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Hunting Boots: 5 High-Performance Trend-Setters


Hunting is more than a sport or a weekend activity to most folks … it’s a bona fide lifestyle. Perhaps that’s why the average hunter spends more than $2,000 a year on their favorite outdoors pursuits. Rolled into those expenditures, at least every couple of years for most hunters, are dollars spent on new footwear — specifically boots of all styles.


It’s all for good reason, because hunting success hinges on perseverance probably more than anything else. To withstand the elements, hunters have to put in their time, and while putting in their time, they often have to literally walk that extra mile. It’s not a popular talking point, but footwear is perhaps the most critical piece of equipment a hunter can buy. Over the years, many quality boot-makers have come and gone. The ones who have stood the test of time are the ones who not only put out a good product but also changed with the times.


Today’s hunters demand high performance. Warmth? Certainly, but that’s a given. More than anything else, hunters are demanding hunting boots that pretty much take the place of their everyday athletic shoes. They no longer want to strap insulated blocks of rubber to their feet and trudge toward the stand. They want to be nimble while getting there.


There are many makes and models of high-performance hunting boots out there. Here’s a look at five of the most advanced for big-game hunters.


1. Rocky Broadhead Hidden Zipper Shoe

This new bowhunting boot is 2015’s trendsetter in footwear advancements. The cool factor is what catches the eye; the integrated zipper seals the deal. The Broadhead is best described as an athletic shoe/hiker hybrid. The all-Realtree camouflage boot appears lace-less, but it actually features a hidden, integrated zipper for a snug, sure fit. They’re made with a new technology called VaporFlex®, which makes them super lightweight and waterproof. A reinforced heel provides long wear and an aggressive sole design provides for sure footing in rugged terrain. www.rockyboots.com


2. LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro

Long gone are the days of one-size-fits-most green-rubber boots. They certainly did the job, kind of, but any deer hunter who wore those early boots knew what blisters and sore, cold feet meant at the end of a long day afield. Today’s new waterproof versions (don’t dare call them “rubber boots” again) such as the LaCrosse Alphaburly Pro are trending so light and so comfortable that they’ve become all-season footwear for many hunters.

The most advanced versions of this line, including models in Realtree Xtra and Realtree Xtra Green, are a marriage of scent-free rubber and naturally insulating neoprene. A super-insulated version packs 1,600 grams of Thinsulate into the boot, making it a legit late-season boot for Northern hunters. This “heavyweight” weighs in at only 5.5 pounds per pair, too, making it a champ of technological breakthroughs in hunting footwear.



3. Wolverine Caribou III

This sleek new boot is a great example of the trend toward high performance and light weight. In some respects it resembles a lightweight athletic shoe more than hunting footwear. But it’s a serious, versatile, 8-inch boot.  The Caribou III gets its warmth rating from 800 grams of Thinsulate insulation. Its toughness comes from its 900-denier polyester upper.

It also features a compression-molded EVA midsole with Realtree Xtra wrap. All Wolverine boots come with a 30-day comfort guarantee. It’s simple: If a customer finds a pair of boots to be uncomfortable, they refund the purchase price, no questions asked. www.wolverine.com


4. Irish Setter Vaprtrek

This all-purpose boot is built for men and women who have hunting on the brain 365. Of all the boots mentioned here, it might be the most advanced, as it features six proprietary technologies. Included are UltraDry waterproofing, ScentBan odor control, Cushin comfort tongues and PrimaLoft insulation. The boots are made of super lightweight composite material that is covered with Armatc coating for durability. Multiple styles are available, including five models in Realtree camo. www.irishsetterboots.com


5. Danner High Ground

The women’s market is among the fastest growing segments in the shooting sports industry, and footwear makers have taken notice. The high-tech High Ground boot from Danner, in Realtree Xtra, is among the best sellers because it’s lightweight, rugged and built to last. An 8-inch upper provides stability and ankle support, while 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation provides just enough warmth for early autumn hunts.