5 Best Hunting Boots – Consumer Reports
No matter what type of hunter you are, your equipment is vital to a successful hunt. You undoubtedly have the best bow, gun, trap, or snare you need to catch your prey, but are you sure you have the best hunting boots? Your boots are a key piece of equipment as they keep you safe, dry, warm (or cool), and comfortable. No hunt can be successful if you can’t grip the rocky terrain, your feet are drenched, or they go numb from the cold.
When shopping for a good hunting boot, you first need to know your needs. Knowing your hunting terrain, weather, and hunting style are important when comparing hunting boots. Will you be trekking through the woods, standing in water, or sitting in a tree? If you’re going to be in ankle or near knee deep water, you would want to buy a taller boot. If you’re going to be out in elements during a snowstorm or in cold weather, you want a properly insulated boot. If you’re going to be hunting in snake country, you most definitely want to protect your feet from snake bites.
Features to Consider for all Hunts
- Boot height
- Boot weight
There are general features to look for regardless of your hunt and there are specific ones to consider based on your specific hunt and location. For all hunters, the three basic and most important features are fit, safety, and comfort. You don’t want sore feet while you’re hunting and you definitely don’t want animal bites or sharp brush getting through them to your feet or ankles. When trying your boots on, be sure you wear the socks you would in the field. Wearing your everyday socks could prevent you from finding a good fit.
DURABILITY: One key feature all hunters need in their boot is durability. You don’t want the sole of your boot to start to peel away or water leaching into your waterproof boot. If you’re pursuing your prey through mud and water, you want boots that are easily washed without damage to the construction of your boot. Your hunting ground may contain thick brush or jagged rocks, which means your boot can’t tear when sharp thorns or rocks brush against them. Always check the maintenance and warranty information of the boot to keep your boots performing their best.
SAFETY: Safety is a major factor for all hunters. Aside from your usual safety issues from your hunting gear, you may have to concern yourself with things like snake bites and abrasions from thick or thorny brush. For these situations, you want a boot that will protect your feet, calves, and ankles. Venomous snakes are most likely to strike your lower calf, so a steel toe should not be your only defense.
FUNCTION: There are four basic functions for your hunting boot. The Upland boot is basically a hiking boot. It is designed for comfort and support while performing lightweight activities like hiking and extensive walking. High country boots are supportive like upland boots, but they are designed for heavier activities, higher altitudes, and steeper and rougher terrains. Overboots are simply that – they go over your boots for added warmth and protection. Rubber boots are designed for hunts in marshes, swamps, or other watery spots, as well as deep snow.
- Upland Boots
- High Country Boots
- Rubber Boots
WEIGHT: The weight of your boot can vary from 20 ounces up to 5 pounds. Depending on how much you walk or run in your boots, you may opt for a lighter weight. If you trek through muddy terrain, you can even add weight to your boot, so bear that in mind when looking at heavier boots.
HEIGHT Boot height is another feature that depends on your needs. Boot height is measured from the base of the boot’s insole to the top of the boot. Boot heights generally range from 8” up to 17”. Your needs will determine whether you need a taller boot to keep water, snow, or other elements out of your boot or a shorter boot for added ankle support when walking.
INSULATION The insulation of your boot is important especially for winter hunts. If properly insulated, a good pair of boots will keep the cold out in the winter but still keep your feet cool when walking or in the warmer weather. For biting cold, stationary hunts, you want a thick insulation. For moving hunts like stalking elk, you need less insulation as your circulation is helping you stay warm.
Types of boot insulation
- Uninsulated to 200 gram: These boots are best for early season and high activity levels.
- 400 gram to 800 gram: This is the most popular category of hunting boots with insulation levels that cover most fall hunting situations.
- 1000 gram and up: These boots are designed for colder, winter weather and more sedentary activities.
