There are few things—short of being caught in a blinding blizzard or sandstorm—that ruin a hunt faster than wet feet, cold feet, or wet, cold feet.
Many of the most popular hunting seasons are cold, wet, and located in less than favorable conditions like open plains, ponds and lakes, and mountains.
However, since no two seasons are alike, we are going to take a look at a variety of boots to tackle whatever game you hunt and where you hunt it.
The 11 Best Hunting Boots Reviewed in 2019
Here are reviews of the top hunting boots of 2019:
- Best Inexpensive Boots: Guide Gear Waterproof Timber Ops Hunting Boots
- Best Boots for the Money: Rocky Core Waterproof 800G Insulated Outdoor Boot
- Best Rubber Boots: Muck Boot Chore Classic
- Best Boots for your Elk Hunt: Danner Powderhorn 10
- Best Insulated Hunting Boots: Irish Setter VAPRTREK™ LS
- Best Boots for Upland Hunting: Wingshooter Men’s 7-inch Waterproof Leather Boot
- Best Mountain Hunting: UA Infil Ops GORE-TEX
- Best Waterproof Boots: Muck Boot Arctic Sport
- Best Lightweight Hunting Boots: Under Armour’s Valsetz RTS 1.5
- Warmest Hunting Boots For Winter: Guide Gear Monolithic
- Best Hunting Boots for Women: Muck Boot Muck Woody PK
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1. Best Inexpensive Boots
We can all relate to this one. No matter what our checking account ledger reads, we would rather be outfitting our weapons than our feet.
Ironically, it is our feet which will most impact our memory of the hunt! A $1,000 rifle and optic or shotgun won’t matter any if you turn back early because your feet are frozen, soaked, or are blistering.
Of course, not everyone is overly excited to drop upwards of $200 on a pair of Irish Setters. While the hunting and outdoor sports industry has revenue nearing $40 billion annually, this does not mean that every hunter has endless discretionary funds to throw around, which is well indicated by the widespread popularity of no-frills hunting rifles sold by most major firearms manufacturers (including a number of high-end manufacturers).
Guide Gear Waterproof Timber Ops Hunting Boots
The Sportsman’s Guide is a staple catalog on the end table of most hunters. A longtime army surplus outlet, they began branding their own items a few years ago, namely hunting boots and clothing.
By producing these items under their own brand, they have been able to keep costs much lower than comparable name brand items, and reviews indicate that they are of very decent quality.
Modeled after modern tactical footwear, these are similar in appearance to Rocky C4 boots, but with a much lower price point. At around $40, you really cannot go wrong with at least trying out a pair of these. They are light and 100% waterproofed, come in Realtree Xtra, and are readily available in all common sizes.
However, the soles appear pretty thin. For $40 hunting boots, this isn’t all that surprising. Still, I think you are miles ahead if they fit and the sole stays on for a day.
In summary, the Guide Gear Timber Ops are best suited for hunting areas which will not be exposed to extreme cold or extremely wet conditions.
- Very inexpensive!
- It is hard to beat $40 for waterproof boots, no matter what you decide to do with them. If nothing else, I’d get them just to have available for going to the range on a wet day.
- You do get what you pay for: these are not made with the same eye for detail as a Danner boot, but you can also buy four or five pairs of these to one pair of Danner’s.
For the money, these are about as good as it gets, especially for waterproof boots. Even if they are only moderately comfortable and mostly waterproof, these are still a great deal.
Let’s be honest: serious, avid hunters are going to put up the cash for high-end boots because hunting is a lifestyle. These are geared towards the novice who is trying out hunting and aren’t ready to pull the trigger on a bigger purchase. These offer great bang for the buck for that hunter.
2. Best Boots for the Money
We’re not necessarily looking for the cheapest boots here, rather the boot with the highest quality and best features for the price. There are a lot of excellent brands on the market (Danner, Rocky, Irish Setter, Muck Boot, etc.), and you will generally pay for that quality workmanship.
Rocky Core Waterproof 800G Insulated Outdoor Boot
Rocky has a long tradition of making quality western boots, hunting boots, and tactical boots. I chose their C4T lightweight summer boot as my uniform boot and found them to be extremely comfortable and fit well.
