If you’ve ever reached your rig only to immediately rub your feet or painstakingly pluck small balls of cacti from your boot laces after a long day of hunting, you just ended another day in the grueling course called Best Hunting Boots 101.
If, at day’s end, these kinds of pains are ending something intended to be as pleasurable and rewarding as hunting, you likely also suffered them while afield in pursuit of your game.
Your adrenalin and endorphins just happened to carry you through all the pain in your frenzy of anticipation, focus and excitement once setting foot to hunting ground.
If you are one of those hunters who must keep going back to summer school to graduate from Hunting Boots 101, take a shortcut through this vast field by digesting our picks for best boots and why they persevere.
Cutting to the chase
To take nary another step toward class, know that the multi-purpose boot most cited by the hunting zealots we surveyed ended up being the Danner Men’s High Ground 8″ Hunting Boot. Its lightness and fit, key factors in any hunt that requires a lot of walking, combined with its ruggedness and overall resilience to win the highest praises from our field testers.
Best Multi-Purpose Hunting Boots
Danner Men’s High Ground 8″ GTX
- Snug fit
- Well camouflaged
- Breathes well
- Good traction
- Protected closed toe
- Economic with good value on the dollar
- Eyelets are not very durable
Danner offers another lightweight boot in its High Ground 8-Inch GTX, which can also be used for multiple pursuits, whether high-plateau, the prairie, drier lowlands or steppe land.
Again, warm socks are a must on frosty mornings in the fall, though a 100 percent waterproof yet breathable Gore-Tex® lining offers some select mid-season hunting. This model also is available with insulation here.
These versatile boots allow the sportsman enough mobility to course endless furrows of corn stubble for birds or the talus fields during early season high hunts for elk or deer.
The upper integrates durable, oiled, double-stitched, abrasion-resistant nubuck leather with camo-patterned, 900 Denier nylon, joined with foam for comfort. The lacing system includes ghillies across the forefoot for snugness and locking speed hooks on the top four rungs for quick, effective lacing.
Air circulation in the footbed is afforded by antimicrobial polyurethane with open-cell construction. An EVA midsole provides added comfort and cushion. The High Ground GTX features a Danner Talon outsole complemented by a TrailGuard midsole liner for durability and resistance.
Danner Pronghorn 8″ Non-insulated GTX
- Light & comfortable
- Easy on the wallet for its durability
- Gets moist over long exposure to high, wet grass, snow of an inch or more, and muddy terrain
You best wear the warmest socks on the market if wearing the Pronghorn Uninsulated boots in a tree stand or wheat-field goose blind in mid-season, but otherwise, these are the boots our experts wear when vast expanses in diverse terrain must be covered.
Faithful to its namesake, high-prairie pronghorn (antelope) terrain, basalt-riddled chukar escarpments, corn-stubble pheasant fields and early season whitetail or mule-deer country fall prey to this reasonably priced yet rugged boot.
Meant for all-day pursuits afield, the Pronghorn boasts a lighter-than-average weight for hunting boots because it nixes insulation. Meanwhile, its tough, waterproof, full-grain CamoHide leather upper, integrated with 1000 Denier nylon, keeps the feet free of incoming moisture.
Its roominess allows toes and feet in general enough wiggle room to keep the blood circulating and the feet naturally warm. Double and triple joints, as well as a stress-relieving stitch just above the sole in the toe section, result in a durable, rugged boot.
Zamberlan 1014 Lynx GTX
- Rugged comfort
- Camouflaged outsoles
- Excellent grip
- Very Flexible
- Not built to last more than 4-5 years, but good value on the dollar spent
Call these boots the hunter’s hiker. A smart-looking, deft yet stable boot with a desert-sand color that blends well in arid or upland terrain, the Zamberlan 1014 Lynx GTX lends priority to the hunter spending 4-5 hours of steady tromping at a time.
Its comfort, ruggedness and relative lightness will please antelope, deer, upland bird, dry-land elk hunters upland and archers wending their way through large forests. Built to walk and endure, the Zamberlan 1014 finds its design from the company’s most popular boot, the 996 Vioz GTX.
You won’t need to be using the butt of your gun to aid your balance on the trail with these steady, Vibram 3D-soled soldiers. As with many mountain-hiking boots, the 1014 GTX features a forward rocker quality for miles of walking and capable downhill braking (think in terms of chasing your dog after a wounded chukar down a basalt-riddled slope).
A double-density midsole, PU and TPU stabilizers aid such pursuits, not to mention the grip of Vibram’s best rubber-compound, outer sole. Zamberlan keeps the feet dry and breathable with Gore-Tex® membrane lining that aids comfort inside the collar while promoting foot circulation for warmth. Microtex® wicks moisture from the lower leg and mitigates rubbing.
