According to a 2008 study by paleoanthropologist Erik Trinkaus at Washington University in St. Louis, humans are now believed to have been wearing shoes since 40,000 years ago. Trinkaus further ventured to assume that Neanderthals, who at the time co-existed with humans in Europe and Asia, must have been wearing protective footwear at the time as well.
Fast forward to today, nobody likes to be called “Neanderthal” these days. There’s such a negative connotation, though Neanderthals were actually excellent hunters who successfully hunted animals as big as the mammoth.
Hunting is more for sporting today than procuring meat, and the modern hunters are way better equipped from head to toe. A good pair of hunting boots keeps the hunter going in any condition. Ideally one would need several pairs of hunting boots for different terrains and seasons but every hunter has a pair of personal best hunting boots that they’d gleefully put on to go hunting whenever suitable, or even when the weather or terrain was slightly off, for these are simply the best hunting boots in their possession.
Here are our best hunting boots and we will talk about what makes the best hunting boots as we go along.
Men’s 2875 Vaprtrek
Red Wing Shoes made their first hunting boots in 1950 out of leather dyed with Californian redwood bark extract. The color and purpose fit perfectly the Irish setter breed of hunting dogs, and thus the Irish Setter hunting boots were born.
Our favorite hunting boots built for activity is the Irish Setter Vaprtrek. Both 8” and 17” tall Vaprtrek boots are wonderful but this design is so lightweight that you might as well go for the 17” boots, the Irish Setter Vaprtrek 2875.
Despite the 17” height, the Vaprtrek 2875 weighs only 3lb 10oz (for US 10). These boots are light in weight but not in utility. The lightweight is due to the company’s proprietary composite material used for the soles. Red Wing Shoes calls this the RPM technology. There are many such mumbo jumbos used in the Vaprtrek boots – quite interesting and not too pretentious.
The Vaprtrek 2875 features UltraDry waterproofing system, ScentBan odor elimination, ArmaTec protective covering, SnakeGuard construction, and more. The bottom line is that these boots fit beautifully and offer great protection in nearly all terrains and weather and they’re light and nimble and comfortable for miles of trekking at a time.
Like most tall boots, you might have to go for one size up to get the right fit. The Irish Setter Vaprtrek 2875 only comes in one finish. It’s Realtree Xtra Green for the synthetic material used in the top (interlaced with natural brown leather).
Our favorite hunting Pac boots for swamp and yucks are The Original MuckBoots FieldBlazer. The FieldBlazer is a 15” tall boot with synthetic upper and rubber lower. It is finished in Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity camo.
Muck boots are for the most extreme wetland conditions and the FieldBlazer is no different. The breathable lining has a special flex-foam layer to keep the interior of the boot warm and dry. The shell is vulcanized rubber for scratch resistance and durability. The FieldBlazer is 100% waterproof and the comfort weather range is from sub-zero to 65 degrees F.
It may not look so in picture but the upper is actually stretch fitting. Find the right size and these boots will be quite form-fitting. They’ll keep you comfortable in the muck and let you focus on the game. At first you might not be able to resist telling the muck, “Take this!” as you step off in a pair of FieldBlazer, but in time, you simply wouldn’t pay the grounds any mind at all when you go hunting in a pair of these.
Although the air circulation is adequate for a pair of Pac boots, The Original MuckBoots FieldBlazer is really more suitable for middle to late hunting seasons. In most climates they’d be too hot in late summer and early fall. They protect fairly well against thorns and abrasions but they are not snakebite proof.
Pronghorn, 8 Inch 400G
Danner started making boots in Wisconsin back in 1932. In 1979, the company claimed to be the first footwear brand to patent the process of making waterproof boots with GORE-TEX liners. Today, Danner is most well-known for its hunting boots, work boots, and law enforcement/military boots.
In our opinion, the Danner Pronghorn is the best general purpose hunting boots. If you only have the budget for one pair of hunting boots, you can’t go wrong with the Danner Pronghorn – the 8” boots or the 17” boots, though we prefer the 8” Pronghorn unless you can foresee having to wade in water in one of your future hunts.
The 8” Pronghorn comes in 4 different finishes (all brown leather, leather with brown synthetic or Mossy Oak synthetic or Realtree Xtra synthetic) and either uninsulated or with 400g, 800g or 1200g of insulation. More important than choosing your preferred color is determining the right insulation level for your local weather and hunting conditions.
You’ll find the hallmarks of the best hunting boots in the Danner Pronghorn. The outsole is grippy and super stiff, which makes these boots ideal for traversing rough hilly terrains where the biggest animals are usually found. The stiches are fairly high up to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. The leather is soft and luxurious. These boots are comfortable the first time you put them on. The GORE-TEX liners are truly waterproof. We could go on.
We recommend the lightweight and durable Irish Setter Vaprtrek 2875 for the hunters who trek long distances on foot. They are also the best and most mobile snake boots. The 8” tall Irish Setter Vaprtrek boots are also worth considering if you’re not headed to snake countries.
Go with The Original Muckboots FieldBlazer if you hunt primarily in wetlands, from the rain-soaked patches to the most challenging swamps. These rubber and synthetic boots can keep your legs and feet warm even in subzero temperatures.
All in all, the best hunting boots are the Danner Pronghorn. They are the finest looking, the most comfortable, insanely durable, and are equally at home in dry conditions, wet goings, and mountain hunting.