best boots for elk hunting

BEST boots for elk hunting in any environment

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 elk hunting boots. We’ve created a handy chart to help you pick out the important bits as well. However, if you’re new to elk hunting, or you’re interested in learning more about how to choose the right boots for the job, then keep reading for our full guide.

Top Elk Hunting Boots For 2019

best elk hunting boots 2019
Irish Setter Elk TrackerKennetrex Mountain ExtremeDanner Pronghorn
Check Best PriceCheck Best PriceCheck Best Price
InsulatedInsulated or Non-insulatedNon-Insulated
WaterproofWaterproofWaterproof
2 lbs4.2 lbs4 Lbs
Wide Sizes AvailableWide and Narrow Sizes AvailableWide 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 section.

How to pick the best boots for hunting elk

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’s some things to consider.

Traction

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 boots with good traction and grip are a must here.

Comfort

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.

Insulated or uninsulated?

While insulated sounds 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 boot. If you plan to be hunting in colder climates, then insulated is the way to go.

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 Boots 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

kennetrex boots elk hunting
Kenetrek boots provide excellent traction in rocky or uneven terrain.

PROS

  • Insulated or non-insulated
  • Narrow and wide sizes
  • Great Waterproofing
  • Great for hilly terrain
  • Excellent traction
  • Lightweight and comfortable

CONS

  • Takes a while to break in
  • Pricey

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.

This video covers the Moutain Extreme in detail.

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 keeps 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.

kentrek mountain boot insulation
Pictured: The Moutain Extreme’s comfort foot bed.

There’s only one negative about this boot really and that’s that you’ll need to allow for a little extra break in time. 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. Check ’em out here.

Irish Setter Elk Tracker

Irish setter elk tracker

PROS

  • Great for cold weather hunts
  • Waterproof but doesn’t lock in sweat
  • Odor blocking technology
  • 100% leather
  • Breaks in easy
  • Can be repaired by Redwing
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • 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 protected from the elements without build up of sweat or odors.

A closer look at the Elk Tracker boot helps you to appreciate the quality.

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.

elk tracker shoes for hunting elk
EVA comfort foot bed absorbs shocks so you can go longer on the trail.

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 can fix them rather than buy a new pair.

You can check out these boots here, but you may want to order a half size up. Some 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 Pronghorn

best men's elk hunting boots
Danner’s Pronghorn is a quality boot for big game hunters.

PROS

  • Good for wide feet
  • Durable construction
  • Breathable Gor-tex
  • Waterproof
  • Great for warm weather hunts
  • Affordable

CONS

  • 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 elk hunting boots 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.

A closer look at the Pronghorn.

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.

best elk hunting shoes and boots for wide feet
The Pronghorn’s rugged out-sole helps you to navigate sketchy terrain.

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

best boots for hunting in muddy terrain for elk
Worried about snakes? These affordable boots offer stellar protection.

PROS

  • Snakeproof
  • Affordable
  • Waterproof but breathable
  • Superior comfort
  • Great for flat terrain
  • Great for warm weather hunts
  • Run true to size
  • Women’s sizes available

CONS

  • 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.

These boots are great for high water and muddy terrain.

They have great waterproofing, but also a breathable membrane to keep your feet comfortable. You can also hunt all day without fatigue thanks to their comfort foot-bed and cushioned insoles.

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. They’re quite affordable, and they’ll serve you well in many different hunting styles. Check these out here.

Rocky Retraction

most affordable elk hunting boots
The Rocky Retraction is an affordable, yet reliable hunting boot.

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Great for cold weather
  • Great waterproofing
  • Very comfortable

CONS

  • 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.

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.

A closer look at this boot’s construction.

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.

cheapest boots for elk hunting
Rocky’s excellent design helps you to achieve peak performance on the hunt.

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

best women's elk hunting boots
The Danner High Ground is a serious boot for hunters that demand quality footwear.

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 a non insulated 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.

women's high ground boot elk hunting
The High Ground is a well made boot that won’t call it quits before you do.

While having a “dedicated” shoe might not be important for casual footwear, it is important for a hiking boot. 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

Salomon provides maximum comfort in difficult terrain.

Okay, so this one is more of a hiking shoe than a tall 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.

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.

The Quest 4D is tough enough for any terrain, but also lightweight and comfortable.

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 Gor-tex membrane which provides excellent protection from water, while still remaining breathable, and not locking in your sweat.

The Quest 4D provides excellent traction for traversing rocky terrain.

Though the best feature of these boots is likely how adjustable they are. They provide a molded sock liner, lace locks, 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.

Irish Setter Vaprtrek

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.

The Vaprtrek is 40% lighter than Irish Setter’s big game boots.

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.

The women’s Vaprtrek is a high-performance boot that mimics and athletic shoe.

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.