You’ve probably had a hunt or two ruined for various reasons – bad weather, broken equipment or no animals. Sometimes things are beyond your control.
But getting the right hunting boots is completely in your control.
That’s why it’s important to choose wisely when buying footwear for your hunt. And you really can’t go wrong with a leather hunting boot.
Leather has been the go-to for hunters for a long time. Some would even say that hunting in America was built on the leather hunting boot and there are a large number of hunters who will not stray from them.
They’re practical for so many reasons:
Leather is not only a naturally strong material, but it’s also very comfortable. And when you’re out on a long hunt, you want comfort and support for your feet. Plus, with the proper support for your feet, you’ll lessen the likelihood of back injuries.
No two feet are alike. Not even your own. So finding that exact support can be tough. But it’s a lot easier with leather.
Unlike plastic and other synthetic shoes that feel hard and unforgiving against your feet, a leather hunting boot forms and molds to the shape of your foot.
Plus, leather has a breathability that many synthetics lack. When the weather is warmer, leather lets air in to cool your feet and keep them from getting smelly. And when the weather is colder, leather will keep your feet much warmer than a synthetic material.
If you’re thinking that leather can’t get wet, think again.
You can apply a ton of oil or wax to leather to preserve it and make it resistant to water and other liquids. Treating them will also help to keep your feet dry and avoid any external damage to the shoe.
Treating the leather adds to the durability that naturally exists with leather. Genuine leather boots can easily outlive boots made from synthetic materials.
High-quality leather stays strong and doesn’t break down in the demanding conditions you come up against while hunting.
Some people are not eager to pay the extra price for a leather hunting boot. But with leather, you get the best ‘bang’ for your ‘buck.’ Because of their durability, they last longer.
So they’re actually an investment. Buying one pair of leather shoes and taking care of them will often be cheaper than having to buy two pairs of synthetic shoes. And requires a lot less effort.
The durability of leather gives your feet a tough layer of protection from the elements. But it also serves to keep your feet safe from accidents or injuries, such as small falling objects, spilled hot coffee from the thermos or a clumsy fellow hunter!
At this point you may be thinking, I have to treat AND clean them? But cleaning leather is not difficult.
In fact, compared to other fabrics, leather is pretty easy to clean. You simply wash down your leather hunting boot with a damp cloth. And since the material is breathable, it won’t take long to dry after it’s washed.
Spending time in the woods and wilderness may give you a respect for nature. When you buy leather, you’re doing your part to continue to sustain nature. Particularly if it’s organic leather.
Leather is a natural material and few chemicals are used to process it. The same cannot be said for synthetics whose manufacturing processes release harmful gases.
Plus, leather just smells good.
So now that you know all of the benefits, how do you go about choosing the right boot for you?
This is the old school leather hunting boot that hunters have been using for many decades.
Some of the better leather boot makers are going to offer boots that are heavier but generally stay waterproof longer. They provide great ankle support to keep your feet steady on uneven terrain.
If your feet tend to run hot, the heaviness of the leather may leave you with sweaty feet if you tend to hunt in warmer climates. And there’s nothing worse than walking around with wet feet in your boots.
On the other hand, if you tend to have feet that run cooler – or at least normal – the leather does well to retain heat. So the leather hunting boot is your best choice for cold weather hunting.
Okay, so these aren’t 100% leather. But you don’t have to opt for 100% synthetic either. A leather hunting boot that uses some of the technology of synthetics could be the solution for you. Especially if you have those sweaty feet we mentioned above.
Going this route gives you a lighter weight solution.
Most of these boots have a rubber rand around the bottom of the boot that protects where the material joins the sole. This is helpful for water resistance.
Plus, if you can find this “hybrid” boot with the leather turned inside out, that’s your best bet if you’re going to be hiking among sharp rocks and sticks. The leather turned inside out provides a rougher surface that’s less susceptible to cuts.
If you tend to do more hunting in the mountains where you need to be able to carry heavy loads on steep terrain, a partial leather hiking boot will give you great support.
When it comes right down to it, it’s a personal decision.
A full grain leather hunting boot has stood the test of time. Many hunters have stood by them for decades. But in special circumstances, a partial leather boot is going to be the better option.
Either way, if you’re looking for comfort, support, durability and water resistance, you can’t go wrong with a leather hunting boot.
And if you’ve had any great experiences with leather boots while trekking through the wilderness, please feel free to leave a reply below. We’d love to hear your story!