We’ve gone on a lot of trips before, so we know how important a good pair of boots is for a good hunting expedition. After all, there’s few things worse than coming home with tired, sore, or injured feet after a long trip.
Whether you’re a new beginner hunter starting this hobby and getting your first pair, or an experienced hunter looking for a higher-quality option than your last pair, we want to help you find the perfect pair for your needs.
In this guide, we’ll share everything we know about buying hunting boots, including types of uses, key features you need to look out for, materials, and budget considerations. We’ll also share some of our personal tips for you to find the right size boot and how to maintain them for years to come.
We are here to help you avoid making mistakes that a lot of other hunters like you have made in the past.
Types of Hunting Boots
There are many different types of hunting boots out there, but these are a few of the most common types.
Rubber Hunting Boots
Rubber hunting boots are waterproof and durable boots designed for hunting in wet, muddy, or swampy environments. Plan to go duck hunting? This is probably gonna be your best choice.
These boots are usually made of vulcanized rubber, neoprene, or a combination of both. These materials help protect your feet from the elements in addition to having easy cleaning requirements.
Rubber hunting boots are also scent-free, which helps hunters remain undetected by game animals.
Snake Hunting Boots
Snake hunting boots are designed to protect hunters from venomous snake bites while hunting or hiking in areas with high snake populations. These boots are typically made from thick, puncture-resistant materials, with a high-cut design to protect you up to your knee or sometimes even higher. These are extremely important for your safety if you plan to hunt anywhere with lots of venomous snakes.
Upland Hunting Boots
If you plan to hunt in upland environments, such as grassy fields or mountainous terrain, you should consider getting a pair of upland boots.
Upland hunting boots are typically made of lightweight materials, which keeps them durable and flexible for walking long distances or climbing steep terrain. They may also have additional traction on their soles to assist with climbing slippery surfaces.
This boot is best suited for hunters who want to remain comfortable and agile during their trip.
Mountain Hunting Boots
If you plan to hunt on even steeper terrain, you’ll want to invest in some mountain hunting boots. These boots are durably made to protect your feet from harsh mountain environments. They may also have added ankle support so you can climb without fearing injury.
Mountain hunting boots typically have extra traction using crampon-compatible soles, and may also have toe caps for added protection as you navigate extreme terrain.
Multi-Purpose Hunting Boots
If you plan to navigate a variety of hunting environments, multi-purpose hunting boots are a good all-around option. These boots are versatile, so they can handle a lot of different hunting conditions. However, you’ll also have to be sure the kind you get has the specific features you need for your trips, such as waterproofing or traction requirements.
We like multi-purpose hunting boots because they’re durable and suitable for many different types of hunting activities including hiking, tracking, and stalking, so you don’t need to take more than one pair of boots with you at a time.
Features of Hunting Boots to Consider
Before buying a pair of hunting boots, you should consider the features you need in your boots. Consider the type of trip you’re going on and what you plan to hunt. The more extreme conditions you plan to hunt in, the greater protection your feet will need from the elements.
Waterproofing is an extremely important boot factor for many hunters. If you hunt in wet or muddy areas without waterproofing, you could end up with wet feet and ruined boots!
There are some different ways to figure out if a boot is waterproof besides just touching it to see if it feels rubbery or water-resistant. Some manufacturers now have waterproof rating levels, which tell you how waterproof something is.
While each manufacturer may have a different scale, most operate the same way: the higher the number, the more waterproof the boot is. Many boots are rated in millimeteres, so the more millimeters a waterproof rating states, the higher the water pressure a boot can take before water begins to leak through.
Some boots may be made of breathable waterproof materials such as Gore-Tex to keep water from getting inside your boots, while others may have waterproof coatings outside the boot. The type and level of waterproofing you get depends on the type of hunting you plan to do!
Make sure that you’re getting the right type of boot when you shop – water-resistant boots are not the same as fully waterproof boots! It’s an easy mistake to make.
Breathability is important in any shoe, as it helps let moisture and heat escape so your feet remain cool, dry, and comfortable. If your boots don’t have good breathability, you can have moisture from sweat build up in your boots, which can lead to painful blisters and even infections.
You’ll want to find hunting boots made with breathable materials that let air circulate throughout, such as mesh or perforated panels. We also recommend looking at the design of the boot to see if it has an open or closed design, as open boots tend to have more ventilation.
