Even for experienced hunters, it’s easy to think important gear decisions don’t extend beyond rifle, scope or ammunition. But for cold-weather hunting, there are more fundamental decisions. One of those important decisions is choosing the best cold weather hunting boots.
It makes ultimate sense to carefully consider which are the best cold weather hunting boots for you. You’ll likely be spending time traversing some rough terrain, including rocks, snow and frozen ground, or mud and slippery vegetation. And, of course, you’ll want to keep your feet warm and dry.
Choosing the Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots
Clearly, hunting in cold weather is different from hunting in warmer temperatures. Among those differences is the fact that in cold weather, your feet — along with your hands — will dissipate protective body heat.
So, for cold-weather hunting, you’ll need boots that not only keep your feet stable over rough terrain, but that also assist in preserving body heat. Clearly, not just any pair of boots will provide that vital protection.
Additionally, keeping your footing while hunting in winter can be tricky. Obviously, if you’re walking over icy ground during your hunt, you’ll want the best cold weather hunting boots for securely gripping the terrain. And even if the ground isn’t iced over, you’ll possibly be confronting slippery snow-wetted ground.
So, for cold-weather hunting, your best cold weather hunting boots will have soles designed for the specific environmental conditions. And, you’ll also want boots that keep your feet stable, meaning that they should be form-fitting.
Happily, there are any number of boot manufacturers that understand the realities of cold-weather hunting. Next up, read about some of their products, in our recommendations for the best cold weather hunting boots.
One thing that qualifies a product as “best overall” is that there is no compromise in quality even as the price remains reasonable. And that’s exactly what the Rocky 800G Hunting Boot delivers. As our best cold weather hunting boot, the Rocky 800G is quality-built with a combination of leather and nylon.
With their waterproofing and 800 grams of synthetic insulation, Rocky 800G boots will keep your feet both warm and dry while moving through the woods. For an added measure of comfort, the Rocky 800G is constructed with a “memory foam” footbed that shapes itself to the contours of your feet.
Combine those features with a rubber outsole that can provide grip across a variety of terrain, and you have some truly exceptional hunting footwear. If you’re looking for the best cold weather hunting boots, your search could very well end with a pair of Rocky 800G boots.
- Comfortable for walking on steep terrain
- Thick insole adds to comfort of boot
- Keep feet warm in very low temperatures
- Toe box may be a bit tight for some hunters
- Inside stitching may irritate some users’ feet
- Sizing may run somewhat large
Best Premium Option
The Irish Setter Men’s 880 Elk Tracker boot, with leather construction topping a rubber sole, is built for comfort. That quickly places it among the best cold weather hunting boots. With a shock-absorbing midsole, top-quality insulation and a waterproof lining, The Elk Tracker is exactly what is needed for a great day of hunting.
The outsole of the Elk Tracker is another reason it earns our recommendation as the best premium option among the best cold weather hunting boots. The outsole features an aggressive multi-directional tread pattern that will provide excellent footing over a variety of terrain.
As a bonus, the Elk Tracker boot includes a memory-foam insole for a custom fit. And, the Elk Tracker includes an odor inhibitor to add to the comfort of wearing one of the best cold weather boots available today.
- Also works for wearing in warmer weather
- Excellent cushioning
- Comfortable throughout long hours of wearing
- Tread may wear down quickly
- Sizing runs small
- May not adequately wick away moisture
Best Budget Option
Being budget-conscious doesn’t also mean sacrificing quality, as the TIDEWE hunting boot clearly illustrates. Insulated, waterproof, and camouflaged, the TIDEWE boot also is engineered to absorb impacts and retain heat.
In short, the TIDEWE boot is everything you would want in a hunting boot, at a price that won’t unduly impact your personal budget. Constructed of lightweight neoprene, the TIDEWE boot also includes four-way stretch nylon for comfort in extreme environments.
In addition, toe and heel guards ensure the TIDEWE hunting boot will help protect feet from injury in rough terrain. And its lightweight EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) midsole also is protective, cushioning the bottoms of wearers’ feet.
