10 Best Hunting Boots Reviewed for Performance

Just how does a pair of the best hunting boots look and feel like in action? For most people, it will come down to some very important factors like proper ventilation, comfort,  and easy management of the boot. The truth is there are plenty of details that one may need to consider prior to investing in a pair of high-value hunting boots. Hunting boots are what helps a hunter make way through hunting season whether needing to travel a short distance or put miles on a pair of boots, a good fit for a good price is best.

Best Hunting Shoes-Hunter aiming down sight

High top hunting boots will keep annoyances like sticks, grass, and mud out of a boot and off the ankle area, even protecting a person from things like poison plants that may cause certain skin rashes. While a good quality boot with traction will assist a hunter in trekking way through challenging terrain.

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Last Updated: August 16, 2017
by Mirisa Jewell :

For this update, I input/finalized the Criteria and Frequently Asked Questions for this buying guide. Some of this material included:What is the warmest hunting boot made of? How should a hunting boot fit? How to waterproof a hunting boot? The Criteria included content on topics such as; Camoflouge, Full-Grain leather VS Top Grain, and also Traction/Grippage.

Irish Setter Vaprtrek
  • Irish Setter Vaprtrek
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  • Eyelet & Hook Lace Closure
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LaCrosse Alphaburly
  • LaCrosse Alphaburly
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  • Hand-Laid Premium Rubber
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Kamik Hunter
  • Kamik Hunter
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  • Waterproof Construction
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In the case of rocky terrain where one may be hiking then good traction would be an important feature during boot shopping. In hopes of assisting you to make an informed and knowledge-based decision while buying your hunting boots, this list of the best hunting boots has been formulated.

 

10 Best Hunting Boots

 

1. Kamik Hunter

If your looking for a water proof hunting boot with nice details and features, than this boot is going to be one of the best for you. This boot has a special removable thermal guard liner to keep your feet warm in the wet weather. Topped with an adjustable snow collar to keep your calf and feet dry.
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13" Knee High Shaft
On the inside of this shaft is a snug thermal liner, this liner creates a snugger fit to the boot and extra warmth. The outsole of the shaft is made from rubber, plus an adjustable snow collar.

Explorer TPR Outsole
This Boot is designed from a very durable outsole and created using Explorer TPR Outsole material. TPR outsole is designed for hunters in any type of terrain, regardless of how challenging the terrain may be.

Cost and Value
The cost of the Kamik is very low end, it is a good quality boot and is very worth the price, due to it's durability, water proof abilities, and extra warmth insert.
Pros
  • Designed to keep your feet dry while hunting
  • Knee high 13" shaft
  • Removable thermal liner that will provide a soft and comfortable fit
  • Explorer TPR Outsole that will withstand any terrain
  • Snow Collar for extra protection and keeping a snugger fit
Cons
  • They are sized one full size too small
  • Can be quite narrow, especially with the thermal liner insert, resulting in the need to adjust sizing one size up

2. Irish Setter Vaprtrek

A hunting boot has an intriguing design of real tree camouflage on the exterior, designed for the most active hunters on and off season. Passionate hunters will find this shoe to be fitting 365 days out of the year. Scent Ban for foot smell control. High performance lightweight boots you cannot go wrong buying.
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Cushin Tongue Technology
Many hunters may feel pressure on their shins from the tops of the boot tongues they are wearing, especially after a long day filled with adventure. Cushin Tongue Technology has been to give hunters relief from this uncomfortable predicament.

RPM Technology
Vaptrek is one notable for it's lightness in weight and mobility. RPM Technology is designed to meet the standards of heavy weight durable material with an extremely light weight material.

Cost and Value
The cost of these lightweight durable hunting boots are average. With the value being high and the price being more than affordable you can find yourself in this long lasting durable hunting boot.
Pros
  • Very lightweight and durable due to RPM Technology
  • Great ankle support
  • Easy to manage
  • Very short break in time, they are comfortable out of the box
  • Sized accordingly to fit for a boot
Cons
  • May feel like it needs more padding above the ankle
  • These boots don't provide a ton of arch support, making it wise to invest in supportive inserts if you have a high arch

3. LaCrosse Alphaburly

This knee high boot can truly withstand any type of weather, it is well insulated with an EVA footbed for ultimate comfort. Built in with an embossed liner to better help with circulation it is highly valued as one of the best hunting boots. One of the easiest boots to manage with Active Fit especially on the hunt, you will be able to adjust your boot to a more personal fit.
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Removable EVA Foot Bed
The EVA foot bed is quite special in this hunting boot, it provides premium comfort throughout even those lengthy hunting trips. The Lacrosse Alphaburly has extra shock support through the dense and durable foam of the EVA Technology.

Embossed Liner
The embossed liner provides extra circulation and air ventilation. This is especially valued during the winter or rainy months while hunting. The knee high design almost always demands proper ventilation to prevent excessive sweating throughout the boot.

