Hunting boots should match the size of the foot as much as possible. The fact that tight or excessively loose shoes disrupts the normal work of the foot and leads to the formation of scuffs, calluses, a rash of the skin. Reasonable is the purchase of shoes for 1 – 2 sizes more than the size of the foot. If you use an extra insole or a few socks, shoes do not sting. New shoes or boots should be measured on the left foot; this is because, due to the anatomical features of the human body, the left foot is slightly larger than the right one. And consequently, if the shoe will sit in the butt on the right leg, then on the left one it can simply not fit. General principles of shoe selection: availability of space for extra insole and woolen socks; fingers should move freely; when the lace is tightened, the boots should fit the ankle joint; low heel; a thick rubber outsole (plastic can break) or suitable sole made of TEP or polyurethane; strong laces and fasteners. Also, boots should be tested before heading to a hunt and fishing. You can quickly distribute specialized footwear, wearing them 2-3 days on a wet woolen sock.
There are a lot of factors that can distract hunter from his activity and it should be caused by what hunter wears. Ideal shoes should be as light as possible, depending on the type of hunting that you plan. In addition, in these shoes, the feet should stay dry, warm and protected. Lightweight hunting boots are designed for hunting in the area with a very low level of impacts, flat hills and well-groomed paths. They are made of a combination of leather and synthetic materials, so they are not heavy in weight and perfectly “breathe”. If you buy a pair of such shoes, then thanks to the flexible sole and the materials of which they are made, you can almost immediately walk in them. On the other hand, these shoes will not provide you with that level of control over your body, which, for example, provides heavier-duty hunting boot. In addition, the sole of this type of shoes is not ideally suited to walk on the rough terrain.
This factor is achieved by several methods, for the sole high-strength materials are used, but the sole itself is hollow, which removes unnecessary grams. This option is not always suitable for hikes with heavy backpacks. Lightness of the boots depends on:
- Material (synthetically materials are lighter than natural);
- Sole (choose high-quality porous materials that provide good cushioning, thermal insulation, but the weight remains at a comfortable level);
- Accessories and amplifiers (laces and hooks, additional materials in places prone to rubbing, etc.);
- Size and height.
To make the shoes warm manufacturers use the bike, sheepskin, popular synthetic fibers like Thinsulate or Primaloft, which due to the increased wear resistance are best for shoes. Synthetic fiber does not retain moisture, retains heat and dries quickly, which is a huge plus for long-term hunting. Thinsulate is represented as thin, warm, light and durable material. On average, the insulation “Tinsulate” is 1.5 times warmer than fluff and almost 2 times warmer than other synthetic heaters when comparing layers of the same thickness.
- 0 – 200g – for mild weather conditions;
- 400 – 800g – for mid-season hunting;
- Over 1,000g – for extreme weather conditions.
Another type of insulation is a membrane, a thin fluoroplastic film that lets moisture get in only in one direction – outwards. It has a huge number of holes per unit area. The holes are very small in size, so the molecule of water in the form of steam passes through them but drops of water- no. Footwear with the membrane insulation is designed for temperatures up to -10, at lower temperatures the material is frozen. For a cold winter, there is a membrane + sheep wool combination; it can withstand temperatures as low as -30.
How durable the boots are depends on the materials. It also depends on the way these materials were assembled. Boots have to withstand all the elements that can influence their quality.
It is very important to choose a model that possesses the best qualities of the sole: shock absorption, hygiene and orthopedic benefits. In general, the soles are made of several layers of rubber, plastic or heat-insulating material. Some new models add designs filled with air, which contributes to depreciation and perfectly retains the heat. Also, it should be sufficiently corrugated.
Another important feature is the protector. There can be a lot of moisture in the forest, especially knowing how slippery it can be on the wet grass of the meadow or the wet soil of the swamp. Slipping can lead to falls, injuries and accidents. Therefore, the sole must be equipped with a tread and must not slip.
For hunting in dry terrain, for example, in forests or prairies, hunter requires boots in which it will be convenient to walk for a long time. Feet should not sweat, shoes should not rub and be too heavy. Boots for the forest should be as tight as possible on the foot so that they do not fall off if the hunter suddenly stumbles over the snag. Therefore, a good option will be rubber or light polyurethane boots.
For hunting on lakes and marshes there are special marsh rubber boots. It is very high and durable boots that have excellent waterproof properties and are suitable even for hunting waterfowl. There are also insulated models for autumn or winter hunting. The great choice will be rubber boots by Muck.
In the rainy season for hunting, waterproof boots are needed. Good option will be rubber or high leather boots, impregnated with special compounds. However, the best option for “wet” weather is neoprene boots. They not only do not allow moisture get in, but also due to their solid sole and sufficient height are as comfortable as possible.
