Upland hunting is an exhilarating outdoor activity that requires hunters to cover vast distances in pursuit of birds. Having the right pair of boots is crucial for a successful and comfortable hunt. Cheap or ill-suited boots can quickly derail your experience and cut your hunts short. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best upland hunting boots on the market, taking into consideration various factors such as terrain, insulation, and cost.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Upland Hunting Boots
Before diving into the specific boot recommendations, it's essential to understand the key factors to consider when choosing the right pair of upland hunting boots. These factors will help you make an informed decision based on your specific hunting needs.
The type of terrain you will be hunting in plays a crucial role in selecting the appropriate boots. If you'll be traversing rugged mountains or uneven terrain, you'll need boots that offer excellent support and traction. Lightweight, breathable boots are ideal for hunts that involve covering several miles. On the other hand, if you'll be hunting in the flat plains, you can opt for more casual and comfortable boots.
The insulation level of your boots depends on the climate and the time of year you'll be hunting. Uninsulated or lightly insulated boots are suitable for early season hunts or regions with milder temperatures. For late season hunts or frigid conditions, insulated boots are essential to keep your feet warm and comfortable.
Investing in a quality pair of boots is crucial for a successful hunt. While good boots may come with a higher price tag, they are a worthwhile investment in the long run. Cheaper boots often lack durability and may fail to provide the necessary support and comfort needed for a long day in the field. Consider the cost of the boots in relation to their quality and longevity.
Now that we've covered the essential factors to consider, let's explore the best upland hunting boots available on the market.
Best for Western Hunts: Crispi Wyoming II GTX
The Crispi Wyoming II GTX boots are a top choice for hunters tackling rugged terrain in the Western United States. These boots offer superior comfort, support, and breathability, making them perfect for chasing birds in challenging conditions. With a weight of 3.9 pounds (size 10), these boots strike a balance between lightweight design and durability.
- Gore-Tex lined for waterproofing
- Non-insulated, suitable for various temperatures
- Shock-absorbing Vibram Sole for excellent traction
- Removable Crispi Air Mesh insole for added comfort
- Comfortable for long hikes
- Provides substantial ankle support
- Minimal break-in period
- Waterproof and breathable
The Crispi Wyoming II GTX boots offer exceptional comfort and support for your feet and ankles, even during long hikes. They provide ample ankle support, which is crucial when navigating rugged terrain. These boots are also surprisingly comfortable right out of the box, with minimal break-in required. The Gore-Tex lining ensures that your feet stay dry in wet conditions, while the breathable design prevents excessive sweating.
While the Crispi Wyoming II GTX boots come with a higher price tag, they are worth the investment for hunters who cover rugged ground regularly. These boots are built to last and can withstand the demands of challenging hunts.
Best Multi-Purpose: Danner Grouse
The Danner Grouse boots are a versatile option for upland hunters who require a combination of comfort and durability. These boots feature a full-grain leather and cordura denier nylon upper, providing a balance between toughness and flexibility. The Gore-Tex lining ensures waterproof protection, keeping your feet dry in wet conditions.
- Weight: 3.87 pounds
- Full-grain leather and cordura denier nylon upper
- Gore-Tex lined for waterproofing
- Danner Bob outsole for traction
- Waterproof and comfortable
- Great traction
- Suitable for various terrains
- Durable construction
- Longer break-in period
The Danner Grouse boots offer the quintessential fit and feel of an upland hunting boot. With their durable construction and comfortable design, they are a reliable choice for long days in the field. These boots feature excellent traction on steep and rocky terrains, making them suitable for various hunting environments.
It's worth noting that the Danner Grouse boots have a longer break-in period compared to some other options. However, the comfort and durability they provide make them a popular choice among upland hunters.
Best Casual: Irish Setter Wingshooter
For hunters who prefer a more casual and versatile style, the Irish Setter Wingshooter boots are an excellent option. These boots feature a classic upland boot design and offer complete waterproof protection. With a 9-inch version available, these boots provide excellent ankle support, making them suitable for longer hunts.
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Waterproof for reliable protection
- Steel shank for stability
- Removable insole for added comfort
- Durable and abrasion-resistant leather
- Can double as a work boot
- Suitable for casual wear
- Requires a substantial break-in process
- May get steamy on long walks
The Irish Setter Wingshooter boots have been a popular choice among upland bird hunters for many years. These boots offer a combination of affordability, comfort, and durability. While they may require a substantial break-in process, they provide reliable performance once they mold to your feet.
It's important to note that the Irish Setter Wingshooter boots may become steamy on long walks, especially on warm days. However, they are still an excellent choice for late-season hunts or for those who prioritize durability and versatility.
Most Comfortable: Meindl Vakuum Hunter
If comfort is your top priority, the Meindl Vakuum Hunter boots are an ideal choice. These boots are known for their exceptional out-of-the-box comfort, requiring zero break-in period. With a weight of 3.87 pounds, they offer a good balance between lightweight design and durability.
