Best Hunting Boots For Cold Weather

Whether you are new to hunting or a seasoned veteran, one of the most critical pieces of equipment you should purchase is a quality pair of hunting boots. A good pair of boots will keep blisters at bay, water out, and your feet warm, improving your chances of success. A pair that does the opposite will make for a miserable hunt and at best can be potentially dangerous. Identifying the best hunting boots for cold weather will improve your odds for a successful and enjoyable hunt.

best hunting boots for cold weather
best hunting boots for cold weather

If you are going to spend any time hunting in chilly temperatures, you must find a pair that will adequately protect your feet. The best hunting boots for cold weather will vary depending on the type of hunting you’re doing, but they will all have some standard features.

In a Hurry? Compare Cold Weather Hunting Boots

Cold Weather Boot Basics and Considerations

There are many things to consider when it comes to finding a pair of cold weather hunting boots. Consider the type of hunting you’ll be doing, the climate, terrain, and time of year.

For any type of hunting boot, you must ensure you have the proper fit, ankle support, and soles for the terrain you’ll be in. However, some critical considerations when it comes to finding the best hunting boots for cold weather include:

  • Insulation
  • Waterproof and water resistance
  • Materials, such as rubber or leather

No matter what boot you end up choosing, remember your feet will stay warm based on your body heat and the ability to keep it trapped. Alternatively, if you are moving around a lot, your boots must have the ability to vent the heat away from your body to prevent your feet from sweating. Sweaty feet make your socks damp, which can lead to very cold and potentially frostbit feet in a short amount of time if you stop moving.

Boot Insulation

Insulation can help keep heat in if you are sedentary or moving around minimally, like in a duck or deer blind. Insulated hunting boots typically come with 200 to 2000 grams of Thinsulate. The higher the grams, the warmer the boot. If you will not be moving around and sweating a lot, the best winter hunting boots will be on the higher end of the gram spectrum.

If you are hiking and sweating a lot, you will want boots with fewer grams of insulation. Additionally, if you have naturally sweaty feet, you may even consider uninsulated hunting boots. The goal is to keep your feet as dry as possible so they don’t get cold.

Waterproof or Water-Resistant Boots

Keeping your feet dry also means keeping out water and snow. Whether hiking in wet grass, crossing creeks, or wading through snow, you’ll want water-resistant boots.

While waterproof and water-resistant seem the same, they are slightly different, and it’s important to know which to get depending on the hunting you’ll be doing.

A waterproof boot will likely be something like a rubber hunting boot, where there are no seams. They are made to keep water out and go up higher on the leg. Water-resistant means a boot is designed to keep moisture out, but if overly saturated, it may not be able to keep your feet from getting wet.

A good duck hunting boot will be waterproof. Many good elk hunting boots will typically be water-resistant, although many boots now have high-tech lining that makes them waterproof. Many waterproof boots don’t vent as well, so pay attention to this feature when shopping and make sure if you’re going to be doing a lot of hiking, your boot does vent well even if it’s waterproof.

Boot Materials

Depending on the type of boots you are shopping for, you’ll find them made of leather, synthetic materials, or rubber.

Water-resistant boots will likely be made of leather or synthetic materials that do vent better, thus keeping your feet from sweating as much. Waterproof boots will likely be made of rubber.

There are pros and cons to each, including ease of boot care, how lightweight they are, how much they’ll mold to your feet, and how well they’ll keep your feet warm and dry.

Leather is a good option for protecting your feet and keeping them dry when cold weather hunting. However, technology has come a long way, and some high-end hunting boot brands make quality boots using synthetic materials. Rubber boots will be best for duck hunting or anywhere you’ll be wading through marshes or water.

Check our our article on Hunting Boot Basics and Considerations where we go in depth on the features that can be found in the best hunting boots.

Best Insulated Waterproof Hunting Boots For Cold Weather

The Muck Boot brand has a variety of men’s and women’s rubber boots, both insulated and non-insulated. They are a popular boot with farmers and ranchers for their ability to keep out the cold and moisture, but they are also popular for duck hunting or when you’ll be sedentary for much of the time.

The Woody Max Insulated Rubber Men’s Hunting Muck Boot is one of the most comfortable hunting boots you will come across. These boots have a roomy toe box and plenty of room for wearing a thick wool sock for added warmth. Because of this, they are also one of the best winter hunting boots for wide feet.

This waterproof camouflage cold weather boot is made to stomp through the cattails and hide in a duck blind.

Fleece Lined Boots For Cold Weather

The fleece lining in this particular boot will provide added warmth and comfort, and the thermal foam foot bed will cushion your foot and provide additional insulation.

Vibram Sole Boots

Finally, in our best hunting boots article, we talked about how many of the best boot brands use high-quality Vibram soles, known for their superior rubber and treads. This pair of Muck boots come with a Vibram Arctic Grip sole, a state-of-the-art technology specially designed to have an excellent grip on wet ice.

The downside to these boots is that they are not great for mountain hiking, as they won’t have enough ankle support, and your feet may get quite sweaty. However, they are incredibly comfortable and versatile enough to do some cross-country trekking if you need to. In fact, you may find yourself wearing these boots all winter long for activities other than hunting.

Features We Like

  • Full camouflage
  • Insulated
  • Good for wide feet
  • Roomy enough for thick socks
  • Vibram Arctic Grip sole
  • High boot shaft to keep out water, snow, and debris
  • Padded sole for extra cushioning
  • Fleece lining for extra warmth

Features For Consideration

  • Not great for extensive hiking
  • Less ankle support

Best Insulated Hunting Boots For Snow, Ice, and Slush

The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Gram Insulated Hiking Boot easily rises to the top of this category and is one of the most popular hunting boots among Western hunters. One of the best things about these boots is they also make a women’s version! However, there are many more great features of this boot that make it so well-known.

