Best Boots for Rucking & Resistance Training Reviewed

If you are reading this article, you probably already know what rucking is; however, for all those readers that have stumbled upon this article by accident, rucking is the act of walking or hiking with a sack filled with weights. With origins in the military, it’s an activity designed to build strength, endurance and toughness in soldiers, but it is quickly being adopted by those looking for an effective, high-intensity workout.

Rucking, like running or biking, requires a boot that will support the motion of your body and the gait of your foot. Nothing is more frustrating than completing a great workout, only to find your feet are swollen and blistered. Although normally performed in combat boots, there are alternative boots that can lend similar support and superior comfort and style.

Featured Recommendations

Dr. Martens Combs Nylon
  • Dr. Martens Combs Nylon
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Air-Cushioned Sole
  • Price: See Here
Garmont T8 Bifida
  • Garmont T8 Bifida
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Nylon Mush & Suede Upper
  • Price: See Here
Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0
  • Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • EVA Midsole
  • Price: See Here

There are other considerations you must take into account when rucking, such as the environment, the terrain and your level of intensity. Confused which pair of boots would be best for you? Keep scrolling and take a look at our 10 best boots.

 

10 Best Boots for Rucking

 

1. Dr. Martens Combs Nylon

Dr. Martens, or just ‘Docs’ to longtime fans, are a brand known for their stylish fashion boots, but let's not be hasty and dismiss them too quickly. Though these lack the steel toe that would make them part of the Doc Martens Industrial collection, the Combs Nylon Combat Boot is expertly crafted with the signature, high quality Doc Martens Goodyear welted stitch. Combined with a grooved lug sole, this is a solid dry terrain rucking boot.
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Completely Synthetic
Crafted with nylon and synthetic leather, the Combs Nylon boot is unlike most boots of a similar caliber. The nylon construction enhances boot breathability and reduces heaviness. Also, fully synthetic makes these boots safe for vegetarian and vegan ruckers.

Advanced Comfort
Boasting a lighter build and an air-cushioned sole, Dr. Martens Combs Nylon can be worn right out of the box. Less time is needed to break them in due to the flexible synthetic materials, giving these boots an edge over leather and hybrid boots. Furthermore, the tall 7” shaft fits snugly to ankles yet can be folded down when desired for added freedom.

Cost and Value
Landing in price between the Ryno Gear Tactical Boots and the Breach 2.0, the Dr. Martens Combs Nylon Combat Boot is a fairly durable boot for a reasonable price. These boots are also cheaper than typical fashion Dr. Martens yet feature a similar style. Why is that important? Easy; it means the Combs Nylon is able to do double duty as your rucking boot and your casual boot.
Pros
  • Comes with Extra Laces
  • Slip Resistant
  • Fold Down Top
  • Good Ankle Support
Cons
  • No Wide Widths
  • Non Removeable Insole

2. Garmont T8 Bifida

As a brand, Garmont only focuses on outdoor footwear. You can expect a well-fashioned, comfortable, and rugged pair of boots from them. Particularly, the T8 Bifida Tactical Boot. It is a heavy yet versatile rucking boot that can help you conquer the muddiest trails and the steepest slopes with ease.
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Quick-Dry Construction
Due to its focus on breathability and ventilation, the T8 Bifida is unfortunately not a waterproof boot. Instead, with an upper made of nylon mesh and suede, these boots are crafted to be quick-drying. These boots are designed, and best, for use in amphibious conditions such as rain and mud.

Zero Optical Refraction Hardware
‘Zero Optical Refraction’ may sound like gibberish at first look, or just plain gimmicky. For the Garmont T8 Bifida, however, this term does have a meaning. The lacing where the foot meets the ankle, as well as the ball bearings beneath the instep, applies tennis shoe-like pressure to provide better ankle support and circulation. It’s not entirely clear why this feature is called ‘Zero Optical Refraction’, but it is useful for ruckers in need of extra stability.

