Is there a difference between hiking boots and hunting boots?


March 14, 2005, 03:09 PM
The outdoor cross trainers I wore on my first hunt last week weren't cutting it. Time to go shopping. Is there a difference between hiking boots and hunting boots? Thanks.

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March 14, 2005, 03:41 PM
Hunting boots tend to be heavier, less walking friendly, and better insulated. There are exceptions though.


March 14, 2005, 05:46 PM
Also, at least in my limited experience, hunting boots tend to go higher up on the calf than do most hiking boots. And hunting boots come in camo ;)

I've worn my Vasque hiking boots for about 8 years now to hunt deer, duck, dove, and varmints and I doubt I'll ever buy a pair of "hunting" boots.


March 14, 2005, 05:48 PM
Thanks guys. I'm leaning towards a pair of Asolo or Vasque hiking boots.

March 14, 2005, 07:14 PM

Your hunting area might be different from ours.

For hunting in swamps of Georgia I would wear hip waders or rubber knee boots. Thats only cause its wet and I didnt plan on walking forever.

In WVA stand hunting in the cold the Rocky Mountains come out. Once again, not alot of walking planned. Only to and from the stand and recovering downed animals.

For hunting here in Arizona where hiking, glassing and navigating uneven terrain is common, hiking boots is the best bet.

rust collector
March 14, 2005, 07:54 PM
What we call hunting boots are usually 8-10" tall with a lugged sole. They have good support, gore-tex liner for when the going gets swampy, and the height helps keep brush and weed seeds out. Could also be useful if a snake was encountered, but with my luck the snake would go for the kneecap.

Hikers tend to be lower and often heavier, although they're all a lot lighter in recent years. Principle concern is long term comfort.

Sneaks are comfortable until they find some barbwire, prickly pear or you're descending a hill at the end of the day.

March 14, 2005, 07:57 PM
Yeah I really felt those diagonal climbs up and down steep hillsides, wearing shoes with no ankle support.

March 14, 2005, 07:58 PM
Hiking boots usually have a durable sole but light uppers.
Hunting boots must withstand the brush and thorns, must be waterproof, and must be better insulated. at least IMO.


March 17, 2005, 10:22 PM
Vasque, and Asolo are good hiking boots, but for hunting you need more support. I have found that Rocky makes some of the best, and most consistant boots around. Chippewas and Danners are good too, though more pricey.

March 18, 2005, 08:11 AM
Before I digress, how do you hunt? If you sit in a tree stand, warm hunting boots will do. If you scramble around in the mountains, hiking boots.

Maybe this will save you some grief:
I am about to throw out a new pair of Asolos.
They don't bend in the right places and will never be broken in to do so. The problem seems to be the way the upper is attached to the sole with some sort of close-fitting miracle glue joint. As far as I can tell, this is what causes a rigid sort of "rail" that forces the upper down onto the top of my foot in one spot, with every step. Annoying at first, intolerable after 20 miles. I have some heavy duty Redwings that have the sole stitched on. They are more flexable than the Asolo "mid-duty" boot. It's back to the 20 year old Redwings for me, despite the extra pound and a half.

Bottom Gun
March 18, 2005, 09:44 AM
I have Danners which I use for hiking and hunting. They are light, waterproof, and the insulted pair is warm. They work very well for me.

March 18, 2005, 11:13 AM
I use a variety of boots:

1) Danner leather hunting boots for cold weather stand hunting or late season pheasant hunting.

2) A very old, very beat up pair of Merrell hiking boots for general bird hunting and scouting.

3) An even older, more beat up pair of LL Bean boots hunting boots if I know that I'll be spending most of the day going in and out of creekbeds and it's not too cold.

4) Neoprene chest waders while duck hunting.

All of the boots are Gore-Tex lined and generally waterproof. The Danners and Bean boots are higher than the Merrells. The thing I like about the Merrells is that they offer a bit of ankle support and good protection, but I can run comfortably in them for quite a while (when the pheasants are running instead of flying).

If I only had one pair, it would be the Danners, since I can deal with most anything except frozen toes.

March 18, 2005, 11:24 AM
Hunters spend much more time standing around in the cold than do hikers.

March 18, 2005, 11:31 AM
I've always been a fan of Red Wings, until I got a pair of Danners for Christmas this year. Now my Red Wings are in the closet and the Danners get all the use. They're a very high quality boot and well worth the money. I'm a surveyor by trade and good boots are invaluable, even now-a-days that I spend most of my time behind a computer indoors.


