I remember my first pair of duck boots. They had a cherry red waterproof area and leather uppers. I wore them in the snow and rain, and they were my favorite shoes.
It turns out that duck boots have been around for a long time. They’re efficient in wet weather because they encase your foot in thick rubber. Duck boots are visibly waterproof. Some of them have uppers that are more waterproof than others, but most are ideal for keeping your feet dry.
All duck boots don’t have similar features. They don’t all look like the traditional L.L. Bean model that was popular throughout the 1900s. Today, duck boots come in a variety of styles, colors, materials, and shapes. We’ve gone through the options to select the best duck boots so that you know exactly what you’re getting.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Choice: Sperry Saltwater Rain Boots
- Best Premium Product: Sorel Caribou Duck Boots
- Best Value Product: Polar Duck Boots
History of the Duck Boot
L.L. Bean is responsible for creating and marketing the original duck boot in 1911. Leon Leonwood Bean, the man who founded the company, was tired of returning from hunting trips with cold feet. He also realized that his hunting boots weren’t keeping his feet dry enough.
He got the idea to combine the completely waterproof bottom of a rain boot with a comfortable leather upper by looking at the types of boots that people wore at the time. Hunters wore leather boots, which were quiet and comfortable. Farmers wore rubber boots to keep out muck and rain.
Bean decided that the supreme hunting boot would include the best of both worlds. His shoes have rigid rubber bottoms that encase the foot entirely. The leather uppers are soft against the skin and move as you move.
The first batch of shoes sold quickly, but consumers returned 90 percent of them because of defects. Bean had allowed for this. He said that anyone who purchased the boot and wasn’t happy with it could return it for a full refund.
Bean added triple-stitching to connect the leather to the rubber. Doing this made them more durable and water-resistant. A split seam in the back goes around the Achilles to prevent blisters and chafing in that area.
The manufacturer added ridges on the top of the rubber bootie at this point. They help to scatter water so that it doesn’t pool on top of the shoe or soak into the leather.
Initially, people called the boots Maine hunting boots or Bean boots. They eventually earned the moniker “duck boots” because they allow you to immerse your feet in water and have veining that’s reminiscent of a duck’s webbed feet.
At first, duck boots were primarily utilitarian. Hunters, fishers, and other outdoors people wore them. Then, students at elite New England prep schools sported them with their preppy outfits. Duck boots became a fashion staple, and L.L. Bean was continually selling out of the product.
Today, you don’t have to worry about out-of-stock notices from L.L. Bean. You can find duck boots in a wide variety of designs from other retailers.
What to Look for in a Duck Boot
Duck boots should have a few characteristics that make them perfect for you. Here’s what to look for when buying duck boots.
They Should Fit Well
It goes without saying that your duck boots should fit you properly. Ill-fitting shoes can rub on your feet, creating blisters. They can also be painful to wear for long periods.
Before you decide what size to buy, think about how you’re going to wear duck boots. If you are using them in the snow, you might want to size up to accommodate thick socks. If you are sporting them in the summer, you might want a pair that fits more snugly.
What Climate Do You Live In?
Because they keep your feet dry, duck boots help you stay somewhat warm. Leather is breathable but slightly insulating. Traditional duck boots are ideal for many climates.
But your feet might get cold if you wear your duck boots in the snow. Many people opt to purchase lined duck boots for snowy, icy environments. Boots lined with shearling or faux fur add a layer of warmth. Thinsulate material can also insulate your feet from the cold.
If you buy insulated boots, though, you might not be able to wear them in the summer. Think about whether you need different pairs for each season, or you’ll just throw on some wool socks with your non-insulated boots in the winter.
What Style of Boot Do You Want?
If you are all about practicality and function, you might want the conventional pair of duck boots, which have navy rubber and brown leather uppers. However, you can get really fun with your fashion sense nowadays. Duck boots come in different prints and colors.
They also have a variety of closure options. Some lace up the front, while others have buckles. Laces are easy to use, but they can become untied in the middle of your adventure. The laces can also become wet and drag on the ground.