They had no loose spots or sloppiness, so no problems with blisters or even need for a break-in period.
For the money (sub-$100, less than $90 depending on size), you are not likely to find a waterproof, fully insulated boot to compare to the Rocky Core. In fact, you may want to consider light athletic socks when wearing these above 20 or 30 degrees due to the 800G Thinsulate™ insulation.
These 8-inch boots fill the void between ultra-budget boots, which are thin and light to reduce costs, and premium boots that cost around $300, a bit more than the casual outdoorsman may want to spend. These are fairly free of frills, but this is the field we’re talking about here. I’ll take a plain boot that keeps my feet warm and dry any day.
- Inexpensive for a name-brand boot
- 100% waterproof
- Heavily insulated
- VERY heavy, weighing in at over 4.5 lbs.
- Some reviews indicate the insulation is sub-par
- Bulky and not form-fitting
This is a good boot for the hunter who goes out to fill their tag to fill their freezer. Considering the weight, they are not a good pick for the avid stalker who plans to track their prey for miles.
It is a good selection for going to the tree stand in crummy weather, bagging the game, dragging it to the truck, and then tucking these boots away for 12 months until the season opens again.
Rocky Core Waterproof 800G Insulated Outdoor Boot is also available at:
3. Best Rubber Boots – Muck Boot Chore Classic
No real surprises here: Muck Boots Chore Classics are simply the best insulated rubber boot, bar none. There are other brands out there that have copied them, but they are just imitations. The standard is Muck Boot.
The characteristic boot has a tall shaft that is either fully rubberized or part rubber and part neoprene. The superior fit and comfort set these apart from traditional rubber galoshes.
An elastic cuff on the top of the shaft keeps the shaft tight to your legs, keeping water and muck out of them. Rubber galoshes . . . are made of rubber. They feel exactly like you’d expect: akin to wearing surgical gloves or a tire.
Muck Boots are designed to wick away moisture, i.e. sweat, and are built to offer the comfort of a regular field boot while retaining the weather resistance of a traditional rubber pair of wader boots.
- Airmesh lining to keep feet and legs dry
- 5 mm neoprene lining
- 100% rubber lower
- The best on the market
- You pay for the best—EXPENSIVE
Muck Boots Chore Classics are very versatile boots, equally adept in the pens or the deer stand. They are warm, waterproof, and very durable and are capable of handling just about anything you want to throw at them.
You will pay for the quality but also rest easy knowing they are light years ahead of the knock-offs.
Muck Boot Chore Classic is also available at:
4. Best Boots for your Elk Hunt
Elk hunting takes place in some of the most beautiful country in North America. These same places, the Rocky Mountains and even the Great Plains, also come with some of the most challenging weather.
A fall hunt in the Rockies can rapidly transition from a crisp, golden morning to a snowstorm in no time. Your trek across the plains that was supposed to be cool and refreshing can just as easily be a gray quagmire of unending mist and rain.
The other constant of elk hunting is the walk. You are going to spend some serious time on your feet because elk are mobile creatures.
Let’s have some #realtalk right quick about hunting elk: they are not a cheap species to hunt. Deer are a relatively inexpensive hunt; elk aren’t. Don’t cheap out on your feet because you will regret it. You’ll want boots that are:
- Comfortable for long miles;
- Warm—not arctic warm, but insulated enough to stay consistently warm over a very long day;
- Waterproof, and I mean really waterproof—not just waterproof through a puddle, but waterproof for five miles of hiking over wet trails.
Danner Powderhorn 10″ Brown Insulated 1000g
Understanding that elk hunts are going to be pricey, we are going to accept that and not skimp on boots. Danner boots are some of the best on the market, so let’s have a look at the Powderhorn hunting boot.
The Powderhorn is fully insulated with 1,000G of Thinsulate and is lined with GORE-TEX for maximum waterproof capability. The tall 8-inch shaft laces tightly to provide positive stability, and the deep lugs ensure excellent traction in all conditions.
- Full leather construction.
- 1,000G Thinsulate insulation.
- GORE-TEX waterproofing.
- Very heavy, weighing in at 65 oz. per pair.
- With an MSRP of $250, this isn’t a terrible con but they are certainly not cheap.
