Contributors to this thread:
First, sorry if this is a double post...computer crash.
I have always lived and hunted out west. I got my boots based on comfort and support. They worked well for spot and stalk and chasing bugles.
Now to my issue, last year I moved to VA for work and naturally started looking for hunting opportunity. Now with one year under my belt I am getting more and better gear for stand hunting. I was very cold in the stand last year especially my feet. The areas I hunt are damp but nothing a Gore-Tex boot can't handle. However, it seems that most whitetail guys have/wear rubber boots.
I am looking at a pair of Lacrosse 800 gram insulated hunting boots. Before I spend more money, are rubber boots a real benefit? Will they be warm enough in Nov-Feb? Will they be too warm in late Sept-Oct?
Thanks for the help. I am really getting excited for my first full season and I am seeing a bunch of deer at my stand locations.
I got a new pair of Lacrosse boots like you mentioned, I don't recall the insulation rating , but they are so comfy . mine have a snitch strap just behind the calf. And as for gortex , I have to many failures of that stuff. I think I have a pic of them
Great boots for that purpose
Buy big enough for extra socks, and use poly-pro liners and quality wool. Makes a big difference, as does a thick sole insert.
Forget the rubber boots- biggest myth in deer hunting. They do absolutely nothing to mask your scent. Rubber boots are good for three things: 1-Wading in water or extremely wet grass. 2-Slipping off tree steps. 3-keeping your feet damp and therefore cold.
It is not what you have on your feet that deer smell, it is what you have on your boots. Keep your footwear clean and it doesn't matter what you wear.For the past ten years, I have hunted in tennis shoes 90% of the time, never had a deer smell where I put my feet. Usually, it is where you put your hands that tips them off. Wear whatever keeps your feet warm-leather is just fine. Just keep that footwear clean.
Here is a tip. I keep my tennis shoes "clean" by using them only for two things-wading streams and hunting.As soon as I get out of a stream, I sun dry them and put them in an odor-free plastic, sealed tub. I then, put them on when I park to go to the woods. Treat your hunting footwear the same way. Don't wear your hunting boots to mow the grass or gas up the boat.
Forget the rubber boot myth-it was invented by a boot manufacturer...probably the largest one, although, they won't admit it. Hunters bought into it just as they did, "Never pee in woods. Take a pee bottle."
Of course, that is just my opinion and I have only been hunting and studying deer for 63-years. What do I know?
Nothing worse than a wet boot and sweating feet. I wear an 800 gram alpha burly, they work well till late Nov here in MA but the socks are just as important. I like the heavy weight REI merino wool usually I start wearing the heavier wool when the temps dip down into the 30s and 40s.
I agree with Bowriter, both inside and out boots need to be clean no matter what you wear. I wash my rubber boots numerous times during the season and have a boot dryer. Rubber boots get real stinky as the season wears on, atleast mine do. The boot dryer helps remove the moisture and it helps dampen the smell.
If both boots are equally clean, I do believe that a leather boot breaths more than a rubber boot and will leave more scent but I doubt it matters much with a deers nose. I just like having the waterproof boot on when I walk through a dew filled field.
Rubber boots are your best choice. The rubber repels anything it comes in contact with on outside of the boot. Leather absorbs and will smell of items you come in contact with that you wish you hadn't. Those 800 gram rubber boots will do you fine. I do the same as xman, wash the insides frequently and use baking soda between hunts.
I use this style because I hunt primarily mornings, and cant stand the dew soaking my legs, these are not " Rubber Boots" they are very good insulated hunting boot. And the material is way softer then a stiff rubber, excellent fit, and I second getting a size up for room to wear a thick sock if u r up north.
I have two pair of Muck boots. One is insulated, the other for early season isn't. I bought the insulated pair a size larger to add wool socks. Both pair are very comfy, and my feet stay warm with the insulated pair.
rubber boots are by far, NOT the biggest myth in deer hunting. How can somebody who has studied deer for 63 years recommend tennis shoes? Rubber boots, if kept clean do keep deer from smelling your entry and exit. They also will keep your feet warmer and dryer than tennis shoes. i'd go with a pair of rubber boots and I only have 38 years of deer hunting experience.
