Best Hunting Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance

If you enjoy going on a hunt, a proper pair of footwear for such activity can really improve your overall experience. Whether you prefer active or sedentary, spring, fall or winter, there is definitely a pair of hunting boots that will cover your needs just perfectly. Thanks to a great expanse in the technology used to design and build all types of shoes, you can benefit from improvements in flexibility, comfort, weight, traction, and insulation, and all at prices which are justified for the quality you will be getting with your chosen boot.

Last Updated: August 15, 2018
By Ana Rockov:

The latest update to this article removes discontinued models, as well as those which are no longer available for purchase. Some items have been replaced, and several changes have been made to improve the readability of the article, as well as to eliminate excess and repetitive information. This means that you will be able to more easily access all the info you need for making your next purchase.

The most important aspect of any pair of boots made for hunts is to protect your feet from the harsh conditions of the environments through which you will be walking. These may include dew, rain, snow, as well as uneven terrain and obstacles which require you to have a stable step. Furthermore, most hunts include a great deal of walking, which means that it is crucial that your footwear fits you perfectly, as well as that it provides you with adequate support and shock absorption in order to prevent unnecessary fatigue or even injury.

Featured Recommendations

Kamik Hunter
  • Kamik Hunter
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Waterproof
  • 13-inch Shaft Height
  • Price: See Here
Irish Setter Wingshooter
  • Irish Setter Wingshooter
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lace-up Vamp
  • UltraDry Waterproofing
  • Price: See Here
Rocky Retraction
  • Rocky Retraction
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Waterproof
  • 800g Insulation
  • Price: See Here

The following list looks at the ten best pairs of hunting boots available for purchase online. Including brands such as Irish Setter, Kamik, Rocky, LaCrosse, Danner and more, you are bound to find the perfect pair for you, with all the features that are going to help you become the best hunter you can possibly be. Additionally, you will find that there is also plenty of useful information about what to look for in your next chosen pair of boots so that your new boots perform well on more than just front.

 

10 Best Hunting Boots

 

1. Kamik Hunter

If you’re looking for a waterproof boot with nice details and features, then the Kamik Hunter is going to be one of the best options 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, your calves and feet will stay dry even in deep snow on cold winter days.
Expand to see more
13-inch" Knee High Shaft Height
The Kamik Hunter features a high shaft that serves multiple purposes. One is to stabilize your ankle and protect it from outside influences. The other is to help keep you warm when the temperatures drop. On the inside of this shaft is a snug thermal liner which creates a snugger fit to the boot and provides extra warmth. The outsole of the shaft is made from rubber and features an adjustable snow collar.

Explorer TPR Outsole
The Kamik Hunter features a well-designed outsole that was made to be durable above all. Made from a TPR material, the sole of these boots works rather well in most circumstances, and is appropriate in wet conditions and challenging terrains.

Cost and Value
The Kamik Hunter will set you back an average amount compared to the other items on this list. While this pair of specialty footwear costs more than what you may be used to from regular sneakers, the Hunter is definitely an investment worth making, as it will serve you well and last you plenty of time.
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • 13-inch Shaft Height
  • Removable, Thermal Liner
  • Explorer TPR Outsole
  • Snow Collar
Cons

Size Runs Small

Rubber Requires Care To Prevent Cracking

2. Irish Setter Wingshooter

The Wingshooter by Irish Setter is a stellar pair of boots, which is why they’re popular even among non-hunters who like good quality and good looks. Designed to keep you comfortable even during the most demanding upland treks. Completely waterproof thanks to the UltraDry technology, these come in several versions, including a 7” and a 9” one. This means that you can choose the level of coverage that suits you most, without having to sacrifice the great underfoot cushioning and comfort that the Wingshooter provides.
Expand to see more
UltraDry Waterproofing
The Wingshooter includes some of Irish Setter’s best technology, aimed at providing you comfort throughout your entire hunt. Featuring UltraDry waterproofing, these boots have a waterproof lining that won’t allow moisture inside the shoes, but will prevent excessive sweating through an efficient moisture management system.

