Gear, Reviews

GORUCK Rucking Boots Review – MACV-1 (Ongoing and Updated)

This post will serve as an ongoing review of the GORUCK MACV-1 Rucking Boots and will be updated with significant events and experiences during my ownership of these boots.

Updates

Use the links below to jump to the ongoing updates:

Update #1First full day + Rucking in the rain
Update #2 – Week 1 – Breakin period and weight & cushion
Update #3 – 1 Month – Daily wear, shoe polish, and stinky feet
Update #42 Months and a 20 Mile Ruck
Update #5 – 1 Year and 9 Months (scroll to the end)

Quick Overview

In September 2018 GORUCK officially shipped the MACV-1 Rucking Boot. Four years in development, the goal was to create a boot that allows you to travel, train, and ruck in any environment in the world.

As GORUCK seeks to grow and expand the sport of rucking to include Rucking divisions in major races and the increased growth of ruck clubs, it is clear that GORUCK is seeking to be the go-to footwear of ruckers everywhere.

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A few notes about me

I got into rucking through GORUCK events. To date, I have completed several GORUCK Heavies, Toughs, Lights, and one HTL. In training for events, I have put in hundreds of rucking miles.

I have only owned two pairs of boots in my life. One was a pair of Doc Martens and one was a pair of steel toe Wolverines.

When rucking, I have only used my Brooks Glycerin and my La Sportiva Wildcats. I have been very happy with the performance of both and, honestly, did not plan to ever deviate from these two shoes when rucking. I tried a couple pairs of popular boots in the store, like the Merrell Moab Ventilator, but never really liked the fit.

For GORUCK to convert me from #TeamShoes to #TeamBoot is going to take something special.

Sizing

I wear anything from a men’s 9.5 to a 10.5 depending on the brand. GORUCK has stated that the MACV-1 sizing is comparable to a standard pair of Chuck Taylors. Not owning a pair of Chucks, I went to the local shoe store and tried a pair on. For whatever reason, the store only had whole sizes. That said, the 9’s were too small and the 10’s were too big. I inferred that I was a 9.5 in Chucks and that is what I ordered.

For reference, here are some of my other sizes:
Vans: 9.5
Nike Metcon 3: 10
Brooks Glycerin: 10
Wolverine Boots: 9.5
Pumas: 9.5

Unboxing

Man, these things look sharp!

A Quick Detailed Look

After opening the box, I quickly gave them a look-over.

First stop: The drain holes. Pretty cool looking. From the interior, they sit just below the insert.

Interior tag. Made in Vietnam.

Exterior tag: GORUCK.

Spearhead on bottom tread.

Nubs on shoelaces. (called aglets)

Pretty good looking boot.


Ok, put on the darn boot already

So, let’s get’em on and see how they feel.

My very first thought was how tight they were at the spot where the leather meets the Cordura. Like, super uncomfortable tight.

I’ll go ahead and say that this has loosened up after about a mile of rucking, but it was very concerning to start.

After getting the other boot on I walked around the house for a little bit. This is when I realized that I have no idea how to lace boots. I had cinched them down way too tight and, well, that was uncomfortable.

After having them on for 5 minutes, I grabbed my ruck and headed out the door (I was taking my son to soccer practice).

First Ruck

Arriving at the park, I dropped off the boy and set out on a ruck. I had my American GR1 with 30# ruck plate and, of course, I was wearing my favorite rucking pants.

I still hadn’t figured out the right lacing and the tight spot was still pretty tight. I had a little heel slippage as well.

All of this was growing a great deal of concern that the boots were not going to work for me.

After about 1/2 mile, I stopped and adjusted my laces and the pressure on the top of my foot felt better. I resumed rucking.

During my ruck, I was on different terrain including some uphill, downhill, sand, gravel, tall-grass, short grass, pavement and, yes, I even found a little water.

In all, I rucked a little of 1.5 miles (before I had to go watch my son play his scrimmage).

Honesty, much of my time was analyzing every single little twinge and twinkle I felt in the boots. I was hyper-aware of every little detail. By the end, I think I was starting to get used to them.

