Ice fishing boots are one of the essential accessories for your frozen winter adventure. It is necessary to have a quality pair that will keep you warm because you are stationary most of the time. If you are walking or hiking, your feet will get warmer because they are exerting energy. Without a pair of boots with proper insulation, your feet will suffer when hunting for fish on the frozen lake.
The development of footbed technology and warmer materials makes your purchase decision a tough one. There are many great products on the market that offer something unique. In this article, we dive into the best qualities to look out for in boots, safety tips for ice fishing, the best types of fish, and the top boot products on the market for both men and women.
How to Choose the Best Ice Fishing Boots
There are four key components to analyze when deciding which ice fishing boot option to go with: boot materials, boot stiffness, outer boot covering, and boot insulation. Each one of these aspects plays a pivotal role in your ice fishing boot choice. They all contribute to warmth, comfort, durability, and functionality. Each option on the list of top picks is specialized for one or more of these qualities.
Look for Quality Boot Materials
The first thing to look at is the types of materials that the boot gets made. Whenever you encounter rubber, the upper will provide a flexible outer shell with a synthetic inner boot area. Rubber components are usually waterproof and substantial enough to prevent cold air from seeping through the exterior crevices of the boot.
Synthetic materials often get highlighted by nylon compounds, which contribute to a lightweight boot with a softer feel. These are great for ice fishers who will be walking long distances. Since this material will not block out cold as well, it is best to use them when there are not high winds.
If you are looking for a durable option, pay attention to the amount of leather that gets included in the manufacturing of the boot. Leather provides a sturdy, stiffer surface that does not wear out as quick as other boot materials. Leather boots options usually get supplemented with a reinforced safety heel, as well as strengthened toe surfaces to supply a rigid body structure.
Pay Attention to Boot Stiffness
Ice fishing is different from regular hiking because you are stationary, which means your feet get more exposed to coldness and high winds. When you purchase your boots, pay attention to the thickness and rigidness of the boot. If you are buying them in person, feel them. When shopping online, pay attention to the weight of the product, which usually gets measured in grams.
Sturdier boots work to keep pressure off your body and are more likely to thrive in rough, icy conditions. The stiffest of boots enables you to sit for long periods, especially when the winds are high. Be mindful when comparing products because some other options are not as rigid and get designed to provide extra flexibility, like rubber boot options.
Check the Structure of the Boot Outer Covering
Another critical aspect to check his how effectively the boots will cover your feet in surface area. The height of the shoe will be a big tell. A lot of options on the market come ten inches of height or more. These are great coverage to start with because it will give you ample protection over the heel and ankle. Thought it might be tougher to move in them, your feet will thank you when you sit for hours.
Steel tips also get included in the ankles or toes. This feature will add another level of security and prevent harm on your feet against icy surfaces or other rough terrains. For areas with high levels of debris, steel tips are an excellent benefit to get included on the boot.
Evaluate the Insulation Capabilities
Lastly, boot insulation is a vital component in keeping your feet warm in harsh conditions. Proper insulation plays an essential role in enabling airflow to circulate. It also works to let moisture from sweat escape properly to avoid it from staying on your feet and causing blisters.
Cold air will also get blocked from entering. Make sure to monitor how much Thinsulate gets put into the boot as well. This ingredient gets included in some of the warmest ice fishing boots on the market, and it is good to know how much is in your eventual purchase.
Ice Fishing Safety Tips
For those of you who are newer to the ice fishing landscape, it is vital to get educated on the strategies of safety. According to the Life Saving Society, there are approximately four or five ice fishing deaths that occur each winter. Aside from too much alcohol or impairment, this gets caused by not having quality boots or not having enough brains. We provide you with quality tips below to prevent this.
Avoid Moving Water
Whenever you see moving water below the ice, it is usually a proper sign that the ice is weaker. If the current is even stronger, this is especially the case. Make sure to avoid this type of area if you are confident that the ice is less than five inches thick.