If you are going hunt at the rocky or jagged terrains, your boots should have a sturdy outer surface. It should be able to withstand the sharp objects like rocks. Otherwise, your feet risk to experience having wounds. If you plan hunting in the forest, you should think about the boots that can endure snake bites. You should never forget about own safety while you are on the field. The sole of the boots has to be firm but flexible enough, otherwise it will easily be cracked under the influence of different terrains.
If you look for really durable pair of hunting boots you should consider these best brands: Vertx, Danner, Wellco and Muck.
Getting injuries on the hunt is very easy, especially on terrain with rocks and elevations. The higher the footwear, the less likely it is to damage the ankle joint. This applies more to hunting boots with laces than boots. For reliable fixation of the joint, the length of the shaft should be at least 12-14 cm. Higher shoes will lead to unnecessary weighting. Another reason for choosing a high bootleg is the nature of the obstacles: the height of the snow cover, the high wet grass, the presence of creeks and streams on the way that you need to wade through. It is logical that the lower the shoes, the more likely that snow or water will get inside. In dry summer weather, the high bootleg is useless, and the winter footwear for men with strong frost must be high and wide enough to allow easy filling of trousers in.
Weight depends on the following factors: material (artificial lighter than natural); sole (high-quality porous materials that provide good cushioning, thermal insulation, but the weight remains at a comfortable level); accessories and amplifiers (laces and hooks, additional materials in places prone to rubbing, etc.); size and height. Lightweight shoes are more comfortable during long transitions; heavy is more functional. Shoes for the mountains or rough terrain and winter are bigger. Shoes for dry summer weather and relatively flat terrain are light.
In small shoes it will be cold, callouses will appear, and just for a long time to be in them is inconvenient. In the big – the leg will hang out, which also leads to calluses, as well as to injuries. The same applies to the width. The size of shoes and boots is better to choose 1-1.5 more than an ordinary size of footwear. The distance from the fingers to the toe of the shoes should be about an inch. To check this, you need to move the foot to the toe and place the finger between the heel and the boot. Fingers bent in the joints means that the boot is small if it did not get the sock – it’s suitable. Fingers in shoes of suitable size should move freely.
One of the main criteria for hunting boots is water resistance. Its main function is to protect from getting feet wet, but in many cases, such shoes provide the correct temperature and stability. Waterproof boots are made of materials with an increased level of durability – leather, rubber, and other mixed materials. It cannot be erased and torn, and it is impossible to damage the boot with the sharp branches and stones. Also, waterproof boots are resistant to frost and temperature changes. They do not lose form, elasticity, and comfort. These shoes do not crack under the influence of low temperatures, and in some cases – they protect from cold. It is worth noting that waterproof shoes can have different heights, depending on the purpose of use. The inner textile lining, which not only provides additional protection against moisture penetration but also retains heat, provides comfort for the feet. Thanks to the rippled outsole, which often is made of rubber, provides anti-slip protection.
In this case, it is not the material from which the hunting shoes are made matters, but the location of the fasteners or lacing. It is this part of the shoes it is the most vulnerable regarding security. When choosing shoes for hunting, you should find out if there are so-called safety valves on it. Otherwise, even when walking through the field, the feet will quickly get wet, as the chain (with rare exception) is built and starts moving early in the morning when the grass is still dew. By the way, neglecting this “detail” is one of the main reasons why novice fishers quickly leave the race.
If the autumn hunt is not carried out in wetlands, then you need to pay attention to the material. Natural rubber is not the best choice. In such hermetic shoes, the greenhouse effect quickly appears. As a result, you have sweating feet, soaking socks, insoles, and hypothermia. Hunting in these boots for a long time is difficult, especially in the winter. The level of breathability depends on the boot’s materials. For example canvas is rather breathable material that quickly dries and avoids the moisture. Leather is good material but not very breathable. Neoprene boot are super warm but not breathable at all. One of the best material, that stands out for its great breathability is Gore-Tex – a material of new generation. The more insulation the boot has then less breathable it will be. The best option is 200g of insulation to let the feet breathe.
How to choose boots of a special type
Well-proven shoes in the production of which special membranes are used – Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex Surround – this technology is used in summer versions of boots, as it is made for the best output of excessive moisture and heat primarily from trekking shoes. This allows the feet always remain dry, regardless of the high ambient temperature and the level of the sports load. Gore-Tex Extended Comfort – used for moderately warm weather conditions and high physical loads. Gore-Tex Performance Comfort – this technology is used in demi-season models under moderate weather conditions. It perfectly combines the waterproof effect and the membrane of the draining moisture. Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort – these are boots with the membranes that are ideal for rainy, snowy and frosty weather. In addition to waterproof and the removal of excess moisture, thermal insulation is added. All this in a complex allows hunter to maintain an ideal microclimate and protect his feet from the cold.
