Best Hunting Boots Reviewed and Tested
Every hunter knows how important it is to take the proper boots with them into the woods, but with all of the options available sometimes selecting the perfect pair can be a challenge. There are so many different options available, and everything from the manufacturing material to the type of sole and tread pattern can be customized to your liking.
In order to find the best hunting boots for your individual needs, it’s important to take into account what sort of terrain you’ll be hunting on, the time of year you’ll be out on the trail, and how much weight you typically carry with you.
Our Top 3 Picks
What To Look For When Buying the Best Hunting BootsMaterial
There are quite a few different materials available, with each boot using a blend of different textiles and foams in order to create customized hunting boots to fit every need. Some of the most popular options are outlined below:
- Canvas — While typically thought of as an outdated material, boots made with canvas have a few clear advantages. First, canvas is breathable and relatively lightweight. It dries quickly when wet because of its excellent airflow. Canvas can also be sealed, either by the manufacturer or at home, in order to boost its waterproof qualities. Boots made with canvas tend to be more affordable and slightly heavier than other options.
- Suede — If you’re looking for well-insulated, attractive, and flexible hunting boots then you’ll likely choose suede. It’s a premium, soft leather that’s very warm and flexible. It needs to be treated to repel water or else it can stain and even rot. Suede is typically used in the uppers of a boot in order to aid in flexibility. It can also be used as a lining to help keep your feet warm in especially cold conditions, although it is being replaced by Gore-Tex for that purpose. Suede hunting boots tend to be heavy, but they are attractive, flexible, and warm.
- Leather — Tanned leather is one of the oldest and most popular materials for hunting boots. Despite the fact that it isn’t very breathable, leather offers a lot of protection from moisture as well as exceptional foot support. Leather uppers are popular on classic hunting boots where, despite the weight, the protection, durability, and stiffness of leather offers plenty of support and protection. Leather boots should be sealed yearly in order to prevent them from discoloring or rotting when exposed to moisture.
- Nylon Mesh — One of the most affordable and advanced new materials on the market, nylon mesh or webbing is widely used in some of the best hunting boots. It’s incredibly durable, weighs next to nothing, resists water, and allows for excellent ventilation. Hunting boots made with nylon mesh are lightweight and flexible, although unless they’re lined with a warmer material they tend to be chilly due to the large amount of airflow.
- Gore-Tex — This advanced textile takes the biggest benefits of nylon and adds exceptional insulation. Gore-Tex is widely used both as a liner and a material for the uppers of hunting boots. Not only does this advanced textile allow for plenty of ventilation, it’s also completely waterproof. If you’re out hunting in the fall or winter it’s likely that you’ll choose a boot that incorporates Gore-Tex
- Rubber — Often thought of as a relic of the past, rubber boots are perfect for hunting in swamps and marshes. Nothing on the market repels water as well as rubber does, although nearly everything lets your feet breathe better. Rubber tends to be thick inflexible, but it provides superior protection from water, as well as plenty of support for your feet. Hunting boots made with rubber tend to be extremely durable, although they’re also very heavy.
- Closed-Cell Foam — Available under a wide range of different trade names, closed-cell foam is a lightweight, surprisingly sturdy material that cushions your feet. It’s typically found only in the insoles of hunting boots, and the wide range of different formulas mean that there are foams tailored for all sorts of different purposes. In general, closed-cell foam is moisture-proof, supportive, springy, and lightweight. All of the best hunting boots incorporate closed-cell foam in the insoles.
- Neoprene — One of the most popular sorts of closed-cell foam, neoprene is often used as both a liner and lightweight material on the uppers. Neoprene is exceptionally warm but not at all breathable, it’s completely waterproof and offers the same protection as rubber at a fraction of the weight. Neoprene is frequently bonded with another material, since it isn’t very durable all on its own.
Depending on how much hiking you have to do in order to get to your spot, you’ll want to select a different height for the upper of your hunting boot.
In general, if you have to walk a long distance try to pick a boot with an upper that just comes up over your ankle. The flexibility that you gain from a short upper is important if you have to walk a half-mile or more to get to your spot.