Cost and Value
The Lacrosse Alphaburly sells at an average price, for the quality of a high end hunting boot. This boot will be well worth your money. It has a nice design and ventilates great. It will adjust more personally to your fit making this a really unique boot.
Pros
  • EVA foot bed for extra comfort and durability
  • Water proof and built for all of the wettest terrain
  • Embossed liner for increased air circulation
  • Realtree Xtra Green design
  • Light weight hunting boot weighing 4.8lbs per pair
Cons
  • Fit is untrue to size resulting in the need to upsize
  • Camo may wear off quickly upon heavy usage

4. Bogs Bowman WP

4. Bogs Bowman WP
An easy slip on pairof hunting boots with easy-on pull handles, and a nice camouflage design makes these boots easily one of the best. They contain and a 6mm channel of Air Neo Tech for the best ventilation, while keeping your feet warm all night long. The 6mm self cleaning deep lug outsole will assist you in not getting weighed down with heavy mud at the base of your feet. Not only is the out sole self cleaning but the insole is antimicrobial and eliminates odor.
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Max Wick Lining
To help keep moisture out of your foot bed and insole these Bowman water proof hunting boots are made with Max Wick Lining and an extra air mesh lining. That way you can keep your feet dry during those wet climates.

AEGIS Antimicrobial insole
Need a hunting boot that will keep out unwanted, unhealthy, and potentially smelly microbes and foot odors. The Bogs Bowman are made with a specialized AEGIS Antimicrobial agent to fight off the nasty microbial bacteria that may start to form in those long days of hunting.

Cost and Value
Priced at the lower end for a high quality hunting boot purchasing a pair of these Bogs Bowman Hunting boots will make your wallet happy in the long run. They are durable, lasting throughout the most adventerous hunting seasons.
Pros
  • 100% Waterproof upper outsole, keeping your feet very dry in wet weather
  • EVA Thermal insole
  • Easy-On pull handles to assist in manageable slip-on and off
  • RealTree Camo design for stealthy hunting
Cons
  • Narrow calf section
  • Narrow foot bed for very wide feet

5. Under Armour Speed Freek Bozeman

5. Under Armour Speed Freek Bozeman
You won't find yourself getting stuck in the mud, or having wet feet with Under Armours UA Speed Freek hunting boots. They have a low-profile rubber lug sole that helps with gripping the toughest terrain. At just 7" high they are waterproof and have a scratch rubber toe and heel to help you grip any type of terrain. These high quality boots are one of the best because of their many added features like their UltraLight EVA midsole and reinforced TPU Shank for stability.
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Scratch Rubber Toe and Heel
A scratch rubber toe and heel on the outsole of this pair of hunting boots provides a great tool for traction and extra gripping while on the hunt. It's mold is highly detailed with ridges, and grip spots along the shoes sole.

Cupron Anti-Fungal Pro Fibers
These hunting boots have an insole that is formulated with a specialized active fungal and athlete foot fighting ingredient. With Cupron alongside Anti-Fungal Pro Fibers 99.9% of any athlete' foot causing fungus will be killed within 12 hours of contact.

Cost and Value
The Speed Freek Bozemans can be found at an average to low price, the duranibilty within these hunting boots well provides a hight quality shoe for what the affordable cost reflects. These boots are a smart buy any hunting season with their waterproof and great ventilation aspects.
Pros
  • Waterproof abilities
  • Curpon Anti-Fungal Pro Fibers that kill any form of athlete foot fungus after 12 hours of contact
  • Low profile rubber lug sole
  • Great ventilation in the heat
  • Very lightweight and durable hunting boot
Cons
  • With excessive rain water the low height of shoe may allow leakage inside of the foot bed, although with proper planning this does not have to be an issue
  • Thin insole

6. LaCrosse AeroHead

6. LaCrosse AeroHead
If your are looking for durability the Lacrosse AeroHead hunting boot is ideal, the out shell is designed with one of the most durable rubbers, called polyurethane. The design took over four years to perfect, these boots have been tested for over 4,000 miles! Sleek in design hugging snugly to your foot, heel, and ankle. Very comfortable from first through last wear during any type of hunting trip in the mud where you may be stalking.
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Removable EVA Foot Bed
Designed with a removable EVA Foot Bed your feet will be kept warm and dry despite the extreme cold weather or rain. These boots are meant for the muddiest dirtiest types of mud, creating a perfect boot for stalking season.

Brush Tuff Layer
Layered over the already tough outter neoprene shell this boot is layered with an extra coating of spandex and lycra for extra durability. These are one of the toughest shelled boots.

Cost and Value
The value of these shoes are very high and special due to their durability and extra support for mudding. While the cost is low and affordable it will be easy to attain a pair of these boots.
Pros
  • Very durable and waterproof for even the toughest mudding adventures
  • Removable EVA Foot Bed
  • Reached consumers higher expectations for a hunting and mudding boot
  • Quick drying and moisture wicking comfortable liner
  • Easy take on and off
Cons
  • May feel narrow in width of foot bed and calf zone up to the top of shoe

7. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme

7. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme
This is one of the most serious boots you will find, at 10" high and a very durable design and combination of materials. You may find yourself in some extremely challenging terrains during your hunting trips. It contains 400 grams of Thinsulate material keeping you warm and dry in any weather condition. The Kenetrek Mountain Extremes are lightweight and have very high traction due to the K-Talon Out soles.
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Light weight K-Talon Out Sole
The outsoles are formulated with a special material called K-Talon, this material is known for providing high performance traction while on the go, and being one of the lightest weight materials an out sole can be formulated from.

