability, comfort, and durability
Read more on Amazon

Best for Dynamic

Belleville AMRAP TR501

85

Impact-reducing TPU midsole
Ideal 8mm heel drop for dynamic rucking
Hard rubber outsole for maximum stability
Read more on Amazon

Best Affordable

5.11 AT Mid Boot

88

Force foam impact cushioning for better rebound under load
High-traction outsole and All Terrain Load Assistance System for tough terrain
Constantly “on sale”/very affordable
Read more on 5.11 Tactical

Garmont T8 Bifada

⭐️ Verdict: Best Overall

A boot beloved by thousands, the Garmont Tb Bifada is the best boot for rucking.

Combining exceptional durability and functionality with superior design features (ex. Ortholite Ultra insoles), capable of taking on any terrain with a large degree of speed and agility.

Pros

Anatomically Directed Design for superior shock absorption

Standard Ortholite Insoles for max breathability

Both AR670-1 Compliant and Berry Compliant

Con

Sizing concerns

Overall

91

Rucking

95

Durability

95

Price

80

Customer Reviews

94

Read more on Amazon

How we test & score products

Looking to tick the boxes of both “AR670-1 Compliant” and Berry Compliant”? If so, Garmont’s T8 Bifadas should go to the top of your list.

Even if you’re not overly concerned with these areas, you’ll most likely appreciate the Bifadas’ Ortholite Ultra insoles as much as we do. They are ideal for maintaining comfort and breathability on long marches and light total boot weight (to make each step just a bit more bearable!)

Although the Bifadas are not waterproof (which, as we’ll discuss later, isn’t always a bad thing), they do contain a nylon fabric mesh construction to aid in venting out additional moisture. We love the durable leather body; it’s what one would expect from a rugged pair of rucking boots.

Some have complained about the width of the Bifadas not accommodating their wider-than-normal feet. We haven’t experienced this, but if this happens to be you, opt for one of the boots’ “Wide” size variations. It is the same, quality rucking boot designed for a wider foot.

GORUCK MACV-2

⭐️ Verdict: Best for “Pure” Rucking

An update of the hugely successful MACV-1, the MACV-2 takes all of the same excellent qualities and improves on them, mainly in its upgraded outsole and overall superior grip.

13mm “sweet spot” heel drop dimensions are ideal for traditional rucking and short break in time ensures that they’re ready to use fast.

Pros

Wide toe box to reduce friction and friction in the boot

Ideal 13mm heel drop/offset

“Out of the box” “Broken in”

Cons

Heel cup padding concerns

Overall

90

Rucking

95

Durability

90

Price

80

Customer Reviews

94

Read more on GORUCK

How we test & score products

GORUCK has become an “it” brand among rucking enthusiasts (the ~4,000 reviews of the MACV-1 and MACV-2 boots on the GORUCK website alone confirms this!) and it isn’t difficult to see why. The Cordura material combined with the nylon inner webbing ensure premium ankle support. Additionally, the wider-than-average toe box creates a less “crowded” feeling and reduces the chance of sweat accumulation in the front part of the foot.

GORUCK claims that many of its boots are ready “right out of the box”, although I would still suggest giving these some “break in” time before taking them out on a long ruck. Regardless. the outsole’s superior grip and traction capabilities should be good to go from the first step.

The MACV-1s sport a 13mm heel-to-toe drop which makes them ideal for maintaining a consistent and natural walking gait over the course of a long outing. We’ll note that they are also AR 670-1 compliant, just in case this is something important to you.

Oakley Light Assault Boot 2

⭐️ Verdict: Best for Speed Rucking

Combining superior Cordura material with an overall lightweight frame, the Light Assault Boot 2s don’t look or feel like traditional ruck boots. This is especially apparent with the ease of movement they promote when moving on light terrain.

There are niche purposes for a speed boot and niche audiences for using them. This is the boot for these circumstances and people.

Pros

Lightweight with high flex outsoles

Flat, smooth sole to maximize speed

Cordura construction combines reliability, comfort, and durability

Cons

Durability concerns

Overall

87

Rucking

85

Durability

85

Price

85

Customer Reviews

92

Read more on Amazon

How we test & score products

For many of us, rucking doesn’t always have to involve shuffling around on some forest or mountain trail, praying that our footwear will hold up against ever-worsening terrain. There is zero shame in tossing on a pack and hitting the pavement…or even the treadmill! In these scenarios, why not opt for a boot that prioritizes speed?