An alpine hiker would like these boots as much as a high-altitude deer hunter.
Best Lightweight Boots
Irish Setter Men’s 2870 Vaprtek 8″
- Rugged and waterproof
- Very Lightweight
- Comfortable fit
- Athletic performance
- ScentBan used to prevent wariness from your prey
- Not very durable
Just looking at Red Wing’s Irish Setter 2870 Vaprtek boots lends the impression that nothing between prey and hunter will stop them, but for freezing temps (these are uninsulated boots).
These are boots with intent and purpose, the kind that whether a hunter rides or walks into the deepest wilds, they and their feet will come out winning. Start out at trailhead for high-country elk or beat it through brush, stream, mud and brambles for some wild boar in these light-for-their-ruggedness boots.
Waterproof, tough, flexible, comfy and protective, the Irish Setter Vaprtek achieves all of these attributes while weighing in at a little more than half the weight of standard big-game boots. These feel athletic and perform just as athletically, thanks to a patented RPM technology and a composite sole that reacts to the demands of the terrain.
Its agility does not overshadow function—Red Wing’s UltraDry waterproof materials will not draw the slightest hesitation to shoulder your pack of elk meat through a bog or brook. On the upper end of the mid-price scale, these boots offer good value on the dollar.
Warmest Winter Hunting Boots
Nothing should trump fit when looking for hunting boots, but if one thing does, let it be warmth. Just ask a 14-year-old who is introduced to hunting from the bench of an Upper Michigan duck blind in midseason.
LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro 18″ 1600G GTX
- Keeps lower legs and feet warm
- Good rubber lug traction
- Extremely moisture proof
- Heavy at 5.5 lbs. per pair
- Can be too toasty on the occasional mild winter day
The Alphaburly Pro from LaCrosse will allow you to focus on incoming flocks or the peripheral of your deer stand without a thought to how frozen your tootsies are getting.
Every hunter knows how many times they have taken their eyes off the ball to wiggle the toes, jiggle the lower legs and even look down at their dratted boots when the frigid temperature.
The Alphaburly Pro is not only one of the best boots at keeping water away from your feet, but also for letting you sight game instead of wondering how blue your toes are getting.
For traversing slippery mud slopes to the tree stand or blind and sitting stationary in these hunter’s redoubts for hours upon hours, the Alphaburly Pro excels. Its 15-1/2 in. shaft, embossed liner for breathability and 3.5 mm neoprene core, combined with 1600G Thinsulate Ultra insulation, keeps your mind on hunting—or your next strategy when the action slows.
Its narrow ankle box keeps the heel in place when on the move and a shock-absorbing EVA midsole provide mobile comfort. A scent-free, premium rubber construction and multi-layered rubber soles top off a boot built to battle cold and moisture all at once.
Guide Gear Giant Timber II 1400G
- Extremely dry and warm
- Comfortable design
- Good traction
- Reasonably priced
- Can be too warm in more mild weather conditions
High, waterproof, strong, warm (nearly to a fault), quite breathable and comfortable—the Guide Gear Giant Timber II 1,400 Gram Insulated covers every aspect of the quintessential hunting boot. Its 1,400 gram Thinsulate Ultra insulation keeps feet toasty down to -58 degrees Fahrenheit weather—ideal for hunting caribou or ptarmigan on the high tundra.
Meanwhile, its waterproof suede upper and blended 900-Denier nylon, accompanied by a wicking mesh lining and HydroGuard breathable membrane, keeps all water out and feet free of rubbing to the point of blistering.
For comfort in such a sturdy, comprehensive boot, Guide Gear uses a mesh-lined EVA insole, padded tongue and collar. ScentMask technology keeps these boots odor-free to avoid scaring game. As for stability and grip on slick terrain, the Giant relies on oil-resistant rubber.
If you are heading to big-game haunts over grueling or even puddled and pooled terrain, these protective warriors will carry you there worry-free when it comes to your feet.
Best Rubber Boots for Hunting
Are you a lowland hunter in Western Washington? The Mississippi Delta? The shores of the Great Lakes?
Then rubber is your best friend, next to your hunting dog, of course. If your hunting appetite takes you only to water or its drainage, you don’t give a hoot about Gore-Tex® and waterproof leather.
Therefore, when coursing the rubber boot section of your local outdoor retailer, consider these best performers.
Kamik Men’s Rubber Boot
- High shaft with cinching nylon top to seal out moisture
- Removable insulating liner for cleaning or drying out
- Thick insulation
- Thick sole for comfort
- Not the best traction
- Lining known to crack in some cases
These North American made foes of water could justifiably be named The Great Sealers. Kamik’s mission when it designed this slip-on boot: to seal out the cold and damp. Mission accomplished.