Buckles often allow for quicker access to the boots. You can adjust them like laces, but they’re made out of the same material of the upper and don’t get as soggy.
How to Style Duck Boots
Some people say that duck boots aren’t fashionable. If you have a preppy style, though, you might have an affinity for the shoes. Plus, trying to make it to work in a rainstorm while wearing loafers or dress shoes can leave you with soggy feet. Damp shoes with water stains aren’t comfortable or stylish.
You can wear duck boots with many types of casual wardrobes. They look great with jeans, canvas pants, khakis, and corduroys. Duck boots even go with business-casual trousers.
If it’s raining or snowing, you might want to tuck your pants into the boots. While this may not be the way that you usually dress, it protects the hems of your pants from soaking up water. If you don’t go that route, you can roll up the cuffs of your pants so that they don’t drag.
Duck boots come in both men’s and women’s styles. You can wear them with dresses, slacks, and skirts. When pairing them with dresses, duck boots look great with chunky socks. They’re also cute with leggings and a cable-knit sweater.
Benefits of Duck Boots
Why would you buy duck boots over a pair of hunting or rain boots? There are many advantages to these types of boots.
Since they were invented in the early 1900s, these boots have not gone out of style. They’ve been a staple of the preppy, outdoor lifestyle throughout the years.
Plus, duck boots are versatile when it comes to fashion and functionality. They go with just about every outfit. You can also wear them in every season and for a variety of activities. They’re comfortable enough for hiking and long walks, but you can wear them to run errands or go about your daily activities too.
The primary benefit might be that duck boots keep your feet dry. The rubber is impermeable. While most boots that contain leather or synthetic materials may be water-resistant, duck boots truly surround your foot with an impenetrable layer of dryness.
Read Also: Best Wading Boots
Best Duck Boots Reviews
1. Polar Women’s Mid-Calf Waterproof Boots
If you’re looking for a duck boot that doubles as a snow boot, you’ll find everything that you need at a low price. The completely synthetic material keeps water away from your feet. The rubber sole covers the entire foot and has non-slip treads underneath.
You won’t have to worry about slipping on wet surfaces. The deep lugs also allow you to walk on rocky surfaces without your feet shooting out from under you.
Plus, these boots are extremely warm. The quilted upper is insulated and hugs your ankle and calf. The furry lining also helps your skin stay cozy.
Because the tongue is attached to the upper along the vertical edges, it won’t allow any water or snow to enter. This is truly a waterproof boot.
While some boots can be large and clunky, these are streamlined and have a sleek profile. The D-ring lacing system lets you tighten the boots quickly. You can also loosen them easily so that you can slip them right off.
The 8-inch shafts are not too high, but they extend enough to keep your legs warm while walking through several inches of snow. You can wear them over or under the bottom of your pants.
The only problem that you might have with these shoes is with the sizing. The boots are somewhat short but wide. If you don’t have wide feet, you may slip around inside of the shoes, especially if you size up to accommodate your toes. You definitely have to try these on to determine how they’ll work for you.
- Excellent treads for snow
- Streamlined profile is not bulky or clunky
- No gaps under the laces for water to enter
- May run small
- Footbed is somewhat hard and not very cushioned
2. Polar Men’s Duck Waterproof Thermal Boots
These boots are the men’s version of the women’s boots that we reviewed above. They have the same 100%-rubber foot encasement and sole as the women’s boots. The synthetic upper is completely waterproof and doesn’t allow moisture to touch your skin. Plus, the premium materials are durable and should hold up to heavy use.
The shaft is taller than the one in the women’s boots. At 11 inches, it rises well above your ankle. However, it isn’t so high that it restricts your movement.
The boots are fully lined with faux fur. Some insulated boots only include the lining material to the bottom of the cuff. With these boots, the furry lining extends to the toes. The shoes will retain your body’s own heat. Moreover, the lining limits friction between the hard rubber and the tops of your feet.
The molded rubber sole and foot encasement have no gaps that might allow water to enter. Plus, the deep lugs underneath the shoe keep you steady in a wide variety of environments. You’ll get excellent traction in these boots, and slow and ice won’t slow you down.
