We get this question every week “Coach, what kind of boots should I wear for the upcoming GORUCK event”?
So we put together this list to help out athletes so they can see what others have used and make the best choice for their feet. Good Luck.
There is no magic boot – but a boot that fits your foot and is broken in well – is worth its weight in gold during a long event.
Check out this list of boots that have been through the GORUCK event and have performed.
Paige Bowie (first woman to graduate GORUCK Selection):
Haha, the infamous footwear question. I wore Oakley LSA boots.
They are minimal-type boots, and they were awesome for ¾ of the event.
However, about 36 hours in I was getting some major achilles pain in my left lower calve. I began to limp as the pain intensified.
I had packed a spare set of Nike running shoes and switched to those when i saw them on sale (read more). It made a huge difference.
John Maris and Cory Rickards also like Oakley LSA boots for warm challenges.
Dave Merriott used Nike SFB Special Field Boots on events.
The only boot I have used so far and they have been through numerous GORUCK events including Heavy, Challenge, Light and most recently HCL.
No Blisters, very few hot spots. when they first get wet, they hold in the water and you feel like your feet are swimming but once everything on the boot has soaked in the water they drain quickly after that.
These boots are above the ankle and give you plenty of extra support while ruck hiking with a load.
Want to reduce blisters and get in more miles? Check out the Double socks to prevent blisters article here:
JJ Wellemeyer (GoRuck and Kokoro grad):
I wore the Rocky C4T Tactical boot trainers with double socks. A thinner pair as my base socks made of 66% merino wool, and a slightly thicker outer pair.
I applied body glide to my feet before I started. Had absolutely zero blisters or foot problems.
I changed my boots to sneakers with 1.5 hours only because we had a 15 minute break and I had the luxury of doing so.
People who wore minimalist shoes or Vibrams five fingers tended to have the most issues.
Not heavy so great while running then perfect for any rough terrain cause it has great traction.
Another plus is when we did a 1.5 mile creek walk they drained and dried quickly for the rest of our 10 adventure. Keep in mind you want to keep your feet happy.
Get ready for some “Good Livin”. These are a good value at $85 and they will last awhile.
Laurie Lovvorn (GoRuck and 20X grad):
I wore Under Armour UA Valsetz boots for GORUCK and 20X events.
They are very light and comfortable, although not good on slippery surfaces. I wore Smartwool hiking socks.
I used Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm on my feet and that helped not get blisters.
These boots drain very well and are lightweight and have a good value for the cost.
Brad McLeod Atlanta GoRuck Challenge Graduate:
I use the New Balance Tactical Bushmaster boots with thick wool socks and inserts.
I used Vermont darn tough socks as those have been my go to sock for trail running and hiking.
I used superfeet inserts which give your feet a little more arch support. I know that this helps my feet and achilles tendon as it takes impact during a long endurance event like this.
I used body glide all over my feet and had no blisters. The boots drain well and feel great on a long event. The New Balance tactical bushmaster boots are a good value at $90 and have held up well.
I also wear those same boots to coach all of the 20X and Kokoro events and go on hikes with the athletes.
The New Balance Bushmasters drain well which is important in an event like GoRuck. I never have to worry about my feet during the long distance endurance events.
Question: Coach; do you have any articles or workout tips on how to prepare for a GORUCK event?
Answer: Yes; check out this article on GORUCK preparation workouts and tips:
Jeff Brytczuk: I’ve worn New Balance Rappel Mid Hiking Shoe for two long endurance events.
Planning on just wearing my USMC Bates for the next one in June.
(My New Balance’s finally died after event, haven’t replaced them).
That is the only reason I’m switching)
Mike Sharpe (GR graduate):
I wore Merrell Chameleon Vibrams.
For challenge or light just use running shoes.
For socks I personally think the Darn Tough brand is way better than Smartwool.
Yes I use body glide on my feet, crotch, all over!
Donald Rice GR class 198
I wore my New Balance MT10BS2 Minimus Trail Running Shoes with no problems. I read the same information you did about people not completing due to minimal shoes. Like you, I had been training in them for some time and was concerned.
I think they are primarily referring to Vibram Fivefingers (VFF) in that warning, and I would agree with that. DO NOT attempt a GoRuck in VFF. However, your shoes will get wet… it will happen. So don’t wear a bulky running shoe either. Stick with a light weight minimal style shoe and you will be fine.
