You’ve been looking forward to this upcoming hunting trip and you’ve hopefully been planning it for months or weeks. The bags and gear are stowed in a handy place, ready to be snatched up on your way out the door. If there is still time to review your checklist, let’s make sure you haven’t made the same error that many others have and overlooked the importance of sturdy, good quality rubber hunting boots.
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In ideal weather conditions, the thinking that “any boot will do” may be enough, but let’s be honest, some boots simply are not up to the task when the conditions call for something more than you had planned. The last thing you want is to be unprepared for wet, muddy, or cold terrain in sub-par boots. Some people may be willing to suffer through such an experience, but others actually admit defeat, call off the trip, and go home.
If you are ready to make absolutely certain that your footwear is up to the task you are about to ask of it, consider looking into some of the options we’ve provided in our reviews of popular hunting boots.
The Best Men’s Rubber Hunting Boots
LaCrosse Men’s AeroHead
The AeroHead is a solid, quality boot designed especially for the active hunter and outdoorsman. Both rugged and durable, these boots are also surprisingly comfortable. The specially designed polyurethane midsole rivals the level of support provided by most other boots.
LaCrosse knows what hunters want and need. A proper fitting AeroHead is also exceptionally quiet. There is an obvious advantage for the active hunter to be able to depend upon getting as close as possible to the target. This product is one that can be trusted to deliver dependable, durable and comfortable use in a demanding environment.
- 100% Rubber/Neoprene
- Patented AeroForm technology
- Molded polyurethane over a 7.0mm neoprene core
- Polyurethane midsole
- Adjustable gusset
- Rubber sole provides positive traction for better footing
- The Aeroform construction ensures durability and comfort
- Top quality cushioning and insulation
- The adjustable gusset is very helpful for adjusting comfort and removal
- Jersey liner
- Although these are very durable rubber boots, the thin liner provides minimal protection against the cold
- At 18 inches, these are somewhat too tall for some hunters
LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro
The Alphaburly boot starts with a neoprene core giving it an advantage of both flexibility and durability. The rubber exterior provides protection from the elements. Even so, LaCrosse added a double layer of rubber to the heel and toe. Anyone hunting on the unstable or rocky ground will find this feature an advantage.
Rubber boots are by nature designed to keep moisture out. The downside to this is that it also keeps moisture in. Long treks in the outdoors make for sweaty feet. In order to help keeping feet dry, this boot incorporates an inner liner that wicks water away from the skin.
- 100% Neoprene/Rubber
- Rubber sole
- Neoprene core with a hand-laid rubber exterior
- Embossed liner
- Adjustable gusset
- Liner enhances the air circulation inside the boot, helping to keep feet dry and reduce odor
- Layers of rubber at the toe and heel provides extra durability and protection in rough terrain
- Minimal thermal protection in extreme conditions
- Another tall boot from LaCrosse that some people find it difficult to get used to
MuckBoots Men’s Arctic Pro
Traditional cold weather hunting boots are typically quite thick. A thick boot is not necessarily an advantage due to the added size and weight. This type of boot is also quite unnecessary in normal conditions for most hunters. MuckBoots entered this product as a compromise. The embossed liner delivers both air circulation and protection against the cold. As with most rubber boots of similar design, they may not be sufficient to keep feet warm in sub-arctic temperatures, but they are warmer than the average boot. If hunting in a colder climate is your thing, these good waterproof hunting boots may be a solution.
Even with this added thermal protection, these boots are specially designed to provide durable, reliable, and stable footing. This is accomplished through careful attention to a double layer of reinforcing rubber where it is needed.
- Constructed of synthetic and fabric materials
- Synthetic sole
- Waterproof shaft
- Insteps are double reinforced
- 2mm thermal foam underlay
- Cushioned EVA midsole
- Choosing a fabric exterior reduces overall boot weight
- The fabric upper component helps to make them easier to take off
- The thermal foam provides adequate cold protection
- The fabric tops of these boots serve a purpose, they provide less water protection than full rubber boots
- The thermal protection is less than what many people expect
Best Rubber Hunting Boots for Women
Muck Woody PK Rubber Women’s Hunting Boots
What more can be added to a great quality Muck boot than some stylish pink lines to help ensure the right person grabs the right boot when in a hurry? Because MuckBoots are a popular choice, a coed hunting team may have very similar looking boots. This women’s lightest rubber hunting boots model is unmistakable when sitting next to the men’s version. But don’t let the pink strip fool you. These are the same great brand of boots that many hunters have trusted over the years. The Woody PK Women’s boot is specially designed with an understanding that a woman’s foot may not fit and feel as good in a men’s boot.