Another feature that makes these boots convenient is quick-lacing technology. The bottom three eyelets are made of fixed steel. Two additional hook closures at the top are also made of steel. They’re durable and allow you to thread and adjust the laces quickly.
- Quick-tie laces help you get in and out of the shoes quickly
- Non-slip rubber grip allows you to navigate snow and ice
- Fully lined from collar to toe
- Roomy toe box
- Thick lining
- So warm that they might make feet sweaty
- Footbed may not be comfortable for long walks
3. Nike Men’s Lunar Force 1 Duck Boot
If you’re looking for something a little non-traditional, you might prefer these Nike duck boots. They look more like sneakers than boots, and they appeal to a sporty style. If your vibe is more urban than rustic, these might be the shoes for you.
These boots are similar to the Nike Air Force 1 sneakers. However, they have more cushioning in the footbed. They are also ideal for wearing for long hikes or walks in the rain and snow.
The sole is also lighter than previous versions. The Air-Sole units in the heel and toe give you cushioned comfort without the extra weight.
Even the outsole is lightweight, for all its rugged appearance. The beveled ribs provide adequate traction in slick conditions. Plenty of cutouts prevent the outsoles from being bulky.
These boots are water-resistant. They feature watershield technology that allows raindrops to roll off. However, if you soak the area with the laces, the water will seep into the interior and get your socks and feet wet. You might not want to wear these shoes in a heavy rainstorm or snowy areas.
The shoes feature large loops at the back of the collar and top of the tongue. These allow you to slide your feet in easily. They lace up through a system of secure eyelets. An adjustable strap at the ankle lets you get the snug fit that you need to keep out the elements.
Even though the front part of the shoe is tough and water-resistant, it’s not completely waterproof. Instead of being made of hard rubber, it’s constructed from the same material as the rest of the shoe. It does contain a diamond texture, which allows water to flow off of the front of the shoe.
These Nikes may be more comfortable than other styles of duck boots, but they’re not the most resistant to moisture. They’re better suited for people who are looking for shoes that are more durable than sneakers but more comfortable for walking than traditional duck boots.
These boots are also available for women.
- Lunarlon cushioning is ideal for long walks or hikes
- Large loops help you get the shoes on
- Significant traction that feels like a sneaker
- Decent ankle support
- Not completely waterproof
4. Sperry Saltwater Rain Boot
If you love the way that traditional Bean boots look, Sperry Saltwater rain boots are an excellent choice. They have the traditional rubber casing over the shoes and leather uppers. They also come in a variety of colors so that you can personalize them to your wardrobe.
The rubber on these boots comes up higher than the rubber on some duck boots. That’s a good thing because the leather is not entirely waterproof. The tongue isn’t attached to the opening where the laces are. Therefore, water and wind can seep into the front of the shoe.
The details on the boots are made to withstand moisture in several ways. The rawhide lacing doesn’t soak up water the way cotton might. The rustproof eyelets won’t’ degrade if they’re exposed to dampness.
You can adjust the laces as necessary to fit your feet perfectly, and you don’t have to retie them. These boots have a side zipper for natural on-and-off capabilities.
These shoes also have added warmth via a micro-fleece liner. Cushioning in the footbed lets you walk comfortably for miles.
The soles of these shoes feature a unique wave design that provides traction in slick conditions. Because the outsoles are tan, they won’t mark up your floors.
The 6.75-inch shaft covers your ankle for warmth and support. However, it’s not so tall that it will get in the way of your agility. You might want to choose a boot with a taller shaft if you’ll be wearing it in the snow.
- Side zipper makes it easy to get these boots on and off
- Light-colored outsoles won’t mark floors
- 75-inch shaft makes these boots versatile
- 1-inch heel gives you some lift
- Decent arch support
- Not completely waterproof
- Not designed to be winter snow boots
- Slightly heavy
5. Kamik Sienna 2 Women’s Boot
If you’d like a boot that’s a little more fashionable and rugged than the conventional Bean boot, look no further than these Kamik Sienna 2 women’s boots.