Thinsulate insole
The Thinsulate insole is built for the wettest coldest weather, it provides extra warmth on those cold challenging hunting trips and all throughout the night time. Thinsulate insole will give you the opportunity to adventure on unimaginable trips with no limits.

Cost and Value
This is a serious shoe with a serious price, well worth the high cost for its many important notable features and materials. You will be very pleased with the purchase if this shoe, it is priced much higher than other hunting boots but the detail and care it has been created with makes it understandably one of the best hunting boots.
Pros
  • Thinsulate Insole
  • High performance traction for any type of adventure through hunting season
  • Very little heel slide in these boots, assisting in great traction
  • These boots have a thick upper collar that provide ultimate ankle support
  • Durability that can last for many years
Cons
  • Sized a half size too small, you may need to order larger than usual for hunting boots
  • May feel quite snug until after the break in period

8. MuckBoots Woody Sport

8. MuckBoots Woody Sport
The Original MuckBoot company provided hunters with a very high-value boot built to be comfortable during warmer weather, hunting, and fishing. The toughest Speed Tracker Outsoles provide the ability to be on the move while hunting. These boots are built with 4mm of CR Flexfoam and four-way stretch Spandura for ultimate waterproof protection. You won't be disappointed in the abilities of the MuckBoots Sport' as they provide the greatest comfort and ExpressCool fabric insulation for summer time.
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ExpressCool Fabric
Keeping you cool with ExpressCool fabric you will find these boots to be ideal during the warmer months of hunting season, this not only wicks away any moisture but provides a cooling affect on your feet, giving the best ventilation.

Extra Support
This boot provides extra support at the achilles tendon, as well as the foot, toe, and heel. This is due to the Extra-Tough reinforcements in these areas. As many people know the Achilles tendon is one that truly supports the flexing of the heel and foot allowing for accurate steps while walking or running, this kind of extra support can mean the world of difference to a hunter who needs the support in these areas.

Cost and Value
The cost of this MuckBoot original is very affordable and well worth the purchase. If you are looking for a summer hunting boot that will provide you with an extra cooling affects so you won't find yourself over heated. These boots have been designed with durability and heavy duty traction taking you far and near with Speed-Tracker.
Pros
  • Speed-Tracker outsole for heavy duty traction
  • Can assist you in both heavy duty work, and hunting seasons
  • They are the lightest, driest boots as said by avid hunters
  • Go to mudding boot
Cons
  • May be undersized by a half size
  • Strong Odor due to materials used in and out of boot

9. Wolverine Sightline High

9. Wolverine Sightline High
A hiking boot and hunting boot all in one, the Wolverine Sightline High is made for all kinds of trekking around during hunting season. It is water proof and has an added membrane material called PC Dry Silver to help keep your feet dry during the wet seasons. The Wolverine offers phenomenal mobility for even the most intense terrains settings.
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200 Gram insulation
With a top notch drying technology called PC Dry Silver, you will not have to worry about your feet getting wet or lacking breathability during the wear of these boots. This aspect is helpful during the wet months of hunting as well as the hot wicking away sweat.

Light Weight Construction
The Wolverine is extra lightweight with it's cement construction, this is durability and a light weighted boot. You will find it very comfortable with an extra long lifetime for a hunting boot.

Cost and Value
The best hunting boot should also be a very affordable hunting boot, and that is just the type of boot the Wolverine is. It's cost is low and the value is extra high with hiking and hunting abilities in one, this boot can withstand the toughest terrain at a low cost. A smart boot purchase for many!
Pros
  • Very lightweight with cement construction for durability
  • Extremely comfortable while wearing for long periods of time or walking far distances
  • PC Dry Silver to keep feet dry
  • Waterproof leather outsole that lasts a very long time
Cons
  • Sized too small, one may need to purchase a size bigger to fit properly
  • Narrow toe box

10. Irish Setter Havoc

10. Irish Setter Havoc
The Irish Setter is a boot with a very nice design, it holds professionalism and style. Durability will never be a question when it comes to one of the best pairs of hunting boots, like the Irish Setters they have an authentic look and feel to them being made out of high quality leather they will last keeping their greatest features and abilities over time. The Irish Setter is truly one of a kind.
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GOR-TEX
This boot is the best at being a great hunting boot it was created with keeping your feet dry, warm, and comfrtable they are built with a GOR-TEX waterproof membrane.

Back Pull Loop
The 801 Havoc is built with a back pull loop for easy to slip on and off of the boot, this is a tremendous help esepcially while on the go hunting or in a hurry to get out the door for your next adventure.

