Any hunter can tell you; your feet are among the most important assets you have when tracking down game.
Sure, you’ll need other tools of course – nobody would dream of going on a trip without the proper weapons, ammo, compass, and GPS.
While all of these tools are great (even necessary), if you don’t take the appropriate measures to keep your feet in great condition, those tools will get you literally nowhere.
What goes into a good hunting boot?
A good hunting boot should be more than something to keep your feet warm in the winter or cool in the summer. This is important of course, but there are so many other factors that go into it. Things like comfort, soles, where they stop on your legs, and durability are all equally important.
You might be surprised to hear that the soles that suit you best is (and pardon the pun) solely dependant on what type of terrain you’ll be trekking. Shallow tread patterns on a sole will slip much easier on rocks, and wet surfaces, the trade-off you’ll get is that they won’t collect packs of mud between the tread.
Where the boot stops
We get asked quite a bit which is better for a hunting boot. High Tops, or mids. The honest answer is…. There is no right answer. It’s all dependant upon your body type.
Think of it as the Sheph Curry effect. Because he has weaker ankles than his contemporaries, he needs shoes that offer more protection for his ankles. Could this be why his shoes stop just above the ankles? My guess is yes.
In the same way, you should tailor the design of your boot to how much ankle support you need. Now you’ll likely never see any low top hunting shoes but make sure you find a boot with additional ankle support. You will be glad you did.
This a pretty straightforward thing. If it’s cold outside, you’ll want boots with a little more insulation than you would if your hunting in a tropical climate.
Insulation will be measured in grams, and there are a few different categories for this.
- 200 grams and below: use for warm weather environments
- 400-800 grams: middle-tier insulation, use this is cold climates and moderate activity levels
- 900 grams and above: These are boots specifically designed for harsh, frigid temperatures.
You really should purchase a boot that has the proper insulation for the climate you will be hunting in as well as your level of activity. If you are doing some tree stand hunting, you’ll probably want something with more insulation than you would if you’re stalking your prey.
Okay, you caught me, this isn’t even a thing (to my knowledge), but you should be able to step in a puddle or cross a creek without your feet getting soaked. You always want a boot that is waterproof, even if you don’t foresee yourself having to cross any streams of water.
Do you have wide feet? Maybe your feet are a little narrower. If one of these is you, then you’ll probably need to spend a little extra on your boots. Trust us; this is a necessity; if you don’t fit your shoes properly, you are going to have a miserable time chasing game around.
Boot fit guidelines
There are a few things that you’ll want to take into consideration before picking which size boot you want to get.
First, you will want to factor in how your feet react to long hours of chasing game around the woods. Consider this, the fit of your boot will change nearly half a size by the time the afternoon hits. Hours of walking swells your feet, meaning your boots will tighten a bit.
Also, If you’re hunting in freezing temperatures, you might think about getting a half size larger than usual. You’ll be wearing fairly heavy socks, and that extra room will be a godsend for you.
Of course, all of us want to have something on our feet that we enjoy looking at. While this is a completely subjective thing, it is also true that we tend to perform better when we like the way we look.
Okay, now that we’ve laid down some of the ground rules to buying a good hunting boot, it’s time for us to get into some of our favorite hunting boots for 2018.
Top Hunting Boots – Irish Setter Vaprtrek
When you just need a great boot that can be used in almost any situation, you want to put the Irish Setter 2870 Vaprtrek.
Why the Vaprtrek? Well, it checks every box that we’ve listed above. You’ve got comfort, style, great outsoles, and tremendous ankle support. Oh yeah, It is maybe the most comfortable hunting boot out there right now too.
With it, you’ve got an eight-inch boot helping keep sticks, rocks, and any other uncomfortable debris that likes to make its way in between your feet and the bottom of the boot.
It is a very lightweight boot that keeps your feet from catching that dreaded fatigue we’ve all gotten at the absolute worst moments. And the best thing about it is that the RPM composite technology allows the boot to be a light as possible without having to sacrifice how comfortable the boot is on your feet.
As far as the look of the boots is concerned, I really love the design of them. Irish Setter uses ultra-dry technology to keep the inside of the boots (to include your feet) dry. It utilized a moisture management lining that effectively waterproofs your boots – but this will not work in extremely wet climates.
When we’re talking hunting we’re also talking a lot of walking, a lot of walking equals sweaty feet. And sweaty feet equals awful smelling boots. Not with the Vaprtrek boots. Irish Setter uses their exclusive ScentBan technology that binds with the leather and footbed lining that kills any odor-causing bacteria.
Some downsides of the Irish Setter Vaprtrek
The rubber outsoles aren’t as durable you might like. Because they are glued to the boot, rather than stitched, they may begin to come loose after heavy use, and the wear and tear begin to set in.
For whatever reason, these boots run between a half size and full size too small. This may be slightly due to the type of socks worn, but it is recommended to get at least a half size larger than you are used to.
The boots are a little tight at the top of the foot, and you should probably break these in before you go out on your next hunt.
