Whether you’re hunting moose in the Yukon or wing-shooting pheasants in South Dakota, we’ve done the research and rounded up the best men’s hunting boots of the year.
Hunting boots are a particular kind of beast. Boots are generally individualistic and will depend on the wearer and the feet they’re packing. But some boots just stand above the rest, heeled or not.
So, when looking for the best of the best, we doubled down on researching what hunters wear for various styles of hunting. And that specialization can mean the difference between an optimal day in the field or hoofing it back to the truck empty-handed because your feet are unhappy.
From the best elk hunting boots to the warmest boots for the treestand, you’re bound to find something that’ll work in this list.
Best Hunting Boots
Best Overall Boot: Crispi Nevada GTX
The reviews are in, and the Crispi Nevada GTX($399-419) holds the coveted “best overall” spot for 2020. Available in either an uninsulated or insulated (200g) model for $20 more, the Nevada GTX is a longstanding favorite in the hunting community.
The ankle bone support structure (ABSS) is touted as top-notch by hunters with ankles prone to rolling. And reviewers say that this boot is “out-of-the-box comfortable” on repeat.
The Nevada series does have some flex, making it a great all-around boot for hiking, backpacking, long days on your feet, and hitting the trail with a load of meat in your pack. The boot can be re-soled, meaning that once it’s yours, it’s yours for a dang long time.
And for the price of two midlevel hunting boots, you’ll save cash in the long run with this investment. Read our contributor’s full review of the Crispi Nevada GTX here.
Best Budget Boot: Lacrosse Atlas
Lacrosse($180-200) has been making hunting boots since 1897, and it shows. Reviewers love the affordable Atlas series, which is offered in four different options, from uninsulated to 1,200 g of insulation. These are lighter than most heavy-duty boots, and lightness can offer more comfort than you’d think on long-mileage days.
The outsole gets a lot of love in reviews, with folks saying that the outsole doesn’t freeze, provides solid grip and traction, and is adaptable to various terrain.
Best Elk Hunting Boot: Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400g
This is not an everyday hiking boot, but it accomplishes what it’s built for. This is a stiff boot designed for side-hilling steep country, seriously supporting ankles while descending, and providing an extreme exoskeleton of relief in tough conditions.
If you’re hunting elk, sheep, or mountain goats in high-alpine territory, the Mountain Extreme($480-510) is a mid- to late-season boot designed to give you support and keep your feet dry and warm while doing it. This boot is certainly a specialist, but if you need the support, Kenetrek’s Mountain Extreme has it in spades.
Best Non-Insulated Boot: Schnees Beartooth 0g
Designed with Montana in mind, Schnees boots are a best-loved brand in the northern Rockies. Guides and hunters alike can often be spotted in the Beartooth model from spring to fall.
The Beartooth($439) combines a modicum of stiffness for mountain adventures with enough comfort for a long summer hike. Reviewers love the breathability, durability, and versatility. And should you need a bit more insulation, they come in a 200g insulated version as well.
Best Boot for Foot & Ankle Problems: Kenetrek Overstep Orthopedic Boot
It’s the most expensive boot($575-580) on our list, but it’s also the only boot that can be prescribed to help offset cost should you have difficult foot or ankle issues. An additional brace system and a 19-degree toe rocker combine to take the pressure off your feet and ankles so you can move with less pain and stress.
This boot helps keep active military and veterans on their feet in the field, and hunters with ankle issues say that this boot has allowed them to continue hunting when they otherwise couldn’t. Quite a review.
Best Upland Boot: Irish Setter Wingshooter 9″
The Irish Setter Wingshooter($160-195) line is a longstanding favorite for upland hunters of all sorts. The classic look of the boot is stylish enough for a trip to the city, but it’s designed to pound the prairie rather than concrete.
A 9-inch height keeps grass and gravel from settling into the boot, and the waterproof outer keeps feet dry in all sorts of conditions. And it’s also available in a 400g insulated model for those of you who hunt birds in more dire conditions.
Best Rubber Boot: XTRATUF Legacy 15″
Known as the Alaska slipper, XTRATUF’s($130-145) are sometimes forgotten in the lower 48. But these mud-beating, comfortable, and durable boots can crush just about anything your day throws at it.
Designed for fishermen, the no-slip sole is a lifesaver in slick conditions, and the triple-dipped shell is light, flexible, and corrosion-resistant. Reviews say pairs have lasted up to 20 years. And I believe them. My XTRATUFs are only 2 years old and look as good as new after much abuse in the field.
As a bonus, this is one of the best winter boots for sloppy weather around town or in the field!
Best Treestand Hunting Boot: Muck Arctic Pro
Rated down to -60 degrees Fahrenheit, Muck’s Arctic Pro($185) line is designed to keep your lower extremities comfortable in the most extreme cold. An 8mm neoprene booty hugs your foot and calf to keep in the heat, and the durable outsole provides decent tread for shorter hikes.