Cost and Value
The cost of this shoe is average high range, with a value that reflects well worth that price and more.
Pros
  • Good quality hunting and hiking boots
  • Break in period of about 3-5 days
  • Ultimate comfort during and after long hours
  • True to size of foot
  • Extra flexibility while wearing due to the flex lock stitching
Cons
  • May better suit dry weather, due to the water proof abilities being on the lesser side for a hunting boot

How to Choose a Hunting Boot

Best Hunting Shoes-Hunter on a trail with gun

Upon thinking of your upcoming hunting season or heavy duty outdoor activities, it’s wise to consider all factors in a hunting boot. What does, and does not make a high quality hunting boot. The style and if it’s a comfortable fit comes into play here. Listed above are some of the best hunting boots all being constructed with powerful materials, durable and lasting design, and created for specific elements and terrain. Having this very important information on hand while you are boot shopping will be extra helpful and assist you in making the best decision regarding which kind of hunting boot is the perfect match for your lifestyle and hunting demands.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Hunting Boots

 

Overall Weight

Best Hunting boots-upside down

When it comes to a good quality pair of hunting boots, let’s face it, weight does matter. While your on your outdoor adventures, they can require heavy trekking, climbing, sitting for long hours, plus intense building. It makes a big difference how your body feels after a long hunting trip, when you kick your shoe-less feet up at the end of the day as to whether the boot you’ve been wearing is lightweight or heavyweight. Hunting boots on the market can range in weight. Less than 1lb is a pretty good find on the light end, you will generally see this in your duck hunting, knee high, rubber duck huntings boots. The opposite end of the scale coming in at a heavy 7lbs give or take, this weight is usually seen in a hiking style, deer hunting boots.

Height of Shaft/Ankle or Knee Highs?

Best Hunting boots-types

Boots built for hunting are built and designed with a specific purpose. This often details down to the specifics of the shoe, that way it is capable of withstanding the environment and terrain that the shoe will be enduring. This all boils down to the height of the shaft in inches, which is very important, and a key note when shopping for hunting boots. Every boot has its own specific cut, in turn making it the best for the chosen environment. The  height of the shaft can make a big difference while deciding if the boot is right for your lifestyle. Some boots are designed with a shaft of 13” reaching the knees, while others fit snugly around the ankles keeping your feet dry and warm inside with a low guard.

Anit- Properties/ Anti-Microbial/ Anti-Bacterial

Best Hunting boots-antimicrobial

Often times high endurance shoes, like a pair of hunting boots undergo a process that turns them into being anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and even anti-fungal. This process usually requires that the materials used for the insoles, as well as any liners, plus the midsole to be soaked in a chemical solution, which instantly kills microorganisms immediately upon contact during activities. These microbes can cause undesirable ailments such as foot fungus, athlete’s foot, and the bacteria that causes foot stink. So it is beneficial to the wearer that these types of materials be used in their shoe that they’ll be wearing long hours to days at a time if you’re an avid hunter.

Antimicrobial Agents: Refers to all agents that act against antimicrobials of all types including; viruses, fungi, and protozoa. The agents are classified in many ways including, yet not limited to; their spectrum of activity, effect on bacteria, and mode of action.

The term antimicrobial references, any substance of origin that is semisynthetic or synthetic, or natural. That also kills or inhibits growth of a microorganism without causing damage to its host.

On a side note, certain boots use materials that contain natural occurring antimicrobial agents like copper wire. Copper wire has been long used by humanity in effectively killing microbes using an organic process in which the cells membrane is in direct contact with the copper therefore the outer membrane ruptures, and sequentially the other way has to do with the holes in the outer membrane that causes an overall weakening of the microbes cell, thus ceasing it to exist. It kills 99.9% of active bacteria within 2 hours, this method is probably the healthiest version used in a shoe today.

There are multiple companies on the market that have patented their very own anti-formulas, competing for top place in effectiveness, used over and over again active gear.

Key Features/ Beneficial Additions

Best Hunting Boots-material

A wide spectrum when it comes to additional features that the best hunting boots contain but to name a few and their purposes.

  • Thinsulate is an insole that is created with a specially engineered material. This material is made up of fibers that are about 15 micrometers in diameter. This is slightly thinner than polyester, that is normally used as insulation in clothing. Thinsulate is advertised to be far more effective than polyester though due to its greater density dualed with thinner fibers. This kind of insulation is effective in keeping the body comfortably warm, while any sweat is meant to evaporate easily.
  • K Talon High Traction Outsole is comprised of an aggressive toothy outsole that provides great multi-directional traction.

The variety is so vast for these additional features if you are looking for something in specific like ‘dry feet’ or ‘extra warmth in the liner’ you will want to do a bit of research before choosing which hunting boot suits your needs. There are many name brand patents built for different purposes, some more features to look for include

  • Express Cool Fabric
  • PC Dry Silver
  • GOR TEX
  • Brush Tuff Layer
  • Cupron Anti-Fungal Pro Fibers
  • AEGIS Antimicrobial insole
  • Wick Lining
  • Embossed
  • RPM Technology
  • Explorer TPR Outsole
  • Cushin Tongue Technology

Outsole Profile/ Traction Grippage

Best Hunting boots-traction

Traction is very important when it comes to the high endurance movement you’ll be doing while on the move and hunting. You do not want to chance falling, slipping in wet weather, or twisting your ankle during a hunting trip. A pair of the best boots will have a outsole profile that creates heavy duty grippage.

