A bull elk bugling in the distance. Nothing in a hunter’s life can quite match up to that beautiful sound. It brings you back to nature, making you one with the natural world. Many a hunter has gone into the mountains seeking that call, but many fall short. This happens, at least in larger part, because elk like to live in secluded areas that take hard hiking to get to.
Most hunters fail to find their trophy bull because they don’t have the best elk hunting boots on their feet. They get fatigued, too cold, too hot, or give off too much scent. To make sure you don’t fail in your quest for a trophy bull, read on!
We have tested and reviewed 14 of the best boots for elk hunting on the market today, and each pair will give you a better chance at finding and bagging that elusive trophy elk.
Top 14 Elk Hunting Boots Ultimate Table
How to Track down the Ultimate Elk Hunting Boots
So what should you look for to find the best elk hunting boots? There are several factors that you need to keep in mind.
What Design Features Should You Look For?
When you are looking at a lot of boots that are similarly made, it is important to break your search down to a few key factors.
- Height – Since elk can be found in lots of different terrains, the height of the boot you choose will vary. If you will be going through lots of scrubby brush or deep snow, it would probably be a wiser choice to opt for a taller boot. On the other hand, if you will be going through areas with a little ground cover or in a hotter climate, it might make sense to get a shorter style of hunting boot.
- Weight – Elk are not easy animals to get to. In fact, the bigger the bull, the more secluded he will be. That’s why you should try to look for a boot that is relatively lightweight. Even though they might feel light back at your camp, even the lightest pair of boots will start to weigh you down after a day of running up mountains and down into canyons.
- Material – When looking at the materials that go into making your elk boots, it is best to go with something that is going to be comfortable, keep you warm, and be durable. The best boots will have a leather exterior and an interior made from synthetic materials. The leather will make them durable, and the synthetics will make the boots comfortable and warm.
- Sizing – Be sure to read carefully about your new boots sizing before you purchase them. Some boots are made to be worn with thick socks, so the company will tell you to buy a size up from what you usually wear.
- Durability – The very last thing that you want to have happen to you while out on any hunt is for your boots to fail you. Make sure that when you purchase your boots that you find a pair that is made well. Try to steer clear of really cheap boots. There is a reason that some of the best boots we reviewed were also some of the most expensive. The companies that made them took the time and crafted them to last multiple hunting seasons, not just one.
Where and When Will You Be Hunting?
The location of your elk hunt, as well as the season will help to determine what other features you’ll need your boots to have.
- Time of Year/Location – Depending on the time of year and the location you will be hunting, you may or may not need insulation in your boots. In a hotter climate insulation will only serve to make you uncomfortable, and in a colder climate, it is a necessity. The time of year is also a big factor here as well, since different locations hold their hunts during the fall, winter, or even early spring. If you are unsure of what type of temperature you will be hunting in, or if you want to hunt in multiple locations, it may not be a bad idea to get a boot with a removable liner.
- Insulation – Depending on the temperatures you’ll be hunting in, you may or may not want to have an insulated boot. This will help to keep you warm in frigid temperatures.
- Insulation Weight – The heavier the insulation weight, the warmer the boots will keep you. However, the thicker the insulation, the bulkier and heavier a pair of boots will be, making hiking more difficult and tiring you out more quickly.
Extra Features That You May Want to Check Out
Depending upon your specific needs, these extra features might be worth looking into as well.
- Waterproof – Since you can never be sure exactly what Mother Nature is going to throw your way as far as the weather is concerned, it is best to buy boots that are waterproof. The only thing tougher than hiking all day in search of a trophy elk is walking all day in search of a trophy elk with wet and blistered feet.
- Scent Reduction – A newer feature that only some boots have built in, a scent blocker or reducer may help you to get closer to that elusive bull since it will make it harder for him to catch your scent.
14 Best Elk Hunting Boots Reviewed
1. Irish Setter Men’s 860 Elk Tracker Gram Boot
Out of all of the boots that we reviewed, these are by far the best elk hunting boots on the market today. They have tons of features designed to keep you comfortable even after a long day’s hike in search of that elusive bull.
They are built to keep you warm since they have 1000 grams of Thinsulate insulation. These boots are also 100 % water proof. When combined, these two features make the 860 Elk Tracker extremely comfortable in rainy, snowy, or cold weather.
The boots also feature an odor inhibitor in their sole. This controls odor before it can start by eliminating odor-causing bacteria. On the bottom of the boots, the tread can only be described as aggressive. It has deep grooves designed to give you the best traction in any terrain.
Summary: A wonderfully warm, waterproof, and comfortable boot, these Irish Setter boots are our number one choice. They are designed to keep you warm and comfortable, even after a long day’s hike over rough terrain.