Consult a Local Citizen
This strategy is important, especially if you are ice fishing in the area that you are not familiar with. People who live in the local town will be able to give you key insights about the lake, including dangerous areas to avoid, the best types of fish to catch, and other valuable information. You can also call a local bait shop and ask about the thickness of the nearby lakes to see if it is safe.
Be Mindful of Where you Stand or Set Up Camp
Apart from gaining information from others, being aware of where you stand on the ice is essential. Ice that is near the shore is more likely to be weaker and thinner than ice that gets situated in the middle of the lake. It is a natural assumption to make that the ice thickness is the same throughout the lake, but this is not the case.
Watch out for Snow
Although snow is needed for the winter, it can sometimes impact the safety of your ice fishing experience. Areas of ice that get coated with piles of snow will raise the pressure and lower the security on the hard water. As snow compacts together, it can eventually insulate and warm up the ice, which inhibits the freezing process and makes it fragile. Be careful about these areas of the ice.
Listen Attentively to Your Surroundings
You will be able to see signs of danger, but it is vital to use your ears as well. The first sign of lousy ice is cracking. If you have been sitting in the area for a long time and notice the ice cracking or planning, it is time to move to a different section.
This safety tip could be one of the most important on the list. Make sure to pack spikes that you can wear around your neck while you ice fish. While you should hope that you never need to use them, these will save you if you fall through the ice and begin to drown. Two sharp objects get tied together by a piece of rope, and you can utilize them to crawl your way out by poking the ice like a rock climber.
Do Not Fish Alone
Even though it is nice to have time alone to yourself, it is not the smartest decision to go ice fishing by yourself. If you are fateful enough to fall through the ice, you increase your chances to survive by having others there to pull you to safety. By having someone else there, you have the accountability needed to cover all your bases on your ice fishing trip.
Spread Out from Other Ice Fishers on the Lake
If there is a high amount of people that are fishing in one area, this will result in more strength and weight in a smaller region. This event can cause the ice to become weaker and eventually crack. Be sure to leave yourself with at least 100 yards of space between you and the next person. Do not get too close if there is already an ice hole, as well.
Always make sure to bring extra warm gear with you, besides the clothes that you already have on. Keep your head and ears warm. This step is so important because you will get cold quicker by sitting and not walking. Bring hand warmers and other sources of heat. Lastly, pick a quality pair of ice fishing boots, which we will help you in completing!
Target Species for Ice Fishing
What are the best kinds of fish to hunt for when ice fishing? Depending on the temperature and type of lake you go to, you are likely to find a wide variety of fish that you can take home for dinner.
Pike is a common type of large, predatory fish that you can catch. They usually get hooked on live minnows like suckers or chubs. They tend to get found in shallow regions and stage at mid-depths.
If you are trying to catch much fish, look no further than the perch, which resides in deeper lakes. These fish are known to congregate in schools of 100 individual fish or more. They bight lightly, so make sure to the user a lighter line and be mindful of the rod tip.
One of the most popular targets it the walleye fish, which can get captured within a couple of feet at the bottom. These fish are more likely to succumb to lures that sit motionless rather than bouncing options. They usually feed around dusk or dawn and get caught in the middle of the day.
The trout is another quality option for the shallower waters. These smaller fish are known to rely on the size of their enemies to survive. You can catch trout with live insects and prey on the larger ones, who love the minnow lures.
Lastly, the salmon is one of the more difficult species to catch because the population is smaller, and they usually get found in the early morning. There is a small window to get them within a few hours of sunrise. To complete this catch, you must rely on a 3- to 4-inch long minnow lure.
Read Also: Best Boots for Wide Calves
The Best Fishing Boots for Men
When compiling the list of top ice fishing boots for men, we analyze the high boot and ice fishing sites in the industry, analyst data, and other review forums. For each option, we highlight the unique benefits, the benefits, as well as the weaknesses that the consumers say. Make sure to keep the safety features in mind when choosing. Through this list, you will get fully educated to make a correct purchasing decision.