One of the very best outsoles used in hunting boots is called TPR Outsole, this type of outsole is referencing the use of thermoplastic rubber for the shoe’s sole, and originally was a called by many broad terms including AOC, SBS, SEBS, TPO, TPU, Eva plus and additional products. It was first patented the year of 1975. In summary TPE is an acronym for thermoplastic elastomers ( a special rubber that belongs to a group of copolymers). TPR’s have been a common plastic used in the production of shoes since the 1960’s, they are beneficial due to their ability to be recycled which is complimented by their ease to be molded and extruded. So if you’re looking for the best outsole design grab this one for any type of season.

Camouflage

Best Hunting boots-camo

The importance of camouflage in a hunting boot is without a doubt a very important feature. The purpose of camouflage is a defense or tactic that an organism uses to hide their appearance, it is used to mask identity, location, and movement. Another name used is cryptic coloration. There is an extremely large variety of camo used to design good hunting boots. This is all for very good reason, a hunter needs to keep himself and important supplies hidden from predators like bears, and the animals they are hunting will be less likely to get scared and run off if a hunter takes measures to remain hidden in the wild.

The best hunters know that blending well into the given environment, makes for success or failure at scoring their game. There are many types and designs of camouflage, all specifically built for different environments and elements in nature. For instance, if you are a wetland season type of hunter, you will want to purchase a boot with a marsh/waterfowl print. On the other hand, if your main priority is to take trips in the winter, you will probably like to use a design specific to the snow’s white nature, such as ‘King’s Snow’ by Shadow. I assure you though any element you may find yourself hunting in, there is a design fit for your lifestyle!

Top camouflage designs for each element

River Bottom/ Deciduous Trees

  • Advantage Classic– Blends perfectly in any environment.
  • Ameristep by Tangle- Combination of oak and maple trees.
  • Cabelas Seclusion 3D- The most universally effective camo created.
  • Cabelas Zonz- Perched in a tree, hiding in brush, or through leafless branches.
  • Matrix Camo- Pattern that is open blended with maple trees and greens and tans.
  • Mossy Oak by Bottomland- Created two decades ago, it is Bottomlands original camo
  • Mossy Oaks Forest Floors- Ultra realistic autumn leaf patterns with legendary shadow techniques.
  • Mossy Oak Obsession-  Designed to get you through the first day of archery season to the last day of turkey season.
  • Mossy Oak by Treestand- made specifically for hunters who hunt from an elevated position.
  • Optifade- Offers a science based concealment pattern.

Marsh/  Waterfowl applications

  • Cabela’s Seclusion 3D Backwaters- photo quality images of fallen timber over a brown background.
  • Cabela’s Zonz Waterfowl- Blends into fields, water, and everything in between.
  • Delta Hunter Marsh- A varying blend of brown and tan shades incorporated into a cattail pattern.
  • Farm Land Corn Belt- A mix of corn leaves, stalks, and roots.
  • Mossy Oaks Duck Blend- True dirt color to represent dry and wet land, with elements of millet, wild oats, and corn stalks.
  • Mossy Oak Shadow Grass- Textured bark, photo realistic images of grass and marsh foliage.
  • Mossy Oak Shadow Grass- The first dark shadow cast from a blade of grass, in nature shadows over all else is constant.
  • Realtree MAX-4- Melts into marshes, grasslands, deserts, broomsage, and croplands.
  • Real Tree Max-5- On the pursuit to hunt ducks and geese, this print will make you disappear into a variety of elements.
  • True Timber Flooded Timber- A combination of cattails, different kinds of grass, and intense shadows.

Snow/Winter Camo

  • Cabelas Outfitter Snow- Shadows of gray, It is most effective when hunting on a partially snow covered ground, or on snowy timber.
  • Cabelas Outfitter Winter Camo- Utilizing the shades of white and contrasting shades of gray.
  • Cabelas Seclusion 3D Winter- Unlike a pure white snow image, this has photographic quality images, with trees and branches included.
  • Cabelas Zonz Woodlands Snow- Perched in a tree, heavy bush hiding, or while stalking in leafless branches this design has you hidden.
  • Kings Snow Shadow- A perfect blend for that late-season hunter and predator activities.
  • Mossy Oaks Winter Break-Up- On a pure white background, utilizes Break-Ups leaf and limb configuration.
  • Naked North Snow- This is effective while hunting on the ground or up above, utilizing multiple shades of grey break up.
  • NaturalGear Snow- A scientifically designed pattern to make you disappear in any kind of situation, capturing the snows real hues.
  • Ridge Reaper Snow- Specifically designed for areas that recently experienced heavy rainfall.
  • True Timber MC2 Snow- Extremely detailed, one of the best snow patterns on the market displaying simple details like snow clinging to tiny branches.

