15 Best Hunting Boots 2022 [Cold-Weather, Rubber + Upland]

A hunter propping his boots up against a mossy log next to his rifle

Best Hunting Boots for 2022 and Beyond: Boots for Every Type of Hunter

 

They say you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but lucky for you, we’re here to give you the downright truth on 2022’s best hunting boots. There are few pieces of gear as critical as your boots to your overall hunting success, so we wrote this post to help point you in the right direction.

Different boots are suited to perform in wildly different applications, which can be exhausting to figure out on your own. That’s why we’ve deciphered which boots excel in certain situations, just for you.

Whether you are a cold-weather hunter looking for the absolute warmest boots, or an upland bird hunter that’s just retired their old pair, we have a recommendation for you. We have included suggestions for big game mountain hunters and warm-weather hunters, too.

As a lifelong hunter that grew up in the backcountry of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, I’ve survived all sorts of different conditions that mother nature has thrown at me. Decades of experience have taught me that the boots I bring along are of the utmost importance.

And through the years, I’ve tried many different pairs of boots to varying degrees of success. As a result, I tapped into my vast experience to create this definitive guide to the best hunting boots that money can buy.

Table of Contents

Which Type of Hunter are You?

Upland hunter walking with a spaniel at his side

Your optimal boot will depend entirely upon what type of hunter you are

 

Hunting boots is a general term. While all the boots we’ll recommend on this list are excellent choices, we’ve broken up our choice into five different categories.

Cold-Weather Hunters

I’ve been there before, that is, highly unprepared to hunt in cold-weather conditions. There’s nothing that will put an end to your hunt faster than frozen feet. Harsh winter weather calls for equally tough winter boots. Will you make the same mistake I did?

Hunters in Wet & Mucky Conditions

If you are a waterfowl hunter climbing through the muck or a midwest deer hunter who knows they’ll drag through the mud, a good set of 100% waterproof rubber boots will suit you. A pair of muck boots is always in my truck whenever I hunt, as I never know when I’ll encounter muddy conditions.

Warm-Weather Hunters

Having improper footwear in warm-weather conditions can lead to sweaty feet, blisters, and a horribly uncomfortable time in the field. That’s why we included some uninsulated boots, as well as some lightweight boots for those trying to limit every ounce they carry in the field.

Upland Hunters

Whether hunting pheasant in a grassy field or chasing doves through a farmer’s crop, a good set of upland boots should always be at the ready. To us, you want to spend as much of your day as you can on your feet while bird hunting, and you want to do so comfortably.

High-Elevation Mountain & Big Game Hunters

If you are hunting big game in the Rocky Mountains (or anywhere for that matter) you’ll need to invest in a pair of hiking/hunting boots with solid shock absorption. The mountains can be punishing and unforgivable, and you need a set of boots that are tough enough to meet the challenge.

Top Boots for Cold-Weather Hunting Conditions

You may not be looking for the warmest boots in the world, but any of the recommendations here are sure to keep your tootsies from freezing.

Important note: It is essential to pair these boots with the proper pair of socks. Check out the best socks for hunting right here.

Danner Pronghorn 800g with GORE-TEX

Camo and leather Danner Pronghorn

MSRP: $250
Materials:
Leather, nylon, GORE-TEX
Ankle Height: 8″
Insulation: 800g
Pros: Extremely comfortable, waterproof, very breathable
Cons: Boots typically run 1/2 size small

Tried and true for several generations, Pronghorns are synonymous with hunting success all around the world, and the tradition continues with the latest generation of Pronghorns. These are top-notch elk hunting boots and are what I wear on trips in the later seasons.

It’s not just me, though. Professional guides I know wear these year after year, and no matter what type of weather and terrain they throw at them, they always perform. Of all of the recommendations on this list, I am most comfortable advocating for the Danner Pronghorns.