Danner Powderhorn boots are built for battle. Yes, they are heavy as a result, but this is due to the superior construction. Nothing is worse than a blown-out boot when you are miles from camp or pulling your trophy bull back to camp through wet grass.
5. Best Insulated Hunting Boots – Irish Setter Men’s Vaprtrek LS
Irish Setters are ridiculously warm. The company is a derivative of the world-famous Red Wing boots, ensuring quality and standards that are unparalleled. But in hunting, boots need to be both well insulated and light.
Working in frigid temps is one thing, but moving while hunting has special requirements. Hunting is much more akin to operating in a tactical environment where ounces mean everything.
Working an industrial jobsite usually entails spending a lot of hours on your feet, but not necessarily moving around a lot. Hunting is an activity which mixes miles of hiking over rugged terrain with hours of still observation.
A dedicated hunter who is looking to track and take game overland in the late months needs lightweight boots which breathe well yet can be relied upon to keep feet warm and dry for hours of waiting.
The Irish Setter VAPRTREK™ LS fits the bill perfectly. It features a molded, rubberized foam, athletic outsole, similar to popular hiking boots and tactical boots, like the Rocky S2V, rather than the ultra-durable Vibram lug style.
The Vibram lug is tremendously durable, making them great for work, but they have little flex and are very heavy, keeping them from forming well the contour of the foot and making them too cumbersome for long hiking endeavors.
This is why the VAPRTREK™ boot comes in over a pound lighter than the Danner Powderhorn (reviewed above) yet offers the same insulation value.
- Very light, 21 oz. lighter per pair than the comparably featured Danner Powderhorn
- Designed for the long haul, well suited for hunts which required extensive tracking
- The athletic outsole is great for hiking and trekking but is less durable
- Has waterproof properties but is not designed for the water.
Irish Setter boots are tremendous, and their owners will attest to their fantastic comfort, warmth, and dryness. They offer a full line of boots to suit many different purposes, but the purpose of this evaluation is not to give a broad overview of the lineup; it is to look at the best insulated boot for hunting.
This is difficult to do because they are not all created equally, so I took the best all-around boot which can be used for multiple purposes.
The VAPRTREK™, as the name implies, is best suited for trekking, although it would certainly suffice for upland bird hunting and maybe even some predator hunts.
However, with 1,200 grams of insulation, your feet are going to get hot in early season hunts no matter how well they wick. If your muzzleloader and archery seasons are open in September and early October, you might consider getting a pair of non-insulated boots, like the Guide Gear Timber Ops.
Boots with over 1,000 grams of insulation are for prolonged exposure in cold weather, so keep that in mind when you buy them; they aren’t a year-round boot.
These are also not boots for waterfowl hunts since they entail prolonged exposure to cold and water; for those you should consider the Muck Boot line of waterproof boots, which are specifically designed for cold slop and direct exposure to water.
With these caveats in mind, the Irish Setter should serve you well for many cold hunts.
The Irish Setter VAPRTREK™ LS is also available at:
6. Best Boots for Upland Hunting
Upland bird hunting is some of the most rewarding hunting there is. It is a highly social experience built around a group of hunters walking and working together with their dogs. This is a far cry from the near solitude of silently tracking wary prey in big-game and active hunting.
Upland hunters, therefore, dress much differently than big-game and active hunters who put considerable effort into camouflaging themselves visually and masking scent and sound.
Upland birds are commonly hunted in the Great Plains states, where wide open parcels of land are the rule, not the exception. Upland hunters will spend a lot of hours on their feet walking mainly through tilled fields, which often have remnants of the previous harvest. Corn, a notoriously tough and fibrous construction, can murder foam boot soles.
Consequently, an upland boot is usually something like a hybrid of a durable hiking boot and a traditional work boot, often a Chukka-style boot. They usually don’t have camouflage patterns because upland hunting does not employ these patterns to start with.
While temps can certainly dip and become quite cold in these seasons, it is generally cooler than cold, so thick insulation is not usually a concern.
Irish Setter Wingshooter Men’s 7-inch Boots
Back for an encore are Irish Setter boots with their Wingshooter waterproof upland hunting boot. There are a few different models, but we’ll take a look at the original Wingshooter.
