If you have ever hunted elk, you will know what an important part of the experience hunting boots are. Not only are they necessary for your comfort, but they can also greatly impact your movements in the wild.
The right hunting boots will offer you a combination of good ventilation, insulation, and durability, and be suited to the specific terrain in which you are hunting.
However, it can be a pickle figuring out which boots are really worth your money.
We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to. Keep reading for our top picks for the best elk hunting boots on the market right now.
Overview of Our Recommended Top 7 Boots for Elk Hunting at a Glance:
- Best Overall: Irish Setter Men’s 882 Elk Tracker
100% Leather, Synthetic sole, 12-inch hunting boot, 600 gram 3M Thinsulate insulation, waterproof GORE-TEX fabric lining, EVA footbed, ScentBan technology, Moisture Wicking Nylon lining
- Runner Up: Rocky Men’s Bearclaw 3D LTT Hunting Boot
100% Leather, Rubber sole, Bearclaw 3D outsole, Gore-Tex, Polartec, Thinsulate
- Best Budget: Irish Setter Men’s 860 Elk Big Game Tracker
100% Leather, Synthetic sole, Lace-up full-grain waterproof leather, Waterproof GORE-TEX lining, 1000g 3M Thinsulate Ultra insulation, Bulls-Eye Air Bob Aggressive sole, ScentBan technology
- Tall and Comfortable: Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Insulated Hiking Boot
10″ tall leather uppers, 2.8 mm full-grain leather, Custom K-Talon Outsole, 7 mm nylon midsole, Forged boot hardware, Durable Windtex waterproof membrane, 400 gram Thinsulate insulation, Reinforced rubber sole guard
- Lightweight and Stable: Danner Men’s Pronghorn 8″ Gore-Tex Hunting Boot
100% Leather, Rubber sole, 8″ shaft from arch, GORE-TEX waterproof breathable lining, secure fit, OrthoLite footbed, EVA cushioning, shock-absorbing midsole, Thermoplastic PU shank, Danner Pronghorn outsole
- Great on Uneven Terrains: Lacrosse Men’s Windrose 1000G
Nubuck leather, rugged durability, 100% waterproof Dry-Core lining, Thinsulate Ultra Insulation, DuraFit rubber heel cup, cushioning EVA midsole, increased surface area for stability
- Heavily Insulated: Danner Men’s Pronghorn 8″
Genuine leather, rubber sole, GORE-TEX waterproof breathable lining, Thinsulate Ultra Insulation, cushioning open-cell OrthoLite footbed, Thermoplastic PU shank
The 12 Best Boots for Elk Hunting Reviews
After conducting research and analysis hours in finding the top-rated boots for elk hunting, we present to you our top 12 picks. Hopefully, you will find the right pair here!
1. Best Overall: Irish Setter Men’s 882 Elk Hunting Boot
We’re starting off our review list with a pair from one of the most widely recognized names in hunting boots manufacturers, Irish Setter. If you’re a serious, hardened elk hunter, then, of course, you need tough and hardy elk boots. We’re glad to say that we probably have the perfect pair for you. Yes—it’s this 100% leather pair from Red Wing.
Featuring resilient, aggressive cleats and made entirely from premium work-grade leather, these large 12″ boots were made specifically with elk hunters in mind. The moisture-wicking nylon lining and Goodyear leather welt combine to make this a sturdy, rugged pair of boots.
This sturdy bearing of the shoes also owes itself to the superior combination of construction materials. On top of the high-quality leather, these boots come with an EVA footbed (which is also removable, should you want to enable that option), Gore-tex waterproof fabric lining, and 600 grams of Thinsulate insulation.
That means these boots will be able to see you through long and hard elk hunting trips in any weather and any terrain.
High temperature can expose any pair of shoes, but these boots are especially resistant to deterioration. They’ll also keep your feet warm and comfortable no matter how long you’re out hunting.
As a matter of concern, this is not the most affordable pair. If you’re not a seasoned elk hunter or don’t plan to do it very often, then you may be better off buying a less expensive pair. However, if you’re looking for superior performance above all else, then we find no reason that would hold you back from buying it.
2. Runner Up: Rocky Men’s Bearclaw 3D LTT Hunting Boot
We’ve selected this next boot from Rocky, one of the oldest brands for rugged footwear that we’re going to be looking at today. The Bearclaw 3D LTT boot, with its full leather construction and sturdy sole, is definitely one of our top picks.
