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Choosing the right footwear for the ruck

Note: All military division ruckers must wear boots; civilians may wear footwear of their choosing.

The day of the Tough Ruck should not be the first time you wear your footwear on a ruck! Ideally you will wear your footwear for most, if not all, of your training rucks. Choosing the right footwear can make or break your Tough Ruck.

Military boots

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “Are my boots good enough for a marathon?” This section will explore your options if the answer was “no.”

Military division ruckers should adhere to the uniform standards of your branch. If you are not rucking in a military division but want to wear boots, choose the boot that best meets your needs.

Boot Styles

Boot styles that are not recommended due to their heavier weight include:

- steel-toe

- jump

- cold weather

- waterproof

Breaking in new boots

Other shoes

If you are rucking in a civilian division feel free to select the footwear that best meet your needs. Common choices are lightweight hiking boots, trail runners, or cross trainers. The most important factor is comfort and durability: you don’t want uncomfortable shoes or shoes that will fall apart. The running shoes you’ve had in your closet for the past ten years are not the best choice for a 26.2 mile ruck.

As with boots, you should break your shoes in before the day of the ruck; wearing them during training should do the trick.

Buying footwear

Try on boots at the end of the day. Your feet normally swell a bit during a day’s activities and will be at their largest at the end. This helps you avoid buying footwear that is too small. Remember to trust yourself; if it does not feel comfortable then do not buy it. We do not recommend buying footwear online unless you already know how a manufacturer’s footwear feels and fits. Each manufacturer’s “standard” size is a little bit different from that of a competitor. For example, Nike® tends to run smaller than other brands. They are meant to fit tight to your foot and support highly active movement.

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