GET INTO: Another feature all hunters need to address is getting them on and off. Some hunters prefer slip on boots and some like laces. You want to ensure your boot stays on through thick mud, so if this is your terrain, your boot needs to fit snugly to avoid a lost boot. If your boots are difficult to get off, here are products that can help you get a tight boot off, like a boot jack.
Best Hunting Boots – Consumer Reports
With so many factors to consider, keep in mind you could very well need multiple pairs of boots for your different hunts. Here we found some of the best hunting boots for almost any type of hunt and condition.
Irish Setter Men’s 2870 Vaprtrek Waterproof 8 Inch
- 8” Boot height
- 2.6 Pound boot weight
- UltraDry™ waterproofing
- Full grain waterproof leather
- Removable polyurethane footbed
- Moisture wicking nylon lining
- Available in regular and wide sizes 8-14, half sizes to 12
The Irish Setter Vaprtrek Waterproof boots are lightweight and high performing for hunters in all seasons and environments. The UltraDry™ waterproofing system keeps you dry for a long day on the hunt. RPM™ technology is a composite material that reduces the weight of the boot for comfort and endurance. Armatec™ is placed in high wear areas as a protective covering to resist abrasions and prolong the life of the boot.
Added to the footbed and leather, ScentBan™ is Irish Setter’s exclusive scent control that kills odor causing bacteria. CuShin™ comfort tongue minimizes shin pressure with a four way stretch nylon and internal padded waffle mesh. Offering an athletic-shoe fit for maneuverability without compromising traction and balance. The shaft measures around 7” from the arch for support and protection around the feet.
- Comfortable out of the box
- Great waterproofing
- Tread not that secure
- Cracks easily at flex point
LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18″
- 4.8 Pound boot weight
- 18” Boot height
- 16” Boot opening
- Removable EVA footbed
- Nylon shank
- Lug Sole
- Rubber over 3.5mm neoprene core
- Embossed liner increases air circulation
- Good in climates from 0-70o
LaCrosse Alphaburly is a durable, flexible, waterproof boot with three layers of rubber in the toe and heel and two layers of rubber across the instep. The jersey knit liner is moisture wicking, keeping your feet dry and providing better circulation. It regulates the temperature inside the boot so feet are never too hot or too cold. The outsole is not insulated and the contoured fit keeps your feet securely in the boot.
Regardless of the terrain, the tread pattern gives you traction while the chamfered edges shed mud, snow, or other muck while you move at any speed. The neoprene gusset on the back stretches to accommodate most calf sizes even with pants tucked in and make them easy to slip on and off. Built with a high quality, scent-free natural rubber over insulating neoprene, these boots are durable and lightweight and won’t crack in the cold or get soft in the heat.
- Easy to get on and off
- Great with or without socks
- Great traction
- Easy to clean
- Somewhat heavy, especially in larger sizes
- Stiff if walking a lot
- Runs a little wide
Danner 8” Pronghorn Hunting Boots
- 8” Boot height
- 4 Pound boot weight
- Waterproof outer
- Waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining
- 800g Thinsulate Ultra Insulation
- CamoHide leather and denier nylon
- Terra force platforms
- Three density open cell polyurethane Ortholite footbeds
- Secure lace-up shaft with speed lace hardware at top
- Pull on loop at back shaft
- Available in men’s sizes 8-14 medium width, 9-13 wide, half sizes to 12
The Danner Pronghorn Hunting Boots are lightweight warm and comfortable. The uppers are made of durable, waterproof full-grain CamoHide™ leather with rugged 1,000 denier nylon for protection. With Terra Force® technology you get excellent support and stability. Danner Pronghorn outsoles combine rubber compounds to provide traction over rugged terrain as well as in slick mud. The all leather toe and heel cap gives you extra protection against wear. The opened toe box creates a wider platform for a better fit.
The 800 gram Thinsulate ™ Ultra Insulation provides warmth in cold temperatures. The breathable, waterproof GORE-TEX® lining and three density open-cell polyurethane OrthoLite® footbeds keep your feet dry and comfortable in all environments.
