As an avid hiker and hunter, having the perfect boots to take with you for the journey wasn’t always easy for me to find. I’ve worn down countless pairs over the years, and have learned that each pair had something that I liked and sometimes didn’t. The experience has taught me what to look for and attributes that make a set of boots ideal for certain types of terrain.
Reviewed below are ten of the pair that I happened to find the most useful and comfortable, so read over their description and see which you think will work great when you’re ready to hunt. The value section that follows consists of lots of time-saving tips and suggestions for you to use during your search. Look over it so you’ll know how to get the perfect pair that will last for more than just a single hunting trip.
These Boots Will Keep Your Comfortable For Your Next Big Elk Hunt
For cold weather
|Irish Setter 880 Elk Tracker|
For mountain hunting
|Lowa Tibet GTX|
|Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX|
|Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT|
For archery hunting
|Merrell Moab 2 Mid|
|LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro 18"|
For early season
|Danner Pronghorn Realtree Xtra 1200G|
Best for comfort
|KEEN Durand Mid Waterproof|
For rough surfaces
|Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX|
For strong tread
|Asolo Fugitive GTX|
It’s very appealing with the elongated shaft and light-brown lace hooks. The shaft is where it gets the most praise, which looks unique and keeps the lower legs and feet comfortable without a stiff fit. But the ankle support isn’t very deep which may cause people with big arches to feel that the boots have too much room in them. Even with this, they will hold up with for a long time and take on little to no odor.
The Lowa Tibet GTX has a very strong-looking heel that goes almost toward the center portion of the shaft. This helps that boot maintain good lift-off when moving at a fast pace.
The tread isn’t perfect but should perform well within at least a year of them being used heavily.
From its looks, the Salomon Quest 4D 2 is beautiful and will look well on anyone’s feet. They will take you through the hunt without ever having to look down at your feet in discomfort. They’re a great deal of room along with the toes but not to the point where you will feel your upper foot “picking up” the boot from the weight. Breaking them in should go fast as well. Just be sure to get them in the right size to prevent too much drag along the heels.
The Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT boots look like a cross between old military-style footwear and contemporary boots that have a medium-sized shaft.
Lacing is smooth sailing, and the treads are both hard but provide good cushioning to dampen the impact of hard rocks when you’re hiking along rocky or mountainous terrain.
The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots are all about comfort in the inside. The exterior portion helps with this a lot, having a mesh lining that gives them a striped appearance that’s perfect for going fast without concern of getting sweaty feet. Even though it’s advertised to be waterproof, you should take it easy when it’s wet outside. Moisture can get through in regions that have this sort of weather during the season, but drier climates are a perfect setting to have them around.
The LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro goes well in places with lots of snow, rain, and mud.
And the strap at the top of the shaft will help immensely when you’re trying to put them off or on since it expands to make it effortless when you’re preparing or disrobing. Cleaning is simple; just hose them down and the rubber exterior will look like it’s never been worn again.
The Danner Pronghorn Realtree Xtra is brown and has the looks of a rugged boot that one would wear in the thickest of the brush. Soles are top-notch and keep your feet warm in cold climates, although the toe room could be improved. With this in mind, you might want to go up a size if you think your feet will be too big with the charts given by the manufacturer, but don’t fret over it too much; break-in will make any stiffness or tight areas go away after a while.
The Keen Durand Mid Waterproof, as the name shows, is great for the winter months when cold rains occur. Temperature rating is low with this one, and the feet should remain at room temperature when the air is close to below-freezing.
The next Salomon boots are called Ultra 3 Mid GTX. This is what you’ll want if the tread is a big concern. You’ll be able to stick to the ground without them skidding, something that’s great for those living in areas that expect some rain during the elk hunting season. You’re also pretty lightweight. Ground residue like mud and soot won’t cling to the bottom either. Try this one out if your arch is well above the sole.
The Asolo Fugitive GTX Boots really stand out with the blackened guard along the front. This pair looks like there’s a mixup of different materials added to the exterior portion along the sides.
They could erode away while though, mostly near the guard and upper tread. Try to keep them clean so that nothing clings to the rubber once you finished using them. Doing so could make chipping less likely to happen.
Buyer’s Guide – How to choose elk hunting boots
When Elk hunting season comes around, you’ll want to have everything prepared some time before you actually head outdoors. Because of all the bigger items that one must carry with them during the hunt, it’s no surprise that footwear is sometimes forgotten about. If this happens, rushing is likely due to the short amount of time available to acquire the boots and allow them to break in. In this situation, knowing the information below will help you avoid getting boots that would otherwise be a likely return item.
