Excerpt from Gear Patrol, The Best Hunting Books for Every Type of Hunter, by J.W. Sotak and Hayley Helms
One of the most overlooked pieces of hunting gear is pair of rugged, supportive boots. Spend a cold night or two out in the bush, though, and you'll quickly learn that warm, dry, comfortable boots are as essential as your choice of caliber.
Not only will a good pair of boots keep you hunting longer, but they'll protect one of your most vital resources: your feet. Too many hunts are cut short by a hot spot that turns into an oozing blister or a pair of damp socks that become a frost bite-inducing folly.
What to Look for in Hunting Boots
Leather vs. rubber
There are two major differences between leather and rubber hunting boots: wearability and comfort. Leather hunting boots can generally transition from life outdoors to social events if need be. They pass as an everyday boot in most cases and can be more lifestyle-oriented. Leather is renowned for its ability to be molded, and a leather hunting boot is no different — it'll form to your foot over the long run, resulting in an almost-custom fit. Rubber, on the other hand, does not change its shape; if you have the foot shape that works well with a rubber boot's mold, great. If not, you're in for some discomfort down the road.
Loose vs. tight
The best fit for a hunting boot should be fitted around your instep and ankles — when you're carrying a heavy load or traversing variable terrain, you'll want to be able to count on the stability of your boot. If you're planning on adding a liner to your pair, you'll want to size up at least two sizes to accommodate both your foot and the liner. The best time to try on new hunting boots (or shoes, for that matter) is at the end of the day: your feet are more swollen then, so you won't end up with a too-small shoe or boot later on.
Insulation is the material that keeps your toes warm on a hunt and is measured in grams — the higher the grams of insulation in a boot, the warmer it will keep you. The level of insulation you choose is seasonally dependent: you won't wear the same boots for summer as you will in winter. Around 200g is a good benchmark for summer nights; boots can range all the way to 1400 grams of insulation for the harshest of winters.
Bear in mind that not all hunts are equal. If your quarry is bighorn sheep, you need something designed to carry you over rocky alpine terrain for days on end. But if you're tucked into a tree stand waiting for that fall whitetail, you're going to want something to keep your feet warm and protected from the elements. This list is the perfect primer for picking the right hunting boot. From upland bird hunting to stalking big game, these are the best hunting boots in the business.
Best All-Purpose High Boot
- Exterior Material: Heinen terracare Nubuck Leather
- Lining: Gore-Tex
- Sole Material: DuraPU midsole, LOWA Patrol outsole
- Manufacturing: Made in Slovakia
The multi-tool of hunting boots, the Renegade comes in a couple different silhouettes and is an impressive all-purpose boot suitable for a slew of hunting applications. The Renegade II N GTX Hi TF, designed for early season scouting, and upland/whitetail hunting, features Gore-Tex waterproofing, a taller shaft for more protection against underbrush, deep 5mm lugs for extra grip in variable terrain and a PU monowrap, which provides lateral support on hillsides and underfoot support through long treks. A Lowa Patrol outsole exudes grip, while the DuraPU midsole provides support for long treks on any substrate.
Content Courtesy: Gear Patrol