The durability you can expect from these boots is one of the main reasons why they come so highly-rated. Not only can you expect continued protection and support, but also a design that accommodates circulation and ventilation.
That’s thanks to the integration of Thinsulate insulation, which, along with an exclusive footbed only available from Rocky, facilitates air circulation inside the shoe. Any hunter knows how important proper insulation and ventilation are while on the move; no one likes to deal with sweaty feet while on a high-stakes adventure!
But undoubtedly, the best thing about this pair is the unique, “3D” outsole, so named because of the protruding lugs. This sole makes it easy to hike through virtually any terrain, especially highland terrain.
3. Best Budget: Irish Setter Men’s 860 Elk Big Game Hunting Boot
If you’ve been hunting elk for a long time, or if you’re frequently exposed to rough hunting conditions, then you need a pair of boots that will respond accordingly. This next pick is also from Red Wing, and it’s perfect if you match the conditions we’ve just described.
Let’s start with the outsole because in our experience it’s one of the most aggressive and rugged ones out there. We’re a fan of the multi-directional lugs on the soles, which, together with the steel shank, are widely recognized to provide superior balance and stability on the move. Also, the internal design and large room make it the best elk hunting boot for wide feet.
Furthermore, the manufacturers have taken into account all the icky business associated with heavy shoes. That’s right—we’re talking about foot sweat and its resulting odors. They’ve integrated into these boots their special ScentBan technology, which kills bacteria and eliminates odors.
Plus, the 1000g Thinsulate and Gore-tex lining also work together to keep your feet dry and warm wherever you are, meaning the shoes are fully insulated and waterproof. That makes the shoes a great match for particularly cold or wet environments.
However, do note that these are very heavy shoes. So, if you’re just starting out as an elk hunter or don’t do it frequently, then these shoes might not be for you. Especially considering the significant price tag, it might be better to opt for a less heavy-duty pair for now.
4. Tall and Comfortable: Kenetrek Men’s Mountain Extreme 400 Insulated
This high-top boot from Kenetrek comes outfitted with a number of great features that will appeal to anyone who has spent any amount of time on the trail while suffering from aching feet. With their considerable length, especially, these boots are built for greater protection.
The Mountain Extreme 400 boots are made primarily from high quality, long-wearing leather, while the midsole is constructed from sturdy nylon. Together with the K-train outsoles built to provide unfailing traction on any kind of terrain, these boots will ensure that your feet stay comfortable on the trail.
But a pair of hunting boots would be no good if it didn’t integrate some reliable insulation. Kenetrek has got that covered thanks to the Windtex membrane, which is not only breathable but also waterproof. Together with the 400GM of Thinsulate insulation, you’ll never have to worry about your feet getting sweaty and icky in these boots.
Despite all of these great features that serve to make these boots one of the most hard-wearing pairs out there, you’ll be surprised to find how lightweight they are, weighing only 7 pounds. Now, it’s true that these boots might not be very affordable, but we think that it’s a price definitely worth paying; all in all, this pair could certainly pass as the best mountain hunting boots!
5. Lightweight and Stable: Danner Men’s Pronghorn 8″ Gore-Tex
Danner is a name that any hunter is likely to have heard about many times over already, so it’s no wonder that their 8″ Pronghorn boot is the first one on our list. Built entirely from CamoHide leather and reinforced with Terra Force technology, this is one of the sturdiest elk tracker boots out there.
Right after the first glance, you will be able to tell that these are built for the rugged outdoorsman. The sturdy heel cap and toe cap are both made from full leather, while a strong new outsole has been developed using long-wearing rubber compound material.
Though the boots are strong, well-built, it doesn’t weigh much. Furthermore, the breathable and moisture-resistant GoreTex lining, combined with the Ortholite footbed, ensure that your feet will stay clean and dry no matter how long you’ve been at it for.
All in all, Danner have quite outdone themselves with this extremely long-wearing yet lightweight pair of boots. Comfort will never be lacking when you’re in these boots, no matter what terrain you’re taking on. Plus, there’s always the added benefit of enhancing your stylish hunter aesthetic, making it the best early-season elk hunting boots.
6. Great on Uneven Terrains: Lacrosse Men’s Windrose 1000G Waterproof
This hunting boot from Lacrosse has a unique construction and distinctive design, bringing together a durable leather upper and RealTree fabric upper. This pair has been specially designed to fit you well while keeping you comfortable on the trail.
