If you’ve ever been outside during the winter for a couple of hours at least, then you know just how important warm and comfy shoes are. I don’t need to sell you on the idea that your feet need protection from the elements when temperatures drop below freezing.
While most rubber hunting boots come with a fair bit of insulation inside them, the vast majority of them are not designed for heavy winter use. It’s that simple, no big mystery whatsoever. If you go hunting during the winter, and you sit in your blind quietly for a couple of hours until you catch sight of your prey then that’s the time where your feet need the most protection. Long static positions during the winter led to less blood flow to the extremities in order for your body to conserve heat.
The best-case scenario is that your feet get cold without proper footwear and your hunting trip becomes unpleasant because of this. The worst-case scenario is that you get frostbite and you actually lose a finger. Don’t joke around with your health because it’s not worth it.
Every time you go hunting you have to be prepared accordingly. That also means taking into consideration every factor related to terrain, altitude, weather, length, hunt duration, and so on. This is all basic stuff, but it makes a big difference, trust me.
Best cold weather hunting boots reviewed
Irish Setter Men’s Vaprtrek Hunting Boot
Irish Setter is usually a brand that you can trust when it comes to footwear and these boots don’t disappoint. The Irish Setter Vaprtrek is one mean walking “machine”, in that it’s designed to be easy on the eye on the outside, comfortable on the inside, and built to walk to and from Everest. They also come with an affordable price tag, meaning you won’t have to refinance your home to afford them.
Stand out features
- Scent-free – These boots feature a ScentBan technology, which basically means that you won’t get smelly feet regardless of how much you sweat in them.
- Grip – To aid you in traversing the often-slippery winter environment these boots come with additional rubber pods in the sole for extra grip and stability when things get off balance.
- Insulation – You will find 1200G of lightweight PrimaLoft insulation in these, so you can rest assured that your foot is taken care of.
- Durability and weight – All that extra insulation and grip features should really weigh the boot down, but fortunately, in practice, you will be surprised just how light these feel. Also, the boots have an Armatec coating that helps them resist abrasion, so they should last more. On the sole of the boot, they also feature a unique Irish Setter RPM rubber sole platform made from a composite material that is both strong and light. All in all, that should make the boots durable and lightweight.
Plenty of insulation
They don’t offer knee-high leg protection
These are a very good pair of cold weather hunting boots that I bet anyone would be thrilled to wear. My advice is to try them and see for yourself, maybe some other boots on this list will suit you better but you never know for sure until you try.
I would say that these are the best pair for everyday use just because you get all the insulation you can dream of and still get a compact shoe. But everybody is different so maybe you don’t feel the same way.
LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro
These are among my favorite boots, ever. If you’ve been hunting for any significant time, then you will know that LaCrosse makes some of the best hunting gear, and these boots are no different. Rain, sun, muck, snow, these bad boys will handle almost everything you throw at them. They also look good if that’s something that takes your fancy, but for me personally, I only cares about functionality but to each there own.
- Strechable Neoprene: Most rubber boots have a problem with comfort, but that can’t be said about the Alphaburly Pros. These boots feature a stretchy neoprene rubber construction that improves elasticity while allowing calves to comfortably fit into them. In short, compared to other items of their caliber, getting into these 18 “beasts” shouldn’t be difficult.
- Aeration features: While most rubber boots lack adequate aeration, this does not apply to the Alphaburly 18”. While most boots have a standard fleece lining, these have a carved neoprene lining all the way around. This allows for better air circulation and more relaxed hunting sessions. This leads to cool feet regardless how much you trek when you’re on the hunt.
- Active fit: Not all rubber hunting boots come with a shock-absorbing neoprene gusset that can be adjusted. In reality, it’s among the only ones with a customizable ankle-fit design to keep you safe while trekking or pursuing prey. In essence, you get a small ankle box that comfortably covers the top of your foot while still allowing enough space for your heel to stay put.
It has foot support features to keep your ankle safe.
A bit pricey
With plenty of support features on the midsole, lining, and ankle, this shoe provides excellent stability.
Camo patterns could be better
Foot insulation features keep your feet warm even in the coldest of winters.
Lightweight design means it comfortable even on long hunts.
All in all, you will be hard-pressed to find better cold weather hunting boots than LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro 18”. Not only are they comfortable, but the exceptional stability they offer will make you fall in love with them.
In the end, you get a comfortable, high-quality hunting boot that can endure any kind of abuse you throw at it.
Muck Boot Woody Max
You know how some people are always fanboying over Apple? Well, believe it or not, the same happens with the Muck brand when it comes to boots. I’m not saying that they have the same number of followers or anything, just that a pretty big part of their consumer base is very loyal to them. That may seem weird for the “uninitiated” but for those in the know that don’t surprise them one bit.
What we have here is a first-class piece of footwear, and I believe that nobody will disagree with me on that. These boots are quality and you will get to that conclusion as soon as you put them on.
