16 Best Hunting Boots 2023 [Cold-Weather, Rubber + Upland]

Hunter wearing KUIU camo pants and Danner hunting boots
Best Hunting Boots for 2023 and Beyond for Every Type of Hunter

We’re here to give you the downright truth on 2023’s best hunting boots. Few pieces of gear are 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.

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

As a lifelong hunter who grew up in the backcountry of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, I’ve tried many different pairs of boots to varying degrees of success. As a result, I tapped into my decades of experience to create this definitive guide to the best hunting boots that money can buy.

Table of Contents

Best Hunting Boots of 2023

Top Overall Hunting Boots of 2023

We’ve combed through hundreds of products, and these are the top choices money can buy (in our humble opinion). We’ve tried to include a little variety in this ‘best-of-the-best’ section, hoping to steer you towards that perfect boot immediately.

Professional Guide Tested & Approved
Zamberlan 980 Outfitter

Zamberlan 980 Outfitter

MSRP: $490
Materials: Hydrobloc Tuscon leather, rubber, GORE-TEX
Height: 11”
Insulation: None
Pros: Very comfortable, short break-in period, perform in various conditions, excellent for heavy pack outs
Cons: Not suited for sub-zero temperatures

The 980 Outfitters stand tall on our list for the best overall hunting boot because they’re built to last, just like Zamberlan. The family business has been making high-end outdoor footwear by hand since 1929.

As a professional guide, I need the best tools possible not to disappoint my clients. The 980 Outfitter checks all the boxes and allows me to perform at my best without worrying about my feet.

Uncertain terrain abounds in the Rocky Mountains; mud, sleet, snow, and scree, you name it. The Outfitter provides reliability in an otherwise chaotic environment with features like a downhill brake on the sole, a TPU stabilizer, and dual-density outsoles.

The ultimate reason I value the 980 boot is that they’re excellent for pack-outs. Its 11” height supports my ankles while keeping dust, snow, muck, and brush out of my boot.

Want to know more about the Outfitter? Check out our full-length review!

Exceptional in Cold Weather
Kenetrek Mountain Extreme

Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 1000

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

Next on the list is the highly-touted Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 1000. If you’re a no-nonsense hunter who wants to give themselves every last advantage they can in the field, lace up a set of these to meet that expectation.

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

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

When it comes to fit, many people claim these feel like they were custom fit to their feet right out of the box. However, I have owned a pair of these, and it took me 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. Here is a link to a well-made pair.

Zamberlan Sawtooth boot

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Our Favorite Waterproof Rubber Boot
LaCrosse AlphaBurly Pro

LaCross AlphaBurly Pro camo knee-high

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 to LaCrosse 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 seem to be a bit more breathable than similar options on the market.

Because of the extra breathability, you’ll have to sacrifice some 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.

Again, these 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.

Unbeatable Upland Footwear
Irish Setter Wingshooter

Irish Setter Wingshooter leather upland footwear

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 tremendous bird-hunting boot.

Tried and true, you absolutely can’t go wrong with this classic pair of Irish Setter Wingshooters.

VIEW ON AMAZON

Top Boots for Cold-Weather Conditions

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

Important note: It’s essential to pair these boots with a proper pair of hunting socks.

Tried-and-True Classic
Danner Pronghorn

Camo and leather Danner Pronghorn

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

Tried and true for several generations, Pronghorns are synonymous with hunting success worldwide, and the tradition continues with the latest generation of Pronghorns. These bad boys are what I wear on elk hunting trips in the early and 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’m most comfortable advocating for the Danner Pronghorns.

Danner offers several options for insulation. You will want at least 800 grams for severe cold weather and should consider up to 1200g if your feet run cold. 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.

Great Budget Option
LaCrosse 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 Ultra
Pros: Very warm, inexpensive, great ankle support
Cons: Not super durable; we recommend upgrading insoles

I can attest to the value of these beasts as I purchased a pair last year for ice fishing. 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. When LaCrosse says these are arctic-rated, they are not exaggerating.

These are hands down 2023’s best budget option for cold-weather hunting boots. If you’re not ready to drop $400+ on high-end footwear, this entry-level option will fit the bill perfectly.

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

Rubber Boots for Wet & Mucky Conditions

Whether you’re a waterfowl hunter just looking for something to get through the mud and muck or a deer hunter anticipating operating 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.

Ultra-Popular Muck Boot
Muck Boot Woody Arctic Ice Extreme

Muck Boot Woody Arctic Ice Extreme cold-weather footwear

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. They’re tried and true for the worst weather conditions 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 various applications, but I particularly enjoy wearing them when I don’t have to walk a million miles. Even though they’re comfortable, they leave a bit to be desired on long backcountry hikes.

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Rock-Solid Over-the-Calf Option
Dryshod Southland

Dryshod Southland noeprene hunting boots 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 comes recommended by 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 keeps his feet feeling better than 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 towards these if they want to keep their precious feet warm and dry. Again, this hunting boot style is optimal if you don’t have to put in many miles.

Uninsulated Boots for Warm-Weather

The following recommendations include archery, bowhunters, and other hunters anticipating serious miles in warm weather. These boots are for maximum comfort, breathability, and durability.

Whether 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 to put in the miles.

