10 Best Upland Hunting Boots for Upland Game

I have heard veteran hunters mention this fact in different ways. “If you’re thinking about your boots in the field, they’re not doing their job.”

Keeping your feet happy on pheasant hunting terrain isn’t easy and no single boot will meet the needs of every hunter. With so many options, booting up for upland hunting can be an overwhelming task and takes a ton of research.

With that in mind, our goal is to make your task easy by pointing out the best options.

So, let’s jump right to take a closer look at our list of the best upland hunting boots.

irish setter wingshooter

Irish Setter Wingshooter  

Known for its all-day performance, tough terrain traction, waterproof design, and lightweight comfortability​​.

Main Features

  • Full grain leather 
  • UltraDry waterproof membrane
  • Steel shank
  • Debris-shedding sole


  • Goodyear leather welt construction
  • Solid durability
  • Good rebound for extra comfort
  • Works great for a walk around town


  • Grip could be better
  • Needs a break-in period

Named after the well-known Irish Setter hunting dog, this shoe is the grandfather of upland hunting boots. Quite simply, it can’t get more classic than a pair of these boots. The Wingshooter is available in multiple designs with varying boot heights to meet your specific needs.

While they may look heavy, you will be surprised how lightweight these boots are. The overall comfort and stability are top-notch. Fellow reviewer Alex mentioned that he has used the Wingshooters in winter and the nylon lining kept his foot comfortably warm. The outer leather is tough enough to resist abrasions on rough terrain.

In every member of the Wingshooter family, you get a grippy sole and excellent waterproofing along with a moisture-management lining. Initially, I was skeptical about the sole since the lugs were small in size.

But after using the shoe during a trip to the Mille Laces WMA, I was sold. The traction was good and there was no dried mud sticking to the lugs.

That said, a few other hunting boots offer better traction. Even so, the Wingshooter is one heckuva boot for upland hunts.

thorogood mens

Thorogood Men’s Flyway 

Praised for durability and comfort, ideal for rugged terrains​​.

Main Features

  • Full grain leather
  • Shock-absorbing rubber midsole
  • Goodyear Storm Welt construction
  • Slip-resisting outsole


  • Goodyear leather welt construction
  • Great craftsmanship
  • The waterproofing works well.
  • Super comfortable


  • Breathability is not the best 
  • Pricey

There are hunters who are Thorogood-or-die fanatics and after using these boots, I have an idea of what drives them. The Thorogood Men’s Flyway offers top-notch workmanship and a thoughtful design.

You get a Goodyear storm-welt construction, rugged exteriors, and all-day comfort. I mean, they are built like a tank and will take any punishment that you throw at them.

Out of the box, the leather felt stiff. But a few days of walking in them was good enough to break in the material. The comfort was good from day one and the shoe had no problematic flex points. I love zero break in boots and the Flyway was closer to hitting that mark than most other pheasant hunting boots.

The outsole is slip-resistant and the traction is great. They are oil-resistant too, so walking over slick surfaces won’t be a problem. Bonus feature, these soles can resist electric shocks of up to 18,000 volts. Equally important, the direction pattern of the lugs shed mud very well. 

On the downside, the breathability is good but not great. Best to wear this one with a light sock in the summer.

danner pronghorn

Danner Pronghorn Gore-Tex 

Offers waterproof protection and a balance between comfort and durability​​.

Main Features

  • Full grain leather
  • Gore-Tex liners
  • Vibram midsole and outsole
  • 365-Day Warranty


  • Out-of-the-box comfort
  • Good arch support
  • A lightweight design
  • A good all-rounder


  • Long-term durability is a concern

The Pronghorn is a proud member of the much-famed Danner hunt line and has been around for almost two decades. I have used Danner boots in the past, so the lightweight feel and solid support that the Proghorn offered were expected. But the soft feel of the leather upper and the flexibility of the Vibram midsole right out of the box was a revelation.

The fit was perfect and the midsole added the right amount of spring to my steps. Shock absorption of rough terrain was great and the Vibram outsoles offer excellent grip.