The Muck Boots Arctic Men’s Winter Boot is a more robust, flexible option that gets manufactured by a brand that contains a trustworthy reputation. The neoprene base works to provide comfort and shock absorption properties. The material also delivers heat retention for the coldest and roughest of temperatures. You also get awardee the extended rubber and spandura coverage.
There is also a softer fleece lining within the boot that adds a level of comfort for long periods of walking or standing in below zero temperatures. This Muck Boots option contains a comfort rating of -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Within the outsole of the boot, there is a Vibram grip that works to create non-slip traction for the most slippery terrains.
The company also claims that the boots are 100% waterproof to keep you dry when trekking around the city or trail. For an easy slip on and off, the real pull loop allows you to change.
- The boot gets built for traction because of the Vibram arctic grip outsole pods
- The product is fully waterproof
- Extended coverage with the rubber and spandura
- The insulation does not deliver for the coldest of temperatures and longest sitting
- The boot is more cumbersome than average
The Baffin Men’s Control Max Insulated Boot offers you a healthy balance of heavy-duty protection and functional mobility and control. The shaft gets measured about nine and a half inches from the arch of the boot. For added comfort and durability, the upper of the boot gets lined with a timber wolf leather that is contoured.
For another level of warmth, the Baffin boot contains an 8-layer inner boot thermaplush system. This mechanism gets trusted by some of the top boot manufacturers in the world, and it delivers for this product. For added flexibility, there is an arctic flex and rubber base that gets blended into the boot. The cold rating measures -94 degrees Fahrenheit.
This boot also delivers extra insulation from the cold because of the interchangeable boot liner. The company Baffin has provided quality products in the industry for over 25 years. They are a front-runner in the market for the foam-based internal boot system and molding technology.
- The boot offers excellent grip and traction with premium ice paw technology
- 8-layer inner boot system provides reliable warmth and comfort
- Boot gets designed to give both functionality and durability
- The sizes run smaller than advertised so you will need to take this into account when purchasing
- Some consumers say that the seam at the top of the liner allows cold to seep through
The Lacrosse Men’s Hunt Pac Extreme Boot provides the wearer with a lightweight warming feeling with 2000 grams of Thinsulate for the colder temperatures. What is unique about this boot option is the EVA footbed, which is removable and adds extra cushion for someone who will be using the boot all day. For added stability, there is a toe cap and reinforced heel, which is suitable for rougher terrains.
The dry-core barrier gets engineered to line the entire boot and offer 100% protection and the ability for moisture to escape without letting water through. The design of the boot gives you a mossy oak breakup, which combines computer-enhanced elements with shadows to provide you with a 3-dimensional illusion if you decide to hunt. This versatile boot is right for any type of outdoor activity in the coldest of temperatures.
- Interchangeable EVA footbed gives the wearer comfort flexibility
- There is a valuable amount of Thinsulate for lightweight warmth
- The boot contains added stability in the toe and heel for all types of terrains
- The boot can feel overbearing at times and make the wearer feel clumsy
- The laces are not as sturdy as what some consumers prefer
The NORTIV 8 Men’s 170390 Insulated Waterproof Work Snow Boot enables the wearer to experience a fashionable but functional boot option for a variety of temperatures. It is easy on and off the process because the boot measures about 13 inches around. The unique aspect of this boot is the multi-directional lugs on the durable rubber outsole for added traction on rough terrain.
There is also an added level of warmth and insulation because of the cushioned EVA footbed. NORTIV manufacturers a sealed waterproof seam to eliminate wet elements from entering the boot. The 3M Thinsulate lining adds to the durability and keeps your warm and lightweight in the process. The wearer can easily adjust for personal protection and comfort because of the metal lace closure system.