Pay Attention to the Tread
When searching for new boots, you should think of the tread in the same way that you would when changing the tires of your automobile. As you know, the bottom of the wheels is also called the tread. Similar to boots, some treads (on the footwear) change depending on the quality of the boot itself. Just a good observation, whether in-person or from a photo online, could give you an idea of how the tread will perform when you have them on.
But this isn’t always enough. Try to read up on the evaluation of what others, such as myself in the reviews above, has said about them. Some treads are skid resistant, and others could be cheaply made and show signs of wear early in the boot’s lifetime. Those with broad, bold teeth in the rubber are some of the best since they provide good grip to the ground, no matter if it happens to be wet or very dry.
One of the key things we look for in a boot is grip. Now depending on your individual situation there’s a few key things you want to look for in the tread pattern on a boot. Openness of the tread pattern is key to giving good traction in slippery conditions. It also eliminates the sole from clogging up with a lot of mud, essentially leaving you with a smooth platform. The other key thing you want to look at is the heel stop. Now what this does is it provides braking when you’re going downhill.
You can see here now on a more heavy duty boot that heel stop is a lot heavier and a lot more pronounced, so that will provide better braking on steeper county. The sole pattern is also really open, which means it won’t clog up. We also have the little yellow hexagon here and that means it’s a Vibram sole and the quality of the compound is much higher quality than a non-branded sole. This sole will wear a lot better and last a lot longer.
Soft shank vs Stiff shank
Let’s talk about shanks. Now the shank in a boot is the nylon footbed. It generally runs from the heel of the boot right through to the toe and from the inside of the boot right through to the outside. The thickness of the shank determines how stiff or supple your boot is and it also determines how much stability that boot will give you.
In a soft shank boot like this, you’ll get a lot of flex through the ball of your foot. You’ll also get a lot of flex laterally through the sole of the boot. Now a boot like this with a soft shank is suitable for bush stalking, low land county. It will give you a lot more sensitivity in the boot. You’ll be able to sneak around a lot quieter but it won’t let you tackle big heavy packs or big steep hills as well.
Moving on to a stiff shank boot. The only difference is the thickness of the shank, it’s a lot thicker and they can make it thin in certain parts to allow the boot to flex in specific areas. A stiff shank boot like this, you’ll get a lot less flex through the ball of your foot and you’ll also get a lot less lateral movement through the boot. Now what this means is it will allow you to tackle much steeper country and it will also let you carry much heavier loads comfortably. A stiff shank boot like this will let you sidle on really steep hills.
It will also let you front point into a really steep country much more comfortably. A stiff shank boot lets you handle rocky uneven ground a lot better also. It gives you the ability and the stability needed to stand on really sharp uneven rocks and it stops the boot rolling around underneath and around your foot.
Rubber Toe Cap vs Full Round Boots
With most hunting boots available they generally all come with a rubber toe cap. Now what the rubber toe cap does is it protects the toe of the boot from abrasion and stops the leather-wearing out. Naturally, when we’re sneaking around in the scrub we tend to drag our toes a little bit when we’re kneeling down to shoot, kneeling down on the river for a drink, we always tend to drag our toes. That’s what that rubber’s for, it stops the toe of your boot wearing out.
Moving on from the toe caps we start to see boots with what we call a full round. A full round boot has the rubber running all the way around the boot and what this does is provide extra protection all over the boot. Now you generally see a full round in a stiff alpine-style boot and that’s because of the country we’re hunting in where we need the stiff hard out the alpine boot. What the round does is it protects the side of the boot from rocks. Now when we’re in an uneven environment our natural instinct is to place our foot between rocks for extra stability. This is where the wear happens on the sides of our boots. The round stops us from wearing through the leather and essentially making the boot last a lot longer.
Stiffness vs Break-In
Like many shoes, boots will feel a little stiff the first time you put them on. As you walk around in them for a while, the stiffness will dull or go away completely, leaving you with good room around the toes and an ergonomic fit along the heel area. Break-in time is sometimes hard to judge, but the best way to ensure that comfort will be met as fast as possible is to purchase boots in the correct size. Not too tight yet a little firm, especially around the midsole and ankles.
Your toes should have enough space to not feel bunched together, yet relaxed to the point where you won’t want to move them around too much. However, some pairs may remain stiff for the entirety of them being worn or get worse over time. Check out the information regarding the soles and shape of the boot itself. This will give you a good indication of how long it will take for you to feel at home in the footwear.
