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With a reliable pair of duck boots, neither rain nor snow can dampen your travel plans — literally. Duck boots are essential for snowy, rainy or otherwise mucky destinations. They consist of a rubber lower section and a leather or waterproof textile upper section, which make them handy for keeping your feet dry and stable during wet, slippery weather.
Keep in mind size and function when you’re shopping for duck boots. For certain pairs, you might want to go a size up to fit winter socks inside and comfortably move through snow or mud. The function also matters since it will help you decide how much to spend and which features to focus on. Budget-friendly shoes will look different from heavy duty muck-treaders for extreme weather. Below we gander at the best duck boots for your traveling needs, from the most ergonomic pair to the safest, warmest selection for your little tots.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots
The iconic Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots are perfect for your adventures during cold winters with rain or snow. The Wave-Siping feature on its rubber soles guarantees traction on both wet and dry surfaces. The duck boots also have rawhide lacing for a secure fit so that you won’t need to worry about them getting loose. For extra warmth under your feet, the shoes come with micro-fleece lining.
Duck boots aren't known for being stylish, but the Saltwater looks understated and tasteful. Select from a range of sophisticated dark color combinations, including black/gray and tan/dark brown. In terms of availability, the Saltwater comes in sizes for women and kids. For men’s sizes, Sperry’s Avenue Duck Boots are a close equivalent to the Saltwater.
Best for Women: The North Face Shellista II Mid Boots
Look no further than The North Face’s Shellista II Mid Boots for treks outside of your lodge or cabin. These comfortable, lace-up boots come with a waterproof, streamlined shell. They’re on the lengthier side, reaching up to your mid-calf. In the interior, they use PrimaLoft® Silver Insulation fibers that trap heat for reduced heat loss and extra warmth. The rubber outsole base consists of The North Face’s Winter Grip® technology with temperature-sensitive lugs. Basically, the soles stiffen and punch through ice in cold temperature. When it gets warmer, they become tacky on wet surfaces for extra grip. In terms of measurements, many reviewers say that the shoes fit to size, though recommend buying half a size up for wearing these shoes with thick socks.
Besides its excellent quality, the Shellista also looks stylish. The oversized knit collar offers a soft, cozy aesthetic. Choose from thirteen neutral color combinations that will suit any wardrobe, from split rock brown/dove gray to dachshund brown/demitasse brown.
Best for Men: Nike Men's Lunar Force 1 Duckboots
These comfortable and lightweight duck boots from Nike almost look like sleek, high-end sneakers. However, they’ll allow you to get all of the benefits of winter duck boots. Many reviewers have attested to their durability in snow and rain, which speaks to the high quality of the water-repellent leather and the Watershield lining. If you’re headed to cities with slick streets, the sturdy rubber outsoles ensure secure traction. Additionally, the Lunarlon cushioning supports your feet for extra comfort while you’re walking.
There’s just enough variety in the line of Lunar Force 1 duck boots to get the perfect pair for your feet. You won’t need to worry about fit — 93 percent of reviewers say that the shoes are true to size. Colorwise, select from stylish black, white, baroque brown and British tan with various options for lace color.
Best for Budget: Polar Nylon Duck Boots
For mild winter escapades, these budget-friendly lace-up boots will keep your feet warm and dry. Not only is the price stomachable, but they reach your mid-calves and have faux fur-lined interiors. Since the fur-lining makes the shoes a little snug, some reviewers suggest buying a size up and wearing thick socks to compensate for any extra space. The calendered rubber soles also offer extra protection against slipping in wet winter weathers. The boots are durable for their price. Reviewers testify to the sturdiness of these shoes for winter sports like ice fishing and snowshoeing. In terms of style, you can choose between black synthetic leather, quilted gray, or quilted black boots. There are variations for both men and women.
Best for Kids: Polo Ralph Lauren Kids Colbey Boots
These stylish, high-quality shoes from Polo Ralph Lauren will endure roughhousing from kids while keeping their feet dry and warm. Depending on the model you choose, the sturdy upper consists of either leather alone or a combination of leather and nylon. It sports a lace-up design with an added buckle for a preppy touch. The padded insole makes it suitable for all-day wear and the faux fur lining gives the shoe added warmth. The rubber lug sole also provides excellent traction, so children won’t slip and fall while playing.
The boots have variety in terms of size and color selection. You’ll be able to get these in sizes for toddlers, little kids and big kids. Colorwise, choose from black, chocolate/tan, chocolate/tan leather, black/black camo, and chocolate/army camouflage.
Best for Snow: Sorel Caribou Boots
Consisting of seam-sealed waterproof nubuck leather, the Sorel Caribou Boots will endure over many trips, which explains their steep price tag. The boot shaft measures between 9.5 inches for women and 10.75 inches for men, built for deep snow treks. Vulcanized for extra sturdiness, the handcrafted rubber outsoles wick away water and sport a lug design that keeps your every step secure. These shoes are also insulated for extra warmth, rated for temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. They have a soft ThermoPlus® lining that is removable as well as washable.
Best for Traction: LaCrosse Uplander Boots
Built for hunting in woodsy terrains with slush and winter mud, these boots look and feel durable. You don’t need to hunt to appreciate them — they’ll serve you well when you’re exploring mucky, slippery areas. The hefty LaCrosse Uplander Boots feature a slip-resistant, self-cleaning rope cleat outsole for more surface area and traction in snow. The rubber material is waterproof, vulcanized so that the sole will not split from the upper. The shaft measures seven inches for women, whereas it is three inches lengthier for men. The water-resistant upper is made from a distressed, oiled full-grain leather. The boots come in two colors: brown and rustic brown, the latter a more orange-toned variation.
Best for Ergonomics: The Original MuckBoots Adult Edgewater Hi Boots
These boots are built for long-lasting comfort on your camping and fishing trips. Sporting a waterproof, neoprene upper, the shaft feels soft and flexible, coming with a stretchy topline that fits your calf to keep warmth in and rain, snow and debris out. Though warm, the air mesh lining is also breathable, feeling comfortable in subfreezing temperatures, as well as 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The boots include Achilles reinforcement to provide comfort as well as protection from injuries. Additionally, the outsole wraps the entire perimeter of your feet for stability on steep terrains.
What to Look for in Duck Boots
Fit You want your boots to fit snuggly, but you also don't want them rubbing blisters because they are too tight. However, when it comes to winter boots, you might not want to go with your normal sizing. Consider going up a half size to accommodate bulkier socks.
Climate The kind of weather year after year where you live will help guide your choice of shoe. Lighter-weight shoes are going to feel less heavy on the foot, but they might do better with fall puddles than they do with winter snowbanks. Be sure to get a pair that will hold up to the sleet, rain, and snow where you live.
Style From shorter boots that lace up and buckle to ones that slip on and extend all the way up the calf, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to the look and feel of your boots. While not typically known for being stylish, these days, duck boots can transition from shoveling snow to running errands in the rain with a pair of jeans.