9-inch Shaft Height
With a 9-inch shaft height, you can be at ease when walking through briars, thorn, and thistles. Protected by leather, your lower legs, ankles, and feet will be grateful for the added guard against a brush environment.

Cost and Value
Just like most items on our list, the Irish Setter Wingshooter comes at an average cost for this type of product. It’s definitely a good investment, and can even be worn on more casual occasions thanks to the great outsole and comfort features that make it a warm and waterproof pair of boots that won’t get too hot when the weather warms up.
Pros
  • UltraDry Waterproofing
  • Contrast-stitched Moccasin Toe
  • Lace-up Vamp; Quicklace
  • 9-inch Shaft Height
  • Prairie Sole
Cons

Non-Insulated

Waterproofing Lasts 6 Months

3. Rocky Retraction

Practicality and comfort are two of the most important things you need to look for in the next pair of footwear you wear on your hunting trip. The Rocky Retraction features both and is a great choice thanks to its 800 grams of 3M Thinsulate, an Energybed footbed, their Strobel, and cement construction as well as the fact that they’re waterproof so you don’t have to suffer from wet feet.
Expand to see more
Energybed Footbed
This footbed's design is made to give you comfort, all day long. When your feet remain comfortable, you are able to reap the rewards of less fatigue, and the overall feeling of remaining fresh and alert.

8-inch Shaft Height
An 8-inch shaft height is ideal for situations involving low and light brush conditions. Furthermore, the angle cut at the top helps to provide comfort while wearing the Rocky Retraction.

Cost and Value
Being the cheapest item on this list, the Rocky Retraction is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an entry-level piece of gear that will provide good value for money. With plenty of insulation and comfort features, you’ll definitely love wearing these whenever you get the chance.
Pros
  • 8-inch Shaft Height
  • Rocky Waterproofing
  • 800 grams 3M Thinsulate
  • Energybed Footbed
  • Strobel/cement Construction
Cons

Size Runs Small

May Leak

4. Irish Setter Elk Tracker

4. Irish Setter Elk Tracker
If you’re a big game hunter who is set on delivering, then the Irish Setter Elk Tracker is definitely a shoe for you. Made for the harshest conditions and with the best possible features for this type of hunting, these boots will provide you with excellent protection, warmth, traction, and waterproofing. They’re made with a full grain leather upper that not only looks great, but provides a high-quality experience that will break in to fit you perfectly, and will last you a lifetime.
Expand to see more
GORE-TEX Waterproofing
To keep you dry no matter the conditions, Irish Setter has included a GORE-TEX membrane in the Elk Tracker. This means that these boots will be completely waterproof and will prevent any water from seeping in, while moisture that is generated from your foot will still be able to evaporate, preventing the development of odors and infections.

Removable Footbed
The Irish Setter Elk Tracker features one of the most comfortable footbeds you can purchase. Made with a combination of cork and memory foam, these boots will keep you supported and pain-free, while being incredibly soft to the touch and able to perfectly mold to your foot shape.

Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the Irish Setter Elk Tracker may not be for everyone’s budget, but it’s definitely a style to consider if you want a pair of boots that you’ll be able to wear with years to come. Thanks to the natural materials and excellent outsole used in the construction process, these won’t require any complicated care routines, allowing you to spend more time hunting and less time worrying about your boots.
Pros

1000g of 3M Tinsulate Ultra

Full Grain Waterproof Upper

Aggressive Thread

GORE-TEX

12” Shaft

Cons

Heavy

Not for Use on Wet Asphalt

5. LaCrosse Alphaburly

5. LaCrosse Alphaburly
This knee-high hunting boot can truly withstand any type of weather. It is well insulated with an EVA footbed for ultimate comfort. Built with an embossed liner to better help with circulation, it is highly valued as one of the best pairs of footwear made with hunters in mind. One of the easiest boots to manage, the LaCrosse Alphaburly features Active Fit technology that allows you to adjust the fit of your boots to suit your personal preferences perfectly.
Expand to see more
Removable EVA Footbed
The EVA footbed is quite special in the LaCrosse Alphaburly seeing that it provides premium comfort throughout and even on those lengthier hunting trips. The Alphaburly has extra shock absorption via the dense and durable foam of the EVA midsole, which means that our legs won’t get sore or fatigued after a long day outside.