Danner offers several options for insulation. For severe cold weather, you will want at least 800 grams, and should consider up to 1200g if your feet run cold. Additionally, these are among the most comfortable GORE-TEX hunting boots on the market. They use the fabric as a weather-proof liner that lets your feet breathe while simultaneously keeping them dry.

LaCross Cold Snap

Dark brown and camo ankle-high LaCross Cold Snap boot

MSRP$180
Materials
Poly-coated leather, 900D nylon ripstop
Ankle Height: 9″
Insulation: 2000g Thinsulate
Pros: Very warm, inexpensive, great ankle support
Cons: Not super durable, we recommend upgrading insoles

I can attest to the value of these boots as I purchased a pair last year for ice fishing. (When LaCross says that these are arctic rated, they are not exaggerating.) I can stand on the ice all day while wearing these, and my feet are the last thing on my mind. It wasn’t until temperatures plummeted in the evening that I started to get a little bit cold.

These are hands down 2022’s best budget option for cold-weather boots. If you’re simply not ready to drop $400+ on a pair of high-end boots, then these entry-level boots will fit the bill perfectly.

I have questions about durability, as some users report them not being as effective against the cold after a few uses. This evidence hasn’t been our experience, but they are significantly more lightweight than other boots in their class, so we think it’s reasonable to believe they may not hold up for several years.

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Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 1000

Kenetrek light brown cold-weather boot

MSRP: $505
Materials
Leather, nylon, rubber
Ankle Height10″
Insulation: 1000g Thinsulate
Pros: Amazon traction, easy break-in, very comfortable
Cons: Expensive

Next on the list is this highly-touted hunting boot, the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 1000. If they look familiar, it’s because they’re a favorite among professional hunters and guides. These boots are for the no-nonsense hunter who wants to give themselves every last advantage they can in the field. Having a set of these on your feet will help you meet that expectation.

Kenetrek’s 10” high ankle support helps hunters get through the most rugged terrain. These boots are a mainstay for those looking for the absolute warmest and most durable boot.

These are not only among the best men’s hunting boots, but you can make the case they are among the top choice for women, as well. As such, this model is conveniently available in men’s and women’s models.

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

Rubber Boots for Wet & Mucky Conditions

Whether you are a waterfowl hunter just looking for something to get through the mud and muck, or a deer hunter that anticipates having to operate in water and mud, a good set of rubber boots make the job much easier. There’s no reason to wear your expensive leather boots in these conditions.

Muck Boot Woody Arctic Ice Extreme

Camo knee-high Muck boots

MSRP: $200
Materials
Rubber, neoprene
Ankle Height16″
Insulation: 8mm neoprene
Pros: Completely waterproof, rated to -60° F, inexpensive
Cons: Not very breathable, not suited for long-distance hunting

The Original Muck Boot Company is the industry leader in high-quality rubber boots. These boots are tried and true for the absolute worst weather conditions that you can throw at them.

The Woody Arctic Ice Extreme is made from rubber and neoprene and is insulation rated for temps as low as -60 degrees F. As a result, these boots are perfect for cold, icy, and muddy conditions as the neoprene locks in your body heat and keeps your feet and legs dry. Also, they conform pretty well to your foot, allowing for a comfortable fit.

I use muck boots for all sorts of different applications, but I particularly enjoy wearing them when I don’t have to walk a million miles. Even though they are comfortable, they leave a bit to be desired on long backcountry hikes.

VIEW ON AMAZON

LaCross AlphaBurly Pro

Rubber waterproof knee-high camo boot

MSRP$190
Materials:
Rubber, neoprene
Ankle Height18″
Insulation800g Thinsulate Ultra
Pros: Very comfortable, breathable, exceptionally warm
Cons: Not suited for long-distance hunting

I switched over to LaCross from my Muck boots this last year for a waterfowl hunting trip, and I have no regrets. My feet tend to sweat a lot, and these boots seem to be a little bit more breathable.

Because of the extra breathability, you have to sacrifice a little bit of warmth. With that said, I have been goose hunting in -5 degrees this past winter wearing these, and my feet didn’t get cold once in these boots.

