GETTING SMART WITH HUNTING BOOTS: HOW TO PICK, WHERE TO BUY
The thing is, picking hunting boots is not an easy task. There are many factors to take into consideration like possible weather changes, the place, the season. Hell, and we didn’t even get to the middle of the list. But don’t worry, there are some tricks to pick great shoes to walk quietly and shoot accurately – and we are going to nail them together.
Tips and tricks: how to pick the best hunting boots
Hunting seasons: how to prepare for, like, everything
Straight up, it’s impossible to use one leather hunting boot pair all year. Walking in forests or swamps requires reliable shoes, the ones, that can survive piles of dirt and mud. For spot-and-stalk elk field trip in late summer, you simply can’t use boots for a standhunt in winter. Hence, you’ll need footwear for three seasons – Early, Mid, and Late season. You might think that it’s a big spending but in fact, hunters who invest in boot pairs for different seasons, save money better, than those who don’t. At the end of the year, you have three good pairs of shoes, not an impossible-to-wear crap that you’ll need to change anyway.
Picking boots for an early season
When picking shoes for a summer (and early fall) hunting season, focus on two factors: walking comfort and heat relief. Summer hunting boots should be light-to-wear and breathable so feet don’t feel overheated. But don’t be fooled by hot weather – rainy days are a usual summer thing. So, shoes have to be equipped with special water protecting technology like Dry-Plus.
Now, take into account the region of hunting. If you are located in the arid region, moisture is not the main thing to worry about. So, don’t waste money on waterproof membranes. Instead, go for hiking boots style. Don’t forget about snakes! If there might be some, better protect yourself with fang-deflecting boots.
Hunting boots for midseason
Okay, this is a little cheat-trick but if you don’t have money for three pairs of boots, you can buy just for a mid-season one. What to pay attention to when you pick hunting footwear for fall-spring hunts?
- Moisture. In autumn and spring, dirt and water are everywhere. Therefore, hunting bootsshould be equipped with strong waterproof protection.
- Insulation in a rage of 400-800 gram. Midseason is tricky: cold days take turns with warm ones, rainy weather changes to hot temperatures. So, you need just enough insulation to keep your feet warm when it gets cold but not overheated when the good weather strikes back.
- Weight. A little rule: most hunting boots are supposed to be light to provide the quietest possible walking. However, with midseason boots, it’s a little trickier. The weight is needed to protect feet from moisture and cold. So, the goal is to find a best-balanced combination of boots which will both be comfortable and safe to walk in.
Hunting boots for the late season
The main task of winter hunting boots is to protect your feet from getting cold. Of course, it all depends on the region: Minnesota hunters will clearly need stronger protections than those in Texas.
- Pick boots with insulation of 1000 gram and higher. The necessary level of protection also depends on whether you do sedentary, stand, or active hunts – but we’ll get there in a couple of paragraphs.
- For most cold regions pick pac boots with the heaviest insulation. They are equipped with warmth-trapping liners to protect feet both from cold and high moisture (yes, it’s important at winter as well).
- For long walking hunts pick 800-1200 gram insulation. It’s obvious that heavy shoes are uncomfortable to walk in, plus walking won’t let your feet freeze as fast. Hence, 800-900 gram of protection will do just fine.
In some regions, winter weather doesn’t require hunters to buy shoes with heavy insulation. If your location is warm, midseason boots will work.
Boots for active, stand, and sedentary hunts
We already covered that there is a difference between walking and standing hunts. Logically, when you walk, feet freeze not as much, so you’ll need lighter, less insulated boots. Hunting is not a warm undertaking: when you don’t move, feet easily get cold even in relatively warm weather.
For walking hunts, make sure your boots are equipped with professional insoles (yes, after walking dozens of miles you’ll feel the difference). Make sure your pick provides support on mountainous or hilly surfaces. If you hunt on the rugged area, choose boots that are adapted to specifically this kind of terrain.