There are a lot of great hunting boots out there, but the best hunting boots can also be used to hike in.
Not all hunting boots are created equal. In order to pass the test, they need to be constructed of quality materials, put together to last, and have a sole that will stand up to the abuse that we give them. Some insulation is nice, and long-lasting comfort remains a concern.
Hunting Boots vs. Hiking Boots
Rubber hunting boots will always have their place in our hearts and on our feet, but they aren't always the right choice when it's time to do some simple trail walking. They will need the durability to stand up to the rigors of walking, which means that the foot bed, insole, outsole, and shank have to hold up.
Most hunting and hiking boots offer support for stability and traction, but they are generally differentiated by their weight. Hiking boots are more specifically designed to provide support for the trails while keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
Good quality hunting boots often use GORE-TEX to allow sweat to leave while keeping water out. This can leave them a little heavier , especially with the inclusion of insulation.
Interestingly enough, many hunters opt to buy hiking boots and some hikers buy hunting boots. Rubberized hunting boots may not be the right fit for the hiking crowd, and lightweight hikers might not fill the bill for those of us who want to tread into the swamps to chase wild game.
Crossing over can and does work, so we've tried to find some of those that can do a little of each. These selections are typically meant more for the upland game hunters, bowhunters, and other pursuits that happen before the weather really turns cold. That means they may not make great picks for late season, cold weather hunters who really need a warm boot.
Lightweight, waterproof, and durable, the Kosoha has a very good shock-absorbing midsole to keep your feet from feeling bunched up. They are priced well and have the reviews to back them up for a boot that will stand up to rough terrain, mud, and water.
One of the best things about the Kosoha is that it comes in a great ladies version as well, and that means your trail partner can have a matching pair.
We sure don't want to spend your money for you, but these boots have superior strength for their size and weight, an abrasion resistance that cannot be matched, and a comfort level that will keep you walking all day.
The high traction K-Talon outsoles (designed specifically for mountainous terrain) belies their light overall weight at just over three pounds.
These Cam Hanes designed boots are made for the rigors of western hunting and built to handle extreme heat and cold, miles of stream crossings, and treacherous side-hilling adventures. How could they not work well as a hiker? The CH1-GTX boot is loaded with a high traction Vibram Megagrip rubber that will keep them from sliding under you when the conditions get wet or muddy.
These fully GORE-TEX-fitted boots are equipped with the duel BOA lacing system to make putting them on and taking them off a cinch.
Made in both an insulated and uninsulated version, the VaprTrek 2.0 is completely waterproof while providing top level traction. A pair of these boots weighs barely over two pounds making them very light on your feet and ankles for a day's use.
They come with removable polyurethane foam footbeds, lightweight nylon shanks, and dual-density RPM midsoles that cushion and support your step for greater comfort and stability whether you are hunting or hiking.
These Danner waterproof boots are made of full-grain leather and nylon uppers, and a waterproof GORE-TEX liner that will keep your feet dry. Designed for rugged and uneven terrain, the Sharptail will keep the ground under you from ever becoming a problem. They barely weigh three pounds and have an athletic, supportive fit with locked-in heel support and ample room for even the biggest toes.
The Zamberlan 960 Guide GORE-TEX RR boots are exclusive to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's. The pair comes with wide yet grippy lugs which enhance your traction and allow easy cleaning. The stiff-but-forgiving 4mm insoles provide excellent foot support which transfers the workload from the foot to the boot, and not the other way around. With GORE-TEX performance comfort membranes, the only water you'll have to worry about is what you bring to drink.
Choosing the Correct Boots
You will ultimately need to match your men's or women's hunting boots to the terrain you'll encounter, especially if you're hunting big game like deer or elk in rugged, rocky, and steep terrain. The same goes for a good pair of hiking boots; you will need supportive boots that hug your ankles, keep your feet dry, and have a leather upper to protect your feet from loose debris.
The boots you choose should fit snug around your instep and provide good ankle support, but you should also be able to move your toes without a lot of effort. A good piece of advice is to walk in them on some kind of incline to see how they feel going up or down and if your feet move around inside.
Choosing the right style of boot for this purpose simply means finding one that can cross over to be useful for both pursuits. The most common hunting boots typically combine a leather or nylon upper with a high-grip rubber sole, but they are also insulated and waterproof. Early season hunting boots are probably better suited to hike in since they have little or no insulation, and the last thing you want on a hike is for your feet to sweat profusely.
Any high-quality ultradry pair of boots with good breathability, cushioning, waterproofing, and traction can be used both ways. And if you've got a camo pattern like Mossy Oak or Realtree on the boots you use to hike in during the summer, who knows? Maybe you'll spark a conversation, make a new hunting buddy, or introduce someone to the idea and take them along for the first time when the season rolls around.
Most importantly, you will need to understand your own feet, where you hunt or hike, and the amount of money you would like to spend. When you know you want to wear boots like these for long periods, then it's worth it to keep hunting trips and hiking adventures in mind.
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