It’s also important to note that should the boot be too snug, it won’t trap heat as effectively. Make sure you have a bit of room in the Arctic Pro, and a lighter sock can sometimes make for a warmer foot. This works across muck boots and other rubber ones in the mix. Odd, but true.
Best of the Rest
A hiking boot meets a hunting boot, and the Lowa Renegade($240) does both really well. If you’re looking for a step-up boot from your typical hiking setup, this rugged boot is light enough yet durable enough to do the trick.
I’ve worn my Renegades to hunt elk, pack out deer, chase after upland birds, and to save my light hikers from muddy days. They’ve performed for 5 years running, and they’re still my go-to. And I’ve done literally no maintenance. These do run a bit small, so buyers take note.
Hoity-toity? A bit. A dang nice boot? You betcha. Le Chameau($399) has been making hunting boots designed to tackle the French mountains for nearly 100 years. The brand has gotten pretty good at it by now, and it’s not joking about the “lite” part. These boots weigh in at 3.3 pounds per pair, taking much of the heft of mountain boots out of the deal.
The sole was designed by Michelin with motocross tires in mind, providing both flexibility and grip. And fit runs small in these boots as well, with Le Chameau recommending you order one size up for a perfect fit.
We tested these in some really harsh conditions, backpacking in for Colorado elk hunting. In weeks of wear over multiple hunts, they resisted abuse and kept feet happy.
The Pronghorn($230-300)might not be your late-season high-alpine hunting boot, but it can do just about anything else. It’s a comfortable and well-cushioned boot on Danner’s Terra Force Next platform, designed for stability in tough terrain. This is one of the more athletic-fitting boots in this list, with a bit of tennis shoe feel with some added support.
That being said, it’s not a stiff boot, so it wouldn’t help too much on steep inclines or mountainous terrain. But as an all-around hunting boot, it’s a good deal. And it’s offered in insulated options as well. Read our full review here.
Slightly less expensive than its Nevada cousin, Crispi’s Colorado GTX($360)is worthy of its own spot on the list. Tested for GearJunkie by Josh Kirchner of Dialed-In Hunter, the Colorado is a stiffer, mountain-eating, warmer-weather kind of boot.
It’s a boot built for mountain adventure, with grippy Vibram soles and a tough exterior. Waterproofed throughout, it can take on a heck of a lot. And although they’re stiff, the break-in period isn’t too bad.
Choosing the Right Hunting Boot: Frequently Asked Questions
Choosing the right boots comes down to your style of hunting. If you’re waterfowl hunting from a marsh blind in the South, you’re probably not going to wear a pair of insulated Kenetrek boots. Upland hunting in rattlesnake country? Snake boots might be a necessary evil.
Weather, terrain, and habitat challenges are the three dictators of which boot you’ll pull on. Here are a few things that can help you find the best boot for your foot. And if you need more detailed info, check out our 20 tips on buying the perfect boot.
Know Your Size & Boot Fit
Remember those weird metal slide things that you’d step into for sizing? They’re still a helpful tool. Feet can change and grow as we get older, and getting precise measurements at your local REI or sporting goods store can help you choose the right pair.
You might wear a 9 in one brand and a 10 in another, or need a narrow or wide size. Be open to trying something outside of your size range.
If you plan on doing long days in your new boots, some foot swelling is probably in your future. Try on boots at the end of the day, as feet tend to be bigger then. (Weird, I know.)
If a boot feels snug all around, a half size up is probably your better bet. And if they’re tight in the toebox on Day 1, you don’t want to experience Day 2.
Avoid Hot Spots & Get Your System Down Early
Don’t try on boots with socks you wouldn’t wear while hunting in them. If you’re looking for a boot to get you through a late-season elk hunt, then focus on insulation and waterproofing.
And if you’re looking for an early-season archery boot, put on your lightweight hiking socks and make sure they’re breathable. The biggest thing here is to try and avoid hot spots that can lead to blisters. You’ll want to nail down your system before heading into the woods.
Is the fit a bit off still? Another thing that can help correct fit is finding an insole that you like. Superfeet is a favorite, and the brand has a plethora of insoles to choose from for various scenarios. Additionally, you can try multiple lacing systems to get the fit of your boot just so.
Where Are You Going?
Are you heading to move fast in steep, rocky, desert terrain? Think breathability, traction, and stiffer ankle support. Going on a late-fall hunt with a heavy pack in the Northwest? Think waterproofness, stability, and warmth. Not sure what types of terrain you’re getting into? An all-around boot with water resistance might be your best bet.
Above all, wherever you’re going, break in your boots before you go. Wear them around the house, to the store, and on some local short trails.
Break-in time can vary from boot to boot. Read reviews. Know what your break-in goal is for your pair of hunting boots, and make sure that boots feel comfortable before hitting the hills. Your feet will thank you in the long term.