Feet, one of the most amazing assets a human has and yet one of the most underrated and least thought about parts of hunting. I cannot fathom how some outdoorsman do not think at all about their feet and the gear associated. Here are my 2 cents on feet. Can you drive a car with a flat tire? Can you go into the roughest areas of the country on flat tires or without tread on those tires? Likely, your answers are no or maybe you have thought of some smart ass remarks to how things are possible but in reality, it would suck to have a flat in the middle of nowhere with your truck.
Your feet are just like tires on your truck. They take you places and can either give you a strong, comfortable ride, a rough but sturdy ride or a terrible ride that gets you nowhere. So now, every truck also has the ability to have highway tires, all-terrain tires and off road tires? How and what do you choose?
In similar format your feet will need different boots for different times of the season and different species of animal hunted.
I will highlight the different boot options out there as well as what times of season you would use those boots for. With that said, these are personal recommendations and reviews of boots that I have personally used and enjoyed which is why I would recommend them. It is still your choice on what you like to wear and how you put your own program together.
Early Season Boots
Boots in the early season are designed for the hot summer of June, July, August scouting or hunting trips that would go until the end of September. These are uninsulated boots that would be super comfortable and waterproof. Some like a good hiker style shoe or boot while others like sneakers. I personally have a couple recommendations based on actual usage in the mountains and woods.
Want a boot that feels like a shoe? This is your main squeeze! This boot is super comfortable with a tough sole. You will get great flex from boot while still getting a sneaker feel and it is water proof! I think that this is hands down one of the most comfortable options for the scouting season or an early season hunt for elk or mule deer. I also would use something like this treestand hunting since it is light and not too bulky for climbing up a tree.
The Crispi Lapponia is a new option this year that is much like a sneaker as well. This boot is super soft and the flex in the sole is absolutely impressive. I was shocked to see how much movement I could get on my feet in these. I love this as a hiker and a warm weather boot. I personally believe it is a bit too soft for hiking up and down a very steep mountain, however in the desert I believe these are the next best thing to sliced bread. The full cover rind around the entire boot is awesome and it makes you feel good about knowing that your show isn’t going to fall apart from being on some rugged country.
Post Rut Boots (Mid Season)
Mid Season Boot options mean that you could be experiencing more water, some snow possibly and colder weather. While those are all things to worry about, you might not want a boot that is going to be super insulated because you aren’t going to be in sub 0 temps. What you might want is going to be a slightly stiffer boot and one that might be a little more rugged. Why exactly? Well, I think the terrain you might hit would be a little more diverse and if you do get those heftier condition of weather, you will want a boot that can handle a bit more. Here are my 2 favorites hands down.
These boots are quite warm but they are SUPER light! I couldn’t believe the weight of these boots when I saw it. The pair is only 3.2 lbs. I had to put them on and feel them out immediately. One thing that sticks out is that the boot runs a little large in the normal size. I had to cut down by 1/2 a size and I still had a bit of room in the boot. The other thing to know is that they are wide. This was nice for me to feel comfortable in the boot while hiking. I also noticed that their sole had a solid grip on the terrain. I highly recommend this boot for almost all conditions bearing that you don’t mind a bit of a bulkier boot.
The Nevada’s are a really solid uninsulated boot with a bit of a stiffer sole. According to Crispi, they are the middle of the road for them on their stiffness. The Lapponia I spoke of earlier is a 1 on the softness scale when it comes to flex. These Nevadas are a 3 on that scale so you can see there is quite an increase in stiffness on that scale. This boot is great for going up and down a steep mountain while also being able to be walking in on the daily. If you have not been used to a stiffer boot, I would recommend getting used to a boot like this along with truly breaking them in. I would say this is a truer mountain boot for hunting. I wasn’t sure how I would have liked them prior to putting them on my feet. Once I put them on, I realized they molded to my foot immediately. After a couple days of hunting, I realized why they are $410. This is the most expensive of my recommended boots on the list but I do believe you get what you pay for with these puppies.
Late Season Boot (Nov-Jan)
These are going to be your go-to boots for when it is super cold outside and you are going to be experiencing some rough snowy weather in the mountains. While you will want rugged boots that can handle a toll, you will also want insulation in your boots to ensure you can hold some heat in them. Remember that you will still be hiking around so you do want a boot that you can move in. Some hunters make the mistake of wearing a pac boot that they cannot hike in and that’s a true disaster after the first 200 yards walked.
So why put the same boot on here 2 different times? Well, because in the cold weather I really like the fact that I can have a little more room and great grip with this boot while being able to stay warm. It hits a very versatile aspect which is why I would have 2 pairs of these boots if it came down to it. They are still very light and I do love the fact that they are a bit higher over the ankle than some other boots while still feeling very soft and broken in. This prevents snow from easily getting into your boot if you end up hitting some deeper than expected snow piles.
I call this an outfitter’s elk hunting boot. I couldn’t tell you how many outfitters I know or have seen wearing these boots. They are rough, they are tough, they are a rugged mans boot. They are rugged soled, waterproof and warm. They are tanks when it comes to the late season. If you take care of these, they will last you for years. When I say “take care of them,” I mean to beat them on the daily but to make sure you use some leather care products to keep their waterproof properties. These boots also don’t break the bank for anyone with a price tag of $130!
So what about the whitetail hunters out there that have no interests in hitting the mountains this year or have tags in the whitetail states? Well, this is where some different boots come in. I will show you 2 boots that I would recommend.
This boot can be used for the early season while you are hiking around the whitetail woods looking to put up treestands. You can also use this in water because they go over your calf and are technically 1 solid piece. They are fully waterproof and according to Muck, they are also breathable. I have to say they are very comfortable and feel like I am walking on pillows. I use them while I do management on my hunting property and I also use them for the early season to mid season hunts. My favorite part about them is that they are versatile and I could even use them for duck hunts and fishing if I want to as long as I am not in super deep water that would need waders. I would say that everyone should know that they do cause perspiration in the boot. I have never come out of these boots without sweaty feet but to be honest, I expected that from a rubber boot no matter what the manufacturer says about them being breathable.
Everyone has to have a heavy insulated boot for sitting in a blind or treestand for hours in the winter cold. I love seeing it start to snow while its 20 degrees out and I am warm as could be. These are like a sleeping bag for your feet. They are a bit heavier and they will be bulky compared to other boots but that is due to the insulation they have. These are money when it comes to keeping your feet toasty warm. I learned over the years that I don’t want to have to tie my boots when I have a bulky warm outfit on for the treestand. I had boots with zippers but would continue to get annoyed when the zipper would get caught and I would be bent over in a big puffy jacket or parka. These are great because they slip on and that’s it!
So, I get asked, “which is your hands down favorite boot?” Well, I have to think about it long and hard but I have to say that my hands down favorite of all is the Nevada Crispi. It is the most versatile boot that can be used from early season to late season with comfort in the desert, rocks, treestand hunting and I could use them for a sheep hunt if need be. The versatility is why I choose them to be my favorite. I also do feel that they are very comfortable if you are on your feet for a long time throughout the day due to the cushioning system in them.
Hope you all enjoy your boots and think about your feet as your tires. You cannot afford to have blisters or wet feet due to poor picks or the lack of attention to one of your most important asset in the woods.
Until Next Time…
Scout, Hunt, Repeat