The Ultimate Guide To Hunting Boots

The Ultimate Guide To Hunting Boots

Hunting is a tradition as old as time, with the very first hunters doing so for food and shelter. Although not necessary to hunt anymore to get our food, there are thousands of Americans who still enjoy the thrill of a hunt for sport and a hobby, and still require a decent pair of hunting boots to do so.

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The tradition of hunting for sport and leisure started around the second half of the 1800s when more and more Americans became citified and moved out of rural areas. With the fear that they would lose their masculine roots and become too domesticated, hunting offered a great way to prove your manly worth and even bring home a trophy or two to adorn your living room.

Since then, the world of leisure hunting has changed somewhat, and modern hunters are now more aware than ever that their favorite pastime has to change to fit the times. Along with the changes about how important it is to hunt ethically and respectfully of nature, the changes in the hunting boots and gear we wear has also improved.

As the single most important piece of hunting gear you will ever purchase, so much thought needs to go in to choosing the best hunting boots. These boots should make you faster, quieter, more comfortable, and better protected against the harsh conditions of the outdoors, and there are now numerous options for the style, color, and material they can be made from.

What Are Hunting Boots?

For some who’s never hunted before, you probably never realized that hunting boots are in their own category. People often assume that the hunter just wears any old boot suited to farming, fishing, or hiking, but the reality is that this is a shoe market that far expands any of those pastimes.

A hunting boot needs to combine all of the above and more, offering the wearer all day comfort, protection against the elements and tough terrains, and a way to move stealthily through the hunting grounds. With that in mind, you should choose your hunting boots based on a number of factors, including:

  • Insulation – this refers to the warmth offered by a boot and is based on the levels of insulating material within.
  • Fit – the shape of the boot can differ greatly for men and women, and also in how high up the boot sits on the calf.
  • Ventilation – this refers to how well the boot breathes and will depend on the weather conditions for what you require.
  • Terrain – depending on where you hunt, be it upland or field or elsewhere, boots are generally made to suit different locations.
  • Durability – common hunting materials are rubber and leather, known for high levels of durability.

Because no two hunters are the same, there are countless variations of boot out there to suit all kinds. With the right hunting boots, you’ll be able to benefit in so many ways, so it’s essential that you take your time in choosing the right pair.

Why Are Hunting Boots Important?

For those new to hunting, they often wonder if it’s enough to just use a regular pair of hiking boots or rubber galoshes to do the trick when they’re out on a hunt. However, after just one outing you’ll realize how wrong these are, and understand the necessity of purchasing a pair of boots designed specifically for hunting. Here are just a few benefits that the right hunting boot can have for the wearer:

Comfort

Hunting is considered a marathon, not a sprint, so you want to be sure that from your head to your toes you’re covered in comfortable gear. Hunting boots are made specifically to give comfort and support over long periods, far more than any other outdoor shoe.

Hunting Is Not Sprint

Protection

Whether you need protection from water, rocks, snow, dirt, or prickles, a quality hunting boot can offer all of this and more. If you know you’re be facing a particularly tough outdoor condition, you can shop for this exact feature in your boots.

Style

Nothing completes the look of a full hunting outfit better than a quality and heavy duty hunting boot, and there are loads of great styles for both men and women.

Stealth

Hunting boots can increase your stealth on the hunting field with camouflage prints and noise reducing features. With the right pair of boots, you can be quieter and less visible to the animals you’re stalking, improving your success rate significantly.

Stealth Tracking Game

To achieve all of these benefits and more, you need to shop for a quality pair of hunting boots and prepared to invest a little to gain a lot. When you understand just how much a good hunting boot can offer, though, you’ll be more than happy to outlay that investment.

How Are Hunting Boots Made?

Hunting boots aren’t made like regular shoes, due to the tough conditions they have to endure, so the parts differ slightly in importance when compared to others. Here are just a few key parts to the hunting boot, and what to look for when searching for the best fit for your hunting needs.

Upper

This is the upper part of the boot and the area that will cover the top of your foot from the sole upwards. The best quality materials for this region are leather or nylon, however, it’s common to find a combination. Full grain leather is the most ideal for its durability, so choose this if you can.

Hunting Boots Upper Part

Stitch/Glue

This refers to how the upper and the sole are joined, and it has a lot to do with their final quality. Stitched boots are usually more expensive but better quality and they can be repaired if they come unstuck. Those connected with adhesive will be cheaper but once they break it will be hard to fix them.

