The 10 Best Duck Boots of 2021

We asked the experts which boots best help them brave the elements in style

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TRIPSAVVY-best-duck-boots

Chloe Jeong / TripSavvy

The Rundown

Best Overall: L.L. Bean’s Original Duck Boot at L.L. Bean

"The classic duck boot that set the standard for all those that came later."

Best for Hiking: L.L. Bean 6" Sherpa-Lined PrimaLoft Duck Boots at L.L. Bean

"L.L. Bean's shorter boot with sherpa lining is a great option for hikers looking for a bit more ankle flexibility."

Best Budget: Polar Quilted Duck Boots at Amazon

"Polar’s quilted duck boots come in under $50, but look far more expensive."

Best for Outdoors: Eddie Bauer 8” Pac Boots at Eddie Bauer

"This pair has been approved by someone who literally spends every day outside."

Best for Extreme Cold: Ugg Adirondack III Boot at Amazon

"These boots have been tested in temperatures as low as -32 degrees Fahrenheit."

Best for Wide Feet: Propet Ingrid Duck Boots at Walmart

"Coming in four different widths, this is one the most inclusive duck boot options out there."

Best for Women: Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot at Amazon

"It's easy to build an entire outfit off of these shoes while also staying insanely warm."

Best for Men: UGG Emmett Duck Book at Amazon

"The Emmett boot will feel more like a sport shoe than heavy duty winter footwear."

Best for Kids: Sorel Youth Yoot Pac TP Boot at Amazon

"Sherpa keeps your little one’s feet warm through any impromptu snowball fights."

Best for Comfort: L.L. Bean Shearling-Lined Duck Boot at L.L. Bean

"The extra layer of shearling in these duck boots add a cloud-like level of comfort."

There’s a reason duck boots are a classic option for tromping around in the mud and snow. For years, people have been donning this traditional style to protect their feet from the elements. You may be most familiar with the iconic L.L. Bean duck boots (certainly highlighted below), but there are a bunch of options out there boasting warmer toes, grippier bottoms, and sleek style.

But first, let’s break down what makes a duck boot, well, a duck boot. At its most basic description, this style of boot has a rubber foot and leather uppers. The entire shoe is weatherproof — keep you dry and warm in wet, snowy paths and environments — which is the main draw of this style. 

Ahead, we asked the experts for their recommendations on the best duck boots for every scenario.

Best Overall: L.L. Bean’s Original Duck Boot

 The Original L.L.Bean Boot

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Maddie Bilis, travel editor and author of the 50 Hikes in Eastern Massachusetts, is a diehard fan of the duck boots that set the standard for all those that came later. “As a born and bred New Englander, I’m obligated to sing the praises of Bean Boots,” she says. “They’re classics for a reason, and I’ve never once slipped on icy trails (or sidewalks!) thanks to their sturdy rubber treads. I’ve been known to sport the raven blue ones around the office, too.”

Best for Hiking: L.L. Bean 6" Sherpa-Lined PrimaLoft Duck Boots

L.L. Bean Women's Bean Boots, 6" Sherpa-Lined PrimaLoft

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Another style from L.L. Bean—a new, shorter boot with sherpa lining—is a great option for hikers looking for a bit more flexibility with maintained ankle support. “When it comes to outdoor footwear, I always rely on the heritage brands,” says travel writer Jordi Lippe-McGraw. “L.L. Bean's signature duck boots are still made by craftspeople in Maine, so my feet are guaranteed to stay warm and dry. While the design remains traditional, the brand's new sherpa-lined version of the boots in three nature-inspired hues enhances the comfort and sense of style.” Available in sizes 6 through 11 and in three colorways, these duck boots pack extra warmth without adding too much bulk around your foot.

Best Budget: Polar Quilted Duck Boots

Polar’s quilted duck boots come in under $50 but look far more expensive. While they don’t skimp on style, there are a couple of things to look out for: The quilted nylon will get wet, but reviewers share that it doesn’t impede on the waterproof integrity of the boot (no soggy toes with these). The fur lining helps keep heat in the shoe, as well. All of this in mind, these boots are an option if you won’t be battling crazy subzero temperatures. These duck boots are available in sizes up to 11 and come in three colors: black, charcoal, and tan.

Best for Outdoors: Eddie Bauer 8” Pac Boots

Eddie Bauer 8” Pac Boots

Courtesy of Eddie Bauer

If you’re in the market for a pair of duck boots that has been approved by someone who spends every day outside in some shape or form, look no further. Photographer and outdoor enthusiast Viktoria North recommends the Pac boots from Eddie Bauer, particularly for “winter hiking and to cruise around walking in slushy, rainy weather.” The Pac boots are available in sizes 6 through 10 and feature a waterproof full-grain leather upper exterior.

Best for Extreme Cold: Ugg Adirondack III Boot

Luxury travel expert Christina Tan is a fan of the Adirondack III boots from Ugg: “I like them so much because they’re comfortable yet stylish. They’re designed with extra warming insulation and a cushioning insole, perfect for my flat feet, which get tired easily. Because they're waterproof I wear them in the snow often, yet I can wear them in the city, as well.” Available in sizes 5 through 12, these boots have been tested in temperatures as low as 32 below zero and have a special outsole that’s designed to stay flexible through freezing weather.