Again, these boots are perfect for those who need waterproof protection from their toes to the top of their calf. They are marketed as “scent-free,” but I think that’s just because they haven’t met my feet yet.

Dryshod Southland

Waterproof noeprene hunting boot for mucky conditions

MSRP: $175
Materials:
Rubber, densoprene
Ankle Height: 16″
Insulation: 4mm densoprene
Pros: Durable, breathable, great arch support
Cons: Not suited for long-distance hunting

This boot by Dryshod came on recommendation from a life-long hunter friend who wears these religiously in many different applications. He suffers from plantar fascitis and says the arch support on these boots keeps his feet feeling better than any others on the market.

They keep your feet dry, warm, and comfortable with their over-the-calf style. They can easily be rolled down to the ankles when your feet get too warm, which is a nice feature of this boot style.

Duck hunters and those that can count on some mud during their hunting trips should look to these boots if they want to keep their precious feet warm and dry. Again, this style of hunting boot is optimal if you don’t have to put in a ton of miles.

Uninsulated Boots for Warm-Weather

These next recommendations are for archery, bowhunters, and other hunters that anticipate putting in some serious miles in warm weather. These boots are for maximum comfort, breathability, and durability.

Whether you are looking for the most suitable boots for your September Arizona archery hunt or a late summer hog hunt in Texas, you can count on these boots to put in the miles.

Zamberlan 4014 Lynx Mid-GTX BOA

Leather Zamberlan hiking and mountaineering shoe

MSRP: $440
Materials
Rubber, leather, GORE-TEX
Ankle Height9″
Insulation: Uninsulated
Pros: Long-lasting, extremely comfortable, incredibly breathable
Cons: Expensive, long break-in period

Zamberlan is hands down my favorite boot in terms of quality, dependability, and comfort. These are easily the best archery hunting boots I’ve ever laced up. Zamberlan boots are handmade and have a quality control department that demands perfection in every pair.

That attention to detail means this may be the last archery and warm weather hunting boot you will ever own if taken care of properly. Zamberlans hold their shape year after year. Ankle support is no issue as this mid-high boot is 9” tall, with plenty of ankle coverage to hold heavy loads over rugged terrain.

They’re also equipped with the BOA lacing system, which allows you to tighten and loosen your boot with a turn of a dial, saving you hassle in the field. The Gore-Tex liner keeps your feet dry and allows moist air to escape making them great for warm-weather conditions.

Keen Durand II

Dark brown uninsulated Keen brand shoe for hiking, backpacking and mountaineering

MSRP: $195
Materials:
Leather, rubber
Ankle Height6″
InsulationUninsulated
Pros: Very comfortable, top-notch traction, breathable
Cons: Lower ankle support, not known for durability

No list of hunting boots is complete without a solid set of Keens. These all-terrain boots are lightweight and comfortable, making your feet an afterthought while putting in those backcountry miles on a hot day.

I particularly like these boots because they provide lots of support for how lightweight they are. Their footbed provides ample arch support, and its mid-ankle support allows for the carrying of large loads over uneven terrain. This makes them great elk and deer boots for seasons with warmer weather.

Their patented KeenDry technology helps keep water out, all the while expelling moisture from inside the boot. I highly recommend these boots for those with sweaty or hot feet. Many users report good results from these boots for those with wider feet, which can be tough to find in the hunting boot market.

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

Grey Salomon brand hiking and trail running shoe

MSRP$165
Materials:
Nylon, rubber, GORE-TEX
Ankle Height: 6.5″
Insulation: Uninsulated
Pros: Very breathable, great traction, lightweight
Cons: Not super warm, not known for durability

These Salomons have an excellent tennis-shoe-type feel and are great at supporting your arches and ankles on long, warm hunts and hikes. These are the perfect combination of quality and comfort because of the way they fit and support your feet.

I’ve used these boots for archery hunts and hiking in the off-season, and I have zero complaints. I think these shine in wet and slippery conditions and have superb traction and grip. These attributes are essential when carrying loads over long distances.