It offers a 7-inch shaft, full leather upper, and a Christy wedge style outsole. While they are a hunting boot by definition and design, they are a direct descendant of parent-company Red Wing’s Moc Toe work boots. The Wingshooter is built with a steel shank to prevent sharp crop stalks from piercing your feet, and they are waterproof thanks to UltraDry™ material.
- Manufactured using the same design as iconic and high-quality Red Wing boots
- Very comfortable boots, great for the long walks associated with upland bird hunts
- Has steel shanks to prevent punctures from the hazards of the field
- Fully waterproof
- Soles become very hard in cold weather, losing flexibility.
- Poor anti-slip qualities.
- At 57 oz., they are quite heavy.
These boots are more closely related to their Red Wing cousins than traditional hunting boots, but then again, upland hunting has more in common with the work of farmers in the field than other forms of active hunting where stalking and trekking rough terrain are commonplace.
This boot is for the dedicated upland bird hunter and would be a fine general farm and landowner boot, too. It is not designed for tracking, and while waterproof, it is not a cold-weather boot. If pheasants, quail, and prairie chicken are your game of choice, this is your boot.
Wingshooter Men’s 7-inch Waterproof Leather Boot is also available at:
7. Best Mountain Hunting
Mountaineering is about as physically demanding an activity gets before becoming an extreme sport. Adding the rigors of hunting, however, crosses that threshold. Top athletes train in the thin, mountain air of Colorado Springs to prepare their bodies for harsh conditions.
Mountain trekking is an inherently athletic pursuit, which is why it makes sense that a dedicated athletic apparel manufacturer can properly outfit hunters for this environment.
Under Armour is very new to the athletic apparel scene, having only been around since 1996. Since exploding into the sportswear scene, Under Armour has refused to slow down or yield to monster competitors.
They have been fearless in expanding to areas where their competitors have no tread, including into hunting gear. They have taken on stalwart hunting manufacturers and are gaining ground, especially with young hunters who recognize the brand and already own other Under Armour products.
UA Infil Ops GORE-TEX®
Under Armour’s Infil Ops GORE-TEX ankle boot is a real contender for mountain hunting. When you are up in the mountains, gasping in that thin mountain air, every ounce of gear works against you. Your gear needs to be lightweight, and these are practically weightless at less than 40 oz. for the pair!
Just as important as the weight is form. The Infil was designed with professional basketball shoes as a blueprint. The shaft is lined with GORE-TEX for complete water repulsion, yet the high abrasion textile upper is very flexible and laces up to perfectly conform to your feet and ankles.
The roots of their soles are athletic shoes, but the outsoles are all boot, employing Vibram® MegaGrip rubber soles and a molded rubber toe cap to protect from abrasion.
- Built using proven technology from the athletic shoe industry, these boots are made to conform tightly to your feet, preventing blisters and weary feet.
- Extremely light, modeled closely after the modern generation of duty boots used by the armed forces. These are made for people who are going to put a lot of long, arduous miles on them.
- The top is an athletic shoe, but the lower is all boot with a solid rubber outsole. Many lightweight hunting boots use a foam outsole with key contact points being rubberized, but those do not seem to hold up well. Vibram® outsoles are proven effective and are replaceable if necessary.
- The entire Under Armour hunting line is very new, so there are not many buyer reviews compared to Danner or Irish Setters, which routinely have hundreds or even thousands of reviews. It is tough to get a good picture of how well these will hold up.
The Under Armour Infil has all the makings of an excellent mountain boot. It is very light, waterproof, and built to conform to the wearer’s foot.
There are few things worse than being miles into a mountain hike and suffering wet feet, feet slipping inside ill-fitting boots, or a combination of both.
This is not just a dedicated mountain hunting boot; it is very adequate for the avid general outdoorsman who enjoys a hike in the mountains as much as a hunt in the mountains.
However, it is an early season boot (mid-season at the latest). If late season mountain hunting is on your agenda, you will need to purchase an insulated boot.
UA Infil Ops GORE-TEX is also available at:
8. Best Waterproof Boots – Muck Boot Arctic Sport
With almost 1,000 Amazon reviews, the Muck Boot Arctic Sport is easily the best waterproof boot.