March 22, 2005, 08:03 PM
My answer would be that there is a difference. I hunt mostly swamps, and along the streams that feed or drain them. Rubber boots are almost a must. I have not found rubber boots to work well in hiking though.

Vern Humphrey
March 22, 2005, 09:03 PM
If you're a serious hiker (I fall into the moderate-to-severe category, having hiked most of the Appalachian Trail, and a few other long trails), then it makes sense to fit boots with two pairs of THICK socks (I like the heavy hunting socks at WalMart, believe it or not.)

That will give you a fit that will be much better for standing in cold weather (tight boots in cold are a no-no.) You can also get things like Thinsulate socks, gore-tex socks, and so on which will make them more suitable for many types of outdoor activities.

My hiking boots are all-leather Danners with a gore-tex liner and a "stitch-down" sole (so they can be resoled.) I use them elk hunting in Colorado, which is a pretty good test of a boot.

March 22, 2005, 10:36 PM
Man, am I a looser.

About a week before hunting season, I go buy a pair of sneakers from wal-mart half a size too big. I break them in, and then during the season, put on as many pairs of socks as it takes to keep my feet warm.

I have found that the thiner, more flexible sole makes it easier for me to walk quitly through the sage brush and pine cones where I hunt. No more boots for me.


Vern Humphrey
March 22, 2005, 10:46 PM
It really depends on where and how you hunt. I have a friend who is a licensed mountain lion guide. He's constantly on scree and rock, and wears out a pair of Danners a year.

I also know muzzle loading hunters who hunt in moccasins.

But for hard climbing in rocky terrain -- especially if your're carrying a pack, or packing out an elk, a solid pair of boots is a great asset.

Bottom Gun
March 22, 2005, 11:09 PM
Another thing to consider is that a good pair of boots will give you good ankle support and protection when a rock rolls out from under your foot, loose dirt gives way or you slip off that moss covered log, etc.
Boots will also keep those darned little foxtails from working thier way through your socks.

pete f
March 29, 2005, 12:38 AM
all depends on temp.
DF cold -25 or lower. LaCrosse boots with electric socks

really cold. -10 sitting still or -25 walking LaCrosse double insulateds.

Cold 10 sitting to -5 walking Sorels. with the bobsoles.

cool under 32 danner GTX leather boots with the goretex and thinsulate

everything else either redwings or danners non insulated

for most of the time one thin pair of wicker socks from cabelas or REI and a pair of merino wool hikers from thorlo. Too much socks means too much water vapor trapped.

Those are hunting/working boots. For the most part older hiking boots were made to be stiff and compatable with crampons for ice work. New ones are not as stiff but tend to be of the 6" inch rise variety, most good working boots/ hunting boots tend to be 9 " or so. I find good hunting boots or work boots to be more comfortable for day long wear if not carrying a heavy pack. with a pack I will say some ofthe older vasques that i have seem to stand up better.

March 29, 2005, 07:20 PM
Thanks for all the advice guys. I took it all in and was able to make an educated purchase. I was tempted to get the Danners. But then if hunting was just a passing fancy, I would've regretted my purchase. I ended up getting a pair of Asolo TPS 520 backpacking boots. Just thought a more versatile boot would be a better choice for me.
ASolo TPS 520 (

April 18, 2005, 12:53 PM
Just came back from a hunting trip with my new boots. I love the boots, didn't get a chance to break them in on an easy hike first. They were very comfortable, gave me the ankle support and traction I needed. We went over some of the same paths as last time, and the difference was night and day with the right boots.

April 20, 2005, 08:05 PM
Smoke wrote: Hiking boots usually have a durable sole but light uppers. I agree.

The best hunting boot I had were the custom made Russell Bird Boots. Second favorite - Browning Kanagroo leather hunting boots.

My Danners are ~ 25 yrs and still perform well. Only gripe I have - they have the old lug sole - mud gets heavy and tires one , mud getting caked up is slippery. The bobbed sole design seem to offer as good as traction - with the abilty to self clean...

LLBean rubber soled boots - a must have- Period.

Back when I did a lot of canoeing/ portaging - 'Nam era Jungle boots were the ticket. NOT worth a damn for hiking on hard dry stuff...for wet - the bees knees.

Wear a pair of silk socks , or poly - THEN the heavier socks. Wicks moisture away from feet into heavier socks. Socks "sticking" to feet - causes blisters.

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