Your boots are one of the most important pieces of gear you’ll bring with you on any mountain hunt. The rugged terrain that we hunt here in northern British Columbia demands solid footwear. Boots, rain gear, and of course your weapon are the critical items that could ruin or end a trip if they fail. We receive questions from our hunters each year about the boots we recommend. We will try and answer some of those questions here.
1. Try On Several Hunting Boot Brands
When thinking about boots for your next mountain hunt, the first and most important thing to know is that different boots fit everyone differently. It’s impossible to say that one particular boot is the best, when it’s simply not true for all feet. Your feet will like some hunting boots better than others.
Our first recommendation is to start by trying on high quality boots. Our go-to hunting boots are from Schnee’s, and we’d recommend trying on several models to find one that fits your feet best. Make sure they feel snug but not tight and that you don’t feel a lot of heel slip as you walk. Pay special attention to pressure points like the balls of your feet and other places that most commonly form blisters. If they’re not comfortable in the store, they won’t be comfortable on the mountain.
2. Consider Only Waterproof Boots
Once you’ve settled on a type of boot that seems to be the most comfortable, let’s talk about the features that you should look for in a specific model. The first thing is a waterproof, breathable membrane. Don’t consider a boot without it. Our hunters need to be prepared for every kind of weather condition – rain, snow and sun. A waterproof, breathable hunting boot is mandatory.
Waterproof, breathable membranes will keep your feet dry from the outside as well as from the inside. Keeping rain out is critical. But breathability is equally as important. Sweaty, damp feet can quickly lead to blisters.
3. Minimum Boot Height
Next, we recommend a boot that’s 7 – 10 in. tall or 18 – 15 cm. If you’ve never worn a tall, 10-inch hunting boot, it may feel a little strange the first time you lace it up and walk around. But you’ll quickly get used to the feeling. Having a hunting boot that comes well up over your ankles is helpful in a couple of ways. First, it provides stability and ankle support. Second, it provides more weather protection in case things turn soggy on your hunt.
4. Look for Durability
Finally, we recommend looking for a boot that’s built to be extremely durable. Features to look for include, full grain leather uppers, a full rubber rand around the toe and circumference of the boot, and heavy Vibram (or similar) outsoles. You’ll find these features on quality brands like Schnee’s, but it’s worth mentioning in case you’re looking at a boot of questionable quality.
5. Purchase Them Early
No matter what boot you choose, make your decision early in the year and spend plenty of time hiking and walking in them before your trip. A quality boot shouldn’t require a “break in” period. The point of getting into them early is to identify any problems well before your hunt. If they’re giving you blisters, return them and try something different. These issues are easy to correct before your trip. Once you’re in the Canadian bush, you’re out of luck!
Accessories and Other Considerations
The best boots in the world won’t function properly if you’re wearing crappy socks underneath. Along with the boots, invest in several pairs of high-quality merino wool-blend socks. Avoid cotton at all costs. In fact, you might consider purchasing the socks first. That way, you can wear them when you try on different pairs of boots.
In addition to socks, a quality set of aftermarket insoles can drastically improve the performance of any boot. Custom insoles like those from Sheep Feet are ideal for mountain hunting in rough terrain. There are also good insole options from companies like Superfeet. Whether you have a high arch or flat feet, choosing the right insole can help further customize a boot to your specific feet for the best possible performance and comfort.
Finally, don’t forget to bring a pair of high quality, waterproof and breathable gaiters on your hunt. Gaiters will go a long way toward keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
Contact Us With Questions
We hope these tips are helpful as you look for boots for your next hunting adventure! Whether you’re hunting for moose, caribou, mountain goat or sheep, our recommendations remain the same. If you have questions about gear or planning for your British Columbia hunt, please call or send us a message. We hope to see you on a hunt with Kawdy Outfitters soon!
Written by Ryan McSparran
Ryan McSparran is an outdoor writer, a hunting and fly fishing guide, and very proud to be a part of the Kawdy Outfitters team.