Tough boots for the hunter and outdoorsman has been a serious discussion over the years, much like the toughest off-road tires for your back country vehicle. There are constantly new developments in boots for those that use their footwear hard.
For me it has been decades of hunting, hiking, fishing and days spent on the range either instructing or receiving training.
Consequently, I have developed a few preferences for rough-duty boots. Without a doubt, I have found that cheaper is not better, although that factor can easily change from boot to boot.
My needs today revolve around comfort and long hours on my feet. Protection and ankle support for hiking and hunting in rocky country with lots of spiny things that will stick you is a must.
Boots that can take lots of punishment and not come apart in the first few months or even a few years are obviously most preferable. Lightweight boots are always wonderful, but comfort and durability are absolute necessities.
Below are three different models of boots that I have used extensively and I like them all, each having their pluses and minuses. Some of them are dedicated to just hunting, while others serve dual purpose.
I’ve worn all of them in the field for countless miles and hours.
Best Hunting Boots:
- Salomon Quest 4D GTX
- Danner Pronghorn
- Lowa Zepher Mid TF
Salomon Quest 4D GTX
Of the three brands of boots reviewed in this article, the Salomon Quest 4D GTX is the one I have had the least time with in the field. However, it is the boot I am currently using the most frequently.
Other than a lengthy break in period, the Salomon Quest 4D GTX has proven to be a top contender for on the range every day or on the hiking trail. One down side, out of the boots reviewed in this article, the Salomon Quest has been the hardest boot to just get on to my feet day to day.
Once you have the boot in place and cinched down it provides excellent service.
This boot seems to fit the mold of a hybrid between a full-size hiking boot to get you to your tree stand, and a more tactical style shoe.
Key features include:
- Weight–1.4 pounds, pair
- Upper–Gore-Tex with anti-debris mesh, textile and non-reflective materials
- Midsole–molded EVA
- Midsole–non-marking Contragrip
- Chassis–4D Advanced Chassis
- Sock liner–Ortholite
- Protective rubber toe and heel cap
- Closed hooks and gusseted tongue
You can find the Salomon Quest 4D GTX the $200 to $250 range.
When it comes to an all-around hunting boot, the Danner Pronghorn has my admiration.
The first pair I owned was almost 20 years ago, about the time Danner first came out with this model. I would love to know the number of miles I have put on these boots in the field, mostly hunting.
I finally replaced those original pair two years ago, and yes, they were completely worn out! These boots are a bit big for everyday wear, but are great for long days in the field and are one of the best hunting boots.
- Weight–3.3 pounds, pair
- Height–8 inches
- Leather and canvas uppers
- Shank—Bi-fit board
- Insulation–non-insulated (insulated model available)
Costs on the Danner Pronghorn is in the $200 to $230 range. As mentioned, my original pair were wonderful boots.
Some recent reviews that say the newest model is not holding up as well as the old Pronghorns. So far, I have had no issues; time will tell as these are not may everyday boots, but rather reserved for fall and winter hunting.
Lowa Zepher Mid TF
The Lowa Zepher Mid TF is my favorite everyday boot (although my current pair are finally completely worn out). I have spent countless hours and walked thousands of miles in these boots on the range and in the field, including a cross country run and gun event.
They are very form-fitting, tough and give my feet the support and comfort they need. I wear a size 14 and the Lowa Zepher is a good fit, so much so that I usually wear a light- to mid- weight sock as heavy socks would be too tight for me in this boot.
Then again, the Lowa Zepher Mid TF boots are designed for warm and dry climates; that’s my environment the majority of the time.
- Uppers–split leather and Cordura
- Lining–quick dry, breathable fabric with climate control footbed
- Midsole–double injection DuraPU
- Outsole–Lowa Cross II
- Stabilizer– ¾ length nylon
- Weight–2.4 pounds, pair
- Height–over the ankle (4.3 inches)
- Colors–Coyote, Desert
- Country of origin–Slovakia
You can find these boots in the $180 to $220 range.
Best hunting boot conclusion:
As with all outdoor products, models and materials are constantly updated and technology improved.
All three of these boot companies have added newer versions of the models discussed here but may still have the original models listed in this article. I have put thousands of miles on all three of these boots combined, and each one is highly recommended.
If you’re looking for a new outdoor or hunting boot, then take a look at one of these and hopefully put your own miles and memories on the them.