GORUCK MACV-1 Generation 2 Rucking Boot (Black Leather) Review

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GORUCK has released the Generation 2 version of their lightweight jungle rucking boot – the MACV-1.

Here’s this brand new boot – 6″ high in black leather.

GORUCK MACV-1 Black Leather - 6 Inch boot (Gen 2)
Here’s the GORUCK MACV-1 jungle rucking boot in black leather. This is the 6 ” high boot. There is also an 8″ version.

This is a great boot – it is not a hard-core all-terrain boot, but rather a more well rounded, comfortable boot.

And it is meant to go the distance. We’ll review all the special features of this boot in this review.

 The MACV-1 is available in Black (6 inch). This is the version you will see in the majority of photos in this review.

GORUCK MACV-1 Boot (Coyote Suede 6 inch) The GORUCK MACV-1 is a lightweight rucking boot. It's made for high mileage in the outdoors. This is the 6 inch version in Coyote Suede.

GORUCK MACV-1 Boot (Coyote Suede 8 inch) The 8inch Coyote Suede version of the boot is AR 670-1 compliant - which means you might be able to wear these in the US military. They have the required height, colors, and materials as required by government regulations.

IRONLACE Unbreakable Boot Lace The only weak point of the MACV-1 is the laces - they break relatively easily. Upgrade them with something like IRONLACE, and you'll never have that problem. Guaranteed for life, waterproof, fireproof, won't stretch, won't slip, won't freeze. All that and made in the USA.

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew with Cushion (1466) How do you make an excellent boot even better? Wear excellent socks. These hikers from Darn Tough get the job done. Darn Tough calls this the ultimate hiking sock - and it's a good pick for rucking too. Like their other socks, the not-so-secret ingredient is Merino wool - and other great features.

MudGear Ruck Sock Also made with Merino Wool (Are you seeing a trend?) this ruck sock from MudGear was built with ruckers in mind - and the result shows that. Made in the USA. This works very well with the MACV-1

Let’s take an up-close look.

GORUCK MACV-1 Video Review from our YouTube Channel

Here’s the Black Leather version:

Want to see these bad-boys in action? Check out this video of the Coyote Brown:

This video focuses more on the GORUCK Rucker, but it’ll give you an idea of how we test this gear:

MACV-1 Generation 2 – What’s New?

We mentioned this is the 2nd generation of the MACV-1 boot, so let’s talk about what is new and improved first.

Perhaps the biggest improvement is the new all-terrain outsole.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot - 6
This version of the MACV-1 has an improved all-terrain outsole. The lugs are arranged in a more aggressive pattern. The outsole is made from two different rubber compounds. The forefoot is stickier for better grip, while the heel is firmer for better durability, and stability.

GORUCK took feedback from the wearers of the original boot and made a more aggressive lug pattern on this version.

GORUCK MACV-1 6 inch black leather
We tested these boots extensively on long distance ruck marches. This was mid-way through a 15.5 mile, wet ruck march.

Here’s one thing you should probably know about the MACV-1 – because it is a lightweight boot, the sole is integrated with the shoe and is not replaceable separately.

(But, the boot is covered by GORUCK’s Scars lifetime guarantee – and they don’t expect too many people will be able to wear out the sole of this boot.)

Secondly the upper is now made with GORUCK’s new “Challenge Leather”.

This is a hard-wearing version of their leather.

GORUCK MACV-1 Black Leather Boot
The upper of the Gen2 MACV-1 is made from GORUCK’s “Challenge Leather”. This is a new, tough version of GORUCK’s leather that will get better with use.

GORUCK claims it is tougher, and will get better with use.

Beyond that, a lot of the other features of the boot are unchanged.

And that’s a good thing – because this boot has some other special features we will talk about shortly.

MACV-1 Sizing

Let’s talk about sizing – because that is of key importance to people looking to buy boots.

The GORUCK MACV-1 boots run true to size.

And our testing indicates that is accurate.

I normally wear a Men’s size 11 in most shoes – and that size of the GORUCK boot seems spot-on.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot in Black Leather
The 2nd Generation of the GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot runs true to size – our testing indicates that is accurate.

