When you’re in the wild, various elements could severely impact your ability to hunt. Therefore, your boots are one of the most vital pieces of gear. If your footwear’s not up to the challenge, your hunting trip will end with disappointment.
With so many different models and brands to choose from, it is easy to get lost in the search for that perfect piece of footwear, especially if you are a beginner.
However, with the correct information in mind, you can prevent discomfort, falls, injuries, and overall unsuccessful outdoor experiences. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of tips to help you find the best hunting boots.
Let’s dive in!
1. Learn About Materials
Material is the first factor you should consider when it comes to hunting footwear. When you inform yourself about materials and their characteristics, it becomes easier to proceed, learn more about hunting boots for men, and pick the right ones for your needs.
Generally, boots fall into one of these three material categories:
Rubber boots: Rubber is a waterproof material, often used for making boots suitable for sloppy, swampy, and wet terrains.
Leather boots: Leather is a highly durable and high-quality material. Hence, boots made out of leather are suitable for steep and rocky terrains, such as mountains. They are very sturdy and protective and provide high ankle support.
Synthetic boots: Synthetic materials are convenient for making outdoor, military, and performance wear products. Boots made of various synthetic materials are usually highly flexible, light, easy to break in, and breathable. However, they are better suited for lighter terrains and activities compared to leather boots.
Each of these materials has its pros and cons. For example, leather boots are strong and long-lasting. However, they might be too chunky and restricting for some people. They’re also costlier and more demanding to upkeep. Synthetic boots are breathable and flexible but can be of lower quality and only suitable in light weather conditions.
It’s up to you to make the right decision based on your needs and budget.
2. Take Terrain into Account
Remember that each pair of boots is designed for a particular activity, so think about what exactly you need the boots for. What style of hunting are you going for?
For example, if you’re going for a high-distance rifle hunt in rugged mountain terrain, you need durable and rigid shoes. Mountains are cold and harsh, especially in the winter. That’s why you need to focus on warmth and protection. For these types of terrains, leather boots are often the best option. Also, look into mountain boots that are compatible with crampons.
Next, if you’re hunting in a forest, you’ll need stealth and flexibility to sneak around without alarming the prey. For these hunting scenarios, synthetic footwear might fit your needs best, as these shoes are usually subtle, flexible, and conform easily to the ground under your feet. Rubber boots are the way to go if you’re going fishing in a wet or swampy environment.
3. Pay Attention to Insulation
Insulated boots are meant to keep your feet warm while you walk, play, or work in the cold. You want to focus on your hunt without thinking about your feet; you can’t do that if your feet are freezing!
When deciding on insulation, you should always account for the weather conditions, terrain, and the level of physical activity you’re going for. Highly insulated boots are better suited for mountain hiking and harsh weather. Lightly isolated boots, or boots with no insolation, are good for warmer weather and soft, earthy terrains.
Boots usually come with built-in insulation. You can choose between various degrees of insulation depending on your needs:
- 0-200 grams – best insulation level for the early season, spring hunting.
- 400-800 grams – suitable for hunts in the mid or late-season.
- 1,000 grams and higher – best in ice-cold weather and low-activity hunting scenarios.
It is important to note that you can always buy and insert separate shoe insoles and customize the thickness and flexibility per your needs.
4. Consider The Height
Short boots are a better option for open-field hunting and warmer weather conditions. They allow for staying comfortable while moving quickly through the terrain.
Taller boots provide more protection for wet and snowy conditions. They also prevent dirt, mud, and rocks from getting inside your shoes. If you’re a swamp or a marsh hunter, get the tallest boots you can get your hands on, as you’ll encounter a lot of water and mud on hunting adventures.
5. Decide on Waterproof Vs. Non-Waterproof
Waterproof shoes are generally considered a must, but they might not be the right option in all scenarios.
A waterproof boot is perfect for mid and late-season when you’re hunting all day in snowy or wet conditions. However, some people can’t stand waterproof footwear due to the weight or because their feet sweat too much.
Non-waterproof boots made of synthetic, light material will allow your feet to breathe and help with excessive sweat in dry, warm conditions. So, if you’re prepping for early-season hunting, you’ll be safe with non-waterproof shoes.
6. Pick Good Socks to Match your Boots
The socks you wear are as important as your hunting shoes. If you’re hunting in colder climates, go for socks made out of wool to keep your feet warm. Light and breathable cotton socks are a way to go if you’re hunting in warm weather conditions.
In addition, if you don’t like the stiffness and weight of waterproof shoes, you can always opt for waterproof socks. High-quality socks also provide an extra layer of insulation and protection against injuries.
7. Find The Right Fit
You need to find the right fit and ensure maximum comfort during your hunting endeavors. If the boot size isn’t right for you, you’ll be uncomfortable, slow, distracted, and end up with blisters or other injuries.
Try out the boots before buying them. If you can, wear the socks you plan on wearing on your hunting trip while trying out boots to ensure they’ll fit together. The footwear you choose should be cozy – not too tight to affect circulation in your feet and not too loose to let your feet slide around. Walk around in them a bit to see how they fit before buying them.
Also, before going out hunting, wear them for a few hours to break them in.
Head Out on Your Adventure with Comfort and Confidence
With all these tips in mind, you can easily find your perfect pair of hunting boots to help you enjoy your favorite hobby even more. Remember to be patient and cautious, and consider various options before buying.