As a hunter, you know that having the right gear makes all the difference. When your feet are warm in the field, you can be focused on the task at hand. But with so much choice out there, how do you know which hunting boots are going to be the warmest?
The type of warm boots that you need depends on the temperature, type of terrain you are hunting in and the amount of activity that you will be doing. Regardless, whether you are hiking through snow, wading through swamps or sitting on a stand, you don’t want freezing, wet, blistered or aching feet holding you back.
I have compiled a list of the best, warm boots that will let you make an informed decision about this critical piece of gear. Purchasing a quality boot is an investment that is almost as vital as your bow or firearm and will enable you to be comfortable while staying out in wintry conditions for longer.
Major Considerations for Choosing the Warmest Hunting Boots
When purchasing a cold weather hunting boot, buying a waterproof boot is a must! Most are made with a rubber or neoprene outer membrane to keep your own heat from escaping while preventing any cold air from getting in. Boots that aren’t waterproof simply won’t be effective at keeping your feet toasty in ultra-cold, wet and mucky conditions.
While Thinsulate, wool and toe warmers work earlier in the season, they will not be warm enough for late season hunting. In extreme conditions, the only option is a pac boot which has a soft, insulating inner with a waterproof membrane. 2000 gram pac boots aren’t ideal for long distance walking as they are heavy and bulky but are perfect to give you the additional warmth that you need when sitting on a stand. For more active hunting in cold weather conditions, look for a minimum of 1000 gram Thinsulate which will balance out your need for warmth and insulation with having a lighter, slimmer boot.
If you are out in extreme conditions, these military style bunny boots are THE boot to keep your feet both warm and dry. Made from insulated rubber with a seamless shell they are 100% waterproof and are comfortable for use down to -20°F. They have a slim profile making them well suited to walking in deep snow as they won’t drag you down and are thin enough to drive a car without catching on the pedals. The soles also give decent traction in icy conditions making them highly versatile and effective in a wide range of environments.
Although the all rubber construction does make these boots heavy, they are not uncomfortable to wear. Couple them with a pair of tall, thick socks so that the rubber doesn’t chafe your legs and as these boots do not breathe, wearing them with an absorbent liner such as Dr. Scholls’ will help to keep your feet cool and sweat free. I can usually get two seasons of moderately heavy work from one pair of Mickey Mouse’s due to their solid construction, making them a valuable investment.
Lacrosse Burly 1200
The Lacrosse Burly 1200’s are an ideal boot for wading through cold water. With no leather to worry about getting wet, these waterproof, all rubber boots are comfortably moulded and lined making them well suited to most bow hunting conditions. They have no laces to break or stretch out but order a size up so that the upper fits snugly on your calves to keep you that much warmer.
I wore these boots with my calves fully submerged in 45°F water for over 2 hours and my legs were sweating with just a thin pair of cotton socks underneath. However, for really cold weather I have found these boots to be insufficient alone. Try combining them with boot blankets to keep you toasty when doing any hunting that requires you to sit still in cold conditions for extended periods.
Please note, the Lacrosse Burly’s do have a strong smell straight from the box so be sure to let them air out for a while before you first use them.
Lacrosse SST 1200G Thinsulate
The Lacrosse SST 1200G Thinsulate boots are 100% waterproof, made from rubber-clad neoprene that stretches to fit your own foot and keep you comfortable, warm and dry in varied conditions. They are the perfect boot for trekking through mud, muck and difficult terrain without having to worry about getting trench foot.
With specially designed lug sole grips the SST’s claim to be noiseless, letting you stalk stealthily with good traction so that you don’t slip climbing tree stand ladders. As a bonus, these boots have scent-proof gator cinches that help to control odor inside and out. I have worn these boots on a couple of hunts now; one in the snow and slush and the other in muck and rain puddles, and both times I stayed warm.
Glacier XT Boot
The Glacier XT Boot are a great, versatile boot that are rated to -100°F. The rubber outsole keeps them waterproof up to the rubber border with a water and wind resistant fabric upper that can be tightened with a drawstring to keep heat in and snow out.
These boots have keep my feet warm and dry on all day bucket sits ice fishing in 23°F weather and 15mph winds. While they are a bit bulky, it is still easy to climb tree stands with them on and after 4 hours on my tree stand with only standard thickness wool socks, my toes weren’t even close to being numb.