Part of the fun in elk hunting could be just hiking along and check out out the sights and sounds of the wilderness. You might even want to take a few pictures during your adventure. Whatever you do, you should have a general idea of how much walking you’ll do. This is because some boots are better formulated for long distance travel, where the material is lighter on the feet and legs, giving the wearer fewer chances of feeling fatigued.
Heavy boots could make you lag, particularly if you’re not adjusted to having them on for hours at a time. Prevent wreaking havoc to your feet later on by looking at the weight of the boots. What was the weight of the last good boots that you purchased? Where you comfortable in them? Did they have enough flexibility for you to move your ankles around? These questions should be in your mind when you’re looking for new boots.
Weight and Height
Just prior was discussed how distance relates to comfortability in a new pair of boots. Weight is a factor in knowing this. Some boots are extremely heavy, having a borderline feeling of cement bags that just seem to get heavier each time you put them on. If you’re feeling irritation in the footwear you use, all sorts of problems could arise. Blisters, calluses, and corns can develop from shoes that are too heavy. Additionally, the weight could make your feet move inside the boot, exacerbating the problem and leading to prolonged inflammation at the bottom of the feet. Boots with large treads and soles tend to be the heaviest, whereas those with more synthetic materials are on the lighter side.
The next most visual difference you’ll see between boots is the height. When we look at these two boots the one on your right is about 30 to 40 millimeters higher than the one on your left. Now what this does is provide a different type of ankle support essentially further up your leg. When we’re walking on uneven ground and our boot are on their side like this, you want that ankle support to come up as high as you can cope with comfortably. This boot here you can see will only come up just above your ankle, leaving the rest of your leg reasonably unsupported. This boot will come up well above your ankle, giving you a lot more support above, on and below the ankle, essentially making it a lot more comfortable to traverse some hairy ground.
Is your hunting boots waterproofed?
Now the way boots are made waterproof is not through their exterior fabrics and material, but rather what we put on the inside of the boot. Now the inside of our boots is essentially a waterproof sock. It’s seam-sealed and is a three-layer membrane in the shape of a sock that pretty much runs from here all the way down to the toe. That’s what keeps your boots waterproof and stops the water from getting in through the leather. It also keeps the water in once it goes in through the top.
The Lacing System
Not everything likes to lace their boots, and are fine with the way they are straight from the box. But if you do like to tie them up differently, having lace hooks that are strong and won’t tear the laces themselves should be a high priority for your next pair of boots. Laces may also be cheaply made when sold with the boots, although this is definitely an exception.
Big laces are sometimes more difficult to tie and may loosen very quickly no matter how tight you tie them. Thinner varieties might tie tighter but could break or tear away very fast. This is more of a personal choice, but if you’re not sure about the laces in a boot that has grabbed your interest, don’t be afraid the get a set of strings separately from the product.
Where Will Elk Hunting Take Place?
In the United States, Elk hunting takes place throughout the country, in both temperate and colder regions. The areas you live in can say a lot about the type of boots that would benefit you the most. Midwestern states have it better than, say, people in the west. Regions with flatter or rolling hills that don’t have lots of rocks to hike over are fine for many lightweight boots. Rockier places would be better with good treads that don’t break quickly. Of course, there may be ice on the ground by the time the season has rolled around too. So check the temperature ratings when available to see if your feet will stay warm when you’re outdoors in below-freezing temperatures.
Often when you walk into a store to purchase a pair of boots you’re presented with often what might look like two boots that look very similar but are in fact quite different price points. Now the main differences in the price point are the choice of materials and the way the boots are constructed. You’ll find in a more expensive boot the leather will be thicker, the stitching will be of better quality, the sole and mid-sole will often be of more durable material and the waterproof membrane in the sock will be more waterproof and more breathable.
One could argue that shoes are the most important part of your attire since it’s the only piece that comes into steady contact with the ground. Getting a good pair of boots for your elk hunting is crucial to whether you’ll be able to focus your attention on hunting or become irritated with the footwear you’re using to the point where it takes your attention off your purpose for going in the first place.
The top picks on the list are the Irish Setter 880 Elk Tracker and Lowa Tiber GTX, favored for their ability to repel water and short time required to break them in. But truthfully, all of the boots on the list are great footwear for any hunter in some way, so look into the other eight if you think something else would suit your feet better. Regardless of your choice, it’s a given that you’ll end up with boots that you might be tempted to wear like an ordinary pair of shoes.