The Dry-Core lining of this boot deserves mention, as that’s what makes it waterproof and extra breathable. Keeping moisture away from your feet is of the utmost importance when hunting in moist terrain; nothing can ruin the experience like uncomfortably wet feet!
Despite weather conditions, you can trust these boots with Thinsulate ultra insulation. That kind of protection is common in specialized boots for hunting in colder weather.
But what makes these boots such a favorite of so many hunters is in their extremely comfortable fit. Thanks to the EVA midsole and PU footbed that cushions your feet comfortably, you’ll be adequately supported while on the move. In fact, you might even forget that you’re wearing hunting boots!
Finally, we’d like to mention the lugs on the boots’ soles, which have been designed for multi-directionality. And because they’re non-loading as well, it increases overall surface area and keeps your feet stable on all terrain types.
7. Heavily Insulated: Danner Men’s Pronghorn 8″ 1200G Gore-Tex
The next pair of boots we’ve selected for your consideration comes highly rated. It’s easy to see why: with a combination of durability, functionality, and lots of aesthetic appeals, this pair of Danner men’s elk hunting boots are for the most serious of elk hunters out there.
First off, we love the construction of this shoe; it has been built from CamoHide leather using TerraForce technology. It offers unparalleled stability despite being lightweight, and even despite its rugged looks. The heel cap and toe are also fully constructed from leather, making them particularly resistant. You can rest assured these boots will be the perfect companion no matter what kind of terrain you’re on.
And not to mention the integration of Thinsulate insulation, which, together with the Gore-Tex lining (which is so essential to so many of the greatest hunting boots out there), will ensure that your feet will stay warm, dry and odor-free in every kind of weather.
All in all, it’s easy to see why this heavy-duty pair of boots is so well-loved by so many hunters. That being said, it’s true that this pair can be a bit too expensive for some. If you’re on a budget, though, no fear—we have lots of other great boots reviewed both above and below.
8. Scent-free Comfort: Lacrosse Men’s Rubber Boot Hunting Shoe
Our next selection is an honest-to-God rubber hunting boot, perfect for those hunting in wetlands or during the rainy reason. Constructed from high-quality rubber and laid by hand over a neoprene core, these boots are a great fit for the serious hunter; let’s find out why.
Sometimes when you’re stalking that elk across bumpy terrain, you feel like your feet might slip and miss a chance that comes after hours of patience. At other times, you’re wishing your feet could just get a rest after being trampled around on all day.
Well, this is a pair that has the solution to both of those scenarios. The rubber body of the boot is smooth, while the outsole is sturdy, featuring balanced lugs in a special tread pattern that will help you traverse any terrain.
Now back to the rubber body of the boot, with three rubber layers in its heel and toe, plus another two layers in the instep, this boot promises to stay golden for many years to come. And let’s not forget the embossed liner, which will enhance air circulation inside your shoe.
9. Anti-odor and Anti-bacterial: Under Armour Men’s SF Bozeman 2.0
Who hasn’t heard of Under Armour? Maybe someone completely detached from the world! These guys have been around for a very long time, and it seems they’ve perfected the art of creating durable, high-performing activewear and outdoor footwear. The Bozeman 2.0 hiking boot, while not primarily intended for hunting, is strong enough that it can be used as such. Here’s what else we love about it.
Like the majority of the hunting boots we have reviewed today, this one is also made from premium, high-quality leather, and also features nubuck and textile upper to ensure that the boots don’t weigh you down on your adventures. Furthermore, the boots come with EVA midsoles, which provide cushioning to your feet and thereby enhance comfort for your feet.
There are a number of features included with these boots that are exclusively for Under Armour products. Let’s start with the Storm waterproof membrane, which has been built to resist water without messing with breathability. You’re also going to appreciate the Scent Control lining, which ensures that your feet stay fresh. No yucky foot stink! The Ortholite sock liner is yet another way to ensure that your feet don’t get stinky.
10. Good Traction and Support: KEEN Men’s Targhee II Mid Waterproof
Next, we’re going to discuss a great waterproof hiking boot from a lesser-known brand. The brand name may be unfamiliar to you, but you can put your trust in it as the manufacturer offers great performance and comfort. Let’s look at some details.
First off, we love the mid-cut height; it provides adequate support for your ankle without making the shoe too heavy. The 4mm lugs on the outsoles make for superior traction, so you’ll be able to keep your balance no matter what sort of terrain you’re walking on.
