If you’ve even taken part in any event that caused you to spend time out in natural terrain, you know the intense discomfort that ordinary shoes such as sneakers will product around your foot. As an avid hunter, having the wrong footwear will wreak havoc on the lower portion of your body. Having gone through lots of different boots of all sorts, I have learned that having the right hunting boots are essential to having a good event in the outdoors or not.
Some may look appealing but could be inexpensive rubber works of art. With boots, looks don’t determine what is best for your feet. Below are five of the best pairs of footwear for hunting, chosen for temperature regulation, protection from the water, and general level of comfort that is given around the sole’s padding. Afterward, don’t forget to check out the Buyer’s Guide for indicators that will help you find out which brand is best for your individual needs.
13 of the Best Waterproof and Rubber Hunting Boots For Your Next Trip Outdoors
For rainy weather
|LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro 18''|
For cold weather
|Danner Pronghorn Realtree Xtra 1200G|
|Irish Setter 2875 Vaprtrek Waterproof 17"|
For Toughest Terrain
|Muck Boot Adult MuckMaster|
For archery hunting
|Oboz Bridger BDRY|
For winter hunting
|Bogs Classic Ultra High Insulated Waterproof|
|Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX|
Best for flat feet
|Muck Boot Chore Classic Tall Steel Toe|
For mountain hunting
|Zamberlan 996 Vioz GT|
For extreme conditions
|Muck Boot Arctic Sport Rubber High Performance|
For great support
|Asolo Fugitive GTX|
For narrow feet
|Scarpa Kinesis Pro GTX|
For hardcore hunting
|Lowa Tibet GTX|
This is a boot that’s been around for a long, long time. I bought a set of Alphaburlys when I first started hunting. I first got a job and was able to buy my own stuff probably 15 years ago and wore the tar out of those things. Now, these Alphaburly Pros have had some improvements to them, so we’ll just run through some features of these and talk to you a little bit about my experience testing these things out.
The LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro Boot comes in four different colors, two woodland and another set of solid greens. It’s a boot that one could use for nearly any outdoor event, included activities that don’t involve hunting.
It has an adjustable rear gusset on it. This is now neoprene as well, so it gives you a little bit better fit back there and you just pull this thing over. When you get it where you want it, snap it closed and it’s locked into position. You got a hook right here to hook your tailing. So you’ve got that to adjust the different size back for your calf and get a little bit better fit than in what you would without it.
I love the Alphaburly sole. These things have just really rugged, really good traction to them. They’re going to grip really well and the nice thing about these is when you go through a field, say in mud, where you get out in the mud and stuff like that, these are non-loading. It means they’re not going to pick up big chunks of mud, we’ve all been there where you step in some mud and you end up bringing out something that looks like a pancake, just a big chunk of mud with it and you have a really hard time getting at the getting that off there.
The other thing that this thing has is a fiberglass shank. I’ve had a lot of boots in my life, that’s pretty much all I wear and the shank is what runs down the foot of this thing and the fiberglass shank’s going to be a little bit more forgiving as far as versus a metal shank. I’ve had some boots that have had the shank breaking in them. The fiberglass is going to have a little bit more flex into it and going to be a little bit more comfortable.
Now, this is a non-insulated pair here and that’s the specs that I’ve got is for this pair here. This is an early-season Realtree Green, Realtree Xtra Green and about 4.8 pounds per pair. I’m not sure if that’s going to hold true on the ones that have a little bit more insulation in them.
Keeping them in Shape
And while the footbed can be taken out as mentioned, wide footed individuals may still find the fit a little too tight, particularly close to the ankle area. But the primary nuisance deals with knowing which size is the best for you. Sizing runs either too small or large, and it’s possible to end up with the wrong fit if you’re not careful with ordering. Users with wide feet will probably need a half-size higher than what they would normally wear, whereas anyone with smaller feet might be okay with their normal size, or possibly even a 1/2 size smaller.
My personal experience
I put a lot of miles on these things. I wore them out this morning, we had a lot of rain last night, I wore them out this morning mouth this morning and put some miles on them and put some miles on them over the last couple of weeks and really tested them out. The things about my old Alphaburlys that I didn’t like was I had a little bit of ankle rub in them. I had a little bit of issue with them trying to slip on me, on my ankles. With these, I don’t notice that. I haven’t seen any ankle rub to them, I haven’t had any looseness to them. Once you get these on, these really stay put and they really do fit very, very nice. For rubber boots, they fit a whole lot better than what I have had experience in the past with rubber boots has been.
