Choosing the Right Hunting Boot
Posted October 30, 2018 •
Read Time: 3 minutes
1. Insulation: Insulation can be both beneficial and detrimental. Too little insulation can allow cold to penetrate the boot and make your feet cold. Too much insulation can cause your feet to sweat, and that too will make your feet cold. If you do a lot of walking, either getting to your stand, or if you prefer a stalking method of hunting, choose a boot with less insulation, around 400-600 grams. If you do less walking and plan to be on the stand for an extended amount of time, choose a higher insulation of 800-1000 grams.
Here are a couple tricks to help keep your feet warm:
- Always wear a wool blend sock. It will provide warmth and also wick moisture away from your feet. If your feet are prone to sweating you may consider carrying an extra pair of socks, and switching out once you are on your stand (consider taking along a zip-loc bag for your damp socks to be more scent free).
- Once you are on your stand, loosen your laces to allow for better circulation. We all try to tie our boots as tight as we can for additional support when hunting especially in mountainous terrain, but once on the stand that can actually reduce circulation and make your feet feel cold sooner.
- If you are driving to your hunting spot, use the lowest heat you can in your vehicle so your feet don’t begin to sweat on the ride or even wear a pair of sneakers for the ride and put your boots on once you arrive to the spot where you’re going to leave the vehicle.
2. Choosing Between A Neoprene Ankle Fit or A Lace Up Boot:
The fastest growing segment of hunting boots are Neoprene Ankle Fit boots (Muck Boots). Most premium Ankle Fit boots do not have an insulation rating but instead have a temperature rating. The temperature rating is based on the thickness of the neoprene and what type of lining the boot has. Neoprene is completely waterproof and very warm, but is less breathable than most traditional lace up hunting boots.
Lace up boots are still the most popular boot used by hunters. They traditionally have insulation between the lining and the outer material; be it leather, nylon, or Cordura®. Insulation is typically rated in grams (e.g. 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000). One misconception about insulation is that it warms your feet. That is not the case, but rather it reduces the rate at which the cold gets in and the heat escapes. Lace up boots can provide additional support when walking on rocky or mountainous terrain, because you can tighten them around the ankle.
Always choose a waterproof boot for hunting. Nothing can ruin a day in the woods like wet feet. Even with waterproof boots you should avoid water if possible. For instance, if you walk through a stream - even with a waterproof boot - the cold water completely surrounding your foot will accelerate how fast the cold penetrates the insulation, and make your feet get cold faster.