I ended up ordering a pair of the alphabury Lacrosse boots (800 grn). I guess I will see. The other day hiking in to check trail camera my pants were soaked to the knee. If nothing else dry boots and pants will be nice. Thanks for all the advice and info.
Good luck to everybody this season
I agree 100% with bowriter. I walked down a trail not touching a single branch and was wearing rubber boots. I had a beagle follow me all the way to my stand after I got in. When the beagle left I started seeing deer walk up the path I just walked on. They could have cared less about my boot scent. How many times have you put up a cam with non hunting clothes and had deer come by it a few hours later with no worries? I also don't like rubber boots for cold weather as the rubber gets real cold. I like insulated type hiking boots. Scent free rubber boots sure are a myth. By the way, what smells like rubber in the woods? I like them for snow or crossing swamps and streams but that's it. Coincidentally those deer that cared less about my boots were in Virginia.
"How can somebody who has studied deer for 63 years recommend tennis shoes? Rubber boots, if kept clean do keep deer from smelling your entry and exit."
Simple 1booner, I never had any of the 400+ deer I have killed smell where I put my feet, no matter what I was wearing. When the conditions are wet, I wear a 12-year old pair of Muck boots. When it is cold, I wear insulated leather boots or pacs. Otherwise, I wear a tennis type hiking boot or sometimes moccasins. I don't believe the deer care.
The only myth I can think of that is close to that, is the moon and rut nonsense.
"I ended up ordering a pair of the alphabury Lacrosse boots (800 grn)."
Excellent choice. Exactly what I wear. They fit great and stick to your feet like glue, which is critical with a rubber boot.
Check out lacrosse aerohead boots. Awesome boot should take care of everything u need.
Deer that I hunt care. I have had deer not only smell my extremely clean rubber boots, leather boots, and yes tennis shoes instantly when they come across my trail but they know instantly which direction I have traveled and will look that direction too see if they can spot danger.
Sometimes it is true that they don't seem to care about scents they come in contact with for only reasons a deer would know and sometimes it will put them on full alert. I guess it would depend on a lot of factors that could be debated to no avail.
I try not to touch any brush and not step on the trails I intend to hunt. If you practice this and become very good at it then it may be possible to not get busted. But not all the time. "Never" is a big word.
Mine are great, they have had several trips out so far, they are so comfortable , If they hold up to were I may just get a spare pare and save them in a vaccume bag. 5/5 for me.
I'm a big rubber boot guy and am very hard on them. I normally wear out a pair of rubber boots before bow season is over and have to purchase a new pair for shed season which I will also wear out by the end of that. With that being said, I also bought the Alpha 800's this year as they look to have the thickest rubber that won't tear or get punctured.
The rubber boot myth is alive. I do not and will not hunt in rubber boots and I hunt Florida. I will were normal hunting boots were it is dry and never had a deer spook that smelled me. If I am in a wet area I will were what we call snake boots, they are tall and water proof. I prefer the lace up ones. If the grass is wet ware gators or leggings and take off once you reach hunt area.
For cold weather I like the alpha burly pro 1600 gram, watch online I bought mine 25% off with free shipping.
Don't know about all the myth stuff, I just wear rubber boots because the places I hunt I often have to walk through water to get to them. I've even been known to wear neoprene chest waders when hunting.
For me, the lacrosse 800gms work okay for early season and when tracking game, but for late season, especially when sitting for long periods in cold weather, I prefer my heavier kamiks with removable liners.
I have a couple boot dryers and when I come in from hunting I put my boots on them to dry out any moisture that has accumulated from sweat. The kamiks have removable liners. I have 2 sets of liners for them and I simply change them out between hunts and let the other pair dry out.
