You Don't Need $500 Boots for Every Hunt

Apr 21, 2024

You Don’t Need $500 Boots for Every Hunt

By Zach Bowhay

Yep, I said it, and I mean it. I'm not entirely sure where this notion originated, whether it's just a trend on social media or effective marketing by companies. Still, it seems to have permeated the hunting community for quite some time now. I won't deny that some of these super high-end boots are excellent because that would be untrue. However, I find heavy mountaineering boots, which cost upwards of five hundred dollars, to be a bit excessive for many hunts.

I've tried various boot brands and models throughout my journey, shaping my preferred style over time. My experience in gear writing has been instrumental in this, as it has allowed me to test numerous boots and gain valuable insights. In the early days, we opted for Gore-Tex boots from renowned companies like Vasque and Meindl, typically around ten inches high. While these boots did a great job of keeping our feet dry in wet conditions, I eventually found them too bulky for most of my hunts, leading me to explore other options.

As I continued my search, I realized that heavy boots were not necessary for me. What I truly needed were boots in the six- to eight-inch range that ticked off the boxes of being lightweight, waterproof, quiet, and comfortable. It may seem like a no-brainer, but many lower-cut boots are still stiff, heavy, and, in my opinion, clunky. However, the boots I'll recommend are practical and comfortable, ensuring a pleasant hunting experience.

I prefer uninsulated boots six to eight inches tall, weighing around three to three and a half pounds per pair, and equipped with a Gore-Tex or similar waterproof liner. It's challenging to convey just how comfortable and practical these boots can be. Moreover, lighter-style boots offer the significant advantage of quieter movement, which is crucial for stealthy approaches. Fortunately, many excellent hunting boots in the two to three-hundred-dollar range meet all these criteria.

Before delving into specific boot recommendations, I'd like to offer a disclaimer. The boots I'll discuss typically won't have the same longevity as more expensive options from brands like Kenetrek, Crispi, Lowa, Schnees, etc. Once broken in, these premium boots are exceptionally comfortable and can last many hunters for years. They are the go-to choice for many serious hunters and will always have a place in their gear arsenal. However, for this article, I'll focus on boots that provide excellent value for elk hunters seeking quality without breaking the bank. These options allow hunters to allocate extra funds toward building the rest of their hunting kit.

Kenetrek Corrie 3.2

Just because I said you didn’t necessarily need a pair of mountain extremes didn’t mean I would leave Kenetrek out here. I have spent significant time in a pair of Corrie 3.2 Hikers in the past few seasons. These boots are very comfortable and don’t need much break-in time; they have a Windtex waterproof liner. An average pair weighs 3.5 pounds. I wore my Corrie hikers for literally hundreds of days between hunting, scouting, and work before they finally broke down.

Corrie II Hiker - Kenetrek Boots

Lowa Renegade GTX

For years, I have said I should buy a pair of Lowa Renegades before each season, throw them away the following summer, and buy another pair. I say this because they are such great boots and are so comfortable. Of course, I am being a little dramatic here as these boots will last several seasons of normal use for most hunters, mainly if they are used for just hunting. I tend to wear boots, which I love a lot, for everyday use, and my work environment isn’t great for the longevity of clothing and boots. The Renegade GTX, in my experience, is excellent out of the box, has a gore-tex waterproof liner, and has an average weight of under 2.5 pounds. They are very comfortable and provide me with all the support I need.

Renegade GTX Mid | LOWA Boots USA

Lacrosse Ursa ES GTX

I spent nearly all of the 2023 bow season wearing a pair of Lacrosse Ursa MS boots, and I liked that boot, so when they released the new Ursa ES GTX this spring, I couldn’t wait to try them out. These boots are unique in that they are on the top end of the height. I like them being 8” tall, but they are incredibly light for a boot that tall, weighing in at 2.5 pounds. They also have a gore-tex liner and are very streamlined, and feet more like a shoe than they do an 8” boot yet they provide plenty of support with a great lacing system. I have been wearing them all spring on my hikes, and I honestly can’t wait to wear them this fall.

LaCrosse Footwear - Ursa ES GTX Brown/Gold


Crispi Summit II GTX

Ok, these boots are a little more expensive, coming in at $350, but they are worth mentioning. (Side note: You can quite often find Crispi and other boots on sale at I haven’t worn a pair of the Summit II boots, but I have a pair of the original Summit boots, which are incredible. This boot is also an 8” and weighs an average of 3 pounds a pair. They have a gore-tex liner and, like all Crispi I have owned, have a great out-of-the-box feel that doesn’t need much break-in.

Turkey Season Hunting Boots | Crispi ® Summit II GTX | Crispi Hunting Boots (

La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX

I’ve owned several pairs of La Sportiva boots and have liked them all over the years. I haven’t tried the Trango Tech GTX boots yet, but I hear great things from some guys who put serious miles on their boots. Like most others, they have a gore-tex liner and weigh around 2.5 pounds a pair. These boots have a cult following among those who use them and are worth a look if you want to try a boot that isn’t as mainstream in our industry but is still an excellent option for a decent price.

La Sportiva Trango Tech GTX Mountaineering Boot (

Of course, this is just a short list of many of the great boots out there. If you are a new elk hunter just getting set up or a seasoned hunter looking for something new, I strongly recommend trying a lighter, more streamlined option for your early-season hunts. Some may find that they will still prefer a heavier option, but I would bet that with not many miles, many of you will find that you may have been “overbooting” for years.

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