Embossed Liner
The embossed liner provides extra circulation and air ventilation. This is, especially, valued during the winter or rainy months while hunting. With this liner, you will remain cool under pressure and when it matters the most.

Cost and Value
The Lacrosse Alphaburly ranks slightly above average when it comes to cost. It’s a high quality product that is definitely worth investing your hard-earned money in. It features an aesthetically pleasing design, provides good airflow for breathability, is fully adjustable and can even fit custom orthotics.
Pros
  • EVA Midsole
  • Removable Footbed
  • Waterproof
  • Embossed Liner
  • Thinsulate Insulation
Cons

Size Runs Small

Not for Extreme Cold Conditions

6. Danner Pronghorn

6. Danner Pronghorn
The Danner pronghorn is a pair of footwear that’s been around for more than two decades. This is a style that’s now in its fourth iteration, and was created so as to offer you the best of the iconic style coupled with plenty of technological innovation. If you’re looking for a pair of boots that are waterproof but not insulated, then the Pronghorn is definitely a great option to go with.
Expand to see more
Pronghorn Outsole
The outsole on the se boots was made to perform in the most rugged terrains, giving you plenty of traction and protection. The bumper toe will ensure that you get some extra security, and will also work to protect the leather upper of the boot from scuffing and scraping.

Athletic Fit
Made for comfort, the Pronghorn features an anatomical forefoot that provides great comfort in the arch, as well as in the roomy toe area. This means that your toes will be able to splay, and naturally grip with every step you take. The heel locks you in for a secure feel, preventing any slippage or risk of injury.

Cost and Value
With a price that is comparable to most other styles on this list, the Danner Pronghorn is an excellent option for those who want the benefits of GORE-TEX waterproofing, but are looking for a style that isn’t insulated, and that can be worn in warmer weather.
Pros

Leather and Woven Nylon Upper

Anatomical Footbed

GORE-TEX Waterproofing

Color Won’t Fade

Pronghorn Outsole

Cons

Unsuitable for Cold Conditions

Leaking Issues

7. LaCrosse AeroHead

7. LaCrosse AeroHead
If you’re looking for durability, the Lacrosse AeroHead hunting boot is ideal. The upper has a design made of neoprene and polyurethane; a combination for giving you both waterproofing and durability; especially, after adding a second combination of spandex and Lycra over the neoprene. Furthermore, these hunting boots are very comfortable. They are great for most types of hunting trips in the marsh where you may be stalking.
Expand to see more
Jersey Knit Liner
This liner has moisture wicking properties, a must-have for allowing a quicker dry time. Furthermore, this liner helps to bring you comfort, as it will feel good in contact with your feet and won’t cause excessive sweating that may lead to bad odors.

Realtree MAX-5 Camo Pattern
This pattern has the mindset of you traversing terrains such as marshes, flooded timbers, and/or open plains. This camouflage is ideal for waterfowl hunting. As such, these best hunting boots are ready for the day you have in mind for them.

Cost and Value
The LaCrosse AeroHead is a pair of footwear that is made for a specific purpose, but does not have a steep price tag. That’s why it’s a pair that you should consider investing in, especially if you find that they suit your personal preferences.
Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Abrasion-resistant
  • Jersey Knit Liner
  • Realtree MAX-5 Camo Pattern
  • Underfoot Cushioning
Cons

Runs Narrow

Runs Large

8. MuckBoots Woody Max

8. MuckBoots Woody Max
The 15” Woody Max by the Original Muck Boot Company is definitely the style you should get if you’re looking for an all-round pair of hunting boots. With a temperature comfort rating that goes as low as -40°F, you’ll find that these will work well in various environments, including those where you need stabilization and safety (provided by the 1” platform). The inside is impressive as well, featuring an EVA midsole and fleece lining that will provide excellent wearability in most conditions.
Expand to see more
15" Shaft Height
A 15” shaft height helps to provide your feet with greater protection against brush-type environments (e.g. passing through a thorn bush). Furthermore, the lengthy shaft height provides additional stability, keeping your ankles safe throughout your adventure.