The Kamik Hunter’s extremely high 13-inch shaft, topped by built-in waterproof gaiters that can be easily cinched tight by drawstrings contribute greatly to its sealing capacity. But don’t equate sealing to constricting.
This boot’s shaft and footbed—8 inches wide and 4 inches deep, respectively—allow plenty of room to wiggle and keep your warm blood circulating all the way to the toes. A hunter’s ally in autumn and winter, the Kamik boot uses a thick, 8-millimeter, Zylex liner to keep the feet warm in weather as cold as -40 degrees Celsius.
Hunters with calves the size of a fullback will appreciate the width of the shaft while enjoying the thick lining’s cushion from the seams and joints of the outer boot.
As with most rubber boots, the sportsman finds a break on the pocketbook as opposed to the leather-GoreTex®-nylon blends made more for walking. The Kamik is as economical as it gets for a waterproof, winterized boot.
Bogs Classic High Insulated Rain Boot
- Verifiably waterproof
- Easy to slip on
- Decent grip
- Removable liner for drying
- Ventilation lacking a bit
- Wide entry prone to debris or drops slipping through the top
- On the higher end of rubber boot prices
This boot possesses all the qualities expected of a waterproof hunting boot, including its neoprene upper, attached to certifiably waterproof rubber on the lower boot.
Camouflaged and scent free for up-close stalking, the Bogs Classic High with a detachable sock liner rates effective for warmth in temps as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
A slip-on featuring a wide entry (16-inch circumference), this boot lacks some in breathability but proves long on comfort otherwise. Its grippy rubber outsole provides for hunting terrain on the wet and slick side, whether rock or bog. Its moisture-wicking sock liner is also removable for the ease of drying and cleaning.
If your prey leads you to swamp, shallow tidelands, shallow streams or valley bottoms, Bogs guarantees that this boot will keep your feet dry as long as you don’t wade too deep. It weighs in a little heavy, but it would be heavier without the neoprene upper.
Top Knee-High Boots
Muck Boot Field Blazer
- Thick & solid
- Can be quickly kicked off
- Traction loses mud easily
- Because of their restrictive entry, they may require gaiters in moisture exceeding 14 inches
Remember as a kid those boots you could actually just kick off your feet once you reached your porch? Remember how dry they kept your pint-size legs all the way up to the knee?
Think of the Original Muck Boot FieldBlazer as those boots on steroids—all the way down to a wrap-up toe bumper to prevent scuff marks and protect the toes.
These Muck Boot stalwarts are designed for an all-day thrashing through cattails, flooded tidelands, swamps, slushy snow, seeps and potholes or rain-drenched thickets and understory. Boasting 100 percent waterproof protection and warmth in temps as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the Field Blazer adds a breathable liner by integrating a flex-foam layer to fend off frigid environments.
It features a four-way stretch nylon for flexibility and buoyancy. Vulcanized rubber prevents abrasions and guarantees many seasons of kicking through ice chunks while following a game trail, parting the muck to your blind or wading through drenched, high grass.
All of this results in a lightweight boot for its ruggedness that grips slick ground with their slip-resistant rubber outsole. A strong shank and reinforcements in the ankle area add foot support.
Can you really just kick these off? Thanks to a kick rim the length of your shin, yes. Nothing feels better after a long day of hunting than not having to tussle or unlace boots from your dogged feet.
LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18 Inch
Again, the Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro 18 Inch ranks at the top of the list from our avid hunting field testers in this department. Please refer to Warmest Hunting Boots earlier in this article for a complete rundown of this boot’s features.
Recommended Upland Hunting Boots
Irish Setter Men’s 801 Havoc 9″
- Tough toe guard
- Well cushioned upper
- Waterproof, premium U.S.-made leather uppers
- Tread grip could be better
- A little break-in period required
- Weighty because of their resilient construction
At times your quest for pheasant or quail can ultimately turn into some puddle jumping for waterfowl. When those moments arise, so do these Red Wing Irish Setter uplanders.
Waterproof, 9-inch high leather and reinforced rubber soles allow you to thrash the terrain necessary to put both pheasant and duck into your game bag. If heading out on an early bow season for deer, count these high leather uppers in as well.
Mostly double-stitched with a toe guard for rocky terrain, the 801 Havoc performs true to its name—ready for any kind of havoc you might encounter in upland territory.
They prove tough enough for long hours of walking, often required of pheasant, hun, chukar or early season deer hunting. These boots require a little break-in period because of the rugged, stitched soles (stomp around the yard and house in them before taking them afield), but are comfy otherwise with their padded tongue and collar.
