Boots are one of the important pieces of your outfit when hunting anyway, but there’s always an additional layer of complication when you have to consider insulation too. As if comfort, durability, and scent-resistance wasn’t enough, it’s wise to get boots that also keep your feet warm when hunting in mountainous and wintry climates.
We’ve included a buyers’ guide that will help you find the best boots out there for you. If you take the time to give it a read and get educated on what goes into making a good hunting boot, then there may be less chance of you getting cold feet before going all in on a quality purchase.
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Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots - Comparison Table
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Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots - Reviews
The first pair of boots we have to show you are the Irish Setter 2870 Vaprtrek Waterproof Hunting Boots. These came out at the top of the pile when we searched for the best hunting boots for snow performance. They have a high 8-inch high leather and synthetic hybrid upper that keeps the snow off your feet, all decorated in Realtree Xtra Camouflage.
It lays claim to the ‘waterproof’ in its name thanks to the trademarked Ultra-Dry system that combines moisture management lining with tried and true waterproof components to keep water out whilst limiting the moisture content in the shoe too. It also has mesh lining that helps to wick moisture away from your feet so that they stay dry and healthy.
That moisture-wicking works with ScentBan technology to limit your scent and make sure that it doesn’t escape the shoe, where it can get detected by your prey. This keeps the animals unaware so that you can better get the drop on them.
With the mention of drops, the high-traction rubber sole will keep you from dropping should you have to tackle slopes or surfaces covered in ice or hard and melting snow. If you want to grab these shoes, then you should know that the arches can be too high for some customers.
The second pair of boots on our list are also from a reputed hunting boot manufacturer and are loaded with great third-party tech that enables them to perform in hostile conditions. It’s the Danner Pronghorn 1200G GORE-TEX Hunting Boots, and these too have an 8-inch leather and camouflage hybrid upper that plows through snow without getting your ankles wet.
The real star of the show with these boots is the GORE-TEX lining, a popular lining used by some of the best hunting boots on the market, and we think these are no exception. They also have the Thinsulate Ultra insulation, which is much thicker at 1200g than the 800g Thinsulate that you’ll find on the market and elsewhere on this list.
They’re also decked out with everything you’ll want in a competent hunting boot, too, with anti-slip rubber soles to keep your feet firmly on the ground and Ortholite cushioned insoles to keep your feet comfy during even the longest of hunts.We should mention though, that these boots work a little too well, and get so warm that wearing them in warmer weather is basically unfeasible.
The next products in our list are the Northside Renegade 800 Waterproof Hunting Boots, stylish boots that have tall leather uppers with subtle embedded camouflage fabric. The fact the uppers are tall helps keep snow out when treading through areas with deep snow coverage. These boots find themselves at the middle of our list because they’re a great all-around option on the market.
They keep you on solid ground through their synthetic anti-slip rubber soles which generate friction with the ground to stop your feet from sliding, especially on sloped ground. Also, in these soles are EVA foam midsoles which work to enhance the comfort that these boots give you when walking through arduous landscapes.
You can trust these boots to keep your feet warm since they proudly advertise their -40 thermal rating thanks to its 800-gram Thinsulate insulation, and they also perform well during harsh weather due to these boots’ internal membranes that are waterproof but still allow for breathability.
The boots run wider than you may be used to but there are lacing guides to remedy that if you really want to grab these. Speaking of lacing, the bottom lacing guides aren’t the best, you may need to struggle with them to get that perfect fit.
The fourth pair of boots we have are the Lowa Hunter Gore-Tex Hiking Boots, a great pair of boots made from 10-inch Nubuck leather seamless uppers that protect your ankles more than other options, without being quite as tall a shoe as our last option in this list.
It uses Primaloft insulation to make sure your feet are warm during colder weather, and they also benefit from GORE-TEX lining which is a welcome thing to see on the product page of any pair of boots. These work to ensure that these boots can stand up to most cold and wet weather that nature will throw at you during your hunting sessions.
A must in any hunting boot, these also have all-terrain rubber soles that stop slippage in wet and snowy conditions but are also capable every other season, making them a great option for an all year round pair of boots.
The downsides are the fact that they’re the most expensive boots featuring on this list, but this is just a testament to this product’s quality. There also aren’t camouflage options, and whilst the brown Nubuck leather may blend into tree bark and mud, it doesn’t blend so well in snowy areas.
At number five in our list is the Rocky Knee High Boots which, as you can clearly read, have much higher uppers at 16-inch full-grain leather and nylon uppers that keep much more of your leg dry than our first three boot options. They’re also something of a fashion statement, if you’re asking for our opinion.
These boots benefit from brand-specific Rocky waterproof construction to keep the moisture from melted snow from getting into your boots, whilst the slip-resistant polyurethane and rubber outsoles build traction to keep you from falling down onto either the wet snow or the hard ground.
They’re heavier than other boots but simply because they’re bigger, not because of any design hang-ups. They also only have thin insulation lining, but the material and size of these boots cover more of your leg which serve to keep your feet dry anyway.