EVA Midsole
The midsole is made out of EVA foam, thus, giving your feet wonderful comfortability throughout the hunt. Cushioning is great when the hours become long; especially, when standing still is the difference between a catch and a miss.

Cost and Value
The cost associated with The Muck Boots Woody Max is average when compared to the other models featured on this list. They are a practical choice that will work well in moderate winter conditions, which makes them a good option even if you plan on wearing them when you’re not on a hunting trip.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • 1-inch Platform
  • 15-inch Shaft Height
  • PK Mesh Lining
  • EVA Midsole
Cons

Lacks Comfort in Cold

Tight Calf

9. Bogs Bowman WP

9. Bogs Bowman WP
An easy slip-on pair of hunting boots with easy-on pull handles, and a nice camouflage design makes the Bogs Bowman WP one of the best choices for hunters. These boots contain a 6-mm lining made of Neo-Tech™ and Bogs Max-Wick™ plus Airmesh; providing an environment conducive to ventilation while, simultaneously, keeping your feet warm all night long. The outsole is made with aggressive tread; thereby, allowing you to traverse more extreme terrain types. Furthermore, Scent Combat technology helps to fight unwanted foot odor.
Expand to see more
Max- Wick Lining with Airmesh
To help keep moisture out of your footbed and insole, these Bowman waterproof boots are made of Max-Wick lining with Airmesh. This allows you to keep your feet dry in all types of wet climates.

Scent Combat TechnologyAEGIS Antimicrobial Insole
Do you need a hunting boot that will keep out unwanted, unhealthy, and potentially, smelly microbes and foot odors? The Bogs Bowman is made with a specialized Scent Combat technology to help fight off the nasty microbial bacteria that may start to form in those long days of hunting.

Cost and Value
Priced at the upper-range for a high-quality hunting boot, purchasing a pair of these Bogs Bowman Hunting boots will make your feet happy in the end. They are comfortable, practical, durable, and will last throughout the most adventurous of hunting seasons.
Pros
  • Waterproof Upper
  • Bogs Max-Wick™ Lining
  • Easy-On Pull Handles
  • Aggressive Tread
  • Neo-Tech™
Cons

Size Runs Small

Require Breaking In

10. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme

10. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme
You may find yourself in some extremely challenging terrains during your hunting trips, but not to worry. This is one of the most serious boots you will find with a 10-inch shaft height and a very, durable design and a high-quality combination of materials. It contains 400 grams of Thinsulate material; keeping you warm and dry in any weather condition. The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme are lightweight and have high traction, due to the K-Talon outsoles.
Expand to see more
Light weight K-Talon Outs Sole
The outsoles are formulated with K-Talon. This material is known for providing high-performance traction while on the go and being one of the lightest weight materials an outsole can be formulated from.

Thinsulate Insulationinsole
The Thinsulate insulation is built for the wettest and coldest weather. It provides extra warmth on those cold challenging hunting trips and all throughout the nighttime. Thinsulate insulation 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 of 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 Insulation; 400 grams
  • K-Talon Outsole
  • Waterproof
  • 7mm Nylon Midsole
  • One-piece Vamp
Cons

Expensive

Slippery Outsole

There you have it, our choice of the ten best hunting boots available for purchase online. When shopping for this type of footwear – whether you plan on wearing it to a hunt, for doing outdoor activities, or even for casual use, it is important to opt for the models and features that will fit your needs best. All options listed above are made with high-quality materials and have plenty of protective features to ensure that you are safe, no matter the terrain and temperature. If, however, you feel like you need more knowledge about how to make a choice, make sure to read the following sections which give plenty of useful information that may help you find the best hunting boots for you.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Hunting Boots

Overall Weight

When it comes to a good-quality pair of hunting boots, let’s face it, weight does matter. While you’re out 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, after you kick your shoeless 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 1-pound is a pretty good find on the light end, and you will, generally, see this in your duck hunting, knee-high, rubber duck hunting boots. The opposite end of the scale comes in at a heavy 7 pounds, give or take, This weight is, usually, seen in hiking-style deer hunting boots.

