One of the most frequently asked questions we get, from those of you who are about to embark on a career in Special Operations, concerns rucking and how to best prepare to hoist the big green pain pill around our southern military bases. 

We have written countless times about proper fitting boots and socks and how important those two pieces of equipment are in passing Selection and moving on to your various qualification courses. And in the never-ending search for building a better mousetrap, we’re still looking for an edge, even though our days of serious rucking and operating are well behind us. 

Although I suffer from chronic back and knee pain, (courtesy of time in Special Operations), I still enjoy going out with a rucksack on some of the trails around my area — although the weight and pace of said rucks is decidedly less than the days of yore. 

On a short hike not long ago, I chatted with an older gentleman who is a serious long-distance backpacker and has traveled the length of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. As we walked along, we got on a discussion about boots and socks, and we compared notes. We both liked different boots for different applications from light hiking/day hikes, to heavy-duty long-distance rucks over varied terrain.