The breathable membrane integrated into the construction of this shoe is another plus, as it will keep your feet comfortable and dry no matter what distances you’re walking. The leather lining is also made to be breathable.
Adding to the overall comfortability of the shoe is the ESS shank, which serves the purpose of providing torsional stability. The padded tongue and collar will also ensure that you enjoy a snug fit.
Nevertheless, one of the complaints about this thing seems to do with the manufacturing quality, specifically in regard to the heel of the shoe. It could be that the manufacturers were trying to keep the shoes lightweight; however, to avoid possible disappointment, rough terrains should be avoided.
11. Durable Leather: Salomon Men’s Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boots
The next boot on the list is a highly-rated option that is known for its ability to provide amazing grip and traction, and outstanding comfort, in equal measure. Plus, this is an update from an older release of the same line, and updates are always great!
Made from textile/Nubuck leather, this pair of boots offers the winning combination of performance and wearability. You can tell from the lightweight construction of the boot that nevertheless does not compromise on support for your heels and arch.
That’s thanks to the features this pair has in common with running shoes, which allow it to retain stability without weighing your foot down. We’re also a fan of the high-top cuffs, which add on to the protection and comfort you can expect.
And since these things come in 3 carefully selected color schemes (have your pick from iguana green, black, and fossil), you can expect to find a pair that fits your particular camouflage needs, as well. Also, they look great, of course!
According to the manufacturer’s claim, the boots will keep you warm and dry. It has also a kick-rim feature. It is easy to remove. Considering the features and performance in the real world, it is the best archery elk hunting boots.
12. Versatile Usability: Merrell Men’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof
Made fully from mesh and suede leather, this waterproof hiking boot from Merrell is a favorite amongst many experienced hikers. The synthetic sole and molded nylon arch shank combined make this a highly comfortable pair to wear. But the manufacturers haven’t skimped out on providing great comfort, either.
The Vibram TCG outsoles (made from, primarily, vulcanized rubber) with 5mm lugs have the ability to maintain your traction and stability. Plus, the patented Merrell air cushion integration in the heel will increase stability and absorb shock.
The midsole is made from EVA, which also translates to higher comfort and stability. Add to this the fact that this is one of the most functionally lightweight pairs we’ve come across, and you have a shoe that promises to be your best friend on hunting trips.
We also love this pair for its great insulation; so, if you’re hunting in colder weather or in higher altitudes, then you’ll be happy you got this pair.
However, if you’re going to be wearing these in hot weather, they do tend to sometimes heat up too quickly. Fortunately, the mesh lining is breathable, so moderately warm temperatures shouldn’t be difficult to deal with.
However, despite the price, you should be concerned about the stitching if you’re going to walk on rocky terrains. On the whole, this thing is fit to see you through mile after mile on your hunting expedition.
Buying Guide for The Elk Hunting Boots
When it’s time to gear up for elk hunting season, you’ll want to be fully prepared. And it goes without saying that you can’t be prepared without the right elk boots.
Before you buy a pair, though, there are some factors to consider. And we are going to write them all below.
The use of materials in your hunting boots plays an important part in determining nearly everything else, most importantly, durability. If the boot uppers are made of premium quality materials, it will help to protect your ankles and feet against the wild, namely thorns, twigs, and rocks.
The best materials that are usually used on hunting shoes are the combination of leather and synthetic fiber or leather and nylon.
The reason leather is usually chosen is because of its superior ability to offer protection. Plus, it is also more durable than other materials. Synthetic fiber and nylon, on the other hand, serve the purpose of making the shoes waterproof.
It goes without saying that boots made from high-quality materials will be more on the expensive side. Cheaper pairs will undoubtedly be less durable. If you don’t hunt very frequently, then you can go for the cheaper one. In that case, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Durability, Lightweight and Comfortability
If you wear the boots for a long time, your hunting might be disrupted if the shoes are not durable, lightweight, and comfortable to wear. Your hunting boots might be sturdy and durable but should not be heavyweight. As not every brand does not maintain this, you should check this term before buying any.
Depending on where you’re going elk hunting, you may be subjected to all sorts of terrain. The tread of the boot will affect how your feet handle the terrain.
The tread is basically the bottom of the boot, and it determines the level of stability, traction and shock absorption that you can expect from the boots; furthermore, it will also determine how comfortable the shoes will fit your feet.