The Importance of a Proper Fit/Fit-Guide

Proper-Fit-Best-Hunting-Boots-Reviewed

You must know by now that one boot is not going to be suitable for all styles of hunting. The rubber neoprene slip on boot likely won’t do you well if your trekking many miles, while a booth with added ankle support will be the best on the side of a mountain it is not necessarily needed for less strenuous forms of hiking around, and a waterproof boot is a must have in the wetlands yet, not all hunting boots for dry season are equipped with water-proofing abilities.

The proper fit of a hunting boot is a serious note to consider, you should never settle for boots that ‘just don’t’ fit right’ or that are broken down or worn out. This will put you in a position to end your trip early or become pretty miserable while on it. You are likely to know which season, game, and elements you are going to be working in, and this is quite helpful in researching what boot is fitted to your needs. Let’s start with the fit and last of a boot.

Fit and Last: You will need to ensure that the boot ‘matches’ your foot. In the old days’ a good fitted boot had something referred to as a ‘last’ it was made out wood then. Today the last is usually made out of aluminum. Here is where finding the right fit gets a bit more complicated- a size 10.5 made by a certain company is surely not going to fit the same as a boot made by a competing company. Even within the same company the last of their boots often times differ, creating varying sizes.

If you are a size nine, ten, or eleven medium, most general lasts are built for you, that’s great news if you’re at that size! Although, what if you don’t fall into that category? A narrow or medium sized foot you will need to spend a little extra time searching for the perfect boot.

Support: Hunters all will require different levels of support, depending on what exactly they are hunting. This also coincides with what terrain and geographical location you will do your hunting in. An avid western big game hunter is not going to do well in a tree stand boot, they often wear rugged athletic style boots that weigh less by the pound or boots with plenty of ankle support.

To determine if a boot has enough footbed support for your needs you can take the boot, you can put the boots toe in one hand and the heel in the other, then twist it in opposite directions. Heavy duty hiking style boots will barely move, while a boot with little footbed support will move almost a good 2  inches. When you’re hiking hardcore terrain at almost 6,000 feet, you’ll be far more pleased that you chose the boots with no twist and much more protection. These firm-support boots will take much longer to break in so give that the time it needs to ‘feel right’.

A properly fit hunting boot will take you many miles in comfort while on the flip, an improperly fit will take you not so many miles, in a lot of miserable pain potentially ruining a trip. The information throughout this guide should help in finding a good fitted boot, but further research and even going into a local store that sells hunting styled boots can give you the extra support needed to find a properly fitted shoe for your outdoor adventures.

Full Grain Leather Vs Smooth Leather

Top-Grain-Leather-Best-Hunting-Boots-Reviewed

Upon researching you will find that hunting boots generally use two types of leather, full grain leather or top grain leather. Both of these can serve its purposes, and both definitely have different cleaning methods. Be sure to clean your full grain leather with a chemical treatment meant for it. While you can clean a smooth leather boot with either a chemical treatment solution or a natural oil preparation.

Full Grain Leather: This refers to leather that has not been smoothed out, no buffing, smoothing, or sanding has taken place with this type of leather. You are getting the full leather appeal. Full grain leathers are available in two types; aniline, or semi-aniline.

Top Grain Leather: This is the most common type of leather used in high-end footwear, like the best hunting boots. It has had the split layer separated away, making it smoother and far more pliable to work with. After the top coat has been sanded to be smooth, and a finish coat added it is less breathable. The top coat added also adds a ‘cooled touch’ to the leather. It is typically less expensive and does not form a natural patina.

 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the US based hunting boots companies? 

A: If you find yourself looking for a USA made hunting boot, there are many websites that offer purely USA made hunting boots.

Companies that offer US made hunting boots

  • Danner
  • Thoregood
  • Carolina Shoe Co
  • Chipewwa Boots
  • Carolina Shoe Co
  • Chippewa Boots
  • Danner Hunting Boots
  • Filson Uplander Boots
  • Gokey Boots
  • Itasca Leathergoods
  • Rocky Boots
  • Schnees Hunting Boots
  • Whites Hunters

Q: How to clean and treat hunting boots

A: Hunting boots potentially come with a costly price tag, truth is most avid hunters don’t mind paying a price like this. In actuality, hunters love to invest in a top quality hunting boot, viewing it as as a long term commitment and a requirement, entailing a few very important upkeep routines if the boots are going to last.

It is fact that a shoe well cared for will take you on far more adventures than a shoe not handled properly. To ensure that you get the most out of it, there are specific treatment processes, and cleaning methods that will need to be performed annually, or ideally thereafter an intensive hunting trip. All of the mud, leaves, sticks, and other inevitable elements that are bound to happen to your boots is likely to cause some of the natural oils in the leather to work its way out, leaving you with a dried out or less desirable in appearance, thus needing you to replace these oils. This kind of wear and tear on a boot, additionally means it will most likely need extra protection right out of the box. A hunters boots should be cared for during off season with the manners used to treat other significant items in your arsenal like guns, and electronic equipment.

Ideally one should do an annual boot clean/treatment process, this ensures the longest possible lifetime of the boot, as well as the best possible appearance in leather or other materials used. Most hunting boots are made entirely out of leather or leather/fabric combinations. Depending on the material used there are products on the market to revitalize an old boot, or add some protection to your newly purchased ones.