Enter the Oakley Light Assault Boot 2

The Oakley’s advanced fiber Cordura construction combines reliability, comfort, and durability. Additionally, for those who prefer the feel of “tennis shoes” more than a traditional “boot” feel will find Oakley’s boot offering to be an answer to their prayers. You’re not going to feel like you’re running in dedicated running shoes, but there is a bit more of a “gliding”-like feel in these.

One of the more polarizing boots on this list with some claiming that they are really not a fan of the boot. Nevertheless, for those who prefer a lighter boot with functionality beyond the confines of mission-specific activities, this could be the rucking boot for you.

Belleville AMRAP TR501

⭐️ Verdict: Best for Dynamic Rucking

Nobody thought about doing CrossFit in boots…until they did. Belleville was smart enough to capitalize on this trend with the AMRAP TR501s.

The impact-resistance TPU midsole and hard rubber outsole create an almost “functional fitness” shoe feel, although they are more than capable for light terrain rucking ventures.

Pros

Impact-reducing TPU midsole

Ideal 8mm heel drop for dynamic rucking

Hard rubber outsole for maximum stability

Cons

Need to follow sizing guidelines closely

Overall

85

Rucking

85

Durability

85

Price

80

Customer Reviews

90

Read more on Amazon

Like the Oakleys above, Belleville’s AMRAP TR501s are constructed with a bit less “traditional” rucking motives in mind. I mean, when you have AMRAP (“As Many Reps as Possible”) in the name, would you expect anything else?

With many of the same dimensions as a standard-issue rucking boot, the 8mm heel drop is more in line with what one would expect from a CrossFit shoe. Additionally, the E-TPU midsole provides a degree of rebound and overall resiliency that are uncommon in “pure” rucking boots.

As you might expect, with the lower heel drop, running longer distances (over ~400 meters) can be uncomfortable, especially under load. However, for light terrain rucking and all dynamic rucking undertakings, it doesn’t get much better than the AMRAP TR501s.

5.11 AT Mid Boot

⭐️ Verdict: Best Affordable Boot

Great ruck boots with multiple features don’t have to come at a hefty price.

Either of the force foam impact cushioning and All Terrain Load Assistance System alone would be worth the price of the AT Mid Boots. That they come with both features makes them a steal.

Pros

Force foam impact cushioning for better rebound under load

High-traction outsole and All Terrain Load Assistance System for tough terrain

Constantly “on sale”/very affordable

Cons

Durability concerns

Overall

88

Rucking

90

Durability

80

Price

90

Customer Reviews

92

Read more on 5.11 Tactical

How we test & score products

If you happen to come upon these and the price doesn’t seem to be very “affordable” to you, wait a week and try again: these are almost always on sale.

Thankfully, for being an affordable rucking boot, you don’t get a budget rucking boot. Combining the most important “pure rucking” construction qualities (Ortholite footbed and All Terrain Load Assistance System to accommodate load in rough terrain) makes for fully capable, “anytime, anywhere” boot.

Don’t expect too many color or style (as the name suggest, these only come in mid-top) options with 5.11 Mids and some have expressed slight dissatisfaction with longevity. At their price point, though, it’s difficult to find something to really complain about.

Rocky S2V Predator Military

⭐️ Verdict: Contender!

When durability is the main priority, both during the ruck and 5 years down the road, Rocky’s offering is hard to beat. The triple-stitching makes this possible.

The company may not have been able to keep up with some competitors, but the S2V technology ensures that this boot will remain relevant.

Pros

Triple-stitched construction for maximum durability

S2V technology regulates moisture and air circulation

Flame and water resistant

Cons

Sizing concerns

Overall

88

Rucking

90

Durability

95

Price

80

Customer Reviews

88

Read more on Amazon

How we test & score products

Combining top-notch ankle support, the Rocky S2V Predator Military boots (yes, that is the full name) are still the rage roughly 10 years after being the “it” boot for servicemen and ruckers alike. Due to the S2V’s long-lasting triple-stitched construction, some people might still be wearing the pair they bought back in 2013!

Rocky’s trademarked S2V Sieve technology works to circulate air in and through the boot and to move accumulated water/wetness and other moisture out of the boot. This ensures that on wetter days, and even on outings where your feet have built up a considerable sweat, that your lower extremities will remain cool and dry.

We greatly appreciate Rocky’s superior arch and ankle support and they are especially comfortable on longer rucks, although, if you do opt for Rocky’s offering, be mindful of sizing stipulations.

INOV8 Roclite G 345 GTX V2

⭐️ Verdict: Contender!

