Rucking footwear

Discussion in 'Other' started by Dave0317, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. Dave0317

    Dave0317 Triple-Digit Post Count

    In Al Ciampa's article on rucking he mentions rucking in a semi-minimalist shoe. He says more padding than true minimalist footwear, but nothing like running shoes or heavy hiking boots either.

    What specific types of shoes does everyone like to ruck in?

    I have mainly used military issued boots, but I would like to see others opinions on this. If I can use less of a boot and get more of the strength building benefits to my feet and ankles that would be great.

    Maybe something like the low top Merrell's or Keens would work. Any opinions?

    Edit to add: Here is the article I'm referring to, Rucking: What It Is and How to Do It - StrongFirst
    Bret S. likes this.
  2. Snowman

    Snowman More than 500 posts

    Most of my rucking has been done in Merrell Barefoots, but most of my rucking has been on the shorter side; I wouldn't trust them for longer stuff. I've done a little rucking in my Bellevile mini mils, and they seem to ride the line between boot and shoe pretty well. I'll probably be doing more in the way of rucking in them this summer. They have high tops, but I just don't lace the top half very tight and it feels fine. Fair warning: Until they break in, they try to blister the sh*t out of your heel. After they break in, they feel like comfy moccasins.
    Bret S., JonS and Dave0317 like this.
  3. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Any rucking I do is typically when I am training for alpine climbing trips, so I always use my mountaineering boots. I save the minimalist footwear for the gym.
  4. ClaudeR

    ClaudeR Triple-Digit Post Count

    I've done many rucks in the past few months, over long times (about 2 to 2.5 hours on average)
    I used both Merrell barefoots in the summer and early autumn months, and cat work style boots over the winter months... I vastly prefer the Merrels! The boots make me slower and take more effort, for no added benefit other than weather proofing

    it largely depends on the terrain you want to navigate, as well as conditions, and length of the ruck, but I'd give the lighter shoes a try, with the caveat that you probably need to get used to them!
    By the way I hated rucking in chuck tailors, as they are not wide enough and tend to chafe my toes... so try out many different kinds!
    Coyote, Bret S., JonS and 2 others like this.
  5. DavThew

    DavThew More than 500 posts

    I agree with @ClaudeR Merrell barefoot are great for shortish rucking. That said I don't think they really stand up to tougher terrain...or maybe that's just my feet
    JonS likes this.
  6. SamTon

    SamTon Double-Digit Post Count

    I agree Merrell are good, but my favorite are Danner Tachyon Boots. I walk a lot, I love rucking. So Danner's boots are the best boots for my legs, they are warm for cold weather. So good luck with your choice
    JonS likes this.
  7. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    If your feet aren't used to barefoot shoes then I wouldn't ruck in them.
    I have Vivobarefoot shoes with 3 mm soles that I use for rucking and I like them alot.
    If walking longer distance on a hard surface with a load I would recommend slightly thicker sole padding.
    It comes down to foot and ankle strength and durability, I suppose you could add comfort to the equation.. but then again rucking for me is more about being comfortable while being uncomfortable.

    disclaimer: rucking is only a recent addition to my training
    Coyote likes this.
  8. kenaces

    kenaces Double-Digit Post Count

    If you are going to switch to minimalist shoes you might want to ease into it. If you have spent your entire life walking/rucking with our heels elevated I think it can be a pretty big change. I believe it takes time for your feet and body to adjust to the new gait pattern.

    I am not rucking these days but I have been wearing minimalist and/or zero drop shoes for 10 years(big help with an old back injury). I hope to do some hiking/backpacking this summer and will most likely buy the Altra Lone Peaks as they are a zero drop shoe with a wide toe box that still has some level of cushioning and tread. There are many long-distance backpackers who recommend these shoes.
    Bret S. and Coyote like this.
  9. Coyote

    Coyote Double-Digit Post Count

    If you are used to minimal shoes with zero drop, meaning the heels are the same height as the toe, then there are many options with more cushion.

    Altra is a trail runner type shoe that many through hikers prefer. Lems Boulder Boot is an option you might like if you prefer a boot. I wear Topo athletic shoes or Merrell Bare Acces for longer runs or hikes/rucks over 20 miles.

    For day to day training and shorter runs I wear Carson footwear, Merrill barefoot or Luna sandals in the summer.

    Make no mistake, you have to ease in to this type footwear, if you are not used to it. I train with kettlebells barefoot and go barefoot as much as possible. It takes dedication, but is well worth it.
    Bret S. and kenaces like this.
  10. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Not, "might" or, "perhaps"... you MUST slowly transition into minimal shoes, especially if you have worn cushioned shoes since your youth—most especially if you're one who is never out of footwear (some people who are skeeved out by feet never remove their shoes). I have never worked with anyone who didn't suffer some kind of pain, discomfort, or injury during transition. It requires far more time than most are usually willing to afford, but it is well worth the patience and discipline. My best guess is that it takes a few years of slowly accumulating exposure of the feet to the new environment.
    Bret S. and Coyote like this.
  11. Kristoffer

    Kristoffer Double-Digit Post Count

    Heads up on the Altra shoes. I am a fan of them and I use both the Altra One and Superior for running on both trails and asphalt. However the Superior, which I understood to be a trail running shoe, does not have a good grip. I have used it while hiking, and going downhill is quite demanding. The shoes were slipping on the stones. I wont stop using them, because I like the shoes, but just beware. I would not recommend those for heavy rucking downhill. Maybe the Lone Peak shoes are better.

    I have recently purchased the Vivabrand Tracker. They feel very good on the feet, and since its a low it will give some ankle support. That is a good option to have on the longer rucks. I have only used them a few times, but so far I am a fan.

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