The exception to this is if you’re carrying a heavy load on your back. The extra support and stability of a tall upper, one that extends past the ankle, can really help to reduce the fatigue in your feet and legs when you’re carrying a large pack. Taller uppers also help to keep water and debris out of the boot, which helps your feet stay dry and comfortable.Waterproof
Obviously, if you’re planning on hunting in swampy areas, either for fowl or deer, you’ll want to have a pair of waterproof boots. The best waterproofing will let you walk through puddles and streams without getting your socks wet, but it also tends to cut down on airflow. Some premium materials like Gore-Tex offer a mix of waterproof protection and breathability, but you’ll pay more for the privilege.Soles and Lacing
The most important consideration when it comes to the sole is whether you need flexibility or support. The insole and outsole work together to cradle your foot, supporting your arches and enhancing stability.
Along with the upper, choosing the proper sole is important for hunters who carry heavy packs with them in the woods. If you can travel light, then pick a thinner sole with more flexibility and it will be easier to keep your footing.
Lacing is another important consideration. In general, every hunting boot has lacing that comes up at least to your ankle. Ankle-height lacing is great for general-purpose hiking and hunting boots, since it provides a moderate amount of support without restricting movement.
Often rubber and leather boots will use full-height lacing that comes up to your calf. This adds a tremendous amount of support, as well as stiffness, and can be very useful on uneven terrain, or with heavy packs, in order to help prevent ankle injuries.
Different Types of Boots
Hunting boots are made up of a wide variety of different styles, each one with strengths and weaknesses depending on the time of year and environment that you find yourself in. If you’re in the swamps after duck and other waterfowl, the best hunting boots are probably made of rubber with full-height laces since they offer the most protection against water.
Other popular options include hiking boots, which are good for varmint and turkey hunting, where you have to navigate the uneven terrain of meadows and fields. Hunters going after deer, boar, and large game need to consider the terrain and select boots that offer enough warmth and breathability for the crisp fall weather.
One of the most important things about finding the best pair of hiking boots for yourself is to make sure that they fit properly. This can be difficult, but not impossible, when buying online.
Check the comments and reviews from other users to make sure that the boots run true to size. If possible, visit a local shoe store to have your feet measured by a professional before you begin shopping. Custom insoles can make up for a slightly imperfect fit, but if the boots are uncomfortable don’t hesitate to send them back. Improperly fitting hunting boots can lead to very painful blistering.
Women need to pay special attention to the fit of their hunting boots. In addition to all of the considerations above, it’s important for ladies to find a pair of boots that are warm and light.
Women should also spend extra time lacing their boots tightly, since often they have slimmer calves and lacing them too loosely can allow debris to find its way down into the boot.
The best hunting boots for women are typically made of nylon mesh, suede, and Gore-Tex because of their lightweight flexibility. Since women’s feet are smaller than men’s, moleskin blister pads can be used to perfectly tailor the fit of your boots.
Before You Buy
Depending on how much hunting you do and where you do it, before you buy a new pair of hunting boots it might be a good idea to make a list of the terrain you’ll be on. If you find yourself in predominantly wet areas then make waterproofing a priority. If you prefer varmint or boar, then find boots with plenty of airflow so your feet won’t overheat in warm weather.
Consider how much weight you typically carry, and find boots that support your feet or offer the proper amount of flexibility. As mentioned above, it’s also a good idea to have your feet measured by a professional before buying a new pair of boots. Also, plan on giving yourself a few weeks to break your boots in properly before heading out on the trail.
Top 10 Best Hunting Boots
1. LaCrosse AeroHead
2. Lowa Tibet GTX HI
3. Danner Mens Jackal II
4. Under Armour Men's UA Brow Tine
5. Kamik Men's Nation Camo
6. Danner Women's Ground 8
7. LaCrosse Women's Pro 15
8. Bushnell Women's Prohunter
9. Le Chameau Women's Chasseur
10. MuckBoots Woody Armor
Remember, that you can always repair your hunting boots fast and easy: