Hunting elk is hard work. It means trudging through miles of possibly unexpected terrain to locate your target. When you’re putting yourself into those conditions you don’t want to be stuck out there with a bad pair of boots. So in this article, we’ll be talking about the best boots for hunting elk in any environment.
While your needs will likely be similar to other hunts, there’s still some things which you’ll want to be on the look out for that can help your cause. Many of these features have to do with the terrain where elk like to call home.
If you don’t need the full explanation, then these our our top three picks for boots to get you on the elk hunt. We’ve created a handy chart to help you pick out the important bits as well. However, if you’re new to the elk hunting experience, or you’re interested in learning more about how to choose the right boots for the job, then make sure to keep reading for our full guide.
Top Elk Hunting Boots For 2020
|Irish Setter Elk Tracker||Kenetrek Mountain Extreme||Danner Pronghorn|
|Check Best Price||Check Best Price||Check Best Price|
|Insulated||Insulated or Non-insulated||Non-Insulated|
|Waterproof||Wind Tex||Gore Tex|
|2 lbs||4.2 lbs||4 Lbs|
|Wide Sizes Available||Wide and Narrow Sizes Available||Wide Sizes Available|
Looking for women’s boots? We’ve got a section for that as well, click here to skip ahead to the women’s elk hunting boots reviews section.
How to pick boots for elk hunting
Depending on what kind of elk you’re after they can live in a surprisingly wide array of habitats. However, there’s a couple of things which you’re bound to want to choose gear for. Here are some things to consider.
What Kind Of Traction Do They Have?
In many cases, in order to find elk you’re going to need to head to a higher elevation. Not only for spotting, but sometimes that’s just where they’re hanging out. This means navigating some potentially dangerous uphill territory, and a hunting boot with good traction and grip are a must here.
How’s The Comfort Level?
Elk hunting happens in the back country, and you might need to hike for several miles before you get into a good position for hunting. The boots that you pick should be easy to break in and offer excellent protection from blisters and foot injury. Make sure you’re happy with the fit before heading out or you’ll quickly come to regret it. Good boots stay comfy the whole trip.
Do You Need Insulated or Uninsulated?
While insulated boots sound great, it’s not the best choice if you plan to be hunting in warm climates. If you’re looking for the best boots for hunting elk in Arizona for example, then you should opt for an uninsulated hunting boot. If you plan to be hunting early season in colder climates, then an insulated hunting boot is the way to go. Some insulated or waterproof boots also have poor air circulation.
In short, the best hunting boots for northern climates could be the worst hunting boot for western climates! So, read the description carefully to avoid some serious buyer’s remorse.
Though some boots, like the Elk Tracker, use a special Gore Tex material that keeps water out, but also allows for sweat to evaporate, allowing you to be much more comfortable in your boots when the trail gets long and the work gets tough.
Elk Hunting Boot Buyer’s Guide
Alright, now that we know what we’re looking for it’s time to get to our recommendations. We’ve chosen the highest quality boots possible for this article. All of our picks are reliable footwear that are built to last, and you’ll be glad to have them in your gear when you’re deep in elk country.
Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Boot
- Insulated or non-insulated
- Narrow and wide sizes
- Great Waterproofing
- Great for hilly terrain
- Excellent traction
- Lightweight and comfortable
- windtex membrane
- moisture wicking
- rubber toe guard
- Takes a while to break in
Our first boot is a beauty that could be great for any environment. They actually have an insulated and uninsulated boot available. If you plan to be hunting elk in a warm environment like Arizona, then you’ll want to go for the uninsulated version. Otherwise you’ll just be hot and uncomfortable for the entire trip.
If you plan to hunt in both warm and cold climates then you could opt for the uninsulated boot, and then pair it with some warm socks and boot warmers for slightly colder climates. This of course depends on your cold tolerance though.
Choosing the right Mountain Extreme could have you set for multiple environments, as this boot also makes our best sheep hunting boots list.
However, the Kenetrek boot has a lot more to love than just this. They also provide excellent foot protection for those looking to traverse harsh and mountainous terrain. Kenetrek makes blisters a thing of the past, and they provide great traction to boot (no pun intended).
They also offer a superior waterproof membrane which keep your feet dry whether you’re moving through creeks or snow to get to your next vantage point. Both the insulated and non-insulated version also comes in narrow and wide sizes so you can get the perfect fit.
There’s only one negative about this boot really and that’s that you’ll need to allow for a little extra time for the break in period. They come out of the box a bit stiff, but once you’ve got them broke in they’ll be your favorite boots for life. Plus, they’re not only the best elk hunting boot, but also the best overall boot you’ll probably ever own. Check ’em out here.
Irish Setter Elk Tracker Boot
- Great for cold weather conditions
- Waterproof but doesn’t lock in sweat
- Odor blocking technology
- 100% full grain quality leather
- Breaks in easy
- Can be repaired by Redwing
- Runs small
- Not good for warm weather
- Not as many sizing options
If you’re looking for a cold weather boot, then this one will definitely fit the bill. However, it’s also a great all around waterproof boot thanks to their unique waterproofing technology.
While other waterproof boots trap moisture inside and soon you’re slipping around in your own sweat, these allow it to evaporate. They do a great job of keeping your feet dry and protected from the elements without build up of sweat or odors.
In fact, they even have a scent control process in the lining that keeps bacteria and smells from building up in your boots. They also feature lightweight and warm insulated liner for keeping your feet nice and warm in cold weather climates.
However, these are probably a poor choice if you’re hunting in warmer climates. The insulation will likely be a little much, and you’ll be better off going for an uninsulated boot for these hunts.
They fit and feel great right out of the box, and Irish Setter (Redwing) makes fantastic products. Plus, since these are welt boots, they’re eligible for repair and possibly resole by Redwing, so you replace the rubber sole rather than buy completely a new pair.
You can check out these boots here, but you may want to order a half size up. Some elk hunters report these boots run a little tight, but if you’re looking for a lightweight boot that won’t weigh you down, then these are one of the lightest boots on our list at just 2 pounds.
Danner Men’s Pronghorn Boot
- Good for wide feet
- Heavy duty construction
- Breathable Gore tex lining
- Great for warm weather hunts
- ortholite footbed
- Bad for cold weather
- Takes a while to break in
- Can’t be resoled
- Waterproofing isn’t the best
Danner has a reputation for making stellar boots, and the pronghorn is no exception. If you’re looking for great boots for hunting elk but you have wide feet, then this could be a good option.
The Proghorn is available in wide sizes, and they are roomier than other options on our list like the Irish Setter boots. However, if you do find you need to make them a little more snug, then some thicker socks will likely do the trick.
These boots are both durable and flexible. That’s a great combination to have when you’re out in the back country and you need boots that allow you great mobility that won’t quit.
While it might take you a bit to break in these boots, once you do they fit perfectly. They’re waterproof but uninsulated, making them a good choice for warm weather hunts where you may be traversing water and mud but need to keep cool.
However, some hunters have expressed disappointment with the level of waterproofing that the boots have. So, while they will be great for arid climates, don’t expect to stay 100% dry with these if you traipse through streams and creeks.
The boots are extremely lightweight as well, making them perform like a boot but wear like a sneaker for maximum comfort. However, they can’t be resoled like some other boots can, so once they’re worn out they’re gone.
As a bonus, they’re so lightweight they make a great work boot too if you need something dual purpose. If you’re interested in seeing all the features of these great boots, you can do so here.
Thorogood Men’s Snake Bite Boot
- Waterproof but breathable
- Superior comfort
- Great for flat terrain
- Great for warm weather hunts
- Run true to size
- Women’s sizes available
- Not great for cold weather
- Poor ankle support
- Zipper isn’t the best
- Not the best for rocky terrain
When hunting in certain climates there’s a danger lurking that can be a serious threat for hunters. If you encounter any venomous snakes on your trip, one mistake could be a matter of life and death. Especially if you’re miles out with no way to get help.
If you’d prefer to have a little protection in this department, then the Thorogood snake boot might be for you. These boots feature a snake guard material to save you from bites that will ruin your hunting trip for sure.
They have great waterproofing, but also a breathable membrane to keep your feet dry and comfortable. You can also hunt all day without fatigue thanks to their comfort foot-bed, cushioned insoles, and tough as nails rubber sole.
The boots have great traction, making them great for traversing through mud, streams and over wet areas. However, they don’t have the best ankle support, and this might make them a poor choice for going over rocky terrain.
The best feature of these boots is likely the price tag. They’re quite affordable, and they’ll serve you well in many different hunting styles. Check these out here.
Rocky Retraction Boot
- Great for cold weather
- Great waterproofing
- Very comfortable
- thinsulate insulation
- Bad for warm weather
- Mixed opinions on quality
- No wider sizes available
If you’re looking for a more affordable option that’s a legitimate hunting boot, then the Rocky Retraction is a good choice. This is an insulated boot that’s great for cold weather hunts where you need to keep your feet warm, thanks to their thinsulate insulation.