- The rubber sole is durable and gives you non-slip protection
- The boot is comfort rated for -25 degrees Fahrenheit
- Lace-up closure system provides the wearer the ability to adjust to the desired comfort
- The insulation is not as effective as what consumers would like
- The product does not satisfy for long-distance walking and hiking
The Men’s Thermoball Eco Lifty 400 Winter Boots specialize in insulation to provide you with a safe option for the snowiest of hills, coldest of ice fishing, or even doing functional work like lifting heavy objects. Within the soles, heavy-duty PrimaLoft insulation gets placed for traction and temperature regulation. It also works to retain warmth in your feet if they get wet or exposed to water.
For added protection, a welded TPU overlay gets included to protect from water. There is also a softer leather color that provides an added level of comfort and heat. For comfort on the long walks, the company manufactured an OrthoLite footbed for arch support and security. For increased traction benefits, the icepick rubber lugs get added for temperature sensitivity.
- The PrimaLoft insulation provides warmth and comfort for all types of terrains
- The full-grain leather barrier for mud is waterproof
- OrthoLite footbed encourages long-distance walking
- The boot gets designed for high areas of snow
- For people with skinny feet, this might not be the best option
- It is on the more expensive side when purchasing
The Sperry Ice Bay Boots combine a sense of style and durability for the wearer. The product gets manufactured with a wetproof shaft made of leather. It also contains a rubber shell foot that contributes its ability to provide traction. The boot gives you a secure fit because of the rustproof eyelets with substantial leather lacing.
For proper insulation, the boots get equipped with a 200-gram Thinsulate to enable premium warmth and protection of the cold temperatures. The product receives comfort rated at -25 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will keep you safe in the subzero temperatures. For icy conditions, the outsole ceramic lug gives you a reliable grip. To ensure comfort for longer walks, Sperry manufactured an EVA footbed for arch support.
- It is a lightweight boot that includes quality Thinsulate
- If you like suede, the lining on the side is an excellent fashion additive
- The thick leather lacing adds to a snug fit for the wearer
- Because of the suede, the boot is not as durable in the long run
- For a high amount of snow, the boot may not be substantial enough
The Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Plus IV Omni-Heat Boots are practically a revamped product update of the company’s cold-weather option. This durable and lightweight boot gets equipped with a waterproof upper and insulative combination of nylon, leather, and another webbing. The 200 grams of Thinsulate, accompanied by the thermal-reflective liner, helps promote warmth in the coldest of conditions.
Within the midsole, you will be provided with a gripping Michelin material that will keep you grounded for the more uneven terrains. The boot gets rated at -25 degrees Fahrenheit. A unique feature of the Columbia Bugaboot Plus is the lightweight midsole and higher energy return. The rubber material on the outsole of the boot adds to the product’s traction abilities.
- The Omni-heat reflective lining helps provide reliable warmth
- Midsole gets cushioned with techlite for added comfort
- The combination of webbing, leather, and nylon adds to the waterproofing capabilities
- The design of the boot does not accommodate the most extreme temperatures
- The material buckles angle inward at the toe and can hurt the toe for more serious hiking ventures
The Korkers Men’s Snowmaggedon 400-gram Waterproof Boot is one of the more versatile products on the list because of its OmniTrax 3.0 interchangeable sole system. It contains two different outsoles, including the SnowTrac Winter Rubber Lug and IceTrack Studded Rubber Lug. The extra 400 grams of 3M Thinsulate highlights this boot’s ability to keep you warm no matter what sole you have in place.
The Korkers company develops all its protections catered to traction in all environments. The outsoles get studded with carbide, and the trail sole adds for all-terrain stability. The interchangeability of the sole allows you to take the boot easily and off when needed. There is also a 360-degree rand that adds protection and security without taking flexibility away.
- The OmniTrax interchangeable sole system allows for a versatile but straightforward on and off process
- There is 360-degree protection for full security
- There is extra weighting in the Thinsulate for added comfortability
- The rubber sole does not give as much durability as what some consumers would prefer
- Interchange system may not make the boot as long-lasting
The Clam Corporation Men’s Clam Ice Armor 1000g Thinsulate Boots are the leader on this list in insulation capabilities. The insulation is 5x more than the average boot on the market, which allows the product to effectively absorb cold air and prevent it from moving into your foot. There is also a two-part rubber outsole that gets designed to eliminate the chance of ice getting stuck on the outside.
