The comfort of a hunter’s feet will make all the difference on a hunting trip. Having to endure wet or cold feet can at times border on torturous.
It’s not all about comfort either. Boots have to be fit for purpose: suitable for the terrain, weather conditions and weight of the load being carried.
Before buying a new pair of hunting boots it’s important to deal with any existing issues you may be having with your feet.
You may be looking for new boots because your old pair feel uncomfortable or leave your feet in a bad condition for days afterwards.
These issues could be down to fundamental problems with your feet that a new pair of boots isn’t just going to fix.
A visit to a podiatrist can detect if there’s any issues with your feet that need dealing with. Or if the attributes of your feet require any special considerations when selecting footwear.
When you do get around to trying on new boots – make sure that you try while wearing a typical sock combination worn on trips.
Types of Boots
With the bewildering number of boots on sale, the first step is to narrow down the search to the most suitable pair for the conditions in which you will be hunting.
The primary function of these boots is to deal with winter conditions: cold, snow and ice.
Boot soles are typically constructed from rubber while the upper sections a combination of leather and/or nylon. The temperature rating lets you compare boots in terms of which can handle the cold better.
These boots are better suited to longer periods of inactivity rather than walking.
Rubber is lightweight and fantastic at keeping out the wet. It’s also a material that doesn’t absorb odour, which helps keep you as stealthy as possible.
The downsides of rubber is that it isn’t a breathable material (sweat can accumulate) nor as good at keeping feet warm. However, modern options can incorporate greater insulation to at least neutralise cold weather.
The lightweight nature also means they offer less support for the ankle and foot when travelling across difficult terrain.
These boots attempt to combine the benefits of both winter and rubber boots to offer the most versatile of options.
A material such as Gore-Tex solves the problem of keeping the boot waterproof while simultaneously allowing it to breathe (the sweat can evaporate).
The choice of sole will determine the boot’s suitability for hunting on rocky terrain (a more durable, thick sole) or stalking and still hunting (softer sole).
When trying to find the best pair of hunting boots for yourself the following points are also worth considering when trying to evaluate one pair over another:
- Waterproof: what level of waterproofing is provided. Is the boot simply treated with a waterproofing chemical.
- Breathable: does the boot material allow moisture to escape.
- Insulation: is the level of insulation sufficient. Can the inners be swapped out to adjust.
- Height: is support/insulation the priority or unhampered range of movement.
- Walking: is the boot suitable for walking long distances.
- Sole: is the boot sole adequate for the terrain.
- Odour free: is it important that the boot emits/retains the least odour possible.
- Snake protection: are you going to need it and does the boot provide it.