Hunters who choose these boots rave about them having superior waterproofing and a right out of the box fit that feels great. However, there are some mixed opinions about these boots.
While many people say that the waterproofing is excellent and that the quality is also great, some don’t have the same opinion. It’s possible that there is a quality control issue, but it’s hard to be certain.
Rocky does however offer an amazing deal on great quality boots, and the response to their products is mostly positive. You’ll also be missing out on some of the fancier features of the more expensive boots.
These are not 100% leather, which is less durable and prone to wearing out faster. They also don’t feature the same breathablity that some others might have. Sizing is also more limited, and you may have trouble here if you have wide feet. Check ’em out here!
What about elk hunting boots for women?
While it might be a little tougher to find a good hunting boot for women that’s functional instead of fashionable, there are some options out there.
Danner High Ground Women’s Boot
This attractive and light weight hunting boot offers maximum performance, but comes in at just over 2 pounds for comfort. You also have the option of choosing between an insulated, or an uninsulated variant depending on your hunting grounds of choices, which is nice.
The High Ground was built around the premise of creating a hunting boot that would allow hunters to follow the game trail for longer, without fatigue, and Danner has done a great job of meeting that goal.
These shoes are waterproof, but still breathable, allowing you to stay dry on the trail. Though their best feature is that they’ve been fine tuned and adjusted to fit a woman’s foot, which is different than a man’s.
While having a “dedicated” shoe might not be important for casual footwear, it is important for hiking boots. Shoes that don’t fit right can leave you without the support and protection that you need, but Danner has made sure that this won’t be an issue with the High Ground, earning them our seal of approval.
Salomon Quest 4D Women’s Boot
Okay, so this one is more of a hiking boot shoe than a tall hunting boot, but if you want to wear one of the most comfortable shoes ever on long treks through tough terrain, then this shoe has you covered. However, the ankle support is not quite as good as a taller pair of boots would offer.
If you’re looking for something durable, yet lightweight, this is a great pick. This boot does it all, offering maximum support when you’re carrying a heavy pack, but they won’t slow you down. These boots weigh just 1.2 pounds, making them some of the best hunting boots in the lightweight category.
The out-soles are created to give you maximum traction, perfect for traversing slippery rocks or uneven hiking terrain to hunt for your prey. They also offer excellent cushioning, reducing strain on every step, important when you’ve been hiking for the whole day.
They have a Gore Tex waterproof lining which provides excellent protection from water, while still remaining breathable, and not locking in your sweat.
Though the best feature of these boots is likely how adjustable they are. They provide a molded sock liner, lacing system, and other features which allow you to tighten the boots perfectly to your foot, providing a precise fit – which gives you the most support and comfort.
It’s a great, light-weight boot that will help you stay comfortable and won’t quit on you when the trail gets tough. Made from high-quality nubuck leather.
Irish Setter Vaprtrek Women’s Boot
Irish Setter’s Vaprtrek is an excellent hunting boot that performs more like an athletic shoe, giving you speed, comfort, and flexibility. Fortunately, they’ve extended this model to their women’s line, and you can get a pair tailored to fit your feet better than a comparable men’s shoe.
This particular shoe is interesting, because it also comes in a knee high variety, otherwise known as a snake boot. If you live somewhere that snake bites are a concern, then you should definitely consider this boot.
When you’re days from civilization, having an accidental run in with a rattlesnake or a copperhead is no laughing matter, but with these boots, you can feel more secure maneuvering through the brush.
However, they’ve got plenty of merits on their own, and the Vaprtrek is one of the lightest boots you’ll come across, providing you exceptional comfort when you’re on the move. The collar also has memory foam, for comfort an stability.
This does not come at the expense of durability though, and you’ll find that these boots have been built with maximum foot protection in mind, and a heel molding, to provide a custom fit that gives you the support that you need.
Not to mention premium waterproofing and insulation to keep your feet warm and dry whether the weather is sunny and nice, or if you’ve had to trek through rivers and streams to get to your camp site.
In closing, there’s not really a pair of “best boots for hunting elk” out there. There are actually many pairs, and it’s a manner of needs and preference which ones you should choose. However, we hope that this comparison has done a fair job of helping you to whittle down the many choices on the market.
PS. Still not sure? We’ve also done a few boot comparison articles you might want to check out! Like this Kennetrek vs Crispi vs Meindl article.