- Very thick soles
- Excellent for traversing steep terrain
- Durable enough for daily use
- Sizing may not be as accurate as some users would like
- May not retain waterproof characteristics when walking through creeks
- Cracks may develop in tread
Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots Buyer’s Guide
Thus far, you’ve learned something about cold-weather hunting boots, and seen our recommendations for some great options. Now, it’s time to take a deeper look at what to consider when choosing your own best cold-weather hunting boots.
The weight of a hunting boot might not be your first consideration when choosing among the best cold weather hunting boots for your needs. But it should be.
Think about it: You will, in effect, be carrying your boots through your hunting grounds. Therefore, the heavier your boots, the more likely that you could become fatigued, perhaps to the point of having to cut short your hunt.
Certainly, the materials from which your boots are made, their insulation and other considerations are important in choosing your best cold weather hunting boots.
But those factors must be weighed — pardon the pun — against how heavy they make your cold-weather hunting boots.
In searching for the best cold weather hunting boots, you’ll primarily encounter three materials, used separately or in combination. Those materials are rubber, leather, and neoprene. And, as you might expect, each brings different attributes to cold weather hunting boots.
If you’ll be hunting where snow and ice have blanketed the ground, creating a mucky mess below the surface, rubber boots are the only choice. Generally waterproof, rubber boots also offer the advantage of concealing human scent, obviously a real plus for hunting.
On the downside, rubber boots don’t provide the same level of support as cold weather hunting boots made of other materials. So, if your hunting routinely takes you across rocky land, or other difficult-to-navigate terrain, rubber boots could be a problematic choice.
Leather boots aren’t as waterproof as rubber boots, but they do provide warmth on par with rubber boots. Plus, most hunters will find them more comfortable to wear than rubber boots.
On the other hand, leather boots are heavy, which can make things uncomfortable during a long day of hunting.
Neoprene is often understandably confused with rubber, but they are, in fact, two distinct materials. Briefly, neoprene is a synthetic material that includes polychloropene, a particular type of rubber.
Neoprene boots can keep your feet warm and protected from moisture. But there is one thing to which you need to pay particular attention if you’re considering a pair of neoprene cold weather hunting boots. There are two types of neoprene, open-cell and closed-cell.
Open-cell neoprene is the more breathable of the two fabrics, which can be crucial for a long day of hunting. Closed-cell neoprene, on the other hand, will generally offer better waterproofing and insulation.
When considering cold weather hunting boots, the type of insulation is less important than the grams of insulation cited by the boot manufacturer.
At a minimum, an acceptable winter hunting boot should have 600 grams of insulation. Anything less, and even if you’re moving, your feet likely will get cold during your hunting adventure. At the other end of the scale, the best cold weather hunting boots will have 1,600 grams of insulation.
There are cold weather hunting boots that offer up to 2,000 grams of insulation, but those are for extreme cold that most hunters will never encounter.
Also, it’s worth noting that the more heavily insulated a cold weather hunting boot is, the heavier and less comfortable they will be.
Beyond considerations of weight, materials and insulation, the best cold weather hunting boots should, by definition, have the best fit. But getting the best fit in a cold weather hunting boots is more than a matter of matching your boot size to your shoe size.
For example, it’s important to consider that when hunting in cold weather, you’ll be wearing thick socks with boots that may have a thick lining. And, your foot itself will increase in size if you’re doing a lot of walking. For comfort, choose a boot a half-size above your normal shoe size.
On the other hand, if your cold-weather hunting will be done from a tree stand, purchase a boot a full size above your normal shoe size. Adding that space to your boot will ensure its insulation is performing at maximum capacity, important when you’re relatively sedentary in a tree stand.
As a final tip on fit, don’t wait to wear your boots for the first time as you hit the woods for hunting. Take time before your scheduled hunting trip to break in your new boots. That way, you’ll be sure they’re comfortable.
Wrapping up a Guide to the Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots
With the information from this post, you’re well-equipped to make a great decision on the best cold weather hunting boots for your particular needs. As a reminder, our recommendation as the overall best cold weather hunting boots is the Rocky 800G Hunting Boot.