Overall, the LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro is definitely a top contender and will get you through lots of outdoor events with no pain in your feet. It’s suitable for both casual and serious hunters but can double its use for landscaping or farm work. The level of comfort given to the inside will make your feet feel as if you’re walking on a plush carpet floor.
A lot of things about these boots that I really, really like and I haven’t found anything on these boots that I don’t like. I like the gusset on the top, being able to suck those things down and get them tight. On my old Alphaburlys, we just slipped them on and that’s probably where the looseness came from, was up on the calf cause I’ve got a smaller calf, I’m a smaller guy and I had a little bit of slippage there.
With these new Alphaburly Pros, I don’t get that at all. These are really a big improvement on an already fantastic boot. My old Alphaburlys were tough, I wore those things for a long, long, long time. I think I had those things for around 10 years. I’m pretty sure I bought them when I was 17 or 18, I was still in high school and I threw them away right before I got married, which I got married when I was 28, so I had them around 10 or 11 years and I wore the tar out of those things.
The Danner Pronghorn Realtree Xtra are listed as men’s boots but could be worn by women with large feet. Strength and comfort-wise, this is as good as it gets. You can wear them in heavy downpours and never have a drop enter underneath the tongue; water just beads off quickly without absorbing in the material.
You may even be tempted to wear them casually, as they don’t produce sweat or moisture around your feet at all. In short, the Pronghorn Xtra is the best pair of boots shown on the list, hands down.
The Irish Setter Vaprtrek is a boot for the avid outdoorsman. You can tell just from its shape and color that the brand is serious about their product.
It will leave you with perfect balance and complete protection from water throughout its entirety. Like the last pair reviewed, this comes in a close second, or arguably better than the former. It also makes the cut for being the best boots you’ll find or are likely worn in a long time.
The Muck Boot MuckMaster is a high-top boot that’s engineered to get you through the toughest terrain, all even if you’re hiking through the dense canopy or rocky surfaces that are wet. It’s clearly designed for people with large and wide feet. Of course, this doesn’t totally rule out people with smaller feet at all. But the interior support and padding are manufactured in a way to give people a more ergonomic fit than traditional rubber boots are able to do. At the same time, the cushioning clings to the feet yet doesn’t impede movement in the least. This results in a feeling that’s comparable to walking in a pair of good sneakers that you’ve just begun to break in.
Proper Maintenance is Key
The seams are also pretty rigid, which is a good sign that water may seep inside after they have been worn down.
Like many high-end rubber boots of this caliber, sizing is high. You might need to go up to half a size than what you would usually buy, at least with boots. If you don’t mind these hiccups, the Muck Boot MuckMaster is great for anyone with wide feet or those who have has problems with small arches in other footwear.
The Oboz Bridger BDRY Boots flexibility with lightweight materials to produce a fit that’s perfect in areas with light rainfall. Your feet will not sweat, and the low shaft keeps your ankles in control when you need to walk, run, or sprint in the wilderness.
Still, they are great to bring alongside a stronger pair; something to slip on when you’re not in the mood for the heftier brands shown.
The Bogs Classic Ultra High Insulated Boots have been built to aid in cold environments (as the brand title suggests) but could also be decent for anyone that lives in moderate climates as well. They are all black and have no other colors to choose from. All sizes have a boot shaft of about 12.5 inches. Completely waterproof, you can walk through wet surfaces and snow with good insulation from the inside. Your feet won’t get cold in temperatures as low as 0 degrees. In places colder than this, the insulation will still work but isn’t as effective. Moisture, on the other hand, stay out of the inside at all times. It’s definitely a great pair for people who sweat a lot in other rubber hunting boots.
On or Off in Seconds
For this reason, the pair is suggested for hunters that find themselves painfully trying to take off boots on their own. In addition, this makes it a perfect gift for solo hunters. Just be careful when you’re walking on flat-surfaced and/or dense ice. The tread leaves little for error in such locations and does little to protect the wearer from skids and slips. And the width is a little narrow. You might need a larger size than expected. Still, the Bogs Classic remains a good choice for anyone that’s expecting to be walking on a cold surface for more than a few hours.
The Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX is a very stylish and flexible all-weather boot that won’t tire you down the same way that some of its competitors could do.
Your feet won’t sweat, and the feel is confined by giving enough space to avoid moisture from developing inside. Recommended for anyone that dislikes bulky shoes of any kind.
The Muck Boot Chore Classic is a steel toe pair with a basic-looking exterior that almost resembles ordinary working boots. But don’t take this as a sign of weakness; there are lots of good features for anyone to consider a purchase. For starters, the weatherproof rubber coating is very strong. So strong in fact, you’ll probably still be using the boots over a year after they’ve been acquired. It’s specifically geared for muddy and wet conditions, having resistance the erosion for the salts and grime that comes into contact with its sides and tread.
