Not to disappoint you, but these are not boots made for ducks. Darn it. I’d like to see that as well. Like Duck Tape, the product has nothing to do with actual ducks. The word duck refers to a specific style of boot designed to protect the wearer’s feet from inclement weather like rain or snow, not the waddling bird.
Duck boots are often referred to as Bean boots, although Bean refers to the brand, whereas duck refers to the style. There are many variations to the duck boot itself. It is available in different treads, materials, and patterns depending on which brand you want.
The amphibious boot is a waterproof half shoe, half boot combination. It’s essentially an umbrella for your feet.
History of the Duck Boot
Mr. Leon Leonwood Bean came home from a hunting trip (a duck hunting trip if I had to guess) with cold, soaking wet feet. He took it upon himself to create a boot that was similar to a rubber workman’s boot but maintained the comfort of a leather boot that could get worn as a hunting shoe. In 1911 he called his new creation the “Maine Hunting Shoe,” which featured a leather upper and rubber sole.
Bean added a triple-stitch and the Split Backstay (a seam that splits as opposed to going directly down the Achilles heel), which he patented. The innovative man also added a small rubber lip for added protection while out in the woods. He gave it a V Line Design on the rubber to help keep the water off the boot, too. The duck boot got created for practicality and functionality.
L.L. Bean opened his first store in 1912. The boot earned recognition from all around, and his reputation as well respected boot maker became a reality.
Modern Day Duck Boots
For a hundred years, the duck boot remained a utilitarian shoe worn by hunters, farmers, and others who work outdoors. They received a surge in popularity in 2010 when students started wearing them. Suddenly, duck boots were all the rage.
This unexpected rush on the product caused the L.L. Bean company to experience a shortage in their flagship product. This caused many people to go quackers.
Such shortages no longer cause a ripple in the water. Many other companies have jumped in the duck pond and came out with their own versions of the newly coveted footwear, bringing with them fashionable duck boots with new styles and colors like leopard print and fur lining.
What to Keep in Mind When Buying Duck Boots
When shopping for the best duck boots, the biggest decision you’ll need to make is whether to go with an insulated or uninsulated pair. This decision will determine the versatility of your boots.
Insulation – Boots with insulation will automatically limit you to the winter season with snow, ice, and cold weather. Typically under 40 degrees Fahrenheit would be the recommended weather for these warm duck boots. A pair like this should not be worn in warmer weather unless you want to treat your feet to a spa day in the sauna.
No Insulation – This option offers the most flexibility as it can transition from cool weather and rainy conditions to ice and snow with ease. In colder conditions, you simply wear them with a pair of thick socks. In warmer weather choose thin socks.
How to Wear Duck Boots
It’s more important to dress for the weather instead of style. No one looks cool playing muddy puddle jump in Chukka Boots or polished dress shoes. But I would gladly watch you try.
Here are some fly outfit options to make people gasp, “Holy duck!”
With Jeans – Classic straight jeans are a good fit with any duck boot. Here are some easy to put together looks for your duck boot and jean partnership.
With Trousers – Wear your duck boots with trousers or cargo pants to create some hip outfits that make a statement.
Material: Leather Uppers
Material: Full grain leather or Hairy Suede
Full grain leather or Hairy Suede
Material: Full grain leather
Full grain leather
Material: Leather or Suede
Leather or Suede
Material: Synthetic Nubuck
Material: Waterproof Suede
Material: Leather uppers
The 11 Best Duck Boots for Men in 2020
1. Sperry Top-Sider Men's Avenue Duck Boot
- Uppers made with stain and water-resistant leather for durability
- 7″ shaft measured from arch
- Waterproof construction keeps feet warm and dry
- Comfortable full-length memory foam footbed
- Includes thermal linings to keep your feet warm
- The rubber outsole is non-marking and has molded Wave-Siping for unbeatable traction
- Available in various colors
You’re ready to take on any elements in the Sperry Avenue Duck Boot. They get built with high-quality materials with comfort and stability in mind. No matter the weather or the outing, you’re protected with this waterproof boot. With its unbeatable traction, you could walk on a Slip ‘N Slide in these babies and not fall.
