Pairs of boots are like fishing rods, shotguns, warm socks, or any other piece of sporting gear. One just isn’t enough. If you are in the market for that second pair, consider making it a mud boot. In addition to keeping your feet warm and dry, they shed briars and reduce scent better than just about any other footwear. Here’s a look at the various styles to choose from.
As Johnny Cash lyrically asked, “How High’s the Water, Mama?” Well, if waterproof footwear is any indication, it ranges from ankle-height to over 18 inches. Short mud boots are fine for strolling across dewy lawns to pick up a newspaper or milk the cows. But if you are crossing the creek to a deer stand or tracking pigs through a South Georgia swamp, an over-the-calf version is your best choice.
Beyond a common need for waterproof footwear, the performance requirements of a still hunter in Florida are quite different from those of a late-season stand hunter in Pennsylvania. Only one of them is going to value an insulated mud boot. Insulating material ranges from neoprene to thermal foam, fleece, or some combination thereof. With plenty of options for both environments, thermal qualities vary widely. Carefully compare comfort ratings to find the pair that is right for you. And remember, too much insulation can be almost as bad as having too little.
Next-level mud boots are generally marketed as “snake boots” or “snake proof.” The tall, waterproof uppers offer an impenetrable layer of shielding against rattlesnake or moccasin bites. Many turkey hunters in the south won’t go afield without them. In truth, the likelihood of a snake bite is low, but wearing a quality pair of snake boots just gives the extra sense of security that allows you to stop worrying about creepy crawlies and focus on the hunt.