Best Insulated Hunting Boots – Lacrosse Silencer Realtree Xtra
Hunting in frigid temperatures requires a boot that is a lot heavier and more insulated than you’d want in a more mild hunting climate. This, of course, means you won’t want to use an entirely different type of hunting boot than you would in any other type of climate.
The Lacrosse Silencer is top of the line in terms of insulation. You are getting a 1000 gram hunting boot, basically meaning your feet will be toasty at all times. What is great about these boots is that they combine incredible warmth with a relatively lightweight and unbelievably comfortable pair of hunting boots.
Combining the incredible insulation properties, lightweight, and comfortability of the Lacrosse Silencer with the 100-percent waterproofing footbed is enough to make one jump at the first opportunity to pick these bad boys up. So make sure you do so.
Some downfalls of the Lacrosse Silencer
The boots are VERY stiff in the beginning, and you will absolutely need to break them in before taking them on your next hunting trip.
If you are very active when hunting (i.e., stalking or tracking prey) you’ll find that your feet get sweaty fairly quickly in these. Of course, that is to be expected in highly insulated boots, but it is even more pronounced with these.
These are made about a size smaller than actual size so you should order a size above if you want a true fit – which should be all of us.
These are well made, highly durable and won’t be letting you down anytime soon. If you live in cold weather climates and enjoy snow hunting, then you will love these cold weather boots by Lacrosse. They break in quickly and give you a great cold weather hunting experience.
Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots – Danner Vital Insulated Hunting Shoes
We all know about Danner right? Well, if not, allow us to introduce you to the company that produces some of the most versatile hunting boots on the market.
Danner knows that hunting isn’t simply a hobby for us, it isn’t something we do for shits and giggles. No, no, no! This is a passion. This is about the love of the chase. Nobody enjoys freezing their asses off in the middle of nowhere for no reason. It’s the pursuit that keeps us out there in sub-zero temperatures. That’s why they give us some of the best winter boots money can buy.
These boots are unbelievably comfortable in winter climates. They have got incredible insulation properties (at 800 grams of insulation) while still being able to keep your feet from creating puddles of sweat inside of the shoe.
Although this is a fairly simple thing, I have grown very fond of the Danner lacing system. Rather than tiny holes in the boots, they utilize a lock and load system, which is essentially lacing holes stitched into the boot. It is a little more durable and doesn’t cause additional pressure when cinching down the laces.
A molded polyurethane footbed keeps your feet feeling fresh the entire day and gives you premium comfort even on your most stringent missions. With waterproof protection, you’ll be looking at dry feet when you take these off after a days hunt. If you are looking for the best winter hunting boots, that keep your feet warm, yet don’t have you sweating puddles in them, then you are looking for the Danner Vital.
Best Waterproof Hunting Boots – Danner Pronghorn Uninsulated Boots
Yet Another hunting boot from the ever so popular Danner clothing company. This time we are looking at their 4th generation of the Pronghorn hunting boot. Which incidentally, are also the best rated hunting boots. This is touted as the most versatile hunting boot around, but it really shines in wet conditions.
You’ll want these in warmer climates, as it has no insulation. But that also means that these boots a extremely breathable and are great for highly active hunts.
You’ve got full-grain leather toes and heel caps, making for an amazingly durable boot with a beautiful fit, combining for a boot that you’ll be wearing for a ton of hunts.
Now about where these boots shine its brightest. It is 100% waterproof and fully breathable by utilizing the all amazing Gore-Tex lining. Gore-Tex is known as the most reliable waterproofing liner, which means if these boots are on your feet then those feet are going to be completely dry.
With the Danner Pronghorn 8-inch boots, you’ll get superior comfort, completely dry feet, excellent traction, and a boot that is overall amazing.
Best Lightweight Hunting Boots – Under Armour Brow Tine 800 Boot
Under Armour is quickly becoming one of the go-to sporting brands out there today. And if they continue giving us products like the Brow Tine, they’ll continue to climb that ladder.
Fully waterproof (using Gore-Tex lining) and a full-grain leather boot you won’t believe how comfortable, durable, and most important, light these boots from UA are on your feet. They’ve got scent control technology to keep the stench away from them – obviously, this is a beautiful feature.
They don’t take a very long time to break in, and even during that process, your feet aren’t going to suffer. When it comes to lightweight and comfortability these boots reign supreme.
In addition to the lightweight nature of these boots, another thing Under Armour has gotten right with these is how true they are to their sizes. Often, hunting boots tend to run a little smaller than their specified sizes, not Under Armour boots. You’ll be happy to know that if you wear a size 11, then all you will have to do is purchase a size 11!!!!
Wrap – Up
Finding the right hunting boot for you is just as important as finding the right weapon for your hunting style. While it is true that there is no one size fits all hunting boot. There is a very specific method of choosing which boot is best for you.
With that said, you will almost certainly have to have more than one hunting boot. Especially if you hunt in an area that has wide fluctuations in weather patterns. The last thing you want is to have on a pair of insulated hunting boots in 70° weather.