Cost and Value
Comparable in price to the Belleville 600 Hot Weather Boot, the Garmont T8 Bifida is also a significant investment for the new rucker. Nevertheless, the ability to perform in multiple terrains is an important detail and makes the T8 Bifida worth its price.
Pros
  • Multiple Widths Available
  • Vibram Sole
  • Sneaker-Like Fit
  • Little Break-In Time
Cons
  • Heavy

3. Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0

While Smith & Wesson is a name better known for weapons than shoes, the Breach 2.0 Tactical Boot is built with the same attention to quality and detail. Thus, making it a great compromise between price, durability, and comfort. Available in 6” and 9” mid-calf heights, these boots also get extra points for versatility, as they can be used for rucking and for more mundane, everyday tasks.
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All-Day Comfort
Featuring a midsole made of EVA material, these boots offer a lightweight cushioning that will last a full day of rucking. The tongue and collar of the Breach 2.0 are foam padded for breathability, while the leather and nylon hybrid upper further improves foot comfort.

Steel Shank Support
For added comfort and durability, the Breach 2.0 Tactical Boot has a traditional steel shank, a thin, flexible piece of metal, that rests between the insole and outsole. The steel shank reduces foot fatigue during long rucks, provides arch support, and enhances balance across rocky and uneven terrain. Having a steel shank also helps the boot retain its original shape; that means less warping over time.

Cost and Value
If you aren’t ready to fully invest in rucking, or are looking for the most ruck for your buck, the Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0 is an extremely affordable boot. It is cheaper than both the Danner Tachyon and the Belleville 600, yet as durable as the Belleville 600.
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Slip Resistant
  • Easy On Easy Off
  • True to Size
Cons
  • Easily Scuffed
  • Longer Break In Period

4. Belleville 600 Steel Toe

4. Belleville 600 Steel Toe
The Belleville 600 Hot Weather Steel Toe is a unique, mid-calf boot for rucking. This boot uses Vanguard technology to provide a fit similar to a running shoe. It's lightweight and breathable, the nylon fabric keeps your feet comfortably cool. 100% full grain leather gives the Belleville 600 a rugged durability.
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Lasting Build
With a thick, 1000 Denier nylon weave and flesh-side out cattle hide leather upper, the Belleville 600 Hot Weather Steel Toe is built to last. The nylon is also, abrasion resistant, meaning that the build of the shoe is tougher and is slower to wear or crack.

Protective
First, to provide extra shielding, the Belleville 600 features a steel toe that meets ASTM standards. Then, the 8” mid-calf supports and protects the ankle. Finally, a rubber Vibram sole provides stability over rocky surfaces, smooth surfaces, and slick or wet surfaces.

Cost and Value
This boot is on the expensive side but, given the sturdy construction and its ability to take you easily through difficult terrain, the Belleville 600 is a great investment. You can expect these boots to last for at least a year, even with heavy use.
Pros
  • No Break-In Time
  • Holds Up in Any Weather
  • Good Ankle Support
  • Cushioned Midsole
Cons
  • Runs Narrow
  • Not Waterproof

5. Ryno Gear Tactical

5. Ryno Gear Tactical
The Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boot is a comfortable, good looking, but basic rucking boot. Foregoing the fanciest bells and whistles, the Ryno Gear only comes in beige and features a simple contrast stitching detail. Ballistic nylon and leather construction adds durability, while a padded collar improves comfort.
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Removable Insole
Though primed and ready for maximum shock absorption, the insole for the Ryno Gear is removable. Ryno Gear sets itself apart from other rucking boots with this feature, as it opens the door for ruckers who may need orthotics or are keen on having a custom fit.

CoolMax Lining
Made of mesh, the CoolMax lining promotes breathability and provides the water resistance the Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boot is known for. CoolMax is a soft technical fabric designed to wick moisture away from your feet and keep them as dry as possible.

Cost and Value
The Ryno Gear Tactical Combat Boot is the least expensive rucking boot on this list thus far. It doesn’t quite compare to the comfort of the Smith & Wesson Breach 2.0, nor is it as durable as the Danner Tachyon or the Belleville 600. However, this boot is perfectly priced for a new rucker or a rucker on a budget.
Pros
  • Available in Multiple Heights
  • Water Resistant
  • Easy Side zip
  • True to Size
Cons
  • Extra Long Laces

6. Danner Tachyon Duty

6. Danner Tachyon Duty
If you’re planning to ruck across flat, fairly even terrain, the Danner Tachyon Duty may be the boot for you. Built to be lightweight, fast, and flexible, these boots are ideal when rucking for speed instead of endurance.
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Barely-There Feel
Made of completely synthetic materials for the upper, the Tachyon Duty only weighs 26 ounces. It requires very little in the way of breaking in. Furthermore, this boot fits snugly against your feet, giving the familiar feel of an athletic shoe in the shape of a boot.