Look out for the tread pattern and lug shape on the soles of the boots. Some prefer shallow treads because they prevent mud and/or debris accumulation over time; however, they work better for even terrains.
Or maybe you need skid-resistant tread, depending on the terrain you will be hunting at. Boots with treads of bold, broad teeth will provide a good grip, no matter whether the ground is dry or wet.
Most shoes will feel stiff when you first wear them; over time, with use, this stiffness will wear out. The time it takes for this to happen is referred to as the break-in period. Unfortunately, there is no one way to figure out the break-in period of a shoe, but a good place to start is to buy shoes of the right size.
The perfect size and fit tend to be offered by shoes that are just a little firm, but not too tight, especially around the ankles and midsole. Your toes should be relaxed when you are wearing shoes, and there should be a little room beyond them.
Another helpful tip is to first measure the size difference between your two feet. Human feet usually tend to differ in size, so you should opt for the pair which fits your larger foot.
New shoes always take time to fit your shoes properly and give you full comfort. If you do not break in your hunting shoes, you may feel the friction between your shoes and feet. However, while breaking in the boots, do not forget to protect the sensitive parts of surgical paper tape.
The break-in period depends on the boots. Some boots take a week to break in; some are ready from the first day of use. You should always opt for the best elk hunting boots that take less time to break in.
Insulation and Breathability
Insulation refers to the boots’ ability to keep your feet warm with the help of a material (such as sheepskin) that trap warmth.
Obviously, if you’re used to hunting during the colder seasons, you will have use for an insulated rubber boot. However, if you hunt during all seasons, you will probably need two pairs of boots; one insulated, and one uninsulated.
Now, humans sweat; this is unavoidable when engaging in such a physically taxing activity as hunting. Especially if you’re hiking a long distance before arriving at the hunt scene, breathable boots are a must.
In general, breathable boots are those ones which contain material that allows water vapor to dissipate while maintaining water repellence. They will allow proper air circulation, thereby preventing bacteria growth. It will also reduce unpleasant feet odor.
The pair of shoes you wear to go for hunting should be waterproof. If you are going to a rainy area or don’t know if there is any mud or water in the zone, you must have a waterproof hunting boot.
In our experience, the elk hunting shoes are waterproof. When hunting, you will run into various climate conditions, which the boots will not be able to withstand if they’re not equipped with waterproofing capabilities.
What you may not know is, what makes a boot waterproof is not the exterior fabrics that are used for it, but rather the internal materials. The inside of the boot is basically a waterproof sock which is seam-sealed; it’s a tri-layered membrane in a sock shape which prevents water from leaking in. So, before buying hunting shoes, make sure that they are not just water-resistant but also truly waterproof.
Are They Bite-Poof ad Durable One?
I highly recommend bite-proof hunting boots as it ensures your safety in any place you are hunting. In your hunting area, there can be snakes or any other harmful animals that crawl on the ground, and most of the time, they are unnoticed. So, with a pair of bite-proof shoes, you can be relaxed and have peace in your mind and security.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is the best lacing for hunting boots?
Ans: The best hunting boot comes with good and quality laces. 200cm is more than enough.
What features the best elk hunting boots should have?
Ans: Best hunting boots for elk should have flexibility, good sole, waterproofness, good protection and able to stand in any harsh condition.
Should I choose a heavy pair of boots?
Ans: Heavy shoes that are cumbersome to walk in can definitely be an obstruction to a smooth hunting experience. Furthermore, they can also cause calluses, blisters, and corns on your feet. Also, if you want a heavy-duty pair, then a hefty price you will probably have to pay.
Should I take hiking distance into consideration?
Ans: Definitely. For many elk hunters, one of the best parts of a hunting expedition is the hike up to the wilderness. If you’re one of them, then it would be better to opt for hiking boots, as they are made for long-distance walking.
What is the shank of a shoe? Does it matter?
Ans: The word “shank” refers to the nylon footbed which runs from the heel to the toe. The shank’s thickness determines how supple or stiff your boot will be, thereby also determining the stability the boot can provide you.
The right hunting boots are an integral part of the experience of elk hunting. They are necessary to be able to move deftly and agilely in the wild; furthermore, they facilitate your comfort while on the move.
The best elk hunting boots are those that have a proper ventilation and insulation system and are built to be durable and adaptable to all the different kinds of terrain your elk hunting adventures take you to. We hope that our elk hunting boot review has helped you find the perfect pair you are looking for.
Keeping those above factors in mind.