Sturdy rubber construction and 4 millimeters of neoprene make these a dependable and protective footwear choice for the woman hunter. The lightweight liner provides added breathability, but doesn’t provide much in the way of cold weather insulation. As with most rubber boots, it is recommended to buy these a size or two bigger to accommodate thick socks.
- Rubber construction
- Rubber sole
- 4 mm neoprene
- Breathable mesh lining
- Lightweight EVA midsole
- Rear pull loop for easy on/off
- A comfortable and flexible boot
- Shock absorption
- The manufacturer thermal protection rating from subfreezing to 65 °F/18 °C
- Improved traction and stability
- The size tends to run on the smaller side
- Pink is not every woman’s favorite color
Muck Wetland Rubber Premium Men’s Field Boots
Wait, didn’t we just mention that women may need a boot designed especially for differences between men and women’s feet? Yes, that is quite often the case, but in some ways, men’s boots can be very compatible to both sexes. Although these particular boots do have the word “Men’s” in their name, there is a special design feature that allows them to be used by women as well. Within the boot is a thick, 5 millimeter neoprene inner layer that conforms over time to the user’s individual foot. Because of this, don’t expect them to be truly comfortable right out of the box, but they will adapt over time.
With that consideration off the table, these are a solid entry for a hunting boot. The same, reputable rubber exterior provided by Muck is warm, waterproof and dependable. The added liner also increases breathability and helps maintain a warm foot on those long hunts. The uniquely designed outsole also helps to remove mud and other debris as you do your part to tame the outdoors.
- High grade rubber construction with a rubber sole
- 5 mm of neoprene
- Stretch-fit Comfort Topline
- Breathable Airmesh
- Lightweight EVA midsole for additional cushioning
- Self-cleaning MS-1 ribbed outsole
- Both comfortable and flexible with enhanced shock absorption and heat retention properties
- Neoprene will adjust to your individual foot shape
- The crafted topline creates a snug fit to keep the outside elements from entering the boot
- Extra rubber wrapping around the toe provides extra protection
- Manufacturer comfort rated from -20 °F to 50 °F (-30 °C to 10 °C)
- Specially designed outsole maximizes performance in both mud and snow
- Construction quality has received mixed reviews
- Fabric upper portion has been known to snag on vegetation
LaCrosse Women’s Alphaburly Pro
LaCrosse designed this women’s boot to be just as dependable, comfortable, and durable as their men’s version. There is no sacrifice to quality in designing a boot for women. The weatherproof rubber construction keeps water out while the embossed liner protects feet from the built up moisture inside.
It is important to note, as with all rubber boots with a thicker neoprene internal layer, right out of the box these can feel tight. In some cases, it may be necessary to order a larger size, but in other cases, a short break-in period is all that is needed. Because of this, consider buying your pair weeks in advance of your planned trip in order to ensure a comfortable fit in the field.
- 100% Neoprene/Rubber
- Synthetic sole
- Embossed liner
- 3.5mm neoprene core
- Active Fit adjustable gusset
- Thinsulate Ultra insulation
- Fully waterproof
- Neoprene core is in the middle range, providing durable comfort
- The adjustable gusset improves fit and aids in boot removal
- Enhanced thermal protection
- Thicker rubber has been identified as a climbing hazard
- The added liner makes these less ideal for warmer climates
- Often undersized
Choosing the Right Rubber Hunting Boots
It may go without saying, but anyone who has had the misfortune of making an inferior choice in outdoor hunting boots knows that not all boots are created equal. Here are a few suggestions to consider when making the investment in your feet.
Comfort and fit may well be at the top of the list when choosing a good hunting boot. No matter how much a product may offer in protection against the elements; when a hunter’s feet begin to hurt due to a poorly designed boot, all the features in the world quickly fade to the background. Naturally, there is an inherent difficulty in making a single boot that can meet all the challenges and abuse of every possible situation. In fact, the more options a boot manufacturer incorporates into their product, the greater the chance that it may become less and less comfortable over long hunts. It is possible though to look at the options and variables of your particular situation, match it up with the right boot, and end up with the perfect solution.
Vulcanized Rubber Construction
Aside from food and water, having dry feet is essential to prolonged survival in the outdoors. Anyone reading this guide is most likely interested in the weatherproof qualities of rubber boots. We can all be thankful that due to advancements in chemistry and manufacturing technologies, we no longer have to hope that our leather footwear will survive the next hunt. Think back to the many stories of soldiers who developed what has subsequently been named trench foot. Due to extensive exposure to cold, wet conditions, for which their footwear was inadequate, many soldiers experienced the loss of limbs and severe health problems simply because they could not keep their feet dry. Thankfully today, the natural weatherproof characteristic of boots made of vulcanized rubber makes them an excellent material for the outdoors. There is a sacrifice in the area of breathability compared to other styles of boot, it is often worth it in cold, wet areas. The same characteristics may present problems in hot, arid climates, but that is another story for another time.