One of the lightest boots on the list, inov-8’s offering is still a highly functional and durable option.

The Powerflow Max cushioning is unique and combined with the overall lightweight-ness of the boot makes longer outings slightly easier to bear.

Pros

Lightweight, but large, penetrating lugs for traction

Powerflow Max foam for cushion & durability

Graphene sole maximizes grip and stability

Cons

Some concerns over water resistance

Overall

86

Rucking

85

Durability

90

Price

80

Customer Reviews

90

Read more on INOV8

Inov-8’s original version of the Roclite G 345 GTX were great, but the company felt like they could still improve on their original model/design. Taking consumer sentiment into consideration, they installed additional padding in the ankle and tongue as well as Powerflow Max foam for improved durability and overall comfort.

As important as these upgrades are, they do not compromise the boot’s identity as an “agile” boot, built more for speed and flexibility than anything else.

We understand that waterproof GORE-TEX is a rather “hit and miss” quality, beloved by some and…not beloved by others, but it seems to work for the inov-8s (in most cases, at least). The 8mm heel drop is also a bit non-traditional and can take some adjustment for those accustomed to larger, 13mm-plus heel drops.


What to Look For in Rucking Boots

Whether you are an experienced rucker or if you’re looking to slide a pack on for the first time, it never hurts to rehash what factors go into rating a pair of ruck boots. Although there are a lot of different considerations that could go into this process, we’ve decided to simplify things (to employ K.I.S.S. if you will) and focus on four main factors for rating boots for rucking.

Rucking

Heavy bag + lots of steps + speed(?)+ harsh terrain (?!)

Yeah, that’s pretty much “rucking” in a nutshell.

Of course, rucking is a bit more involved than that, but to put things simply, it requires footwear that can accommodate the added weight, long distances, and variable terrain. What isn’t so simple is finding a boot that actually does what it needs to, given all of these requirements.

For the purpose of this list, we only define “rucking” by this more “purist” criteria. Because of this, boots that are more conducive to “speed rucking” (the Oakleys and the inov-8s) or to “dynamic rucking” (the Bellevilles) score lower than they would if their more niche advantages were taken into consideration. If you value these boots’ criteria, please rank them higher, depending on your priorities.

Durability

In this context, “durability” is a bit of a catch-all term to describe both how durable the boots are when faced with common rucking environmental rigors (ex. tough terrain, weather) as well as how the hold up over time/duration of ownership.

Both definitions are of utmost importance when grading rucking boots and boots lacking in one or both contexts have been recognized (thankfully, this doesn’t apply to all that many on our list).

Price

Generally speaking, you have to spend something on rucking boots, but you also (generally speaking, of course) don’t have to spend a ton on rucking boots. Super low-budget boots are hard to come by, but don’t feel the need to go over ~$180.

You’ll noticed very little price variance (other than 5.11 Tactical’s offering which are perpetually on sale) on our list. As such, unless you go with our most affordable option, price won’t be a major deciding factor.

Customer Reviews

We can only stick our feet into so many boots.

Thankfully, there is a huge contingent of rucking boot enthusiasts who are more than happy to spill everything (and we mean everything) there is to know about each boot on the list. We’re confident you’ll be happy with any of these boots solely (ha!) based off of what we have to say…

Shopping tips for Rucking Boots

As we (just) mentioned, we’re pretty confident that you could pick up any one of the boots above from “off the rack” and turn out pretty well on your next ruck. However, there are a number of items to take into consideration when selecting your first (or next) pair.

Review these items before making your final selection…your feet will thank you!

Material

It might seem obvious, but your rucking boots should largely be constructed from some type of leather or leather blend. Additionally, many of the best rucking boots will include some type of nylon mesh material and/or polyester webbing material. 

Some of the ballistic trainer shoes for rucking are made of the particularly durable Cordura material (or other ballistic nylon). However, rucking boots are generally not comprised of Cordura.

Overall, there isn’t too much variability in the general material construction of the majority of rucking boots. Get you some made out of tough leather and call it a day!

Water Resistance

You never know what the weather is going to do while out on a march, nor can you ever know what kind of wet terrain lies in your path. As such, selecting boots that are both resistant to water and are able to deal with water and moisture should be a top priority.

Full-grain leather absorbs less water than other materials, while boots lined with Dri-lex, GORE-TEX and related materials help the boots to dry faster and to keep moisture away from the feet. Strategically-placed drainage vents ensure constant air flow and drains excess moisture and accumulated water out of the boot.

