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Rubber VS Leather Hunting Boots: A Detailed Comparison

When it comes to hunting, choosing the right type of boots is essential. People often get confused while picking between rubber hunting boots and leather boots. Are rubber hunting boots more comfortable than leather boots? Are leather boots more durable for hunting?

Rubber hunting boots are highly preferable for hunting as they’re comfortable to wear from the beginning. Rubber boots provide more insulation that keeps your legs warm on colder days. However, leather boots usually last longer than rubber ones and get easy with time. 

Picking up a rubber boot or leather boot depends largely on the geography where you’ll be hunting. It also depends on when you hunt usually. This article will discuss rubber hunting boots vs leather in detail.

Rubber Hunting Boots VS Leather

Features Rubber Hunting Boots Leather Hunting Boots
Lightweight Yes Average
Durability & Reliability Good Very Good
Protection Protects from snow, thorns, sands, or woods with a thick outsole Protects from tress, thorns, or woods with high-quality leather material
Waterproof Very Good Good
Breathability No Yes
Traction Very Good Very Good
Scent Scent-free Spread scent
Best Use Upland Downland

Well, rubber boots have become the leading hunting footwear amongst seasonal hunters, while leather hunting boots are favorite for their durability. Both types of boots have some advantages and disadvantages. That’s why both types of boots have a separate fanbase who are comfortable with what they love.

Here’re some of the factors that would help us identify which boot is the most suitable for you.

Lightweight

Rubber hunting shoes are made of vulcanized rubber material to make these boots lightweight. Its lightweight and utmost flexibility allow greater speed while chasing or trailing prey.

The lightweight hunting boot also helps to walk across long distances with minimum effort. However, not all rubber boots are quite lightweight. Usually, the higher the shoe’s height will be, the heavier it will be.

Leather hunting shoes usually weigh more than rubber boots due to the material used to make them. As leather weighs more than rubber, the shoes also have significant weight.

Winner: Rubber hunting boot

Durability & Reliability

Leather hunting shoes have been a wishful choice because of their durability and longevity. Leather boots, especially those are from high-quality hand-crafted boot companies can be used for years.

While we see complaints against rubber boots for hunting as not serving for a long time, leather shoes can be used for multiple seasons.

Winner: Leather hunting boot

Protection

Safety is the first consideration before going hunting. Since, hunting boot protects your feet from snow, thorns, or woods, you’d want the most protective one, isn’t it?

Best rubber boots come with a thick layer of the outsole which is difficult to be pierced by thorns or woods. The insulated sole also keeps your feet warm protecting you from snowy landscapes. That’s why an insulated boot is the best cold weather hunting boot for you.

Leather boots are also durable that can absorb lots of abuse from rocks, thorns, or broken trees. Both rubber and leather hunting shoes are quite durable against the odds.

Winner: Both

Waterproof

This is the most influential feature why people often look for rubber boots before hunting, especially in rainy seasons. The vulcanized rubber is water-resistant and hence, the rubber boots for rainy season offer the highest degree of water resistance. So, your feet will stay dry in wet and muddy hunting terrains.

On the other hand, leather shoes for hunting are quite waterproof. A boot may absorb splashes of water but would surely wet your feet while crossing a channel. You can, however, add a special waterproofing layer on the leather shoe to make it waterproof completely.

Winner: Rubber hunting boot

Breathability

The best leather boots offer breathability that rubber shoes don’t. Those who hunt in warm geographical areas tend to sweat a lot and their feet are supposed to get wet easily. As air doesn’t get inside rubberized shoes, your feet stay sweaty which causes a bad smell and even blisters.

On the other hand, leather hunting boots keep your feet dry and fresh by letting air go inside them. It allows you to walk for a long time without changing socks as well.

Winner: Leather hunting boot

Reliable Traction

Traction is vital as it backs you from falling or slipping on slippery and muddy terrains. Without reliable traction from your boot, you might get hurt and end up with unsuccessful hunting.

The best hunting boots come with thick outsoles that provide excellent treads. Additionally, the extended surface area of the outsole protects your ankles from falling suddenly. These reliable tractions are crucial in cases of hunting in hilly areas or sloppy landscapes.

Leather shoes also provide significant traction over the ground. The sole is sturdy and grips well. If you want reliable tractions, leather boots won’t disappoint you.

Winner: Both

Scent

As the outsole of the rubber hunting boot is made of vulcanized rubber which is highly impermeable to air. So, it helps to conceal the hunter’s scent inside the boot rather than spreading around.

On the contrary, leather boots spread the scent around you that helps your prey to flee easily.

This is why rubber boots are the best for hunting deer or other prey.

Winner: Rubber hunting boot

So, Which One is the Most Suitable for You?

Even if it seems that rubber hunting boots outplay leather boots but in reality, they aren’t. Some people love leather hunting boots for hunting for definite reasons.

This is more like a personal preference for lots of people when it comes to choosing between rubber and leather boots for hunting. Both the shoes have advantages and a few disadvantages.

So, if you compare between these two types of boots, I’d recommend rubber hunting boots for upland hunting especially in cold areas, and leather hunting boots for warm areas.

Some Best Rubber Hunting Boots

Here’re some of the best rubber hunting boots for you with useful features. Any one of them will surely make your hunting experience easier and more comfortable.

1. LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly

This hunting boot is made of rubber and neoprene which is scent-free, flexible, waterproof, and comfortable to wear. This model even comes with a liner for air circulation. It is durable and can accompany you to the most challenging terrains.

2. MuckBoots Adult FieldBlazer Hunting Boot

This rubber boot is highly water-resistant and durable to last long. It will keep you safe from snake bites or attacks from other animals. This boot will keep your feet warm even below 30F temperature.

3. Arctic Shield Waterproof Durable Boots

If you’re looking for an affordable rubber hunting boot, this is an ideal option for you. The boot is lightweight and comfortable to wear. It also is waterproof and the durable outsole provides solid traction.

Some Best Leather Hunting Boots

If you’re a fan of leather boots, I won’t disappoint you. Here’re some of the best leather boots for hunting.

1. Irish Setter 2875

The leather boot is lightweight and water-resistant. It is breathable so that your feel gets dry easily. It provides excellent traction and minimizes scent.

2. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme 400

This boot is made of a single-piece vamp of 2.8 mm top-quality leather with no seams down the tongue to ensure better waterproofing and abrasion resistance. The breathable flexible membrane circulates air.

3. Lowa Men’s Tibet GTX Trekking Boot

This boot is made of leather with a synthetic sole. This is an affordable option that comes with seamless, waterproof Gore-Tex lining. Moreover, climate Control perforated lining manages moisture and heat.

Final Verdict

So, that’s all for the rubber hunting boots vs leather review.

Both rubberized and leather boots are great for hunting while I prefer the rubber hunting shoes more.

I hope now you can determine which hunting boot suits you and find the best hunting boot based on your preference.

Thanks for reading up to this.

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About Ethan Jackson

Hi, I’m Ethan Jackson, a backpacker with some ordinary to exceptional experience on hiking & hunting and also the main author of Back-To-Hiking. Here, I and my team plan to explore some useful hiking gears and hunting tools along with motivating backpacking stories.