Great choice! When it gets real cold just throw some toe warmers between your socks and you won't have to worry. Stick with the rubber boots!!!
I certainly haven't put 63 years into deer/bow hunting like bowriter, closer to 25. With that said I would respectfully disagree with two of his assessments. First, I observed on two separate occasions in my first few years of hunting were deer stoping, sniffing, and turning away from where I had walked to my stand. At that time I was wearing some decent leather boots. After it happened the second time and I went and bought a nice pair of lacrosse. I'm not saying it hasn't happened since. I just haven't seen since changing boots. 20° is an extremely cold day in Okla so with the right socks my feet stay warm. Second is the pee bottle. Not knowing what most everyone eats or drinks before the hunt, I would think some if not all of this urine would bring an odor that's not common to the woods. Even when hunting with the wind, the smell on the ground could swirl. Why take that chance when a Gatorade bottle is so convenient? Please feel free to critique me as I have been known to be wrong many times in my life.
I thought the biggest myth in deer hunting was that outdoor writers know what the hell they're talking about! :)
I hate rubber boots. I really do. But, they do keep your feet dry in west grass and water. However, they'll sweat you to death too. I found my compromise with Muck Boots.
If you are a guy that gets sweaty feet, you might find the 800 grams of insulation as over Kill. I use 400. I add toe warmers if need be. But, in reality, I rarely set that long once the weather gets cold. Cold equals rut. My butt ain't getting glued to a seat when the bucks are dumbing around through the woods. Good luck and God Bless
I don't care if you have been hunting 168 years, if you don't think deer can smell where you put your feet/the trail you walk in on - you haven't learned much....
I love my Muck boots. I wouldn't hunt east TX without them.....
Biggest myth IS that Outdoor Writers know what they're talking about KJC...and I are one, myself!!!!!
I've seen it both ways. On outdoor writers and rubber boots.
Last year, a trespassing jogger ran under the tree a boy and I were in. After losing part of her tush to some language I was actually pretty proud, she took off running....down the trail we were watching!
20 minutes later a nice buck came through put his nose down on the trail, kinda melted, turned and shuffled back in the direction from which he'd just came..
And, like John said, I've had them follow along my trail when n bird hunting boots and they showed no reaction.
You guys ever use a creek or stream to mask your entry and exit routes? I've had a few set ups through the years that I would walk up a small stream to get to my stand. It works really good to cover your scent trail.
I agree with Bowriter that it does not matter what you wear on your feet. I too wear rubber boots most of the time. But in early season I wear un-insulated hikers.
An interesting note. I had a doe come perpendicular upon my entry trail. Her nose went to my track, she jumped OVER the track like jumping creek and continued on.
Then again, one time I had a 118" 10 pnt walk the very same trail shortly after I did going to my stand.
I do not think it is the footwear, but what you may have "stepped" in.
Even though I wear rubber boots I won't hesitate to step in a cow paddy on my to the stand.
I finally gave up on rubber boots last year. I just couldn't keep my feet warm in them. And I have Lacrosse with 1200 grams insulation. But I also sweat, and most of my stands are at least a half mile walk.
I tried taking dry socks and changing socks when in the stand. I tried toe warmers in the rubber boots. Feet still got cold when the temps got under 20 degrees or so
I used Arctic Shield boot blankets last year, and wore uninsulated or lightly insulated boots with boot blankets. I didn't have a single problem last year with cold feet.
You need uninsulated boots for the early season when it is warm and insulated boots for later in the season when it gets cold. Chemical toe warmers help on colder days. Get a size that will permit you to wear a double pair of wool socks.
If you put antiperspirant on your feet it will help cut down the amount of moisture inside your boots. This will keep your feet warmer.
My feet dont get cold in SC, unless I forgo my rubber boots and feet get wet.
Well I disagree with some of the people here. I think changing to rubber boots is one of the best things I have done for my hunting game. I had seen several deer catch my scent when crossing my path I entered on prior to using rubber boots. I have seen many deer come in on the same path I came in on since I switched to rubber boots.