2. SOREL - Men's Cheyanne II Lace Duck Boot
- Made with full-grain waterproof leather or suede
- Features a seam-sealed waterproof construction
- Excellent duck boots for winter with the strong insulation and comfortable microfleece lining
- Ankle-high shaft
- Grippy herringbone outsole for extra traction
- Available in numerous colors
These boots sound like an amazing catch but don’t get fooled. There have been numerous complaints about the rubber on these boots cracking and letting in the rain, snow, and cold weather. I wouldn’t cast my line into this pond.
3. Timberland Men's Shell-Toe Waterproof Euro Hiker Boots
- Premium full-grain leather uppers with gusseted tongue
- Long-lasting durability
- Eco-friendly laces get made from plastic bottles
- Sturdy arch support with a steel shank
- The outsole is 34% recycled rubber for enhanced traction
- Shell made with TPU for superior wear and flexibility
- Available in Burnt Orange, Dark Port, Black Tbl Forty, and Wheat.
Who doesn’t want to sport a pair of Timberlands? They have a strong reputation for making high-quality shoes that last. Did I mention they have a banging style? You may have to dish out a little more cash for these, but it’s worth it for these stylish duck boots. They will not only keep your feet warm and dry, but you’re also doing your bit for the environment.
4. UGG Men's Butte Boot
- Rated for cold weather down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 Celsius)
- Iconic Vibram outsole that includes lug tread for traction
- 7.5″ shaft when measuring from the heel
- 1.5″ heel
- UGGpure wool lining that can only get found with this brand
- Waterproof leather completes the fully waterproof boot
- Some parts use synthetic materials
- Available in Black, Metal, and Worchester
They have some features that I am absolutely stoked about. For one, they are the most comfortable ducks boots around, hands down. Props to UGG for always making comfortable footwear. Second, they have superior traction thanks to the Vibrum outsole. That’s Vibrum, not Vibranium. They aren’t working with Black Panther (R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman). Lastly, these are stylistically the sweetest looking duck boots on the list. Unquestionably my favorite for comfort and style.
What truly has me vexed is the use of synthetic materials, like faux fur and faux suede, in relation to the price. I’m not knocking them for using some synthetics, but if I’m going to pay top dollar for a pair of boots, then I would expect them to be the real deal in every way.
What it comes down to is whether or not the comfort and style outweigh the use of synthetic materials. If you don’t mind spending top dollar to look great and be comfortable regardless of the materials, then these are a good choice for you.
5. Crocs Men's AllCast II Boot
- Synthetic sole
- 100% synthetic nubuck
- Faux shearing lined collar
- 7.5″ shaft from arch
- Available in Wheat/Black and Expresso/Black
I’m not a huge fan of the Crocs brand. I don’t like how fake everything feels against my foot.
They use Croslite (a closed-cell resin) material. That makes these boots lightweight and soft while also providing a firm grip and non-marking outsole. With the waterproof uppers, this is a great pick for casual rain boots, especially if you are on a budget.
6. Kamik Men's Fargo Boot
- 7″ shaft from the arch
- 1″ heel
- Thinsulate insulation for added warmth
- Antimicrobial footbed with moisture-wick lining
- Water and rustproof rapid lacing system
- Rated for temperatures down to -40 degrees
- Available in Navy, Olive, Black, Tan, Charcoal, and Dark Brown
Kamik boasts this waterproof and insulated boot is a rugged extreme weather shoe. Unfortunately, the claims on this boot just don’t hold up.
There have been many complaints about feet getting wet or the toes freezing while wearing this particular pair of winter boots.
What’s more, if you don’t like heavy, clunky boots, you won’t like this pair for that reason, either. These aren’t for everyday wear or hiking. They are strictly a winter snow boot.
7. London Fog Mens Ashford Waterproof and Insulated Duck Boot
- 7″ shaft from arch
- Thinsulate insulation for warmth
- Durable shell made of waterproof rubber
- #1 ranked outerwear brand in the U.S.
- Made with a synthetic sole
- Available in many colors including Cognac, Chocolate Brown, and Black/Grey
If you need a boot to keep you warm in the snow and water, then I would recommend the London Fog Ashford. The outdoor boot has a great true to size fit with fantastic insulation. No frosty toes here!
The synthetic soles won’t leave scuff marks, but also tend to be slippery on smooth surfaces like tile or another glossy flooring.
These boots may not be all they’re quacked up to be. Uppers ripping away from the soles has happened with this boot after minimal wear.
