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Choosing a hunting boot is a very large investment - one that could last for years. Of course, before you go out and purchase a new pair of boots, you might want to start at the top and learn about the different types of hunting boots available.
I've personally made some good and bad decisions when it comes to buying hunting boots, and I want to make sure I share the most important information available out there.
The blog below is going to categorize the most popular types of hunting boots that can be seen across several hunting boot brands. Furthermore, we're going to summarize some of the tops things to consider before making that final step.
Rubber hunting boots have grown in popularity over the past several decades as they've seen vast improvements from their original models. Today, rubber boots are built with a variety of different boot materials, including neoprene uppers, wool insulation lining, and more comfortable rubber construction and toe.
While rubber hunting boots are great for keeping your feet dry, and warm if built with the right thinsulate, neoprene, or wool lined upper, they are not the most comfortable boots for anyone looking to walk long distances while hunting.
Snake boots come in many different forms, including the aforementioned rubber boot style and as well as the general field boot style. It's going to be a little harder to recognize a true snake boot because their construction is so similar, but one of the main requirements of a snake boot is height. Most snake boots have a height of 16-17 inches, enough room to protect a large area of your foot/leg.
Going into the build a little further, a hunter must ensure any snake boot has a tough, puncture resistant material present on the inside or outside of the boot. Most materials include synthetic weaves, denim, leather, Kevlar, and Cordura nylon as they are the toughest and lightest available.
A good upland hunting boot is going to be very lightweight and offer solid traction when walking across a variety of field surfaces - especially those that might be relatively slick. Of course, if you're looking for the best upland hunting boot, you're going to want to find one that's also waterproof and offers supreme briar and brush protection. Most upland boots are going to offer little to no insulation as it's not the highest priority.
Now, there are upland hunters out there that do venture into more mountainous territories to chase birds such as chukker. As a result, those individuals might want more insulation, as well as stronger terrain patterns.
For those individuals hunting your standard whitetail, and pretty much anything ranging from small game to large elk or bear, you're most likely going to want a standard field / mountain style hunting boot.
These types of boots have a variety of different weights, insulation materials, heights, prices, etc. as manufacturers are building these for very specific styles of hunting. For instance, hunting brands like KUIU and Schnees are constructing boots for those that hunt traverse mountain regions who need an athletic style boot that's going be stable and keep your feet warm.
On the other side of things, you have heavier, more insulated boots from brands like Rocky and Irish Setter that favor whitetail hunters that do less walking and spend more time in a blind or treestand.
While it's not the most popular style of hunting boots, stalking boots are still heavily relied upon by certain groups of hunters. The best way to describe a stalking hunting boot is to think of super minimalist style construction that's engineered for you to move quickly and with minimal noise.
I would not recommend using stalking hunting boots for anything other than that final pursuit. Their build is relatively simple and doesn't warrant a lot of wear and tear out in the woods. Furthermore, while many are waterproof they do not do a great job at keeping your feet warm.
Today's hunting boots can range from 100% uninsulated to 1,200-1,400 grams of Thinsulate Insulation, with some minor additions. Of course, not everyone needs a lot of insulation and too much can actually prove to be problematic. Hunters must understand that there's a balance between keeping your feet warm and overheating while adding unnecessary weight.
Minimal Insulation: 200-400 grams
Average Insulation: 400-900 grams
Heavy Insulation: 900+ grams
As noted by the United States Department of Labor, when the temperature drops and blood begins moving from the extremities to the individuals' core, there might be devastating effects if nothing is done.
The weight of a hunting boot is going to depend on a lot of things, but when you really break it down it comes to the types of materials being used and the amount of materials being used. The most minimalist, non-insulated, single material hunting boot with limited traction is most likely going to be your lightest available style of boots.
As you start to add additional boot insulation, while utilizing both synthetic and leather materials on a heavy style of traction, you're going to drastically increase the weight. Furthermore, as insoles are beefed up and comfort is increased, you might start to see that weight go up even further.
When evaluating traction, you really have to pay attention to the type of terrain you're going to be walking over. For mountainous regions with heavy rocks, you might require a thicker traction footprint when compared to someone that's upland hunting in flat corn fields.
Unfortunately, there's no great way to tell if a certain style of traction is going to work or not. I would recommend going with a boot brand that's specialized in the style of hunting you do to minimize any risk of making a bad purchase.
Hunting boot materials can range quite a bit nowadays, with many of the top brands creating their own propriety material that's built for their specific demo of customers. For a full list of boot materials available, check out the list below:
1. Full-grain leather
5. Propriety Synthetic Material
6. Synthetic Leather
A good hunting boot is hard to find nowadays with so many great options available. Understanding your style of hunting and matching that with the different style of hunting boots will ensure a more reliable purchase. Furthermore, don't forget to remember the tops things to consider as they each play an important role in what makes a top hunting boot.
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