I agree your feet will freeze in them when its cold out. I've tried socks and insulated liners but all that does is delay things if you are sitting still. I think not breathing has something to do with it. I believe the only thing that would work is either electric socks or those heated insoles that are so expensive. I have tried the kind that you shake up like the hand warmers. They really work for a while but you'll need to change them on extended sits.. A few times I've taken my rubber boots boots off when I got in the tree and just gone with the heavy goretex boot liners with teh shake up heating insoles and that worked pretty good.
I didn't think it as needed to wear rubber boots till I saw a buck about jump out of his skin when he smelled the ground where I had walked a few hours earlier. I now have a pair that have never been worn anywhere but to and from the stand and I change in and out of them at the truck. I just wear really good socks and use the toe warmers chemical reaction packs. Feet still get cold as hell but no frostbite and I'm sure it's a whole lot colder in Colorado than Virginia, although the damp cold there is harder for me to take. Coldest showers I've ever had in my life were on a carrier docked there. Come out blue!
Try Alpaca boot liners and a thick pair of Alpaca socks instead of the wool and moisture should not be a problem.
You guys ever use a creek or stream to mask your entry and exit routes? I've had a few set ups through the years that I would walk up a small stream to get to my stand. It works really good to cover your scent trail.
Yes all the time. The wind and water current help direct scent downstream typically, and its a great cover for noise. Besides that all the other wildlife you see, plus who can't resist watching a creek, stream all day while in stand?
I have even had fish surfacing, beaver working etc. really close to the stand.
Deer aren't always gentle about crossing and they alert you with splash, splash, SPLASH!!! Especially during the rut.
I use Lacrosse boots and/or waders that I strip off once done crossing and stash under a fallen tree.
My feet sweat heavy. If your feet sweat at all don't count on rubber boots. Zero breathability = clammy and wet = cold.
I have worn nothing but rubber boots for whitetail hunting since the '80s. Great performance and no issues. I wore Lacrosse rubber boots on my recent 15 day AK moose hunt and they were perfect for me. Dry feet every day. Stream crossings and wet vegetation or terrain were no issue. I hunted in them and I packed heavy meat loads in them. I own some pretty good boots (Lowa, Zamberlan, etc) but they get about one twentieth the amount of use as my rubber boots in a year.
I'm on my third pair of muck boots and I love them. I wear them the entire season. My feet used to get a little cold in the late season but since then I have upgraded my clothing and my feet stay warmer because of it. I cannot remember the last time a deer cut my track while hunting.
I agree, there is a place for them. But if it's not wet. I'm not wearing them. They suck when cold.
Rubber boots are good to retain odors while walking to the stand. I am doubting this theory since I got ''scent busted'' by a doe this year. Like everybody in this forum, my feet sweat and gets cold. So I use these chemical warmers (hot paws). It did not take too long before I was able to smell the rubber of my boots. The boots act like a chimney and the heat seems to spread the smell from the chemical reaction and the feet everywhere. I'm whiling to give a try with the leather ones next year and keep my feet warm without the hot paws.
Cheesehead Mike's Link
I use and love Lacrosse Burly boots with the airbob sole. I sometimes have swamps or creeks to deal with and/or tall grass wet with dew, even snow sometimes.
For Adirondack tracking (rifle) hunts, creeks, swamps and snow are the norm rather than the exception. I prefer the airbob sole as it provides better all-around traction than any other sole I have used. I also prefer the foam insulation over the Thinsulate. I have owned both and , for me, the foam insulated models keep my feet warmer and for a longer period. I buy wool insoles and wear 2-3 pairs of socks. The socks are a normal sock, a light weight wool one and a heavier wool sock.
I likely own 5 pairs of these boots and even have a new pair still in the box in case Lacrosse does something crazy and discontinues them! :)
I've only hunted 44 years so my opinions might not matter...
