You could be the best hunter in the world, but if you need to cut your trip short because your feet got wet in freezing temperatures or you injured your ankle slipping on gravel, you’re not going home with game in your truck, are you? The best hunting boots are designed to prevent this and allow you to display your full hunting prowess. Our collection of hunting boots for men has everything you need.
However, you still need to make a choice. With such a wide selection of boots and shoes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know what to look for. This is why we have provided this short guide – we will explain the most important features of hunting boots (and give a few examples), so you can make your selection by combining those features you need.
What Is Included In the Guide?
Every pair of boots or shoes is a combination of similar features, so you need to understand them first before you can make the choice that is right for you. The informed buyer gets the best hunting experience. We will discuss the difference between leather and rubber boots, how insulation works, water-resistance, and the importance of the outsole. Naturally, the price is also important, but you know your price range, so that is not something we need to discuss.
The Best Leather VS the Best Rubber Hunting Boots
The first difference between leather and rubber boots is the most glaring – the appearance. Even the best rubber hunting boots are going to have a tough time passing as office wear. Leather hunting shoes and boots, while primarily designed for outdoor use, can easily be worn as everyday footwear. In the end, it comes down to style. Before making a purchase, ask yourself – where will you wear the boots and will you wear them regularly? There’s no reason to spend money if you’re not going to use them.
Also, how comfortable the boots are is, in part, determined by the material. If you know rubber boots generally fit the shape of your feet, then you have no issue. Leather boots are more forgiving – even if they don’t fit perfectly right away, the leather will mold to your feet with time, keeping your feet comfortable. Rubber boots don’t work like this.
If your previous experience is that rubber boots don’t fit you well, your best option is to go for a leather pair. Never disregard comfort when purchasing footwear. Another difference is the height. Leather boots go from knee- to ankle-high, so you have no issue there. However, you will be hard-pressed to find rubber hunting boots that go below 14 inches. There will be some models, but your selection is severely limited. Keep that in mind when making your choice.
What Degree of Insulation Should You Look For?
Insulation is material added to your boots to keep your feet warm. It is measured in grams and usually designated with G – the higher it is, the more grams of insulation the boots have and the warmer your feet are. It prevents cold air from getting in and warm air from getting out. Insulation is a critical aspect of your boots and you always need to factor it when making your choice.
When deciding what the best insulated hunting boots are for you, seasonality is very important – you won’t wear the same boots during summer as you will during winter. Hunting boots can be non-insulated and insulated. If you plan on wearing them during the summer, you should look for boots that are not insulated. The best hunting boots have a special lining that prevents your feet from sweating too much and wick away moisture, but even then, you will start feeling uncomfortable at some point.
Around 200G is a good choice for cool summer nights, or somewhat colder weather if you are active. Depending on how cold it will be, you simply go up from there. The best cold weather hunting boots can have insulation of up to 1400G, but you won’t need that unless you hunt in extremely cold weather. Let’s see how it works in practice.
Rocky Outback Wellington Hunting Boot for Men VS Thorogood Infinity Hunting Boot for Men
The Rocky Outback Wellington hunting boot is meant for southern hunters. It is not insulated and features a breathable, waterproof GORE-TEX construction. A Rocky Air-Port cushion footbed moves air around inside your boot, providing cooling comfort and preventing your feet from sweating too much. That’s makes it an excellent boot for hunting in warm weather. This casual pull-on boot not only provides comfort but excellent traction too, as you would expect from hunting footwear.
On the other hand, there’s Thorogood Infinity hunting boot. It comes with 800G of insulation, making it perfect for hunting in very cold weather. It is both insulated and waterproof, so it will keep your feet dry and warm in all but the most freezing conditions. However, if you wore them during summer, you would find your feet sweating extensively. They would severely impact your comfort level during summer hunting season and you would likely exchange them for some regular shoes you have.
Buying Boots with the Correct Safety Toe for Men or Women
The type of safety toe is less important for hunting shoes and boots than for other types of work boots. You want to know what you don’t need – which is a steel toe. While a steel toe offers the most protection from impact, you are unlikely to need it. On the other hand, it adds weight to the boots, which can become quite significant after a long day of walking in the outdoors.
Plus, steel can get cold quickly, so it is a hindrance for cold-weather hunting. The best hunting boots come equipped with a toe made with composite materials, or no safety toe at all. This increases your comfort and durability, while not taking away any protections you need.
Can Non-Waterproof Boots Provide the Best Hunting Experience?
Possibly, but why risk it? Non-waterproof boots have no upside compared to the best waterproof hunting boots. The vast majority of hunting shoes and boots are waterproof, so your selection will be severely limited if you have your heart set on a non-waterproof pair. Why even bother? At some point, you’ll be in a situation where your feet could get wet – whether it’s wading through a stream, rain, or snow.
Waterproof boots protect you from that. What you should pay attention to is whether the boots are waterproof or water-resistant. The difference is in the degree of protection – waterproof will last longer in harsher conditions. There is no set industry standard for what constitutes “waterproof” and “water-resistant”, so your best bet is to choose a waterproof pair. Otherwise, you may wish to check a few reviews to see what “water-resistant” means for the manufacturer.
For cold-weather hunting, you should always get boots that are waterproof. These are not situations where you want your feet to get wet. If you are hunting during late spring, summer, or early autumn, water-resistant boots should do the job.
What Kind of Outsole Should the Best Hunting Boots Have?
The outsole is important for two reasons – comfort and safety. In no small part, the outsole determines how the boots feel when you are walking. Luckily, most companies that make the best hunting boots make outsoles using the latest technology, so all of them should be high-quality.
The other feature of the outsole is safety. Besides being abrasion-, or oil-, or even electricity-resistant, the outsole determines how stable your foothold is. You need good traction when you are out in the wilderness. If you have ever slipped and injured yourself 30 miles from the nearest road, you know how problematic that can be.
Choose your type of outsole based on the terrain you will hunt in. The best hunting boots have outsoles specifically designed for particular terrain – be it mud, snow, brush, etc. – or are multi-purpose. It may not seem like a big deal while you are in the comfort of your home, but out there, it is better to get all the protection you can.
In Short – What Are the Best Hunting Shoes and Boots for Men and Women?
Let’s get the simple things out the way first – waterproof and without a steel toe. Most hunting boots fulfill these two requirements, so your selection will be in no way limited. As far as the other features are concerned:
- Rubber vs Leather - your preference, based on style and fit. If you like to rock knee-high rubber boots to wade through mud, go for it. Or get an ankle-high leather pair and even wear them to the office. It’s your choice.
- Insulation – depending on the conditions you will wear them in. More is not necessarily better. If you will wear them during the summer, a high degree of insulation will only decrease your comfort. Always check the G of insulation before buying.
- Outsole – depending on the type of terrain you will wear them in. In the wilderness – safety first.
Remember, you are choosing the best pair of hunting boots for you so your choice should reflect what you need.