Lining

Not many people realize you need to look inside of the boot as well as outside, and especially if you’re shopping for winter boots. Some are lined with Gore-Tex or another waterproof material which is great for keeping water out, but be careful in hotter conditions as this can make your feet sweat.

Outsole

This is the large bulky bit on the bottom, and the area you want to be tougher than all other parts. Shop for a pair that has a good tread design that can be aggressive with dirt, snow, mud, and anything else you throw at it.

Hunting Boots Parts

Shank

This is the part running underneath the arch of your foot and is responsible for giving you the much-needed support and stability you require. Some shanks are made of steel which can cause the boot to be heavy, so look for something lighter such as fiberglass.

Liner

Although it’s possible to buy sock liners, you can also purchase your boot with a quality liner built in already. This acts as a second skin that can protect you from rubbing and the inevitable blisters that come with it.

The Difference Between Men’s And Women’s Hunting Boots

When searching for a pair of hunting boots, you might assume that men’s and women’s kinds all look and feel the same. Although generally speaking they offer the same benefits, there are a few ways that they differ so they can suit their wearer more comfortable.

Difference between Woman's and Men's Hunting Boots

The main difference between men’s and women’s hunting boots comes in the mold and heel arch. As woman usually have a higher arch than men, and typically smaller feet, you’ll find that these look and feel somewhat different in the final product. For this reason, it’s always best to shop for a boot made specifically for your gender, and never settle for a boot that’s anything less than comfortable.

There is also the width to consider in a hunting boot, as there are a few variations available. You might not always fit the typical shape and size of a men’s or women’s hunting boot, so shop mainly for your length and width to ensure you get the best fit.

Types Of Hunting Boots

Just as there are countless styles of hunter out there, so too are there countless styles of hunting boots. Usually, you can shop around for a boot that has been designed for the area you typically hunt in or the game you chase, which makes it easier to find the best style. These are just a few common types of hunting boot, although there are many others to choose for to suit your niche.

Upland Hunting Boots

This type of boot has been made for the hunter who chases upland birds such as quails, woodcocks, and grouse. The terrain is usually flat and grassy, so it’s easy to walk on. Because upland hunters spend a lot of time on foot, they can expect to be walking most of the day and so need something comfortable and supportive.

Upland Hunting Boots In A Box

Mountain Hunting Boots

When you’re hunting animals that classically live on the mountain, including elk and bears, you need a boot that’s built with enough traction to keep you steady. A mountain hunting boot should be flexible to account for the steep inclines and with great traction on the soles.

Multipurpose Hunting Boots

These have been made to suit all kinds of conditions, but really should only be used if you prefer to hunt that way. A multi purpose boot is generally tough and comfortable but hasn’t been designed to suit specific terrains and weather, so it might not always be the best first choice.

Rubber Hunting Boots

The hunter who prefers to get a little dirty when they’re out and about will prefer a rubber hunting boot. These boots are ideal for trekking through mud, wading in the water, and searching through marshlands to stalk their prey. Rubber is known for its waterproof abilities, making it an ideal choice for any wet condition.

Snake Boots

If you venture out into known snake territory, you usually won’t trust any old boot to protect you. Snake boots are designed with a high, extended collar that goes up your leg so that there’s less chance you’ll suffer from bites. These are made with unique material that can stop a snake’s fangs and they’re a must-have safety feature.

Boots that protect form Snake Bites

Overboots

When you have a favorite pair of hunting boots and you want to take them with you through wet conditions, you can use a pair of overboots for added protection. These go on over the top of your regular boot and are perfect for keeping water out completely.

Hunting Boot Insulation

Another important feature to consider when shopping around for your new hunting boots is the insulation. This refers to the warmth that a boot offers, and this is achieved with the use of material fillers that protect you from cold conditions. Usually measured in terms of grams, this refers to how much insulation is in a square meter of fabric, and the more you have the warmer they’ll be.

Depending on the weather you hunt in, the conditions you hunt in, and the style of hunting you prefer, there’s going to be a level of insulation most suitable. For example, those who stalk will need less insulation as others who hide because they’re already creating heat as they move. Here are the different insulation ranges and what they mean for the hunter:

200 Grams Or Less

Little or no insulation is common with field hunting boots and for hunting outings during the warmer seasons. Hunters might choose to use a thicker sock to give them added warmth if they think the temperature may drop somewhat.

400 To 800 Grams

This is the standard insulation you’ll find in most hunting boots, offering enough warmth for when temperatures drop without being too stuffy. For a stalking hunter traveling in winter, this is an ideal choice.