- Comfort – For me, comfort in a cold-weather boot is primarily made up of two things, waterproofing, and warmth. These being rubber boots pretty much covers the waterproofing part and having extra thick CR flex-foam in the instep of the boot along with stretch-fit bindings that keep the warmth there cover the last part of the equation. They are comfort rated from -40 F to 40 F.
- Comfort part 2 – Another nice feature is that they sport flexible neoprene uppers which along with a molded bottom provide a nice feeling of stability while you are walking in them. Having a 4-way stretched nylon-wrapped shaft also makes it easier to put them on and take them off. So, a lot of features are present here to make you feel great during a hunt.
- Grip – Another important element of the puzzle is what kind of traction you have in them. I’m pleased to say that they come with a multi-reinforced solid rubber shell and a high abrasion outsole, so you should be able to stay upright even in the slipperiest of conditions and surfaces.
Versatility of use and temperature range
None if I’m honest
Breathable lining which allows for good airflow
Contoured footbed for increased comfort and stability
As you may have noticed from my review, I’m a big fan of these boots and this brand. And the reason for that is that they offer great products, which last a long time so they have a good cost/quality ratio. It’s not rocket science, just some quick math’s. Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think.
Bogs Men’s Classic
Another fan favorite when it comes to hunting gear is Bogs. Many of you know about it, and many love it for the quality products they make. I like them because they put quality first, and I know that if I buy something from them then that’s going to last a decent amount of time. That in my book is a win because one of the most important things I check for when I make a purchase is the price/quality ratio. Too much money or too little quality means a no-buy on my part. It’s that simple usually.
However, this is not the case with these cold weather hunting boots from Bogs.
- Internal Shank – In order for Bogs to give you the comfort you want from a pair of hunting boots, they have designed and manufactured an internal shank that should give you more support while walking over rough and irregular terrain.
- Removable Sock Liner – Having this feature means that you get to choose what you want when you want it. What to use these boots when it’s warmer outside? Great, just remove the sock liner so that you don’t get too hot. Want to use them during the winter? Sure, just put the sock liner on for more heat. See, it’s simple?
- Comfort – Another nice feature is that they have flexible neoprene uppers which along with a molded bottom provide a nice feeling of stability while you are walking in them. The elasticity of neoprene helps with heat retention and waterproofing.
The neoprene can wear out around the calves if you put a lot of miles in them
Very good price/quality ratio
Good foot support
Overall, I would say that Bogs have made a very good pair of insulated rubber hunting boots, which is just what you want from a hunting brand. The fact that you can use these regardless of the weather is a huge plus to their versatility.
Danner Men’s Pronghorn Hunting Shoe
I don’t usually recommend leather hunting boots because, in my opinion, they are inferior to rubber ones. However, there are some boots that are the exception, and one pair where this is true is this one from Danner.
- GORE-TEX – Gore-tex is probably the most famous waterproofing insulation there is. When you see this brand on a pair of boots, you know they mean business.
- PrimaLoft Insulation – With around 1200G of lightweight PrimaLoft insulation, you can be sure that these boots are both heat efficient and light enough that you won’t feel them regardless of the length of your hunt.
- Quality leather work – The problem with leather and hunting boots is that if the leather is not treated to be durable enough it won’t last as long as rubber/neoprene. The folks at Danner have thought about this, and they have made their boots from the most durable leather they could find. They claim that all the leather they use must pass multiple different tests before its quality is ascertained and they are finally used for the boots.
1200G of Insulation
Price is a bit high
GORE-TEX lining for 100% Waterproofing
Full grain leather
If you are a leather boot lover, then you can’t go wrong with these ones. Waterproof, durable, warm, light and comfortable, these are all the characteristics that make them a top cold weather hunting boot, and worthy of your hard earn cash.
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot
For this pair of boots, we crossover shortly in the realm of everyday use if you can call it that. While Columbia is not really known as a hunting brand per se, they do make top-of-the-line products and in my book, that’s all that matters. While not technically a hunting boot, you can wear it out on the field with full confidence that it will keep you warm. The fact that it’s outside is a regular black/grey color only increases its overall versatility and usage. The myriad of premium features only adds to its already solid foundation.
- Comfort – Columbia has equipped these boots with a Techlite midsole that will adjust itself according to the shape of your feet for maximum comfort. It also comes with a Michelin outer sole which promises extra grip when things get slippery.
- Durability – They are made from a combination of nylon and leather, so they should give you the best of both worlds, meaning durability and breathability.
- Omni-Heat – This lining has a metallic dot pattern that reflects heat back to your feet so in essence, you shouldn’t lose so much to the exterior. This should in practice provide extra insulation without making the boots bulkier or heavier.
Flexible interior for maximum comfort
Not specifically made for hunting
Not 100% waterproof
As I said in the opener, these boots are an in-between, and as such, they have many advantages and some disadvantages. You get to decide what matters more for your particular situation and taste. From my point of view, these are premium high-quality cold weather boots that are definitely worth their price.
