Poor boot choice is one of the most critical mistakes that a hunter can make. Whether you hunt for food or sport, the boots you choose effect where you can go on the hunt, how long you can withstand the cold and wait for your prey, and ultimately, how safe you are from treacherous winter conditions. Winter hunting is akin to conditions like blustering winds, wetness, and slippery surfaces. This makes it critical that you choose the best winter hunting boots when you head out—and this article will help you do that.
|NAME||FIT||PRICE RANGE||BEST FEATURE|
|Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking Boot||Padded with comfortable fit||Expensive||Ankle and Heel Flex design for support and flexibility through the shoe|
|MuckBoots Arctic Pro Hunting Boots||Roomy in the toe box, narrow in the ankle||Mid-Range||Full waterproofness up to knee-high height|
|Irish Setter Men’s 2870 Vaptrek 8” Boot||Slightly narrow||Budget-Friendly||Perfect for moderate winter weather|
|Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III Omni Cold-Weather Boot||Conforms to feet for comfortable fit||Moderate||Ankle support and incredible traction|
|Danner Men’s Pronghorn Realtree Xtra 1200G||Comfortable, roomy fit||Expensive||Leather toe and heel cap and upper designed for durability|
My top pick for winter hunting boot is the Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking Boot. Though it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, its many features make it well worth it. The design of the boot makes lacing a breeze, offers extreme support, comfort, and stability, and is constructed in a way that makes the boot extremely durable. Some other features include warm insulation, waterproofness, and a lightweight build.
As an avid hiker, no matter the season, I understand the importance of a good boot for tough winter terrain. You do not want to worry about your toes going numb a few hours into a trek, making you cut your hunting trip short. You also do not want to worry about slippery, wet, or steep terrain stopping you from finding prime hunting spots. These boots will help you meet all your needs, so you never have to worry about wet, cold, or painful feet while hunting.
Best Winter Hunting Boot
Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking Boot
The feature-packed Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX boot makes it ideal for the average cold winter terrain and its features makes its cost worth it. It is ideal for hunters who don’t want to waste time, with speed-lacing and non-slip lacing systems that mean you don’t have to struggle with your laces. The boots rise to just over ankle height and are completely waterproof because of the seamless GoreTex lining.
The upper part of the shoe is made of high-quality Nubuck leather. Despite its leather construction and warm insulation, the Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking Boot is lightweight. The ankle area offers support but moves with you because of its Ankle Flex design. There is a lot of padding on the tongue and collar area that adds comfort and the tongue of the boot is anatomically contoured so it hugs your foot, to add support without irritation.
Under your foot, there is a full-length stabilizer that adds support. The VIBRAM outsole is rugged and grips well and a polyurethane midsole adds to support. Finally, the boots are comfortable out of the box but feel even better once they conform to your foot after wearing them for a few hours.
These boots are thick and heavy, but they serve their purpose well. The other disadvantage is that they do not breathe as well as some of the other boots, which may cause your foot to become damp with sweat by the end of a long hunting expedition.
MuckBoots Men’s Arctic Pro Hunting Boot- Best Knee-High Hunting Boot
All-over warmth and waterproof protection are major features of this pull-on boot. In addition to being waterproof, it has a stretch-fit topline that lets you pull the boot over your leg effortlessly. Once the boot is on, the topline conforms to your leg tightly, so water does not get in. The waterproofness and knee-high height of the boot mean that you can track your prey, no matter how wet the hunting grounds are.
Despite its large size, the neoprene that constructs the upper of MuckBoots Arctic Pro Hunting Boots is lightweight. Inside, there is a cushioned EVA midsole and a thermal foam underlay, designed to keep your foot comfortable and warm. There is also plenty of room in the toe area. The materials used hold up well, with durability from the double reinforcements strategically placed at the heel and instep.
This boot offers good traction, though the flexibility of the sole leaves a little to be desired. Even so, the design of the outsole lets you easily do tasks like hike steep slopes or climb ladders. It also prevents slipping or getting stuck in the mud.
The shape of this boot can be tight around the ankle for some, so if you plan on wearing thick socks, you should get a larger size. Another issue with the sizing is that people with narrow feet might have their heel slip around, which can be dangerous when trekking. Finally, the Neoprene of the boot can crack over time, especially if they are stored in warm or dry temperatures in the offseason.
Irish Setter Men’s 2870 Vaptrek Waterproof 8” Hunting Boot- Best Above-Freezing Hunting Boot
While these boots won’t stand up to below-zero weather, there are times when winter hunting does not mean freezing temperatures. These are ideal for moderate winter weather, when you want to skip the insulation so your feet don’t sweat. The top of the boot comes to mid-shin level and is constructed of a full-grain leather upper.