- Comfortable without breaking in
- Warm for freezing temperatures
- Fit and support and excellent
- Great traction
- Widths are off – regular width a bit wide and extra wide not wide enough
- Seam between leather and GORE-TEX tears
- 16” Boot height
- 4 Pound boot weight
- 5mm Neoprene insulation
- Breathable airmesh lining
- Insulated from -20-85o
- CR flex foam booties
- Self-cleaning, all-terrain outsoles
- Available in men’s whole sizes 5-13
- Made in China
The Muck FieldBlazer provides waterproof comfort for all wetland conditions. Built to keep your feet warm and dry with the breathable, flex foam removable booties with four-way stretch nylon. You can comfortably wear these boots in temperatures as low as -20o and as high as 85o. Wrap-up toe bumpers and Achilles overlays protect your feet while the reinforced shanks give you extra support.
The vulcanized rubber shell is tough, durable and blocks human scent. The outsole is made of an aggressive waffle high traction that makes it easy to clean, resistant to abrasions, and it won’t get weighed down collecting muck. The top binding is comfortably snug and flexible and will fit around almost any sized calf. The easy off kick rims and spur catch give you hands free removal.
- Easy to get on and off
- Great for wet, swampy conditions
- Keep feet cool and dry when sweating
- Calf can get tight
- Not supportive for long periods of walking
Kenetrek Men's Mountain Extreme Ni Hunting Boot
- 10” Boot height
- 3.9 Pound boot weight
- 2.8mm top-grain-leather uppers
- 400-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation
- Waterproof, breathable Windtex flexible membranes
- 7mm nylon midsoles with reinforced double and triple stitching
- K-Talon outsoles with deep relief and open tread patterns
- Toe and heel-traction teeth, side lugs and rubber sole guards
- Available in men’s sizes 8-14 medium width
- Made in Italy
Kenetrek’s Mountain Extreme Boots are a serious hunting boot for rugged terrain. The deep lugs give you incredible traction over extreme terrains. The reinforced toe guard protects you from whatever you may encounter. Providing superior support, these boots have extra thick 7mm nylon midsoles with reinforced double and triple stitching in high-wear areas. The lacing hardware is anti-corrosive.
Waterproof 2.8mm top-grain leather uppers wrap your feet and ankles in one-piece seamless vamps to resist abrasions. Thinsulate™ Ultra Insulation provides warmth without the bulk, while the Windtex ® flexible membranes keep your feet dry inside the boot and out. Reinforced rubber sole guards give you a waterproof defense while providing protection from rock abrasions.
Kenetrek builds boots for “the trail less traveled” by putting their products through a rigorous test phase. Even the roughest expedition can be enjoyable in these high quality, performance boots.
- Comfortable and supportive
- Durable and lightweight
- Excellent traction
- Great on all terrains – gravel, sandy, rocky, dirty, muddy, grassy
- Arch support slightly high
- Stiff insole
- A bit pricey
Now that you’ve decided on your perfect hunting boot, you want to be sure you have the right socks for them. Don’t scrimp on the socks. You just bought yourself a great boot, why would you put on cheap socks? If your boot has moisture wicking properties, your sock doesn’t need to. Instead, look for a sock designed to transport moisture out of your footwear to work in conjunction with your boot. If your boot does not have moisture wicking properties, be sure you have socks that are supportive and comfortable, especially while wearing your boots.
Don’t forget to take care of your boots. If your boot is leather, you want to treat it, especially if you are getting it wet. Keep your leather soft and waterproof with products that prevent wear, like Nikwax. If your boots are rubber, use a rubber conditioner every few months and keep your boots in an insulated area to prevent shrinking and growing with the varying temperatures.
Remember, your hunting seasons and environments may require you to have more than one hunting boot. Just be sure you have a quality, durable, and properly fitted boot for your pursuits and you will enjoy them even more. Happy hunting!