I had the chance to test the shoe on some sticky, muddy sections and the outsole never loosened its grip. And you can trust the Gore-tex inner lining will keep the water out in wet conditions

I used the Pronghorn on and off through the season and apart from a few creases the leather hardly had any wear marks. However, long-term users have mentioned that the Gore-tex liner stops functioning after a few seasons. Even so, the Pronghorn is a stellar package at a price that won’t break the bank.

muck arctic pro

Muck Arctic Pro 

Highlighted for its budget-friendly insulation, making it suitable for colder climates​​.

Main Features

  • Neoprene and thermal foam lining
  • 100% waterproof construction
  • -60°F to 30°F comfort range


  • Provides excellent warmth
  • Grippy outsole
  • Affordable
  • Good comfort level


  • On the heavier side
  • Not for all seasons

For seekers of comfort during winter hunts, the Arctic Pro can be the perfect choice. While you can’t avoid a sniffling nose in such icy conditions, the Arctic Pro will surely keep your toes warm. The 8mm thick flex-foam neoprene liner in it can keep your feet toasty even at -60°F in the pheasant country. 

As if that wasn’t enough, the Arctic Pro has a fleece lining and a layer of 2mm thermal foam under the footbed. Damn, that even sounds warm!

The EVA midsole isn’t extra lively but good enough in a boot specifically designed to tackle cold. The knobbly outsoles offer great traction and I never faced any problems walking on snow or mud.

One thing is, the top of the shoe has a stretch-fit binding to trap heat. While it works great, the fit may need some getting used to. If you ask me a cinch top would be more convenient.

Overall durability is great too. Since you will only be using them during the winters the Pro should easily last for 3-5 years. Plus, you can always wear them while shoveling snow off the driveway.

danner sharptail

Danner Men’s Sharptail 

Designed for the rough country, waterproof with a Gore-Tex liner, and lightweight for long-distance walking​​.

Main Features

  • Full-grain leather and 900 Denier nylon upper
  • Gore-tex liners
  • An OrthoLite footbed
  • 365-Day warranty


  • Relatively lightweight
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Good lacing system
  • Great for everyday wear


  • Tread design could be better
  • Not for all seasons

The Sharptail is specifically designed for upland bird hunters. Now, Danner has made an interesting design choice with the Sharptail. The upper is a combination of full-grain leather and 900 Denier nylon. That helped to shave off some weight without compromising comfort.

Be it mud, snow, or uneven tall grass, the Sharptail will withstand real-world abuse like a champ. A Gore-Tex mid material ensures waterproofing and Danner’s Terra Force platform offers good stability. Note that the Sharptail will need some breaking in before you start chasing upland birds wearing them. That said, I found my stride getting more comfortable after a few months of continued use.

The outsole of the Sharptail isn’t the sharpest you will find on a Danner boot. However, they can tackle muddy forest paths and wet grasslands. But you can expect the tread to wear off after two seasons of hard use.

So yes, the Sharptail isn’t the best option for moving across mountainous terrains. But for tackling upland rolling terrains, their performance really slaps. 

lacrosse alphabury

Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro 800g 

Best for cold-weather hunting with its insulation and comfort for long walks​​

Main Features

  • Realtree MAX-5 camo pattern
  • -50 to 40F temperature rating
  • EVA midsole
  • Active Fit design


  • Warm and comfortable
  • Flexible and stylish upper
  • Jersey knit liner that wicks moisture
  • Self-cleaning tread pattern


  • Can be hard to take off
  • Heavy

With a combination of natural rubber and insulating neoprene, Lacrosse Alphaburly Pro is ahead of the curve in terms of looks and design. Lacrosse uses an Active Fit and the fit is almost sneaker-like.

The 800G insulation being one of the heaviest, it’s rather shocking that Lacrosse has managed to keep the boot weight within 5 pounds.

Put simply, it feels like a comfortable warm layer enveloping your feet. Taking them off is another story though. I had to struggle a bit as the fit around the ankle was on the tighter side.

