Learn how to choose the best hunting boots
       

        If you want to perform the best you can in the field, you need to take care of your feet. I find it’s really difficult to focus on the hunt if my feet are hot, aching, or freezing. Unlike a jacket, it’s pretty hard to take off your boots in the middle of a hunt.

        A good pair of hunting boots is one of the best investments you can make and honestly I consider your boots to be the most important part of any hunting outfit.

        Hunting boots come in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes, and features. It can be overwhelming to pick a pair of boots.

        Below I will go over exactly what to look for in a good pair of hunting boots and also offer a few different options.

        Quality hunting boots are a must on any hunt. From dove to whitetail and anything in between.

Quick Comparison

Product Quality Our Rating
Columbia Men's Bugaboot Plus III B+
Danner Pronghorn 8" Uninsulated Hunting Boot A+
MuckBoots Unisex Woody Sport Hunting Boot A-
Guide Gear Men's Insulated Waterproof Sport Boots 400 Gram B
Kamik Men's Nationplus Boot B-
 

How To Select The Best Pair Of Hunting Boots For You

A good pair of boots is worth their weight in gold. This is why it is extremely important to select a pair of boots that fit you and your specific needs.

There are universal features found in pretty much all hunting boots. However, there are probably features you don’t need or maybe even want. For example boots with thick insulation will be awful if you are trekking through a hot humid environment.

This may seem obvious to you, but the thing you need to realize here is each pair of hunting boots are made for a specific purpose. Depending on when and where you will be hunting you may need different pairs of hunting boots.

Function

Hunting boots can be broken down into several categories. Each category of boot will have various traits that differ from the others as well as serve specific functions when hunting

  • Upland boots - Upland hunting boots are your traditional hiking boots. They are made for long distance walking on a gentler and even terrain and are generally used by bird hunters, and early season elk hunters.
  • High Country Boots - These boots are made for serious hunters, due to their toughness and quality. High Country boots are favored by big game hunters where you will be trekking through terrains that are rugged, steeper, and higher. If you’re hunting sheep, mule, deer, or elk this style of boot will be a great choice.
  • Rubber Boots - If your hunt involves wading through swamps, crossing streams, or just being in damp environments, a good pair of waterproof hunting boots will be a godsend.
  • Over Boots - These boots can be slipped on for additional warmth during colder days, and make a great choice for sedentary hunting.

There are a plethora of factors that can play a role in determining which boots are the best fit for you, and it is important to remember that a good pair of hunting boots is an investment. Remember to consider your needs when selecting a hunting boot.

Material

There are a large variety of materials available when it comes to hunting boots. Different materials will fill different needs, so it is important to know what some of these terms mean.

  • Leather - Leather is one of the oldest and probably most popular materials for hunting boots. While leather isn’t very breathable, it does offer a lot of protection from moisture. The stiffness and durability of leather make it great for providing exceptional foot support and protection.
  • Gore-Tex - This textile offers plenty of ventilation and is completely waterproof. Gore-Tex is a good choice for winter and fall hunting due to it's fine insulation qualities.
  • Rubber - Boots made from rubber are great for hunting swamps and marshes, but not really great when it comes to comfortability or breathability. However, boots made from rubber tend to be thick, inflexible, and heavy.They also have the added bonus of not holding scent. I would only choose rubber boots if you will be hunting swamps, bogs, or marshy areas.
  • Neoprene - Like rubber neoprene is completely waterproof but not at all breathable. However, it is lighter than rubber and tends to be exceptionally warm.

Height

When it comes to the height of your boot, you need to consider what kind of terrain you will be trekking through, and how much walking you think you will be doing. When referring to the height of a boot this is commonly referred to as the upper.

If you are going to be walking long distances you should try to pick a boot that comes up to your ankle. The flexibility you gain from a short upper is important to your comfort when trekking long distances.

If you plan to hunt high altitude places you should consider a taller upper for support and stability. The extra support will help to reduce fatigue in both your feet and legs and also help to prevent ankle injuries such as sprains and twists.

When choosing a hunting boot with a tall upper you need to consider your height as well. If the upper comes up too far on your leg it may limit your mobility and comfort.

Waterproof

Obviously, if you are planning to hunt swampy or marshy areas, waterproofing will be vital. However, the best waterproofing will let you walk through puddles and streams without getting your feet wet.

This is important if you plan to hunt all day and don’t want to stop to change socks. Materials like Gore-tex will offer both breathability and waterproofing, but be prepared to pay for it.

Insulation

If you plan to hunt during cold weather, insulation will be important. But how much insulation is also a good question?

A general rule of thumb for me personally is this; If I am planning on moving around a lot I want a boot with less insulation than if I am sitting.

If I am passively hunting I want a boot that has enough insulation to keep my feet warm, since I will not be moving them very much. Movement = heat.

When it comes to choosing the right amount of insulation there are three types of boot insulation to choose from.

  • Uninsulated - 200g - These boots have little or no insulation. This is a great option for stalking elk, hiking, or doing a lot of running.
  • 400 - 800g - This is your middle ground. For early and midseason hunters this is the ideal insulation range.
  • 1kg and up - Boots that have over 1,000 grams of insulation are designed for little to no activity since they are so insulated to protect against even the harshest winter conditions.

Durability

This is probably the most important aspect on this list for choosing the best hunting boot. Every hunter wants their boots to last season after season.

When you are choosing a hunting boot, you really want to make sure to look for the durability of the boots. How are they constructed, what are they made out of?

One thing you need to look for is the quality of the sole of the boot. Softer rubber soles tend to wear down much faster than harder soles but provide better grip and traction than a harder alternative.

Harder rubber soles can potentially last much much longer than their softer counterparts but you won’t get the kind of traction you would with a softer sole. However this only really becomes a problem if you are rock climbing or traveling over wet and icy surfaces.