The low-lying thorns characteristic of upland hunting will not cling as readily to these round nylon laces as they do on the more standard, flat, cotton and blended laces. These boots are built to last (thus their heftiness), whether trekking the uplands for birds or bigger game.
Top High-Country Hunting Boots
Crispi Briksdal GTX
- Durable and built for marathon hunting in high country
- Waterproof with polyurethane-coated leather
- Good balance and traction
- Snug fit
- Toe and ankle can be too snug for some feet
- May still be a little too stiff for some hunters
The line between hunter and hiker (or mountaineer) in this boot runs very thin—just like the multi-purpose Zamberlan 1014 Lynx GTX reviewed earlier. It is another hunter-hiker boot, especially with the added flex in the 2018 model.
As for fit, its lacing system allows the high-ground hunter to adjust the snugness where appropriate on the given ankle and bridge area. As with many hiking boots, this hunter hybrid boasts lightness and flexibility, which gives it the agility to tackle talus and catwalks for goat or sheep hunting, as well as mixed terrain that may include some ice.
Waterproof to the core, it joins water-repellant nubuck leather and Gore-Tex® to keep moisture out of the uppers. The patented Crispi ABSS and a pliable shell built on the tongue of the boot contributes to warmth and a comfortable fit.
These are the puppies you want for game that maintains a wide territory, be it bear, cougar, sheep or antelope, not to mention high-country elk and deer. Crispi makes a point of not quite attaining the stiffness of some mountaineering boots in its Briksdal GTX—enough torsion to keep an ankle from turning and plenty of rocker for balance and steadiness.
These aren’t the hulks, however, that you see an alpinist use on a Denali or even Rainier. Despite this, 200 grams of integrated insulation keeps them warm enough to tackle an occasional snowfield with a complement of gaiters. Its dual-density, micro-pore midsole provides ample shock absorption and comfort. These are fit boots for long-range stalking.
Kenetrek Men’s Mountain Extreme 400
- Mountain tough and waterproof
- Good balance and grip
- Comfy fit for a stiff boot
- Great insulation
- High upper
- Needs a break-in period
- High-end on the price spectrum but you attain high quality for the dollar spent
Tackling Dahl sheep or caribou on the high tundra? The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 is designed with extreme high-country hunting in mind.
It welcomes long, wet, jagged treks with its one-piece, 2.8-millimeter thick premium leather upper and seamless tongue. These boots don’t flinch at ice, slush, frozen tundra and Denali-style wind. A 7-millimeter nylon midsole and a Wind-Tex, breathable membrane lining, complemented by 400 grams of Thinsulate, seal the hunter’s feet from almost anything the mountains can bring, sans an avalanche.
A reinforced rubber sole guard just above the outsole keeps abrasions at bay while not adding too much weight to the boot. In this vein, sticky gripped yet lightweight K-talon outsoles give you the traction demanded by alpine climbers.
Adding to this herculean boot’s comfort level, a strong, 10-crossing lacing system allows the hunter to customize the fit. This boot covers almost any demand mountainous hunting grounds can deliver, which means it is a bit heftier than the Crispi Briksdal.
Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX
- Almost indestructible over plenty of seasons
- Assiduously designed for fit despite its bulk
- Very supportive despite the factory insole
- Unrelenting grip on any surface
- Plenty of width options for various foot sizes
- Break-in is short in spite of its sturdiness
- Roomy enough to employ a liner or thick sock
- Some complaints about the outsole separating from the upper prematurely
- Breathability hampered despite perforated air channels
Always a leader in quality of design and engineering among mountain footwear, the German bootmaker, Lowa, serves the high-country hunter as well as its main support base, the hiker and mountaineer.
Built to last, you are likely to use the Lowa Tibet GTX boots for the life of your hunting dog or until the bluing on your gun barrel starts to disintegrate.
First, its extra-thick nubuck leather upper and tapered tongue with padding on top and around the collar provide strong support and resistance to scree fields, brambles, fallen snags and streambed rocks. A waterproof Gore-Tex® lining aids the waterproof leather upper in keeping cold mountain stream crossings warm and dry.
Basalt and volcanic rock prove no match in high arid environments, like those hosting bighorn or Rocky Mountain sheep. The Lowa polyurethane midsole, featuring a 5 millimeter nylon stabilizer, provides outstanding shock absorption and plenty of support for hauling your sheep out of the mountains and to your rig.
Remember that these boots are called trekkers, so, they are going to be a bit stiff for many hunters. However, just as many find them ready to hunt right out of the box. It is still wise to give them at least a day or two of break-in around the neighborhood parks or trails. First, you will find its traction to be flawless.
