Isn’t it true that high-quality hunting boots are no different than a high-quality fly rod or high-quality optics?
In fact, there are about five or six manufacturers on the market to look at, but each one is a little bit different.
It’s important you look at the specifics of each one and boots are even more specific in that you’re looking also for the fit.
I suggest you run down to a sports warehouse and try a pair on. If you’re looking for a new pair of boots, make sure the fit does you well.
I guarantee the craftsmanship and the durability of the boots below is what helped them secure a spot in our review article.
In short, the 6 best elk hunting boots are:
- Irish Setter 882 Elk Tracker.
- Irish Setter Vaprtrek.
- Danner Pronghorn Uninsulated.
- Zamberlan Lynx 1014.
- Zamberlan RR GTX 980 Outfitters.
- Lowa Tibet GTX.
Keep reading …
6 BEST ELK HUNTING BOOTS
IRISH SETTER ELK TRACKER
From Irish Setter, the leader in hunting boot technology comes the Elk Tracker family of boots. When you’re out hunting big game in rough terrain, you need the right gear and the Elk Trackers have got you covered.
The Irish Setter 882 Elk Tracker Waterproof 600 Gram 12″ Big Game Hunting Boots are designed to perform in the toughest big-game environments. Also, you need a highly stable boot for uneven terrain that is comfortable enough to wear for long hours on the hunt.
This boot features a full-grain waterproof leather upper that is mechanically stitched to the bottom of the boot. This welt construction process keeps the boot extra stable and provides excellent durability.
It features a 12” lacing system to really lock your foot into place to give you great support.
There’s nice padding around the collar with a handy pull tab at the back for an easier on and off.
All Elk Tracker boots have a waterproof and breathable gore-tex waterproofing system that keeps your feet warm and dry along with a ScentBan interior.
Last but not least, the Irish Setter is one of the best hunting boots for narrow feet.
You might also like:
5 Great Rubber Hunting Boots
The Irish Setter Elk Tracker also utilizes a removable comfort EVA memory foam footbed with a cork filler which is going to mold to your feet and provide a more custom orthotic. The footbed is also treated with ScentBan odor protection.
There is also a unique layer of shock-absorbing cork in the midsole that reduces weight and provides additional underfoot comfort.
Down at the bottom, we have a dual-density Bulls-Eye Air Bob Aggressive outsole pattern to provide superb stability and excellent traction to grip the toughest of terrain. There’s also a Goodyear leather welt construction that is resoleable.
There is also an internal steel shank under your foot for added support and stability, particularly when you are carrying a heavy load.
The boots are available in four levels of insulation including non-insulated, 200-gram, 600-gram, and 1000-gram Thinsulate insulation.
The Elk Tracker boots have rock-solid stability and long-lasting comfort all at one tough boot.
WHY CHOOSE THE ELK TRACKER?
Some of the features that are beneficial to that mountain elk hunter are a welted sole package which gives the hunter more stability and more traction underfoot.
This feature also allows the boots to be soled and recrafted if the sole starts wearing down over multiple years of use.
Another feature that is often overlooked is the leather on the boots. It’s a full-grain waterproof leather utilizing a gore-tex waterproof membrane.
So, as far as water repellency and waterproofness, the Elk Tracker has everything to offer that mountain hunter looking for the best mountain hunting boots.
SIMILAR FROM IRISH SETTER
IRISH SETTER VAPRTREK
From the same boot company comes the hunting boot of the future, the Irish Setter 2870 Vaprtrek Waterproof 8″ Hunting Boot.
The Vaprtreks boast the RPM technology which is a breakthrough composite material that significantly reduces the weight of the boot without sacrificing the comfort and durability you’re looking for.
This is the light and fast mobile hunters boot for those who go all day and ultimately want something that has that tennis shoe fit and feel.
You might also like:
Best Leather Hunting Boots
This boot utilizes the Red Wing leather (SP foot tanned leather). It’s has a synthetic upper which is a lot lighter than a full-grain leather would be for that weight reduction.
On top, we have the Speed Lacing System so you can lock your foot into place really quickly.
The RPM sole wraps around the instep for added protection against tree branches and sharp objects in your path. The ArmaTec toe and heel add another level of protection and abrasion resistance.
Memory foam is added to the collar for extra comfort and stability. The CuShin Comfort tongue provides long-lasting comfort to the shin area.
The boot has a ScentBan lining with a removable PU footbed that also features memory foam to help keep your feet nice and comfortable.
The dual-density sole on the bottom provides maximum underfoot cushioning.
Coming in right around 1.2 pounds per pair, this is a dream boot for somebody who does a lot of walking, elk hunting, and hiking all day.
SIMILAR FROM IRISH SETTER
Similar boot from Irish Setter:
The Irish Setter Elk Trackers and the Vaprtreks are two of the best Irish Setter hunting boots.