- Gore-Tex lined for waterproofing
- Nubuck leather upper for durability
- Air-Active insoles for personalized comfort
- Vibram Alpin outsoles for traction
- Extremely comfortable
- No break-in necessary
- Waterproof protection
- Suitable for rugged terrain
- Slightly stiffer outsole
The Meindl Vakuum Hunter boots are widely regarded as one of the most comfortable boots on the market. Their Air-Active insoles mold to your feet, providing a customized fit from the moment you put them on. These boots offer excellent waterproof protection and are suitable for rugged terrain.
It's worth noting that the Vibram Alpin outsoles of the Meindl Vakuum Hunter boots are slightly stiffer compared to boots designed for flat terrain. However, their exceptional comfort makes them a worthwhile investment for hunters who prioritize long-lasting comfort.
Best for Late Season: LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro
For those embarking on late-season hunts in cold and wet conditions, the LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro boots are a reliable choice. These boots offer 100 percent waterproof protection and are available in both insulated and non-insulated options. With a weight of 5.2 pounds, they provide excellent insulation and warmth.
- EVA midsole for cushioning
- Embossed neoprene liner for waterproofing
- Insulated and non-insulated options available
- Adjustable gusset for a secure fit
- Comfortable for long hunts
- Excellent waterproofing
- Aggressive traction
- Suitable for extreme weather conditions
- Not ideal for all-day hunts
The LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro boots are specifically designed for cold and wet conditions. With their insulation options, they provide exceptional warmth, keeping your feet comfortable even in freezing temperatures. These boots offer incredible waterproofing and traction, making them suitable for challenging terrains.
It's important to note that the LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro boots may not be the best choice for all-day hunts due to their weight. However, if you're a dedicated hunter who wants to brave any conditions, these boots will ensure you don't miss any hunting opportunities.
Choosing the right pair of upland hunting boots is essential for a successful and enjoyable hunting experience. Consider factors such as terrain, insulation, and cost when making your decision. The Crispi Wyoming II GTX, Danner Grouse, Irish Setter Wingshooter, Meindl Vakuum Hunter, and LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro are all excellent options to consider, each offering unique features and benefits.
Investing in high-quality boots will not only enhance your comfort and performance in the field but also ensure the longevity of your footwear. Remember to prioritize comfort, support, and durability when selecting your upland hunting boots. With the right pair of boots, you'll be ready to embark on memorable hunting adventures and fully enjoy the thrill of upland bird hunting.
The Importance of Quality Upland Hunting Boots
The quality of your boots can significantly impact your hunting experience. High-quality upland hunting boots provide the following advantages:
- Durability: They can withstand the rigors of upland hunting.
- Comfort: Proper support and cushioning reduce fatigue.
- Protection: Protect your feet from uneven terrain and weather.
- Traction: Ensure a firm grip on various surfaces.
Types of Upland Hunting Boots
There are different types of upland hunting boots to suit various preferences:
1. Upland Field Boots
These are versatile and suitable for a wide range of hunting conditions.
2. Upland Rubber Boots
Ideal for wet and muddy environments, they offer excellent waterproofing.
3. Upland Snake Boots
Provide protection against snake bites and are essential for hunting in snake-prone areas.
Choosing the Right Size and Fit
Proper sizing is crucial for comfort and functionality. It's recommended to try on boots in-store and consider the thickness of hunting socks you'll wear.
Maintaining Your Upland Hunting Boots
Taking care of your boots ensures their longevity. Clean and condition them regularly, and store them properly when not in use.
Breaking in Your New Boots
New boots may require a break-in period. Wear them for short periods initially to avoid discomfort during your hunt.
Price Range and Budget Considerations
Upland hunting boots come in a wide price range. While high-end boots offer the best features, there are budget-friendly options that provide decent quality.
User Reviews and Recommendations
Check online reviews and seek recommendations from fellow hunters to make an informed decision.
Tips for Upland Hunting Success
- Stay Fit: Upland hunting can be physically demanding. Maintain good physical fitness.
- Safety First: Use appropriate hunting gear and follow safety guidelines.
- Practice Shooting: Improve your shooting skills for a successful hunt.
Environmental Impact and Ethical Considerations
Consider the environmental impact of the materials used in your boots and ethical hunting practices.
Choosing the best upland hunting boots is a crucial decision for any serious bird hunter. Your boots can make or break your hunting experience, affecting your comfort, safety, and success in the field. With the right pair of upland hunting boots, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any terrain and weather conditions.
Q1. How do I choose the right size for upland hunting boots?
Ans: To choose the right size, visit a store to try on boots with the hunting socks you plan to wear.
Ans: Snake boots are essential if you hunt in snake-prone areas to protect against snake bites.
Q3. What's the best way to break in new upland hunting boots?
Ans: Wear them for short periods initially to avoid discomfort during your hunt.
Q4. What's the difference between upland hunting boots and hiking boots?
Ans: Upland hunting boots are specifically designed for the demands of bird hunting, offering features like insulation and ankle support.
Q5. How do I maintain the longevity of my upland hunting boots?
Ans: Regularly clean and condition your boots, and store them properly when not in use.