NOTE: Pure “waterproof” boots are generally not very breathable and if they do get wet (particularly on the inside), take longer to dry than other non-”waterproof” boots.

Ventilation

Related to the previous point, the best boots for rucking will have proper “breathing” and “drainage” mechanisms. Constant air circulation within each boot will ensure that the feet remain as dry as possible, limiting the risk of blisters from overheated and sweaty feet.

Outsole & Insole

Your ruck boots’ outsoles and insoles are major components that will determine the overall functionality of the boot (outsole) and comfort of the boot (insole). 

Most ruck boots will have outsoles that possess features related to grip and traction, non-slip capability and shock absorption. While any and all of these are valuable and “nice-to-haves”, your environment and preferred rucking destinations will determine which of these are the most important.

Due to the long and rugged nature of most ruck marches and events, most ruck boots’ insoles are designed to maximize comfort. This is generally achieved by technologies that regulate moisture accumulation and promote breathability and cushioning.

Good Fit

Think about how uncomfortable an improperly-fitting shoe feels on a casual stroll or over the course of your work day. 

Now think about how much more uncomfortable they would feel if you were constantly walking in them over the course of hours-long march.

Not a pleasant thought!

It is important to look very closely at what others have said about boot fit and how they “run” (wide, thin, bigger, smaller). When possible, opt for boots that are specifically designed for wider and thinner runs (such as with many of the Garmont Tactical boot options) as these will be more accommodating for less…standard feet.

Weight

Rucking boot weight can be tricky and for many, it is a more situational or even personal preference than anything else. Although you won’t want to feel like you have lead blocks strapped to your feet, struggling through each step, lighter boots generally don’t hold up as well, especially under heavier loads. Lighter boots also oftentimes lack some of the protective features that are common in heavier boots.

Ultimately, don’t simply glance at the weight of a rucking boot and write it off (or qualify it) on ounces alone. There are a lot of other features to take into consideration as well when determining the best boots for rucking for you!

Uniform Compliance

If you plan to wear your boots on U.S. military (or other armed forces) exercise or mission, they must be in compliance with your respective organization’s published regulations. For the U.S. Army, these will be found in AR 670-1 and in the U.S. Air Force, these can be found in AFI 36-2903.

How we Chose the “Best” Products

We try to get our hands on (or, in this case, our feet in) as many products as possible. I actually recently rolled an ankle while rucking testing out some merchandise (don’t worry; those didn’t make the list!) We also conduct extensive research on boots of all types to ensure that our selections are sound.

While we aren’t able to test every product, we take what countless of others have said into consideration when reviewing and recommending products. Click here to find out a lot more about how we test and review products.

The Best Boots for Rucking…For Now?

You would be hard pressed to go “wrong” with any of the boots we have discussed today and can rest assured that none of them would likely be a “bad” rucking boot (which you definitely do not want to have on a long ruck march). As long as you keep the items to consider in mind when selecting your boot, you should be able to determine which one is the “best” for you.

With that being said, the rucking world has been throwing up some curveballs lately!

We recently discussed how rucking didn’t involve as much “dynamic” movement as exercise and events performed in weighted vests. After the 2023 CrossFit Semifinals workouts, where GORUCK packs were worn during very dynamic workouts, we might have to revise our opinions!

Are we going to have to create a “best boots for rucking muscle-ups, pistols, and burpees” list next time? Bookmark this page and check back soon!

🏆 Best Overall

Garmont T8 Bifada

91

Anatomically Directed Design for superior shock absorption
Standard Ortholite Insoles for max breathability
Both AR670-1 Compliant and Berry Compliant
Read more on Amazon

Best for “Pure” Rucking

GORUCK MACV2

90

Wide toe box to reduce friction and friction in the boot
Ideal 13mm heel drop/offset
“Out of the box” “Broken in”
Read more on GORUCK

Best for Speed Rucking

Oakley Light Assault 2

87

Lightweight with high flex outsoles
Flat, smooth sole to maximize speed
Cordura construction combines reliability, comfort, and durability
Read more on Amazon

Best for Dynamic

Belleville AMRAP TR501

85

Impact-reducing TPU midsole
Ideal 8mm heel drop for dynamic rucking
Hard rubber outsole for maximum stability
Read more on Amazon

Best Affordable

5.11 AT Mid Boot

88

Force foam impact cushioning for better rebound under load
High-traction outsole and All Terrain Load Assistance System for tough terrain
Constantly “on sale”/very affordable
Read more on 5.11 Tactical
Photo of author

AUTHOR

Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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