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Best Hunting Boots Reviewed & Rated for Performance

last updated Apr 22, 2019

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.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research

icon
MuckBoots Woody Max
95.3/100 our score
Weight
95
Features
97
Materials
94
Color
95
MuckBoots Woody Max
Why is it better?

Rubber Outsole

1-inch Platform

15-inch Shaft Height

PK Mesh Lining

EVA Midsole

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
MuckBoots Woody Max
Test Winner: MuckBoots Woody Max
Researched Sources
16
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1489
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
17
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Mackenzie Jervis:

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.

Sorting Options
Weight Features Materials Color By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
Weight
95%
Features
97%
Materials
94%
Color
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$180.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Weight
94%
Features
95%
Materials
90%
Color
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$137.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Weight
92%
Features
90%
Materials
91%
Color
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$169.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Weight
90%
Features
91%
Materials
89%
Color
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$47.29
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Weight
88%
Features
89%
Materials
87%
Color
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$99.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Weight
86%
Features
87%
Materials
85%
Color
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$169.95
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
Weight
84%
Features
83%
Materials
85%
Color
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$159.95
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Weight
88%
Features
85%
Materials
82%
Color
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$199.99
$199.99
See Deal
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Weight
80%
Features
78%
Materials
77%
Color
77%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$233.40
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Weight
77%
Features
74%
Materials
75%
Color
74%
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.04.19)
$479.99
See Deal
$499.95
In Depth Review Top 10
  • MuckBoots Woody Max
  • XX Lowa Tibet GTX
  • LaCrosse AeroHead
  • Kamik Hunter
  • Rocky Retraction
  • Irish Setter Wingshooter
  • LaCrosse Alphaburly
  • Danner Pronghorn
  • Irish Setter Elk Tracker
  • XX Irish Setter 2870
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Hunting Boots

1. MuckBoots Woody Max

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.3
MuckBoots Woody Max
Weight
95
Features
97
Materials
94
Color
95
best offer for today
$180.00
Pros:

Rubber Outsole

1-inch Platform

15-inch Shaft Height

PK Mesh Lining

EVA Midsole

Cons:

Lacks Comfort in Cold

Tight Calf

The 15” Woody Max by the Original Muck Boot Company is the style you should get if you’re looking for an all-around model. 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.

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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.

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.

2. XX Lowa Tibet GTX

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
XX Lowa Tibet GTX
Weight
94
Features
95
Materials
90
Color
91
best offer for today
$137.99
Pros:

Waterproof Upper

Bogs Max-Wick™ Lining

Easy-On Pull Handles

Aggressive Tread

Neo-Tech™

Cons:

Size Runs Small

Require Breaking In

An easy slip-on pair that has easy-on pull handles and a nice camouflage design makes the Bogs Bowman WP one of the best choices for hunters. They 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.

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Max- Wick Lining with Airmesh
To help keep moisture out of your footbed and insole, this Bowman waterproof boot is 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 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.

Cost and Value
Priced at the upper-range for a high-quality boot, purchasing a pair of these Bogs Bowmans will make your feet happy in the end. They are comfortable, practical, durable, and will last throughout the most adventurous seasons.

3. LaCrosse AeroHead

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
LaCrosse AeroHead
Weight
92
Features
90
Materials
91
Color
91
best offer for today
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$169.95
Pros:

Waterproof

Abrasion-resistant

Jersey Knit Liner

Realtree MAX-5 Camo Pattern

Underfoot Cushioning

Cons:

Runs Narrow

Runs Large

If you’re looking for durability, the Lacrosse AeroHead 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, they are very comfortable. They are great for most types of trips in the marsh where you may be stalking.

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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.

This pattern has the mindset of you traversing terrains such as marshes, flooded timbers, and/or open plains. This camouflage is ideal if it's waterfowl what you're going for. As such, they are ready for the day you have in mind for them.

4. Kamik Hunter

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.5
Kamik Hunter
Weight
90
Features
91
Materials
89
Color
88
best offer for today
$47.29
Pros:

Waterproof

13-inch Shaft Height

Removable, Thermal Liner

Explorer TPR Outsole

Snow Collar

Cons:

Size Runs Small

Rubber Requires Care To Prevent Cracking

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.

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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.

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

5. Rocky Retraction

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Rocky Retraction
Weight
88
Features
89
Materials
87
Color
90
best offer for today
$99.99
Pros:

8-inch Shaft Height

Rocky Waterproofing

800 grams 3M Thinsulate

Energybed Footbed

Strobel/cement Construction

Cons:

Size Runs Small

May Leak

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 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.

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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.

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.

6. Irish Setter Wingshooter

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.8
Irish Setter Wingshooter
Weight
86
Features
87
Materials
85
Color
85
best offer for today
$169.95
Pros:

UltraDry Waterproofing

Contrast-stitched Moccasin Toe

Lace-up Vamp; Quicklace

9-inch Shaft Height

Prairie Sole

Cons:

Non-Insulated

Waterproofing Lasts 6 Months

The Wingshooter by Irish Setter is a stellar boot, which is why this pair is 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.

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The Wingshooter includes some of Irish Setter’s best technology, aimed at providing you comfort throughout your entire hunt. Featuring UltraDry waterproofing, they have a waterproof lining that won’t allow moisture inside the shoes, but will prevent excessive sweating through an efficient moisture management system.

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.