The truth is, I’ve never rucked in ANY boots, so a lot of this was me trying to figure out if it is “these boots” or just “boots” that felt so different.

A quick note on the water. I held my foot in it for like 5 seconds. I could tell that a small amount of water came in through the drain hole, but didn’t notice for more than a second.

After rucking around, I sat down and enjoyed watching my son play soccer.

By the end of the 1.5 miles, the boots were starting to feel more comfortable. But, to be honest, I’m going to need to put more miles on these to declare them my go-to rucking shoes. My hope is to put in some miles this Saturday.

In addition to this, I intend to wear the boots all-day for the next few days.

I’m on my feet a lot, so it should be a good test.

First Full Day

I wore the MACV-1 Rucking Boots all day today. I work in an office and have a standing desk, so I was on my feet for most of the day.

The verdict are they are perfectly fine for standing.

I normally wear a pair of Van’s and these felt comfortable enough for all day standing.

I’ll note here that a lot of the discomfort I felt in my first few hours and while rucking have dissipated. The place where the leather meets the Cordura feels much better. I also wore a thinner sock (standard dress sock) so it could be that there was just more room in the boot today.

I still feel like I need to find the perfect amount of tightness on the laces that providess support and reduces heal slippage, yet doesn’t crush my foot. I still haven’t found it.

Near lunch time I went out for a little ruck in the rain.

Rucking in the rain

I have some great trails right by my office, so I hit them right as a bit of rain was moving into the area.

I rucked two miles with  GR1, 30# ruck plate and, of course, I was wearing my favorite rucking pants.

As you can see from the images below, the trails have a good variety of surfaces.

The MACV-1 Rucking Boots felt great on pretty much all the surfaces. As previously noted, I still can’t quite get the laces as I want them, so I do have a little heel slippage that is creating a hot spot. But, no blister yet.

As for performance on the wet ground, there were no issues. Traction felt great and I tried to find the worst routes on the trail to really see if I could get some slippage. I never slipped at all.

I’ll note that there was about a mile of the ruck that I stopped thinking about every little aspect of the boot and I just enjoyed the ruck. I was just out doing what I like to do. And, during that mile, the boots felt great.

Clean up

Once back at the office, my boots were pretty dirty.

A wet paper towel and BOOM, good as new.

Week 1 – Breakin Period

Despite GORUCK’s claim that they are 100% ready to ruck straight out of the box, I’ve found that it has taken about a week for the boots to really break in. I’ve worn them for a couple rucks and most days to work.

While the first couple of days they were a little tight and uncomfortable, they have now really relaxed and fit my foot very nicely. Any tightness or heal slippage I dealt with on the first few days is basically gone.

Weight & Cushion

Two things have really stood out this week. First, these things are light. Like, really light.

GORUCK has them weighing in at 13.79 oz and I believe it. Even my wife noted that when she picked up the box the first time she thought it would be super heavy and was surprised by how light they were.

And, when it comes to putting in lots of miles, light is nice.

Along with that, the soles on these things are plush (but not so plush that they lack stability). As I run up and down the stairs in my office, walk around town, and hit the trials, I just can’t get over how good they feel hitting the ground.

1 Month – Daily Wear

Now, this has truly surprised me. The MACV-1 Rucking Boots have become my go-to footwear pretty much every day this month.

To begin with, it was for the purpose of testing. But, now I find myself actually choosing my boots over all my other footwear options.

Whether it is to work, out for errands on the weekend, church on Sunday… I just keep choosing to wear these boots.

The fact of the matter is they are just really comfortable and I like them.

Bumps, Bruises, and Shoe Polish

So, after a few weeks and several rucks, I noticed that the leather was getting beat up. I posted on Twitter and Facebook asking what to do.

After boot-care 101 by some kind folks, I headed to the store and picked up some Saddle Soap, kiwi shoe polish, and a brush (note, this kit has all the stuff I bought for like $12).

This was my first attempt a shining boots in my life. The results were pretty darn good, if you ask me.