The Danner Pronghorn 8″ Uninsulated Hunting Boot series is a key product and is Danner’s signature hunting boot model. The Pronghorns are the best Danner boots for elk hunting.
A LITTLE HISTORY
As they develop the fourth generation of the Pronghorn series, Danner have looked back at the previous two decades of their most iconic boot.
Drawing ends from generation one, they opened the toe box to create a wider platform and better fit.
Nodding to generation two, they constructed a streamlined and lightweight design.
Generation 3 inspired their rugged outsole and a platform rooted in comfort and support.
Danner learned from their elders and listened to their peers and they crafted the 4th generation Pronghorn, a boot that they’re confident will continue the traditions they know and love.
The Pronghorn series was introduced in about 2001 and it’s gone through actually four generations of redesigned different iterations and updates. But the keys to the Pronghorn are still here and the key is obviously comfort and support.
TERRA FORCE PLATFORM
First of all, the Pronghorn series is built on a platform that Danner calls the Terra Force platform. It’s a combination of glued and stitched. So unlike the Quarry work boot, the Pronghorn is not resoleable.
But what that stitching does for you is it gives you a slightly wider platform, a more stable base. And then when you’re on uneven terrain and your foot and ankle are being torqued and twisted by the terrain, the Pronghorn gives you the support you need.
There’s a gore-tex waterproof breathable membrane in the Pronghorn series.
So, both in terms of torque and in terms of lateral support, you’re not going to have your foot bend where it’s not meant to bend and at the end of the day have a very fatigued foot because the muscles are fighting against that.
As far as features are concerned, the outsole gives you a good toothy outsole that will give you traction on a variety of terrains.
The Pronghorn is an excellent boot for upland hunting, but it has enough tread to it so that it can be taken on some very uneven terrain, steep terrain, and obviously in situations where you’re doing more big-game hunting.
WIDER TOE BOX
In this 4th generation of the Pronghorn, there’s a slightly wider toe box than we’ve probably had in some of the past generations. This allows your toes to spread out a little bit and you won’t get that pinch in the forefoot.
The Pronghorn is not quite a full lace to toe, but the stitching comes down further on this boot than what it would on some other models like the Sharp Tail series.
This is the uninsulated version, but of course, the Pronghorn is available in a 400-gram version with camo and leather and in 800 and 1,200-gram versions as well.
Last but not least, Danners are one of the best American made hunting boots.
ZAMBERLAN LYNX 1014
Most of you already probably know that the highest quality hunting and backpacking mountaineering boots all come out of Europe, and Zamberlan is no different.
Zamberlan is an Italian boot company that has a very high-quality product. One of the things you’ll notice when you pick up a pair of Zamberlans is the workmanship; it is impeccable.
Zamberlan has dozens of boot models available and today we’re just going to talk about the Zamberlan 1014 Lynx and the 980 Outfitters below.
The Lynx is based off one of Zamberlan’s most popular boots the Vioz, but this is the hunting version of that.
It’s a very good quality boot built mostly for backcountry and bowhunting. It’s not super lightweight but it’s a mid-weight/lighter weight backcountry boot.
These boots have a softer rubber sole so you get a little bit quieter in the backcountry. They are also firm enough to be able to handle a heavy load on your back if you’re backpacking or packing out an elk.
So it’s kind of an in-between but it’s a great choice for a backcountry bowhunter whether you’re hunting mule, deer, elk or even possibly sheep on not super rough terrain.
The outsole is a good Vibram 3D sole. It’s got a little bit of softer rubber than most other boots. The lugs on it aren’t quite as aggressive as a lot of heavier-duty backcountry boots, but that’s another way they save weight by making the rubber a little softer.
It does have a shank inside of it so that you could get a little more wear out of the sole.
If there’s one thing this boot does not have is a rubber rand around the midsole. That will cut down a little bit on the durability of the boot but the boot is going to be a little bit lighter and more flexible.
The upper is 2.4-millimeter nubuck leather. It does have the Zamberlan Flex System so that the ankle section of the boot breaks away from the lower really easily without getting a big bubble of the hard nubuck leather to give you rubbing or blistering on your ankle. That’s a good feature to have in your hunting boots.
The Zamberlan Lynx also has a gore-tex membrane making it really breathable and waterproof. It’s a boot you could use in Wyoming or Montana up until about the first week of October, weather-wise.
You can see the hardware on the lacing system is very high-quality. Just like all the European boots, the Zamberlans are riveted all the way through.
The Zamberlan Lynx is a very very high-quality handmade Italian product that definitely won’t do you wrong in the backcountry.
ZAMBERLAN GTX OUTFITTERS
The Zamberlan RR GTX 980 Outfitters is the brand new hot off the press offering from Zamberlan. Think of it as the most technologically advanced boot Zamberlan has ever produced.
COMPARED TO OLDER VERSION
It has some pretty significant improvements over the older version. One of the things they incorporated is an updated rand system.