I wonder how many articles we've all read over the years wear the writers/authors told us we had to wear rubber boots while bowhunting...?
400 deer didn't smell your feet but what about the other 800 that did? Lol!
I used to buy into the rubber boot myth but I'm not so sure anymore. However I certainly wouldn't make any absolute statements about rubber boots vs. leather boots vs. tennis shoes.
I sometimes wear leather or leather/cordura boots and I sometimes wear rubber boots. It depends on where I'm hunting and the conditions; scent is not the main reason.
I have 2 pairs of Muck boots that I wear a lot and an older pair of 1200 gram Lacrosse Alpha Burley side zip but the rubber cracked in numerous spots. I patched them up but I don't wear them nearly as much as the Muck boots. Mucks are lighter, warmer and more comfortable.
I try not to walk too far in my rubber boots because my feet get too hot and sweat. On long hikes to my stand the Muck boots are light enough that I sometimes strap them to my pack and wear a lighter hiking boot on the walk in and then change at or near my stand. I sometimes change socks too. Climbing into your stand with dry boots and socks will go long ways toward warm feet.
Another suggestion that Bake mentioned above is the Arctic Shield boot covers. I have an old pair that I wear a lot and I'm about due for some new ones. They're very light weight so packing them along is not an issue. Check out my link for the Arctic Shields.
There are also the larger bulkier versions known as Icebreaker Boot Blankets which I own too but I use the ones at my link much more.
Xman and Bowwritter nailed it.
I wear rubber boots so I can handle wet areas and because my Muck's (woody max) are darn warm. That said, the key in my experience, is wearing a thin (running or cycling style) merino wool sock, then wearing an alpaca sock over it. alpaca, supposedly, is 3X warmer than wool but just as warm when wet. So even if you sweat a bit, you stay really warm.
It's worth investigating.
Rubber does not breath. The result of that is your feet sweat and when they sweat, they become damp and then cold. I have two pair; one is 400 gram and one is 800 gram. OK for early seasons but defiantly not for use when the temps drop way low. Most of the guys I see wearing them are those southern guys. Not for my kind of hunting.
Two factors associated with cold feet while stand hunting are the lack of motion and having your feet on a metal stand.
You can't do much about needing to be still, but you can improve where you put your feet. I attach a piece of plywood to my metal stands; it helps quite a bit to keep your feet warm(er).
For the record, I wear rubber boots with a wool sock over a thin nylon sock when it gets cold.
well I am kind of like cheesehead,,,,,, except, my feet do not sweat much, and muck boots are too warm...
I live in my Lacrosse Aeroheads 3.5mm they are perfect for me, with wet conditions. however cutting country and climbing stands I prefer a good boot, and 600 grams is about right for a long way into the season....
Mike said it best, dry socks are the key,,, I always carry extra, I like a lite polypropolene and then my smartwool socks, I have tried others, but keep coming back to smartwools
I'm bringing this back up to ask opinion on non insulate rubber boots. I have a pair I have worn forever and I just can't squeeze another season out of them.
As an aside....if rubber provides zero scent masking, how come pretty much any trapper uses rubber gloves?
I use rubber boots primarily because of the tall wet grass and I have to cross creeks often. At least the boots don't cost as much as scent-loc products. :)
I also need to invest in some arctic shield blankets. Thanks for the reminder! Those rubber boots get COLD when weather gets below 35 degrees. Even with the higher (800 and up) insulation properties and layered socks.
Can't beat 3 eyelet LaX Rubber....$70. add a felt liner and your set
The Arctic Shield boot blankets work great. One tip that I think helps is to put them on as soon as you get in the stand vs waiting to put them on after your feet start to get cold. I also throw a toe warmer in each one for good measure.
Thats the ticket T-roy! I am fond of mine.
Bowfreak, exactly! Rubber boots and gloves are what a successful trapper depends on. Canines olfactory system is far more sensitive than deer's. I think a lot of these opinions can be handed to the saying "out of sight, out of mind" or "what you don't know won't hurt you".
