Some of my least favorite hunting experiences can be blamed on the same bad decision: not wearing my best hunting boots. You don’t really appreciate having dry feet until you’ve soaked yours crossing a creek in late November.
And I’m still not sure I understand why a metal tree stand in the wind feels like a block of ice through your boots. In this article I’ll discuss the most important features of boots for hunters, and review some of the best ones from RedHead, Irish Setter, Rocky, and Lacrosse.
Important Features of Hunting Boots
When it comes to hunting boots, some features are more important than others. Here are the key things I’m looking for.
- Insulation. For most of us, by the time hunting season rolls around, some form of insulation is desirable. On occasion, especially if I’m scouting, a lighter uninsulated boot will do the job. But for a full day in the stand, especially in late fall or winter, insulation is key. Most boots have Thinsulate, a synthetic, water-resistant, thermal insulating fiber from 3M. Hunting boots might have 400 to 800 grams of Thinsulate, and obviously more grams means more insulation.
- Waterproofing. There are few hunting situations where you won’t want a waterproof boot. There are creeks, ponds, and marshes. The one that really surprises me is dew. Crossing a grassy field on a cool morning gets your feet as soaked as anything. Waterproof boots go a long way to keeping your feet comfortable, but keep in mind that they’re only as waterproof as they are tall.
- Outsole. This is the fancy word for the tread of the boot, which will usually be rubber. It’s sturdy, quiet, and provides a good grip. Rubber also leaves minimal scent behind, which is something us deerhunters are always obsessing over.
- Fasteners. Laces, zippers, and/or buckles all have their pros and cons. Laces might be the most secure, but they take the longest (and are tough to do with freezing-cold fingers). Zippers are quick and convenient, but they’re usually metal (and I try to avoid carrying any metal I can).
- Cushioning. A contoured, cushioned interior of the boot will keep you comfortable on long treks and across rough terrain.
- Materials and patterns. Most of us are going to opt for brown leather or else a camo pattern, possibly a combination of both. Nothing beats good quality leather when it comes to boots, but leather’s also heavy. New, lightweight fabrics in camo patterns are probably worth a look.
Hunting Boot Reviews