Cabelas is a well-known company to purchase cleaning equipment from for either type of material used on your boot.

Cleaning a boot prior to an annual treatment: To clean a boot you will probably want to use a soft brush (if needed) and some water. Use the wetted brush to scrub the boots material in multi-directional circles as needed. Once it is clean to the desired level, towel dry it, follow this with a few minutes of air drying before proceeding into the treatment.

Performing an annual treatment: If you are treating all-leather boots you have the option to use either an all natural oil paste like Obenauf’s, or a chemical treatment process like Granger’s.

Obenauf’s is a Beeswax/Propolis Suspension Formula, this formula returns the oils into the leather. When you open this type of formula it could be hard, you may want to blow dry it to soften. You will need to use your bare hands to apply the cream, the warmth of your hand furthers the softening process and can help to open the pores in the leather. Work the leather fully into the leather, then allow it to air dry or blow dry to speed up the process. Applying two coats is generally adds extra protection, but you can also get any spots you may have missed the first time around.

You will notice that the boot becomes darker upon conditioning, this is due to the oils returning into the leather, over time the boot will lighten as the oil works it way out again. Naturally the boot will repel water better, this is an additional benefit from the beeswax.

Additionally, if you are treating nubuck leather with Obenauf’s, it will completely smooth the grain to a full leather feel, while changing its appearance. If you purchased a nubuck leather boot for appearance, you will need to use a product like Granger’s to protect the look.

In the other hand, the second option for conditioning your boots is by a chemical cleaning and treatment, that can be done by using Granger’s. There are three different products  that Granger’s has to offer: a product for full grain leather, one for fabric/leather combination boots, and a third for nubuck/suede leather. The three of these products all utilize the same process to get you to the end result. Cleaned, conditioned, protected boots.

After you have thoroughly cleaned your boots with water, and a brush. Next applied is a chemical based solution that furthers the cleaning process, this solution is called Granger’s G-Tec Conditioner. Do this process twice for best results, allow your boots to air dry after this cleaning process. Lastly, you will apply the second product in the same process that you did the cleaning solution. Both mixtures come in special applicator bottles much like shoe polish for easy management. This also keeps the chemicals off of your skin.

It is okay to clean your all- leather boots with a natural oil based paste, although for combination leathers you should use a chemical treatment.

Q: How to waterproof hunting boots?

A: The best solution to use to waterproof a hunting boot is going to be a product called Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather, this will get the job done the right way, or so customers say. It is an easy to use safe product to use, providing Durable Water Repellency (DWR). You can purchase the liquid in black/brown to restore color of the leather. It is non-flammable, free of any harmful solvents; VOCs and fluorocarbons. They do their best to minimize the effects on the environment and on the user. A product of choice by professional outdoor adventurers time again.

Q: How should a hunting boot fit?

A: We’ve all tried on an improperly fitted shoe at some time in our lives, and that hurts! It is estimated that 63% of Americans have foot problems at some time in their lives, while non-shoe wearing cultures have a mere 3% of the population experiencing issues with their feet. The problem is not the actual wearing of the shoe, but the misfitted shoe on the foot, over many decades. A properly worn boot is very important to avoid foot aches and pains, and to help the shoe last its longest.

Prior to purchasing a shoe, you may want to try a few of these methods to get a correct size to purchase before ordering. There are a few different options you can try to find out what size your feet are, remember the size of feet change through our lifetime.

Option number one is to check your closet for the most recent boot that you’ve worn. Usually, there is a good chance that the boot you have previously fit in, will still fit you now.

Sizing option two is to measure your foot using the industry standards. Here are the directions to do so:

  1. Find a hard floor and lay a blank sheet of paper on the ground.
  2. Put on a sock of medium thickness, now stand on the paper.
  3. While vertically holding a pencil at a 90 degree angle, place a mark at the end of your heel.
  4. Once again place a mark at the very tip of your longest toe.
  5. Lastly to find your shoe size, measure the heel-to-toe mark, and use the inch-to-size table to determine your size.
  6. If your measurements are between two sizes, or if your find one foots measurements to be larger than the other. Always move up to the next size.
  7. You can find a fit-to-size chart online, or huntingbootpro.com offers a nice one.

American made shoes tend to be made with a “generous” amount of room, compared to the athletic shoes and boots we have been accustomed to overtime. If you are ordering a boot made in America, you will want to order a half size smaller. (Ex: if your shoes are size 11 try a 10.5).

If you have already ordered your shoe, directly out of the box and for first-try-on it is best to completely remove the laces and re-lace your boots. Make sure to snug the laces through each eyelet. There should be no slack in the toe area, yet be sure not to over tighten them! After the shoes are laced properly, take a small walk-skip around your living room. Be sure not to go outside until you know your boots fit properly.

Keep in mind that evening is the best time to measure your boots, as our feet naturally swell throughout the day. Thus, if your boot fits snug in the morning time, it may be to tight to wear at the evening when your feet have swelled slightly. After you have determined the afternoon/evening fit, you will then need to determine your morning fit, first thing in the morning. They should fit ok in the morning.

