August 04, 2014
Deer hunters sure have it easy. A short walk to a tree stand, a few hours of sitting in a comfortable blind followed by a chip shot at a buck feeding in a bean field. Bird hunters? Not so much. Pheasants, grouse and chukars don't come to us — we have to find them. That usually means mile upon mile of plodding over steep, rocky slopes, endless prairies or the damp woods of a New England forest.
Getting to those birds requires footwear that can stand up to the punishment that comes with a typical upland hunt. It has to be light, tough, waterproof and it has to protect us from blisters and twisted ankles. A good pair of upland hunting boots also has to last a few seasons.
Thankfully, boot makers are hunters, too. They know what bird hunters need from a boot and they put careful thought into the features that help us find more birds.
Browning | Featherweight 8-Inch
name doesn't just stand for quality guns. It also means high-quality footwear that is as reliable and durable as the guns that carry the same logo. Browning's Fetherweight 8-inch Moc Toe boots
aren't just tough; they're super light, weighing just 34 ounces.
They are also breathable and waterproof, thanks to the patented Scubaliner lining. Other features include a removable EVA footbed, a Vibram Gumlite outsole and Cordura panels to cut down on weight.
Cabela's | Instinct Prairie Runner BOA
If it carries the Cabela's
label, you know it's a quality product. The Prairie Runner BOA
is no exception. The uppers are made with tough leather and nylon mesh and come with the BOA lacing system, which easily allows you to adjust the lacing and prevent the boots from untying as you chase birds.
These boots weigh just 3.2 pounds and include Gore-Tex waterproofing to keep your feet dry in all conditions. A mesh lining wicks away moisture for even more comfort afield. The cushiony TC3 foot beds are paired with Ortholite insoles. The Prairie Runners are 7.5 inches high.
Chippewa | Mahogany Upland Snake
Southern and southwestern quail country is also venomous snake country. Rattlers, cottonmouths and copperheads can punch through a pair of jeans, but they can't pierce Chippewa's 17-inch high Viper Cloth nylon uppers and tough leather lowers
They come with Vibram Gumlite soles and 5 Iron Texon insoles. They aren't just functional, though. These boots are fashionable. They come with an antique brass non-tarnishable buckle across the ankle and zipper at the top of the boot. You'll not only hunt like a gentleman, you'll look like one, too.
Chippewa | Upland
Walking in a pair of Chippewa Upland boots
isn't quite like walking on pillows, but it's pretty close. Thanks to patented removable Bontex insoles and iron rubber midsoles, you'll walk all day and still be ready to chase more birds.
The uppers are constructed of tough nylon, tougher bison leather and a sharkskin toe that stands up to the toughest conditions you could face. You'll stay dry, too, thanks to the Chip-A-Tex waterproof, breathable lining. Dri-Lex lining also helps wick away moisture. The 8-inch boots weigh about 5 pounds. The Chippewa Upland is also available with a 6-inch upper.
Danner | Pronghorn
A longtime leader in rugged and dependable hunting boots, Danner
is reintroducing one of its most popular lines of boots. Although the Pronghorn
isn't specifically made for upland hunters, it is built to withstand the punishment hardcore bird hunters dish out just the same.
It comes with a leather heel and toe and 1,000 Denier nylon panels to cut down on weight. The 8-inch boots are breathable and waterproof, thanks to a Gore-Tex liner. The Ortholite open cell footbed ensures all-day comfort, too. Each pair weighs 4 pounds, 7 ounces and is available in five camo patterns as well as solid brown.
Irish Setter | Havoc
These aren't your father's Irish Setters
— they're better. By utilizing advances in technology and implementing a Gore-Tex liner, the Havoc 7-inch
will keep your feet dry no matter where you hunt upland birds. The Havoc 7-inch has built-in features that ensure maximum comfort from the first mile to the last.
Irish Setters' CuShin system includes padding around the top of the boot to reduce the pressure some hunters feel on their shin when they walk. The all-leather boot is attached to a polyurethane footbed and an UltraFlex big game sole for added comfort. The non-insulated boot weighs 3 pounds, 4 ounces and is available in 7- and 9-inch lace-ups and 10-inch side zipper options.
Irish Setter | Wingshooter
Our fathers and grandfathers knew a thing or two about bird hunting. Not only did they know where to find a covey of quail, they knew a pair of Irish Setter Wingshooters
would help them get there. It's no wonder Wingshooters have been around for 60 years. They are solid, comfortable, no-nonsense boots that have stood the test of time.
Today's Wingshooters still have the classic look of the tan sole and brown leather, but they are built with 400-gram Thinsulate Ultra for those cold days in the field. Additionally, Irish Setter's Ultra Dry waterproofing system keeps your feet dry and comfortable. The Wingshooter's are available in 7 and 9-inch uppers.
Rocky | Outback
is one of the most popular boots in the hunting industry for a reason: They offer high-quality products at an affordable price. What more could a hunter want? Rocky's Outback
boot isn't upland specific, but thanks to the breathable, waterproof Gore-Tex liner it's perfect for chasing birds in the arid southwest or the damp grouse woods of Minnesota.
The tongue and collar are padded, the entire upper is made from full-grain leather and the inside includes Rocky's padded polyurethane Air-Port insole for all-day comfort. The Outback is as stylish as it is practical.
Under Armour | Speed Freek
Weighing less than 3 pounds, Under Armour's Speed Freek
hunting boot lives up to the name, allowing you to hightail it up steep slopes and across wide-open spaces in pursuit of your favorite game. Modeled after UA's own running shoe design, these boots have a slimmer athletic cut for faster walking in rugged terrain.
The 8-inch uppers are a combination of super-tough suede and nylon and the Ortholite sock liner is designed with memory foam for the ultimate in comfort. The Speed Freek's also include UA's patented scent-control technology, allowing you the freedom to hunt scent-wary big game.
Wood N' Stream | Kangaroo
You'll be hopping over rocks and streams and other obstacles when you wear Wood N' Stream's Kangaroo
boots. Maybe not, but at just 22 ounces per pair (yes, 11 ounces per boot!), you'll feel like you can bounce up and down mountains and across the Great Plains in pursuit of your favorite game bird.
These non-insulated boots are made from soft, durable kangaroo leather and come with a reinforced toe and Vibram lug sole. They include a leather liner and a dual-density polyurethane insole. Wood N' Stream's Kangaroo boots are available in loden green and are water resistant.