A lot of thought & planning goes into choosing a pair of hunting boots, and with all the choices and features out there it’s easy to get a little confused when shopping around. In this article, I’ll list qualities that make a good Hunting Boot, as well as qualities that can turn a pair of Hunting Boots into a nightmare.
The Good Qualities
Lightweight – You would be amazed how much a few ounces can change your mood after a day of walking, especially in rugged terrain. For this reason, I tend to choose lightweight boots for my own hunting trips, mostly because my heavy, steel-toed work boots would make that trip miserable in a heartbeat.
Correct Insulation Level – Be sure to get the correct insulation level for your planned environment. You don’t want to be out in the snow with un-insulated boots, and you also don’t want to be walking around the desert in Thermolite or some other heavy insulation.
Rugged Outsole – You never know how rough the terrain will be untill you’re out walking in it. Having enough grip not only makes traveling easier, it can save you from falling and embarassing or injuring yourself. Make sure the outsole you choose is designed for the outdoors, not flat concrete. Lug soles make a great choice all around, but there are others.
Solid Construction – If your hunting boots start falling apart, you are going to have a hard time and they’ll probably ruin your trip if you don’t have a backup pair. For this reason I usually avoid the cloth & rubber Military Surplus boots that are generally cemented together, and instead go for boots with a Goodyear Welt or some other more durable bonding method.
Waterproof – I avoid this for desert environments, since if water can’t get in, air can’t either. In wetter climates they are an absolute must. Wet feet can make a mile seem like ten, and if it is cold or especially damp, wet feet and socks can be hazardous to your health, too.
Waterproof – See above, make sure having waterproof boots makes sense for your environment, because as I said, waterproof boots tend to run hotter which can be a pain in hot, dry climates.
Steel Toes – these are great for some work boots, depending on your occupation, but a poor choice in a pair of hunting boots. They add unnecessary weight, and make your toes colder in the winter and hotter in the summer.
Foam Soles – some cheaper GI spec Jungle & Desert boots have these, you’ll want to watch out for them. While they are extremely cheap boots, and often advertised for hunting, they won’t last long in the wilderness.
Used or Refurbished – Used shoes are usually always a bad idea, especially for hunting boots. Avoid them at all costs, no matter how good of a deal it looks like.