The middle of the outsole also contains a divider that contours to the natural shape of your foot, which makes this product an excellent choice for long-distance walking. There is a full-grain leather upper for proper support to add to the sturdy body of the boot. To contribute to the optimal air circulation for the product, some ports get placed on the sides to prevent the insides from getting stuffy.
- The boot contains five layers of Thinsulate that contribute to the substantial supply of 1000 grams
- The product includes a removable liner that can get cleaned and inserted easily
- Your feet will be fitted naturally because of the divider in the outsole
- The boot tends to be too heavy for some consumers
- The laces are not as durable in the long run
The Kamik Greenbay 4 Men’s Winter Boots get manufactured with nylon upper. This fully waterproof boot gets combined with a rubber heel and synthetic shell foot, which provides quality traction for a variety of different terrains. The comfortable interior provides a warm, heated area because of the 8-millimeter thermal liner that can get removed.
The product gets a temperature rating of -40-degree Fahrenheit and gets created with 100% recycled materials. There is another lining that wicks moisture away from the body for added breathability. That way, the feet do not develop blisters over time. The product enables you to take it off quickly because of an interchangeable hook and loop strap at the midfoot.
- The moisture-wicking properties are better quality than other options on the market
- There is added protection at both the heel and foot
- The product includes an adjustable snow collar and locks for laces
- Rubber outsole enables more traction for icy surfaces
- The boots tend to be narrow for people with skinny feet
- The felt linings do not dry out as well when they get drenched
The List of Ice Fishing Boots for Women
We also included a list of top ice fishing boots for women, as well. Although there are more products on the market that are designed for men, there are still quality products that allow women to walk long distances in the cold and stand or sit for long periods. It is especially important to place a priority on boots that provide increased insulation and ones that are heavier at the base.
The Columbia Women’s Ice Maiden II Insulated Snow Boot offers a lightweight, advanced technology midsole that gets designed for long-term comfort and trustworthy cushioning. The unique aspect of this boot option is the Omni-grip rubber sole traction component that enables slip-free movement no matter what type of surface that you experience.
The waterproof leather and textile design deliver 200 grams of insulation to keep the wearer warm for the wintertime. There are also adjustable features within the laces for a simple closure process so that you can rely on a secure and flexible fit. The synthetic upper gets woven with the procession for an ideal fit, and the PU footbed insole provides a quality arch support for the most extended walks.
- The waterproof leather construction gives a quality 200-gram insulation
- Omni-grip traction delivers consistent slip-free traction for all terrains
- The techlite midsole gives you lightweight wear for the long term
- The product is not as waterproof as some other options on the market
- The wide part of the foot tends to wear a little too tight for some people who still purchased the actual size
The Sorel Women’s Tivoli IV Tall Waterproof Insulated Winter Boot provides an excellent balance of warmth, comfort, and coverage. This fashionable boot includes a faux fur color with an elevated base to ensure maximum sturdiness in the snow and ice. The boot gets manufactured with waterproof suede, including a PU-coated leather offering OutDry waterproof design.
The Sorel boot highlights 100-gram insulation, as well as a microfleece lining to add another level of comfort to your toes and heel. For more interior comfort, Sorel adds a soothing EVA footbed, which cushions and supports you with every step. The chunky outsole of the boot gets molded by rubber for extra traction. They are stiff when you first put them on, but this is the perfect solution for functionality.
- The brand offers a great balance of functionality and fashion
- The waterproof suede gives the boot a smooth but efficient exterior
- The EVA footbed contours to the natural shape of the foot
- The sizes run small when purchasing so you will need to account for this
- The boot tends to run narrow for people with skinny feet
The Kamik Women’s Momentum Snow Boot gets highlighted by a faux-fur collar that contributes to the stylish but functional design. For people who enjoy a seamless on and off process, this boot contains a quick bungee lacing system. The interchangeability of the boot also gets found in the removable footbed, which includes an anti-color treatment for people who want to preserve the look in the long run.
