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

By Navy SEAL Veteran Brad McLeod 4-20-2016
Should I Be Running in Boots to Get Ready for BUD/S?
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.

buds beach run

If you click on any link we may get a commission from which helps keep gas in the truck and the lights turned on. So if you want to help a disabled veteran – click the link and buy your toilet paper in bulk.

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.


Start off in running shoes. Slowly transfer to long pants and running shoes. Eventually go with a lightweight boot and don’t use heavy boots.


Dont run every day. Instead rest or work on swimming or bodweight workouts. Dont do 100% running in boots and pants. But do some runs in boots and utility pants (aka utes) so that you can become familiar with this.

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

The BUDS candidates 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.

Video Stew Smith talks about running in boots at BUDS.


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.


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?

You need to rest and give your body and shins a break. Make sure you have a new pair of shoes and not using old worn out sneakers. Check out this article on shin splints and how to prevent and heal.

Question: What is Navy SEAL BUD/S training?

Navy SEAL BUD/S training is one of the toughest military training programs in the world. BUD/S stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training. It’s where candidates learn the skills needed to become Navy SEALs, an elite special operations force. The training takes place in Coronado, California, and lasts about 24 weeks. During BUD/S, candidates endure intense physical training, including swimming, running, and calisthenics, as well as mental challenges designed to push them to their limits. They also learn important skills like diving, navigation, and weapons handling to prepare them for missions in various environments. Only the toughest and most determined individuals make it through BUD/S to become Navy SEALs.

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

About the Author:

Brad McLeod, a former Navy SEAL, brings his firsthand experience in tactical training to help candidates prepare for Navy SEAL training and other big obstacles.

Are you training for a Spartan Race, GORUCK of SEALFIT Kokoro? Check out SGPT Coaching here:

Preparing for BUDS Navy SEAL training

Seal Fit Stack

SGPT Upcoming Events

Personal Online Coaching

Work 1-on-1
with SEAL Grinder's Brad McLeod
To Achieve Your Goals

pic of brad

Personal fitness training from Brad McLeod, Navy Seal and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. Delivered online, directly to you.

"I recommend Brad to anyone that seriously wants to go to BUDs or anything else in life... try these workouts. Hooyah!" - Chris H.

learn more button