2. Danner Men’s Pronghorn Hunting Boot
The only problem that you might have with our top pick is the amount of insulation they have. If you are someone who is going to be hunting elk in a warmer season or a warmer overall climate, then you aren’t going to need any insulation. That is where these Danner boots come in. They have no insulation, making them perfect for a warm weather hunt.
The Pronghorns are also a fantastic purchase because they are 100% waterproof. Even though you might be hunting in warmer weather, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to cross a stream or get caught in a rainstorm. These boots will make sure that you stay dry and comfortable, no matter how much water you come across.
The tread on these boots is also really impressive, as it is designed for multiple types of terrain. In our tests it also kept its grip when used in water and performed admirably in slippery mud. The toe and heel are built with reinforced leather, making this a boot that should last you through a lot of hunts.
3. Irish Setter Men’s 882 Elk Tracker Hunting Boot
While this boot shares many similarities with our number one pick, it is slightly different as well. It comes in a larger variety of sizes, making it easier to find just the right fit. It is also about 1.5 pounds lighter, which may make them an excellent choice for a hunter who knows they’ll be hiking extreme distances to find their elk.
The reason that this pair of boots is lighter is that they have less insulation than the 860 model. While this pair of boots will not keep you quite as warm as the 860’s, the amount of insulation will be perfect for milder winter weather and fall weather hunts.
The 882 Elk Trackers are completely waterproof, which will keep you dry and comfortable during your hunt. They also feature an odor eliminator in the insole, which kills odor-causing bacteria at the source, helping to prevent your trophy from a whiff of your scent.
4. Danner Men’s Pronghorn Realtree Hunting Boot
Another great entry from Danner, this version of their Pronghorn hunting boots are incredibly insulated, featuring 1200 grams of insulation. This makes them the most insulated boot that we reviewed, which means that they would be perfect even in the most frigid conditions. However, if you are going to be hunting in warmer locations, this would not be the boot for you.
While they do feature a hefty load of insulation, we found them to be relatively breathable as well. This is because of the Gore-Tex lining, which also makes the boots waterproof.
The leather exterior make these boots extremely durable, while a soft insole and lining made them comfortable to wear. The rubber sole on the bottom gripped sufficiently on multiple types of terrain.
Summary: The boots are made for the cold! With 1200 grams of insulation, they will keep you warm even in the coldest weather. They are well built and comfortable to wear, even in muddy or wet conditions.
5. Under Armour Men’s UA Speed Freek Bozeman
You don’t usually think of Under Armour when you think of hunting gear, but if you are hunting in warm weather, these boots are worth your consideration. They are extraordinarily lightweight, making them ideal for long range hunts or hikes.
They have a waterproof lining which will keep you dry in most wet conditions. Since you will be sweating while you are wearing these, they have a great scent controller which will keep your scent from leaving your boot.
Since they are so lightweight, they will probably not be as durable as some other boots which are built with a heavier construction. These boots will probably last through a few seasons but then would need to be replaced.
Summary: A lightweight, waterproof, and uninsulated boot, this offering from Under Armour would be ideal for warm weather hikes. However, their lightweight and minimalistic build might make them break down quickly after hard use.
6. LaCrosse Men’s Alphaburly Pro 18″ Hunting Boot
If you are going to be hunting or hiking in mucky, wet terrain, then these LaCrosse boots are for you. They are extremely tall, measuring 18″. This will allow you to traverse wet terrain more quickly since there is less of a chance of the water flowing in the top of the boot. This height will also protect your legs against brambles and rocks.
While they are not insulated, the natural rubber material and neoprene liner should keep you comfortable in fall or spring weather. While the boots will not eliminate odors, they are odor free themselves, unlike many types of rubber boots.
Something to keep in mind with these boots is that, due to their size, they will be a bit heavier than some others that we tested. Since they are made with rubber, they will also make your feet sweat, even though they are uninsulated.
7. Kamik Men’s Nationplus Boot
If you are looking for an extreme weather boot, then these Kamik’s might just be what you need. They are built thick, and are rated up to 40 degrees below zero! While we didn’t test them at this extreme temperature, they did a nice job keeping us warm.
They are also one of the cheaper boots that we looked into. This can be both a blessing and a curse. While it will save you money in the short term, you may have to purchase new boots sooner than you’d like too, since they may not be as durable as a more expensive pair of boots.
If you intend to be a stand hunter while you are looking for that trophy elk, they might suit your needs perfectly. However, if you plan to walk many miles each day, these may not be the boots for you since they are oversized.