The upper is made of a combination of nubuck and fabric. The nubuck keeps your feet warm and dry, while the material offers cozy appeal. The fabric portion of the boots is reminiscent of a winter sweater and feels as cozy as it looks. These boots are ideal for walking in wet, cold weather.
The shell that covers your feet is made of synthetic RubberHe material. It’s lightweight and won’t make you drag your feet. The casing transitions into a tan outsole, which won’t mark light floors.
The tread on the outsoles is deep enough to support you on wet or dry surfaces throughout the cold season. It’s grippy and offers sufficient traction so that you can wear these boots anywhere.
Four eyelets and three D-rings make lacing up these boots easy and secure. The fabric laces are sturdy and unlikely to tear or fray.
Something that makes these boots particularly well-suited for winter is the Thinsulate lining. It keeps the warmth in and the cold out without added bulk. You may be surprised by how streamlined the profile of these boots is.
One of the problems with some insulated boots is that they trap moisture from sweat inside. These boots have a moisture-wicking fleece lining that keeps your feet dry. Plus, the interior is treated with antibacterial products to thwart bacterial growth that can make the boots stink.
The heel is taller than that of many duck boots. At 1.25 inches, it elongates the legs and makes these boots look especially fashionable. You can wear them to all of your winter parties.
- Thinsulate material is warm without the bulk
- Heel loop lets you pull the boots on easily
- Molded EVA insole is comfortable
- Practical and attractive
- Flexible material doesn’t limit your range of motion
- May run slightly small
- No side zippers
6. LaCrosse Men’s Uplander II 10-Inch Snow Boot
This snow boot keeps you warm and dry. It’s perfect for shoveling snow, hiking in cold weather, or going ice fishing. It looks like a traditional Bean boot but is extra durable.
The 10-inch shaft covers most of your calf, keeping you warm and dry. The snow won’t touch your skin. Even if the hems of your pants soak up cold water, they’ll lie against the shaft of the shoe so that they don’t get your socks cold and damp.
The upper is 100% full-grain leather, which resists tearing and punctures. The leather is already oiled to provide you with comfortable softness.
If you clean and condition these boots properly, they should last a long time. The leather will also become softer over time with proper conditioning. It should feel supple against your skin and allow you freedom of movement.
The loop at the back of the heel makes these easy to pull on and off. The top of the collar has a contrasting color band for attractive appeal.
Do you have to walk on frozen surfaces frequently? The rope-cleat outsole gives you excellent traction. It provides you more surface area to walk on and grips slick sidewalks.
The rubber material that encases the shoe is vulcanized. It is securely bonded to the sole, giving you complete protection from the elements.
Although these are marketed as snow boots, they’re not insulated. Your feet might get cold when sitting in a deer stand or walking across a frozen lake in the winter. On the other hand, these are ideal for outdoor activities in warmer months of the year. They’re breathable, and your feet won’t get too hot.
Because these boots rise so high in the shaft, you have to do a lot of lacing. These boots don’t have a zipper to make it easier to get them on and off.
These boots also come in women’s sizes. The women’s version of this boot has a 7-inch shaft.
- Tall boots keep snow out
- Contrasting color at collar is attractive
- Simple, classic design
- Not ideal for long-distance walking
- Interior seams may rub at the foot
7. The North Face Women’s Shellista II
The North Face is a reputable brand that’s known for making high-quality clothing for outdoor adventures. The materials that make up these shoes are premium and superior. The soles are made from injection-molded, waterproof TPR. These boots have suede, leather, and wool details.
You probably don’t have to worry about your feet getting cold. The 200-gram PrimaLoft insulation keeps the cold out and makes your feet feel cozy.
The North Face products are built to last. The products are warrantied against defects as long as they come from a reputable seller. The performance of this brand is hard to beat. The boots are comfortable for hiking long distances.
The treads are extremely grippy. Go up and down hills and traverse ice without slipping and sliding. The ice pick lugs are particularly suited to helping you walk around on freezing surfaces. However, they won’t damage floors when you wear these shoes inside.