100% Rubber Outsole
Having a 100% rubber sole, rather than a composite rubber sole, is what really sets the Danner Tachyon Duty apart from other lightweight rucking boots. 100% rubber provides better traction and grip, especially when combined with the large, pentagonal lugs featured on the Tachyon Duty.

Cost and Value
While the Tachyon Duty’s price varies depending on size and colour, they are cheaper than the Belleville 600s. The difference in price is seen most in the durability; the Tachyon Duty is not built for overly rough environments.
Pros
  • Multiple Colors Available
  • Quick Drying
  • Abrasion-Resistant Toe
  • Variety of Widths Available
Cons
  • Not Waterproof
  • Little Ankle Support

7. Timberland Britton Hill Moc-Toe

7. Timberland Britton Hill Moc-Toe
For the truly amphibious rucker, the Timberland Britton Hill Moc-Toe boot is fully waterproof and ready to go. The Britton Hill Moc-Toe features a casual Moccasin-like style plus the functional ruggedness of a good rucking boot. You can be sure that you will conquer ice, snow, and every other type of terrain while wearing them.
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Environmentally Conscious
The Britton Hill Moc-Toe comes with 100% recycled nylon shoelaces and a mesh lining made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate, more commonly known as plastic soda bottles. In addition to being made of recycled material, the shoelaces are engineered to stay put once tied. Less impromptu stops to tighten your laces means more time spent actually rucking. Additionally, the mesh lining provides ventilation and allows feet to breathe.

Waterproofing Membrane
As expected, the Timberland Britton Hill Moc-Toe boot has an inner membrane built to withstand everything from deep puddles to slushy conditions.The waterproofing membrane also helps to insulate feet from the cold, making this boot an optimal choice for cold weather rucking.

Cost and Value
Similar in price to the Belleville 600 boot, you are paying for premium comfort and style with the Timberland Britton Hill Moc-Toe. The ability to be mistaken for dress shoes, while remaining flexible and supportive across uneven terrain, is what sets this boot apart from competitors.
Pros
  • Nubuck Leather Upper
  • Leather Footbed
  • Anti Fatigue Technology
  • Superior Look
  • Exceptionally Durable
Cons
  • No Wide Widths
  • Runs Large

8. Rocky S2V Tactical

8. Rocky S2V Tactical
The Rocky S2V Tactical boot is built with die-hard military professionals in mind. Making this the perfect rucking boot for the experienced adventurer. Considered to be combat ready, it’s easy to see why the Rocky S2V can hold up in the roughest terrain.
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Perfect for Wet Conditions
Despite not being completely waterproof, the Rocky S2V Tactical boot is equipped with several features that still make this an ideal boot in wet climates. This boot starts with water resistant leather and a rubber sole, and then adds drainage ports that are designed to expel water from the boot as you ruck. Next the Rocky S2V is treated with Aegis Microbe Shield to inhibit bacterial and fungal growths. On the inside, there is a moisture wicking Dri-Lex lining working to keep feet drier and more comfortable.

Vibram Soles
Using proprietary technology, the Rocky S2V boot boasts a high-walled Vibram sole to keep your feet stable and comfy. Vibram soles are built to be flexible, lightweight, abrasion resistant, slip resistant, and high performance.

Cost and Value
More expensive than all other options on this list, the Rocky S2V Tactical boot is a considerable investment. As stated previously, this boot is best for experienced ruckers that are dedicated to the exercise.
Pros
  • Made in the USA
  • Excellent Ankle Support
  • Feels Like a Sneaker
  • True to size
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to Break In

9. Reebok Dauntless

9. Reebok Dauntless
Reebok is another brand better known for its fashion shoes than combat boots. The Reebok Dauntless Combat Boot is part of the Reebok Work collection and features the same great quality you would find in a Reebok sneaker. However, this boot is less sturdy than others reviewed thus far, so the recommendation is is that the Reebok Dauntless is best for dry climate rucking.
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Running Shoe Fit
An ultralight entry into rucking boots, the Dauntless boot is a great option for those looking to combine the protection of a boot with the style and feel of an athletic shoe. With only a 5” shaft, the Dauntless looks closer to a high-top sneaker than a boot, but has a grippy rubber sole to keep you stable and upright on uneven terrain.