So, the lesson learned here is that you’re gonna need to polish your boots, especially if you are rough on them during rucks and events.

Stinky Feet

I wear these boots all day. When I take them off at night, my feet stink. Like, crazy bad.

This is not something that happens with any of my other shoes, so I’m not sure what sort of magic is happening in there, but it is pro-style.

I haven’t really tried anything to reduce it, but I am going to have to figure something out.

2 Months – A 20-mile ruck

To welcome in the new year, I signed up for the January Rucking Challenge over at Monthly Rucking Challenges which, this month, is rucking 20.19 miles.

This was, by far, the longest single distance ruck I’ve done in the MACV-1s.

The route was 100% pavement and I was a little nervous how my feet would react to so many miles in the boots.

The shoes and my feet held up perfectly.

The only issues I encountered were that my feet felt a little warm. I just don’t think that the MACV-1 boots breathe very well. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was something I noticed.

The second issue was that the laces around my left ankle were either too tight or too loose. Either way, my ankle was feeling a little bruised after about 3-4 miles. It was low-level pain and I was able to finish the entire 20.19 miles, though my ankle was a little tender for a few days. I don’t think this is explicitly the boot’s fault as my right ankle was perfectly fine.

I’ll add that my boots have picked up a little bit of a squeak. I don’t so much notice it, but my team made me promise that I’d note it in the review because they had to listen to it squeak for the entire 20.19 miles.

After the long ruck, I have no concerns about these boots for long distance rucks.

Oh, and did I mention that you should totally sign up for Monthly Rucking Challenges?

1 Year and 9 Month Update

As I noted somewhere in this review, I’m not a boot guy. So, over the year plus I’ve owned them, I wear them on and off. Honestly, I don’t wear them that much. But, when I do, I still can’t believe how light and comfy these boots are. I’m pretty sure if I was a boot guy, these would be the ones I wear.

It should also be noted that GORUCK has put a new tread on the boots. It is the same as is on the I/O Trainers and is a nice improvement.

Current Conclusion

At this point, I feel like I can give the MACV-1 Rucking Boots a strong recommendation. Sure, the price point is high, but they come with GORUCK’s SCARS Lifetime Guarantee. So, that helps make the investment a reasonable one. The boots are comfy and are great in the office or on a ruck.

1 Week Conclusion: I like the boots. I’m not sure if they’ll be my everyday shoe at this point, but they are growing on me as my go-to rucking shoe. The biggest challenge is that I’m a shoe guy. I’ve always worn and rucked in shoes. So, it is taking some time to get used to boots. That said, if you’re a boot person, then you’ll probably love the MACV-1 Rucking Boots. If you’re a shoe person, then they might not be magical when you first put them on. It’ll take some time to adjust.

Initial Conclusion: I’ve had these boots for like 3 hours and walked like 2 miles in them. It is WAY too early for a reasonable conclusion.

I intend to update the post over the next few days and months. Be sure to follow on Twitter or the Facebook to get alerts when I update the post.

So, what do you think? Do you own a pair of MACV-1 Rucking Boots? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Sound off with comments and questions below!

Disclaimer: These boots were provided by GORUCK for review purposes. The review is my honest assessment and experience.

23 Replies to GORUCK Rucking Boots Review – MACV-1 (Ongoing and Updated)

  1. I have a pair. I normally wear a 10.5 and I ordered a 10.5. I think they may be just a bit too big for what it is worth to the readers. Other than that I LOVE EM!

  2. I have my second pair, first pair had lace grommet failures on both boots after 2.5 miles
    Gorucks customer service was spot on and sent out my sent my new pair out as soon as I informed them of the issue.

    New boots have 40 miles on them and I absolutely love them.
    Now unlike what goruck says there is a break in period and for me it was 20 miles
    I have wide feet and that might be the issue.
    (Break in period was uncomfortable)
    But now they’re probably the most comfortable boots I’ve owned
    And I’ve owned a lot of brands. From low end to the top end .