To keep the snow from entering the boot, Kamik also manufactured a gusseted tongue that blocks this event from happening. For added breathability, there is also a moisture-wicking lining that gets included with the design of the show. The nylon upper, which gets located on the top of the boot, gives the collar a waterproof finish. Although this boot is right for the cold, it is also stylish and goes well with leggings.
- The faux-fur collar is waterproof, so it is stylish and functional
- The gusseted tongue plays a pivotal role in snow prevention
- The versatility of the removable footbed is excellent for color treatment
- The boots are too bulky for some consumers
- The products are tough to break in to shape at first
The North Face Women’s Yukiona Mid Boot is an excellent product because it gets made from recycled materials, which makes it great for the environment, but it also provides quality protection. The upper of the boot is nubuck, and the 200-gram PrimaLoft insulation system offers a perfect balance of style and modernism. You can wear these boots all day and still feel safe and secure.
A unique aspect of the North Face boot is the OrthoLite footbed, which provides added comfort that gets personalized for your foot. Also, the XtraFoam midsole gives you a firmer density EVA around the edge of your foot for more stability. The rubber TNF winter grip outsole gives the confidence that your boot will hold up and be durable on the slippery surfaces.
- The XtraFoam midsole and OrthoLite footbed give the boot maximum comfort
- The product gets made from recycled materials to make it healthy for the environment
- The traction gets enhanced by the icepick rubber
- The product is more expensive than others on the market
- The sizing runs smaller for most people who end up buying the boot
The Baffin Women’s Escalate Snow Boot gets made with a breathable, waterproof nylon shell. This feature gets combined with a drawstring snow collar and insulation that is a higher loft. For added comfort, the boot contains a thermaplush lining and an interchangeable insole.
The Baffin boot contains an air grip midsole with a rubber contact points for enhanced traction. The boots also make for an easy slip and off process because of the front lace fastening system. The temperature rating gets measured at -22 degrees Fahrenheit, so you know it will hold up in the cold. Lastly, the inner foam boot promotes a hybrid performance footwear style.
- The high loft insulation provides extra comfort and warmth
- Air grip outsole gives extra traction for slippery surfaces
- The removable insole makes the boot a versatile option with a simple on and off process
- The footbed is angled up at the toes, which does not encourage a normal gait
- The boot is narrower than other products on the market
As you can see, many ice fishing shoes fit your specific needs. By paying attention to the four critical components of materials, stiffness, outer covering, and insulation, you will reward yourself with a quality product that will keep you safe for the harshest and cold environments. With the advancement in rubber and traction technology for you today, you have a lot of great choices.
Here are some of our top picks from our list that we provided you.
The best overall product on the list gets handed to the Lacrosse Men’s Hunt Pac Extreme Boot. This product contains more grams of Thinsulate than any other option on the list, and it includes a removable EVA footbed that adds cushioning and comfort specific to your foot.
The dry-core barrier lines the entire interior of the foot and offers a 100% waterproof protection barrier. Not only is this product safe and secure, but it also comes in a mossy oak design.
The Clam Corporation Men’s Clam Ice Armor Boots get awarded the premium product for its extra weight of Thinsulate. Most boots on the market are just a fraction of the 1000 grams that this product provides. It absorbs cold air prevents it from moving into your feet more effectively than most competitors.
Some other premium benefits that you receive are the divider inside the show promotes natural contour, as well as the two-part outsole with rubber that keeps ice and snow from sticking.
The best value gets awarded to the Korkers Men’s Snowmaggedon Boots, which provide a variety of unique technology for an affordable price. The OmniTrax 3.0 interchangeable system allows you to switch your outsole depending on the situation. Also, 360-degree rand works to deliver protection and support while also providing flexibility at the same time.
You cannot go wrong with Korkers because they work to keep the costs down on their products, but also to deliver footwear the gets optimized for all terrains.