Hunting Boots in Winter

900 Grams And Up

For a hunter heading out in winter, this level of insulation is ideal. If you prefer to stalk and use hides and blinds, something with 900gms upwards is best so that you can stay warm while you’re inactive.

Waterproof Hunting Boots

There’s nothing that can ruin a hunting trip more than wet boots, so it’s essential to have waterproofed boots. Even if you don’t suspect you’ll be traveling in the rain, through marshes, or in puddles, you can never be too sure what the great outdoors has to offer, and so waterproof boots are a must-have for every hunter.

Waterproofing is so important, in fact, that on top of having boots that are waterproofed by the manufacturer, you should also do your own at home for extra protection. Choose a quality oil that’s intended for boots, and set both your boots and the oil in a warm spot so they can get to the same temperature.

Waterproof Hunting Boots

Ensure your boots are cleaned and dry with no dirt or debris on them, and then rub the oil with your hands or a cloth in a circular motion over the boots, being careful to avoid any plastic or rubber. Once you’ve coated them completely, place them back in the warm spot for around an hour and then buff the excess wax away.

When you’re done, you’ll notice just how supple your leather boots feel and you can test out how waterproof they are by dropping just a bit of water on them. With this added layer of waterproofing, you can feel confident you’ll be protected in the wettest of conditions. Every few weeks of hard use, you can repeat the process to ensure your boots last for many more seasons.

The Fitting Guide For Hunting Boots

Finding the perfect fitting hunting boot can be a chore, due to the numerous factors that make each of these brands and styles unique. When you’re shopping around for hunting boots, you’ll likely see a lot of terminology or specifications that might confuse you surrounding how a boot should fit. Here are some things to consider that will determine how comfortably they fit on your feet.

Toe Room

This is the top of the shoe where your toes fit so you want to ensure it’s not too tight. Keep in mind you will need room to accommodate for socks as well, so look for a boot that has at least a finger’s width of space at the front.

Fitting Hunting Boots

Loose Heel

A loose heel can mean your foot will slip out, and this constant rubbing will cause blisters. There are some inserts you can purchase to prevent this if you feel a boot fits perfectly in all other places.

Wide Feet

If you have particularly wide or narrow feet, you’ll need to shop for your size. The best way to do is this is to measure the length and width of your foot and compare it to a shoe size chart to see which category they’re in.

Tightness

You’ll want your hunting boot to be a snug fit but not too tight that it causes problems with circulation. Boots will usually specify how tight their grip is, and some prefer this if hunting in conditions like mud where it’s common for a boot to slip off.

Popular Hunting Boot Terms

When you begin you search for the best hunting boot, it will take some time to get used to all of the terminology used. As hunting boots are designed for such a specialized hobby, they often use custom made materials and products to ensure their quality.

Thinsulate

This is a synthetic fiber thermal material and is what a boot is usually referring to when it discusses the grams of insulation it offers. With a soft, stretchy, and comfortable feel it gives added support to your sole.

Thinsulate For Hunting Boots

Prima Loft

Another popular choice for thermal insulation, Prima Loft is commonly found in hunting boots to make them warm. Made by the United States Army in the 1980s, it’s ideal for tough conditions in the outdoors.

Aerogel

A synthetic and porous material that offers extreme insulation for hunting boots. This is more lightweight than the other options, so it suits the hunter looking for a light boot that can move easily.

Gore-Tex

This fabric membrane is breathable and waterproof and is commonly found on the soles and uppers of hunting boots. Due to their waterproof and windproof qualities, this material is now found in most modern styles of boots.

Boot Rand

This is the piece of rubber that covers the joint in between the upper and the sole, and the quality of this part is extremely important to the overall durability of the boot.

Boot Rand On A Hunting Boot

Neoprene

This synthetic rubber is known for its durability and is often found on the gussets or uppers of hunting boots that are intended to be used in the water.

As you continue to search for hunting boots, you’ll become familiar with the different terminology and what it means for the outcome of the shoe. Some features will likely be more important than others, depending on the individual hunter, so it shouldn’t be assumed that one material is always going to be more favorable than another.

Hunting Boots For Dogs

If you’re a hunter that likes nothing more than to have your four legged friend out with you in the hunting field, then you’ll want the very best for their feet as well.

Although dogs have been accompanying us on hunts for generations, it’s only been recently that hunters have begun to take into consideration the need for a quality boot for their best friend, as well.

Taking a dog on a hunt can be extremely helpful, as their distinct sense of smell and constant companionship can be just what you need when you’re out and about, but you can sometimes spend hours of a trip picking out cactus tines, thorns, and stickers from their legs.

