When you know you’re going to be on your feet all day, potentially walking miles across fields, comfort is key. Choosing the right upland hunting boots can make or break your hunt. Whether you’re trekking across the woods for grouse or through prairie pheasant fields, you’ll need boots that are waterproof, durable, and can keep your feet comfortable for hours on end. Luckily, our boots have been tested by the experts. Like Paul Fuller from Bird Dogs Afield, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, and our friends at Mossy Oak!
Upland hunting can be rugged and challenging. It includes pursuing a range of upland birds that can include quail, pheasant, grouse, wild turkey, and others. Hunters can choose whether to flush the game out of a hiding space, or hunt behind a dog. Retrievers, spaniels, and pointers are common breeds used to flush and retrieve birds, and many seasoned hunters enjoy upland hunting because of the relationship they form with their dog. For beginners, if you’re lucky enough to go with a friend and work behind a dog, they’ll be able to do the hard work of getting into the thick cover and helping you prepare to take aim on your game. Regardless, you’ll need a pair of dependable boots on your feet as you cover fields and woods.
Choosing Upland Hunting Boots
Knowing what type of game you’re hunting and the terrain you’re walking over can help you determine what features to look for in boots. Turkey hunting boots vs pheasant hunting boots won’t have drastic differences, but the season and area you’ll be hunting in will affect your footwear choice. A good hunting boot needs to be supportive but not restrictive, waterproof but breathable, and lightweight but protective. Look for a boot that has:
- Good soles – you’ll need the right tread and lug for the terrain you plan on covering
- Leather uppers – a durable material that’s waterproof and supports your ankles while still allowing your feet to breathe
- Insulation – if you know that your feet feel the cold easily and you plan on upland hunting towards the colder weather months, you may need a light layer of insulation
- Height – a low hiker type boot might not cut it when you’re walking in tall grass with thistles or through streams. Choose a boot that has a bit of height to support your ankles on uneven terrain and keep lower legs protected from branches and brambles.
Choosing the Right Pheasant Hunting Boots
Pheasant hunting terrain can vary drastically. You’ll be walking through a combination of uneven fields of tall grass, mud, thistles, shrubs, and ruts. Selecting a pair of waterproof boots will be key, even if you don’t plan on crossing small streams since the early morning dew can drench your feet and leave you uncomfortable the rest of your hunt. Most hunters will opt for a boot with shallow tread to prevent a build-up of mud and rocks from caking the bottom of boot, which can cause you to slip when you need a steady base to shoot from. Having a higher boot that protects your ankles from getting scratched up and provides support in case you step into a hole or rut is usually preferred by experienced professionals. Here are some of our loyal wearers favorite pheasant hunting boots:
- 1957 Series Crazyhorse Waterproof 8″ Boots
- 1957 Series Flyway Waterproof 8″ Boots (Official hunting boots of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever)
- Crosstrex 8″ Insulated Waterproof Hikers
Here’s what Paul Fuller from Bird Dogs Afield has to say:
“I travel the country hunting the uplands and prairies of America. I need comfortable and reliable boots to standup to the miles and miles of walking through and over a variety of terrain. Thorogood boots meet those challenges. Personally, my favorite is the 1957 Series – Flyway leather boot. The most important feature in a boot for me is comfort. I walked a good five miles the very first time I wore the Flyway boot and never did it feel uncomfortable. With its full grain leather, it’s built to last many years of exposure to the great outdoors. It’s waterproof, has a removable foot bed and slip-resisting outsole. It’s so well constructed, it will most likely be the last leather upland boot I’ll ever need.”
Turkey Hunting Boots – What to Look for
Turkey hunting isn’t limited to one season – the ever-changing weather can vary if you’re out early in the season compared to late, and temperatures can fluctuate drastically between spring and fall. Experienced hunters may even have multiple pairs of turkey hunting boots to choose from throughout the year.
What matters most when choosing a boot is finding the right fit so that your feet are comfortable and supported on those dawn to dusk hunts. You’ll also need good soles for traction, balance, and shock absorption. Turkey hunting boots should have a good-sized lug and a robust tread pattern since you’ll be trudging through tall grass, woods, creeks, and more. Here are some fan-favorite boots to choose from:
- Infinity FD Rubber Boots 17″
- Infinity FD Series 9″ Insulated Waterproof Boots
- Infinity FD Series 11″ Studhorse Waterproof Wellington
Paul also has great things to say about Thorogood’s Infinity FD Rubber Boots:
“During a really rainy season, I often encounter water conditions that require a tall boot. My choice is the Thorogood Infinity FD Rubber boot. It’s 17 inches tall which protects me from just about every high-water condition in the uplands. It’s exceptionally comfortable. It features an anti-microbial wicking liner which helps keep your feet dry. For comfort and fit, it has an adjustable calf gusset. You won’t find a better rubber boot.”
Buy Upland Hunting Boots to Last
Quality boots will help you enjoy your hunting experience, ensuring that you’re coming home both with pain-free feet and footwear that you’ll be able to utilize over and over again. Nothing is more annoying than a pair of uncomfortable boots wearing thin, especially when you’re trying to make the most of your hunt. Spend a little more on a pair of boots you know will last and your feet – and wallet – will thank you later.