When you’re heading out to hunt, the right footwear makes all the difference. The wrong choice can leave you blistered and sore before noon, ruining an otherwise perfect day outdoors. Poor weather conditions can even lead to trench foot if you’re not careful.
That’s why it’s crucial to invest in hunting boots that fit more than your feet, but your intentions. Before you pack your cooler and rack up your gun or bow, you have to do your research. With that in mind, here are eight factors to consider the next time you’re buying boots. If you want to consider other options, check out these reviews of hunting gaiters.
Field boots draw inspiration from military-style combat boots. However, most of them weigh significantly less, making them comfortable for hiking city streets as well as trails. If your hunting forays don’t take you far off the beaten path, these may offer the perfect lightweight solution for all your footwear needs.
As for your options, field boots come in a variety of styles from the basic construction-crew work boot look to more modern green and brown hybrids. Many come with some degree of waterproofing, though you should test them before heading out to the field to ensure maximum comfort.
2. Rubber Boots
If you live in an area where hurricanes are a regular occurrence, and you haven’t invested in rubber boots yet, what are you waiting for? Rubber boots are indispensable in navigating murky waters.
They’ll keep your toes comfortably dry even in wet conditions. If your hunting grounds flood periodically, rubber boots will ensure you never miss the opening day of doe season.
3. Snake Boots
Snake boots differ from rubber boots in a few key ways. These specialty boots feature an additional puncture-proof lining that keeps the nastiest diamondback fangs away from your ankles. Furthermore, they lace up the front, meaning you can tighten them as much as necessary to prevent leaves and other debris from entering the top.
If you’re sleeping rough and keep your footgear on (smart idea), these boots prevent the icky feeling of waking up with an unwanted guest sharing your shoe space for warmth.
4. Steel-Toed Boots
Do you intend on bouldering while you’re out on the trail? If so, you would do well to invest in a pair of steel-toed hunting boots. They can prevent injuries while trekking through rocky terrain.
Steel-toed boots also feature additional ankle support in many cases, making sprains and strains far less likely. If you’re out on a hunt, or planning to go off the grid for a little longer, these boots are your best friend.
5. Mountain Hunting Boots
Similar to steel-toed boots, mountain hiking boots come specially designed to increase safety over rocky surfaces. They also feature improved traction on the bottom to help you maintain your balance when navigating steep areas.
Many brands of mountain hunting boots include waterproofing, but test them out before you cross any streams. You don’t want damp socks to weigh you down.
6. Insulated Boots
The snow makes a hunter’s life easier. Spotting anything from deer to squirrels is far less difficult with contrast. At the same time, hiking in frigid temperatures can leave you with frozen toes.
Some insulated boots come with removable linings. These make economic sense if money is tight, as you can remove linings when the weather improves. Natural wool insulates very well, but those in need of lighter gear for lengthier hikes can opt for Thinsulate, which uses artificial materials to add heat without extra weight.
7. Uninsulated Hiking Boots
If you live in a warmer climate or hunt for coyotes, wild hogs or pronghorn antelope in the summer months, you’ll need a pair of uninsulated boots to handle the terrain. Traditional hiking boots offer a more snug fit than gear with removable liners. They’re also more lightweight.
Those who trek long miles over relatively flat terrain will benefit from a hybrid boot-sneaker. These are even lighter than hiking boots, and they offer superior padding and comfort — a serious plus if you suffer from flat feet.
8. Wader Boots
If you duck hunt without a retriever or enjoy fly fishing from time to time, a pair of hip wader boots are handy.
Like the name implies, these boots ride high, so choose a pair that lets your knees bend naturally. Otherwise, your legs will feel sore by day’s end. Getting in deep? You can find waders that extend to your chest.
Choosing the Best Boots for Your Situation
To feel comfortable on your hunt, you need the right footwear. But you have nothing to worry about as long as you’re selective in your search.