    I think goruck hit the nail on the head with these and I will be buying another pair when these fail (if they fail)

    1. I have wide feet and a high arch. Typically, I have to order several sizes bigger. My feet measure a length of 10.5 but I’m currently wearing 12 wide. Did you order big?

  3. I love em, I’ve always rucked in military issue boots the last 20+ years and were extremely comfortable right off the bat. I plan on doing the Bataan Death March at White Sands in March in these and could not be happier about my choice!!

  4. My feat are similar to yours (generally 9.5-10 running shoes/street shoes). I initially ordered 9.5, which were way too big. I returned them and ordered 8.5 after taking cm measurements of insoles from various shoes in my rotation. GORUCK now offers insole measurements on their sizing site, which they originally didn’t. I don’t wear Converse and have found their sizing wacky.

    The 8.5 MACV-1 fit better, although my right toes are pretty close to the front. I found the same heal slippage and metatarsal tightness initially, but after wearing them around the house for a day, I felt comfortable enough that I wasn’t going to return them. I took the insoles out and replaced them with some Archmolds. I have gone back and forth trying both inserts, and I’ll probably stay with my Archmolds (similar to Superfeet).
    After a couple of days and about 15 miles on them, my MACV-1s are loosening up and adjusting to my feet pretty well. If they loosen up some more, I might put the MACV-1 insoles back in, but for now, they are too thick and don’t offer enough arch support.

    Overall, I think I’ll like them for everyday rotation, but for ruck events and general rucking, I’ll probably stay with running shoes.

  5. For me shoes have been a big deal since rucking and it took a considerable amount of time and effort to find out that Oboz and Merrells work best for me in size 10 wide. Sneakers I wear 10 and boots I wear 9.5 wide. Chucks 10 felt too big but 9.5 felt to be a good fit so thats what I pre-ordered.
    When receiving the Macv’s they felt great initially but after 3 mile ruck twice I was developing hot spots in the pinky toe area, something I usually dont get unless wearing a narrow (regular) show. Since these were suppose to be wide and prebroken in, I figured I might as well return them and try a size up.
    I feel they are really good for rucking as I didnt feel any strain anywhere in the knees or ankles. Initially I thought they would be too flat as most combat type boots usually feel this way but these worked well without that flat feeling. Waiting to get the 9.5 returned and the 10’s in hand to try again.

  6. I usually wear a 12 in boots like the Moabs and Rocky c4t so I went with a 12 in the MACVs. I couldve gone with the 11.5 and been fine but I’m keeping my 12s as I know how me feet swell during an event. I’d rather have the extra room than be at hour 9-10 and my feet are killing me. Makes the rest of the event miserable. That said I’ll order the coyote color in an 11.5 to rotate when I do an HTL or T/L. Start with the smaller pair then go with the bigger in between events.

  7. I ordered the 10.5 based on recommendation that these have wide toe box. I have wide feet, EEE, and decided to try the same size. The were too snug as soon as I put them on. GoRuck customer service had me send back and size up. Waiting on my 11’s and will update when they come in and advise how the ruck.

  8. Love mine. If I didn’t just buy a 25L Rucker, I would buy a second pair so I could have one for work and one pair for play.

  9. I love mine. I haven’t gotten to the point where I wear them every day because it is warm now, but I can absolutely see going to these when it gets to be jeans weather this fall.

    I was surprised how much I liked them. I had been using Salomon trail shoes for years, but when I started training for the longer star course and putting lots of miles on pavement, I found that the forefoot area got much tighter than I was used to.

    Enter the MACV-1. I wore them for a few 10 mile, weekday evening rucks to break them in, and then they were ready for 25, 30, and 40 mile training rucks. No complaints at all. They are light, and the large toe box makes a huge difference in my experience.

    They were perfect for the Star Course. Just perfect. No hot spots, no tightness around the toes.

    Especially during Christmas in July and with the ESD, these are a great pick-up if you are putting in any miles at all, especially on the road/sidewalk.

  10. I just tried on mine and did about 1 mile on my treadmill at 10% grade to see how they felt. They felt great, but mine too started squeaking. Did that go away for you after breaking them in more?

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