Summary: The Nationplus Boots are a wonderfully warm pair of boots that would be perfect for a stand hunter in chilly conditions. If you are hiking far each day, however, you may want to look elsewhere.
8. Irish Setter Men’s Vaprtrek Hunting Boot
Much like the other two Irish Setter boots we reviewed (1 and 3), these are a great choice for an elk hunter. While this pair of boots has the same high-quality construction and scent-blocking technology, they are also a bit different.
They are a smaller style of boot, only coming up to your ankle. This makes them lightweight, and great for early season hunts. These boots are also designed to be waterproof.
Since they are for early season hunts, the Vaptrek boots do not feature any insulation. This, along with their smaller size, makes them extremely lightweight, which makes them a great option for longer hikes into your hunting territory.
Summary: Lightweight, waterproof, and smaller than most of the boots we reviewed, the Irish Setter Vaptrek are perfect for early season hunts. Since they have such a lightweight, they would also be a good choice for a hunt that takes you far from your camp.
9. Sorel Men’s Conquest Boot
The Conquest boots are made for extremes. They have plenty of insulation and are built thick, keeping you away from the cold. Just in case you encounter deep snow, they also feature a drawstring at the top, allowing you to seal up the boots to keep the snow out.
Since these boots are made for colder weather, they are a bit bulky. While this extra bulk helps to keep the cold out, it also will make your movements a bit awkward and ungainly. This won’t matter so much on stand, but if you intend to sneak hunt or stalk in close to bag your bull, these boots might make that difficult.
10. Columbia Plus III Omni Cold-Weather Boot
These Columbia boots would be a good choice for a hunter who is operating on a tighter budget. While they have a lower price, they are built in a durable manner and should last you through a few hunting seasons.
This pair of boots does not have a lot of fancy features but is rather more straight forward boots that will keep you warm in moderately cold weather. They are on the smaller side as well, making them a good lightweight option for long distance hunts.
While this doesn’t affect their usefulness as a hunting boot, it should be noted that there are not very many color options for these boots. If you want a camo pattern or even just a brown boot, these might not be your first pick.
11. Rocky Men’s Retraction 800G Hunting Boot
This pair of Rocky boot is a bit of a mix of other boots that we reviewed. While it is on the smaller side, making it a great hunting boot if you intend to hike a long way, it is a bit on the heavier side.
The reason that these boots are so heavy even though they are shorter is that, unlike other smaller boots that we reviewed, the Retraction are heavily insulated. This makes them a good choice for colder weather, as long as there isn’t deep snow.
Since they are on the shorter side, these boots would not work out very well in snowy conditions. Before you know it, you’d have wet legs and socks, which will make you cold, no matter how much insulation is in the boots.
Summary: The Rocky Retraction are an interesting mix of small size and thick insulation. This makes them good for distance hunts in cold weather, as long as there is not a lot of snow on the ground or in the forecast.
12. Irish Setter Men’s Gunflint Big Game Boot
Another great entry from Irish Setter, the Gunflint boot is relatively lightweight and built to last. Even though they are on the lighter side, these boots have plenty of insulation, making them a great option for a late season elk hunt.
While they are very similar to our number one choice, they do not have any odor blocking or odor eliminating technology, meaning that you need to be a bit more careful to keep the wind in your face when you are wearing them. This could make bagging that elusive trophy somewhat more challenging.
13. Irish Setter Shadow Trek Big Game Boot
The Irish Setter Shadow Trek are a medium sized boot with plenty of insulation to keep you warm and on stand, helping to increase your chances of bagging a trophy. They are also lightweight, making moving in them a breeze.
While they feature a carbon rubber sole which will help to block your scent, they don’t have any odor blocking technology on the inside, making it more likely for you to be winded by a big bull elk. Be sure to use some other odor blocking spray on yourself and your gear, or you’ll never even get a chance to see a trophy, let alone take one.
While the boots are a bit on the short side, they are still waterproof; this will help you to stay dry while crossing small streams or puddles, but be sure to steer clear of bigger bodies of water.
14. Northside Men’s Renegade Insulated Hunting Boot
The Renegade is another solid choice for an elk hunter on a budget. They may not be the best elk hunting boots in terms of quality, but they are waterproof and have enough insulation to keep you warm for late fall, early winter hunts. However, they did not feel quite as warm as other boots we tested with similar amounts of insulation.
This pair of boots was comfortable to wear only after a significant breaking in period. Be sure that if you choose this pair of boots that you take some time to break them in, or you will be facing sore, blistered feet before your hunt is through.
Summary: A good pair of budget boots, the Northside Renegade will keep you warm during winter hunts. Just be sure to break them in before you get into the field, or you may experience discomfort.