Flat feet? No problem
As an advantage, people with flat feet could find this useful though, and the boot would be an excellent fit if your bottom and heel are oddly-shaped. But there remains a lot with this rubber boot to be excited about. In general, the Muck Boot Chore Classic has its setbacks when it comes to keeping away sweat, but earns points for its powerful weatherproof shell and durable tread.
Sleek along the sides and very flexible, the Zamberlan 996 GT will block out moisture and provide you with sufficient room to walk outdoors for long stretches without getting tired. Padding is adequate and helps the feet stay at room temperature in both cold and warm climates. The smooth width area is also easy to clean but may leave visible marks after using in settings with lots of debris.
The Muck Boots Arctic Sport Boot is another winter-geared pair with a good fit, at least when they’re purchased in the right size. Movement remains good after a break-in. When worn on the first occasion, the boots may feel slightly stiff around the heels and tips, especially near the large toes. There’s a 14.5-inch shaft that appears to incline near the ankles. Unlike the outer design that gives off this image, the feet will rest a little more flat than the way it looks from the outside.
Getting the Fit just Right
One big improvement for the future design could be in the stiffness. While this may diminish as they’re worn, anyone with wide feet could still find them a little uncomfortable to have on for more than a few hours. At the same time, the boots are made one size higher than average, and this includes the length and width. This could end up giving you an awkward fit that’s too loose or tight in one of either dimension. When in doubt, always go for a least a half size larger to avoid foot pain.
The Asolo Fugitive GTX resembles a traditional hiking boot, but have enough padding along the ankle and width areas to be used as a waterproof alternative. The shaft is much lower than the boots shown already, which is good for people who dislike the taller brands that cover a larger portion of the leg.
Coming in colors of brown and black, the Scarpa Kinesis Pro GTX is suitable for long hikes in areas where wet weather is expected. It laces up nice and gives the shoe a proper fit in both narrow and wide feet.
Regardless, it scores high for anyone that anticipates hiking longer than hunting.
The Lowa Tibet GTX is a greenish-brown hiking boot with a great midsole, one that’s flexible and won’t become detached quickly. And if that’s not enough freedom of movement for you, simply adjust its laces to loosen up the shape (on the inside). You can also contour the feel by making them tighter.
Knowing this, the Lowa Tibet is best for those who don’t own many pairs of boots and want something that can be worn casually but during infrequent hunting trips.
Hunting boots aren’t always easy to come by, mostly from the high number of low-quality brands that don’t completely protect the feet from the elements as good as claimed. You’ve probably used a pair like this before or had one that wore away too fast when worn in a wet environment. These types of boots are the same as any other, meaning that you should do your homework before you settle on one brand alone. Doing so could save you lots of time from having to administer a return when you should be concerned about your plans in the field. Read through the tips below to see what makes a good waterproof hunting boot suitable for purchase, and what doesn’t.
The Boot’s Shape
This is a factor that is often forgotten about when seeking a new boot for the purpose of hunting. While it can be difficult to know what shape suits a wearer the best, many brands can have wildly different dimensions. As such, if your feet are big, the width area of the boot should be on the larger side. For example, if you notice a pair that has a huge shaft but gets tighter near the ankles, they could feel somewhat lacking in the room.
It’s easy to make mistakes and end up with an incorrect size, even if you buy the one you think will fit you best. Rubber hunting boots are notorious for running in sizes that are either too small or larger than what their specs make them out to be. For instance, you may notice a pair that lists a size 12 but could fit someone that normally wears a 13 or 11.5 better. It can sometimes be difficult to know for sure. When in doubt, check out the shoe’s dimensions, making sure to see if there are measurements for the inside as well as the outer portion of the sole.
And then there’s the toe box. You’ll want to have ample room (but not too much!) near this area. When you’re comparing measurements, look for boots that have at least a half-inch of space in between your big toe and the front portion, or the area on the inside that’s layered with the plated steel toe.
Since we are dealing with solely waterproof hunting boots, materials also become important. What types do you prefer, and what is the ground like in the location in which the boots will see their greatest use? If you know the answers to these questions, you will have completed the hardest part of your shopping. For those hunting such animals that require standing in shallow creeks or ponds, having something that can cover your entire feet is highly recommended. That means brands that make heavy use of polyurethane or leather may seep through the cracks and get into the inside, no matter how “water-resistant” the boots are. But for just general hunting that will take place in rain or snow, those materials should suffice.