Toe Room: Ideally you will want a snug fit around the heel, forefoot, and ankle, then plenty of room in the toe box. This room allows for natural swelling and protects your toes from hitting the front during downhill movement. Slide your foot all the way to the front while standing upright, now slide your finger down the back behind your heel, you should have at least one fingers width behind your heel and the back of the shoe.

Heel: If the heel area is loose, you can try and tighten the laces that are right at the ankle-bend. If the boot is an ankle high fit, you will tighten the very top two eyelets, again directly at the bend of the ankle.

Instep: The instep is the space on top of your foot near the ankle area. If you notice that your instep has too much pressure on it, try skipping the lacing directly over the affected area. Although you may experience a loose heel region with this method of lacing.

Wide Feet: If you are someone with wide feet, or have a boot that is laced too narrow for your feet. You may experience slight pain or numbness at the ball of the foot. This can be relieved by first trying to loosen the laces around the affected area if this gives no relief you may need a thinner insole.

Narrow Feet: A few tricks to tighten your boot around a narrow pair of feet, is to tighten the laces around the affected area first. If simply tightening your laces does not work or they become too loose over time, then you can try adding an extra padded insole underneath the arched insole that came with the boot. Make sure the extra insole is flat for this purpose. If over all your narrow foot is causing heel slippage, look into a runner’s knot.

If your boots are creating abnormal pressure on the tops of your toes along with creasing, you may find it helpful to add a thicker insole or a ‘rubber bar’. If none of these things help you may have a shoe that is too wide, long, or that has too much interior volume. Lastly, if your shoes are feeling too tight at the tops, this should subside after the break-in period. Although, you may desire to loosen the laces during the break in phase.

After all the required adjustments have taken place, and all checks out inside. You are ready to get going on the outside of things, first you can try out a walk around your neighborhood (try to incorporate a few uphills into your walk that way you get a better feel for movement). If after this walk your boots are deemed comfortable, now is your time to take them on an actual hike!

Be sure to bring along a pair of comfortable shoes, in case these ones end up taking a turn for the worst, and never settle for an improperly fitted boot.

Q: What is the warmest hunting boot made of?

A: Generally speaking, field boots are built for the most extreme cold weather hunting trips. Yet there are three different types of hunting boots to think about; field boots, rubber boots, and snake boots.

Each boot built for a different purpose, and the amount of insulation in grams is what you can take note of when deciding how warm you would like your hunting boots to be.

Grams of insulation means how warm the hunting boot will be, by how thick the insulation is inside of the boot. On a chart, 200 grams of insulation is going to be great for cold summer or fall nights, while 2,000 grams of insulation will keep you comfortable in the most extreme cold weather cases.

200 Grams: Built for evenings with high activity levels, or nicely mild cool days or evenings.

400 Grams: These will be your go-to boots for mildly cooler days that contain moderate to little activity. They can also be used as good work boots.

800 Grams: This much insulation is good for colder days between 30 to 40 degrees, and light activity.

1,200 Grams : This type of boot is meant for extremely cold weather, probably in the winter months when the temperature can drop below 30 degrees.

2,000 Grams: When a boot is insulated to 2,000 grams it is built for extreme cold weather situations where there is little to no activity at all. These are best when the temperature is below 0 degrees. They are quite difficult to move around in because the padding is so thick.

A few popular materials used for warmth, in the best hunting boots are thinsulate, polyester, and wool.

Q: How to get rid of stink in a hunting boot?

A: Foot stink can get pretty serious for hunters, with all the work a hunter is doing on their outdoor adventures. It is bound to happen at some point in time, and when it does, you are going to need a remedy to keep your boots fresh scented. Keeping your boots deodorized by air drying often, and routine cleanings can prevent harmful microbes from invading, and keep mold and mildew at a minimum. Although when the worst happens and the stink just won’t go or if you have naturally smelly feet you’ll need to take greater measure to eliminate the bad smell.

Typically there are two options that umbrella the de-stink-a-shoe market into many, many types of formulas and gadgets. That is a can of spray/powder, or a more advanced gadget like a Shoe Zap Shoe Sanitizer!

The most organic one I have heard of is probably going to be a baking soda and vinegar soak. This is done simply by sprinkling some baking soda into your boot, then wetting the inside of the boot with vinegar, and after a good air dry any bad odor should subside. You may also desire to fill a spray bottle with a baking soda/vinegar mixture then spray them that way for easy management. This formulation can also be used as needed throughout the season, that way you can prevent stink from happening in the first place.

A few of the top shoe deodorizer gadgets on the market today include; Stink Boss, UV Total Recovery, Steri Shoe, and ShoeZap.

Generally, these gadgets work with UV light treatments sessions inside of the boot, to kill any bacteria or microorganisms that may be causing your feet and shoes to smell bad.

There are also some preventative measures that you may want to include in your regimens.

  • Dietary supplements
  • Foot odor reducing socks
  • Shoe deodorizers
  • Shoe sterilizers
  • Foot spray
  • Shoe spray
  • Antiperspirants
  • Creams
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Foot soaks

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