Finding the best cold weather hunting boots is essential for a wholesome hunting experience. As an experienced hunter you will agree that while accessories may add to your hunting experience, no single item makes for a great hunt.
If you are focusing all your attention on getting the best rifle, forget about something trivial – boots can make or break your hunt.
In most hunts, you have to keep moving to find your prey. You have to cross rocky terrain, hills, marshes. No rifle will help you when your feet are sore, and you can’t go on, or you’re getting cold.
But there’s a way out of this. Choose your hunting boots with care, and your hunt will be successful.
How to Choose the Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots?
Looking for the perfect winter hunting boot is never easy. There are so many considerations while making your choice.
The cost of a mistake is rather high. You can’t test how your hunting snow boots perform unless you actually go out and hunt. This life lesson may be too expensive to afford.
We have gathered lots of experience in winter hunting to pass that knowledge to you. This is what you should look for in extreme cold weather hunting boots. We’ve looked into the features and compared many designs in the market, read this guide to learn what makes good winter hunting boots.
Main features for choosing the best cold weather hunting boots
Not all hunting activities are created equal, and not all boots were either. You can buy the best high-end hunting boots, but it won’t mean much if you use them in the wrong situation.
Some hunters are active and walk a lot while looking for prey. This makes them sweat, especially if they walk fast to chase after the game. In winter, wet feet means cold feet.
If you are this kind of hunter, look for lightweight boots with up to 30 oz. of insulation.
If you prefer waiting for the game to appear, look for the warmest hunting boots for sitting in a tree stand. They are heavier than walking boots and sport up to 35 oz. of insulation.
The best waterproof hunting boots do not use cheap or poorly made materials. However, each material offers its benefits and downsides that should be considered.
The obvious choice is leather. The best leather hunting boots are waterproof and keep your feet dry. They normally have a rubber outsole because it is lightweight and doesn’t make a sound as you walk. The downside is that leather boots can be heavy for some.
The warmest winter rubber boots will keep your feet warm and tend to weigh a lot less than leather. Compared to leather boots, their enhanced water resistant abilities means they are not as breathable.
The very first thing to think of when choosing a winter boot is the insulation which can make or break any hunt. Too little and your feet are cold, while too much and they’re wet.
In the end, what matters is what do you want to put your boots through. The best uninsulated hunting boots have up to 7 oz. of insulation. They are ideal for activities that include hiking and running where cold temperatures are not a factor.
The best insulated hunting boots range from 7-35 oz. of insulation. Anything under 28 oz. is considered lightweight insulated hunting boots. These will be useful in most situations.
Go for over 28 oz only if you plan to sit or stand a lot. It is a recommended choice for ice fishing and tree stand hunting.
Sole & traction
One slip in the forest can lead to a serious injury. If it doesn’t, that elk you’ve been tracking for hours will hear your fall and run away. Look for boots with multi-directional traction to avoid this.
Use each boot where it is designed for. Lace-up hunting boots perform best on a rocky terrain. The best men’s rubber hunting boots are perfect for walks in marshland or crossing shallow rivers.
Comfort & support
You can’t feel the most comfortable hunting boot. The boots fit like a warm hug or a handshake. When you wear them, the boots should not squeeze your feet to the point of discomfort.
Comfortable hunting boots are easy to take off and support your ankle well. This prevents injuries and makes sure nothing is distracting you from the hunt.
Some imported boots run small. Check before you buy and adjust the size to the one that’ll suit your feet. Most footwear, domestic and international will have a size in centimeters on the tag, this is a good indicator when purchasing imports which may slightly differ in size.
Even if you can bear the weight of most boots on your feet, there is a limit. The best lightweight hunting boots not only keep your feet warm but allow you to walk faster and further.
No one wants to abandon easy prey and walk back to camp because you grew too tired.
Look for the ideal combination of insulation and weight to avoid missing out on the big game.
Pro tip: some traction designs can pick up mud, making the boot heavier. Pay attention to this before buying.
Good waterproof hunting boots are not cheap. They have to be durable within reason to the price. Sure, you’re not going to use them on the red carpet, but how much abuse they can take is important to know.
Some boots are great overall but will fail if you try bushwhacking through rough terrain. Consider where you’ll be using them and look for a balance of durability and performance if you want to choose good hunting boots.