A Vibram® Masai outsole will carry you through the most uneven, slickest and intimidating terrain imagined. Comfort, stability and durability rule in this boot with one caveat: It is not insulated.
However, many of our field testers claimed the thickness of the materials actually negated the need for added insulation. They also recommended buying an after-market insole because the one that comes with the Lowa Tibet GTX proves insufficient. This is the only negative input they could muster, however.
Top Elk Hunter Boots
Elk can take you into the oddest of places—near the perimeters of traditional winter feeding stations, into lowland forests thicker than Dennis Rodman’s tattooes and into remoteness where monks dare not tread.
As a result, deciding on an elk boot might be the toughest task facing all the genres of hunters. Allow our experts to whisper at least one suggestion into your ear.
Irish Setter Men’s 860 Elk Tracker
- Strong steel shank
- Need to order a full size bigger
- Narrow toebox
When looking for the consummate elk-terrain boot, you can’t do much better than Red Wing’s Irish Setter 860 Elk Tracker. Consider this a force field against chill and moisture while on the trail of elk, no matter the terrain.
Despite its plentiful insulation, protective construction and strong constitution, the Elk Tracker weighs in surprisingly light, a critical factor when vaulting fallen logs, leaping across scree-lined ravines and then slogging it a few more miles for your prey, whether it is wounded or on the move.
After all of that, these are ready to provide the support necessary to pack out your payload. Its four-way stretch nylon lining and comfy CuShin™ tongue technology, along with memory foam in the footbed and synthetic yet supportive midsoles, brings as much comfort as a boot can under the load of 50 pounds of elk meat or more.
The Elk Tracker also incorporates a removable cork EVA footbed for optimal cushion. If your chase brings you to a blanket of snow, these 100 percent waterproof trackers—lined in Gore-Tex®—will keep the feet warm via 1,000-gram, 3M Thinsulate Ultra insulation.
As with most boots geared for winter, the Irish Setter leaves plenty of space for wiggle in the toe box—vital to keep warm blood circulating in frosty conditions. Of course, with long slogs and mondo insulation comes sweat and odor.
Red Wing’s ScentBan™ technology keeps the stink at bay. The Irish Setter recognizes all the strange, distant places elk can lead a hunter, so, it incorporates the Bulls-Eye® Air Bob Aggressive outsole for stubborn traction and support.
Snakeproof Hunting Boots
The fear of snake bites probably ranks next to the fear of a bear attack when it comes to outdoor adventurers, hunters included. Some claim such fear is excessive because of the odds.
Indeed, chances are much greater that a hunter falls from a tree stand (about 1 out of 3 among tree stand hunters) than being one of the 8,000 people of all kinds who are bit by a snake annually.
Regardless, snake bites occur and snake-proof boots can largely prevent them because most bites occur on the lower third of the leg. Here the best as deemed by our field testers.
Danner Pronghorn Snake Side-Zip
- Ample leg coverage
- Snake-bite proof
- Good grip and fit
- Removable footbed for more specialized orthotics
- Lacing require more time when taking them off or putting them on
- Laces can collect burs and small cacti
- Can be hot on early season hunts
- Some cases of leakage reported
The Danner Pronghorn will abate much of the worry for those who hunt boars, early season deer, rabbits or upland gamebirds, most specifically chukars, sharptails and turkeys.
First, it just looks tough. It relies on thick leather and Terra Force technology all the way around to withstand the fangs of a viper while maintaining a lightweight presence. It protects your lower leg 15-1/2 inches upward from your arch. The ideal range is 16-18 inches, so, this boot is in range.
A waterproof liner supplements the thick leather to keep water out. Danner especiallly shines when it comes to the boot’s outsole, consisting of rubber compounds that perform with great agility and grip around slick terrain or snaggy underbrush. Laces and a side-zipper provide the ultimate in a snug fit.
They require more time to put on and take off than a completely zippered boot or a pull-on, however. Danner figures the ability to individually customize the fit and snugness is worth the time spent.
Irish Setter 2875 Vaprtrek Waterproof 17″
- Light for its mass
- High shaft for protection from bites
- Laces require more time to take off and put on boots
- Some leakage and torn seams reported by users
Entry to this Red Wing boot is solely via laces. Like the Danner Side-Zip, however, it relies on thick, full-grain leather and synthetic weaves to deflect venomous fangs.
Its biggest plus: It does so while maintaining a boot weight that is 40 percent lighter than other boots of its genre. Its 17 inches of shaft height is therefore almost unnoticeable, attributable mostly to the synthetic material called RPM, a breathable waterproof material used by Red Wing for the past five years and donning camouflage in this instance.
