A successful hunt doesn’t depend on just using the right type of gun and camouflage clothing to remain hidden. Ensuring you have comfortable footwear is key to covering all those kilometres of hunting ground as you follow your prey. No amount of determination, patience or expertise can compensate for the lack of comfort. But how do you figure out which boots are best suited for you? There are quite a few factors that need to be taken into account when choosing the best boots for hunting, including features that add to the boots’ support and comfort.
A Proper Fit
This is without a doubt the most important factor you need to take into consideration when buying any type of boots, not just boots for hunting. But a proper fit is especially important for buying hunting boots, simply because you’re going to be walking over some rough terrain. Picture this: you’re stalking your prey for several minutes, and just as you’re about to line up a shot, you feel discomfort on your feet. This can throw off your focus and concentration. Additionally, an improper fit can increase the risk of spraining your ankle or other types of injury. What’s more, you should make sure you walk around with your brand new footwear for hunting before you take them to the field, as you want to break them in.
One of the main concerns you should have when choosing hunting footwear is how insulated they are. No one likes the feeling of cold feet, as that can lead to discomfort and frostbite if you’re hunting in cold weather conditions. The boots should keep the warmth from your feet in, while keeping the cold air out. A good marker for properly insulated shoes is their ability to fit snugly around your ankles – another reason why fit is of utmost importance.
Any seasoned hunter will tell you that spending long hours in the open field or woods can be a horrible experience if your boots get even a little wet, let alone completely soaked. In most hunting grounds, both getting wet and soaked are a real possibility. That being said, you want the boots to be completely waterproof. Generally, waterproof boots come with a Gore-Tex lining (a fabric made from polytetrafluoroethylene which repels moisture wand water). Naturally, such boots cost more, but it’s a worthwhile investment. There are special sprays that can reinforce the waterproofness of your boots, so definitely consider getting one.
The design of the boots you choose will depend on the main function you intend them to perform. High boots are preferred by hunters hunting in colder climates, and if you’re hunting in a wet area, then waterproof boots are an absolute must. Additionally, if you hunt moose, for example, you’ll need wading or hip boots. Taller boots are recommended for deer hunters. Usually, 8 to 10 inch boots are recommended for most types of hunting.
The importance of quality soles is pretty obvious – it impacts their performance, since that’s the part that comes in contact with the terrain. The soles should be sturdy enough to withstand long hours of trekking through all types of terrain. This is especially important simply because you’re going to carry around a lot of equipment that will weigh you down, in which case heavier and stiffer soles are highly recommended. If you’re traveling light, you’ll probably get away with wearing boots with thinner soles.
Even though lacing is the final consideration on the list, it’s just as important. Generally, most hunting boots are about 7 inches high, with the lacing going up to the ankle. Such boots offer sufficient ankle protection unless you’re going on “hardcore” hunting expeditions. However, the conditions change if you’re a hunter with lots of equipment, in which case you’ll want even higher-lacing boots that go up to the lower calf of your legs. This type of boots will do a better job of preventing twisted, sprained and broken ankles.
So What Are the Best Hunting Boots?
The best hunting footwear is the pair that fits your feet snuggly, offers sufficient support and comfort and is suitable for the type of terrain and climate you’re hunting in. There is no one-size-fits-all boot that will fit the needs of every hunter under the earth. The best way to find the ideal pair is to read reviews on relevant forums and sites dedicated to hunting equipment, and then visit some online stores. Better yet, you can visit your local hunting store and talk to employees who have the product knowledge and can help you decide on the best model for you. Some of the best brands to keep an eye on are ATF, Lowa, Bogs, Rocky, Muck, Kenetrek, etc. All of these brands offer reliable footwear that can last for many years.