Great for High-Country Archery
Zamberlan 4014 Lynx

Zamberlan 4014 Lynx Mid-GTX BOA 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 boots I’ve ever laced up. Zamberlans 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.

Want to know more about the Lynx? Check out our full-length review!

Popular All-Terrain Hiking Boots
Keen Durand II

Keen Durand II 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 hiking boots is complete without a solid set of Keens. These all-terrain kicks are lightweight and comfortable, making your feet an afterthought while putting in those backcountry miles on a hot day.

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

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

Lightweight & Breathable
Salomon X Ultra 4

Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX

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 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 they fit and support your feet.

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

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

Top Boots for Upland Hunting

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

Impenetrable & Well-Reviewed
Danner Sharptail

Danner Sharptail

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 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 desirable for use at work or around town.

Burly & Budget-Friendly
Rocky Upland

Rocky Upland hunting shoe

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, look no further than the Rocky Uplands. Users report that these don’t have a break-in period like other upland boots, making them a great go-to option for your upcoming bird shoot.

We believe these are among 2023’s best hunting boots for the money 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 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 as an upland bird hunter.

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High-Elevation Mountain Hunting

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 have excellent traction, reliable ankle support, proper shock absorption, and tough-to-beat abrasion resistance.

High-Country Killers
Schnees Granite 200g

Schnees Granite 200g

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? According to his MeatEater site, he wears Schnees (and for good reason). Schnees, from Bozeman, Montana, make high-quality products that never disappoint.

You have no room for mistakes when you reach high altitude in the backcountry. One slip, trip, or stumble can put you in a 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 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 footwear they’ve ever prowled the mountains in.

Top Choice for Pack-Outs
Zamberlan 971 Guide LUX

Zamberlan 971 Guide LUX

MSRP: $450
Height: 6”
Materials: Hydrobloc Tuscon leather, GORE-TEX
Insulation: None
Pros: Great at transferring weight, extremely comfortable, excellent in variable conditions, durable as heck
Cons: Might not be warm enough for sub-zero temps

The Guide LUX is the ultimate boot for professional outdoorsmen, guides, porters, or packers. That’s because of its unique design, which is tailor-made for precision and strength. The Guide LUX features a super-stiff 4mm lasting board but provides enough flex to make it agile and easy to break in.

Having a firm foundation while packing animals out of the backcountry is non-negotiable. Luckily, stable footing is a cinch with these all-season boots from Zamberlan. They feature a forward-rocking outsole that efficiently transfers the weight of heavy loads from your feet to your shoes.

Hydrobloc Tuscon leather uppers, a GORE-TEX liner, and a seamless rubber rand keep the water and elements out. If you value dry feet and prefer a mid-ankle hiking boot, give the 971 Guide LUX a serious look.

Want to know more about the Guide Lux? Check out our top-to-bottom review!

For High-Altitude Run-and-Gunners
La Sportiva Makalu

LaSportiva Makalu hiking footwear

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

La Sportiva is another brand we trust to do the job 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 12,000-foot elevation sheep hunts) or 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, give yourself ample time beforehand to put some miles on these.

Our Criteria for Reviewing Products

Four sets of rubber, waterproof 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 criteria. What makes a good hunting boot? How did we rank these products? Good questions.

Here are our ranking factors:

Comfort

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

Durability

You’re tough on your hunting gear if you’re anything like me. That’s because hunting, whether for deer, elk, or ducks, requires you to cover a lot of distance while carrying heavy loads. The boots on this list are tough enough to withstand 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 products 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, making it an excellent choice for hunting boots. Leather is also comfortable and conforms to your foot over time, so it’s ideal for long-distance hiking and hunting.
  • GORE-TEX: This material’s best attribute is that it’s not only windproof and waterproof but also highly breathable. Simply put, GORE-TEX technology keeps feet warm and dry.
  • Nylon: Nylon allows for maximum airflow while keeping products lightweight. The material is an excellent choice for warm-weather boots, and it can conform to the shape of your feet, allowing 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 versatile products.

Insulated vs. Non-Insulated

Choosing the proper amount of insulation is essential when selecting a hunting boot. Again, having wet and soggy feet can be a bummer, and insufficient 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 early 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 footwear. However, most people should consider having enough support in their boots to keep their ankles from rolling, which is especially important when carrying large loads.

  • Low-Cut Boot: Good for archery hunters who must 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 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. For this reason, I recommend always allowing yourself break-in time with your boots. Let them get to know your feet a little. Some pairs 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: 5-10 miles
  • Leather: 10-30 miles
  • Mixed Material: 5-30 miles
  • Rubber: 5-10 miles

Which Boot Will You Take Hunting in 2023?

A leather 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 2023 trip, so do your research when choosing your next pair. Whether you’re an upland bird hunter or a backcountry archery elk hunter, we hope we’ve recommended a pair perfect for your hunting style.

So, go ahead — we know a pair or two on this list have caught your attention — and pull the trigger. Snag a pair because it’s never too early to gear up 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. Comment below if you have any questions/comments or want to add to this list. We’d love to hear your feedback.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2024

1 thought on “16 Best Hunting Boots 2023 [Cold-Weather, Rubber + Upland]”

  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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