Hunting boots have to offer the wearer protection against the elements, comfort, and suitability for walking over some of the toughest terrains, not to mention durability and stealth.
Because you will be spending your day wearing them, hunting boots are the single most important item of hunting gear you’ll be buying. So, take your time, consider the conditions you’ll be encountering outdoors, and choose the right pair of hunting boots for every purpose.
That doesn’t mean you should neglect the other pieces of hunting equipment that are essential for your success. Find authoritative voices in the hunting industry, PointOptics.com is a great example – easily accessible information about hunting gear reviews and guides.
It’s Not Only Hunting: It’s Hiking Too
Even if you plan on hunting from a perch, you still have to consider the hike it will take you to get to the platform you want to stand on. There isn’t a single hunting category that doesn’t prioritize how important hunting boots are, which is why you will find them in their own section in any outdoor sports and activities gear outlet.
If this will be your first time hunting, it’s essential to leave the boots you use for backpacking, fishing, and gardening at home, and get yourself a pair of purpose-made hunting boots. They should offer you:
- All-day comfort.
- Protection against any weather conditions you are likely to encounter (or any weather that has happened previously).
- All-terrains and distances.
- Enable you to move silently and stealthily through hunting grounds.
Find out everything you can about the hunting environment, how far you’ll be expected to walk and over what sort of terrain, and then buy your boots based on this information, keeping these points in mind.
Insulation: If you think cold toes in bed is uncomfortable, you should experience the chill your feet can feel when hunting in late fall and winter. When you are looking for hunting boots, find out what sort of insulation it offers. It will be related to what materials the boots are constructed from and whether they have such features as removable inner liners and felt lining.
Fit: You’ll want to try and buy your hiking boots a good few weeks before your trip and wear them at every opportunity to check they’re a good fit. Boots come in different shapes for men and women. Some hunting boot uppers rise as high as the ankles and others go up to the knees. It all depends on what terrain you’ll be hiking in.
Ventilation: Check what the weather conditions will be like where you’ll be hunting and think about how your boots’ breathability. This is basic foot health 101: Feet shouldn’t be kept in a sauna-like environment all day.
Terrain: The sort of terrain you’ll be walking on is linked to the fit of the hunting boot. The harder-going the terrain, the more you’ll need a pair of hunting boots that don’t allow your foot to roll around inside the boot.
Durability: Once you find the perfect pair of boots, you’ll want to wear them at every opportunity. Look for boot materials such as leather or rubber; after all the hard work you do breaking in a pair of boots, you’ll want them to last as long as possible. If you’ll be hunting from a perch or platform, think about only buying rubber materials because it’ll be easier to disguise the smell with a bit of mud rubbed onto it.
Different Parts that Make Up a Hunting Boot
Uppers: The boot section that covers the parts of your feet from the sole and up. If you need breathability, look for nylon; if you want durability, look for leather. Many hunting boots offer a combination of textiles.
Gluing and Stitching: This is where a good quality pair of hunting boots will shine down all the other mass-produced, cheaply-made competition. Boots made with stitching can be repaired, and you will see many keen hunters wearing boots with seasoned uppers and brand new stitching around the edges.
Lining: The inside of a hunting boot is as important as the outside, especially in winter. Look for ones that have a Gore-Tex lining or similar waterproof material. Do your research when it comes to this boot part, as it’s often the first section of the boot to wear away from chafing.
Outer Sole/Outsole: This is the bottom section of the boot, the one that makes contact with the terrain for the whole day. The tread must be able to handle any surface it encounters.
Shank: Good arch support can’t be over-emphasized when you are hunting. The shank is the boot section that is right under the arch of the foot. Heavier shanks are made from steel, which is all very well if you are working in a hard hat area, but no good for covering long distances because of the extra weight. Look for hunting boots that have a fiberglass shank instead.
Liners: Some liners are removable. This is ideal for hunting trips, as you can buy extra ones and use them when the previous liners have become wet or dirty. It is possible to buy sock liners and also ones that are built into the boot itself. Warm feet and no blisters are the reasons why liners are an essential part of hunting boots.
What is the Difference Between Hunting Boots for Men and Women?
Because most hunting boots come in camouflage colors, it’s not that easy to spot the differences between hunting boots for men and women. Obviously, women’s boots will come in smaller sizes and have a higher arch support. The rules for comfortable fit and breathability will apply to any hunting boot, and shopping for hunting apparel within your category means the width, weight, and length is customized for use by specifically a man or woman.
Hunting Boots for Women and Men Have Been Must-Have Hunting Gear for Years
Types of Hunting Boots
Upland: The perfect boot for hunting wood birds. Best for flat and grassy terrain that gives an easy walk. It offers good support and comfort over long distances.
Mountain: If you’re going after elk and bears, the boot you need must offer lots of ankle support to keep you steady going up and down steep hillsides. You also need a boot with plenty of traction to stop the foot from rolling over itself when you’re siding down slopes. The upper should be very flexible because the ankle and foot will be moving in many different trajectories.
Multipurpose: If your budget is tight, it means you need a one-type-suits-all hunting boot. The multipurpose is what you should buy. It should be comfortable and tough, all-terrain, and all-weather. You might need to pack an extra pair of socks if you are wearing these hunting boots in winter.
Rubber: As was mentioned before, rubber hunting boots are best to wear when you are hunting from a perch or platform. They are also the ideal boot to wear in muddy and slippery terrain. The waterproof capabilities of this textile make it well-suited for hunting waterfowl.
Snake-Terrain: Hunting boots manufactured for use in snake-infested terrain don’t only have knee-high uppers. They are made from a special textile that can stop snake fangs from penetrating. That’s one less thing to worry about, and means you can keep your eyes on the horizon looking for a target, instead of down on the ground looking out for snakes. You can also buy snake-proof gaiters or waders, and attach them to your hunting boots.
Overboots and Waders: Overboots are ideal for when the terrain is muddy or wet. You pull them over your existing footwear and the boots underneath stay relatively warm, dry, and clean. Waders are ideal for hunting in creeks and water-logged environments. You can buy a pair that comes with waterproof socks, and then pull on a pair of waterproof wader boots over them. Make sure to match the material to the season and terrain for breathability and warmth.
Fitting Guide: How to Find the Perfect Fit Hunting Boot
Toe Room: Make sure this area is not too tight and the tips of your toes aren’t touching the boot cap. This is so that you can have extra room for sock layers.
Heel Room: There is a really fine line between comfort and fit, or blisters and pain. Your heel shouldn’t be loose and moving about. If you’re not sure about whether the boot will hold your heel comfortably, take a few inserts with you, just in case.
Don’t Forget Boots for Your Hunting Dog
Dogs are the natural choice of companion to take with you on your hunting trips. If they are in for a hard day’s hunting alongside you, don’t forget to pack boots for your dog as well. This is especially important for terrain with thorns, burs, and cactus spikes.