Also, don’t forget at least two pairs of extra socks. Change them often to prevent blisters. We had a girls feet explode about 2 miles from the finish and we had to carry her the rest of the way. Good luck and welcome to the GoRuck Tough family. GOOD LIVING
Question: Coach, what can I do to toughen up my feet for an upcoming long distance trail race?
Answer: Check out this SGPT article on how to toughen your feet for an endurance event.
Hew Fung New York City GR Graduate:
Completed the NYC GRC this weekend in the Merrell Trail Glove with zero problems.
My feet were a little sore by the end, but no worse than expected for 20 miles under load.
We recommend all athletes to find great socks that fit you and use a balm to help lubricate your feet.
Wore Inov-8 F-Lite 230 Cross-Training Shoe, no problem.
I also used BodyGlide on my heels, balls of the feet and top of toes.
Had a chance to change socks two times and reapplied each time.
I feel the 230’s were the right choice for me. They drained quickly and gave enough support.
I have been using the Injinji 2.0 Lightweight Toesocks “toe-socks” as the “liner” sock. No blister issues ever. Even after 3 miles under log&ruck in just the socks!
Also – “Shoes are a privilege, not a right.” –Cadre Bert Kuntz, to Team One Meatheads, GRC Class 1000. Said advice given as we finished the last few miles in our socks.
We like to put Superfeet Green Premium insoles in our boots to help reduce impact and keep our arches from sagging.
The inserts are not too expensive and your feet will feel a ton better even from just wearing them around on a normal ruck march.
I put them in my boots and can definitely feel the difference.
From Jake Brown: I did a Goruck Challenge in Chicago a week ago. I wore some Salomon gore-tex trail running shoes. They worked well.
They are lighter than boots and the reduced weight probably lessened fatigue, they drained moderately well after coming out of the water, ankle support was sufficient, and I came out of it without any blisters or hot spots.
My feet were a little sore at the end from all the mileage, but it wasn’t anything too bad. I’d wear them again if I did another Challenge but would wear my Asolo Fugitives if I did a Heavy. The specific model was the Salomon Men’s XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX.
Best socks for GoRuck would possibly be the ProSoks or Darn Tough Merino Wool Micro Crew Sock.
Dave Merriott wore the Columbia Men’s Drainmaker II Water Shoe during his GoRuck event but said they wore out quickly.
Questions from our readers online.
Question: What are a good boot that is well draining for the GoRuck event? Any of the boots above are great. I like the New Balance Bushmaster as they are inexpensive, get the job done and are well draining.
Question: Do you know any athletes that have worn Keen boots for a GoRuck Heavy?
We dont personally but we are sure that some have worn Keen boots for the GoRuck Heavy. Check out the list above for boots that have been worn in the past year.
Question: Do you have any reviews for the Rocky S2V boots? Yes; check out these reviews:
Ryan Stafford reviews Rocky S2V
Yes. They’re excellent especially if you’re moving over a lot of uneven terrain. They hold they’re grip well and are extremely durable. I’d highly recommend them.
Zack Bowman reviews Rocky S2V
Really comfy, durable and they have crazy good grip. That said, I prefer my Garmont T8s.
Questions from our readers online.
Question: Do you know anyone that wore rocky ct4 for goruck challenge? Yes; check out above JJ wore Rocky CT4’s.
Question: Do you have a list of goruck recommended boots ? Yes; check out the boots that we recommend for GoRuck events.
Question: What are the best boots for Kokoro? Any of the boots above will do great. The key is to find a lightweight boot that drains well and fits your foot well.
Question: Is there any advantage to 6 inch boots vs 8 inch boots. I would look first at how well the boots fit. I would wear a slightly taller boot if I was rucking very distance in rocky terrain with a heavy load.
Question: What about the new Hoka boots? Has anyone used those?
Answer: We have heard of several athletes that have been using them and we will get an interview for our website.
Question: What about the new GORUCK MACV-1 boot? Yes; check out more info here:
GoRuck Training Tips
John Maris GoRuck Selection graduate interview
GoRuck Interview with JJ Wellemeyer
GoRuck Interview with Lauri Lovvorn
GoRuck Interview with Mike Kalinowski
GoRuck Interview with James Adams
GoRuck Brick Wrapping
Check out this SGPT Ruck March workout
GoRuck Challenge Packing List