The Glacier XT boots are definitely an outdoor only boot and are also great for shovelling snow or having snow flights with your kids. I wouldn’t recommend them for driving in or walking longer than 20 minutes as you will be too warm. Your usual size should fit perfectly with some flexibility to wear them with light or heavyweight socks depending on the conditions.
Guide Series Men’s Fanatic II
The Guide Series Men’s Fanatic II boots are very durable and ideal for cold conditions with a 100% waterproof rubber outer and neoprene insulated interior. I have found them to be so warm that I only wear a thin polypropylene sock in most conditions. The side zipper makes them one of the easiest boots to slide on and off and the rubber outsole provides plenty of traction in wet, snowy and/or muddy conditions. After walking 7 miles of rough, wet terrain in these boots my feet were comfortable, warm and try. To top them off, as a part of the Guide Series, the Fanatic boots come with a lifetime warranty to give you total peace of mind!
MuckBoots Arctic Pro Hunting Boot
The MuckBoots Artic Pro Hunting Boots were designed to be the most comfortable, high performance boot on the market and, from my experience; they do live up to this. I have Plantar Fasciitis and wear custom orthotics in my work boots, however, when tree planting I have never had to use my orthotics and my feet have never bothered me!
With a 100% waterproof rubber and fabric shaft, these boots have a stretch fit top making them easy to put on and will hug your calves to keep you warm all the way down to -60°F. A moulded, 2mm foam underlay inner ensures your comfort with just one thin pair of socks on at -10°F. In addition to this, they have excellent ankle support and traction with no laces to worry about. The inner sole in MuckBoots is odor absorbing making them ideal for deer hunting.
Order 1 size larger to fit perfectly with a medium hunting sock. DO NOT fold them at the ankle when packing into luggage but instead, fill them with socks, underwear or other soft items to protect the shaft and ensure that these boots stay in great condition.
MuckBoots Woody Max
The MuckBoots Woody Max boots are the ultimate in flexibility and comfort. With a neoprene upper construction and a moulded lower, these supportive boots stretch nicely and are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The 4-way stretch nylon makes these boots 100% waterproof, easy to get on and off and flex well when walking. They also have a moulded outsole to create stability and support for your ankles. There is no need to break them in as they are perfectly comfortable straight out of the box, look great and are easy to clean. While the Woody Max’s are suitable in conditions down to -40°F they are also not too hot in warmer weather as well making them a great, all round, cold weather boot. As with the Arctic Pro, the MuckBoots Woody Max also have an odor absorbing inner to help to absorb your scent on the ground.
Other Things to Know About Feet Warming
In addition to selecting the correct type of boot for your winter hunting needs, you should also consider proper sizing and quality sock configuration. Buying boots that are half a size bigger than you normally wear allows you to wear hiking liners underneath heavy socks with the option to insert charcoal toe warmers on really cold days without cutting off your blood circulation. It is important to make sure that your feet aren’t crammed inside your boots. You should have room to move your toes with heavy socks on as blood flow is essential to maintain warmth in your extremities.
I would recommend Smartwool Hiking Liner socks (black, ultra-thin, merino liners) and Smartwool Hunting Extra Heavy OTC socks to keep your feet dry, warm and comfortable in extreme weather conditions. Charcoal foot warmers are amazing when used on extended tree stand sitting but aren’t great for walking with.
Note That Not Only Your Feet Should Be Warm
While being well equipped with an appropriate cold weather hunting boot is essential to keep you dry and warm out in the field, it is also essential to maintain your core body temperature. Wearing quality, warm, waterproof and windproof layers on your upper body keeps your vital organs at an ideal temperature so that your body doesn’t need to draw heat from your extremities to keep your core warm.
A Smart Trick with Boot Blankets
If you have never tried them, boot blankets are like sleeping bags for your feet! When stand hunting, take your boots off and side them into boot blankets with hand warmers inside and you will be happy for hours. Try Arcticshield Boot Insulators or Icebreaker Insulated Boot Blankets with two pairs of socks along with hand warmers.
Ready to get new boots for extreme cold weather?
Having the appropriate gear is essential for you to successfully hunt in wet, wintry and extreme conditions. With the overwhelming number of hunting boots that are available, it can be difficult to know which boots will be the warmest and best suited to your needs. This article highlights some of the warmest boots on the market so that you can make an informed decision to suit your hunting conditions.
All of the products reviewed here are available online from 3 great stores – amazon.com, sportsmanguide.com and gandermountain.com. A quality pair of cold weather boots to keep you warm and dry this winter is definitely an investment that you won’t regret!