8. LaCrosse Men's Uplander II 10-Inch Snow Boot
- 100% leather uppers
- 10″ shaft measuring from arch
- Durable rubber sole
- One of the tallest duck boots on the list
- Contrasting trim around the top of the uppers
Lacrosse has been making rubber boots for more than 100 years. Their boots get built to be tough, durable, and comfortable. These bad boys get made for the hard-working man.
One thing to note before purchase, these boots are unlined. That means you do not want to wear these in extreme cold or winter months.
They’re a great boot for rain, mud, or low standing water. If it’s chilly outside, I strongly recommend you wear heavyweight thick socks for warmth and added padding as these boots tend to rub, particularly on the heel.
9. FRYE Men's Warren Duck Boot
- 100% full-grain leather with a vintage leather shaft
- 8″ shaft measuring from arch
- Rubber sole with lug pattern for added traction and a stacked heel
- Lined with all-natural real sheep shearling
- Rawhide leather lacing
- True to size fit
- Made by an American icon
John A. Frye Started his first shoe store in 1863. Since then, the brand has become an American legacy.
Their high standards have carried over to the Warren Duck Boot. It features shearling from sheep that have not gotten altered in any way in addition to a cushioned footbed. You’ll find these boots to be super comfortable. I think these are cool duck boots.
10. WOLVERINE Felix 6" Waterproof Duck Winter Boot
- 100% leather or suede upper
- 7″ shaft measured from arch
- Feet stay dry with the waterproof membrane
- The rubber midsole helps to cushion your steps
- Wedged rubber outsole with grip
- Synthetic insole
- Available in Black/Brown and Forest Green/Black
Sadly, Wolverine is just a name, and wearing these will not turn you into one of the X-Men. Yeah, I’m bummed, too. Even if they don’t give you finger knives, these boots can still protect you, from the elements that is.
Showcasing full-grain leather with fine detailing, this classic work boot is a looker. Its waterproof barrier keeps your feet dry and ready for the weather. Expect a lot of compliments when wearing these!
11. Polo Ralph Lauren Men's Udel Fashion Boot
- Ankle-high when measured from arch
- 1/2″ platform
- Rubber sole
- Available in Dark Brown, Black, Polo Tan, and Black/Black/Red
You can expect a great fit in this refined boot from Ralph Lauren. The leather needs to get broken in a bit, but after it’s like a glove.
It is for sure a fashionable boot, but not the warmest or most durable on the list. If you’re looking for a pair of low top duck boots, this is a solid choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Duck Boot vs. Snow Boot: What's the Difference?
Not all duck boots are snow boots, but some snow boots are duck boots. An insulated duck boot is a popular option for a snow boot because they provide the same warmth and protection of the common snow boot without being heavy and stiff. Duck boots are a more comfortable snow boot pick.
Are Duck Boots Comfortable for Walking?
The best answer to that question would be yes, as long as you pick the proper duck boot for your lifestyle or your needs.
For example, in the summer, you certainly wouldn’t want to be walking around in a fur-lined duck boot. On the flip side, you wouldn’t want to be caught in the winter wearing an unlined duck boot.
Are Duck Boots Waterproof?
All Duck Boots should be waterproof, or they’re not a genuine duck boot. A genuine duck boot is completely waterproof and has a rubber bottom with a leather upper. The rubber bottom comes up just below the ankle to provide optimal waterproof protection.
Are Duck Boots for Rain or Snow?
Both! They come in a variety of options. You can get duck boots with fur lining, lightweight duck boots, boots with no lining at all, boots with different lace options, and several other variations.
For a simple rain boot option, you can get an unlined version of the duck boot.
When it comes to winter and snow, go with an insulated duck boot.
The duck boot has a long history going back many decades. It was born out of necessity for hunters who needed a new hunting boot that would keep their feet warm and dry. From there, the duck boot gave birth to one of the biggest outerwear retailers today.
Duck boots are a popular style of rain and snow boots. Their unique design keeps your feet dry when you are in inclement weather. If you opt for an insulated boot style, your feet will be kept cozy and warm during those frigid winter months, even in the snow.
Regardless of what your style is, you can find a duck boot that suits you. They come in many colors, from traditional to more unique options like blue, green, or plaid. Whichever style you choose, your feet will thank you.