They are not 100% waterproof, but they are breathable, so they dry out very quickly. This is great for sweaty feet and those putting in serious miles where they expect to get their feet wet. I would recommend combining these boots with a good pair of sock liners for sweaty feet.

Top Boots for Upland Hunting

Upland hunting through thick, bristly terrain requires a unique type of boot: one that will protect your feet from brush, marsh, and muck while staying comfortable and covering long distances. The next three boots I’ve recommended will live up to these expectations and are suitable of getting the job done during your next pursuit of quail, pheasant, grouse, and more.

Irish Setter Wingshooter

Leather ankle-high upland hunting boot

MSRP$200
Materials
Leather, rubber
Ankle Height9″
Insulation: 100% ultra-dry lining
Pros: Great weather resistance, great traction, breathable
Cons: Longer break-in period

The Wingshooter Irish Setter boot put this company on the map years ago. Generation after generation of bird hunters have used these boots, and the consensus is still the same: This top-rated hunting boot takes care of your feet, period.

If maintained properly, this full-grain boot will last for years. Plus, it’s waterproof and has excellent traction. These attributes make it a great bird hunting boot.

Tried and true, you absolutely can’t go wrong with this classic pair of Wingshooter upland hunting boots.

Danner Sharptail

Dark brown ankle-high shoe

MSRP$200
Materials:
Leather, nylon, rubber, GORE-TEX
Ankle Height8″
Insulation: Uninsulated
Pros: Incredibly comfortable, breathable, good weather resistance
Cons: Seam failure is a common issue

Danner has taken the classic upland hunting boot design and made it their own with this boot. They took the durability and abrasion resistance of full-grain leather and 900D nylon uppers and combined them with a Gore-Tex lining making this a callously rugged and versatile wing-shooting boot.

Users report that these boots provide foot comfort and blister resistance even on long-distance hunts. These boots will make your feet an afterthought while out shooting birds.

I wouldn’t recommend wearing these boots for anything except bird hunting, though, as some users report them being less than desirable work boots.

Rocky Upland

Dark brown leather ankle-high boot

MSRP: $176
Materials
Leather, nylon, rubber
Ankle Height: 8″
Insulation: Rocky VP waterproof liner
Pros: Durable, burly soles great for traction, great weather resistance
Cons: Users have reported issues with eye rings

If you value comfort, fit, and dry feet above all else, then look no further than the Rocky Uplands. Users report that these boots from the trusted Rocky name don’t have a break-in period like other upland boots. This makes them a great go-to option for your upcoming bird shoot.

These are among 2022’s best hunting boots for the money, in our opinion, because they have the perfect combination of utility and cost. Many reviewers on Amazon have reported buying multiple pairs because of this value.

If you anticipate walking through some gritty vegetation, I also recommend this boot as its Thorn and Briar guard will help with abrasion resistance and snagging. For this reason alone, we would consider buying these boots as an upland bird hunter.

VIEW ON AMAZON

High-Elevation Mountain Hunting Boots

Whether you’re stalking Wapiti through Colorado’s steep San Juans or moose hunting deep in Alaska’s unforgiving Brooks Range, you’ll need a sturdy, well-made boot for your expedition. The following section highlights boots that are built for rugged mountain terrain. These three sets will all have great traction, reliable ankle support, proper shock absorption, and tough-to-beat abrasion resistance.

Schnees Granite 200g

Black and brown boot

MSRP$499
Materials:
Leather, rubber
Ankle Height10″
Insulation: 200g PrimaLoft Gold
Pros: Super comfortable, great ankle support, very long-lasting
Cons: Expensive

What boots does Steven Rinella wear on rugged mountain hunts? Well, according to his Meateater site, he wears Schnees, and for a good reason. Schnee’s boots from Bozeman, Montana, make high-quality products that never disappoint.

