Should I Be Running in Boots to Get Ready for BUD/S?

buds beach run

We get this question every few weeks with athletes asking about wearing boots while running to prepare for BUDS.

We checked in with a few experts like Stew Smith, Don Shipley’s crew and the medical staff at BUDS and here are a few tips that they had to give.

If you do it right you can get better performance.

If you do it wrong you will end up with injuries.

We also have a few tips on what not to do and how to avoid injury.

Video Navy SEAL Matto. “Running in Boots.”

In BUDS – most guys get hurt because they don’t run enough and get shin splints.

TIP #1
Start off in running shoes. Slowly transfer to long pants and running shoes. Eventually go with a light weight boot and don’t use heavy boots.

Question: What is a good book I can read to help me learn more about what to expect at BUDS?

We like the book Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs as it gives you a good inside look at what is going on at BUDS and what you can do to prepare.

You will of course have to do the hard work and show up on time and in the right uniform.

TIP #2
Dont do 100% running in boots and pants. But do some runs in boots and utes so that you can become familiar with this.

Question: What kind of socks do they wear at BUDS?

The guys are issued Darn Tough Merino Wool Socks.

I personally have a few pairs of them and have worn them for running, hiking and mtn biking.

I have not been able to wear them out despite a ton of abuse.

Stew Smith talks about running in boots at BUDS

TIP #3
Practice running in soft sand before you get to BUDS.

Run in others footsteps where the sand has already been impacted.

Use a shuffle with toe first to find a good footing.

Question: What boots are issued in training?

They are issued Bates 922 boots. I would suggest getting a pair of these and breaking them in and running on soft sand to get your mind and body ready.

Make sure to wear good socks and put anti-chafe cream on your feet and toes to prevent blistering.

Class 234 does 4 mile conditioning run

Tip #4
Don’t put on a pair of boots right out of the box and put on a 20 lb ruck and go running on asphalt. You will get blisters and also cause extra impact to your joints and ligaments that is not needed. Break in your boots slowly and then go hiking on trails with softer ground. After the boots are broken in you can add a backpack with 5 to 10 lbs of weight (gear and water) and continue to hike.  Slowly add more miles and hills and if your body feels good then slowly add more weight.

Question: My problem is that when I was in BUDS training I was getting shin splints. It’s hard to handle the running mileage. Every time I get up to 5-6 miles they flare up again. How can I fix that? Check out the video and tips above to help you.

Cited literature: Physical training in boots and running shoes: A historical comparison of injury incidence in basic combat training.

Related Article:
Preparing for BUDS Navy SEAL training