Alex used the Alphaburly Pro while chasing the Hungarian partridge in Montana and mentioned that the tread is awesome even on slushy, icy trails. After two seasons of battering, the treads showed minimum signs of wear. Interestingly, even though the Alphaburly Pro doesn’t have the maneuverability or lightness of a hiking boot, it performs well on mountainous trails as well.

I wouldn’t give full marks to the cushioning from the EVA midsole, but it gets the job done for long walks. Besides, the adjustable strap on the calf area makes it a good choice for anyone with large calves. 

kennatreck hardscrabble

Kenetrek Hardscrabble Hiker 

Lightweight, supportive, and durable, suitable for mountain and upland hunting​​.

Main Features

  • Premium full-grain leather 
  • One-piece construction with no seams
  • Durable K-Talon outsoles
  • Anti-corrosion hardware


  • A tough-as-nails hunting boot
  • Offers good foot protection
  • Great lacing system with heavy-duty grommets


  • Pricey
  • Needs proper break-in

The Hardscrabble isn’t just an upland game boot, but a boot for all types of hunts. If you want rock-solid protection in rough country during sheep or elk hunts, they work great. Besides, they aren’t so bad looking either.

In the beginning, I thought they were a tad too heavy and somewhat stiff. But the moment I hit the trailhead, I started appreciating the ample cushioning around the collars and the great ankle support. However, they will need a break-in period of around 50 miles. 

The Windtex waterproof and breathable layer keeps your feet dry. The 7mm nylon midsoles are extra stiff to withstand the load of heavy packs. Now, the focus is on durability and traction isn’t the best on smooth rocks or ice. But then these aren’t for use in icy slick conditions or scrambling rocks.

I tested the Hardscrabble with a 60-pound pack and had zero foot fatigue at the end of the day. Still, I wish Kenetrek had used a quality insole to increase the comfort factor. Overall, I’d say that Kenetrek has nailed it with the Hardscrabble. 


Meindl Vakuum Hunter 

Offers premium support and comfort for long days, perfect for rocky terrains​​.

Main Features

  • Full-grain nubuck leather
  • Boot-within-a-boot design
  • Gore-Tex waterproof layer


  • Offers excellent support and protection
  • High-quality stitching
  • Good traction
  • Effective shock-absorption 


  • On the heavier side
  • Needs break-in

The first thing that struck me about the Meindl Vakuum Hunter is the excellent craftsmanship. A durable rubber rand goes around the boot to protect the leather from ruts and thistles. As for feel, Meindl has used a hard platform for this boot to ensure support and durability. You get a solid feel and the midsole offers good torsional stability.

I hate a boot turning into a foot sauna during a long warm day. Even though the Gore-Tex lining reaches high up, there weren’t any ventilation issues with the Vakuum Hunter. However, some long-term users have mentioned the Gore-Tex layer tearing up with use.

There’s a good-quality memory foam insole and a polyurethane midsole that makes the boot feel comfy and adds the right amount of flex. Underneath, the Vibram outsole with multidirectional lugs and angles provides great grip.

Now, the lacing system can be a bit tricky to adjust. There’s a hook above the ankle that you need to use to prevent the tongue from sliding around. If you prefer the support and protection of a taller boot, I‘d surely recommend the Vakuum Hunter for mid-season hunts.

crispi idaho

Crispi Idaho II GTX Hunter

Known for its support and durability, assisting forward motion and reducing fatigue​​.

Main Features

  • Vibram super-grip outsole
  • ABSS Ankle Support System
  • Gore-Tex waterproof liner
  • CRISPI Air Mesh insole


  • Packed with advanced features
  • Needs no break-in 
  • A wide toe box


  • Minimum insulation

Crispi has added an ungodly amount of tech to the latest version of the Idaho II to further improve the performance. Up top, a combination of Cordura and polyurethane reduces weight and improves puncture resistance. Crispi has also reduced the seam area on the upper, which is a welcome change. And the best part is- they are comfortable right out of the box.

The midsole geometry was perfect for me as it provided comfort as well as a good ground feel. The Ankle Bone Support System is extremely supportive while carrying heavy packs. I got great stability while side-hilling on sharp lava rock and moving through wet muddy trails.