Traction and Stability
Traction is also of high concern. Trusted, solid footing is something we can take for granted when we’re walking along sculpted trails or paved sidewalks. Anyone who has left such prepared surfaces and hiked along rocky trails and muddy slopes knows all too well how important it is to truly believe in the promise of positive, reliable traction through a well-designed boot sole. Soft rubber soles provide the best traction, but as with all the design factors to be considered, soft doesn’t always equal durability. At the same time, the most durable of soles may be constructed with harder plastic polymers which unfortunately sacrifice traction for longevity. The sweet spot is a mixture of polymers and rubber and many manufacturers work very hard to develop soles that incorporate both while also providing a comfortable walking boot.
How well a boot functions when you throw obstacles in its path is incredibly important, but you will often hear complaints in the fashion world about sacrificing comfort for style. When it comes to survival in the outdoors, it is highly recommended that you sacrifice as little comfort as you can possibly stand. Chances are that you will spend hours, if not days, standing, walking, and sitting in the same pair of boots. Chances are high that removing a pair of boots for the simple fact that they are killing your feet could bring an early end or an unsuccessful conclusion to your experience. With all of the options available today, a wisely chosen pair of great hunting boots will do all you ask of them, and more, while still remaining comfortable.
Height and Weight
Related to how well a boot fits is its particular height and weight. These two factors are highly objective as while some people like a boot that rises nearly to the knee, others prefer a much shorter boot. There are probably as many reasons for the preferences as there are people who have a preference. Naturally, the lower the boot, it is typically more mobile and easier to remove. Higher boots though provide much more protection in deep water and mud. Thicker rubber also tends to lend additional weight to a boot.
More often than not, a boot’s weight is greatly affected by its height. Construction methods and material choices affect a boot’s weight perhaps more than height, but it is not difficult to imagine that knee high rubber hunting boots will be heavier than ankle boots. Some creative manufacturers have found ways to shave off some of the weight on their high boots in order to match that of smaller ones without sacrificing quality. This is something to be watchful for as other manufacturers unfortunately cut too many corners in order to maintain a lighter weight. The thickness of material is often one such area where manufacturers strive to gain a weight advantage, but make sure you read reviews long before making a purchase.
The issue of durability has been touched on many times over the course of this article, but its importance cannot be overstated. Perhaps the only case for sacrificing durability may be if your favorite hunting spot is a very short distance from your home or parking spot. This is especially true when you consider the dangers that can be posed by cold and wet conditions. If you add a several mile trek to the equation, a boot that fails you out in the field could be a very real cause for alarm.
The internet has made searching for a durable boot much easier than ever before. While some people enjoy logging on and bragging about the great performance of a given product, nothing attracts reviews more than negative experiences. If you come across a pair of boots that sounds too good to be true, but has a three star rating and four pages of negative reviews, don’t fall for the bargain price or flashy sales gimmicks. Stick with outdoor gear that manufactured by reputable companies and have substantial positive reviews. If your ultimate choice is between two similar products where one offers more comfort and the other added durability, the latter would typically be the wise choice.
Camouflage, Color and Style
The look of a boot is one area where some sub-par manufacturers snatch up sales dollars while providing boots that don’t stand up to the tests of time. By the nature of the market, the vast majority of rubber hunting boots are manufactured with flashy camouflage patterns and colors. The desire for one design over another is highly subjective. If this factor is currently your number one concern in purchasing a pair of boots, consider that wildlife is really not that concerned with the pattern of your boot. Provided that most of your equipment presents an overall element of concealment, plain black or brown boots are more than adequate. On the same token, flashy and fluorescent colors in a hunting boot are more of a personal choice. Regardless of your choice of fancy versus plain boots, hunting in a wet, muddy area will likely render any and all boots to be of the same color scheme….brown.
The Final Steps
All of this may seem like way more information than you ever considered when it comes to what many people view as simple footwear. It is unfortunately true that a man’s or woman’s boots are often a hastily made choice and that any ole pair will do. The truth is far from simple. A good boot is an investment, not only financially, but an investment in your health, safety, and perhaps even in promoting a successful hunt.
Just imagine; you spend all this time searching and planning, packing and preparing, then travelling and hiking to the dream spot. Along the way, you discover some level of failure in your footwear and you develop wet or frostbitten toes and feet. You put down your bow or rifle to remove the boots and massage your feet back to life only to watch your prize wander by, or worse yet, never come close due to the noise you’re making. There are many affordable hunting boots, but take the time now, before ever heading out to the field, to make sure that your boots are going to be exactly what you want and deserve them to be.