Though leather can get heavy, the Irish Setter Men’s Vaprtrek Hunting Boot is lightweight. Inside the boot, ScentBan technology fights odors, which is important when hunting animals with sensitive noses like deer. It is non-insulated, has a moisture-wicking mesh lining, and is waterproof.
The sole of this boot is constructed using RPM composite material, which is lighter than traditional materials. The traction pattern on the bottom is designed for increased traction and flexibility, regardless of where you are at. Angled lugs stop you from slipping when walking downhill, traction patterns on the heel and toe help you grip everywhere, and the design on the center of the shoe is perfect for providing traction when you are climbing up and down your tree stand ladder.
The leather upper of these Irish Setter hunting boots can be a little stiff out of the box, but they will break in after a few hours of wear. The fit can be too narrow, especially with thick socks, which can be problematic if the temperatures get too cold on your hunt. While the boots are waterproof for the most part, it will not stand up to being submerged because the water seeps in around the tongue.
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III Omni Cold-Weather Boot- Best Winter Boot for Wide Feet
If your hunting ground has you trekking up and down steep slopes, these cold-weather boots offer the ankle support you need to track big game. They are insulated on the inside and a have a strong, thick rubber sole that will withstand many types of terrain. The sole is non-marking and has Omni-Grip, which makes the thick tread flexible, grippy, and comfortable to walk in.
The Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus III Omni Cold-Weather Boot rises to mid-calf height and will keep your feet warm. There is a reflective lining inside the shoe that traps your body heat, as well as a soft and comfortable inside that makes the break-in period minimal. A lightweight midsole adds to support and comfort, while providing a better energy return so every step that you take counts.
The fit of this boot is also good since it is roomy. It has a wide toe area and can accommodate wide feet, but the boot is not so roomy that your feet slide around. The upper is built for durability, using nylon, webbing, leather, and metal hardware. There are double rivets to increase durability and sturdy eyelets. Finally, a thick pull tab makes the boots easier to slide into.
The thick insulation makes these boots a little heavy, but they will keep your feet warm. The upper ankle can be a little rough on the inside, but you can wear tall socks if they irritate your skin. Finally, the inner lining may start to break away from the inside of the boot over time.
Danner Men’s Pronghorn Realtree Xtra 1200G- Best High-End Runner-Up Hunting Boots
This boot is also on the higher end of the price spectrum, but with good reason. It is a waterproof boot that is also breathable because of the GoreTex used. It has a full-grain leather upper with a 1000D nylon overlay for enhanced durability and warmth. To add to the warmth, it has heavy 1.2g insulation that makes it ideal for the coldest temperatures.
The bottom of the boot has a thick, rubber Terra Force platform. It offers incredible traction and helps support your foot. To add to support, the Danner Men’s Pronghorn Realtree Xtra 1200G boots have good ankle support and an Ortholite cushioned insole. There is also a leather toe and heel cap, which provides added durability in these critical areas.
Putting on the boots is easy. The opening at the top is large, which makes the boots easy to pull on. Once on, the eyelets let you speed lace the shoes and you can clip the boot laces in place, ensuring they do not slide around while you are out hunting. These boots are wide enough to accommodate people with wider feet, but you still do not have to worry about your foot sliding around inside the boot.
The biggest downside of these boots is the weight and the bulkiness. The warmth and durability come at the sacrifice of the weight of the shoe. There are also some issues with the tongue. It can rub uncomfortably if it is out of place and the way that it is cut out limits the waterproofness because water can leak through. However, the sole of the boot is very thick so this might not be an issue as long as you do not have to trek through water more than a couple inches in height.
Trekking deep into the woods to find the best hunting area demands a boot that will perform through all obstacles in your way. Some of the criteria used to evaluate for boots on this list include:
- Durability in the winter climate
- Warmth and insulation
- Weight of the boot
- How well the traction prevents slips
- The fit of the boot
- How comfortable the boot is to walk in
By using these guidelines, you can find the perfect winter boot for your next hunting expedition and many more to come.
My Overall Pick
The Low Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking boot is the top pick because it has all the features you need for an intense winter hunt. It is warm, waterproof, and durable. The outsole ensures you won’t slip, while the inside of the shoe is built for maximum support and comfort.
Samantha is a part-time writer and stay-at-home mom of two boys (and three pets). With all the outdoor activities the family participates in and two growing boys, shoes are something she’s very familiar with.