While most reviewers purchase the tall Arctic Sport, the mid Arctic Sport is identical in every way besides the shaft height, so it’s included in this review; the important parts are all the same. Here are the most important specs for the Arctic Sport:
- 100% waterproof
- Fleece-lined for warmth, plus 2 mm thermal foam under the foot bed
- Outsole is built more like an army boot than a chore boot, offering support, rigidity, and excellent traction
- Proven ruggedness, comfort, and durability.
- Can transition seamlessly from your late-season goose hunt to cleaning out stalls in the barn.
- It is tough to find any. The only thing that might be a con is that they will roast your feet if you wear them outside of cold weather.
Muck Boots are not pretty in the classical sense, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When it is 5 degrees outside and the oozing mud is lapping at my ankles, Muck Boots are beautiful.
Muck Boot’s Arctic Sports are for anyone who appreciates dry, warm feet in the worst conditions. If you are stuck out in the elements, or choose to be in them as a sportsman, these should be your go-to.
Really, the only area they might not be ideal in is long treks across rough country where you need a boot that laces firmly in place. Other than that, they are perfect for anything cold and wet.
Muck Boot Arctic Sport is also available at:
9. Best Lightweight Hunting Boots – Under Armour’s Valsetz RTS
I should begin this review by stating that these will be the best non-insulated, non-waterproofed lightweight boots. These will be your early season boots, good for spring turkey or early deer seasons (muzzleloader, archery, etc.).
What we are looking at here are ultralight, unlined boots. They are going to let you move quickly and feel as if they are barely there.
Under Armour’s Valsetz RTS 1.5 weighs in at a scant 20 oz. per pair. That’s right. Just over a pound. These are practically like wearing trail runners on a hunt, except they aren’t just brown cross-trainers.
The Valsetz is a real-life, bona fide, military duty boot built to handle the rigors of the field. Under Armour has used many of their athletic shoe processes and materials in the Valsetz to make it not only feel like and athletic shoe, but perform like one in the field.
The Valsetz uses memory foam in the sock liner for maximum comfort, UA ClutchFit™ to securely wrap your ankles for support, and a TPU shank for rigidity.
- Incredibly lightweight at 20 oz.
- Made to replicate the feel and action of a quality athletic shoe
- Cool and breathable for early season hunts
- A lot of the reviews say they have low durability.
- The price to pay for light weight is using a lot of foam and mesh, which simply cannot hold up to brushes and brambles like genuine leather.
- Not an all-purpose boot; good for warm, dry weather.
- Not waterproof.
The Valsetz RTS is primarily a lightweight, summer duty boot for cops and soldiers. However, those jobs share a lot of characteristics with hunting, like demanding environments and lots of mileage off of the beaten path.
This is a really nice, light boot for warm hunting seasons, like spring turkey hunting (if it isn’t a wet spring) or bow hunting in September. Thicker hunting boots will just roast your feet in September on the Great Plains where the Indian summer temperatures routinely hit the high 70s and 80s.
They are not going to be durable like a pair of Danner Pronghorns, but they aren’t made to be. The tradeoff is about two pounds per pair, which is a highly desirable quality in a warm weather boot.
As with all pieces of gear, buy according to your needs. All-purpose, all-season footwear tends to be okay for most seasons but great for none. These are warm, dry weather boots that will keep your feet feeling fresh.
Under Armour’s Valsetz RTS 1.5 is also available at:
10. Best Winter and Cold Weather Hunting Boots
In this review, we are going worst case scenario: think January in Fairbanks or Fargo. It’s the worst winter on record, but you are going to sit in that tree stand until you get that elusive 10-point buck lined up.
These are not the best insulated boots for trekking; we are looking at the boots that are going to protect your feet from your lifted F-350 to the tree stand for six hours in an arctic blast.
For this metric, we are going back to the budget-friendly Guide Gear brand of boots. Not only are they cost effective, but they one of the warmest hunting boots.
Guide Gear Monolithic Extreme Waterproof Insulated Boots
The Guide Gear Monolithic is one of the very few boots available with this much insulation. The monstrous 2,400 grams of Thinsulate™ is not light and makes for a very bulky boot, but it does what they are intended to do: keep your feet warm.