 

Shaft Height

Most hunting boots have been designed with a different specific use in mind. The footwear you would use for active hunts may not be the best option for bait hunting. Similarly, bird hunts are not the same as deer or elk hunts, so choosing the right type of shoes is crucial – not just to ensure that your prey is not scared by your movement, but even more importantly, so that your feet are protected from the different types of terrain and conditions these activities include. The height of the boot shaft plays an important role when it comes to this. While some boots have a shorter shaft, others will go up to 13”, all the way to your knees, thus providing more protection. If you tend to do your hunting in snow or wet environments, a higher shaft can make a huge difference in terms of heat retention and keep snow or rain out.

 

Anti-properties

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, liners, and the midsole is 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 highly beneficial to the wearer these types of materials be used in their shoe, especially, shoes they’ll be wearing for long hours and up 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; yet, not limited to their spectrum of activity, the 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 the growth of a microorganism without causing damage to its host.

On a side note: certain boots use materials that contain naturally 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 cell’s membrane is in direct contact with the copper; therefore, the outer membrane ruptures. Sequentially, the other way has to do with the holes in the outer membrane that causes an overall weakening of the microbe’s cell; thus, ceasing it to exist. It kills 99.9% of active bacteria within 2 hours and 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 and compete for top place in effectiveness; thereby, the great formulas are in usage over and over again in active gear.

Key Features/ Beneficial Additions

There is a wide spectrum when it comes to additional features that the best hunting boots contain, but to name a few and their purposes, the list is as follows:

  • Thinsulate is an insulation created with a specially engineered material. This material is made of fibers that are about 15 micrometers in diameter. This is slightly thinner than polyester and is, generally, in usage as insulation found in clothing. Thinsulate is advertised to be far more effective than polyester, due to its greater density duality with thinner fibers. This kind of insulation is effective in keeping the body comfortably warm while any sweat is in an environment to evaporate easily.
  • K-Talon high-traction outsoles are comprised of an aggressive, toothy-outsole that provides great multi-directional traction.

Furthermore, the variety is so vast for these additional features, especially,  if you are looking for something 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, and some more of the features to look for include:

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

 

Outsole 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 a fall, slipping in wet weather, or twisting your ankle during a hunting trip. A pair of the best boots will have an outsole profile that creates a heavy-duty grip.

One of the more common outsoles in hunting boots is the TPR outsole. This type of outsole is referencing the use of thermoplastic rubber for the shoe outsole. TPE, on the other hand, is an acronym for thermoplastic elastomers (a special rubber that belongs to a group of copolymers). For the best traction and grip, however, rubber is what is, generally, used. If you are heading into an environment with thick mud, aggressive traction is the way to go. Also, keep in mind the outsole’s anti-debris ability, as this can make the difference between a light walk versus a heavy one.

 

Camouflage

The importance of camouflage (cryptic coloration) 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; masking identity, location, and movement. There is an extremely large variety of camo used to design good hunting boots. This is all for a  very good reason, as a hunter needs to keep themselves hidden from predators and/or the animals they are hunting.

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. I assure you, in any element, you may find yourself hunting in, there is a design fit for your hunting lifestyle!

Top Camouflage Designs for each Element

River Bottom/Deciduous Trees

  • Advantage Classic – blends perfectly in any environment.
  • Ameristep by Tangle – a combination of oak and maple trees.
  • Cabelas Seclusion 3D – the most, universally, effective camo created.
  • Cabelas Zonz – perched in a tree, hiding in the brush, or through leafless branches.
  • Matrix Camo – pattern that is open-blended with maple trees, 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 wetland 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 remains constant.
  • Realtree MAX-4 – melts into marshes, grasslands, deserts, bloom, 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 a late-season hunter and predatory 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 a grey break-up.
  • NaturalGear Snow – a scientifically designed pattern to make you disappear in any kind of situation, capturing the snow’s 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.