These are some of the tallest duck boots for women. If you need extra warmth around the legs, you won’t be disappointed. These come in a few different styles and variations. The style in the link provided above has soft fabric around the collar. It prevents the boot from digging into your skin in that area.
- Tall boots keep calves and feet warm
- PrimaLoft insulation adds coziness and comfort
- The shaft extends about 13 inches from arch
- Excellent waterproof capabilities
- The furry lining doesn’t extend into foot area
- Might need to unlace them completely to slide foot in and out
- Minimal arch support
8. DKSUKO Women’s Duck Boots
These duck boots are ideal for wet weather. They’re extremely waterproof. The one-piece design limits the amount of moisture that can seep in from the outside.
One of the standout features of these boots is the waterproof zipper. It runs along the inside of the ankle and lets you get in and out of your boots without lacing them. The zipper won’t rust or allow water into the boots.
Speaking of the interior of the boots, these are lined with faux fur for a cozy experience. The soft sole makes these shoes even more comfortable. Whereas many duck boots offer a firm ride, these are a little cushier. You might still want to add a padded insole for longer walks or hikes.
You can purchase these boots with or without the lining. Some people say that they’re so breathable that you can wear the lined boots in the summer without getting too hot. You’d likely want to wear socks with them no matter what, though. Otherwise, they might develop odors over time.
- Fur-lined for warmth
- Softer sole than many other boots
- Dirt-repelling laces
- Waterproof side zipper
- Synthetic leather may not be as durable as natural leather
- Upper is not as waterproof as the manufacturer indicates
9. Sorel Women’s Caribou Duck Boots
These Sorel Caribou duck boots are cute, fashionable, and extremely functional. It’s not easy to find duck boots that are this practical but look this good. These boots are warm and waterproof. They’re perfect for snowy conditions and work well in the rain too.
Because the boots are tall, they keep wetness away from your legs. The shaft is approximately 9.5 inches tall when measured from the arch.
These boots shine when it comes to the lining, which is soft, removable, and washable. The lining ends in a furry snow cuff, which provides additional plushness to block snow and ice from entering the collar. It also prevents the collar from rubbing against your skin.
One of the best things about these boots is their insulation. They’re rated for temperatures of -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The nubuck leather upper is durable and waterproof. One of the downsides to nubuck is that it can develop water stains. But you can clean and condition it to help it look like new for as long as possible.
The bootie is designed like many of the other duck boots. It has a contrasting stripe around the midsole, which makes it aesthetically pleasing.
These boots have particularly thick treads. The lugs are well-spaced for traction on snow, ice, dirt, grass, and pavement.
- Excellently waterproofed
- Very warm; ideal as snow boots
- No side zipper
- Can get very hot in warm weather
10. Housking Women’s Winter Duck Rain Boots
We wanted to find a warm pair of duck boots that were suitable for winter weather but not too thickly insulated. We found these.
Because the upper is made of synthetic leather, it’s very waterproof. It might repel water better than leather because it’s non-porous. It’s also warm and protects against the wind without being too chunky.
The TPR outsole has anti-slip ridges and can take you from work to the woods. These shoes have excellent traction on wet or dry surfaces.
They are lined with fluffy synthetic material. The fuzzy lining surrounds your foot with warmth. It’s even applied to the underside of the tongue so that your foot feels pampered with every step.
The tongue is also attached to the upper along the length. You won’t get debris, snow, or dirt inside the boots.
The bootie and sole are made from a combination of polyurethane and rubber. They’re lightweight and flexible, allowing you to stride naturally and comfortably.
These boots have a shaft that comes just above the ankle. The shafts offer some support but don’t go up too high. Therefore, these may not be the best footwear for deep snow. However, they’re ideal for chilly, rainy days.
