By Adam Crews
Hunting boots are like guns – you can never really have enough to cover all your needs.
When selecting your turkey hunting boot there are many questions you will need to answer. If you don’t think these questions through – then most likely you will be wearing the wrong boot. While it is best to have multiple boots for the job, there will always be that ‘go-to’ boot that gets the job done.
1. How much will you walk?
Most of my turkey hunts average 3-6 miles walking. I like to ‘run and gun’ after turkeys, so I will spend a lot of time on my feet if the terrain allows it. I have some friends that rarely leave their blind. Their style of boot and mine will differ because of the amount of walking. This should be the number one consideration in choosing your boot, especially if you are a tender-foot.
2. Are snakes an issue for you?
I have hunted with guys who are not worried about snakes, and never give it a thought – Not this guy. I tend to think that a snake is under every rock, and needless to say I think protecting myself from their bite is a high priority.
3. Will you cross creeks?
This question will vary for each of us, and it may vary with you when hunting different properties, but we all want dry feet. Walking around all day with a damp sock could spell a short hunt, and going home empty-handed.
Styles Of Boots
1. Running shoes
The first option is not a boot at all. If you are putting in multiple miles and the terrain is not rocky, you might consider just wearing a running shoe or a shoe designed for hiking. It is hard to beat the comfort of a shoe and there are great options offered by companies like Salomon. The downside is they do not protect your feet like as well as some of the other options.
2. Snake boot
Over the years this has been my boot of choice. If you go with a lace-up style boot you get the comfort of a boot that doesn’t slip, most are water-proof and comfortable. Did I mention they protect you from snake bites?
The negatives? They are stinking hot. My pants and legs are drenched with sweat in a full-day of walking around in these.
3. Rubber boot
Most of the people I hunt with are wearing an 18″ rubber boot. This boot gives many hunters some peace of mind against snake bites and offers the best water-proof option.
The negatives are easy on this one; most are not that comfortable because they do not lace-up, giving your foot the ability to slip and giving you blisters. If you think the snake boot was hot, the rubber boot is hotter. Wearing a rubber boot makes me feel like I have a swamp wrapped around my foot and leg. I put this option last for a reason. (Sorry to all of my hunting partners!)
I recently bit the bullet and purchased a pair of Lacrosse AeroHead Snake Boots because I really needed a rubber boot for a new spot I’m hunting this year. With a couple hunts in, I’m blown away by the comfort and the breathability. I take back my prior comments about having a swamp wrapped around my leg — These things are fantastic!
The Perfect Turkey Hunting Boot? (For me)
The perfect turkey hunting boot doesn’t really exist, but I have one setup that I go-to on 90% of my hunts.
First of all, I go out of my way to avoid deep sections of creeks. If it cannot be avoided you can bet that I have a high-quality pair of Merino wool hiking socks. Merino wool will dry very quickly and your feet will be good to go.
For snake protection, I choose to wear a gaiter. I like this option because I can take them off and let my legs breath when I am not on the move, therefore I maintain snake protection, and my legs are not sweating all day.
The boot I choose to go with (Salomon Quest 4D) is not necessarily a hunting boot at all, but one that is meant for hiking. I have found that most hiking boots offer the perfect blend of comfort, breathability, and are waterproof to the extent that I require (If I know I am crossing a creek I have strapped garbage bags to my feet and legs for added protection).
Whatever you choose, make sure it is your choice and fits your needs. The best option for me will not always be the best option for you.
If there is one thing I love talking about it is gear — Jump into the conversation about your favorite Turkey Hunting Boot on our Facebook Group: Hunting in the South!