In the middle of the twentieth century, after a series of experiments with rubber, the newest material was produced- foamed rubber. The material, called neoprene, provided excellent water resistance, retained heat, allowing you to stay in the water for a long time. Today, neoprene produces hunting waterproof boots, which are in great demand. The neoprene top of the boot tightly fixes the foot; the finest rubber layers provide maximum ease when walking. Neoprene boots for hunting are 100% waterproof, have a strong sole with a protector. Comfortable for wearing, when the temperature is from plus ten to minus five degrees Celsius. The main characteristics of neoprene: magnificent thermal insulation – the pores of the material retain heat; protects from moisture; elasticity, durability. Neoprene is not sensitive to acids, alkalis, gasoline and oil, almost non-combustible. The best manufacturers that produce boots made of neoprene are LaCrosse, Baffin, Muck Boots. Neoprene boots are great option when you need to reach the difficult areas, go through the bogs or walk on the slippery rocks.
For deer hunting
Hunting deer in certain season require different choice of the boots. Boots for deer hunting should have a good, convenient shoetree. The length, width and volume of the boot should match the parameters of your foot, so that the foot is comfortably placed inside. Big game low boots provide with the freedom of movements, but they do not protect from getting the mud and dust inside of the boot. Models of medium height well fix the ankle, protecting it from dislocations and sprains. These boots are good for hunting on the rough terrain. High models relieve the load from the ankle during long hikes and on the difficult routes. Shoes for whitetail hunting should be light enough, and the winter boots also should be not too warm to avoid the effect of overheated feet. Excellent option in this case is membrane materials for the top of the boots, which divert the internal moisture, and foamed materials – for example EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) – for the bottom of the boot. The sole should be with a protector, and for raw weather, it should be even aggressive.
For turkey hunting
Choosing turkey hunting boots requires considering a few important issue before their purchase. Most of the turkey hunts take at least 5 miles of walking. Probably, you have to spend most of your time to be on feet chasing the turkey. However, if you don’t intend to leave the spot, then the boots are going to differ. There are a lot of snakes under the rocks, so the boots have to be super protective and tough made. If your feet get wet while you hunt, then it definitely will spoil everything, and that is why boots should be made with special dry technology, and absorbs moisture as well as cope with the odor. Considering everything the above mentioned, boots for turkey hunting have to be durable, allowing you to walk long distances (it can be running shoes), protective (lace-up style boots), and waterproof (rubber boots).
For duck hunting
Therefore, when hunting, every hunter must, first of all, make sure that his feet during hunt do not suffer from dampness or cold. Due to this, high- knee-bogs, waders are necessary for any spring duck hunting, even in the case when you are hunting in the boat. Without boots, you cannot go ashore to cut branches, or get off the boat to pull it off the ground or drag it through any obstacle, or to facilitate the setting up of stuffed animals and to plant a landing, leaving in a shallow place from the boat is impossible. Especially full-length boots are desirable, despite their heavy weight, when you have to hunt from the shore. Best of all, if the boots only cover the knee, so that if necessary, you can kneel without fear of getting your feet wet. Boots should be spacious, free to wear two or even three pairs of thick woolen socks or thick cloth overpass.
For rabbit hunting
Hunting a hare is a challenge and sometimes even more difficult than hunting predators, so it is important for the hunter which shoes to wear. It should not be small or too large since hunter will have to spend more than one hour chasing the target. Perfect fitting is provided by warm boots with a high tibia, preventing injury to the ankle joint. Hunters also prefer rubber boots. In rubber boots, you can walk in sub-zero temperatures (not below -10 ° C). Such boots should be chosen 2-3 sizes larger since under them you wear a thin sock, then a thick woolen one. At the top of the legs, they are wrapped in sailcloth. Boots must be high-lifted so that even if the socks and footcloths get wet, the boots can be easily removed. In winter, hunting shoes are also worn with thin and thick socks and footcloths.
Shoes for hunters are a bit more expensive than conventional models. Often, hunters have to deal with unfavorable conditions, where all the difficulties come to their feet: water, snow, sand, swamp, uneven terrain. Therefore, hunting shoes should have some advantages that will protect the owner’s legs from negative external influences. Remember to pay attention to the following when choosing hunting boots and you will succeed in getting a pair of the perfect one.
Water resistant is a mandatory feature that will not allow the snow adhered to the surface to wet the shoes from the inside. Shoes from inside has to be insulated; there must be a tab made of natural or synthetic fur. Natural materials have better thermal insulation features. Lightness and comfort also matter. With intensive movement in the winter, the leg may go awry, so the shape of the shoe should be as close to the foot as possible. Stuck snow gives extra weight to boots; shoes should be light in weight. The sole should be embossed, and have properly positioned, ground-hooks, which will protect you from injuries on a slippery surface. Tapering in the tibia and widening in the ascent. This provides the convenience of shoes. Shoes should fix the ankle joint, which will avoid injuries. The heel and toe should be additionally strengthened. Modern materials allow keeping the heat inside the shoe as much as possible. For this, different foil materials or heated insoles are used.
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