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The 7 Best Boots for Ranger School (2023)

Though everyone is different, it should be pretty safe to say that most people aren’t excited to go out on a killer ruck march. Even the toughest military members can struggle when that heavy bag gets added to their back, and those problems only add up if you don’t have a proper pair of boots.

Don’t stay in the dark when it comes to your boot options, you need to find the best boots for ranger school to make sure your equipment isn’t the thing that lets you down.

For those who are all set with a good Twelve-Mile Run Plan, you are ready to go but you need to make sure what’s on your feet can match your game plan.

It’s hard to put the work in for those who are busy, so the following products are the ones you can choose from when looking for the best ruck marching boots in the marketplace.

Related Review: The 7 Best Correctional Officer Boots of 2020

Best Boots for Ranger School 2020

NameMade ofPrice
Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical BootSuede, Vibram SoleSee On Amazon
Dr. Martens Men’s Combs Nylon Combat BootTextile, Synthetic SoleSee On Amazon
Danner Men’s Tachyon 8” Duty BootsFabric, Rubber SoleSee On Amazon
Rocky Men’s Rkc050 Military and Tactical BootLeather and Synthetic; Rubber SoleSee On Amazon
Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Waterproof Side Zip BootsLeather; Rubber SoleSee On Amazon
5.11 Men’s Taclite 8” BootLeather and Fabric; Synthetic SoleSee On Amazon
Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Classic 9-Inch Tactical BootLeather; Leather SoleSee On Amazon

1. Garmont T8 Bifida Tactical Boot

This is a high-quality offering from Garmont, a brand that has been around a long time so you wouldn’t expect anything too different.

One of the best features that this T8 has to offer is the fact that it’s a quick-drying boot. If you’re in terrain where there’s going to be some wet spots, or if you’re out in the rain, this T8 is going to do just fine and even start drying faster than other boots due to Garmont’s excellent design.

The lacing area of the boot is designed for your comfort and foot comfort so that you don’t have any kind of added pressure or rubbing.

The boot simply feels sturdy and is clearly made with an eye toward durability. You shouldn’t have any kind of concerns about shoddy construction or a boot that doesn’t hold up well over time.

Compared to other boot models, the T8 is a lightweight model. When you’re on a ruck march, the last thing you need is to add weight to all of the weight you’re already responsible for, so the T8 makes for a great option in that regard as your feet will feel light throughout the whole distance.

The shoe feels quite comfortable as far as the insole area is concerned. This is true regardless of what terrain you’re on, so even in situations like rocky roads – you’re good to go.


  • Dries quickly
  • Lightweight model
  • High-quality materials and construction
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Laces are designed for comfort


  • The lighter boot may not hold up quite as well over time
  • Water will enter through drain ports

2. Dr. Martens Men’s Combs Nylon Combat Boot

This is another well-known brand, a lot of people refer to their Dr. Martens boots as “Docs” or occasionally “DMs”.

They’ve been doing this a long time, so there’s a reason people enjoy these boots and affectionately nickname them “Docs”.

The design is excellent as you can almost get away with wearing these boots for other purposes, it’s not really a clunky boot in that regard.

They can be a bit heavier than other ruck march boots, so just be prepared to know that you may be adding some extra weight as far as that goes.

On top of that, this is not the boot to buy and head out on your first 12-mile run straight out of the box. The boot itself will need some time to work in. Your feet may be rubbed a bit when you’re first trying them on and getting the shoe to fit correctly.

Overall, these nylon combat boots are extremely comfortable once broken in and should be a shoe that gives you a lot of comfort.

The workmanship hasn’t taken any steps back over the years and this is a boot that you should feel confident buying if you’re looking for a boot that is going to hold up over the course of time.


  • Excellent design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Great traction
  • The boot has multiple uses
  • Provides a lot of support to the user


  • We May need to take some initial time to “break them in”
  • Maybe heavier than desired
  • Water could creep in over a long duration

3. Danner Men’s Tachyon 8” Duty Boots

This is a model from Danner that really tries to keep all of its multiple uses in mind. The Tachyon is a boot that should have a lot of appeal to a wide base for all of the things that it does correctly.

This boot is specifically designed for people like you in mind, it’s a boot that is built with training and some operations in mind. Wearing a backpack and completing a long run or hike would definitely fall into that category here.

This shoe should be fairly waterproof and will do a good job to keep your feet dry in reasonable circumstances.
The boot is considered a lightweight model, which is important over the course of your long marches so that you don’t add extra weight to your body.

As far as the design goes, the Tachyon also holds up well over time. If you are looking for a boot that is going to last you a good amount, the quality construction done here by Tanner should afford you a pair of boots that is long-lasting and won’t give you second thoughts as you take them out into a march.

It’s a boot that is best worn during warmer climates, although they can get by on a colder day as well.