Keep in mind that some boots may have less breathability if they have more waterproofing, so you should keep your needs in mind as you shop.
Insulation is especially important for those who plan to hunt during the winter. Insulation keeps your feet warm by trapping heat inside your boots, keeping you comfortable even in the coldest of temperatures.
Boots with high insulation may have inner layers made of warm materials such as wool or down. They may also be much thicker than hunting boots designed for the summer months.
If you plan to hunt only in the summer or in hot climates, you may opt for a boot that has less insulation to keep your feet cool and lightweight.
Depending on the type of hunting boot you get, you could be trudging around with some pretty heavy footwear. The thicker and bulkier your boot is, the heavier it will weigh. While some boots can weigh as little as 13oz per boot, others can weigh up to 4 pounds per boot!
Heavier boots tend to be more durable and insulated, so these are typically best for hunters that plan to roam extreme terrain or frigid climates. Those that will be in warmer or less-extreme areas may prefer to have a lighter, more flexible boot that won’t weigh you down. Lighter boots will keep your footsteps quieter, too!
Though you don’t often consider the flexibility of your shoes, it’s actually a pretty important factor, especially for hunting boots. Boots that are more flexible tend to be more comfortable to wear, as they’re easier to walk around in.
While stiffer boots may be less comfortable, they may also provide greater protection, such as ankle support. This is especially helpful for mountain hunting, when you may need some strong ankle support to prevent accidental injury.
Traction is the part on the bottom of your boot that helps you walk around safely on different types of terrain. Without traction, you would easily slip and fall, potentially hurting yourself in the process.
The type of traction you get in your boots depends on the type of hunting you plan to do. If you plan to hunt on uneven terrain, you may want to get boots with larger lugs (the bumps on the bottom of your boot) to give you a better grip on different surfaces.
Slipperier surfaces may require boots with cleats (made of metal) or studs (made of rubber) to prevent you from slipping.
Different hunting boots all have different types of lacing systems. While this sounds more like a factor of convenience, the type of lacing on a boot actually helps determine how it fits and supports your foot.
Many boots use traditional eyelet lacing, like the majority of tennis shoes. These are easy to adjust in terms of tightness and comfort, but can also be inconvenient to fix while out on the field.
Other boots may use a speed lacing system, which has hooks that help you tighten your laces faster than usual. However, this system may be less secure since it doesn’t use traditional eyelets.
Finally, some boots use a combination of these methods to provide speed and security to hunters on the go. Keep your needs in mind before choosing a lacing system.
Some hunting boots have added toe protection to prevent accidental injury and prolong your boots’ lifespan. This protection may come in the form of reinforced toe caps, rubber toes, or steel toes.
Reinforced toe caps are common, as they typically use natural materials like leather to protect your toes and keep your boots lightweight. Rubber toes, on the other hand, are made of thick rubber and provide even more protection than toe caps.
For those wanting the ultimate toe protection, consider hunting boots with steel toes. They can be pretty heavy to walk in and are usually reserved for work boots, but they can prevent most impact and crush injuries.
Design & Style
Finally, you’ll want to consider the overall design and style of your hunting boot. Do you want high-cut boots, or low-cut boots? Low-cut may be more comfortable and breathable, but high-cut boots may offer more protection and insulation.
Some boots have a more rugged design with traditional leather and thick soles, while others are designed to be more lightweight and athletic.
You should also consider the color of your boot, as some offer greater camouflaging than others. The color you choose can impact how well you blend in with your surroundings, which can mean the difference between bringing home a buck or not.
Hunting Boot Materials
There are many different types of materials used to make hunting boots, but these are the most common. Keep in mind that each material type has different pros and cons, so we recommend picking materials that suit your needs best.
Rubber is an extremely common material in hunting boots thanks to its durability and waterproofing abilities. Though rubber can be heavier than other materials, it offers great protection against harsh weather conditions.
Rubber can be used to create the entire boot, or it may only be used to create part of the boot, such as the sole. Remember that rubber isn’t particularly breathable, so you should only go for an all-rubber hunting boot if you plan to be in extremely wet areas.
Leather has been used to make hunting boots for decades. Not only is leather natural and durable, but it is also water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about stepping in the occasional puddle. However, you may have to treat the leather occasionally to keep it water-resistant or to keep it from cracking.