The Irish Setter 2875 Vaprtek Waterproof uses ScentBan technology to abate bacteria-driven odor from the feet. A rubber sole with ArmaTec, abrasion-resistant covering features traction that easily allows mud to shake loose and provides decent traction on most surfaces where snakes are found, early season duck ponds, river breaks on deer or chukar hunts; sage and steppeland habitat where rabbits, huns, sharptails or mule deer might dwell.
Best Affordable Hunting Boots
No matter the pursuit or destinaiton, most sportsmen learn the hard way when it comes to boots: Bargain-basement prices often result in either great pain or short-lived footwear that discourages the continuance of an activity you otherwise love.
Always respect your feet and their importance to enjoying your sport. However, should your pocketbook’s leverage end at a short, definitive point, look at these cheap hunting boots as decent economical options.
Northside Renegade 400
- Warm to -40 degrees
- Very affordable
- Waterproof only to a point
- Tight toe box and a bit narrow (size up by a half)
- May not last more than two or three seasons at best
Economic at well under $100, the Northside Renegade 400 will keep your feet warm with its 400 grams of thermolite insulation and moisture-wicking lining. You are good to go on a tree stand or in a goose blind in December.
As long as you are not wading through two feet of water to retrieve a game bird or track a wounded deer, these thrifty boots will handle most wet situations. Made of distressed leather, nylon and a rubber outsole, these boots are relatively light on the feet.
A light, compression-molded ethylene, vinyl acetate midsole helps in this vein. A PVC mud guard and heel stabilizer provide protection and support. These boots will likely fall short of four or five seasons, but for the money, they are adequate for most types of hunting.
Kamik Nation Camo
- Warm through winter
- Rugged sole
- Stiff upper
A slightly higher priced boot than the Northside Renegade 400, the Kamik Nation Camo waterproof boot tackles heavy snow or extremely boggy terrain on the way in or out (hopefully with a meat-loaded pack) in pursuit of your game.
Its rubber outsole, connected to a rubber outer around the footbed, teams with a waterproof suede and Mossy Oak camouflage nylon to keep your feet dry in most situations, thanks to its 10-inch shaft of waterproof seude and 600 Denier nylon.
An insulated liner made of 200 gram Thinsulate rates effective at -40 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for a duck blind in December or boggy big-game expeditions.
Best Women’s Hunting Boots
Women who hunt need the same foot protection and comfortable fit that their opposite gender needs when afield. As hunters, they too want boots that will cater to long days of stalking their game. Seriousness for the sport does not differ between the sexes.
However, particular designs in boots do differ. For one, women normally do not possess as big of calves as men, nor do their feet reach the widths that many men’s feet do.
Depending on the athleticism of a woman, it is likely her legs aren’t quite as powerful as her male counterpart as a general rule. So, boots must be designed to account for these differences. Given this, our female hunters chose these two women’s boots as their preferred hunters.
Crispi Wyoming GTX
- Comfy fit
- Good grip
- Not warm enough for late-season hunting
- A bit spendy
A lighter version of its otherwise twin, the men’s Idaho GTX, the Crispi Wyoming GTX for women incorporates stability, lightness, technology and Crispi’s reputation for durability and performance.
Part of its lightness comes from the absence of insulation, but a Gore-Tex® waterproof lining, combined with a polyurethane midsole and wrapped framework keeps your feet dry with room to wiggle and keep the blood circulating in the interest of warmth.
The uppers employ water-repellent suede and high-resistance cordura to parry off the elements. Super Grip outsoles handle any kind of slick surface outdoors and perform admirably for downhill braking. The patented CCF Crispi Crossbow frame guarantees steadiness and balance on varied or uneven terrain, not to mention comfort.
The Wyoming GTX proves perfect for early seasons or the first few weeks of regular season hunting. If you stretch it any further into the season, you best employ warm, moisture-wicking socks or a liner and socks, which is fine, considering these run a half to full size bigger than your actual shoe size.
Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid
- Sporty looking with color variations
- Great grip and balance
- Low shaft for treading through puddles
- A bit pricey
Okay—18 different color options definitely stretch the borders between a man’s women’s boot in the case of the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boot. Otherwise, Lowa devotes the same focus on comfort, durability and resilience to moisture as all its other boots.
Rated as mid-weight, the Renegade GTX continues to rank as the most popular Lowa boot for women. Their durability stands apart from most other brands in this category and their water resistance is equally unparalleled for a mid boot. Its Monowrap technology provides good stability and balance without adding bulk.