  • Lightweight model
  • Waterproof design
  • Built with quality in mind
  • Specifically designed for these purposes
  • Easy to wear during long days


  • It may not be the best choice for colder weather
  • Could be a little more reinforced from the sole to the boot itself

Also Read: The 7 Best Wildland Fire Boots (NFPA Certified) of 2019

4.  Rocky Men’s Rkc050 Military and Tactical Boot

While it has a bit of a clunky name, there’s nothing clunky about the Rkc050. This is a premium boot that is supposed to give you a ton of quality over a long time to get you the value you need out of this purchase.

The durability seen with this model is something that is very impressive. If you’re looking to make a purchase for one of the best boots that you can potentially own over the next few years, this boot makes a lot of sense.

The design of the boots makes them good for use in any environment. That’s extremely important when taking these boots on a Twelve-Mile Run because you’re certainly likely to see a bunch of different terrains.

The shoe feels comfortable to the foot as you proceed and you really shouldn’t be worried about that aspect, it’s a boot that is designed to give a high level of comfort intense situations.

Another benefit for those patriotic members is that these boots are made in the USA. It’s a nice little extra perk for those who want to support the country in more ways than one.

The Rkc050 is easy to get cleaned at the end of the day after a long march, you don’t suffer any performance issues when cleaning as well.

The rubber on the bottom of the boot is going to give you some excellent traction and make sure you don’t lose your footing no matter what kind of terrain you find yourself in.

The Rkc050 is appropriate for use in any kind of climate, so whether you’re looking at hot or cold temperatures, you’re going to be just fine with these on your feet.


  • Boot gives excellent traction
  • Appropriate for use in any climate
  • Very durable over time
  • Extremely comfortable to wear
  • Easy to clean and take care of


  • Can feel some pressure on your foot at times
  • I May be able to find better value elsewhere

5. Smith & Wesson Men’s Breach 2.0 Tactical Waterproof Side Zip Boots

While boots may not be the first thing you think of when you hear the words “Smith & Wesson”, they still have a lot to offer in this space that should make you think about making a purchasing decision here with them.

First of all, this is a boot that is going to help you out on ruck marches. The traction you gain by wearing these boots is quite considerable. You have a model that will allow you to have sure footing no matter where you step, which is extremely important when every step matters.

Breach 2.0 is designed to give your foot a lot of support and comfort. Again, when wearing these out all day on a march or hike, you need a certain amount of that support and you should find that this model delivers.

The boot is made with a waterproof design that should keep any kind of water out, a big plus if you’ve got some wet terrains scheduled.

The design of the tongue of the shoe should keep all kinds of dirt and debris out of your boots, just adding to the comfort the boots offer.

As you wear these Smith & Wesson, they should hold up over long marches, however, the durability over the long-term can be a question and may not be the best boot if you can only buy one pair.


  • Waterproof design
  • Built for comfort and stability
  • Offers traction in any terrain
  • Easy to clean
  • The tongue keeps dirt out and lets the foot breathe


  • It May does not hold up in the long-term
  • Can be hard to get on or off

6. 5.11 Men’s Taclite 8” Boot

This is another boot where it seems like you’re making a purchase for something specifically designed for you in mind.

The 5.11 is a waterproof-designed boot that allows you to go to any terrain with the confidence that you’re not going to have some wet feet.

Not only is this a waterproof model, but you’re also getting boots that will feel lightweight and shouldn’t add clunky weight to your foot during a hike.

One of the biggest features I can point to with these boots is that they are extremely comfortable right away. Many boots have what is called a “break-in time” or a duration where you may feel some rubbing as the boot learns to fit your foot.

The 5.11 doesn’t really have that at all, which makes this an excellent purchase if you need a boot right away or you’re looking to take something right out of the box and into the field.

This model is not only a great fit for your foot, but it also should be easy to take on and off as well as to take care of during cleaning.

You probably wouldn’t want these if you’re strictly going to be in hot climates, your feet are going to warm up a bit more than you’d like in those scenarios.


  • Very durable over time
  • The waterproof boot should keep water out
  • No break-in time
  • Comfortable design
  • Lightweight model


  • Not the best in warm climates
  • It May does not offer the best purchase value

7. Original S.W.A.T. Men’s Classic 9-Inch Tactical Boot

This is kind of a heavy-duty boot that looks a lot heavier than it actually feels.

These tactical boots are rare in the sense that they don’t really need an initial “break-in” period. Most boots do require that as they form to your foot, but this model seems to be good to go right out of the box.

The boots are made with a lightweight model that should keep your feet happy on long marches.

The traction you find with these boots will keep you on a sure footing no matter what terrain you’re on.

These aren’t the best boots for a colder climate as they have a breathable model that would let cold air into the shoe. Here are the best breathable work boots.