When you reach high altitude in the backcountry, you have no room for mistakes. One slip, trip, or stumble can put you in a very precarious situation. Don’t leave your hunt and safety to chance, and make sure your feet are 100% taken care of with a reliable pair of boots such as these.

The Granite 200g boots are plenty warm and sturdy, making them great for all-season hunts. Each pair is handcrafted in Italy, and many people report these being the most comfortable boots they’ve ever prowled the mountains in.

LaSportiva Makalu

Light brown La Sportiva brand hiking shoe

MSRP$305
Materials:
Leather, rubber
Ankle Height: 7″
Insulation: Uninsulated
Pros: Great arch support, long-lasting, comfortable with heavy loads
Cons: Not completely waterproof

LaSportiva is another brand we trust to get the job done reliably when hunting in the mountains. While this isn’t a hunting boot per se, we are still recommending it because of its quality and support for your feet and ankles.

These boots are perfect for high altitude hunts (think 12k ft elevation sheep hunts), as well as any hunt that requires high-strength boots that provide ample arch support and shock absorption.

But, many people report needing to break these boots in for at least 20 miles before they feel comfortable. If you plan on using them for a hunt, make sure you give yourself ample time beforehand to put some miles on these.

Rocky Mountain Stalker Pro

Ankle-high Rocky brand leather mountain boot

MSRP$185
Materials:
Leather, rubber
Ankle Height: 10″
Insulation: 400g 3M Thinsulate
ProsInexpensive, great ankle support, suited for long-distance hunting
Cons: Not extremely breathable

Look, another pair from Rocky brand. Why? Well, we love them, that’s why.

We think the Rocky upland boot is as good as it gets, and for the same reasons, we have included their newest boot, the Mountain Stalker Pro. Top-of-the-line materials, dependability, and abrasion resistance are key when it comes to mountain hunting, and this set of boots hits the mark.

These boots do it all by keeping your feet dry and warm while protecting them from the harshest elements that you can throw at them. When perusing the Rocky Mountain Stalker Pro online, 5-star reviews are abundant on Amazon (and for a good reason) as this is an excellent boot for mountain hunting trips.

Factors We Considered When Rating Boots

Four sets of rubber, waterproof hunting boots with their soles facing up

Every aspect of the boot matters: we take into account materials, ankle height, insulation, price, and more

 

We took the guesswork out of it for you by putting this list of boots through the same rigorous requirements. What makes a good hunting boot? How did we rate each set of boots? Good questions.

Here are our criteria:

Comfort

Hunting is hard. It’s even more complicated if you are fussing around with your feet all day. By matching your feet with a comfy pair of boots and hunting socks, the comfort of feet will be an afterthought. Some boots, while rugged as all heck, are just plain uncomfortable, and that’s why they didn’t make our list.

Durability

If you’re anything like me, you are tough on your hunting gear. That’s because hunting, whether it be for deer, elk, or ducks, requires you to cover quite a bit of distance while carrying heavy loads. The boots on this list are tough enough to stand up to the most extreme conditions you can throw at them.

Breathability

Nothing will derail a backcountry hunt faster than a case of soggy feet. Mucky feet can not only be uncomfortable but can cause blisters and other dangerous situations with your feet. So, we excluded boots that don’t allow for breathability and airflow. If you naturally have sweaty feet, check out these sock liners, as they effectively wick away moisture from the feet.

Main Materials

  • Rubber: Rubber is durable, watertight, and easy to clean. The downside is its breathability and inability to conform to your feet. For this reason, rubber boots are best for short-distance applications.
  • Leather: Leather is tough, which is why it makes an excellent choice for hunting boots. Leather is also comfortable, as it conforms to your foot over time. This is why leather boots are ideal for long-distance hiking and hunting.
  • GORE-TEX: This material’s best attribute is that it’s not only windproof and waterproof but that it is also highly breathable. Simply put, GORE-TEX technology keeps feet warm and dry.
  • Nylon: Nylon boots allow for maximum airflow while being lightweight. The material is a great choice for warm-weather boots. It can conform to the shape of your feet, which allows for maximum comfort.
  • Mixed Material: Many of the recommendations on this list will combine several of these materials. We particularly like boots that contain both nylon and leather, as they make for the most comfortable hunting boots.