Hunting Boots

For this reason, a quality pair of hunting boots for dogs can ensure your dog is happy and performing at their best, making them an even better companion to take along.

Dog’s hunting boots are usually made from a tough but breathable material like neoprene and Kevlar, and come in a range of sizes to suit all breeds and shapes of dog. These boots are lightweight enough that they won’t bother your dog but durable enough to keep the painful and annoying things out so that you can both be protected in style.

Top Manufacturers Of Hunting Boots

In the world of hunting boots, there are some brands that just can’t be beaten. Due to the years and years of quality shoes they’ve created and the constant input from generations of hunters on how they can make their product the best, these brands continue to rise above the rest as the best manufacturers of hunting boots.

If you’ve been searching for a new pair of hunting boots but are having trouble narrowing down your search, you can be guaranteed that selecting from one of these premium brands will be all the guarantee you need that you’re getting quality and style.

Under Armour

Under Armour, Inc. is an American brand that has been creating quality and heavy duty boots for many years. This company supplies footwear for the military, law enforcement, hunting, hiking, and work, so you know that they are in tune with what the average American needs. Under Armour hunting boots are mid-range and offer an affordable way to get absolute quality from your next pair of shoes.

Under Armor Boots Company

Danner

This US brand is well known and loved by all kinds of hunters, thanks to their tried and trusted designs that only get better with each generation. Danner hunting boots rely on input from real life hunters to make improvements, so you can be sure you’re getting a boot that has everything you could ask for out on the hunting field.

Irish Setter

Irish Setter specializes in making premium footwear for all types of sports, and their hunting boot range is some of their most popular. Irish Setter hunting boots come in different varieties to suit the style of hunting, be it elk or bird, so you’re guaranteed a quality made boot for every occasion.

LaCrosse

For over 100 years, LaCrosse has been making durable and reliable boots and footwear for all situations. Their most popular styles are the LaCrosse hunting boots and those made for the outdoors, with the company also owning Danner boots who specialize in these styles, too.

Hunting Boots Comany LaCrosse

Muck Boots

Muck Boots hunting boots are part of the popular range of footwear from this brand, making shoes since 1999. Although one of the newer brands to create quality hunting boots, Muck Boots has already established themselves as leaders in terms of women’s and men’s hunting apparel.

Maintenance And Cleaning Of Your Hunting Boots

Although it’s easy enough to find a pair of quality hunting boots, the real commitment comes in caring for them. Because hunters invest so much of their time and money choosing the perfect boot, you need to be committed to keeping them clean, protected and maintained both during the hunting season and after.

Cleaning And Caring For Leather Hunting Boots

We all know that leather shoes of any kind require some extra love and attention, and this couldn’t be truer for any other boot than the hunting one. Because hunting boots are taken outside regularly and used in some tough conditions, there are a few things you must do to keep them clean and cared for.

  • Use a dry toothbrush to get rid of any dirt and debris after every use, and then use lukewarm water on the brush if further cleaning is required;
  • Invest in a quality and specialized leather conditioner or balm and explicitly follow the guidelines on the container;
  • Never dry your leather boots by a fire or other hot source as this can easily crack and split the supple material. Rather, leave boots in open air to dry out and place a wad of newspaper inside to help gently soak up moisture;
  • Spray your boots with a leather waterproofing agent specifically made for this material, and reapply whenever they’re cleaned.

Cleaning And Caring For Rubber Hunting Boots

Although not as sensitive as leather, rubber hunting boots still require care and maintenance to keep them in good condition. Here are a few things you can do to ensure they last as long as possible:

  • Use a specialized rubber conditioner on your boots after heavy use, being sure to clean them thoroughly with a fine toothbrush and lukewarm water first;
  • Keep your boots out of direct sunlight when they’re not in use, as the direct heat can cause the rubber to split and break, and be sure not to fold them over while being stored;
  • Remove the insoles and change as required, particularly when they are wet or moist. It’s common for mold to grow inside wet rubber boots due to the lack of air that gets in.

4 Tips On How To Extend Life Of Hunting Boots

As one of the most important pieces of hunting gear you’ll ever own, you want to be sure you’re taking the very best care of your hunting boots. As these can be quite expensive and involve a long process to find ones that you actually like, you’ll want to follow these tips to extend their life as long as possible.

Never Leave Them Wet

Whether you’ve come home for the day or are resting up at your campsite, you should never just leave your boots lying around if they’re wet or damp. There are some ways to quickly dry them such as using newspaper inside the boot, or you can keep them in a mildly warm space to help them dry out overnight without overheating.

