Finding Your Sole Mate: How to Choose the Right Hunting Boots for Your Needs

December 13, 2023 — by Richard Dawson

Hunting boots are an essential piece of hunting gear that makes a whole lot of difference and every hunter must wear them. From rocky paths and mountains to farm roads in the backcountry, hunting boots offer protection from the outside elements and help you tackle different terrains.  

But with such a wide range of hunting shoes, choosing the right pair can be quite challenging. It’s easy to get baffled when you go into a store and look at all the available options displayed on the shoe racks. Where do you start from? Therefore, learning about the essentials when choosing the right boots for hunting for your needs is crucial. Ready and set to start your next hunting game in the backcountry? 

Important Things To Consider When Buying Hunting Shoes 

source: facebook.com/Moroka.30

People often ask what kind of boots you need for hunting. Hunters mostly wear high-ankle boots made of nylon, rubber or leather. However, there are several important factors to consider when buying boots for hunting such as the terrain and the weather season. Hunting on a mountain and farmland are two completely different scenarios. 

Also, hunting during the summer requires something more breathable and most hunters wear short ankle boots. If it’s the winter hunting season, you need waterproof boots that rise mid-calf. This will provide the necessary insulation and keep your feet warm and dry during those long hours in the cold. 

The Terrain

First things first, let’s talk about terrain. Walking on a mountain, or uneven terrain is a lot different than hunting on a flat surface where it doesn’t require using that much body strength. That being said, boots for hunting are designed for different terrains so they can provide support and protection. 

If you’re hunting in steep and rugged terrains or a rocky path, you’ll need high-ankle boots with a sturdy sole for extra support to the feet. To check the sturdiness, try bending the tip of the boot. If you can’t twist the boot, that goes to show you that the sole is stiff enough to help you conquer rocky surfaces. 

If you’re walking through farm roads that are mostly just sand and dirt, feel free to pick boots that are lighter in weight and more breathable than those engineered for rough and rocky terrains. 

Also, oftentimes times while hunting, you’re bound to come across puddles of mud and, streams, creeks or rivers, for which you will need high-ankle and waterproof hunting boots to protect your feet from soaking with water. 

Weather Season

The weather season is very important when it comes to choosing the right pair of hunting boots. 

If you’re embarking on a hunting journey during the winter or late autumn, you need waterproof boots with stiff soles and strong insulation to protect your feet from getting cold. 

During warmer seasons or if you’re going to a desert area, choose lightweight and shorter boots made from breathable material. You don’t want the boots to be very stiff and too heavy. You want boots that allow light and fast walking. 

Boot Height

Boot height plays a significant role in striking balance in ankle support and flexibility. It’s important to understand that high-ankle boots are recommended for rough and steep terrains, wet conditions or crossing rivers and streams. They provide the right support for the ankle, offer greater stability and make the hunting much more comfortable. 

For dry, flat and warm terrains, your feet need something breathable and lightweight so short hunting boots are ideal for those conditions. It’s much easier to move and run in short boots on arid terrains because they fill lighter and provide flexibility to your ankle. 


When choosing the right material for hunting boots, it mostly comes down to personal preference and hunting style. Hunting boots are typically made of leather, rubber or nylon. 

While all three materials are doing a great job of protecting your feet, rubber boots will do a better job of protecting your feet while crossing rivers and creeks. Leather boots are great if you need something lighter but with solid support and protection. 

Good-quality nylon boots are made from heavy-duty materials such as canvas nylon. Any nylon with a denier of around 1000D or higher is super strong and it’s of great quality. 

Special Protective Features

We all know the danger of living in areas that are highly populated with snakes. Especially during warmer seasons, when snakes are outside roaming freely, sometimes the encounter with one is inevitable. With this thing in mind, it’s important to choose snake boots when you’re hunting in places that pose a high risk of snake bites. 

Snake boots can be made of rubber, leather or synthetic nylon and they are designed to offer protection against snake bites. The best material to choose against snake bite is rubber and leather. They both offer great protection, the only difference between the two is in their style and their appearance. Snake boots are always mid-calf height for a max protection.


The sole of the boot is important for providing comfort and safety while walking and hunting. Stiff and solid soles provide enough grip and support for steeper and rocky terrains, while flexible, mid-soles are more suitable for flat terrains. Of course, if you are planning on hunting in both types of terrain, it would be best to look for a model with interchangeable soles or a combination of both.

The same can apply depending on the season. If it’s winter, the boots need to have a solid sole for optimum protection and stability, while hunting during the summer allows more flexibility. Even if the boots have a solid sole, make sure they are not too heavy and hinder your movement. When there’s mud, snow, and rain make sure the sole is designed to be slip-proof.

Hunting Boots VS Hiking Boots: The Difference 

source: facebook.com/Moroka.30

You may think that it’s not a big deal if you slip into your hiking boots for your next off-road adventure, after all, they are designed to withstand any terrains, right? But you’ll be surprised by how much difference makes wearing the proper shoes for hunting. There are some crucial differences when it comes to these two types of footwear and it’s important to know that while hiking boots are great for outdoor adventures, they are not suitable for hunting environments. 

Although both boots have sturdy soles, hiking boots are pretty lightweight because they are mostly about providing comfort when on the trails. Hunting boots, on the other hand, are twice as heavy as hiking boots.  

Furthermore, hiking boots are not as stiff as hunting boots. They are designed to provide more flexibility to adjust the foot while stepping on the trail whereas hunting boots need to be stiffer than hiking boots, but not as stiff as mountaineering boots. Hunting boots are like a mixture of hiking and mountaineering boots, engineered towards hunting purposes.   

Another key difference lies in the height of the boot. Hunting boots often rise above the ankle and as high as the mid-calf and this is rarely the case with hiking shoes. The height of the hunting boots adds to the weight of the boot, which plays an important role in tackling challenging terrains. 

Lastly, the biggest difference is in the overall purpose of both boots. Hiking is mostly about walking and thus, the lightweight and flexible design. The boots for hunting are heavy-duty, made of sturdy and tough materials that offer protection from outside elements and are waterproof. Hunting boots are geared toward rough terrains and accessing remote territory.