The boot has a beveled edge and an improved rubber compound which helps with expansion and contraction and it’s more flexible. When you get that boot wet, it expands and then when it dries out it contracts and that will help a lot with separation. When the Zamberlan boot contracts and dries out, it’s less likely to separate from the rand like most boots tend to do.
Also, it has the beveled edge, meaning less edge to catch on things, less chipping, and ripping on the edges around the rand.
IMPROVED HEEL CUP
Another thing the 980 Outfitter has is a very technologically advanced and improved heel cup. One thing I always notice when I put my feet into a Zamberlan boot is the fit on the heel is probably one of the best of any high-quality mountaineering boot I’ve ever worn.
This heel cup is very beneficial so that when you’re going downhill or on flat harder ground, your heel will not slip back and forth and you will end up with much less heel abrasion or blistering with these boots than you tend to with other ones.
The back end of this boot is well designed and it has a nice heel that sticks out compared to a lot of the other boots that tend to just go straight up. This boot limits the lateral movement on your heel and the vertical up and down movement which can tend to cause blistering.
One of the other things the Outfitters have is a proprietary Vibram sole which is designed specifically for Zamberlan. The outsole has two rubber compounds in it. It has a softer version in the center for cushioning, but the outer version is harder rubber so you’re not going to lose your lugs off.
The lugs on the toe are built for gripping when going uphill on your toes while the lugs on the heel area are designed to eliminate slippage.
COMPARED TO THE LYNX 1014
Compared to the Zamberlan Lynx above, the outfitter GTX
- is a little bit firmer in the ankle area.
- does not have the Flex system that the Lynx has.
- the hardware is still high-quality hardware.
- the leather is 2.8-millimeter new buck leather. It’s a little bit heavier duty than the Lynx which has 2.4-millimeter.
- also has a gore-tex membrane.
If you take care of the Zamberlan Outfitter and treat it well with some good waterproof treatment each year before and after the fall, it will last for probably three or four years at least.
One thing is certain is you’re going to get a lot of quality and a lot of technology built into it. It’s a very good investment for your hunting arsenal.
This boot can handle a lot of rough backcountry and really heavy loads on your back. If you’re going sheep hunting or you’re going elk hunting, this is a must-have type of boots.
LOWA TIBET GTX
The Lowa Tibet GTX falls in Lowa’s backpacking range and it is a great boot for guys that want to go elk hunting. It was designed to carry heavy loads over long distances on rugged off-trail terrain and it’s perfect for a multi-day trek on rough surfaces.
SUPPORT & STABILITY
The Tibet GTX offers great support and stability thanks to the Lowa Vibram Masai rubber outsole with clearly defined lugs that will give you a solid grip when you’re climbing up. It also has a well-defined heel break to give you support when you’re heading down.
The Tibet is a crampon compatible boot with a 5-mm nylon stabilizer running the whole way through and a PU midsole. PU is a highly supportive midsole that is really long-lasting. Not many brands use a nylon shank in PU and most just use TPU and EVA. This means more support and more durability.
As you can see, the Tibet has got a really solid rubber rand that goes all around the boot. The rand will give optimal protection against abrasion especially when you’re high up in the mountains.
It has a nubuck leather upper and it’s also gore-tex lined allowing for excellent breathability and waterproofness.
The boot features ball bearings in the forefoot for speed lacing and it also has an I-Lock system which is the patent to the brand.
This I-Lock system can help create dual lacing zones meaning you can lace up the bottom of the boot first before lacing the top. If you’ve been out for a long time and you’re getting sore feet, you can loosen off the lower part of the boot to take some pressure off your foot, lock that off and still continue on up and give yourself a solid piece of ankle support.
The Tibet also features a patent tongue called the C4 tongue.
Lowa understands that in stiffer boots, comfort doesn’t come from underneath, it comes from the upper. So what they’ve done is they’ve put a lot more cushioning through the tongue to give you that plush ride and take that pressure off the laces.
They’ve also created a gusset through the ankle to create natural movement whilst you’re walking and it takes away the punch that you can get from other boots.
The boot also features the Lowa Flex Fit for easier ankle movement, the Lowa patented X-Lacing technology (another patent for the brand) and a C4 tongue to keep it in the perfect position. This is great to avoid pressure points and blisters especially when you’re covering long distances.
The X-Lacing system helps to keep that tongue nice and centered to give you comfort throughout the day, and you won’t have the tongue move around and get those laces rubbing up against the side of your shin.
Overall, the Lowa Tibet GTX is a stable and robust backpacking boot that has proved itself many times over on the toughest treks all over the world and on countless multi-day backpacking expeditions.
Finally, it’s also available in a wide version and in a leather-lined version as the Lowa Tibet LL.
So if you’re looking for the best boots for hunting in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico or even Montana, you can’t go wrong with the elk hunting boots above.
Last but not least, the six above are one of the best early season or late season elk hunting boots.