This boot is an excellent option for late-season elk or other mountain hunting. The 400-gram Thinsulate gives you some added warmth without being overkill. These boots are built for covering ground, especially in rough terrain.

Kenetrek boots are made of high-quality leather, and the Mountain Extreme 400 boots also are lined with a specially designed breathable waterproof membrane to keep out water and moisture. Since it’s breathable, it allows moisture from sweat to escape.

These boots have stiff rubber soles to protect your feet, whether walking through scree fields or crossing rocky creeks. The tread has extra traction to keep you from slipping when it matters most.

The best part is that when you wear down the soles of these boots, you can have them resoled. This will add years of life to your boots. With proper care, a pair of Kenetrek Mountain Extreme hunting boots will last you for years, making them well worth the money.

Features We Like

  • 100% leather
  • Waterproof
  • Stiff sole for extra foot protection
  • Women’s version
  • 400-gram Thinsulate for added warmth
  • Will last years with proper care and can be resoled

Features For Consideration

  • Expensive
  • Insulation may be too much for extensive hiking if used in warmer weather or if you have sweaty feet

Best Horseback Hunting Boots for Winter

There is a big difference between hunting on foot and hunting on horseback. When spending hours on top of a horse, you’ll need a boot that can keep your feet warm, dry and also provide support. Especially if you need to get off your horse and hike around. While many boots will suffice, the Kenetrek 13″ Grizzly Insulated Pac Boot is exceptional for cold weather horseback hunting.

These boots go far up your calf, providing exceptional ankle support and protecting you from a misplaced horse or mule hoof. The 13″ boot shaft offers excellent support and protection for riding, or getting off and leading your horse or a pack string through downed trees, up the trail, or side-hilling to retrieve an elk.

They also have a removable thermal liner made of a synthetic material designed to wick moisture away from your foot. Since the liner is removable, you can even pack extra liners to swap out should they become damp. If you’ve packed in and set up a hunting camp, set the damp ones by the fire and let them dry out while you keep hunting!

The upper is made of 100% leather, and the rubber bottoms are excellent for keeping your feet dry in snow or creek crossings. The seams are specially designed and treated to keep water out.

Kenetrek also custom-designed the rubber soles for exceptional grip and traction in wet and slippery conditions.

These are another pair of high-quality boots that will last you for years with proper care.

Features We Like

  • High-quality leather
  • Waterproof
  • Removable thermal liner
  • 13″ lace-up boot shaft for exceptional ankle support
  • Extra-warm for long hours in the saddle

Features For Consideration

  • Expensive
  • Not great for extensive hiking

Best Waterproof Upland Hunting Boot

It is imperative to have a durable, waterproof boot for walking through fields when it comes to upland hunting. It’s not always on flat ground, so some ankle support is essential, but you also want something comfortable enough to wear all day. Irish Setter is a boot brand that has stood the test of time, and the Men’s 838 Wingshooter Waterproof Upland Hunting Boot is no exception.

This upland hunting boot is trendy among bird hunters. They are waterproof, so perfect for walking through wet grass and brush when flushing birds. A moisture-wicking nylon lining vents sweat nicely to keep your feet dry.

They come with 400 grams of Thinsulate, keeping your feet warm. However, your feet shouldn’t get overly hot. Especially if you’re slowly walking through fields letting the bird dogs do the work.

These also have a steel shank in the midsole to adequately protect your feet from rocks and other sharp objects. While the sole is designed for traction in the field, it’s not as good on wet rocks or slippery surfaces like wet concrete.

The 7″ shank gives plenty of ankle support without being overly stifling. This height also keeps out mud and debris. Add a gaiter for additional protection in colder weather or where you may be hiking through deeper snow.

Features We Like

  • High-quality leather
  • Waterproof
  • Moisture-wicking lining
  • Insulated
  • Steel shank in the sole for extra foot protection

Features For Consideration

  • A shorter boot shaft allows for debris and snow to get in
  • Sole isn’t great on super-slippery surfaces

Cold Weather Hunting Boot Care

Many cold-weather hunting boots are made of high-quality leather that needs to be taken care of if you want your boots to last a long time. Chances are, if you’re hunting in cold weather, your boots are likely getting wet. Always make sure you thoroughly dry your hunting boots after use. It is good practice, several times a year, to apply a good leather conditioner.

Our favorite is Sof Sole Mink Oil for Conditioning and Waterproofing Leather. This leather conditioner is easy to apply, dries quickly, and adds a level of waterproofing to your leather. Thoroughly rub it into your boots with a soft cloth, and your boots will last for years!

It’s inexpensive and suitable for any of your other leather items, from couches to purses. The only downside is it may darken some leathers, but this isn’t uncommon for most leather conditioners.

Our Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots Top Choice

The best hunting boots for cold weather will largely depend on the type of hunting you’ll be doing. However, if we had to pick an overall top cold weather hunting boot from our list, the Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400 Insulated Hiking Boot would work in the majority of hunting situations.

It’s insulated, waterproof, made of high-quality leather, provides plenty of ankle support, and has a durable sole to protect your feet. You’ll be able to hike in mountainous terrain, across fields, and through streams and marshes. It has just the right amount of insulation to keep your feet warm when sitting but should help minimize sweating when doing strenuous hiking in cold weather. Regardless of the boot you choose, make sure you choose one that will keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable for the type of hunting you will be doing. Now get out and get hunting!