Gone are the days when rubber boots were some “mucking-around” rain boots that you’d use for all sorts of situations around the house. We live in an era when rubber boots are highly engineered and you can even go with snake boots or work rubber boots.
- What are rubber hunting boots? How are they made?
- What are the main types of rubber boots?
- What’s the anatomy of the rubber boots?
- What are the extra features that count?
- How to care for your rubber hunting boots?
- The last piece of advice
What are rubber hunting boots? How are they made?
If the traditional hunting boots are still the no.1 choice for many hunters out there, the rubber hunting boots stand out not only because they waterproof, long lasting an abrasion-resistant, but also because they’re scent-free. Going after your game without leaving a trace of smell is fundamental and the rubber hunting boots are definitely going to help you on that part.
Most of the all-purpose rubber boots are made of just one piece on the outside. The process of vulcanization is used for making the rubber boots. In the case of rubber hunting boots, the rubber is going to be treated with a curative substance that is afterwards mold into the accurate dimensions and shapes. The rubber is bonded so that it results just one solid unit. The process gives the scent-free and waterproof qualities of the rubber boots. The vulcanization is going to reduce the risk for chipping, fading and peeling, which happen to leather boots.
Some rubber boots aren’t made with the help of vulcanization, but with waterproof adhesives that are going to explain their reliability in wet conditions, nevertheless.
What are the main types of rubber boots?
You may have figured by now that there are two main types of rubber boots:
These rubber boots are highly versatile and you can use them for farming, ranching- practically any other situation when you need to have dry feet. Many all-purpose rubber boots are insulated and come in nice and attractive patterns.
Some boots may come with snake protection. You should get them if you’re going to walk through some tall grass or brush or wade through water. They’re going to protect you against snake bites as they feature collar-height shin guards.
The rubber boots for hunting are made from a combination of rubber and neoprene. They’re always waterproof and come in camo pattern or brown color so that your game doesn’t spot you. They ensure you a scent-free trail and come both insulated and uninsulated.
What’s the anatomy of the rubber boots?
The uppers of your hunting boots may be made of neoprene or rubber. The materials used for the uppers are going to play a big role when it comes to warmth, weight, durability and water-protection level. The upper cover your feet from the soles up. The tops are known as collars.
Natural rubber is going to resist water, acids, bases, alcohols and diluted-water solutions. It doesn’t handle petroleum or oil-based solvents. It’s highly resistant to punctures and cuts and provides amazing slip protection.
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber that resists chemicals, liquids and oils. It doesn’t handle punctures or abrasion as well as natural rubber. It’s insulating and lightweight and it’s common to present laminate finishes for more durability and water protection.
These parts are mostly added on the toes and around the Achilles tendon areas. They offer more stubbing and abrasion protection for tough terrains (rocky trails, riverbeds or muddy forest floors).
They form a stretchy section in the sides of the uppers, so that the boots work for various calf sizes. They ensure the breathability and flexibility of the boots. some rubber hunting boots may feature cinch buckles over the gussets for a more secure fit.
Linings are great for the rubber hunting boots as they give breathability. Mesh and fleece linings are quite common options, but it depends on the boots.
The rubber hunting boots soles are made of three elements: the insoles, the midsoles and the outsoles. The soles are the ones attached to the uppers through the waterproof adhesive or the vulcanization process.
- Insoles– They’re the ones touching and comforting your feet. Many models come with insoles that are easy to remove.
- Midsoles– they provide stability and spread the weight in an even way. They’re supposed to absorb shock too. Look for the boots with steel/fiberglass built-in shanks that give more stiffness and better support. Midsoles with steel shanks are a regular choice for the rubber hunting boots, protecting the arches as you climb your tree stand ladder
- Outsoles– they’re essential for your stability. Typically, they’re made from long lasting molded rubber and come with lugs or cleats on the bottoms for better traction. Various types of patterns are highly effective. Lugs are different in terms of size and it depends on the type of boots they’re on. Some better models of hunting boots come with self-cleaning outsoles that presents a special pattern on the bottom that is able to shed mud and debris when you’re flexing. This is going to improve your traction with every single step that you take.
Even though they’re not fundamental, some rubber hunting boots may come with zippers for easier use. If you’re looking for a secure and snug fit around your calves, you should look for rubber hunting boots that feature buckles.
What are the extra features that count?
Some extra features on your rubber hunting boots are going to make the difference when you’re out there after your game. Even if they’re not mandatory, they can surely win you some time or add a bit of comfort.
Insulated or not?
You should definitely look for the insulated rubber hunting boots if you’re going to hunt in cold temperatures.
Just to give you a heads up, insulation is measured by neoprene thickness (3 to 8mm) or by the weight of Thinsulate (400 to 2,000grams) which is included into the lining. Even if it’s not very cold outside, standing in cold water for a long time is going to get you cold for sure. You should consider insulated rubber hunting boots that keep you warm from -40F degree to 50F degree.
It’s quite obvious that you should get uninsulated rubber boots when you’re going to hunt in warmer weather.
It’s not mandatory, but rubber hunting boots that come in camo are going to help you hide into surroundings a lot easier.
Not all rubber boots are designed the same way. For instance, you can find models that are made for keeping your feet in place for more comfort and better ankle support. This sort of design is also going to help your boots not to get sucked off your feet in bogs or aggressive mud.
One tricky part about the rubber hunting boots is taking them off. Some boots come with heel kicks built in the lower heel area so that you may easier dislodge the heel. Long story short, taking your rubber boots off is going to be a lot easier.
The shaft lengths
In order to offer better leg protection, some rubber hunting boots are made in heel-to-collar heights ranging from 6” to 18”.
Many rubber hunting boots are going to come with steel toes for better protection in dangerous fields of work (ranching, farming or mining).
How to care for your rubber hunting boots?
Even if you get yourself some high quality rubber hunting boots, they’re still going to wear out eventually (especially when you have no mercy on them or don’t care for them properly).
No matter the reasons, here are some signs that should warn you that is time to get a new pair of rubber hunting boots:
- You get blisters in places you didn’t used to
- The soles are smooth; the lugs no longer exist nor ensure efficient traction
- The linings look worn and have holes in them
- The water starts to seep in and you cannot fix it with a patch kit. The rubber may have cracked or the seams are slowly unsealing
- Being able to get your rubber boots a lot easier than before is never a good news. It’s in fact a sign that they’re wearing off.
The last piece of advice
You can definitely help your rubber hunting boots last longer and feeling more comfortable in them. Staying away from 100% cotton socks (that soak in moisture) and start using some wool or wool blend socks is just one of the things you can do for your comfort when wearing the rubber boots. As long as you’re determined to use them, you’re going to learn (the easy or the hard way, it’s up to you) about everything you need to know when using rubber hunting boots.