The offseason is a great time to do a gear assessment for the upcoming season. Replace what’s old, broken, and more than likely buy something you don’t need, but found on sale.
Last year at this time I was in serious need of a new pair of hunting boots. The rubber boots I had been wearing were easily 13 years old and were less than insulated. I had done my due diligence before heading to the store and narrowed my selection to three brand options: Under Armour, Muck Boot Company, and Lacrosse. I ultimately decided to purchase a pair of Muck Boot Company Woody Max Muck Boots. After a full year afoot and in the field, here is my review on their overall performance.
- Fleece lining
- Stretch-fit top line binding snugs calf to keep warmth in and cold out
- 5 mm CR flex-foam bootie with four-way stretch nylon, 100% waterproof, lightweight and flexible
- 2mm thermal foam underlay added to the instep area for additional warmth
- EVA molded midsole with contoured footbed (internal)
- MS-1 molded outsole is rugged, aggressive and durable for maximum protection and stability
First and foremost I was looking for a boot that was comfortable and lightweight. Considering I was going to be in these boots for 12 hours a day during hunting season, they had to be extremely comfortable. The previous pair of rubber boots I had (to be fair the Muck Boots are a neoprene upper, not all rubber) were loose around the ankle and seemed to flop around when I walked. The Woody Max hugged my ankles and provided the stability similar to what you would get in a high top basketball shoe.This made for sure footing during my hikes to and from the stand, particularly over rocky and uneven terrain. The insole of the boot was very comfortable and felt as if they were an old favorite pair of boots from the moment I tried them on. The neoprene upper portion of the boot was not only comfortable but also provided convenience as I could roll down the boot to easily pull it on and off. One of the determining factors in making a purchase was how comfortably I could use my Lone Wolf climber tree stand with these boots. I’ve run into problems with the toe portion of boots being too large to comfortably fit into the slots for my feet when climbing. The Woody Max fit into the climber with ease and made climbing a cinch.
It seems like a no-brainer that a quality hunting boot should be waterproof. Muck Boot Company claims the Woody Max boot to be 100% waterproof. I’ve previously purchased other brands of hunting boots that made this claim, only to find out at an inopportune time that the claim was as accurate as a Ryan Leaf pass. I certainly put these boots to the test; sitting through multiple downpours (including one hurricane), hiking soggy ground, and crossing streams. No matter the weather conditions, the Woody Max boot kept my feet dry.
Like many hunters, I’m extremely hard on my boots. That said, I need a boot that can handle the abuse I tend to dish out. My hunting season and deer work runs 365 days a year, and these boots needed to be capable of handling not only rugged hunting terrain, but also the land management work (food plot work and timber cutting) that occurs during the colder portion of the offseason. The outsole of the boot is beefy (yet light) and provides great protection and stability. The tread is aggressive and grips well to all types of terrain.I had never had a boot with a neoprene upper and wasn’t sure how this portion of the boot would withstand the hikes through thickets and briars. I’m happy to say that my worry was only that, as the neoprene upper performed well with no rips or snags after a full season of abuse.
There is nothing worse, and nothing will ruin a hunt faster, than cold feet. I’m one of those people that no matter how many layers of socks I put on, my feet will still get cold. The Woody Max boot is rated for -40°F, which may be a little overkill for some. Truth be told, I never experienced temperatures near -40°. But these were effective in keeping my feet warm during hunts that were in the low 20s with only a boot liner sock and a good heavy hunting sock. I do most of my hunting in and around Pennsylvania where the temperatures can be rather cold. But for those from southern states, you may want to look at the Woody Sport Cool options or the Fieldblazer option that are better suited for warmer temperatures. I did have a few warmer hunts during the season that got near 65° and the Woody Max boots were a little too warm for those days.
I’m sure you can find cheaper boots, but I don’t know if you’ll find better boots. The price tag on these is pretty salty at $195 a pair. In my opinion, hunting gear is something you shouldn’t skimp on—particularly when it comes to keeping your feet warm, dry and comfortable. These boots should last a while so you should get your money’s worth out of them.
I can honestly say after wearing these boots for a full season, it’s unlikely I’ll wear a different brand of hunting boot. This boot in particular has sold me on Muck Boots. They are of great quality, they kept me warm and dry all season and are most comfortable boots I’ve ever put on. The price is a little steep, but in the end, you get what you pay for. And in this instance, it’s a quality hunting boot. If you’re looking for a great cold weather hunting boot, look no further. The Muck Boot Company Woody Max has got you covered.