Though some types of natural leather can be heavy, it is not as heavy as materials like rubber or steel. It also tends to have good breathability, so your feet will stay cool and comfortable as you walk.
Nylon is a synthetic material used to make many different types of hunting boots. Though this material isn’t as protective as rubber or leather, it is extremely lightweight and more affordable than other materials.
Nylon is a great material choice for those looking for a light, breathable boot with some water resistance, as well as those with a tight budget!
Hunting Boot Cost Considerations
Hunting boots can vary greatly in price, so you should consider your needs and budget before heading to the store. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $50-150 for a pair of decent hunting boots, though some can cost upwards of $500!
There are many different factors that go into the price of a boot, including type, materials, and brand. Some materials, such as Gore-Tex and leather, are much more expensive than synthetic materials like nylon. If you’re on a strict budget, you’ll have to look for boots made of these cheaper materials.
Boots with more features also tend to be more expensive. If you need boots that are fully waterproof or have extreme insulation, expect to pay a higher price for them. Trust us, your feet will thank you for the protection later.
Finally, consider how often you plan to use your boots. If you plan to use them regularly, paying more for more durable or high-quality boots may be worth it. If you only plan to use them once or twice per year, you may not feel the need to shell out for the most expensive pair on the shelf.
Finding the Right Size Boots
Though you may already know your shoe size, your hunting boots may fit a little differently than your average tennis shoe. Always look at a boot’s sizing chart to determine if your normal shoe size fits their sizing.
If you haven’t already, measure the length and width of your foot and compare this to the size chart of the boot. You should especially be sure to consider the width of your foot, as some boots are more suitable for wide feet than others.
If possible, be sure to check out any boots of interest in the store so you can try them on. This is the best way to determine if a pair is right for you. Make sure you wear your typical hunting socks that day, so you can know for sure that they’ll fit and be comfortable on your next trip.
Remember that any boot you get will take some time to break in. You should try walking around your house or yard with them on to break them in faster before your trip, as boots that are not broken in can be uncomfortable or cause blisters.
Maintaining Your Hunting Boots
Once you buy your hunting boots, you aren’t done. You have to maintain your boots to keep them in good condition for a long time.
Make sure you clean your boots regularly and air dry them thoroughly after each use. You can use a soft brush or a cloth with warm water to gently clean away any debris on your boots. Try to avoid using heavy detergents or other chemicals that could cause your boots to degrade over time.
Depending on the type of boot you have, you may also have to apply waterproofing to them. Your boot’s manufacturer may have more information on the type of waterproofing treatment you should apply and how often you should do this.
If your boots are made of leather, you may also have to condition them regularly to keep them from cracking.
Finally, make sure you store your boots correctly when you aren’t using them by keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause your boots to dry out, crack, or fade, and humid environments can cause your boots to get mouldy or break down.
As long as you take good care of your hunting boots, you could have them last you anywhere between 5 and 10 years!
Compilation of Hunting Boot Reviews
Because we’re always ready for another adventure, we’ve reviewed lots of hunting boots before! If you’re looking for more information on these, be sure to check out some of these articles to learn more about our thoughts on different types of hunting boots and what types best suit your type of expedition.
Hunting Boots by Season
- Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots
- Best Hunting Boots For Warm Weather
- Warmest Waterproof Hunting Boots
- Best Early Season Hunting Boots
Hunting Boots by Usage
- Best Upland Hunting Boots
- Best Backcountry Hunting Boots
- Best Deer Hunting Boots
- Best Duck Hunting Boots
Hunting Boots by Features
- Lightest Hunting Boots
- Best Slip On Hunting Boots
- Best Muck Boots For Hunting
- Best Waterproof Hunting Boots
- Best Insulated Hunting Boots
- Warmest Hunting Boots For Sitting In A Tree Stand
Finding the right hunting boots is essential for staying warm and safe on your next hunting trip. Remember that there are many different types of boots out there, so you’ll have to find a pair that has all the factors you need, including insulation, waterproofing, traction, comfort, and more.
As long as you use, clean, and store your boots properly, they can last for many thrilling hunting seasons. Feel free to reach out to us or comment below if you have any additional advice for buying hunting boots in the future!