Insulated vs. Non-Insulated

It’s essential to choose the proper amount of insulation when selecting a hunting boot. Again, having wet and soggy feet can be a bummer, and not having the right amount of insulation can lead to frozen toes. Pay attention to what amount of insulation the boot comes with.

With that said, people have different requirements when it comes to insulation, as some people’s feet run colder than others.

As a general guide:

  • 400g: For hunts with varying temperatures, such as late September hunts
  • 800g: For late-season hunts where inclement weather can be expected
  • 1000g+: For cold feet and hunts where you know the temperatures will consistently be below freezing

Boot Length

I know a lot of archery hunters that prefer low-cut sneaker-style boots. However, most people should consider having enough support in their boots to keep their ankles from rolling. This is especially important when carrying large loads.

  • Low-Cut Boot: Good for archery hunters and hunters that need to be agile enough to stalk their prey.
  • Ankle-High Boot: Good for almost all hunting applications. The importance of ankle support can not be overstated.
  • Knee-High Boot: Keep the outside, well, outside. Knee-high boots are great in applications where you want to keep the muck and debris outside of your shoe.

Break-in Period

I always hear that so-and-so boot is easier to break in than others. I would advise you that this is subjective, and everyone’s feet are different. It’s for this reason that I recommend always allowing yourself break-in time with your boots. Let them get to know your feet a little. Some boots will break in faster than others, but it’s always good to be prepared and not six miles into the backcountry with blisters.

As a general break-in guide:

  • Nylon Boots: 5-10 miles
  • Leather: 10-30 miles
  • Mixed Material: 5-30 miles
  • Rubber: 5-10 miles

The ‘Perfect Boot’ is Different for Every Hunter

His and hers snake hunting boots caked in mud next to a front door

Different types of hunts require vastly different types of boots

 

This isn’t my Grandad’s hunting boots review. Why? Well, first off, back in the 1950s and 60s, they had maybe 3-4 quality commercially made pairs to choose from. In today’s world, we can feel blessed that we have access to a vast array of different products thanks to the wide world of the interwebs.

What’s important to note is that while there is a lot of variety in this post, having the right hunting boot for the right trip is crucial. Let’s say you have muck boots on but wear them on a backcountry mountain hunt. That muck boot may be the top-rated duck hunting boot in the world, but it would destroy your feet on a backcountry elk hunt.

Conversely, if you wear a nice set of deer hunting boots, but wear them in muddy and swampy conditions, you’ll likely go home with soggy, blistered feet.

By choosing the right boot for the right situation, you can spend your valuable time focusing on the hunt and worrying about the condition of your feet. That’s why we want to point you towards the top possible choice for your upcoming 2022 hunt.

So, we must ask…

Which Boot Suits Your Style of Hunting?  

An upland hunting boot lying next to a camo hat

Which pair do you have your eye on?

 

Having the best pair of hunting boots can give you a leg up during your 2022 trip, so do your research when choosing your next pair. Whether you are an upland bird hunter or a backcountry archery elk hunter, we hope that we’ve recommended a pair perfect for your personal hunting style.

So, go ahead — we know a pair or two on this list have caught your attention — and pull the trigger. Snag yourself a pair because It’s never too early to get prepared for your next hunt.

We strive to provide our readers with the most up-to-date and reliable information and gear recommendations in our posts. If you have any questions/comments or want to add to this list, please leave a comment below; we would love to hear your feedback.

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1 Comment

  1. Great lineup and thanks for the information – I am a bit surprised though that you left out Meindl Boots. Made in Germany but they now have a dealer here in the US and in my opinion they have the best quality boots and at a better price than the rest of the high-end brands. Been wearing them for 20+ years – simply the best hunting boots I’ve ever bought.

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