- Faux leather upper repels water and wind
- Tongue is joined to the opening to prevent moisture from entering
- Extremely waterproof
- Excellent traction
- Synthetic materials are easy to wipe down
- No side zipper
- Insoles are not removable
11. TF Star Women’s Ankle Duck Boots
Do you need warm, ankle-height boots that lace up quickly and give you great traction in snow, ice, and rain? These duck boots have all of those qualities. They also have a sophisticated look that’s a little sporty. They go with every type of outfit.
The contrasting color around the outsole gives these boots a casual look. They’re like a cross between an urban sneaker and a boot. They’re a little less preppy than the traditional style of Bean boot and can help you show off your personality.
Furthermore, these boots protect your feet. They contain 3M Thinsulate insulation, which keeps your toes and ankles toasty. The interior is lined with faux fur, which is plush, warm, and cozy.
The rubber bootie has sealed seams to prevent water from entering. Plus, the traction on the outsole is excellent.
One of the only downsides to these boots is that the cream-colored lining material that peeks out of the collar could get soiled if you splash in too many puddles. It’s not removable. Therefore, you may have a hard time getting it clean.
These versatile shoes should get you through every season, though. They’re perfect for the fall, winter, and early spring.
If your feet don’t get too hot, you can even wear them on rainy days in the summer because they’re so low in height. Keep your ankle exposed to allow for some airflow and stay cool on warmer days.
- Flexible and lightweight
- Narrow profile
- Warm without being too tall
- Large D-rings make lacing and loosening quick
- Might not be suitable for deep snow
- Lining is not removable for washing
- Run a little narrow
12. Avanti Rocky Women’s Slip-On Duck Boot
Not all duck boots have zippers or laces. These are especially easy to deal with because you can slip them on and off without untying anything. Elastic panels on both sides of the ankle stretch to accommodate your foot.
The shaft measures 7.75 inches, which covers plenty of your ankle but doesn’t rise too far up the calf. These shoes will protect the lower portion of your leg from rain and snow. However, the collar at the ankle is not as snug as it might be on a lace-up duck boot.
These boots have faux suede uppers and a matte-finish rubber PVC bootie. They have stylish appeal even though they’re designed to handle the weather.
You’ll stay warm in these boots because they feature a flannel-like lining. Your feet shouldn’t get too hot, however. These shoes are appropriate for every season.
If you’re planning to wear these with thick socks, you might want to order a size up. These boots may fit snugly otherwise. People with wide feet could have trouble slipping their feet into the footwear.
Because the sole is thick in these shoes, you don’t have to worry about stepping in deeper puddles. The shoes’ ample bottoms and 0.5-inch heel keep your feet well above the ground. The faux suede upper is also waterproof and doesn’t have any gaps to allow moisture in.
One of the downsides to these boots is that they don’t have a padded footbed. If you need more comfort, you can buy a size up and add an orthotic insole.
- Matte-finish rubber doesn’t show scuffs easily
- Oversized soles have grippy treads
- Stylish design is appropriate for many outfits
- Faux suede uppers may develop salt stains in winter
- Doesn’t come in half sizes
- Not much cushion or arch support
If you need boots to keep you dry in inclement weather, you’ve come to the right place. Any of the boots on this page will serve the purpose. Some will keep you warmer than others in snowy weather.
The best overall option is the Sperry Saltwater rain boot. It has the classic duck boot styling with a preppy feel. The lining is not too thick, which means that you can wear the boots in just about any season.
Plus, the boots have plenty of padding to prevent your feet from getting sore when you walk. You can use the side zipper to access these boots quickly so that you can kick them off easily at the end of a long day.
If you’re looking for a premium pair of duck boots, you might want to go for the Sorel Caribou footwear. These make great snow boots. They’re insulated, warm, and extremely waterproof. Plus, they’re a little more fashionable than some of the other options.
The Sorel boots rise high up the leg, protecting your calf from getting wet. If you tuck your pants into them, you’ll stay dry no matter how snowy or rainy it is.
Finally, we understand that you might be on a budget and may not want to invest a lot of money in boots that you won’t wear every day. The best value boots from this list are the Polar duck boots. They have wonderful waterproofing capabilities and keep your feet warm. They’re some of the best duck boots that you can buy for the price.