Kamik Men’s Icebreaker Boot
Now Kamik is pretty much in the same boat as Columbia in that neither is a purebred hunting brand. What Kamik can brag about is making boots for one of the most inhospitable places to live in…Canada. Freezing cold weather? Check. Ice storms? Check. Sub-zero rain? Check. Mountains of snow? Check.
I’m rather tempted to say that they might know a thing or two about making gear that keeps you warm. Here are some of the features that you can expect these cold weather boots to have.
- Waterproofing – These boots come with a 100% waterproof tag which should set your mind at ease if you ever plan to use them for hunting or walking through slush or swamps. They also pack an adjustable nylon collar that you can tighten around your calves so that water doesn’t enter into your boots.
- Thermal Liner – In an effort to increase the use you get out of these boots, they come with a removable thermal guard liner which means you decide if you want an extra 8mm of insulation or not.
- Grip – Don’t want to slide down the hill during the winter? Then you came to the right place because the Explorer has a specially designed rubber outsole that is made for maximizing what little grip there is on wet/frozen surfaces.
Removable liner for extra versatility
None at the moment
Custom grip pattern
Another fine pair of cold weather hunting boots, that will make any hunter’s feet feel warm and safe. I don’t want to brag about owning a pair of these, but I will so here it comes. I have a pair and for what it’s worth I wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone in the market for a pair of rugged winter boots.
How to choose the best cold weather hunting boots for you
Weaving through the almost endless market of hunting goods is a daunting task, so here are some of the most important aspects that you have to keep in mind while searching for the best cold weather hunting boots.
Whether you like stalking your prey or you prefer waiting in a blind, a pair of comfortable boots will make your hunt a whole lot better. In terms of features, be on the lookout for extra cushioning, formfitting midsole, and additional support for the foot.
Among the main factors when considering which cold weather boots to get, insulation ranges dramatically between brands and boots. An easy way to gauge what the boot is intended for is to see how much insulation it has, and what type it is. Also, some boots will have special features that may be adequate at actually replacing the need for extra insulation. So, keep an eye out for that and don’t dismiss a pair of boots just because of a lower level of insulation, it may have extra features that mitigate that.
You may have the comfiest pair of boots the world has seen, but if you can’t use them to their full extent then all that is for nothing in my opinion. In general, all winter boots will offer you an above-average degree of traction so you can’t really pick total duds. However, there are a lot that offers custom thread patterns that increase the amount of traction that they generate, so try to find some in your price range.
Need I say anything else? Can you name anybody that likes hunting in soggy boots? Because I honestly don’t, not to mention that have wet feet/soggy boots can lead to much more than you can bargain for. Starting with trench foot and ending with frostbite and hypothermia. I know that for most hunters keeping your feet dry during the hunt is a no-brainer, but for everyone else please heed my word of caution and always choose the 100% waterproof alternative when you can.
This is one of the least important aspects in my opinion simply because not all brands offer camo options and not buying a great pair of hunting boots just because you don’t like their color is a very weak argument (even stupid if you think about it).
For the people that do a lot of walking on their hunts, it’s probably a good idea to aim for a slightly lighter boot with a lot of stability because the heat they generate while walking is usually enough to keep them warm.
For those that love blinds, a more insulated boot is recommended simply because you have to stay still for longer and that reduces the amount of blood flow your feet get.
For everyone else, the answer is usually somewhere in between. The important thing is to plan ahead and prep ahead. You want to know where you are headed and be confident that your gear will see you through a great hunting session.
I think that generally speaking high-cut boots are preferable to low-cut boots simply because they offer more protection to your feet, be it heat resistance, abrasion resistance etc.
I think this really ties in with hunting style and height because if you prefer the waiting game more, then you will need thicker boots which in turn will make them heavier. A more active style of hunting usually goes better with a lighter alternative simply because you will tire faster and having heavier boots won’t do you any favors.
As with most things in life, the devil is in the details. That’s also true for cold weather hunting boots because the extra features are usually what set one brand/boot apart from others. There are many things that you can include in this category as nice to have, but a couple that I think most of us can really benefit from are added ankle stability/protection, cushioned EVA midsole, removable shanks. This is just my personal opinion; everyone has their own top 10 extra features that they want.
Q. What are the best boots for extreme cold?
I honestly consider that the LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18” 1600G Hunting Boot is the king of cold weather hunting. It has plenty of insulation, it’s waterproof and it is really resilient, plus all the extras it has. All those things combined give me the absolute certainty to say that if you try them once, you will never want to take them off. They are the complete package if we are talking about extreme winter conditions.
Q. What’s the best shaft length?
This usually is a personal choice, but from my experience both using boots and having a lot of friends who are hunters, I can pretty confidently say that most people prefer the high cut as opposed to the low cut. There are advantages for both, but specifically for a winter setting, I would say that the high cut is a better choice all things being equal.