A man in plaid kneeling down and pouring drink from thermos into cap

The Importance of a Proper Fit

You may 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 you’re trekking many miles. A boot with added ankle support will be the best on the side of a mountain, but it is not necessarily needed for less-strenuous forms of hiking around. A waterproof boot is a must-have in the wetlands. Furthermore, not all hunting boots for the dry season are equipped with waterproofing abilities.

The proper fit of a hunting boot is a serious note to consider, as you should never settle for boots that ‘just don’t fit right’ or ‘that is broken down and/or worn out.’ This will put you in a position to end your trip early; or at the very least, you might 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’ and was made out of wood. 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! But what if you don’t fall into that category? If you have a narrow or medium-sized foot, you will need to spend a little extra time searching for the correct size.

Support: Hunters will all 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 pair of boots, as they often wear rugged, athletic-style boots weighing less by the pound and/or boots with plenty of ankle support.

To determine if a boot has enough footbed support for your needs, you can take the boot’s toe in one hand and the heel in the other; then, twist it in opposing directions. Heavy-duty hiking style boots will barely move; whereas, 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 having much more protection. These firm-support boots might take longer to break in, so give the proper time it needs to ‘feel right.’

A properly fitted hunting boot will take you many miles in comfort; while on the flipside of the same coin, an improper fit will take you not so many miles and in a lot of miserable pain, potentially, ruining an otherwise good trip. The information throughout this guide should help in finding a good fitting boot, but further research and even going into a local store to be fitted can give you the extra support needed to find a proper shoe for your outdoor adventures.

 

Full-grain Leather Vs Smooth Leather

Upon researching, you will find that hunting boots, generally, use two types of leather; full-grain leather or top-grain leather. Both of these serve their own unique purposes and both, definitely, have different cleaning methods. Be sure to clean your full-grain leather with a chemical treatment meant for it. 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 such as 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, however, 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.

 

Caring for Your Boots

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 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 which will need to be performed annually, or ideally after an intensive hunting trip. All of the mud, leaves, sticks, and other inevitable elements that are bound to happen to your boots are 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 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 hunter’s boot should be cared for during the off-season with the manners used to treat other significant items in your arsenals like guns and electronic equipment.

Ideally, you 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 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 boot’s material in multi-directional circles, as needed. Once it is clean to the desired level, towel-dry it and 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; so, you may want to blow-dry it to soften. You will need to use your bare hands to apply the cream and the warmth of your hand furthers the softening process; thereby, you can help to open the pores in the leather. Work the cream, fully, into the leather and 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 to the leather and over time the boot will lighten, as the oil works its way out again. Naturally, the boot will repel water better and 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.

On 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 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, and protected boots.

After you have thoroughly cleaned your boots with water and a brush, you will apply a chemical-based solution which furthers the cleaning process. this solution is called, ‘Granger’s G-Tec Conditioner.’ Do this process twice for best results and allow your boots to air-dry after this cleaning process. Lastly, you will apply the second product in the same process that you did with 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.

Two hunters smiling in camo while hunting in the woods

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What are some of the best U.S.-based manufacturers?
A: If you find yourself looking for a U.S.A.-made hunting boot, here are some of the best brands to look for:

  • Danner
  • Thorogood
  • Carolina Shoe Co
  • Chippewa 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 waterproof my 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; providing Durable Water Repellency (DWR). You can purchase the liquid in black/brown to restore the color of the leather. It is non-flammable, free of any harmful solvents, VOC’s, and fluorocarbons. They do their best to minimize the effects on the environment and on the user. This is a product of choice by professional outdoor adventurers time again.

Q: What is the best level of insulation for my need?
A: Generally speaking, field boots are built for the most extreme cold weather hunting trips. There are three different types of hunting boots to think about: field boots, rubber boots, and snake boots.

Each boot is 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 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 prevent foot odor in my boots?
A: Foot stink can get pretty serious for hunters, especially, 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 freshly scented. Keep your boots deodorized by airdrying often, and perform routine cleanings, as this can prevent harmful microbes from invading and keep mold and mildew at a minimum. If 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.

Sources


Rockay Socks + Medal Hanger
Next Giveaway draw
1 Winner Picked!
Your email is safe with us. Pinky swear
Share:
Enter the giveaway