6 Best Elk Hunting Boots for Rugged Mountain Terrain in 2023

Last Updated on March 20, 2023

View of an elk hunter's legs with his boots kicked up while resting in a field

Best Elk Hunting Boots of 2023


Out with the old, in with the best elk hunting boots.

It’s that time again; your old trusty boots just won’t cut it for another year, and that means it’s time to look for a new pair. As you look to plan your 2023 elk hunt, it makes sense to take a look at the kinds of boots available to help carry you through your hunt.

Take it from me, a lifelong Colorado elk hunter that has survived the best and absolute worst weather conditions that elk hunting can throw at you. I’ve tried many different pairs of boots over the years and have come up with a definitive list of the best elk hunting boots — with a pair included for the women elk hunters amongst us as well.

My Picks for the Best Hunting Boots of 2023

Brown and camo Danner brand hunting boots

Danner Pronghorn

First off, Danner Pronghorns have been a staple of the elk hunting world for nearly two decades. The new generation of Pronghorns holds their own when comparing top-quality elk hunting boots.

I highly recommend following this guideline for insulation:

400g for early seasons, 800g for the later rifle seasons, and if you anticipate hunting in subzero temps for many hours, then I would go with 1000g+.

No matter what you choose insulation wise, my favorite thing about Danners is that they are basically broken in out of the box. Of course, it is always better to put some miles on your boots before the hunt, but their ability to conform to your feet is unmatched when looking for the best elk hunting boots.

Finally, Danners last a LONG time. I have regularly seen guides and hunters alike with the same pair of Pronghorns, year after year. For this reason, I rank them among the best elk hunting boots on the market.

High-ankle brown boots with black soles

Kenetrek Mountian Extreme

Next on the list, I bring to you the highly touted elk hunting boot, the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme.  They’re available in 400g and 1000g insulation sizes.  I recommend the latter for late/cold weather elk hunts.

With its 10″ high ankle, this boot helps power you through the most unstable terrain, all the while providing you with ample support. Like all the boots on this list, Kenetrek is a mainstay among hunters when they are seeking the absolute best elk hunting boots.

When it comes to fit, many people claim these are custom fit right out of the box. I however have owned a pair of these personally, and it took me a good 50 miles to break them in. I used Kenetrek’s wax, which helped a lot.

If you anticipate getting really wet, I highly recommend getting a good set of gaiters to go with these specific boots. Here is a link to a well-made set.


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Brown shin-high boot for hunting, working, and everyday winter wear

Rocky Bearclaw 3D LTT

Out of the box, the Rocky Bearclaws look and feel top-notch. Made here in the USA, Rocky Brand boots have long been known for their toughness, protection from the elements, and durability. A tough boot deserves a solid break-in period, so give these bad boys a few days to loosen up before you lace them up for your hunt. After that, they’ll be as comfortable as an elk hunting boot can get.

When paired with a suitable set of hunting socks, the Bearclaws will keep your feet warm and dry as temperatures drop into the single digits. If you plan on hunting in sub-zero temperatures, take a long look at the Rocky Arctic Bearclaws, which boast 1,400 grams of insulation and will keep your feet toasty in the most frigid conditions.

They’re made from 100% leather with a GORE-TEX lining and are rated as fully waterproof. Treat them with Sno-Seal or mink oil, though, for an added layer of protection from the elements. Take care of their leather and these boots will take care of your feet.

Outside of elk hunting season, the Bearclaws are stylish and comfortable enough to be worn for work or as an everyday winter boot. They’re very versatile, so rest assured they won’t be sitting around gathering dust for 11 months a year. Expect your pair to last for about 1,500 miles, as well, and count on having them around for a good long time.


Brown leather Irish Setter brand deer and elk hunting boots

Irish Setter Elk Tracker

What’s in a name? When it comes to elk hunting boots, we don’t think a cooler name exists than the Elk Tracker from Irish Setter. Whether or not you’re all that familiar with the Irish Setter brand name, just know they’re a division of the famed Red Wing Shoe Company.

But enough about names, what does this boot deliver, and does it earn its Elk Tracker name? First, this is a 12-inch boot with 600 grams of Thinsulate Ultra Insulation and GORE-TEX waterproofing. That means it can handle all the muck, snow, and otherwise crappy conditions that you can throw at it. Second, it features ScentBan odor control to keep the elk you’re hunting from knowing you’re there. Finally, they feature a removable cork EVA footbed with memory foam to keep your feet comfortable.

All this amounts to is a boot that reviewers say wears in fast, handles cold mountain temperatures well, and lasts years. In all, we think the Elk Tracker lives up to its name. If you need more or less insulation, Irish Setter offers both 200 and 1000 gram alternatives. Now get out there and track some elk.

Grey/black hunting and backpacking boots

Salomon Quest 4 GTX

I bring to you my favorite all-time boot, the Salomon Quest 4 GTX. When searching for the best archery elk hunting boots, look no further. That’s because these boots are light and let you get in close to elk without making a ton of noise. Plus, these bad boys will last you a lifetime. That said, I wouldn’t recommend these to the late-season hunters that have to trudge through heavy snow and muck, but these are the perfect boot for those hot September days while searching for the elusive Wapiti.

If you plan on putting in serious miles, going into the backcountry and doing a drop camp, etc, these are your go-to boots.

I own a pair, and I have put significant miles on them. They’re very comfortable to wear on long hikes, and while scouting for elk early in the year. I wore these boots while guiding a tour of Patagonia, Chile. That trip was 76 miles in 10 days, and these boots held up extremely well.


Women's brown leather hunting boots

Crispi Gran Paradiso

I hear you, ladies! Why are all these write-ups and gear reviews oriented to the male hunter? Well, I won’t leave you out on this one — I have your back. Crispi has made solid boots for many years. An Italian company, Crispi has consistently set the bar on comfort, quality, and style. Look no further if you want the best elk hunting boots for women.

And men, I would check out some of their boots as well. Their integrated ankle bone support system is in a league of its own. Because of this feature, they allow seamless stopping and starting on uneven terrain.


Choosing the Best Boots Means the Best Elk Hunt Possible

Keep in mind that everyone’s feet are different and there is an infinite number of options that will work for you out there. Heck, I have hunted in sneakers.

I just wanted to share six of the best elk hunting boots on the 2023 market that I can confidently recommend to you. You can’t go wrong following with any of the boots above, but I understand that you may be partial to another boot.

Let me know about your favorite elk hunting boot by leaving a comment below.

Thanks, and as always, happy hunting!

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