Please note that GORUCK does recommend you consider going 1/2 size up to account for any foot swelling you may get when going long distances.

I’ve tried the GORUCK MACV-1 in both Men’s 11 and 11.5 – and either will work, but the 11.5 is a bit too loose for my feet.

Here’s another factor – one of the “tricks of the trade” of long distance rucking and hiking is to wear two pairs of socks.

So, you may need the extra room in the boot if you opt to do this.

We have tried that and it does help eliminate hot spots and blisters.

Please note that if you order the wrong size, you can quickly and easily return or swap the boots for the correct size.

Here’s something we learned during our long term test. Get rid of those cheap cotton socks and use a quality hiking or rucking sock instead.

This step alone solved all issues I had – I can wear these in 11 or 11.5 and ruck for miles and miles – no issues whatsoever.

(And no doubling up on socks required either.)

Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight With Cushion Sock 1466 with MACV-1 Coyote Suede
Here’s the Darn Tough Hike Micro Crew with Cushion sock – this works perfect with the MACV-1 (shown with 6 inch high boot).

The Darn Tough Micro Crew Midweight with Cushion is great for the 6″ high MACV-1 boots.

MudGear Ruck Sock - with MACV-1 Black Heel
Even better is the MudGear Ruck Sock. It’s got a nice comfy stretch fit, made with Merino wool, and knit in the USA. It’s just a bit taller than the Darn Tough micro crew.

I give a slight edge to the MudGear Ruck Sock (Buy on Amazon) shown above. – it’s even more comfortable than the Darn Tough, with a nice stretch fit – but it is taller.

Are these expensive? Yes, but they also last much longer than cheap cotton socks – and fit better too.

MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot

Let’s talk now about the special features of this boot.

Why is it called a jungle rucking boot?

MACV-1 Black Jungle Rucking Boot on a muddy trail
The GORUCK MACV-1 is a jungle rucking boot. It has decent grip in the mud, but not so much that you can’t wear this boot elsewhere.

The MACV-1 is modeled after the jungle boots worn by the U.S. Army Special Forces in the 1970s.

(That also inspired the name of “MACV”.)

But more importantly these boots are made for water immersion.

That’s right they are “proudly not waterproof” – so says GORUCK.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot with Water Drain Ports
Each GORUCK MACV-1 boot has two mesh covered water drain ports. The idea is to be able to drain water quickly when your feet get wet.

Jungle ruck marching often necessitates getting your feet wet – crossing streams, swamps, and small bodies of water.

(Water immersion is also a frequent occurrence in GORUCK challenge events – because it adds stress to the event.)

To accomodate this, the GORUCK MACV-1 boots have mesh covered water draining ports.

Feet getting wet? Not a problem, because you’ll pump water back out of the boot with every foot step.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot - ANkle
The ankle is 1000D Cordura with a nylon strap.

This boot also uses 3mm diameter speed laces.

GORUCK says these are quicker to tie, attract less debris, and dry out quicker because they are smaller.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot Laces
3mm speed laces are quicker to tie, and don’t attract as much debris when you go in the mud.

It makes sense to us, and it is nice to have smaller laces that don’t add a lot of bulk.

GORUCK MACV-1 Comfort

One of the big draws of the GORUCK MACV-1 boot is comfort.

Much of this is due to the included drop-in “workhorse insert”.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot Workhorse Insert
The “Workhorse Insert” is made from dense foam cushioning, and has excellent arch support.

This is made from a thick, dense foam with great arch support.

And our testing indicated these are very comfortable for long distances.

GORUCK MACV-1 Black Leather Boot - Gen 2
Here’s another view of the insert.

The other big factor in comfort is the suede lined heel counter.

GORUCK claims this is a factor in making a boot that requires no break-in.

GORUCK MACV-1 Lightweight Rucking Boot in Coyote Suede (6
This is the Coyote Suede version of the MACV-1, but is has the same heel counter as the Black Leather version. It’s nice.

We tested this – and our conclusion is that it is accurate.

I took a brand new pair of MACV-1 right out of the box, put them on, and did a 6.5 mile ruck march with a 20lb ruck plate.

I did get one small blister on my left foot, but overall I consider the test a success.