Seamless Construction
Made of leather and micromesh, you won’t have to worry about the Reebok Dauntless falling apart at the seams during a ruck because there are none. This also gives this boot a versatility to keep feet warm on cold rucks and cool on hot ones.

Cost and Value
The Reebok Dauntless settles among the Combs Nylon and T8 Bifida boots in price. Good for ruckers of all experience levels, it is a snazzy mid-range boot for the fashion inclined.
Pros
  • Stylish
  • Wide Widths Available
  • 100% Non Metallic
  • Simple Side zipper
  • Exceptional Comfort
Cons
  • Not Waterproof

10. Thorogood Deuce Side-Zip

10. Thorogood Deuce Side-Zip
Thorogood is a brand that specializes in rugged boots and have existed since the 19th century. With such a storied history, it’s no wonder that the Thorogood Deuce is one of their best selling boots and also one of the best multi-terrain rucking boots. Advanced durability and quality design is shown in these rucking boots. When given a chance they are sure to exceed your every expectation.
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Dual Density Insole and Outsole
Crafted with a dual density polyurethane and air vents, the Thorogood Deuce insole is designed for optimal shock absorption and air flow. This boot also features a composite shank for comprehensive, lightweight support. On the other hand, the outsole of the Deuce is comprised of a rubber/EVA hybrid material. EVA material impact pads provide further shock absorption, while the rubber provides improved traction and abrasion resistance.

Waterproof Construction
Starting with a full-grain leather and a thick, 1200 Denier nylon, the Thorogood Deuce will keep feet dry and protected during rucks in wet climates. The leather-nylon combination upper also enhances the breathability and durability of the boot. Cement construction overall means that the Deuce will last through many tough rucks.

Cost and Value
The Thorogood Deuce is a moderately priced rucking boot, striking a compromise between cost and durability. With the ability to fit into most budgets these rucking boots will keep your bank account and your feet happy.
Pros
  • Easy to Pull On
  • Multiple Widths Available
  • Slip Resistant
  • Moisture Wicking Lining
Cons
  • Runs Narrow

Whether you are a novice or an experienced Rucker, purchasing boots for the practice can be a daunting task. Although all of the boots on our list are an excellent choice, you may want to check out the criteria we used to evaluate and rank our top choices. You might just learn something new that will lead you to that perfect pair of boots. Happy rucking!

 

Criteria For Evaluating the Best Boots for Rucking

Criteria Best Rucking Boots

Durability

When it comes to rucking boots, one of the first features to evaluate is durability. Durability, in short, is how long and well a boot will perform for. Considering the amount of stress and weight you are placing on your feet and boots, you’ll need something that can stand up this without breaking down.

Materials

The materials from which a boot is crafted is the main indicator of durability. The most enduring boots are made of uppers with full-grain leather, which is thicker and more expensive than many synthetic fabrics. Nubuck leather and leather hybrids come next in endurance, followed by suede, nylon, and other fabrics.

Construction

Construction is the secondary indicator of durability for a rucking boot. There are a few types of builds to review. First, there is seamless construction as shown in the Reebok Dauntless. Seamless construction is when a boot is constructed from a single piece of fabric, or is melted together.

Cement construction, found in boots such as the Thorogood Deuce, is the most common kind of build for boots. Cement construction is when the upper and the outsole of a boot is fused together with an adhesive. While cement construction is a good choice in many boots, it does make a shoe irreparable. You’ll have to buy another pair altogether once your boots have run their course.

As seen on Dr. Martens boots, there is also a construction method known as Goodyear welting. Boots with Goodyear welting are the most durable of all, as this is the oldest method of shoe construction. Goodyear welting features two-level lock stitching that connects the upper, insole, and outsole. Boots with this kind of construction can be easily repaired by a cobbler.

Rucking Boots Best Rucking Boots

Protection

Ensuring you are protecting your feet and ankles during any of life’s adventures is crucial in the continuation of enjoyment while out and about. Your rucking boots should support your feet and joints while helping keep proper alignment. They should also keep water out. Wet feet can lead to a ton of awful problems. If you learned rucking in the military, you have been through this speech many times.  Let’s take a look at the different aspects of protection to make sure you buy the best boot for your feet.

Shaft Height

Shaft height is the length of the boot from the arch to the top of it, measured in inches. This is one way to determine how much of your ankle will be covered, supported, and protected. Rucking boots tend to come in 6” or 8” shaft heights; 9” shaft heights are seen less frequently, and 5” shaft heights are rarer still.