If you never see the deer bust your trail, you've never been busted right?
I love my Muck WoodyMax, but the Lacrosse boots you are looking at OP should do the job well. Regardless, I can not suggest enough that you get a good set of liner socks, poly or silk or merino wool... then get yourself a pair of Alpaca socks. (Amazon/Google/ better, a local farm who makes em) I dont know if this stat is true, but after wearing Alpaca for a year and feeling like my feet were way warmer during the cold North Eastern sits in the deer woods (like 0-20 degrees), I looked into Alpaca more. Supposedly it's 3X warmer than wool, but just like wool, it stays warm when wet. So, if you sweat a bit on the way in or what not, your feet will stay warm. Cant suggest them enough.
Baffin Trappers and wool socks work for me during the ND fall and winter.
Will, I picked up a few pair of alpaca socks. They are noticeably warm, though I have not had the chance to wear them in cold temps.
Not a thing wrong with rubber boots, leather boots or gym shoes as long as you keep them clean dry as possible and rotate every few days,
The best tip I can give is to use the " wicking " type sock liners and the better grade socks to keep your feet dry as possible . Since my feet sweat like a moistening hose I have found the liners and wool socks (changed daily) to be the foundation to keeping my feet warm.
Question about the Arric shield covers... if I wear a size 12 boot, what size do you think I should go with? On that note, my wife wears size 8 in women's... thoughts on that as well. Thanks
Rubber doesn't breath.....hence, wet feet....which equals cold feet.
It's obvious that not everyone's feet will sweat the same or get as cold as anothers. My LaCrosse have worked well for me. Gene
I started wearing rubber boots as a fox trapper many years ago, as that's what all the 'experts' recommended to keep as much of your scent away from the set as possible. Like some of those commenting above, i have witnessed deer stop in their tracks and go the other way when they hit my leather boot trail, and I have seen them cross my trail without noticing when I'm wearing rubber boots. Ideally you would know which direction the deer are most likely coming from and don't lay a trail they will cross. Certainly not foolproof, but my 55 years of experience trapping and hunting say that rubber boots help a lot, especially if you cross a stream on way to your stand. When its cold out I wear insulated rubber boots and my feet stay warm.....but i'm not a particularly sweaty footed guy. It stands to reason, if your boot is a non-porous material that has just been rinsed in a creek, it won't carry as much scent as a porous boot material, and unlike the rest of your body and clothing, your boots are in constant contact with the terrain.
Use scent free deodarent to keep feet from sweating. Thus drier and warmer
I guarantee you're leaving more scent with tennis shoes than with rubber boots. Believe it or not but I read it on the Bowsite.
I've had every hunt ruined in the southeast with ALL footwear,no matter the type.Conversely in the Midwest just a couple.So, I shade towards rubber boots but wear leather in a lot of instances especially if I'm hanging out in a locust or Osage tree
While on the rubber boot issue...over the years I have been very happy with LaCrosse. But in the last two years I ordered a pair of their hip boots and a pair of their basic Grange boot. I had to send both back due to poor workmanship....and i'm not that picky. The hip boots had virtually no foot support built into the boot and the Grange boots had small holes in various locations throughout the boot , and appeared to be a cheap ultralight version of the Grange boot I have relied for more years than I care to admit. Anyone else out their notice a dramatic decline in LaCrosse quality lately?
I noticed the drop in LaCrosse quality years ago. Unfortunately, I'm not real impressed with other offerings in the market either.
I wear Muck boots of some sort year-round. Probably have ten pairs;different weights and styles.Save three pair for hunting season(different insulations) and as they wear use them for work/around the farm.Not the most durable but the only brand I ever found that are comfortable for me.I had to wear steel-toed leather when I worked and they killed my feet.
I wear rubber boots for the simple reason that I can tuck my pants legs into them so the ticks can't get up the inside of my pants. Ticks are brutal on long Island.