Even if you buy a shoe that’s tailored to prevent excessive heat from developing inside, you might still have sweating occur. This problem is often hard to judge, as some people sweat more around the feet than others. To help with this, know your foot. Have you ever had problems with sweating before? Do you think the type of socks that were worn may have contributed to this? Wearing thinner socks could help but might not completely eliminate the issue. Furthermore, some boot brands are made from materials that will allow the foot to breathe on the inside. Try to stick to these types if you’re trying to avoid sweating, along with the odors that often accompany it.
Temperature ratings are given to hunting boots for consumers to know how much warmth will be given to the footwear. This mostly pertains to cold weather conditions. Footwear sold by most hunting boot brands will gauge the rating at a specific temperature that it’s will insulate the foot in. The number will be the lowest designated level of cold that’s possible for the wearer to not food cold. For example, a pair of boots has a rating of negative 20, then the product will perform best at providing warmth when the air is higher than minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There are other factors that will also change the heat level as well. Sock thickness when the boots are worn shouldn’t be forgotten, so keep this in mind regardless of how well a brand’s temperature rating is specified at.
No matter where you live, the weather will play a part in how much you’ll enjoy your hunting boots. If you experience all four seasons, you should try to look for brands that are specifically manufactured with strong soles and durable rubber at the bottom. Stiffness can also impede movement and cause slips, so look into how much room your feet will have on the inside, paying attention to the width while doing so.
Colder climates can be just as harsh as walking through mud and rocky terrain, whereby the sole may erode and cause leaks that seep through the rubber and leave the inside soggy. As previously discussed, temperature ratings will only go so far. If you want to acquire boots that won’t fall apart from the first few times they are worn, prioritize durability so that you won’t look for an additional set too early in the original boot’s lifetime.
The bottom of your hunting boots is the area that is exposed to the harshest conditions. Because of this, tread needs to be strong but also able to provide protection against easy slips and falls. Not all tread has slipped and/or skid-resistant materials or shapes that will cling to whatever surface you’re walking on, however. The best thing is to know the terrain in which the rubber boots will see the most work. If you’re going out in the snow, pick boots with a tread that is tough and jagged. For ordinary wilderness, most standard treads should suffice. Flat surfaces are sometimes difficult to judge, but most hunters shouldn’t have this problem since there’s usually less human development in hunting locations.
Nearly all rubber hunting boots will have some sort of water resistance or waterproof materials that make up the footwear. The differences may come in the strength of the exterior surface. Boots that are made up of overlapping layers are the best, as they will prevent fast aging from wearing away the areas in between the tread and to top portion of the boot.
A good pair should also allow the water to run off quickly instead of absorbing into the rubber. Brands that feature few creases along the exterior toe area can last for a long time, although this portion is one of the places most likely to experience cracking and/or dry rot over time. Inspecting these attributes is difficult to do online, so always refer to what others have stated in reviews about the product before deciding which boot you want too quickly.
Hunting in the winter season is sometimes tough. You not only have to deal with the water but ice and the dangers that poor boots can bring to your ankles from tripping. But hot climates have it no better. The warm weather can mix in salts and sediment from the ground that cling to the midsoles and treads, making them erode at a fast pace. If you’re planning a winter hunt, stick to boots that maintain a good temperature rating that won’t leave your feet cold. Hot, humid environments are better suited for boots with more flexibility and lacing systems. There’s more room to alter the shape for conformity to the air in the outdoors; you can choose how much air you want to let into the interior or blockage needed along the ankles.
No boots are perfect. Each pair you come across will have its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common problems for weatherproof brands are breathability and weak treads. While waterproof doesn’t necessarily count as a boot being completely blocked from the air (when worn), the materials are often thicker than other boot categories.
The treads can be strong but consist of lots of teeth and ridges, which increases the chances of breakage occurring when walking over rocks or other surfaces that are dense. Again, this doesn’t apply to all boots, but remember to choose by the amount of time you will spend wearing them. These issues tend to go away for people that won’t wear them very often, but increase when exposed to the ground on a daily basis.
Having a great pair of boots can make hunting in bad weather fun, no matter how severe it gets. Comfortable feet equate to a healthier body when out in the field, and will take your mind off what you’re wearing and help you focus on the tasks at hand.
There are two pairs from the reviews above that manage to guarantee outstanding results, regardless of where you’ll be spending your time outside. LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro 18″ and Danner Pronghorn Realtree Xtra 1200G both maintain outstanding build, strong materials that shield the feet from water, and near-perfect shaft protection and flexibility. But before you finalize your search, don’t forget about the other 11 boots, which may cater to specific preferences or regions more so than what’s available with the winning two. Still, even if you were to pick a random boot from the list for your next hunting trip, you will be satisfied with your purchase.