There is more than one way to skin a cat and at least 3 to make the boots. These are, however, proven methods, use at your discretion.
2 small ships get an ini bonus which should come to 2 ini, that is the shuttle and the transport according to the devs, as such these ships are ideal for quick attacks.
Shuttles are the cheapest ships to build, they have the shortest build time and in comparison to gunboats you have the same amount of turrets per command limit, i.e. a commander with 400 command limit can have 400 shuttles or 200 gunboats so you end up with the same amount of guns either way. Gunboats can have a module, but that will increase its cost, possibly effect the build time, and you are almost guaranteed to lose small ships farming nodes but they are very easy to replace.
Corvettes are costly small ships, especially if you fill the module slots. They hold 4 guns for their 2 command limit giving them more firepower than shuttles or gunboats per command limit, i.e 400 command limit gives 200 corvettes but 800 turrets. However, their build time and costs are considerably higher than shuttles and as such are ill advised. Replacing 100 shuttles with basic missiles is easier than replacing 20 Corvettes with full module slots.
If you are altairen you get +1 ini to missiles making them a viable option, and they are the cheapest to build with a fuel and ore cost, the damage is low however.
Lasers are also a good option because of the high damage. However, when up against shields the damage is drastically reduced. They also have research that increases their initiative, and so having +2 ini through research makes them much more cost effective than advanced missiles for the purpose of initiative.
Gauss, only recommended if you are farming lvl 4 nodes and up as it helps with aircraft. Damage is small starting out but not horrible, and no initiative bonus.
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