To ensure comfort, it comes in narrow and wide options, recognizing that not all women’s feet are the same. These are made-to-last hunters of tough nubuck leather uppers and breathable yet waterproof Gore-Tex® lining. Its footbed features comfort perforations to ensure breathability and blister-free feet.
The patented Lowa Monowrap frame at midsole keeps the weight down while providing stability on rugged terrain. Its outsole of Vibram® Evo provides plenty of traction for boggy, slick-log ruffed grouse terrain or scree-filled escarpments during early high buck season.
Danner Women’s High Ground 8-Inch GTX 400G Insulated
- Good fit
- Breathes well
- Good traction
- Can allow moisture in very wet conditions over a long period
- A bit on the high side of pricing
These are a 10-ounce lighter version of the men’s High Ground 8-Inch GTX from Danner. As with their cousin, these boots work splendidly for the woman wanting to tackle high plateaus, early seasons above tree level and high, arid, rocky terrain.
They are definitely early to mid-season boots, however. Regardless, the Danner High Ground 8-Inch GTX 400Gs are built for walking distances without tugging on your feet. A 100-percent waterproof Gore-Tex® lining helps keep feet dry while Thinsulate Ultra insulation keeps them warm.
Keeping the elements out, the nubuck leather upper combines with 900 Denier nylon (backed with foam for comfort) to also minimize abrasions. An EVA midsole adds cushion and comfort. Meanwhile, a “lock-and-load” lacing system, as Danner touts it, with ghillies across the forefoot for a snug fit, provide quick, effortless lacing.
To keep feet from overheating, an antimicrobial polyurethane footbed features an open-cell design. These boots are meant for walking without the inherent pain, allowing the hunter to focus on prey instead of blisters or sore arches.
Buyer’s Guide – What You Need to Look For
Hunting is arduous on its own. It requires stealth, attention, lots of walking in most cases, and agility in other cases. It requires concentration as well, whether scanning the forest expanse for bucks from a tree stand or the sky for chevron flights of geese and ducks awaiting your accomplished calling skills.
It’s a sport that can easily become miserable and unsuccessful with the wrong boots on the wrong occasion. This is why you must consider where you hunt, when you hunt, and what you hunt for in deciding on the best boot or boots.
You should be fine by following the four requisite qualities: dryness, fit (comfort), warmth and toughness.
This may not seem like a big deal at first blush for an early season high buck hunter or even a pheasant or quail hunter. But, if you’ve hunted these seasons for any length of time, you know how often you invariably end up in wet terrain. The weather is not always the same on each day of each year, whether just before fall or even mid-season. Therefore, make sure your boots possess the capacity to keep water outside of your boots. Just hearing the sloshing sound beneath your heel can be distracting enough to miss a chance at bagging some game.
Waterproof Gore-Tex® lining and waterproof uppers, whether premium-grained leather or rubber with neoprene, should be considered for all types of hunting, early season or otherwise. Polyurethane coating and components also help to ensure dry, comfy feet.
Point being: Never underestimate the value of waterproof boots no matter how restrictive your personal hunting season is and especially if you intend to hunt until season’s end.
Equally important as dryness, fit determines whether you enjoy your hunt or loathe another attempt at hunting. Blisters can turn all focus otherwise spent on tracking or sighting game to each unwelcome step afield. Soreness in the toes, heel, ankles or soles of your feet can shorten a day of hunting in no time, especially when realizing the trek back to the rig is mostly downhill.
For this reason, look for boots with supportive yet flexible midsoles, comfortable toe boxes, plenty of ankle support and cushion from the bridge of your foot up to the ankle and above. Padded tongues, collars and ample lacing to adjust snugness help to ensure your foot’s comfort.
It is best to walk as much as possible at the store in your prospective boots before buying. If any aspect of the boot imparts discomfort, move on to a different make or model. Also realize that after testing them in the store, you may need to break them in further around home before taking them on a hunt in the wilds.
Sole, heel and mid-foot support prove crucial to an enjoyable hunt. Stability and flexibility also rate high. If you must struggle with your boot travelling downhill or pivots on rocky terrain and on slick surfaces, your hunting prowess suffers. Find boots with support in these areas.
Keep in mind that soles not only need to offer support and balance, but also grip. Compare rubber soles to Vibram® and pay attention to tread. Some lugs and tread designs are tailored for shucking mud more than others; some are intended more for grip on slick surfaces than others.
Also pay close attention to size. Some boots with heavy insulation or snug support systems might require moving a size up from your normal size. Ask the dealer about the model you are pursuing in this regard.
Keep in mind that warmth doesn’t always come about through insulation and thick linings. It also comes about through ample circulation of blood, especially when it comes to toes. Indeed, some of our uninsulated picks happen to be too warm for individuals whose feet tend to sweat in any type of footwear and anywhere—including office, gym or home.