This is a strong pair of boots that should last and hold up well over time, even with some reasonable heavy usage.

The quality of the boot is evident when you pick it up, while it’s not the best for all situations, you should feel confident that what you’re picking up here would be a great boot to put on right away with no concerns about fit or feel.


  • No break-in time required
  • High durability over time
  • Lightweight design
  • Great traction
  • Gives a lot of comfort


  • Not great for cold climate
  • Heavy water will get your feet wet

What to Consider When Buying a Ranger School Boots?


Durability is one of the top factors when buying some ruck marching boots. It needs durability in two areas.

You need a shoe that is durable and has the quality construction to keep up with the pounding that you’re going to be putting on your feet during the duration of a day-long hike. Also want to buy a boot that lasts over the course of multiple marches and hikes.

No one wants a boot that falls apart after two or three uses, and it’s important to get your money’s worth for a boot that keeps you and your feet happy for a long time.


When you start to get fatigued over the course of a hike, protection becomes important. You don’t want a boot that is going to be slippery when crossing over some rough terrain and you certainly don’t want a boot that is allowing a ton of water inside or not supporting your foot correctly for stability.


Different materials will lend themselves to being the best in different climates. This becomes more of a personal choice – are you looking for a boot that is completely waterproof or one that can breathe and dry quickly if it gets wet?

Wear Socks

You want to get a boot that feels comfortable on your feet, even when wearing the appropriate socks. You should check to size charts and make sure that the boots you’re wearing fit you properly with socks.


Comfort is one of the biggest factors when it comes to ruck marching boots. Not only do you need comfort when you first put on the boot, but you also need a high level of stability that will allow you to feel comfortable at the end of the day when you’ve put a pounding on your feet.


Ventilation is important for any boot that is allowing water in at any capacity. That can actually be alright as long as you have a fast-drying model that allows you to dry out quickly and get on to your next task.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How can I avoid blisters when marching?

A: There’s a lot that can be done when marching to stop the painful experience known as getting blisters.

Some great tips include the following:

  • Make sure toenails are trimmed to an appropriate level
  • Address any calluses by filing them down
  • Moisturize your feet and take care of them in that regard
  • Consider using a second pair of socks
  • After hiking, soak your feet in an Epsom salt bath
  • Moisturize your feet after hiking

If you follow those steps, you’ll be quite far along in the process of preventing those nasty blisters on your feet.

Q: Will wearing two pairs of socks really prevent blisters?

A: Let’s start with the science. Blisters can occur on long hikes due to something known as friction.

What’s basically going on here is that your skin is rubbing across a surface repeatedly which causes heat. That heat then separates your outer skin from your lower layers of skin and you have yourself a nasty blister.

As you sweat, this friction’s intensity actually increases so when you have a lot of rubbing and sweating, that’s when your blisters will be the worst.

The best method to use when hiking to reduce blisters is to wear two layers of socks.

The outer sock is your more traditional sock in the sense of you’re probably wearing something like wool right underneath your boot. The inner sock is where a lot of the magic happens. This sock would preferably be made from a material like nylon or polyester. You need a material that can absorb the moisture on your foot.

When you use this combination, you change where the friction happens, before it was on your foot causing you pain, and now the friction actually takes place between the socks and the boot, which will not cause you that same pain.

This may be rather tough to pull off in warmer climates.

Q: How can I break in my ruck marching boots?

A: The preferred method for breaking in boots like this is to increase your time and distance slowly each time you wear the boots.

There are other methods, but they can be tricky to deal with – the best method for breaking in boots like this is giving yourself ample time and then using them a lot after that first break-in period so they adapt to your foot.

Q: Should my boots be tight to the foot?

A: Generally, the formula here is that the heel should be secure and the toes should have a bit of wiggle room. Obviously, they need to feel comfortable with you, so when you try a pair of boots on, see what kind of fit you like best.

Q: Are these boot sizes accurate to shoe size?

A: Generally, manufacturers are aware of sizing when they make their boots. These boots may run a bit larger, which can be negated by wearing an extra pair of socks. You’ll want to research the specific manufacturer of your boots to see if the sizing is accurate or if they may run a bit larger than normal.


At the end of the day, you want to purchase the best ruck marching boots for your specific needs. As you can see, some of these models are better in different climates or for different levels of waterproofing. It’s important to know what you like in a pair of boots and what would benefit you most when you’re out on the trail.

With this information, you should be prepared to make a call on what pair of boots are best for you. You want something that is lightweight, offers great traction and is correct for the climate you’re in whether you need some extra warmth or some cooling properties.

The dreaded Twelve-Mile runs can be a difficult task, there’s no doubt about that. However, don’t add your gear to the list of things you’re fighting, and make sure you get a boot that gives you great comfort, support, and confidence that you can take on any challenge and succeed.

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