Wet Hunting Boots Dry Them

Patch Problems As They Happen

Some people give their boots a quick check over once a year or two to see if there are any repairs required, but by this time it can be too late to solve a problem. You should be checking your boots over after each hunt, giving them a quick clean, and making sure there are no holes or tears to tend to before you put them away for the day.

Use A Quality Sealer

As discussed earlier, it’s important to apply a wax to your boots to keep them in good condition. Apply this warm while your boots are warm also, and aim to reapply every few weeks during a period of heavy use.

Wax Your Boots

Don’t Forget Them In The Off Season

Some hunters simply put their boots away when the season is over and don’t give them a second thought, but this can shorten their life span significantly. Use the end of the season to do a thorough clean, apply some more wax, fix repairs, and then store them in a cool and dry place so they’re ready to go when hunting seasons starts again.

10 Hunting Safety Tips

According to statistics, over 15 million Americans participated in hunting during 2015, with that number continuing to rise over time. Unfortunately, many accidents and some fatalities have been reported each year, sometimes giving hunting a bad rap in terms of how safe it is as a hobby. However, by following safety guidelines and knowing a few tips, you can ensure a safe hunting experience for yourself and those around you.

Commit To Firearm Safety

This is by far the most important aspect of safety when out hunting, as firearms can cause serious injuries and sometimes fatalities. A good hunter respects their weapon and will have the training to use a firearm, including how to safely own and operate them.

Gun Tips

Some key things to remember include being certain of your target before you fire, keeping your finger off the trigger until ready, and treat every firearm as if it were loaded even if you’re unsure.

Pack For All Weather

Before heading out, you should understand what the weather forecast is saying and be prepared in case there’s a sudden change to this. If you’re traveling overnight, you’ll need extra protection against a drop in protection as well.

Communicate Your Plans

Always have a clearly mapped area of where you plan on going so that you can leave a copy with someone else. This means, if all other communication methods fail, somebody is aware of where you are going and what time you are meant to arrive home so that they can alert the authorities if you don’t return.

Prevent Falls

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, falls from tree stands are the number one cause of injury for hunters. When you’re using a tree stand, be sure to have a fall prevention device in place to keep you safe should the worst happen.

Hunting Stands Prevent Falls

Exercise Self-control

It’s easy to get excited when you’re out on the hunt, so if you feel yourself getting too wound up or anxious, it’s best to have a time out. This will prevent you from making rash decisions based on your mounting adrenaline, and keep you and others safe.

Check Your Gear

Before heading out hunting, you should do a thorough check of all of your equipment. This includes everything from your clothing and boots to a complete check of your weaponry.

Pack For The Worst

No matter how long you plan on being out in the woods, you should always have an emergency survival kit on hand. This includes basic medical supplies, maps or GPS, and enough food and water to last should you get lost. Don’t assume just because you know an area that you can’t get lost, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Survival Kit For Hunters

Stay Educated

There are now many places where you can complete a hunter safety course, covering everything you could need to know about this beloved pastime. These courses include gun safety, orienteering, hygiene, animal preparation, and harness safety.

Water Safety

For hunters that get out into the open waters, there are a few more measures you should take. Always wear a floatation device, have your boat serviced at the start of a season before heading out, and keep your gear in a waterproof container or box.

Keep Your Fitness Up

When you consider just how intense a standard hunting outing can be, it makes sense that you should be in the best physical condition to participate.

Stay in Shape when huntng

When you’re unfit and out in the woods, there are a number of health issues that can arise, so you should maintain regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. Not only will this keep you healthy, but it will make you a more agile hunter, too.

The Quintessential Hunting Accessory

There’s nothing more important to the hunter, in terms of their gear than a quality pair of hunting boots, so they deserve a lot of time and respect to find the right pair.

The right hunting boot can help you be quieter when stalking, warmer when out in the middle of winter, and comfortable when you’ve spent the entire day on your feet.

These boots are more than just a regular pair of shoes, as we rely so much on them to do so many things for us when we’re away from home. For that reason, hunters are happy to invest a little extra in a quality pair of hunting boots provided they can meet their needs.

Hunting Boots the Accessory To Have

Once we own a pair we love, we’re happy to spend even more time caring for them properly, so that they can see us through many more successful hunting seasons.

The best hunting boot for you will depend on a number of factors, right down to the animal you hunt and the area you live in, so you need to do your research before you finally decide on a pair. With the right set of hunting boots on your feet, though, there’s no telling what you’ll be able to achieve in the great outdoors and how much your own hunting skills will improve.

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