Best for Wide Feet: Propet Ingrid Duck Boots

Propet Duck Boot

Courtesy of Propet

This waterproof duck boot comes in four different widths (M, W, X, and XX) in sizes ranging from 6 through 11, making it one of the most inclusive duck boot options out there. Reviewers share that these boots offer a good amount of arch support, as well, making them a comfortable option for wintertime hikers. When it comes to weatherproofing, the Ingrid boots come with a faux-fur lining and a 3M Scotchgard™ protective treatment that repels rain and snow.

Best for Women: Sperry Saltwater Duck Boot

This pair of shoes from Sperry has what a lot of other duck boots do not: an easy-to-use zipper. Pair that with the more minimal approach in its overall style and it’s much easier to build an entire outfit off of these shoes…while also staying insanely warm. Available in brown/navy, brown/black, and grey/black, the boot also has a non-marking rubber sole with enhanced traction to protect against slipping. This style is offered in sizes 5 through 12 and also come in wide options.

Best for Men: UGG Emmett Duck Book

At first glance, you may not even know these are tried-and-true duck boots. Ugg’s Emmett boot rises to the ankle, giving you more flexibility. These boots may be no match for tall snowdrifts, but they are weather rated for temperatures as low as 32 below zero. The Emmett boot will feel more like a sport shoe than heavy duty winter footwear, thanks to the lighter footprint and grippy rubber soles. These boots are available in two colors (black and stout) in sizes up to 14.

Best for Kids: Sorel Youth Yoot Pac TP Boot

These boots may be for smaller feet, but they pack all of the weatherproof punch you’d expect in adult duck boots. The sherpa cuff is not only a cute touch, but it keeps your little one’s feet warm through any impromptu snowball fights or stomps through fresh powder. The Youth Yoot boots are available in two colors, mesquite brown and quarry black, and come in kid sizes 1 through 7.

Best for Comfort: L.L. Bean Shearling-Lined Duck Boot

L.L. Bean Shearling-Lined Duck Boot

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Available in sizes 5 through 11 and two widths (medium and wide), the extra layer of shearling in these duck boots adds a cloud-like level of comfort not often found in winter footwear. You can wear this functional, stylish pair for a day spent out on snowy trails or in muddy environments, and then keep them on afterwards to run errands or go to dinner. They're that durable, stylish, warm, and comfortable due to their fuzzy interior.

Final Verdict

The original duck boots from L.L. Bean (view at L.L. Bean) will forever be a favorite—you can’t go wrong with that kind of legacy and customer loyalty. If staying weatherproof in style is what you’re after, consider the more minimal Saltwater duck boot from Sperry (view at Amazon). 

What to Look for in Duck Boots

Price

Expect to shell out at least $100 for a good pair of duck boots. Your feet will thank you the moment you hit the snow. If you’re looking for warmer boots, you’ll most likely be paying more. If you’re looking to cut your budget a bit, remember that layering socks is a good alternative for warmth if you opt for cheaper, non-insulated duck boots.

Style

Most duck boots abide by a similar look: rubber foot, leather upper. These boots have laces, and they’re often a bit chunky looking. You can find them in all different rises, from ankle to knee-high options.

Fit

You’ll want your boot to fit snug on your foot, but with enough room to layer a sock or two, depending on the level of warmth you’re looking to achieve. If your boots are tight around your toes with a single pair of socks on, consider sizing up half a size. The nice thing about duck boots is the lace-up style—you can control how tight the boot fits on your calf.

FAQs

How should I clean my boots?

While each manufacturer will have its own recommendations, there is a general consensus on how to keep your boots squeaky clean. Grab a sponge and soak it in warm, soapy water. Avoiding the leather sections of your boot, use the sponge to clean the rubber portions of the shoe. You’ll want to purchase a leather cleaner to keep the leather uppers clean and in good condition. You can use a clean, dry rag to remove any moisture, mud, or dirt from your shoes, as well. Set them aside and don’t put them back on until they’re completely dry.

Should duck boots be insulated?

This all comes down to personal preference and the environment in which you will most likely be wearing them. If you plan on wearing them in both rainy and snowy conditions, consider purchasing non-insulated duck boots so you can control the warmth by adding or taking away layers of socks. If you plan on putting your boots to the limit temperature-wise, opt for insulated boots. Most duck boots come with some sort of insulation, so pay close attention to the material description.

What are the best socks to wear with duck boots?

Natural fibers like wool will keep you the warmest, so think about the temperatures to which you’ll be exposing yourself. Polyester is also a great option if you want to keep your toes toasty. Since the boots tend to reach higher on the leg, also consider a longer sock that hits above the boot, especially if you have issues with socks riding down your foot mid-stride.

How do I waterproof duck boots?

While the rubber section of your boot will be naturally waterproof, you will want to prepare the leather for wet environments. Waterproofing care for leather is easy to find and simple to apply. Some boots come with weatherproofed leather, but you’ll want to reinforce the water barrier at some point.

Why Trust TripSavvy

We’ve reached out to professional hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who depend on this style of boot to keep them warm and dry through the toughest of weather.

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