In short, the Idaho II provides a great balance of rigidity and flexibility, and walking in it is an absolute treat.

Crispi boots gave the reputation of being long-lasting and there’s no reason the Idaho II should be any different. Since the material provides minimum warmth, they aren’t the best for late-season hunting trips though.

lowa renegade

Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boots 

Durable, waterproof, and the lightest option, ideal for a lot of walking in upland bird hunting​​.

Main Features

  • Heinen Terracare nubuck leather upper
  • Vibram Evo sole
  • Double injection DuraPU midsole
  • Gore-Tex lining


  • Lower weight without compromising support
  • Comfortable from day one
  • Zero leakage


  • No the best durability
  • Lacks a thick insole

While the Renegade is an incredibly successful hiking boot, it can be counted among the best upland hunting boots too. If you are used to classic leather hunting boots, shifting to the Renegade’s flexible design might initially feel odd. 

But you will surely appreciate the ample underfoot protection and excellent ankle support. And, once you get used to them, you will barely feel them on your feet.

I am a big fan of the Vibram Evo sole as its stickiness is exceptional, even on dusty slopes. Also, the breathability of the upper material ensures that your feet won’t turn into a sauna chamber on a hot day. 

On the downside, there are plenty of upper seams that might be vulnerable points in long-term use. While it’s not a huge con, the dirt tends to stick to the treads. Lastly, the Renegade is not a boot for winter hunting. But it won’t let you down in spring, summer, and autumn. 

How to Choose the Best Upland Hunting Boots

In reality, picking a hunting boot is mostly a strategic decision where you need to consider the terrain you are hunting in. Here are a few points to keep in mind while picking the best upland hunting boots.


A 5-6-mile long hunting trail through rough and uneven terrain can beat you up. The point being, you need a hunting boot with a solid combination of protection and support. A taller boot and durable material that protects without being restrictive is the best choice. 

Plus, you need the right tread that sticks to the terrain. Then again, if you are moving through marshy or swampy terrain to trace the duck decoy spreads, you will need excellent waterproofing.

Perfect Fit

Knowing the true size and width of your feet is a must. Even a high-end upland game boot won’t work for you if it has a poor fit. Quite simply, you don’t want to be hobbling across the terrain a few hours into the hunt. Spend some time wearing the boot indoors and ensure a real-world break-in for a good fit.


It’s hard to concentrate on the target if your feet are freezing. If your hunting trips extend into the colder months, you will need a boot with a layer of insulation. At the same time, you are moving constantly while walking up pheasants, generating sweat. 

Sweaty feet are a perfect recipe for nasty blisters and fungus attacks. So an insulating layer should not prevent your feet from breathing. For summer hunts or in warmer weather, pick an uninsulated boot. 


It’s a bummer that the best upland hunting boots don’t come cheap. But cheaper boots won’t last long and investing in a quality boot will help you save money in the long run. We are talking of a product that endures knocks, scratches, and getting wet during a hunt while keeping your feet safe. Investing in quality is the best choice.

Frequently Asked Questions About Upland Hunting Boots

Should I order a size bigger in hunting boots?

Not necessarily. But don’t go for a vice grip that will leave your feet suffocated. A snug fit that leaves enough room for socks and allows your feet to breathe is the best choice. 

How do you break in hunting boots fast?

Breaking down a hunting boot is a gradual process and the only way it can be done effectively is by walking. Rather than trying to speed up the process, start walking in them several weeks before a hunting trip.

What is a good gram for hunting boots?

In general, hunting boots can weigh between 2 to 4 pounds. Anything less than 3 pounds should be on the lighter side. Insulated boots will be on the higher side of the scale.

Final Thoughts

Ladies and gentlemen, these are some of the best pheasant hunting boots that are worth investing in. After testing these in terms of comfort, ruggedness, and support, we can say each one has the right features that you look for in upland boots.

The point is, that choosing the right hunting boot is not a one-size-fits-all process. The best upland hunting boot is one that not just matches your feet, but also the conditions you hunt in.

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