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 hunting boots of all sorts, I have learned that having the right rubber 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. The top two recommended products will be chosen at the conclusion.
Five of the Best Rubber Hunting Boots For Your Next Trip Outdoors
For deer hunting
|LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro 18"|
For wide feet
|Muck Boot Adult MuckMaster|
For cold weather
|Bogs Classic Ultra High|
Best stability and support
|Muck Boot Chore Classic Tall Steel Toe|
For winter hunting
|Muck Boot Arctic Sport Rubber High Performance|
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 boot, 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.
- Multiple layers of rubber added to minimize discomfort in areas of high stress
- Neoprene lining in the inside helps keep the feet insulated and free from odor
- Gussets on the top can be adjusted to fit the user’s calf size
- The footbed can be removed if needed (if the fit is too tight)
- The neoprene lining at the top of the boot may wear away quickly
- Wide-footed users may find the boot very tight, especially near the arches
- Difficult to size (fit could be either slightly too tight or loose)
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 is 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.
- Great support for people with a high arch
- Padding hugs the feet but leaves enough room for movement at the same time
- Durable interior is padded but does not cause the feet to sweat
- Soles may loosen after a few months of regular use
- The rubber sole at the bottom is very sensitive to rocky terrain and could erode fast
- May leak water from the seams overtime
- Sizing runs higher than what is specified by the manufacturer
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 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 soles take out the moisture but leave in the warmth
- Can be quickly put on or off without too much effort
- Holes at the top of the boot can double as a carrying handle
- Tread at the bottom provide poor traction in places with condensed ice and snow
- Smaller sizes are heavy and may lead to pain around the ankles until broken in
- Slightly narrow width
- Slipping may occur when walking in areas that are wet and flat
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.
- Waterproof exterior makes the boot worthwhile for people who plan to use them in wet or muddy conditions
- Quickly breaks in but refrains from coming too loose
- Dirt and grime can be wiped away easily and does not cling to the boot
- Elastic hugs the lower legs too tightly
- Moisture builds up fast, making socks and feet feel wet (and potentially causing odors)
- Inaccurate sizing (run 0.5 to 1 size higher than what is advertises)
- There is little arch support for the feet
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.
- Accurate rating on temperature
- Does not impede circulation around the toes and sole
- The neoprene folds down, making it easy to pull off and tuck in pants legs when ready to wear
- Large length and width, users may need to wear thick socks to tighten the hug
- Bulky construction may make the boots feel awkward, especially to wearers with small feet
- Stiff frame makes it a chore to walk around in for long periods of time
Getting the right rubber boots for hunting is important. You don’t want to end up with a pair that leaves you with unexpected surprises as soon as they are worn. Knowing this, here are some helpful tips that you should keep in mind before you consider purchasing one of the boots shown above.
Temperature ratings are given to rubber 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, it 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.
If you have ever purchased a pair of shoes or boots online, you know that sizing is often the firsthand issue that will determine if you’ll enjoy the footwear or not. Size should be one of the first things you note, particularly since the boots are being purchased online.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
If you have an idea of which rubber boots you want, take a moment to go over the recommendations that were listed next to the product’s name. This will show which is the best for a specific purpose. In any case, the first two come with the highest recommendation. The LaCrosse Men’s Hunting Boot and Muck Boot MuckMaster both have outstanding water protection and support around the calves and arches. But don’t take that as a put-down to the rest of the boots reviewed. As stated, they are each tailored to fit an individual need, and may even have advantages that are missing from the first two. In short, no matter what rubber boot you end up with, it’s sure to help your feet remain comfortable in the outdoors for the entire event duration.