7. LaCrosse Alphaburly

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.8
LaCrosse Alphaburly
Weight
84
Features
83
Materials
85
Color
83
best offer for today
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$159.95
Pros:

EVA Midsole

Removable Footbed

Waterproof

Embossed Liner

Thinsulate Insulation

Cons:

Size Runs Small

Not for Extreme Cold Conditions

This knee-high 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 pairs to manage, the LaCrosse Alphaburly features Active Fit technology that allows you to adjust the fit to suit your personal preferences perfectly.

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The EVA footbed is quite special in the LaCrosse Alphaburly seeing that it provides premium comfort throughout and even on those lengthier 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.

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

8. Danner Pronghorn

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Danner Pronghorn
Weight
88
Features
85
Materials
82
Color
81
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$199.99
$199.99
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Pros:

Leather and Woven Nylon Upper

Anatomical Footbed

GORE-TEX Waterproofing

Color Won’t Fade

Pronghorn Outsole

Cons:

Unsuitable for Cold Conditions

Leaking Issues

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 boot that is waterproof but not insulated, then the Pronghorn is a great option to go with.

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Their outsole 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.

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.

9. Irish Setter Elk Tracker

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78
Irish Setter Elk Tracker
Weight
80
Features
78
Materials
77
Color
77
best offer for today
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$233.40
Pros:

1000g of 3M Tinsulate Ultra

Full Grain Waterproof Upper

Aggressive Thread

GORE-TEX

12” Shaft

Cons:

Heavy

Not for Use on Wet Asphalt

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, this pair 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.

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To keep you dry no matter the conditions, Irish Setter has included a GORE-TEX membrane in the Elk Tracker. This means that they 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.

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

10. XX Irish Setter 2870

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
XX Irish Setter 2870
Weight
77
Features
74
Materials
75
Color
74
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$499.95
$479.99
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Pros:

Thinsulate Insulation; 400 grams

K-Talon Outsole

Waterproof

7mm Nylon Midsole

One-piece Vamp

Cons:

Expensive

Slippery Outsole

You may find yourself in some extremely challenging terrains during your trips, but not to worry. This is one of the most serious models 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.

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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 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 models, but the detail and care it has been created with makes it understandably one of the best options out there.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Weight

When it comes to a good-quality pair, 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 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. The models 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 knee-high, rubber ones for hunting ducks. The opposite end of the scale comes in at a heavy 7 pounds, give or take, This weight is, usually, seen in ones for deer hunting.

Features

Shaft Height
Most ones 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 hunts. 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 of them 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 this activity 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 these ones are, 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 ones 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.

Color

The importance of camouflage (cryptic coloration) in a boot of this kind 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 models. This is all for a very good reason, as a hunter needs to keep themselves hidden from predators and/or the animals they are going for.

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 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 – 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 – a 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, most effective 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 if you are 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.
  • Fit

    You may know by now that one boot is not going to be suitable for all types there are. 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 the ones for the dry season are equipped with waterproofing abilities.

    The proper fit of the boot is a serious note to consider, as you should never settle for a pair that ‘just doesn’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 often differs, 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 they are going for. This, also, coincides with what terrain and geographical location you will be in. An avid western big game hunter is not going to do well in a tree-stand pair, as they often wear rugged, athletic-style ones weighing less by the pound and/or ones 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 ones 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 ones with no twist and having much more protection. These firm-support ones might take longer to break in, so give the proper time it needs to ‘feel right.’

    A properly fitted 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.

    Materials

    Upon researching, you will find that two types of leather are generally used; 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 one on this page. 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.

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    Layer For Warmth

    Hunting season brings along cool weather, and many times, hours spent in a single spot. Keep yourself warm by layering clothing, under insulated pants and jackets, or even using hand warmers and foot warmers to keep your extremities warm and toasty.

    Footwear For All Weather

    Your hunting boots should consist of materials that will help you no matter what the weather brings. Conditions can constantly change outside, as well as the terrain you hunt on. You can encounter remote areas with rugged terrain, or muddy wet areas along streams or rivers.
    When searching for you next pair, consider where, and when, you're most likely to use them. Insulation, waterproof technology, and a rugged sole are key aspects to help you perform your best.

    Other Factors to Consider

    Advanced Features

    There is a wide spectrum when it comes to additional features that the best models 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 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
  • Durability

    They 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 boot, viewing it as a long-term commitment and a requirement; entailing a few very important upkeep routines if they 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 trip. All of the mud, leaves, sticks, and other inevitable elements that are bound to happen to them 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 of them 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 an all-leather pair, 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 would need to use a product like Granger’s to protect the look.

    On the other hand, the second option for conditioning them 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 models, and a third for Nubuck/suede leather. The three of these products all utilize the same process to get you to the end result; a cleaned, conditioned and protected boot.

    After you have thoroughly cleaned them 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 them 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 all-leather ones with a natural oil-based paste, although, for combination leathers, you should use a chemical treatment.

    Bottom Line

    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 option for you.

    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 boot, here are some of the best brands to look for:

  • Danner
  • Thorogood
  • Carolina Shoe Co
  • Chippewa
  • Filson Uplander
  • Gokey
  • Itasca Leathergoods
  • Rocky
  • Schnees
  • Whites Hunters
  • q: How should I waterproof them?
    a:

    The best solution to use to waterproof a 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 needs?
    a:

    Generally speaking, a field boot is built for the most extreme cold weather trips. There are three different types of boots to think about: field ones, rubber ones, and snake ones.

    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 them to be.

    Grams of insulation means how warm the 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 pair for mildly cooler days that contain moderate to little activity. They can, also, be used as a good pair for work.
  • 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 are Thinsulate, polyester, and wool.

    q: How to prevent foot odor in them?
    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 them freshly scented. Keep them 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.