Thick leather uppers or zipper-clad, snug. rubber boots can be toasty no matter the time of season, depending on your particular foot type. Some hunters rather resort to thick, moisture-wicking socks or auxiliary liners in late-season instead of insulated boots. This allows for a year-round boot.
If your feet tend to become cold easily, then definitely look for insulated boots, but make sure the insulation incorporates some kind of breathing system or technology and some room for wiggle so that circulation can do its job. Insulation can make for pretty wet and blister-bound feet during early season hunts.
Protection of toes, ankles and arches proves invaluable during the throes of a high elk season in Idaho or sheep hunt in the Rockies. You never know where elk will lead you and how far. Likewise, coursing jagged, basalt terrain for flighty chukars or mule deer requires the same kind of protection.
From outsole to boot collar, make sure your new boots consist of abrasion-resistant materials, strong shanks and toe guards if needed for your preferred terrain. Stitching and number of joints come into play when grading durability.
Remember that a tough boot will save you money from replacing a pair only two years down the road. Therefore, think twice before deciding to buy a discounted pair of boots.
Price is relative when it comes to hunting. There are less expensive and more expensive sports. However, your feet warrant about the same level of consideration across the acitivity spectrum, mostly because the feet are the initial powertrains in any sport. Therefore, don’t underestimate the value of your feet while hunting.
Most worthy boots, depending on whether they are all-rubber water waders or multi-purpose leather-nylon or Gore-Tex combinations, will not fall below the $100 mark and most good boots will range from $150 to $350 or more.
Consider how many times you hunt each season and how passionate you are about hunting before determining your budget for your boots. Equally, consider the nature of your feet, their vulnerabilities and peculiarities. These factors will drive what price you should pay for an effective pair of hunting boots.
FAQs – All Your Questions Answered
What are the best U.S. based boot brands?
The most advantageous aspect of buying a U.S. brand is accessibility to repairs or refunds should a portion of your boot fail, especially if bought online. Check for such extra expenses as restocking fees, however, if sending them back for a new pair. That said, the best brands in the U.S. include (not necessarily in order) Chippewa, Danner, Merrell, Kamik, LaCrosse and Red Wing (Irish Setters).
How do I clean and treat my boots?
Cleaning hunting boots barely differs from cleaning hiking or mountaineering boots. Water inundation and dirt can work their way into the fibers of the leather and spur abrasions as well as detioration. The less water absorbed, the longer a boot will last. After rinsing and wiping with a cloth, apply NikWax cleaning gel or similar cleanser with a nylon brush. Don’t forget liners. Use a warm, damp cloth after each use to clear all the salt from foot perspiration. This salt can cause dryness and cracking. Then apply a Nikwax or other waterproofing solution to the boots, but only after they completely dry. To expedite the break-in period for boots, apply a leather conditioner by hand, sponge or rag.
How do I rid/prevent stink in my boots?
Some boots are treated wtih scent retardants off the manufacturing line. Also, simply cleaning boots eliminates the bacteria that causes odors. However, the best post-purchase way to mitigate odor is by sprinkling talcum powder into your boots after each use.
Can hunting boots actually fend off snake bites?
Yes, boots with shafts from 16-18 inches can resist snake bites if made with thick enough leather and tightly woven synthetics as well as Kevlar. Most snake bites occur on the lower third of the leg and around the ankle. A boot of these materials should therefore cover that breadth of the leg.
Should I always size up when buying a pair of hunting boots?
No. You should ask the dealer about the brand and whether it tends to fit smaller or higher based on your normal size. Boots with thick insulation or particular frame designs can demand a different size than that which is normal for you. Very often, however, some rubber boots require sizing up, especially if you want to add a liner or thick socks to fend off the chill.
Can leather boots be completely waterproof?
Yes, as long as the leather is of good grain and thick, it can be deemed verifiably waterproof. Integrated with waterproofed Gore-Tex® or nylon materials equally waterproof, leather still remains waterproof.
Do you stalk or sit?
When considering a hunting boot, determine what you do most when hunting. Turkey hunters, waterfowl hunters, deer hunters in tree stands and even some bear hunters primarily sit when seeking game. Upland bird hunters, ungulate (hoofed game) hunters and rabbit or squirrel hunters usually rely on their feet and legs to find their prey.
If you primarily sit, gravitate to boots that keep your feet cozy. If you stalk, primarily look at fit. From there, in either case, look at durability, comfort and waterproof capabilities.
By using this simple equation, you should be able to find the hunting boot that allows you to keep your mind on your prey rather than your feet.