My feeling is that my left foot is every so slightly smaller than my right and I should have worn double socks on the left.

Here’s all the details on YouTube:

Overall, these are very comfortable boots.

But I don’t recommend you go on a GORUCK challenge event without testing them out first – make sure you have the correct fit first.

GORUCK MACV-1 and Bullet Ruck from GORUCK
We took these boots right out of the box, and went on a 6.5 mile ruck march with a 20lb ruck plate. The boots performed very, very well – just make sure the fit is correct!

MACV-1 – Weak laces?

Here’s the only issue we’ve heard of with the MACV-1 (as experienced by many wearers of this boot, but not me in particular.)

The boot laces that come with the boot break relatively easily.

Remember, these are 3 mm diameter speed laces. Wearers of the boot that like to tie them tight report that this can lead to lace breakage at the worst possible moment.

We’re currently testing out Iron Laces (Buy on Amazon) as a solution.

IRONLACES Unbeakable Boot Laces on GORUCK MACV-1 Ruck Boot - compare with regular 2
Boot on the right has IRONLACES unbreakable boot laces (black, 54″ length). The left is the stock GORUCK lace.

These are crazy tough boot laces available in different lengths and colors.

These laces are guaranteed for life, and are much stronger than steel – even though they are only 3mm in diameter.

They won’t break, won’t stretch, won’t slip – and they are fireproof too.

IRONLACES Unbeakable Boot Laces on GORUCK MACV-1 Ruck Boot - Tips Closeup 3
These are tough laces, guaranteed for life. They will NOT break.

They are also waterproof and won’t freeze. It’s like a super boot lace.

By the way, the stock laces in the Men’s Size 11.5 MACV-1 Gen 2 boot is 58.5″.

I’ll be using the 54″ Iron Laces with mine.

Iron Laces - unbreakable boot lace for GORUCK MACV-1
Iron Laces – unbreakable boot lace for GORUCK MACV-1

Scars Lifetime Guarantee

Many of GORUCK’s products are made in the USA, but the boots are not.

The MACV-1 boot is made in Vietnam, which helps keep the price low and GORUCK ensures the quality is kept high.

The GORUCK MACV-1 boot is covered by the Scars lifetime guarantee.

GORUCK MACV-1 in Black Leather
The MACV-1 is covered by the Scars lifetime guarantee.

We’ll report here the longer term performance of the boots, but right now we’ve only had them for about 4 weeks.

I can say they look very high quality and were in flawless condition right out of the box.

Weight

GORUCK describes these as being a lightweight boot.

My size 11 Black Leather boots weigh 19.6 ounces each.

That’s only about 6 ounces heavier than a cross training shoe like the Nike Metcon 5.

GORUCK MACV-1 Boot
These boots are lightweight for boots – a Men’s size 11 weighs about 19.6 ounces each.

That’s pretty light.

(The 11.5 size weigh about 20.2 ounces each.)

Lighter is better – because it means less fatigue over the miles.

GORUCK MACV-1
GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot in it’s natural environment

Can you Lift Weights with the GORUCK MACV-1?

With a 13mm drop, these aren’t bad for squatting.

Or deadlifting.

They do have a bit more cushion (and therefore instability) in the heel though. I wouldn’t put these on to go set a 1RM back squat, but otherwise they aren’t bad.

Here’s a video:

In Summary

GORUCK has improved upon their MACV-1 jungle rucking boot with the 2nd generation.

They’ve made the outsole better, improved the leather, and kept the other features that made it unique.

It is lightweight, and very comfortable.

Why GORUCK Products?
We are a GORUCK affiliate – so if you order clothing, backpacks, boots, or other equipment after clicking the links in this article we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. But that’s not why we recommend GORUCK. It’s because their equipment is innovative, built to last, and backed by their SCARS lifetime guarantee. They are the driving force behind rucking not just as exercise, but as a way to make people better. And that’s why we love them.

GORUCK MACV-1 Jungle Rucking Boot
How do you test rucking boots? With a ruck march, of course.

Photo Credits

  • Some product photos on this page are provided by, and property of GORUCK.

GORUCK Testing
MACV-1 on the ruck march…

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