You should also consider the amount of stitching. Stitches should be fairly high and in the back to help prevent stitches from tearing due to being rubber on rocks and sticks as you walk.

You need to consider the kind of terrain you will be putting your boots through as well. Not everyone will be able to hunt fields and slightly muddy areas. Some of us (like myself) have to endure jagged rocks, thick brush and sticker bushes that have the ability to scratch and tear at our boots.

Best Hunting Boots Reviews

Product Quality Our Rating
Columbia Men's Bugaboot Plus III B+
Danner Pronghorn 8" Uninsulated Hunting Boot A+
MuckBoots Unisex Woody Sport Hunting Boot A-
Guide Gear Men's Insulated Waterproof Sport Boots 400 Gram B
Kamik Men's Nationplus Boot B-

Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III

If you’re looking for boots that are both durable and waterproof, you should consider picking up a pair of the Columbia Bugaboot Plus III.

Not only are these boots incredibly durable, they’re also super warm. This is surprising since the amount of insulation in them only measures 200 grams.

Columbia uses an Omni-heat reflective liner to help keep the wearer’s feet warm and toasty, even when traipsing through snow and harsh winter conditions.

The Bugaboot is made from imported leather and textile, so you know that it will hold up when you need it the most.

PROS

  • Super lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Offers good insulation for colder weather
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Stiff upper
  • Sizing can be a bit small

Danner Men’s Pronghorn 8” Uninsulated Hunting Boot

If you are looking for a pair of boots that will get you through a rough trip in the back country, or you’re worried mother nature will drop a foot of snow on you without warning, you need to seriously consider picking up a pair of the Danner Men’s Pronghorn 8” hunting boots.

Because these boots are uninsulated they won’t keep your feet warm, but Danner does offer the pronghorns with insulation as well. These boots are comfortable to wear and you can easily hike for miles at a time with no discomfort. On top of that, these boots are made with gore-tex. This ensures that your feet stay dry while also remaining breathable.

If you’re looking for a pair of hunting boots that will last you season after season, look no further than the Danner Pronghorn 8 hunting boots.

PROS

  • Gore-Tex lining ensures your feet remain dry and breathable, no matter the conditions
  • Lightweight and Comfortable
  • Rubber Toe and Heel Protection
  • Thick rubber sole to take on the toughest terrain

CONS

  • Long break in time
  • No insulation - great for early season but will need a warmer boot if hunting later in the season

Muckboot's Men's Woody Sport Hunting Boots

Another great all terrain boot is the Muckboots Men’s Woody sport hunting boots. These boots are great for trekking through the mud, crossing a stream, or hiking up a steep mountain.

With features like a knee-high upper, waterproof material, reinforced toe, and breathable air mesh lining, these boots will keep your feet comfortable and dry on types of terrains.

These boots are multipurpose making them perfect for any hunting you choose to do.

PROS

  • Stretch-fit topline binding snugs calf to keep warmth in and cold out
  • Additional Achilles reinforcement for added protection helps aid you in climbing even the steepest of mountainous terrain
  • Reinforced toe gives you the confidence when climbing a tree stand or hiking a steep slope

CONS

  • Boots do not come in half sizes, which can make sizing difficult.

Guide Gear Men's Insulated Waterproof Thinsulate 400 Gram

If you are looking for a good pair of mid-season boots, these boots from Guide gear are a great option that can handle the sometimes harsh demands of the hunting trail.

The waterproof membrane will help keep your feet dry on rainy days as well as on wet terrain. These boots also feature 400 grams of Thinsulate Ultra insulation to ensure that your feet stay warm while also being able to move quickly and effectively.

Because these boots keep your feet pretty warm, they are best worn when the weather starts to turn cold.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry and comfortable
  • Rubber slug outsole helps provide slip-free traction

CONS

  • Due to thick insulation, these boots are better suited for mid and late season hunting

Kamik Men's Nationplus Hunting Boot

Hunter’s who are looking for a well insulated and waterproof boot that won’t break the bank should consider the Nationplus hunting boot from Kamik.

These boots feature a wide top that allows you to tuck your pants leg down inside, a moisture wick lining to help keep your feet warm and dry, 200 grams of insulation, leather, and rubber upper to help reduce moisture, and a 10 inch upper that keeps your legs warm even in deep snow.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Easy on, easy off fit
  • Can be paired with thick socks to keep your feet warm and comfortable
  • Rubber sole prevents slippage

CONS

  • Inner sole is quite thin, may require an additional liner to increase warmth
  • Sizes tend to run small - Consider buying a size up from what you normally wear if buying online

Wrapping Up

Remember when choosing a hunting boot you must consider what works for you. The terrain you will be hunting, distance you will be traveling, time of year, and weather conditions you expect to encounter are all items you must account for when selecting a pair of hunting boots. 

Beyond that you need to look at the durability of the boot. Especially if you want them to last more than one season. How much stitching is in the boot, what is the boot made out of, and what is the outsole like? The answers to these questions will ultimately determine how durable the boot is. 

A good set of hunting boots is an investment and should be treated as such. Do not just buy any pair of boots someone recommends to you, make sure you do your own research and consider everything listed above. 

If you found this article helpful be sure to share it on social media so other hunters can make sure they are selecting the best pair of hunting boots for themselves as well. 

All of my life has been focused on the outdoors. From the days of fishing with my father when I was young, to learning more advanced outdoor skills through the Boy Scouts of America; you could say the outdoors is pretty much my life blood. I enjoy a wide range of activities including camping, survival, fishing, hunting, and bushcraft. I have spent most of my life learning these skills and now I want to pass on my knowledge and hopefully learn even more in return.

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