A 6” boot shaft reaches the top of the ankle and provides basic ankle support. An 8” boot shaft rests above the ankle to provide moderate support, and the 9” boot provides the most support by rising to the bottom of the shin.

Outsole

There are a lot of terms you will come across while researching rucking boots that may be unfamiliar, especially pertaining to the sole of the boots. Slip-resistant, abrasion-resistant, increased traction, and shock absorption are some of the details you will see, often times for the same shoe.

Knowing what is meant by these descriptions will help you make an informed decision on your next (or first) rucking boot. Below are the two most common descriptions you will see:

  • Shock Absorption: The high-impact shock that comes from your foot hitting the ground can wear down joints over time. Boot with shock absorption built in the sole are designed to minimize this wear and tear. In turn, shock absorption will reduce foot, ankle, and knee pain.
  • Slip Resistance: Likely self explanatory, slip resistance helps to prevent falls on slick surfaces. Slip resistance and traction are sometimes used interchangeably; the most important detail to note is that slip resistance increases traction. If you plan to ruck on uneven terrain, the significance of a slip-resistant sole cannot be overstated.

Comfort

The high intensity workout that is rucking demands your boot be comfortable, as well as supportive. Your foot should be cushioned and stay in place when performing the activity. Many of the boots on our list were selected because they have features that create a proper gait and keep the feet clean, free of moisture and smelling fresh. Look for boots with an EVA insole or midsole, which is a special material that conforms to the foot and keeps the feet fresh. You can always find a boot with a removable insole, as well, so that you can insert your own pair of orthotics.

FAQ Best Rucking Boots

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: Why is it called ‘rucking’?
A: The term ‘rucking’ derives from ‘rucksack’, the kind of pack carried during the activity.

Q: What is the difference between tactical and combat boots?
A: Though combat boots and tactical boots can both be worn for rucking, there are key differences to know of that can influence which kind of boot you want. The first difference is that tactical boots tend to be of a thinner material, more lightweight, more flexible, single-soled, and softer. Tactical boots are not as durable as combat boots because of this difference and are not always suited for multiple climates.

Combat boots, on the other hand, are designed to handle heavy stress and multiple climates. They tend to have an outsole that can be repaired, as well as a midsole and insole. Waterproofing is more common in combat boots, but they are also harder to purchase due to military regulations.

Q: Are steel shanks the only kind available?
A: No. Although steel shanks are the most traditional, shanks can be made of plastic, fiberglass, and hybrid (composite) materials. The material the shank is made of will impact how flexible a boot is and how well the boot structure will hold up.

Q: How do I know what width I am buying?
A: Width sizing for shoes varies based on whether you are buying shoes specified as ‘Mens’ or ‘Womens’. In women’s sizing, width sizes are categorized as follows:

  • AA – Narrow
  • B – Medium
  • C/D – Wide
  • E – Extra Wide

In men’s sizing, width sizes are categorized as:

  • C – Narrow
  • D – Medium
  • E – Wide

A number in front of an ‘E’ sizing indicates exactly how wide it is. For example, a 2E is generally considered ‘extra extra wide.’ It can often also be written as ‘EE.’

Q: Is my boot size the same as my shoe size?
A: Not always. While many boots on this list (and in general) have a ‘true to size’ fit, it is more typical to need to purchase anywhere from a half to a full size larger than your regular shoe size. It is important to note, what kind of socks you will be wearing with your boots. Thick socks will require a roomier boot.

Q: What is EVA material?
A: EVA is short for ethylene-vinyl acetate, a compound that produces soft and flexible rubber-like materials. It is commonly referred to as ‘foam rubber’ and can be found as padding for sports equipment, in packaging, and also as artificial flowers.

Q: What is nubuck leather?
A: Nubuck leather is a soft leather that is similar to suede but higher in quality. It is created by taking top-grain leather and buffing it until it takes on a velvety feel. Also, it is of lesser quality than full-grain leather; in rucking boots, consider it one step down from full-grain.

 

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Ethylene-vinyl Acetate
  2. Healthy Feet Store, Width Sizing
  3. LiveAbout, What to Know About Shoe Shanks
  4. Military Boots Direct, Traditional Combat vs Tactical Boots
  5. StrongFirst, How to Ruck
  6. W.J. Colt, Boot Sizing
  7. Primer Magazine, Understanding Shoe Construction


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