Best Cold Weather Hunting Boots - Buyers Guide
How to choose the best cold weather hunting boots
You need boots that are dependable and capable of delivering the performance you want out of them, and this makes every time you buy products, especially online, a leap of faith. Don’t worry, we have you covered with this buyers’ guide where we’ll go through what makes a great hunting boot, both in general and with hunting in cold weather in mind.
With that said, the features of hunting boots you really need to consider are their height and weight, their insulation and breathability, their waterproofing quality, and their outsoles. Camouflage is also a consideration, depending on where and what you’re hunting, but we trust that you can work that out yourself.
Hunting Boot Types
Before we get into it, we should probably explain that most of these boots fall into the snake or rubber boot types since these have the best features and material constructions to last in colder climates.
Snake boots are hybrids of what make field and rubber boots the best at their respective appealing features, these being insulation and waterproofness. It’s no surprise, then, that snake boots feature heavily on this list such as the ones at one and four.
They’re characterized by a mix of leather and synthetic material, the marriage of insulation and waterproof tech, and high uppers that can protect the ankles from pesky snake bites, hence that name. Whilst those uppers may be great for keeping snakes out, they’re also better for treading through deep snow.
Rubber boots are mostly made for wet conditions, but they’re also known for featuring odor controls so that prey can’t detect you by scent. They often lack insulation though, so don’t feature much on this list at all. The closest to a rubber boot would be our number five option.
If we were to recommend one type over the other, we’d recommend getting snake boots for the best of both worlds.
Height and Weight
As mentioned, the height of your boots’ uppers correlates with the protection offered to your ankles and even your shins if your boots come up high enough. This can help to keep snow out if you’re knee deep in it, but we understand that’s taking ‘cold weather’ to its extreme.
Heightened ankle collars and uppers also act as a guard between the inside environment of the shoe and the outside environment. Put simply, the more material between the top of the boot and the footbed the warmer that shoe is going to get inside.
If you have ankle problems, you’ll also like having more support in that region, though you should consider the weight of the boots too since the perfect weight of shoes changes with each person and their physical capabilities.
The average boots weigh three pounds, give or take a pound. We say to go with the most lightweight you can get away with. Shop for features first, obviously, and make sure they’re perfect for your body second, but then try and get the most lightweight boot you can so that it’s a few less pounds weighing you down in the field.
Insulation and Breathability
When aiming to go hunting in cold weather, you’ll want to look at insulation first and foremost. Products with the tech to back them up will brag about their insulation on their product page with market favorites being Thinsulate, GORE-TEX, and Primaloft.
You’ll see Thinsulate everywhere, often in its usual 800g form but there are the stronger Thinsulate Ultra linings that are 1,200g. No matter what you pick, you must ensure that your boots counteract a natural side effect of wearing insulated boots, perspiration.
Your feet are going to sweat a lot more, and this means more scent. More scent means higher chances your prey will catch a whiff and bolt. This is why you’ll want boots that are insulating but have either breathable features or moisture-wicking features to keep your feet dry.
Even then, with all of the above considered, you still product scent with your feet. So, on top of all this you need to get boots that have tech to lock in scents and stop them from escaping the boots, if not eliminate them outright.
Now you can see how difficult it can be to nab boots that have most of these desirable features, but our top two products in this list have a variant of all of the tech mentioned above that will keep your feet dry and warm.
You need waterproofing in any outdoorsman’s boot, so it’s little surprise we should be considering it for cold weather boots too. Cold weather can, and often is, a cutesy name for downpours or blizzards so it’s a good practice to make sure your boots are able to handle it.
We already mentioned GORE-TEX above, but it has great waterproofing applications too, hence why it’s such a popular piece of tech for boots in this market to have. We’d be more impressed if you found hunting boots that didn’t feature waterproof tech at this point, they’ve become that ubiquitous.
But I guess, if we’re playing favorites, we’d say go with GORE-TEX or any other recognizable waterproofing tech that graces the product listings of hunting boots often.
Soles must be durable, that’s your first concern. Boots without durable outsoles are non-functional, and you won’t be bagging any mammals if you can feel that stone embedded into the sole of your shoe. They’ll face a lot of punishment, so look for thick rubbery soles that can traverse hostile grounds.
More to the topic of cold weather though. Ice is cold. This means that sometimes you’ll end up on ground that can be frosted over or have thin layers of ice, and in those moments, you’ll wish you had outsoles with high traction on them. Truth be told, you should have these anyway.
Unless you’re looking for bucks in a kid’s party bounce house, we don’t see why you wouldn’t go for the meanest and most aggressive treads on your outsoles that you can find. This means larger lugs and deeper treads but as much as we joke, if you’re looking for boots for some chilled plains hunting, then you can probably settle for less aggressive outsoles.
We just think that with aggressive outsoles you can feel safer and more secure when going up and down hilled terrain, and the laws of gravity and friction seem to agree. This goes double for cold weather too, where cold-hardened ground can become brittle and break under your feet.