- Extremely warm, with 2,400 g of insulation
- Silver heat-reflective sheet in insole to reflect as much body heat as possible
- 8 mm frost barrier between midsole and outsole
- Bulky, but it’s impossible to make a boot this insulated and have it not be bulky: a trade-off for warm feet
- Some cheap fittings (lacing eyelets, cheap laces, etc.)
The Guide Gear Monolithic is made for the Great White North: ice fishing in Minnesota and Michigan, late seasons in Canada and Alaska, etc. They are not for the fair-weather outdoorsman.
If you buy these for temps in the 20s and 30s, your feet with roast. These are designed for warmth, not comfort during a trek. These are there to keep your feet warm when you are sedentary.
11. Best Hunting Boots for Women – Muck Boot Muck Woody PK
Women represent the largest growing demographic in the outdoor industry, and equipment is catching up to that reality.
Hunting clothing is now available that fits the female form and isn’t. Boots are no exception, and this is really important: believe it or not, the female body is built differently than the male body! For exposure to field environments, they do not need (generally) smaller models of a male boot; they need a boot made for women.
The Muck Boot Muck Woody PK takes the cake in this category. Like their other boots, they are of the pull-on variety and are 100% waterproof.
The great best part of the Woody PK is that they are made intentionally for female hunters and how they move. Also, these boots are more attractive than the male-specific models.
- Excellent reviews for comfort and durability
- 100% waterproof
- Can pull double duty on the hobby farm or during a monsoon
- Pull-on rather than lace-up, which could impede some hunting trips requiring extended trekking
- Not insulated for cold weather
Muck Boots are excellent, and a pair of proven waterproof boots are a wonderful asset, regardless of season. The added bonus is that they are designed to wick perspiration and do so very well.
They are probably the most versatile women’s hunting boot on the market, which is probably why they are the top seller; women who hunt also tend to be women who farm, garden, and homestead, and they will appreciate Muck Boots for any of those activities.
Muck Boot Muck Woody PK is also available at:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can you use hiking boots for hunting?
A: Sure! That being said, not all hiking boots are well suited as hunting boots. Hunting boots are built with the hunter and the rigors of hunting in mind; hiking boots are just built to hike.
Hunters often hike long distances, but they also are sedentary for long periods and need a boot to stay dry or keep their feet warm when they aren’t moving.
If you want a hunting boot that can double as a hiking boot, the lightweight Under Armour Valsetz is a good crossover due to its athletic construction and light weight.
Q: Can you wash hunting boots?
A: The best answer to this is to read the tag on your boots. As a rule of thumb, better safe and sorry, so don’t.
If you have a pair of hunting boots that are mostly leather, don’t wash them. Instead, wait until they are completely dry and brush them off thoroughly with a horse hair brush. Then take some saddle soap or leather cleaner and apply with a cotton cloth.
Then remove the cleaner with a separate dry cotton cloth. I like to then use some good leather conditioner like Otter Wax or Huberd’s Shoe Grease and then spray them thoroughly with a silicone-based shoe protectant. Trust me, it works and looks awesome.
Q: How do you break in hunting boots?
A: Wear them! Miles are the only way to break in your new boots. Those of us who went to Boot Camp know that.
The only way to break in those infamous black leather jungle combat boots by Rothco (or whichever contractor had it at the time) was to march around the drill pad. Wear double socks or moleskin on key contact points like heels and the back of your ankle. There are no shortcuts here.
Q: How do you lace hunting boots?
A: Good question. I’d recommend Army lacing most of the time because it is a style which resists snagging on brush and bramble. Check out industry leader 5.11 Tactical’s article on this to decide which way you like best.
We have taken a look at a wide cross-section of various hunting boot styles, purposes, and brands. There is not a single, all-purpose boot that will support all seasons for every hunter; a duck hunter in Mississippi may love Muck Boots but has no reason for a pair rated for arctic conditions.
A pronghorn hunter on the dusty plains really needn’t worry about water protection that much, but he knows how many long miles he’ll be on his feet.
Consider what, where, and when you hunt, and buy accordingly. If you hunt over more than one or two seasons, you should expect to pony up the cash and buy boots to fit your different needs. Cold feet are awful. Wet feet are awful. Blisters are hell. That’s why this review exists: so you can buy the best boots for what you do.